By Scott Gilbert |
I declared, “Never Again” at the age of 13 when I read the Diary of Anne Frank, and discovered that my mother and Anne Frank were childhood friends.
My mother never discussed her childhood. I knew she was a German refugee from WWII and we had a Jewish background, but nothing more. Until that day she showed me a picture of her, her cousin Ellen, and Anne and Margot Frank.
I constantly think about how the rise of Nazi Germany could have been stopped. What if my grandparents had been part of a mass movement, day-after-day, to drive out Hitler’s regime before it became consolidated through the Enabling Act of March 24, 1933? What was going to be required of me now, so that I could truly stop another generation from living through these kinds of horrors?
I never really thought I would see an American fascism in my lifetime. But it’s happening now, with echoes of Nazi Germany ringing louder and louder with each passing day under the Trump regime. Between Trump’s Nuremberg-style rallies, and antisemitic and white supremacist mass murders from Pittsburgh to El Paso, I hear the slogans and chants that led to the Holocaust: “shithole countries” — “they’re bringing crime, they’re bringing rapists” — “infest our country” — “invasion” — “vermin” — “these aren’t people, these are animals” — “send her back.”
To this day, I carry a copy of the picture of my mother with her childhood playmate, Annelies Frank, in my wallet. I dream about what it would have been like to sit with my mother and Anne Frank at the dinner table with our families discussing the books and art and work they had done, if the German people had driven out the Nazis before it was too late. I think about those tens of millions of people who could have been part of building a better world.
I’m joining #OutNow for my mother and her childhood friend, and all the children today who need to grow up in a world without fascism. I know my mother is hearing these words in her infinite sleep: This nightmare must end. In the name of humanity, we must refuse to accept a fascist America.
Join us, in the streets every Saturday from October 19th to November 16th to demand the Trump Pence regime must go now!
Puerto Rico and Hong Kong show us how: