Quite frequently, inappropriate, inaccurate and careless comments are made about Hitler’s National Socialism. During an official news conference, White House press secretary Sean Spicer suggested that “Hitler didn’t even sink to using chemical weapons” and did not “use gas on his own people” as Syria’s president Bashar Assad allegedly is using against the Syrian people.
Immediately Spicer was pressured into apologizing for having made this foolish and insensitive comparison. “A mistake like this is inexcusable and reprehensible,” he admitted. How could the president’s press secretary be indifferent to or ignorant of the former Nazi death camps such as Belcec, Sobibor, Treblinka, Chelmno and Auschwitz?
I suggest that he consult any of the hundreds of Holocaust-related books available on the history of the persecution, deportation, ghettoization and eventual murder of some six million European Jews. Spicer might also visit the former death camp of Auschwitz or a former concentration camp such as Buchenwald, Mauthausen, Sachsenhausen, or Ravensbruck.
Spicer claimed that Hitler did not “use gas on his own people?” Really? It is estimated that between 1940 and 1944 nearly 165,000 of Germany’s Jews had been murdered, mostly by gas. Moreover, at least 72,000 physically handicapped patients were murdered with chemical weapons (carbon monoxide) after January of 1940. Most of these early victims were German residents.
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With Hitler’s written approval six major Euthanasia sites were established at Bernburg, Brandenburg, Hadamar, Sonnenstein (near Dresden), Grafeneck and Hartheim (Austria). Today most of these killing centers have informative memorials that can be viewed.
Unfortunately, the killing of these defenseless and disabled human beings is still not well known. These victims, like the millions of Jews and about half-million Roma, also became innocent victims of chemical weapons that never should be used again, anywhere.
Hans M. Wuerth
Professor Emeritus, Moravian College
The length limit was waived to permit a fuller response to the issue.