Thoughts About the Upcoming Election From a Holocaust Survivor

October 24, 2012 7:46 pm 33 comments

The author Fran Laufer.

Over the past few months I have read many articles and listened to many speeches by many prominent and educated people concerning the upcoming Presidential election. I am also an educated person, though I doubt that my education came from the same place of wisdom that these writers and speakers received theirs. They were fortunate to receive their education, and I am unfortunate in mine. I was educated with Holocaust wisdom and it is from my unique perspective that I would like to share my thoughts about the upcoming election.

I am a Holocaust survivor, the only one from my large family to endure this horrible period of world history. I remember life before the political tides turned in Eastern Europe and also the horrors of the regime change when Hitler (may his name be erased) came to power.

Jews and Gentiles had lived and worked side by side. Many of my neighbors in Chrzanow would leave to do business for the week and would return home for the Sabbath. I remember hearing the whistle of the “Shabbos train” that would arrive from Katowic ½ hour before Sabbath started.

Our world turned upside down around the time I was ten years old. Germany was in an economic recession and unemployment and poverty was prevalent. Along came a very dynamic and charismatic speaker who offered the German people an excuse for their problems. Hitler targeted the successful and prosperous businessmen and convinced the desperate and unemployed that if they got rid of these flourishing citizens their lives would be turned around and there would be a German recovery.

I cannot help but apply the principle “He who does not learn from history is doomed to repeat it.” As I listen to the Presidential candidates offer solutions and proposals to stop the recession that we are experiencing in America, one offers positive solutions and the other seeks to vilify the rich and to suggest taking away from some to enable the livelihood of others.

When I came to America, the Goldeneh Medina (the golden country,) the land “of liberty and justice for all”, I could not believe that such freedom could exist. I am so grateful to America for all the grand opportunities that were available to me. From the ashes of my life in Europe my husband and I were willing and able to work hard, save money and build a life for our children and grandchildren. America was good to us, not because it gave us entitlements or hand outs in any way, but rather because it provided us with a capitalistic economy that rewarded our hard work and dedication to improve ourselves.

Imagine my dismay to feel that America, the country that saved me and my husband all those years ago is being led in the direction of the European countries that are succumbing to the taunts of anti-semitism and fiscal crisis.

I fear for the survival of the State of Israel, America’s only ally in the Middle East and the only other place of salvation for the Jewish people. I am so proud of the placement in the world that Israel enjoys; foremost in technology, start-up businesses, education and military advancements. Until recently Israel and America enjoyed a mutually beneficial relationship and our leaders of state were on excellent diplomatic and affable terms.

I am terribly distressed to see this turn of events in the past few years. Whatever satisfaction I have felt since I came as a war refugee so many years ago, I am losing in the face of the current situation in America. As one who was educated in the School of Holocaust Wisdom, I beseech you dear voter to cast your vote with the candidate who is offering positive solutions and opportunities for growth, and not with the candidate who is “Hopeless and Changeless”.

Fran Laufer is a Holocaust survivor living in New York. She is the author of “A Vow Fulfilled.”

33 Comments

  • My name is Fred A. Kahn. In the presidential elections of 2012, I was the topic of several articlers such as in the Bethesda Magazine, Washingtonian Magazine, The Washington Jewish weeklyt , The Washington Post, Newsday,CNN, Huffington Post, The Gazette, etc. as well as appearing on television WUSAof Washington, D>C> and on the program Äll Things Considerd”of the National Public Radio (NPR). I was the imigrant who pioneered the idea of presidential debates which altered the presidential elections. I advanced the idea in l956., with the personal endorsement of the former first lady Mrs Eleanor Roosevelt on the democratic party side and Governor Theodore Mc Keldin on the Republican side. In the course of promoting the idea, I excahnged correspondence with the Chairpersons of both national parties, Paul Butler and Mr. Hall. In 1958 I met with Governro Stevenson who also endorsed my proposdal. The first debate occurred on September 26 , 1960 between Veep Nixon and Senator Kennedy. By the way also the Associated Press and UPi had circulated my proposal nationwide in l956 and as the result i got the conversation n on debates started whereas earlier it was considered an anachronism. I survived the Holocaust in hiding in Southeast Belgium. Before that I was whisked away from Germany to Belgium, theday after the MUnich appeasement pact. I had been left behind in Germany when my biological parents moved toBelgium in l933. I was turned over to the care of a childlerss aunt and uncle. They were killed in June 1942 at the extermination camp of Sobibor . Had i remained with them I would not write here since i would have shared their fate gassed in Sobibor. In summary, You can understand that presidential elections are to be taken seriously. I have done my share and made a difference altering the presidential election capaigns. Yet, likely you have never heard about me. Siply, i fear it is because I am an immigrant. It is not important to me, at 80 years old. The joy of my life are my grand children and my wifeRita to who I will be married soon 50 years. Rita was raised in Taiwan, and is converted to conservative judaism.,

