On the history of concentration camps, and what Trump's doing on the border

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/06/21/on-the-history-of-concentratio.html

“When the hardliners win, as they appear to have in the US, conditions tend to worsen significantly.”


If I shave off my goatee, does that mean I can escape this worst timeline?


Comparing the two camps (nazi concentration camps with America’s border camps) is nothing but a load of sensational crap. In WWII, people placed in those camps had ZERO choice in the matter, they were rounded up from their homes and their towns (often at gun point) and shipped off to the camps. There is a easy solution to not ending up in a America border camp - stay the fuck away. No one entering America is unaware that they are doing so illegally, that if caught will be detained and returned, yet they take the risk (often with their kids in tow). How is that even close to what happened in WWII? Before I get labeled as some moronicTrump sycophantt, let me say Trump is a raving fuktard but in the case of the border camps - if these people would OBEY THE FUCKING LAW there wouldn’t be any camps. Like they said in the 70’s - Don’t do the Crime if you can’t do the Time.

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concentration camps- check
torture interrogation approved- check
antitrust laws disabled- check
expanded military- check
unregulated overseas belligerence- check
we must finally be ready to make America great again!


Versus people forced to leave their homes and making an arduous and dangerous journey to the US to seek asylum because if they stay, they or their family will be raped, murdered, tortured, or worse?

I mean the State may not be holding the literal gun to their head, but make no mistake about it, these refugees feel they are under serious threat. And because the Trump regime keeps cutting aid to these countries as a form of punishment this problem will only get worse.

But they are obeying the law.


Who are we to trust in 2019: a bunch of silly Coastal Elite historians with subject-area expertise, or a corrupt right-wing populist regime and the Real Americans™ to whom it appeals with racism? It’s a dilemma, I tells ya…


I know what you are saying makes sense I side your head, mate. But we are out here.

Let me say that I haven’t yet read the article, and not event the quote Xeni posted, and already would disagree on comparing the Nazi concentration camps with the American ones. I am even hesitant to call the American camps concentration camps because the Nazi concentration camps are synonymous in the public opinion with Vernichtungslager. This is a whole different level of industrial scale destruction of a whole people and everyone deemed unworthy to live, and it is a disservice to both the nowadays interned as the survivors of the Nazi camps, and the surviving relatives of those who were murdered on an industrial scale.

I will read this pice later, and try to take a measured approach trying to understand and accept the view of the author. Until then, however, I am very angry at you for this line:

This is what the good, lawful citizen of Nazi Germany said.

I don’t say that lightly. They really did.


Dude, it’s 100% legal to apply for asylum after crossing the border.

There is literally zero difference other than these people made an arduous journey across murderous desert landscape while avoiding drug trafficers and narcos.

But good job playing the “blame the victim” and the “I’m not a Trump supporter” two-fer.


You’re saying that as if that isn’t literally the MAGA platform.

There are literally zero of those things that these people disagree with.


Give me some time and I can hunt up the interview with the Holocaust survivor who says “Yes, those are concentration camps.”

Or how about the government arguing in court that there’s no need to provide basic life necessities to the people in those camps? People are dying. How many more need to before we stop playing footsie over terminology?


They didn’t start out as death camps and killing factories, as I’m sure you know. The infamous Dachau KZ was in operation as a concentration camp for enemies of the regime and (increasingly after Kristallnacht) Jews in general years before the einsatzgruppen got to their gruesome work in the East, and more years still before Eichmann came up with a more efficient way to effect the Final Solution. It was the first concentration camp in the Reich, named as such (Konzentrationslager) after the Boer War camps, and we all know how the “perfected” camps modeled on it turned out.

That’s why, as someone who lost a branch of the family tree in the Shoah, I have absolutely no problem calling these American camps what they are and taking it as an opportunity to explain both the historical background of the term and why it’s important to recognise the course a nation sets itself on when it starts opening concentration camps. None of that does anything to diminish the horror of the death camps or downplay the suffering of their victims.

