Alyssa Milano compares border crisis to the Holocaust

The famous actress and activist posted a photo of Heinrich Himmler at a POW camp, side by side with a photo of Pence standing near a border detention center.

July 15, 2019 15:09
2 minute read.
Alyssa Milano compares border crisis to the Holocaust

Actor Alyssa Milano makes remarks as Attorney Michael Avenatti listens, at a protest outside the White House in Washington, July 17, 2018. (photo credit: MARY F. CALVERT / REUTERS)

Alyssa Milano’s Twitter feed was inundated with discussion of the Holocaust and American detention camps, after the American actress posted a photo of Heinrich Himmler at a POW camp, side by side with a photo of Pence standing near a border detention center.

The image of Pence had been altered to a black and white scheme, and it depicted him standing with arms crossed and chin cocked.

The famous film and television actress, known for playing Phoebe Halliwell in the 1998 long-running hit series Charmed, did not juxtapose the two images herself – she gave credit to the poet Rachel McKibbens, who posted the images to Facebook and Instagram and was told that they violated the platforms’ community guidelines. So McKibbens took to Twitter instead, where she posted the photos and wrote, “Instagram/Facebook are cowardly twins. I made a post yesterday comparing the iconic image of Heinrich Himmler overseeing a POW camp during the Holocaust [with] the apathetic Mike “Fence” [sic] and it violated community standards??”

Milano’s post drew a number of dissenting comments, with some decrying the feasibility of any such comparison. “Idiot, your grandparents didn’t walk hundreds of miles to Auschwitz and climb the fences,” wrote David Webb of the Fox News Network. The Daily Wire also implied that such comparisons were faulty. The conservative, American news and opinion website replied with a graphic showing a number of disparate points on a scatterplot, with the headline “No Correlation.”

But some people reacted to Milano’s tweet with messages of support and condemnation for the US border policies. “Most of my family died in Auschwitz because I'm Jewish & so were THEY! These facilities at the border would DISGUST them completely. #CloseTheCamps,” one Twitter user commented.

Holocaust comparisons made headlines last month, when American congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez specifically referred to the border camp detention centers as “concentration camps.” She explained her statement by saying that a concentration camp is not the same as a death camp, but that “concentration camps are considered by experts as ‘the mass detention of civilians without trial.’ And that’s exactly what this administration is doing.”

The Simon Wiesenthal Center responded to her tweet by acknowledging the border crisis but asking her to leave the Holocaust out of it. “Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez should ask survivors and ex GIs in NYC what Dachau was like. This insults the past by luridly calling the president a Nazi. Stop rhetoric – work with Congress to solve humanitarian disaster at border.”

The United States Holocaust Museum issued a statement that rejected all attempts to draw comparisons with the Holocaust. “It is all too easy to forget that there are many people still alive for whom the Holocaust is not ‘history,’ but their life story and that of their families,” they wrote. “These are not abstract tragedies on call to win an argument or an election. They carry the painful memories of the brutal murder of a cherished baby boy, the rape of a beloved sister, the parents arrested and never seen again.”

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