…It’s been more than 70 years since Aaron Elster survived the Holocaust by hiding in a Polish family’s cold, dirty attic.
But President Donald Trump‘s executive order banning immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries, signed Jan. 27, brought it all back for the 83-year-old Lincolnshire man.
“I don’t know if you want to know what I’d say to the president if he was here,” said Elster, whose parents and younger sister were murdered by the Nazis. “For somebody to come along and say, ‘These people cannot come in,’ I believe that’s a sliding slope. It starts that way. What group will be next?”
Elster was one of several Holocaust survivors who now help run the Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center to speak out Thursday against the president’s move to block immigration from the overwhelmingly Muslim countries.
Speaking with quiet dignity at the Skokie museum, Elster, Ralph Rehbock, also 83, and museum President Fritzie Fritzshall, 87, urged Trump to revoke his ban. And museum CEO Susan Abrams accused the White House of “soft-core denial” of the Holocaust for deliberately omitting any mention of anti-Semitism or the murder of 6 million Jews from the president’s Holocaust Remembrance Day statement.
Fritzshall, who was liberated by the Russian army while on a death march from the Auschwitz concentration camp and came to the U.S. in 1946, said a ban like Trump’s might have condemned her to death had it been in force at the time.
“People are singled out again because of religion,” she said. “Because of how they look.”
Though the White House has said the ban is only “temporary,” Fritzshall recalled her own experience and said that for people whose lives are in danger, “90 days is a lifetime.”…