[I understand where you’re coming from, by the way, and know you’re very familiar with the topic. But in the U.S., those objecting to the use of the term are either ignorant of the history or are cynically exploiting that ignorance.]


I disagree. To compare the American border camps with Nazi extermination camps would be quite wrong, but I have not heard anyone compare them to that. But comparison with US concentration camps of Japanese Americans, and even Nazi concentration camps at the very beginning, is not a stretch at all.

And to me that “at the very beginning” is a very important point. Each step taken down this road makes a horrific endgame that much closer.

I say this as a Jew who had family in Hungarian work camps in the 1940’s (who thankfully survived).


… some of my best friends are from Central America?


I think the intend is as important here as the actual circumstances in the camps.

Trump with his “sh*tholes” and “sending us the worst of the worst” comments illustrate his ideas and in essence thoughtprocesses that are the same as the Nazis.

  1. Dehumanizing/scapegoating of groups (Muslims and refugees instead of Jews and Sinti/Roma)
  2. Hate against LGBTQIA+ people which got incarerated and murdered as well (even after 1945) thought that are more of the fringe sectarian backbenchers doings (pence)
  3. Campaigns against political enemies.
  4. replacement of the Judicative and executive branches personel with loyal figures

Big parts of your government personel clearly goes into the direction of facism.
They dont care about the well being of people in these camps or regular prison. Sadly the oposite is true, they want to make people suffer.

The camps are not equiped with gas-chambers right now but they are on theyr way to things like that. Already there are guards doing horible things cause they can and noone holds them accountable. How long do we wait till we get a supposed “Riot” thats gets beaten down in the mist bloody way?

Basic healthcare is denied as seen with a few cases that died of conditions that could be treated.
Sanitary and Nutritional conditions are shody at best because there are to many people etc.

All that while Trump and his cronies stay at the sideline applauding the “Endlösung der Flüchtlingsfrage” - atleast thats my oppinion on it.

And dont get me wrong, there are camps in Europe too. The ones in grece are just as bad and even a number of “Flüchtlingsunterkünfte”, “Asylheime” etc. in germany are inhumane (and sometimes guarded by neonazis).

We all need to find more humane ways to include and integrate Refugees and Asylumseekers without going back to camp style idiocies.


I will ignore the part about whether or not the asylum seekers have followed the law – which they have, but I want to think about something else implied in your statement.

A person who breaks the law is no longer due their human rights? So a law breaker gets what’s coming to them, and it only matters how sadistic the person who catches them is?

Did you drive a car in the US today? Because I promise you, you broke the law. You cannot drive a car more than 3 blocks (or so I’ve read) in the US without breaking the law.

You get the mercy you give. My own personal experience suggests that it takes a great deal of practice to be good at mercy. I hope and pray I never need it returned.

And, sir or madam, I hope and pray you get better at it before you too need it.




Hello? Once the semantic/history debate is over, if anyone would like to help these families: they need lawyers, so if you can afford to send some $$ to to @RAICESTEXAS and/or @ACLU or @ACLUTx there will be more grownups looking after their interests and trying to get them OUT!


They also also discuss this, with the focus on the lack of medical care, in the current Sawbones podcast. Always worth a listen.

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A team of attorneys who recently visited the facility near El Paso told The Associated Press that three girls, ages 10 to 15, said they had been taking turns keeping watch over a sick 2-year-old boy because there was no one else to look after him.

When the lawyers saw the 2-year-old boy, he wasn’t wearing a diaper and had wet his pants, and his shirt was smeared in mucus. They said at least 15 children at the facility had the flu, and some were kept in medical quarantine. Children told lawyers that they were fed uncooked frozen food or rice and had gone weeks without bathing or a clean change of clothes at the facility in Clint, in the desert scrubland some 25 miles southeast of El Paso.

NBC News