Lessons of history must not be forgotten

Dear Editor:

Perhaps there is some benefit to advancing age. For, with this perspective, unpleasant memories surge when I am confronted by the unsavory phenomenon of Donald Trump. I am well reminded of the frightening events of my young years: the rise, and threat, of Mussolini and Adolf Hitler.

This was before TV. But every trip to the movies involved newsreels showing screaming bluster and hordes of people in the streets, storming destructively, mindlessly, in homage; splendidly trained soldiers, automatons, marching in vast numbers. Even the radio drove our imaginations with “Heil! Heil!”

The Germans are basically good people. They produced Beethoven and Goethe and great art. Trying to offer reparations for history, Angela Merkel exemplifies brave, positive effort. I shall always be puzzled by how, only 80 years ago, so many good people could so lose their wits and be swept up by fascist hysteria. I trust that we shall not do the same.

Jean Wilhelm


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