Two holocaust survivors responded to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s concentration camp comments earlier this month, and their feelings were resoundingly negative.
AOC, D-N.Y., faced backlash for comparing border detention facilities to concentration camps during a June 17 Instagram broadcast and drew criticism from her own party. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, came out against her comments and called her “wrong” for comparing “entirely different realities.”
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“I respect her greatly and I feel very close to her in terms of philosophy, but of course she was wrong,” he said. “You cannot compare — what the Nazis did in concentration camps, unfortunately, is without any historical — I mean, it’s a horrible moment in history. There is no way to compare.”
The two Holocaust survivors, Sami Steigmann and David Tuck, sat for an interview with Turning Point USA and said AOC’s comments were ignorant and full of hubris.
“AOC — look at me. My name is Sami Steigmann. I am a holocaust survivor. I went through it. How can you — looking at my face, telling me that the camps we have in the South are concentration camps? What you are doing is you are insulting every victim of the Holocaust. Shame on you!” Steigmann said.
“I’m not only a Holocaust survivor, I was in a labor camp … I was subjected to medical experiments and, later on, a German woman saved my life, when I came to the stage of dying of starvation.”
Tuck, who has been through four concentration camps, said AOC’s comments were purely political and don’t reflect reality.
“My name is David Tuck. I’m a holocaust survivor. I was in four concentration camps. We have no concentration camps [in America],” he said.
“This is just a political comment. She’s in politics. She’s looking out for herself. There must be a purpose, a reason. Why would she say it? She wants to be popular? You can’t be popular by annihilating other people. Don’t talk to me about concentration camps,” he continued.
Tuck went on to describe his experience in the camps, including the infamous Auschwitz camp in Poland and called America the greatest country in the world.
“The first camp was Posen Stadium. And then I went to Auschwitz. Then I went to Mauthausen, then I went to Gusen,” he said. “Out of every 10 Jews, nine were killed. I was lucky. I still have the number on my arm. Nobody can deny that the Holocaust ever happened to me.”
“I’d wake up in the morning and I’d say ‘Please God, let me see the light the next day,” Tuck added. “When I heard that we are free and I looked up in the sky and I said, ‘tell me, where can I go?’ And I came to America … It’s still the best country in the world. Enjoy life. We have no concentration camps here. God bless you all.”
AOC told her Instagram followers the U.S. government is “running concentration camps on our southern border.”
“That is exactly what they are. They are concentration camps,” Ocasio-Cortez said during a live-stream. She told her followers she wants to talk to people “who are concerned enough with humanity to say that ‘never again’ means something.”
“The fact that concentrations camps are now an institutionalized practice in the Home of the Free is extraordinarily disturbing and we need to do something about it,” she continued
AOC received backup from Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn, who supported her remarks during a Thursday interview with Public Radio International and tried to defend her usage of the word “concentration.”
“When you look at what is taking place, people are being put in camps. And when you think about the definition, if we separate it from death camps, I would say these are camps and people are being concentrated in them. And so that’s the general definition,” Omar said.
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AOC isn’t the first person to compare border processing to death camps. Last June, MSNBC host Joe Scarborough compared the processing of illegal immigrants to the murder of Jewish prisoners by the Nazis.
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“I know children are being ripped from their mother’s arms, even while they’re being breastfed. I know children are being marched away to showers,” he said. “I know they’re being marched away to showers, are being told they are. Just like the Nazis had said that they were taking people to the showers and then they never came back.”