On the day the world commemorated the worst genocide of the 20th century with pledges of “never again,” President Donald Trump banned Muslim refugees from entering the U.S., and issued a statement which notably removed any reference to the anti-Semitism which fuelled Adolf Hitler's systematic murder of six million Jews and four million other “undesirables.”
“Yesterday Trump erased refugees from America. Today he erased the Jews from the Holocaust. Who’s next?” asked Norm Eisen, a fellow at the right-wing Brookings Institute who was one of thousands from across the political spectrum to slam the U.S. President.
Many other made the connection between Trump’s ban on Muslim refugees, signed officially on Friday, and the U.S. rejection of Jewish refugees during World War 2.
Unlike Obama’s Holocaust Remembrance Day statement last year— in which he suggested there was a riese in anti-Semitism and declared "we are all Jews,"— Trump’s statement merely referenced "innocent victims" in a terrifying erasure of the very specific targeting of Jews, people with disabilities, LGBTQ folks, Roma, and Communists, which led to the genocide of 11 million people.
Many speculated that this erasure was likely not an innocent oversight, given the key role Trump advisor Steven Bannon— a noted anti-Semite and white nationalist— has played in writing Trump’s speeches and executive orders.
Friday’s actions were a disturbing culmination to Trump’s first week in office which saw “shock and awe” tactics, racist policies, and fascist rhetoric similar to the opening salvos of the Nazi regime.
First, he removed a section on civil rights from the White House website, replacing it with a page dedicated to "Standing Up for Our Law Enforcement.” Then, he declared his inauguration to be a National Day of Patriotic Devotion, proclaiming, "a new national pride stirs the American soul and inspires the American heart. We are one people, united by a common destiny and a shared purpose.”
“Language is important. The rhetoric, the lies, the manipulation of the media that is hurtling out of the White House right now is ripping at the fabric of American society,” wrote Emily Hilton, granddaughter of a Holocaust survivor, in the Independent.
Hilton sees "warning signs" in Trump’s language and politics targeting migrants and religious minorities in the U.S.
“It is a way of dividing people, of creating scapegoats for socio-economic problems,” she wrote. “As a Jew, I feel all too aware of these warning signs. I grew up hearing about these warning signs. They changed the entire course of my family’s life."
Hill also noted that Trump’s declaration that he would publish a weekly list of “crimes” committed by undocumented migrants, is almost identical to the Nazi propaganda strategy of printing lists of crimes by “inferior” groups— such as Jews Jews, LGBTQ people, disabled people, Roma, and Communists— in order to justify their “Final Solution” in which Germany systematically murdered 11 million “undesirables.”
Trump ran a presidential campaign not only based on white supremacist ideals and supported by the racist terrorist group the Ku Klux Klan, but has appointed noted white nationalists like Steve Bannon and Jeff Sessions to key positions in his administration. His flurry of executive orders, reportedly written by Bannon, further demonstrate that his campaign rhetoric was more than empty words. In targeting the minorities across U.S. he is fulfilling promises made to his allies while violently attacking millions in the United States.