The political rise of President-elect Donald Trump is eerily similar to that of German dictator and mass murderer, Adolf Hitler. One man who lived through Hitler’s Germany is speaking out about the frightening similarities he sees, and what he believes the future will hold for the United States.
96-year-old Franz W. Wassermann, a retired psychiatrist from Seattle, has shared his tale of life in Nazi Germany in hopes of others recognizing the similarities before it is too late. Wasserman began:
I was born in Munich, Germany, in 1920. I lived there during the rise of the Nazi Party and left for the U.S.A. in 1938.
The main elements of the Nazi regime were the suppression of dissent, the purging of the dissenters and undesirables, the persecution of communists, Jews and homosexuals and the ideal of the Aryans as the master race.
The policies started immediately after Hitler came to power, at first out of sight but escalated gradually, leading to the Second World War and the Holocaust. Meanwhile most Germans were lulled into complacency by all sorts of wonderful projects and benefits.
Much like Hitler, Trump used racist populist outrage to gain power by playing on the base fears of voters. They both also promised outrageous perks to citizens. Trump has vowed to bring millions of jobs back to the United States without a tangible plan to do so. Trump has already been caught in numerous lies about the various negotiations he is conducting to save American jobs. These lies include Trump taking credit for saving jobs at Ford (He never did), saving jobs at Carrier, which Trump profited from and the “saved” jobs were non-existent. Most recently Trump lied about being the force behind Sprint bringing 5,000 jobs back to the United States, except the plan had already been in place since April.
Wassermann continued his dissection:
The Neo-Nazis and the KKK have become more prominent and get recognition in the press. We are all familiar with Trump’s remarks against all Muslims and all Mexicans. But there has not been anything as alarming as the appointment of Steve Bannon as Trump’s chief strategist. Bannon has, apparently, made anti-Semitic remarks for years, has recently condemned Muslims and Jews, and he and Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, the pick as national security advisor, advocate the political and cultural superiority of the white race. At the same time Trump is trying to control the press.
Thus the entire Nazi ideology is in place already in and around the new government. How far will it get? We can hope that our government of checks and balances will be more resistant than the Weimar Republic was. Don’t count on it.
The placement of Bannon as Trump’s chief spinster and propagandist is indeed trouble. Bannon is akin to Hitler’s minister of propaganda, Joseph Goebbels. For the last two decades Bannon has honed his craft at manipulation and is surely behind the numerous baffling lies Trump has told almost with impunity. In Bannon’s behavior, one sees echoes of Goebbels who famously said, “A lie once told remains a lie, but a lie told a thousand times becomes the truth.”
In closing his commentary Wassermann issued a plea for those reading to stand ever vigilant against Trump’s rise. He also asks for citizens to be prepared to fulfill their civic duties:
We have to counter this trend toward Fascism in every way we can. Being alert to all manifestations in word and action. Alerting our representatives and urging them to act. Writing to newspapers. Making our friends aware. Demonstrating when appropriate.
Those who do not heed the warnings of the past are doomed to repeat them. Fascism and the slaughter of millions did not happen in Europe overnight, but slowly and right under the complicit noses of millions of German citizens. If the citizens of the United States do not wish to repeat this history, they must do what they can to prevent it from happening again.
Lou Colagiovanni is an investigative journalist living in Las Vegas who specializes in politics and crime. His work has been highlighted all over the world and he is regularly featured on television and radio.