Anne Frank would have marked her 90th birthday on June 12 had she survived her detention in a Nazi concentration camp. I recall reading excerpts of her diary and could barely comprehend how an insidious progression of restrictive conditions and vilification could ultimately lead to the annihilation of Anne and millions of Jewish people and others deemed undesirable by Adolf Hitler.
Coincidentally, at the same time our nation was reflecting on the Holocaust by remembering Anne Frank’s birthday, President Donald Trump was announcing cuts to education, legal aid, and recreation for migrant children being held in detention centers in the U.S. Even more recently, we have seen images of migrant children held in squalid conditions without adequate sanitation or food. These children are fleeing violence and life-threatening conditions in their homelands. Yet our president, on our behalf and in our name, enacts policies resulting in the detention of these children in increasingly inhumane conditions that will scar them for life.
What the Nazis did to Anne Frank and her family — and to millions like her — is not the same as what our nation is doing to children in detention centers in the United States today. However, there are haunting similarities in the vilification and progressively oppressive measures to which we are subjecting migrant children and families.
Anne Frank’s courage in the face of a fascist regime that killed her because of her religion, culture, and nationality sets a high bar for us. What do we stand for? Where is our courage? When will we hold our president accountable for his actions and rhetoric that result in these heinous circumstances today? Our nation and all of us shall be remembered by our actions for generations to come.