Watch “Ken Burns Explores The U.S. Response To The Holocaust In New Series” on YouTube

So many similarities to the current moment- identification of “the other” as the enemy, not as Americans; pseudo-science; tension between American ideals and the reality when times are tough; replacement theory; the ascent of racist populism. Well worth watching and recommended-  Brian Banks


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9 thoughts on “Watch “Ken Burns Explores The U.S. Response To The Holocaust In New Series” on YouTube”

  1. Burns, who is fond of a quotation often attributed to Mark Twain – “History doesn’t repeat itself, but it often rhymes,” – reflects: “As we worked on the film, it became increasingly clear with a great deal of anxiety and urgency just how much nearly every sentence was rhyming. The conservatives that installed Adolf Hitler were certain they could control him; in a few months they were either dead or completely marginalised. It is a telling story: he wished to make Germany great again.

  2. The ReidOut Blog
    From The ReidOut with Joy Reid

    Ja’han Jones
    DeSantis’ immigration stunt echoes nation’s antisemitic legacy
    Ken Burns’ latest series focuses on U.S. anti-immigrant rhetoric during the Holocaust, and it features striking similarities to right-wing behaviors today.

    Sep. 21, 2022, 8:09 AM EDT
    By Ja’han Jones
    Ken Burns’ latest documentary series for PBS, chronicling our country’s posture toward Jews fleeing the Holocaust, is chock-full of comparisons to present-day America.

    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.

    I found it to be a vital watch, particularly now, as we witness right-wing governors like Ron DeSantis of Florida, Greg Abbott of Texas and Doug Ducey of Arizona flying migrants all over the country to demonize them and deter them from finding refuge in their states.

    “If you have folks that are inclined to think Florida is a good place, our message to them is that we are not a sanctuary state,” DeSantis said after he authorized flights to drop off migrants seeking asylum in Texas at Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, and in front of Vice President Kamala Harris’ residence in Washington. “We will help facilitate that transport for you, to be able to go to greener pastures.”

    The first episode of “The U.S. and the Holocaust” highlights the prevalence of eugenics — that is, racist pseudoscience upholding white supremacy — among conservative thought leaders during the early 20th century. Similar to the present day, believers ran the gamut, from businesspeople to politicians to purported civil rights activists. And they all adopted a belief — now known as the “replacement theory” among conservatives — that Jews were part of a conspiracy to destroy America.

    Henry Ford and President Calvin Coolidge were just a few of the well-known figures who espoused blatant antisemitism, with Coolidge infamously calling for immigration to be slowed because “America must be kept American.”

    In that slogan, we can hear the makings of the deeply racist, Trump-obsessed “Make America Great Again” movement.

    Coolidge’s successor, Herbert Hoover, took his predecessor’s antisemitism even further when he instructed his State Department to refuse visas to anyone who might need public assistance, which included many Jews who escaped Germany with little to their name in the lead-up to Hitler’s reign.

    President Donald Trump revived that policy, known as the “public charge” rule.

    Burns’ film is full of throughlines like this, ones that connect our nation’s history of antisemitic bigotry to the racist immigration legacy that Republicans are establishing in the present. It is, at once, a window into the past and a mirror showing present-day America an ugly reflection of who we are.

    Check out a trailer for the series below:

    Ja’han Jones
    Ja’han Jones is The ReidOut Blog writer. He’s a futurist and multimedia producer focused on culture and politics. His previous projects include “Black Hair Defined” and the “Black Obituary Project.”

    © 2022 NBC UNIVERSAL

  3. Some points are more steeped in history than others. Adolf Hitler, it is documented, was greatly inspired by America’s Jim Crow laws when thinking about how to restrict the rights of Jews in Germany. He drew inspiration from Manifest Destiny, and how American Indians were removed from their land by rotten treaties and placed in reservations.

  4. Sacramento Bee: Ken Burns Holocaust documentary explores U.S. responsibility.

    “The fragility of civilized behavior is the one thing you really learn” from history, says the writer Daniel Mendelsohn, best known for his book, “The Lost: The Search for Six of Six Million.” The World War II-era Germans in fading photographs, “they’re no different — no different — from us. You look at your neighbors, the people at the dry cleaners, the waiters in the restaurant, that’s who these people were. Don’t kid yourself.” This documentary makes it a little harder to kid ourselves.

    Read more at:

  5. James Possible
    James PossibleFollowing
    Secure Your Wealth | Real Estate and Business Funding | Investor | Mentor | Business Acquisitions | Centering Blackness | Black Wealth Matters
    In the many writings of white or white adjacent people over the last few weeks I’ve come to recognize an unspoken sense of comfort found within an often wordy explanation of racism.

    Somehow implying that modern racism is not the same racism experienced in previous generations. This brings to mind the words of James Baldwin…

    “History, as nearly no one seems to know, is not merely something to be read. And it does not refer merely, or even principally, to the past. On the contrary, the great force of history comes from the fact that we carry it within us, are unconsciously controlled by it in many ways, and history is literally present in all that we do. It could scarcely be otherwise, since it is to history that we owe our frames of reference, our identities, and our aspirations.”

    So, as white people work at rewriting racism, I simply find myself taking notice of the sharp contrast found in the writing and comments of black people herein and their tendency to share and speak of their lived experience with racism.

    Whiteness seems to favor itself with it’s newly defined racism, frequently showing grace toward various racist behaviors. Yet, I find it important to take notice of how such rewrites implicitly reshape the narrative of the disclosed lived experience of blackness and it’s experience of racism in the present.

    – How does this not favor whiteness?
    – How does this not bring comfort to whiteness?

    When definition provides justification for the privileged, there will be no need for change.

    #race #discomfort #truth #blackandwhite

  6. The filmmakers also experienced that expansion of knowledge. Novick said she went into the directing process thinking that Americans didn’t know much about the Holocaust at the time.

    “Here we’re showing that, actually, Americans did know a lot about what Hitler was doing, what he was saying, what he was promising, threatening,” she said to the Hollywood Reporter. “So that just led us to deeply examine, well, why did we respond the way we did and not want to let people in, keep our golden door shut, treat immigrants as a threat to our national security? Ken Burns’s new Holocaust doc has people talking. Here’s why..

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