It started with words

Hitler had a plan. He started small. In 1938, he’d been running things in Nazi Germany for five years. He spouted a dialogue of hatred, and the citizens of Nazi Germany lapped it up. Hitler blamed members of the Jewish religion for the loss of World War I and the financial hardships Germany was facing. Even though 10,000 German Jews fought and died for their country during that war, Hitler spun a fantasy for the public, and they chose to believe it.

He thought Jewish people were a race and didn’t acknowledge that nationality was a separate thing from religion. And he knew if he could identify a “common” enemy, he would be able to unite the country against them. Although a madman, he knew how to control through fear and hatred.

olivia6-25 Page 4A.inddWords of hatred led to acts of horror.

The spirit of isolationism and the apathy of other nations helped seal the fates of Hitler’s victims. The United States, Great Britain and most other civilized countries refused to raise immigration numbers, so that Jewish families seeking sanctuary had nowhere to go even if they could get out.

Only the tiny Dominican Republic allowed more Jewish refugees into their county, saving lives in the doing.

A Quaker Aid Society in America worked to save people, and the work of a few German Jews in England convinced the British government to allow Jewish children 17 and under into the country, ultimately saving 10,000 lives, until the war broke out in 1939.

Germany’s continued path of territorial expansion, disregard for international law and brutal persecution of people based on their identity was unchecked until World War II was won in 1945.

There were many opportunities for other countries to intervene to stop the Nazis, but sadly, other countries didn’t want to get involved.

Since the beginning of recorded history, we see that history does repeat itself.

Words do lead to actions.

That’s why it’s so important to pay attention when someone in power publicly denounces a group based on race, nationality, gender, profession, political or religious beliefs.

We in this country are called upon to be a better people than that. When help is needed, we give help.

We work as a people to help heal those who are sick and feed those who are hungry.

As human beings, we have an obligation to “be our brother’s keeper.”

It’s our responsibility to get involved and make things better when we can.

I think our country can do that. I think there are more good people than evil people. The good ones may not make headlines, but they are the ones who find solutions to problems.

Germany embraced hatred — a hatred so great that it killed millions of people for no other reason than that of religion.

And because words lead to actions, we have to ask: “What are we going to say?” It will determine what we do.