The Dallas Holocaust Museum/Center for Education and Tolerance, Florida Holocaust Museum, Holocaust Museum Houston, Illinois Holocaust Museum, Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust, Michigan Holocaust Memorial Center, and the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust in New York City, feel compelled to address Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s decision to evoke comparisons of the conditions of migrants seeking asylum in the United States to the victims of the Holocaust.
While we are concerned for the plight of these migrants, particularly children, and the deplorable conditions of the centers in which they are being detained, allusions to the Holocaust are completely inappropriate and offensive. The Nazi regime targeted Europe’s Jews for murder. It created a vast forced labor and camp system to exploit Jewish labor before murdering them. Ocasio-Cortez’s inaccurate reference diminishes the inexpressible horror suffered at the hands of Adolf Hitler, the Nazi regime, and collaborators and wrongly equates current US immigration policy with the systematic murder of six million Jews and the persecution of millions of others.
We encourage our elected officials to read the powerful essay, “Why Holocaust Analogies Are Dangerous”, written by Dr. Edna Friedberg, a scholar at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, on the current disgraceful phenomenon of comparing government actions with which they disagree to the organized state sponsored murder and terrorism of the Holocaust. Dr. Friedberg explains eloquently why Holocaust analogies are dangerous, stating “At a time when our country needs dialogue more than ever, it is especially dangerous to exploit the memory of the Holocaust as a rhetorical cudgel.”
In the highly charged political climate of today, we call upon the public to unite in condemnation of inflammatory rhetoric, to find common ground, and to promote civil discourse and mutual understanding. Again, we stress that the Holocaust is the paradigm of state-sponsored genocide in the modern era and should never be used for political gain or leverage. This must stop.