I was a teenager in the 1960s, and didn’t live near a resort destination so it was hard to find a summer job. You took any summer job you could find. Hence I worked the night shift in a perfume factory. The attractive, middle-aged blond lady next to me on the assembly line had a crude, four number tattoo on the inside of her left forearm. Working on the line as we sweated away in a hot, un-air-conditioned, big metal building we had plenty of time to talk as we inspected the bottoms of the bottles traveling past on the assembly line. We played animal alphabet games, and with her heavy accent the blond lady taught me to count to 10 in German. That lady had survived Auschwitz/Birkenau as a teenager. I was 18 and didn’t realize how close time-wise it was to the fall of Nazi Germany. Though both my parents served in the military in WWII it seemed like ancient history. It wasn’t until I was older that I understood what that woman had survived; how different my teen years were from hers.
Since then people have questioned: “how could normal, everyday Germans have gone along with the Holocaust? They were normal people who let that happen, even helped it happen, why didn’t Jews run, move, leave the country – fight back?”
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Why? Because it happened insidiously, gradually over time, with a sociopathic, mesmerizing leader at the helm pitting one group against another. History repeats, it’s happening again, and the Republican Party is embracing it. I was brought up in a Republican family in a totally Republican town. I hope my Republican family and friends will search their moral compass and speak up; find brave new conservative candidates who really can work across the aisle; please help end the madness.
Joanne Armstrong, Glens Falls