Drawing Links Between Nazi Germany and What We Face Today:
Holocaust Remembrance Day Marked with a Determined “NEVER AGAIN!”

April 26, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us


The Adolf Eichmann Award presented to John Kelly
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The Joseph Goebbels Excellence Award presented to Jefferson Beauregard Session III
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New York. Credit:@SunsaraTaylor

New York. Credit: @RefuseFascism

Chicago. Credit: Ted Sirota/Degenerate Artists Against Fascism

Los Angeles. Credit:@RefuseFascismLA

At a time when the Trump/Pence regime is vilifying and targeting Muslims, refugees, and Latino and other immigrants, protests on April 24 Holocaust Remembrance Day in a number of U.S. cities drew the links between the enormous crimes against humanity committed by Hitler and the Nazis and what is happening in this country today. These actions sounded an urgent alarm about the dangerous course of the Trump/Pence regime and sent out the message: never again must we allow another Holocaust to happen to any group of people.

As part of the protests on this Holocaust Remembrance Day, the “Adolf Eichmann award”—“for leadership in the field of detention and deportation of ‘undesirables’”—was given to John Kelly, the U.S. general now heading the Department of Homeland Security. Eichmann was in charge of deporting Jews to the Nazi concentration camps. And the “Joseph Goebbels award”—“for demonizing and persecuting ‘undersirables’”—went to Jeff Sessions, Trump’s attorney general. Goebbels was minister of propaganda for Hitler. In the days before Holocaust Remembrance Day, Sessions and Kelly went to the U.S.-Mexico border and issued rabid threats against undocumented immigrants. They, and the regime as a whole, are ratcheting up fascist measures and a climate of demonization and marginalization of immigrants that echo how the Nazis targeted Jews as “subhuman,” “undesirables,” and “enemies,” setting the stage for the Holocaust.

The following is based on reports we received on the Holocaust Remembrance Day actions in several cities.


New York City

About 25 people gathered in front of the Jewish Heritage Museum in Manhattan. Travis Morales opened by speaking directly to the connection between the escalating attacks on immigrants and Muslims by the Trump Regime and the demonization and targeting of the Jewish people by the Nazis. He said this has a logic and momentum that can lead to real horrors. Scott Gilbert, whose parents were Holocaust survivors, and whose mother was a childhood friend of Anne Frank, spoke about the parallels between Germany in the 1930s and Trump’s America. Citing Trump’s senior advisor Stephen Miller, who declared that the president’s authority “will not be questioned,” Gilbert compared it to a similar quote from Hitler’s propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels. He said that if “Never Again” is going to mean anything, it has to mean something now—when immigrants, Muslims, and people all over the world are being threatened by the Trump/Pence fascist regime in the most powerfully militarized country on earth.

Statements in support of this action were sent to Refuse Fascism from David Meyerhof, grandson of Holocaust survivor and Nobel Prize winner Otto Meyerhof; Creighton University professor Fidel Acosta-Fajardo, who is one of the professors on the right-wing “Professors Watchlist”; Donald W. Shriver, President Emeritus of the Union Theological Seminary; and others.

From the Jewish Heritage Museum, the group, led by people in orange jumpsuits stamped with the words “ICE DETAINEE,” headed to the Federal Building, where the Eichmann and Goebbels “awards” were presented to Kelly and Sessions. As the procession marched for a mile through downtown Manhattan, people’s heads turned and many reached out for Refuse Fascism flyers. One woman said, “I can really see how this could be like another Holocaust, the way they are targeting whole groups of people like that. This is how it starts.”


A determined and diverse group gathered in the downtown Loop to loudly and colorfully declare “Never again will we allow another Holocaust to happen to any people!” Carrying signs from Refuse Fascism saying “NO!” in many languages and a banner declaring “From 1933 to 2017, Never Again! Drive Out the Trump/Pence Regime!” they lined up in front of the Loop Synagogue, which was the target of a fascist attack in February when the building was defaced with swastikas and windows broken.

After an MC from Refuse Fascism made some introductory comments, she introduced a series of powerful speakers. First up to the mic was a soft-spoken representative of the American Muslim Task Force who read a statement from Salman Aftab. The message itself was loud and clear: “If you allow Muslims or immigrants to be demonized, to be called terrorists and rapists by the President of the USA, we have seen where this racism and scapegoating can lead. This can be a first step to a new Holocaust.  We have to resist now!”

The MC read a statement from Father Bob Bossie, SCJ, recalling his visit to the Auschwitz concentration camp: “As I wandered through this place of horror, I realized that the persons who did this were not devils but were like me, ordinary persons who had slowly capitulated to the customs of the day in order to avoid ridicule, keep a job, go along to get along, avoid persecution, keep going to the better school, or who simply thought it wouldn't, couldn't and didn't happen here.”

