The Holocaust Museum issued a public statement condemning public figures and lawmakers who say they will turn away Syrian refugees. The statement explicitly linked the refugees’ plight to the German Jews escaping Nazi occupation.
“Acutely aware of the consequences to Jews who were unable to flee Nazism, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum looks with concern upon the current refugee crisis. While recognizing that security concerns must be fully addressed, we should not turn our backs on the thousands of legitimate refugees.
The Museum calls on public figures and citizens to avoid condemning today’s refugees as a group. It is important to remember that many are fleeing because they have been targeted by the Assad regime and ISIS for persecution and in some cases elimination on the basis of their identity.”
The statement comes during a major shift in the American political landscape. Politicians who were once in favor of admitting Syrian refugees into the country are now leaning towards denying the mostly women and children population for fear that terrorists are hidden within their ranks.
The Holocaust Museum is generally a non-partisan body and for the organization to make such a strong political statement is extremely uncommon.
Some believe that both situations are not perfectly analogous. However, the fact that both situations involve a specific group of demoralized people seeking safe havens from an oppressive totalitarian regime, has struck a cord with the historical foundation.
In rare political statement, US Holocaust Museum tells politicians to stop "condemning today’s refugees as a group" pic.twitter.com/7VXkFtnseX
— Adam Kredo (@Kredo0) November 19, 2015
Many world powers at the time also attempted to deny fleeing Jewish refugees in fear that Nazi spies were embedded within those seeking asylum.
According to Holocaust Museum literature, between the Nazi rise to power in 1933 and Nazi Germany’s surrender in 1945, more than 340,000 Jews emigrated from Germany and Austria. Tragically, nearly 100,000 of them found refuge in countries subsequently conquered by Germany. German authorities would deport and kill the vast majority of them. Following the Anschluss (German annexation of Austria), around 85,000 Jewish refugees (out of 120,000 Jewish emigrants) managed to reach the US.
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