“From the Ashes of Sobibor: A Story of Survival” is a book written by Thomas Toivi Blatt, a Holocaust survivor, that details one of the most terrifying and savage events of human history. In his book, Mr. Blatt outlines his experience of being separated from his family and kept in a concentration camp. In June 1942, the Gestapo gave an ultimatum and ordered for all those younger than 15 to be delivered to the SS police. They were placed on a train and shipped to a concentration camp where they were held under abhorrent conditions. In this book, Mr. Blatt describes the mental torture and anguish that both parents and children experienced and describes witnessing families running around like crazy, hugging their children, crying.
As a mother to two children, I would do anything to give my children the life they deserve. It is the aim of every parent to provide their children with safety, security and opportunity. My heart breaks to think of my children being separated from me — scared, crying, confused — in a strange place with strange people and being kept in inhumane and dangerous conditions. I don’t know what I would do.
The similarities between Poland 1942 and the United States 2019 are frightening, shocking and disturbing. As a nation, we have enacted policies of separating children from their parents — parents who brought them here legally under international asylum laws — and have placed them in detention camps that are neither safe nor sanitary. These parents are desperately fleeing violence and are seeking asylum in the United States in order to provide their children with the safety, security and opportunity all parents hope to provide.
Instead of upholding our legal obligations to provide protections to these children and families under the 1967 Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees, we are separating young children from their parents, placing them in detention centers where they are sick, hungry and even dying because of neglect and unsafe conditions. No child should die or be mistreated while in U.S. custody.
I am writing to ask for everyone to join the Lights for Liberty vigil on July 12 at the Potsdam post office to bring awareness to this humanitarian crisis. The event will begin at 8 p.m., and at 9 p.m. participants will light candles in a vigil for all those held in U.S. detention camps to bring light to the darkness of the Trump administration’s horrific policies.