Ted Sirota, founder of Degenerate Artists Against Fascism, told the story of his great grandfather who was shot and killed by the Nazis in Poland, along with many others of his extended family, even before the concentration camps were in full operation. He said, “And now along with synagogues, Black churches in the South and mosques are under attack—all people of conscience must say NO!”

Brother Michael C. Oboza, speaking as a member of the LGBTQ/Bi community, shared that he had been a Catholic who didn't believe that the Holocaust really happened, but then learned that 15,000 gays and suspected gays were among those killed in the Holocaust, and many more forced to wear the pink triangle.

The Rev. Taigen Dan Leighton, a Soto Zen Buddhist priest, also sent a statement, saying, “All of us who represent true spiritual and ethical values, and the values our country claims to be founded on, must now speak out.”

The MC reminded those gathered and the press that the U.S. has already registered and rounded up a whole group of people and sent them to concentration camps—people of Japanese descent during WWII.

From there, the group marched boldly down a major street several blocks to the ICE Chicago headquarters in Chicago. Chants rang out: “1933 to 2017, Never Again! Drive Out the Trump Regime!”  “In the Name of Humanity, Stop the Insanity, No Ban-No Wall, No Fascist USA!”  “Dump Trump. Dump Pence, The World Can't Wait, Drive out the Fascism Regime before it's too late!”

The day before this action, two Refuse Fascism people went out to the Holocaust Museum in Skokie, outside of Chicago, to attend their Holocaust Day program. The moving program was led by Holocaust survivors who lit candles for the Jews the Nazis killed. The MC, a Holocaust survivor, said the Holocaust Day honors the date for the beginning of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, which he called "the most significant armed resistance to the Nazis."

Los Angeles

There was a procession through the downtown streets of people in prison uniforms, representing the victims of the Holocaust. The procession included Jewish activists, members of the Refuse Fascism Los Angeles chapter, and people who had come from a march of 2,000 people earlier in the day marking the genocide of the Armenian people by the Ottoman (Turkish) empire in the early 1900s.

People lined up outside of the LAPD headquarters dressed in prison uniforms representing victims of the Holocaust. They attempted to deliver a hand-written “award” to the head of the L.A. County Sheriffs Department, stating, "You, Sheriff Jim McDonnell, head sheriff of LA County are being presented with the Adolf ICEman Award for collaborating with the Fascist Trump/Pence regime and for your collaboration with ICE in carrying out deportation." The procession then took off. In a single line, the procession, trailed by supporters chanting "Never again to any people," walked through downtown city streets filled with heavy afternoon traffic. They walked through a section of Little Tokyo and stopped in front of the Japanese-American Museum. Connections were made between the horrors of the Holocaust, the concentration camps for people of Japanese descent in the U.S., and the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The procession then went to the MDC (Metropolitan Detention Center).

The Holocaust Remembrance Day was also marked by a group of people on the University of California Los Angeles campus.

San Francisco

Several dozen people gathered at the S.F. headquarters of ICE for the Bay Area region. Three members of Holocaust survivor families spoke. 

The first to speak was Steve Rapport, a member of Indivisible, who told the gripping story of his mother’s survival from a German death camp and the brutal murder of his grandfather by Nazi SS thugs. The previous week Rapport had galvanized people at a Senator Dianne Feinstein town hall when, after telling his story there, he demanded to know from Feinstein why the Democrats “haven’t drawn a red line around the fascist White House.”   

Roman Rimer, a member of Refuse Fascism, and the Bay Area Queer Anti-Fascist Network, told of growing up with the stories of his grandfather’s family members who were killed in the Holocaust in Poland. He then turned toward the ICE building and denounced the enforcers in that building for their actions that are tearing families apart and creating great pain and sorrow. 

Bruce Neuburger told of how his father only left Germany in 1938 because he, like many other Germans, didn’t believe until it was almost too late, that the Nazis would take things to such murderous extremes. He said, “People failed to act decisively when they still could. Then the Aryan supremacists, the core of the Nazi social base, got the upper hand. Those who opposed Hitler, who had the potential to stop the march to full out fascism, failed to realize the extent of the danger.” 

A statement was read from a daughter of Guatemalan refugees, who is now an immigrant rights activist. Her statement said in part, “The fear that has been instilled in families without documentation by ICE is unjust and immoral.”  

Following the rally a delegation from the protest attempted to “deliver” to ICE authorities in the building the Joseph Goebbels award to Sessions and the Adolf Eichmann award to Kelley in recognition of their persecution of immigrants, in loyal service to the fascist Trump/Pence regime.





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