U.S. and the Holocaust
Ken Burns’ powerful documentary will remind you that our past should not be forgotten.
To begin with, this 6-hour, 2-part mini-series will keep you glued to your home couch from beginning to end. Our country’s blatant discrimination against immigrants both before, during and after WWII is alive and well to this very day.
No one rivals Ken Burns’ catalog of films. He has released more than 20 documentaries with The Civil War (1990) and Benjamin Franklin (2022) standing at the head of the class.
This film exposes our country’s historic disdain of immigrants. Quietly wanting to preserve our white protestant heritage, Asians were banned outright, along with a quota system in the 1920’s that limited the number of Eastern Europeans, mostly Jews, from entering our country.
Mr. Burns’ film focuses on 1938 through the end of WWII. As Hitler expanded his horrific treatment of Jews throughout Europe, our country made it more difficult for Jews to emigrate. The story of our country’s refusal in 1939 to let the ship St. Louis dock and discharge its 937 passengers, mostly Jews, should leave most of you both repelled and disgusted.
What is revealing is that Hitler tried to compare his persecution of the Jews to America’s treatment of African Americans. Many were being lynched in the South in the 1920-1930s and our country shamefully did nothing.
This film is filled with wonderful interviews with historians and adults who survived the Holocaust as children. It also focuses on Otto Frank, the father of Anne. While his wife and two daughters died in concentration camps, he lived to marry a woman who also survived internment.
You are reminded that while we interred 120,000 Japanese citizens after Pearl Harbor, our country largely focused on winning WWII as our plan to help the Jews. In the meantime, millions were butchered.
We should keep in mind that our immigration quota was justified by the fact jobs were scarce during the Depression. Yet today we ignore the fact that millions of jobs are available that could employ Mexican and South American immigrants if we would just let them in our country.
The reality is that our country’s disdain of immigrants permeates to this very day. Think of Florida Governor DeSantis flying immigrants to Martha’s Vineyard and the Texas Governor transporting them to the home of VP Harris in Washington.
Mr. Burns’ film clearly establishes that racism is alive and well in our country. Yet today those apologists want to remove critical race theory in our schools to erase our past. Mr. Burns has the courage to keep our past, no matter how regrettable, alive and well.
We should all be grateful.