  • Robert M Soran-Schwartz

    Ha’Shem Bless You, Frinciu Laufer! Nonetheless, you’d better keep silent about politics, society and history. You know how to pray, but you didn’t learn to preach the truth, but selfishness.
    —-
    Fully disagree with Fran Laufer and I consider her – whom I very much respected for decades – now a villain, a selfish perverter of American realities, and a dishonest Israel firster who – of course – belongs not only to Romney’s 53%, but also to the 1% of rich asocials, despite her so-called philanthropy (for her same as philantrphy).
    Yes, I’m also representing Holocaust survivors, and yes, the majority of Holocaust survivors still see Obama and Romney in a way opposite to hers.
    And I accuse her of being a liar in regard to the the European societies. Who still posseses own brains and a knowledge of the world knows that Europeans aren’t succumbing to the taunts of anti-semitism and fiscal crisis. America has produced under the reign of Republicans, Wall Street and the likes of the Laufers much more and deeper poverty. In Europe there is a basic social and living security for all citizens, without having the rich to become poor …

    Fran Laufer says that Obama “seeks to vilify the rich and to suggest taking away from some to enable the livelihood of others”. Let me tell you something, lady: he’s right and you’re the best illustration that he’s correct. And not Romney, the legal state and society robber whom you feel as being “one of us” …

    Frinciu (Fran) Laufer writes “America was good to us, not because it gave us entitlements or hand outs in any way, but rather because it provided us with a capitalistic economy that rewarded our hard work and dedication to improve ourselves.” Wrong, lady, it’s the hard work of the others that made you pestilentially rich (no, I’m not “rich”, I only earned up to USD 400,000 a year … Nevertheless, we both collected Asian art, and that’s why I know you since the early 80ies. And I know what a fantastic business you did by exploiting both the pauper Asians and the middle-class Americans, both Goyim … ).

    I know that Simon, your husband Simon grew up in Krakow and early on showed excellent business acumen. “This skill was crucial in enabling him to survive the war years in Auschwitz and Buchenwald,” was once told. Interesting to know what kind of businesses helped him and who were the victims of his profit? Could imagine that Obama wouldn’t have survived as well as Simon. But Romney …

  • Robert M Soran-Schwartz

    Frinciu (Fran) Laufer writes “Germany was in an economic recession and unemployment and poverty was prevalent. Along came a very dynamic and charismatic speaker who offered the German people an excuse for their problems. Hitler targeted the successful and prosperous businessmen and convinced the desperate and unemployed that if they got rid of these flourishing citizens their lives would be turned around and there would be a German recovery.”

    This if totally wrong, historically and from an intellectual point of view. How comes that by targeting one social group you convince another? :-) Weird, indeed.

    Except when he targeted them as enemies, not as allies. But no, Hitler targeted them as allies and his real power foundation. He used the poor as messengers for convincing the rich to follow him.

    Maybe you wanted to say he targeted the JEWISH “successful and prosperous businessmen, … flourishing citizens …”. Maybe. But she didn’t do it.

