Socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, D-N.Y., has spent much of the last week accusing the Trump administration of running concentration camps in the United States to detain those who have violated U.S. law by crossing its borders illegally.
Inflaming the controversy, she’s referenced the “never again” vow of Jews whose families were victimized by the Nazi regime.
Now, she’s being urged to visit a real concentration camp, and a parliamentarian from Poland is willing to make those arrangements.
“I understand that there are heightened tensions in your politics right now, but I would urge severe caution in attempting to leverage phrases such as ‘concentration camp’ for political ends. It will lead nowhere good,” wrote Dominik Traczynski, a member of Poland’s parliament, in an open letter to the New York socialist.
“While under German Nazi occupation, a number of concentration camps were set up in my country, Poland. It has caused a deep wound that persists on our proud Polish and European history that we must all deal with every single day, and that we reaffirm to one another can never be forgotten, and never allowed to happen again,” he said.
“This is why when someone cheapens the history, or uses it for political point-scoring, we become agitated and upset.”
Tarczynski’s letter was highlighted in a report by Breaking Israel News.
With this letter, I am formally inviting @AOC to come to Poland,where Adolf Hitler set up the worst chain of concentration camps the world has ever seen, so that she may see that scoring political points with enflamed rhetoric is unacceptable in our contemporary Western societies pic.twitter.com/ivOTfmiCfo
— TARCZYŃSKI Dominik (@D_Tarczynski) June 20, 2019
Cortez had said in a social media video the U.S. is “running concentration camps on our southern border.”
Tarczynski said: “With this letter, I am formally inviting @AOC to come to Poland, where Adolf Hitler set up the worst chain of concentration camps the world has ever seen, so that she may see that scoring political points with enflamed rhetoric is unacceptable in our contemporary Western societies.”
Tarczyński offered Ocasio-Cortez the chance to visit Auschwitz-Birkenau, Treblinka, Belzec, Sobibor and Majdanek.
The socialist member of Congress several times has doubled down on her accusations, causing even left-leaning compatriots to ask her to back off. An ardent opponent of Trump, John Aravosis, said on Twitter: “They’re not concentration camps. And I’m sorry, I’m tired of being forced the defend the same 3 freshmen members of Congress because they repeatedly say dumb things and never seem to learn from the experience. She just handed the GOP a gold mine for its PR strategy. Congrats.”
Ocasio-Cortez said, “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.”
Responding to her claims, Yad Vashem, Israel’s official Holocaust remembrance museum, tweeted: “@AOC Concentration camps assured a slave labor supply to help in the Nazi war effort, even as the brutality of life inside the camps helped assure the ultimate goal of ‘extermination through labor.'”
Newsweek reported sportscaster Mark Sturgis responded to Cortez with: “People are trying to illegally enter our country. That’s a defense, not a concentration camp. It may not be perfect, but how dare you compare what the Jewish people went through to illegal entry. Visit Dachau one time, you will be embarrassed with what you said.”
Newsweek noted the term “concentration camp” is “most commonly used to describe the camps that held Jewish people and others deemed ‘undesirable’ by the Nazis before and during World War II.”