Holocaust survivor sees familiar pattern

He’s no one famous, just an elderly Jewish man who is a survivor of the shoa—the Holocaust. He figures in an incident that was related by a blogger named Joey Picador who operates a Web site called Justice for None.com.

Picador is a neighbor of the man. He noticed a moving van at the man’s home recently and went to see what was going on. The man confirmed he was moving.

Picador asked where he was taking his family, and the man said he was going back to Germany. Picador said the man appears to be about 85 years old and moves slowly.

Picador asked him if he was going back because he missed that country. “No,” said the man, “I’m going back because I’ve seen this before.”

The man then explained that when he was a child, he and his family watched in fear as the Hitler government committed one atrocity after another, and no one was willing to speak out in opposition. He said the news media refused to question the government, and the few who did were not in the newspaper business long after that.

Good neighbors, he said, people he had known for a lifetime, turned against his family and other Jews, latching onto the climate of hate and superiority “as if they were starved for it” (his words).

The man said he was too old to watch it happen again right in front of his eyes, and too old to do anything about it, so he was going back to Europe, where he and his family would be beyond the reach of George W. Bush and his neoconservative associates.

Picador said after the man was through talking, he gripped Picador’s hand tightly, his eyes bored into his, and he said: “I will pray for your family and your country.” Then he walked away.

The incident shook Picador profoundly, he said. He commented: “When a man who survived the fruits of fascism decides it’s time to leave THIS country because he’s seeing the same patterns that led to the Holocaust and the other Nazi horrors beginning to form here, it is time for us to recognize the underlying evil inherent in the actions of those who claim they work for all Americans, and for all mankind. And it is incumbent upon all Americans, red and blue, Republican and Democrat, to stop them.”

From the June 15-21, 2005, issue

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