    Whom did Hitler therefore see as the enemy? The Jews? Then why don’t tell it? But it still doesn’t work: MOST JEWS were poor, too. Especially after the World War I, when tens of thousand (and more) Jews, most of them both very poor and religious Polish Jews fled Poland for Berlin and surroundings.

    Therefore Hitler wasn’t focused mainly on the few RICH, but on the many POOR Jews. Fact is, too, that most rich Jews survived the Holocaust, because they had the financial means to leave Nazi Germany in time.

    Frinciu Laufer, you’d better keep silent about politics, society and history. You know how to pray, but you don’t preach the truth.
    Hashem blessyou, nevertheless!

  • Viva Obama

    • What insight !!! Pavlov’s trained dogs, conditioned to salivate at the sound of a bell, couldn’t have said it better.

  • President Obama is the first to give me ‘the willies’. There have been good ones and bad ones and lots that just didn’t make any difference. Why won’t President Obama allow his public records be public? It takes a guy like Trump (I am not a fan) to offer 5 MILLION dollars to charity if President Obama will be honest with the American people and open up.

    I am afraid that our current President, if re-elected, will ‘stack’ the Supreme Court with HIS cronies and do plenty of damage to the American way of life. THEY can and will do it.

    I am afraid that he has a hidden agenda.

    Why continue with another four years of inaction when there is an alternative?

  • Giorgio Prager

    I find myself disagreeing both with the author and with most of the comments. America is not now and never will be, the Germany of the 1930′s. America, its constitution, its ideals and its geopolitical structure are stronger than any one president, even one as weak as Obama. We need to vote for Romney not because Obama’s ideology sucks (though it does) but because a country that owes 16 trillion dollars needs a good fiscal manager pronto. All else is unimportant, I’m afraid. A fiscally strong America can be a leader and a beacon to the world. A fiscally weak America will never be the racist hell the writer fears but it won’t be a superpower either. I wish folks would stick with sober facts instead of getting all heated up and shielded in their ideological armor.

  • The most disturbing aspect of Obama’s anti Israel / anti Jewish agenda is the rapidly increasing advancement of Islamists (I did not say “Muslim’, I said “Islamist”, there is a difference) with direct ties to organizations which are directly affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood, into the security levels of the Departments of State, Justice, Defense, and Homeland Security.

    Unfortunately, Ms. Laufer is absolutely right. We, American Jews, are remarkably naive to believe that the relentless Jew hatred of the past can’t / won’t come here – big time … for the same reason, to scapegoat us during the inevitable economic hard times (that are likely to get MUCH worse) which lay directly ahead. Case in point, the alarming resurgence of anti Jewish attacks throughout Europe, and recently in America, too

    The “Occupy Movement” (praised by the Obama Administration and many high profile political leaders from the progressive left) has targeted the 1% … the rich, greedy, evil, capitalist, bankers, Wall St. 1%. There is a descriptive which is implied, rich Jew, greedy Jew, evil Jew, capitalist Jew, banker Jew, Wall St. Jew. – WAKE UP !!!

  • My father’s family was from Berlin. My grandmother obviously sensed something was wrong as she began sending my father out of Germany for schooling beginning in 1936. That same year she came to the United States to explore opportunities to move here. She did international business and told trusted customers not to pay her; that sometime she would come in person to collect the money she was owed. She left Germany (coincidentally) on the day of Kristalnacht with my grandfather, stopped in places like Amsterdam to collect her money and came to the United States. My father came by himself from England at the end of his school term.

    My grandmother’s blood courses through my veins. For several years now I have had feelings about our government that I believe must be similar to the ones she had nearly 80 years ago.

