Rooting out Nazism in America

To the editor,

January 27, 2021, will mark the 76th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, the notorious Nazi death camp in Poland. On a cold and blustery January afternoon, Russian troops broke down the barriers of the camp only to find an unbelievable depiction of horror. Seven thousand emaciated and starving inmates greeted them only with hollow stares. Most of the prisoners were evacuated in a death march only days before. More than a million men, women and children were exterminated on these grounds. Near the end of the war, dozens of the camps like Auschwitz were liberated. My father witnessed the horrors of Dachau, a concentration camp in Germany. He rarely spoke of what he encountered during those last days of the war. Somethings you don’t talk about as a combat veteran.

What war and hatred had reaped could only be understood as a deep, black stain on humanity, if one dares to be a serious student of history. I lived as a young boy in post war Europe. Dad was stationed with the 7th Army in Bavaria at the close of the war. As a young child, I witnessed starving orphans, bullet-riddled buildings, signs warning of live ordnance and endless refugee food lines. These memories are indelibly marked in my mind and bare out my own generational trauma. 

On Jan. 6, 2021, an attempted coup took place at our Capitol. It was led by a mob of insurrectionists. This was the first time since 1814 that the Capitol was threatened. At that time, it was the threat of British troops who were laying siege to Washington. Watching on television, I witnessed countless hoodlums entering our house of democracy, destroying and vandalizing property, attempting kidnapping, and injuring police officers. Unfortunately, five people had died needlessly. I saw insurrectionists wearing shirts depicting Nazi slogans such as “Camp Auschwitz” or “6M is Not Enough.” I couldn’t believe this was actually happening! For far too long, good Americans have been intimidated by these terror groups. Unfortunately, many party leaders across the nation are complicit in these acts, for they have shown little respect for their own oath to the Constitution and this saddens me. Every elected official has a responsibility to represent all their constituents and the Constitution, not just those of a particular party. 

Democracy is only as strong as the people who support it. Our country has entered a fragile time. The pandemic, job losses, climate change and high unemployment are beleaguering our society. It is time that we, as a people, focus on fostering our common needs. There will always be individuals who propagate hate and lawlessness, but they must be held accountable, otherwise we will be condemned to repeat the tragedies of the past. There are those who would like to create an authoritarian regime in our country and unfortunately, they still fester in the darkened corners of our great nation. The ghosts have spoken, and it is time we listen!

– Burt Baldwin, Ignacio