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Perspective: Nazis? Really?

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In the trial scene of the Marx Brothers’ film, Duck Soup, Groucho’s Rufus T. Firefly says the following of Chicolini, played by brother Chico, “Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, Chicolini here may talk like an idiot and look like an idiot, but don’t let that fool you. He really is an idiot.”

This scene pops into my head each time I hear a whack-a-mole pundit or politician compare vaccination and masks mandates, or the “liberal” agenda, to life in Nazi Germany.

Let’s see how that comparison holds up as the Nazi regime was responsible for the following:

  •  Establishing a concentration camp system in 1933 that came to number 1,000 camps where brutality reigned supreme. Case in point, look up the “Stairs of Death” at Mauthausen.
  •  Establishing the Nuremberg Laws (based on racial laws in the U.S.) that systematically oppressed and stripped Jews of all rights.
  •  Conducted Krystallnacht, the night of terror on November 9-10, 1938 where 7,500 Jewish, homes businesses and synagogues were burned, 91 Jews murdered, and another 30,000 arrested and sent to concentration camps. 
  •  Met in January 1942 at the Wansee Conference, where Nazi high command created the plan for the “Final Solution,” the creation of six death camps for the industrial style liquidation of all European Jews. They almost succeeded: by 1945 two thirds of the Jewish population had been murdered.

So, what I want to say to the Tucker Carlsons, Jim Jordans, Matt Gaetzes, Marjorie Taylor Greenes, Lauren Boeberts and Louie Gohmerts of the world when they make these comparisons is to go screw themselves. But I have better idea: How about paying a visit to the United States Holocaust Museum and see how your comparison holds up? I hear it’s not too far from where you pretend work.

Andrew Nelson has been involved in public education in northern Illinois for more than three decades.