  • Michelle Stein-Evers Frankl

    This America of 2012 ccompares in no way to Germany of 1933. But if the depression of 2008 had resulted, as it would have certainly without the President’s ‘handouts’ then you might have seen more similarities with 1930s Europe.
    I am not a Holocaust survivor, even though I have worked with and for them for more than 35 years. But I also come from an immigrant Jewish family; my grandparents left Ethiopia before WWI, after their baby daughter was slaughtered by Xtians. They went to France, with the help of the Alliance Israelite. In France my grandfather became enamored with the idea of the ‘Golden Land’ and eventually, they got to the US. Who knew in the US about African Jews? And my fathers family had fallen head first into the land of racism and murderous prejudice that eventually cost my grandfather his life. My father spent his entire life building a business that was almost impossible for that time in the US. Yet in the 1980s his business, scrap steel to steel mills, became impossible to maintain, thanks to the deindustrialisation of the US and the deregulation a overseen by that saint of the Republicans, Ronald Reagan. The 1980s created a climate in the US where racism, class warfare, sexism and even antiSemitism were acceptable and de rigeur. Since the 1980s, classes and colors have been pitted against each other while venture capitalists and investment bankers, like Romney, stood on the backs of the middle classes and lower, and made indecent amounts of money.
    Those people count on the short memories of ordinary Americans. But what I remember is the fear I felt in September of 2008, when I awoke each day to hear what new financial disaster had befallen us.
    I live now in Australia where we managed to avoid the financial destruction of 2008 because a progressive government created a HUGE stimulus that managed to blunt the damage to the middle classes, an unfettered stimulus as opposed to the package the President finally got through, too little too late.
    Don’t compare the US of now with Europe of then, unless you include the irrational hatemongers of Fox News, Limbaugh, Beck et al. Compare radio demagogues of now and then, and ask yourself, who and which party are encouraging such unvarnished and demented hate? It is not the party of the President nor the president himself nor his allies. If you want to fear for Jews, then look to Bibi and Avigdor; neither is a loving steward of Kol Israel.

    • Margarete Healy

      This writer has an agenda that is just as destructive as the people she seems to abhor. Get a life! I rather listen to Limbough who is a bit radical, but does not threaten Jews, than the socalled liberals who cloak themselves in goodness and rightousness.

    • We get it.

      You are only comfortable in a country where statists can legally steal from productive people and re-distribute it to a government dependent populous, and call it stimulus.

      Thank God you’re no longer in the U.S. You’d just be another Obozo voter leeching off of the rest of us.

    • P.S. everything you said is bass-ackwards, but what can be expected from a left winger?

    • There are two substantive comments Miss S. fails to consider.
      First, that the Great Recession began in fall 2007 at the same time Barack Hussein Obama began his run for President promising “hope and change”(“Hope” being a non-specific direction, a wish, or unfocused policy; “change without intense focus and clarity of direction is just another “spin word”); Mr. Obama stated “elect me I will solve our problems I bring “hope and change”. This Great Recession’s beginning in fall 2007 was also confirmed by former President Bill Clinton in his nomination speech for Barack Hussein Obama at the DNC Nominating Convention in Charlotte, NC. So it is irrelevant why Barack Obama couldn’t perform, it is relevant that he didn’t and can’t and Obama knew what he was asking to take on when he ran for POTUS; no excuse that its Bush’s fault after four failing years of inexperienced governance by a formerly untried amateur. Why does all the rest of us know this and Miss S. doesn’t? Because Miss S apparently never heard of or considered the ubiquitous Newtons Laws: things in motion tend to stay in motion, things at rest tend to stay at rest unless altered by a third force. The GDP has steadily been falling since Obama took office, its now projected for 2012 at 1.3% annual growth rate with 2.2% inflation which inflation calculation now excludes energy costs and food costs by the Obama Administration (but these are real costs that Obama’s poor administration cannot stop and cannot manipulate except for manipulating the calculations for inflation); stated differently our economy is now going backwards. Obama knew what he was getting into and while Good Intentions Are Good, failure to achieve them are not; performance counts whether Miss S. thinks so or not and America needs both policy and administrative changes by those who have the experience that Obama doesn’t.

      Second, Miss S. failed to hear the same lesson of Ms. Lauter from VP Joe Biden earlier this year. When asked whether the Holocaust could happen in America too, he responded “As early as Tomorrow”.

