To be clear, “The U.S. and the Holocaust” was conceived with modern-day parallels in mind. Burns told MSNBC’s Chris Hayes on Monday that it’s important to reckon with that past, because “in this story are the seeds of what’s going on now.”
But even that doesn’t fully brace viewers for the language Americans used to condemn Jews seeking refuge from Adolf Hitler’s murderous regime and the similarities between those denunciations and the anxiety conservatives voice over mostly nonwhite immigrants’ arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border.
Ultimately, the documentary discards the rosy portrayals we’re often fed depicting Americans as caring liberators of European Jews, and it instead shares an accurate portrayal of the many Americans who denounced Jewish immigrants with language similar to that used by today’s anti-immigrant hard-liners. [Continue reading…]