Himmler knew a thing or two about separating kids from parents. Hard to believe they’d do it today in the USA, but Donald Trump just loves the idea.
DON’T MENTION THE NAZIS:
AMERICA’S CHILD ABDUCTION AND HUMAN RIGHTS
There’s a tried and tested rule on the extreme fringes of political debate; it states that once you mention the Third Reich and the Nazis, you’ve lost. However, in America this rule has been tested to destruction. The experience of distraught parents in Texas is a modern echo of this Polish comment from 1941: “I saw children being taken from their mothers; some were even torn from the breast. It was a terrible sight: the agony of the mothers and fathers, the beating by the Germans, and the crying of the children.” (1)Perhaps, now that the White House has cleared the way, the Nazis can enter the debate after all.
Child abduction or child theft (let’s call it what it is) is the unauthorized removal of a minor (a child under the age of legal adulthood) from the custody of the child’s natural parents or legally appointed guardians. Late in 1939, following the invasion of Poland, as part of his ‘racial register’ which set out to liquidate the Poles, Heinrich Himmler wrote:
“I think it is our duty to adopt their children, to remove them from their surroundings, if necessary to steal or kidnap them.” (2)
On Tuesday June 19th 2018, Nikki Haley, US ambassador to the UN, issued the announcement that the US was pulling out of the UN Human Rights Council, describing it as a “cesspool of political bias not worthy of its name”. The announcement was carefully and cynically timed, as the full horror was unfolding of what was happening on the Mexican border. The true number of children forcibly separated from parents, and apparently undocumented, is not known. Despite Donald Trump’s disgraceful doubling-down conjuring trick with his ‘Executive Order’ which ostensibly halts his administration’s deliberate and callous cruelty, it looks doubtful that many of the estimated 2,500 missing children will ever see their parents again. Although there may be cages filled with unfortunate toddlers and babies in the much-publicised Texan tent camps, an abandoned Walmart and a warehouse, hundreds more children have been secretly spirited away to locations throughout the USA, with over 250 revealed to be at a secret location in New York.
This 21st century American ‘authorized’ version of mass child abduction has been sold to the country as official immigration policy. Yet grim historical comparisons to this mass child kidnapping will no doubt be conveniently overlooked by the placard-waving MAGA maniacs at Trump’s regular ego-massaging rallies. As the POTUS’s ratings go up, America’s once-proud mantra ‘home of the free’ goes down like the Hindenburg. The sadistic underlying ransom message in Washington seems plain: fund ‘the wall’ and we’ll free the kids.
Heinrich Himmler chose the city of Zamosc, near Lublin, as the administrative hub of his hideous project to destroy Polish life and culture. As mass deportations were organised by the SS, approximately 30,000 children were expelled from the Zamosc area. Himmler’s bizarre racial plans led him to select many children who the SS thought had ‘German’ characteristics; blue eyes, blonde hair. Thousands were torn from their Polish families and sent west into the Reich where they would be placed for ‘Germanisation’ with Nazi families.
The families they were separated from mainly died in the death camps or as forced labourers. Yet many Poles fought back in an attempt to protect the removal of more children, issuing the statement “You may have bombed our Warsaw, you may imprison and deport us, but you will not harm our children.” Ordinary people took great risks in rescuing children from trains bound for the west. In Bydgoszcz and Gdynia, Poles actually bought children at 40 Reichsmarks apiece. So forceful and aggressive were the Polish women in their aim of saving children that the Nazis changed the deportation rail routes.
Despite the brave efforts at rescue, after the war only 10 to 15 percent of those abducted returned home. Almost 14,000 inquiries over missing children yielded nothing. Even today there are thousands of people descended from these kidnapped children, who were taught to forget their own country and heritage, and given new identities.
There may not be death camps in Texas, but it is amazing that the same level of blatant psychological cruelty is being utilised against innocent minors in order to satisfy the draconian whims of politicians in Washington. The west may not be ‘the good guys’ any longer, but this malice – using kids for ransom – is global.
In Chibok in Borno State, Nigeria on the night of 14–15 April 2014, 276 female students were kidnapped from the Government Secondary School. Responsibility for the kidnappings was claimed by the extremist terrorist organization Boko Haram, based in north eastern Nigeria. A further 750 children have been snatched by the same terrorists. Hundreds of children disappear in China every week. Children, it seems, for many purposes, are assets, highly charged emotional bargaining chips for ransom, and those who indulge in this crime cause nothing but life-changing heartbreak and misery. Therefore the revelations of what depths the Trump organisation is prepared to sink to ought to make his bedazzled rallies wonder if this behaviour will ‘make America great’. Sadly, they believe what Fox News tells them, so it has no effect, and neither did the Nazi’s similar behaviour prick Germany and Austria’s mass conscience in the 1930s.
The Trump Administration may well have proudly demonstrated its grim inhumanity but despite dropping out of the UN Human Rights Council, they are still acting against legal norms. The Hague Conference has currently 83 Members: 82 States. It features many regulations on the abduction of children. For example, the Convention of 25 October 1980 on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction includes Article 7:
Central Authorities shall co-operate with each other and promote co-operation amongst the competent authorities in their respective States to secure the prompt return of children and to achieve the other objects of this Convention.
In particular, either directly or through any intermediary, they shall take all appropriate measures to discover the whereabouts of a child who has been wrongfully removed or retained. Other reports by organisations such as UNICEF reveal that child abduction is a regular occurrence around the world.
In the USA and Europe voices have been raised about the resurgence of fascist activity. But the anger is nowhere near as loud as it should be. As Britain pulls away via Brexit from 70 years of post-war European stability, much to the delight of dictators like Vladimir Putin, the new populist leaders like to keep it simple. As his desires to become ‘President for Life’ are fulfilled, perhaps Donald Trump might sum up his success with a tweet on these lines: “I will tell you what has carried me to the position I have reached. Our political problems appeared complicated. The people could make nothing of them. … I, on the other hand … reduced them to the simplest terms. The masses realized this and followed me.”
Sadly, such cynical eloquence might evade him; those were the words of Adolf Hitler.
©2018 ROY BAINTON
(1) Gumkowski and Leszczynski , Poland Under Nazi Occupation, p. 154; Central Commission, German Crimes in Poland, II, 81.
(2) Delarue, Jacques: The Gestapo: History of Horror Frontline Books London 2008 p.188
Report, CKOS, Alexsandra Swiecka in Kolekcja Z,187/I-132V, AGKBZHP.
Lukas, Richard C. Did the Children Cry? Hitler’s War against Jewish and Polish Children, 1939-1945. Hippocrene Books, New York, 2001.