      Miss S., you should learn from all sources of wisdom including Ms. Lauter and not be just an unknowledgeable talking head for a highly manipulated semi-philosophical political group regardless of which one you feel akin too; you are not a cast-in-stone icon committed to not thinking but merely fallowing ObamaNationist cult thinking.
      or g that the what everyone who saw the Great Recession bega

    • I fear some of our own Jews living in America more than some of the Terrorists. They live in their high horse and tell the Politicians running Israel how to defend the country. My mother passed away 2 years ago and the one things she always told me was..’when the world goes agaisnt the Jews Israel will be the only safe place’

    • What you fail to say in your commentary is that most of the economic failure in 2008 came from the Democrat controlled congress, of which Obama was a member. It was the Democrats that passed a budget that caused so much of the deficet and also had oversight of the financial, lending and mortgage institutions and had been saying all was well, right up until the collapse. Apparently you have a short memory, but mine is working just fine and what I have forgot, I researched and refreshed my memory. Seems that you need to do some yourself and quit listening to the liberal media which has not been responsible in the reporting or questioning of this curren administration. I am glad you live in Austrailia now, please stay there.

  • i THINK THAT pRESIDENT oBAMA IS A FIRM ALLY OF ISRAEL AND EVEN A REOISTERED REPUBLICAN I9 WILLT OBAMA, A MAN WE CAN TRUST., i AMA hOLOCAUST SURVIVOR ALSO> ——————-I am credited for pioneering the presidential debates with the personal endorsement of among others of the former first lasy Eleanor Roosevelt, Of you widh to read more, please go to the Washington Jewish Week at:http://washingtonjewishweek.com/main.asp?SectionID=4&SubSectionID=4&ArticleID=18017

    • Mr. Kahn: I have no argument with your reply. However, the typographical errors in your message detract from it’s position and passion. Please consider re-reading and correcting such errors before transmitting to the Internet, in the future. Your words lose some of their potency through these unfortunate errors.

      Thank you

      R

    • It is ovbious to anyone who had done their own research that there are similairites to the Nazi regime going on here in America. As for Obama being a staunch supporter of Israel, that is false as false can be. So while you think you know what you are talking about, those who have really researched what is going on, how our current POTUS has responded to Israel and the growing tension with Iran and the Middle East know differently. Obama must be voted out if we are to save this country from going the way of Greece and becoming a third world country

  • David Rosenberg

    I fail to say what brings such joy the commentators above. The author says nothing at all except to vaguely hint that America is going in the direction of European fiscal irresponsibility and antisemitism. She offers not a shred of explanation how she came to this astounding conclusion, except to imply that as a Holocaust survivor she has special insights into the situation, which in any case she refuses to share. Perhaps antisemitism but what did she learn from her experience about fiscal policy? What terrible antisemitism is she now experiencing? Does she blame Obama and all his Jewish advisers? In what way are Israel and the U.S. not on “excellent diplomatic and affable terms,” as the author puts it?

  • Beautifully written and especially resonant for those of us who understand the precarious position of the Jewish people, then and now. How complacent and cavalier this young generation has become, separated by time and memory from any real understanding of the Shoah…the cruelest genocide in human history.

  • Lawrence Kulak

    I just want to say that Miss S. is a prime example of this generation’s youth who possess neither brains or virtue. she has managed to write an entire paragraph saying absolutely nothing simply because she cannot get off of her Obama fixation. Her attempt to wax intellectually by encouraging this courageous author to take her lessons from Judaism and not fromt he Holocaust are laughable. It is obviously “Missy’s” Judaism that she is promoting not the heritage of our forefathers. And Missy’s Judaism simply uses our heritage to paint a beautiful picture out of a disgusting landscape that her and her cohorts have brought to this country. I would like to encourage Missy on the other hand to focus on her “tattoos and piercings” rather than people like Ms. Laufer who inhabit a completely different universe than she does.

  • Those who do not learn from history are condemned to repeat it.

