At 79, Stephen B. Jacobs is one of the youngest remaining survivors of the Holocaust. Hitler's Germany exterminated six million Jewish men, women, and children, and culminated in a total estimated body count of between 15–20 million civilians including Soviets, Pols, Serbs, Roma, Jehovah's Witnesses, LGBTQ, the disabled, and those who opposed the Nazis politically or ideologically.
Jacobs talked with Newsweek recently and his interview was published in an article titled, "I'm a Holocaust Survivor—Trump's America Feels Like Germany Before Nazis Took Over."
Jacobs has a message for those of us living in Trump's America — and it has people talking.
“Perhaps more alarming than the far-right getting braver is the seep into mainstream politics of their hate, their talking points, their rhetoric. “It feels like 1929 or 1930 Berlin,” Jacobs speculated, ahead of Holocaust Remembrance Day 2018 on Thursday.”https://t.co/ZRuBEtib0U— Elad Nehorai (@PopChassid) April 10, 2018
One might think that a warning such as this, from a man who not only lived through one of the most horrendous times in human history but who also claims to have firsthand knowledge of President Trump, pre-presidency, might cause people to sit up and listen.
I’m involved with New York real estate, I know this man personally. Trump is an enabler. Trump has no ideas. Trump is out for himself.
Unfortunately, a lot of people think they know better:
There were those who seemingly didn't bother to read the linked articles in their entirety and instead just read and responded to a headline or excerpt. These folks were fixated on the "math," as they called it, and seemed to be disturbed by the fact that Jacobs, according to Newsweek, "was born six years after Adolf Hitler came to power in Germany." They also appear to have decided to discount the fact that Jacobs, an architect who is responsible for designing the Holocaust memorial at Buchenwald, "can remember life in the Nazi concentration camp at Buchenwald; what the Nazis did to him, his family, his friends."
It turns out there is such a thing as a stupid question:
How does he know what 1929 felt like when he wasn't born for another decade?— Jen DinNJ (@JenDinnj) April 9, 2018
You made me do math. The person was born in about 1939. He has no special insight into 1929 Berlin.— Bill Henning (@weffiewo) April 9, 2018
Math doesn’t add up like most of what these people say.— Tribal Shaman (@tribal_shaman) April 10, 2018
In fact, what the Newsweek piece actually said was:
'It feels like 1929 or 1930 Berlin,' Jacobs speculated, ahead of Holocaust Remembrance Day 2018 on Thursday. 'Things that couldn’t be said five years ago, four years ago, three years ago—couldn’t be said in public—are now normal discourse. It’s totally unacceptable.'
Jacobs may not have been alive in 1929 (the piece states clearly that he was born in 1939), but as someone who lived in a concentration camp (something he details in the article), he certainly knew what living through Hitler's regime was like, as did many others, including Anne Frank's sister, 86-year-old Eva Schloss—whose own opinion happens to be in accordance with Jacobs' assessment of President Trump. In another Newsweek piece from January 2016, a year before Trump took office, Schloss warned Americans of the danger inherent in Trump's rhetoric.
As Schloss told Newsweek:
I think he is acting like another Hitler by inciting racism. During his U.S. presidential campaign he has suggested the 'total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States,' as well as pledging to build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico to keep illegal immigrants out.
Good to know that I was at least semi accurate in my impressions of trump.— James Sharp (@RantingKoot) April 9, 2018
It bears noting that as some of the last remaining survivors of one of the most horrific genocides in world history, Schloss' and Jacobs' insights may be worth listening to.
As Jacobs points out in the Newsweek piece:
Things just go from bad to worse [in this administration] every day. There’s a real problem growing.
It's one that Jacobs believes is in “direct parallel” to Germany in the timeline between the two world wars.