  • You have got to be kidding me. With all due respect Ms. Laufer, the United States and Europe are two very different places. We are not a nation led by dictators. No one is proposing that we “steal from the rich” and “give to the poor”. The Holocaust was a horrible, unspeakable phenomena. But instead of taking your life lessons from it, take some life lessons from Judaism. Remember, our faith is one that expects us to give a certain percentage of our income to the needy and less fortunate. Our faith is one which is balanced by logic and spirituality; not driven by emotions and fed off our vulnerability. And finally Jews have flourished in this country for a reason; and it’s not due to the merits or shortcomings of any one President. It is because we as a nation respect freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and freedom of assembly. Few places in Europe around the time of WWII could say the same. So please, let’s compare apples to apples…and not put our leaders in the same category with the evil human being with the initials “A.H.”.

    • Miss S is an example of the vaccuous thinking of the Obama Zombies, who have no knowledge of history, no perspective on life except as it relates to them.

      She states that “No one is proposing that we “steal from the rich” and “give to the poor”. Has she not heard her demi-god state many times that the rich have to do their part? Romney gives up to 30% of his income to charity. What pittance does Obama and Biden give? It is laughable.

      She states that Ms Laufer should learn her life lessons from Judaism. I am sure that Miss S. knows nothing substantive of Judaism.

      Finally, she states that our country respects freedom of speech, freedom of religion and freedom of assembly. These are precisely the Freedoms that have been least respected by the Obama administration et al. Freedom of Speech? For those who toe the line.

      Freedom of religion? Ask the Catholic Church if they agree.

      Freedom of Assembly? Not if you are a Tea Partier and have had your license plate number examined by the FBI.

      It is interesting to note, that most of the emigres that I have met from Communist countries hate Obama, as they understand that what he intends for America is what they fled.

      Obama is a total disaster and in my opinion is the worst President in the history of the United States. I have found that most young people who spout these platitudes no nothing of US history, Miss S is no exception.

      Her statement that the US and Europe are “two different places

    • Miss S: I find your parsing of reality simply amazing. 77% of Americans opposed increased Jewish immigration during the Shoa. Why? Because of the lies spread by the “Progressive” President Wilson and America’s European allies during WWI, lies that accused the Germans of war crimes they did not commit in the Great War (1914-18). As a result, few believed the “tales” coming out of Nazi Germany and Eastern Europe during WWII. Now we have another “Progressive” in the White House that bows to America’s and Israel’s sworn enemies — the Islamic states in the Middle East. This entire attitude that America is somehow different than Europe — when it comes to the Jews — is a fantasy. The stark reality is that anti-Semitism is alive and well at the highest levels of the US State Department and the White House, as it is with the leftist university/college professors, American media, and the non-indicted co-conspirator CAIR and other Islamic-terror front groups. President Obama has consistently aided and abetted the rising anti-Israel and Jew hate throughout his presidency. Moreover, Obama is not interested in people paying their “fair share,” his interest is elimination of the middle class into an abyss of dependency, just like the vast majority of his supporters. Comparing tenets of Judaism with class warfare is beyond the pale, because the comparison leaves out so much more that Judaism addresses.

    • You should read the writings of Frank Marshall Davis…the man Obama declared to be his mentor…You would not be quite so self assured in your positions.
      ..

    • Miss s, may you never have to go thru what miss Laufer has been thru. Unfortunately if we let this trend go unchecked you may be doing just that, or maybe your children will. Open your eyes before your blind sided with it .

    • Miss S., Maybe you forgot that Hitler-ymach smoo-came to power by an elected majority vote of Germany’s populus. Perhaps your definition of democracy needs to include morethan just your present thinking.

  • Amazing article. thanks so much Fran.

  • Thank you for your words of wisdom. I too came as a refugee with my parents after the 2nd World War. My mother was a survivor and she speaks as you do. I was only 8 at the time and I wish I too could open the eyes of people here in America. We too are so very grateful, and just do not understand why our country that we came to for a life is in this state. Thank you and I am going to forward this article to our mother who is still with us. She is 81. Peace be with you. I think it so important to share all that you know and have experienced with the younger generations. My mother was unable to do that. Her fear is very great. She did hand me a movie 5 years ago and said.. this was my life. The movie was “the Black Book.” As her daughter I can now say…”I get it.” Again thank you. This was very important.

    Anneke

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