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[THREAD] On what a concentration camp IS or why @DineshDSouza doesn't need to lose his historically-disadvantaged mind over nuanced comparisons. 🙄🤦‍♂️

Let's talk about this.
(@AOC @RepAOC, I've got your back here.)

Me checking into Twitter this afternoon...

On it...
First, I've actually written on this a couple times or been interviewed about it. So we'll lead with that.

Back to Dint DoThereading's hot take.🔥 Maybe start w/ the basic history of concentration camps as a concept. And, for those like DD who order off the historical picture menu, the Nazis didn't create the idea of the concentration camp. See @andreapitzer
One can tie some of the origins back to the British concentration camps in the Boer War, designed to hold Boers to prevent their support of rebels, but also as an unwanted population, including women and children.
The Germans created concentration camps in Namibia as well in the early 1900s as well.
There are lots of other examples of camps (Gulags) so I won't belabor that point. There are some key things to point out in response to DD's rejection of an analogy to today's immigration detention facilities.
The first is...logic. An analogy is, by definition, a comparison of things that have relevant similarities. It does not require identical similarity. So, when I say DD is a "fish out of water" in historical thinking, it's clear I don't think he is a fish.
Secondly, he (not surprisingly) gets his #Holocaust history desperately wrong with his generalizations. Holocaust scholars don't (or shouldn't) use the term "death camps." It is vague, too open to generalization, and fails to enlighten.
In pop culture, we may use the term "concentration camp" expansively, but the Nazis didn't.
KL/KZ= Konzentrationslager (concentration camp)
Vernichtungslager = extermination camp
DULAG= Durchgangslager (transit camp)
JULAG= (Judenlager) Jewish ghetto camp
ZAL= Zwangsarbeitslager (Forced Labor Camp)
KGFL= Kriegsgefangenenlager (POW camp)
Straflager = punishment camp, often for German military offenders
(There are even more: Factory slave labor camps, Nazi plantations, moving work camps on highways, etc, etc)
So, first off, to your tweet: while POWs did end up in some camps (predominantly Auschwitz) they by and large did not end up the kinds of concentration camps you are talking about. So, "war captives" are a red herring.
Second, you seem to only be focusing on the WHO rather than the WHAT of the concentration camp analogy. While, yes, the ICE detention centers don't hold dissidents and concentration camps (CCs) didn't hold mainly immigrants, there are other valid comparisons.
You can't just write off the whole argument by saying they aren't Auschwitz. I will stipulate that they aren't. No one is being exterminated or likely to be. Can we move on?
When the Nazis first established their CCs in the early 1930s, they were known as "wild camps" because they took a dizzying variety of forms: abandoned factories, basements of bars, SA HQs, barges.
However, due to the decentralization of these places, they got out of hand rather quickly both in terms of conditions and brutalization of the inmates. The Nazis closed almost all of them and "reformed" the system to base it around a few permanent more controlled environments.
So, one analogy to the present: when a system of detention is created without the infrastructure to support it, bad things happen. AKA people dying in facilities not designed to hold them, or not in large numbers. nbcnews.com/politics/immig…
Both in the early period and the later period, Nazi CCs were overwhelmed with prisoner populations they were unable to handle. As a result, disease was a major killer. Also, b/c Nazis viewed prisoners as inferior they did not provide adequate medical care. hrw.org/news/2018/06/2…
This expansion of policy sets the stage for poor improvisation and a further victimization of detainees. This is a systemic problem for detention centers and CCs. It is a structural issue of poor planning, regardless of the morality of the policy.
CCs also created sealed places of detention, places whose only oversight was sympathetic SS authorities. As a result, a culture of brutality and extrajudicial violence developed. It was illegal for SS men to kill prisoners, but the culture allowed it. (Text from Wachsmann)
Thus, new dysfunctional norms could be created and exercised outside of the public eye...and justified by the perceived inferiority of the prisoners.

Perhaps more importantly, particularly early on, the Nazi CCs were DIRECTLY linked with immigration policy, though in reverse. When Jews were held, it was because Nazis wanted them to EMIGRATE. The goal was to make life so unpleasant so that they would leave.
Most Jews in this period were released...so that they could leave the country. Just as the Trump administration has intentionally used conditions in the detention centers to deter immigration.
So there are some pretty strong connections, even with immigration (in this case emigration). Nazi CCs did lots of things, but one of them was certainly to control population flows.
As ICE detention centers begin to include families, we should also realize that so did some Nazi CCs, particularly Auschwitz. Naturally, the scale of deplorable conditions is FAR different here, but families and children WERE prisoners of CCs.
There is also clearly an element of racism involved in the ICE detention centers: intentionally stopping soccer, English lessons, etc seems designed to inflict unnecessary discomfort on prisoners.
Also, while immigrants are not criminals, many Americans view them as such as they have been "criminalized" by the right wing narrative. This is quite similar to the justifications used by the Nazis to incarcerate those they deemed unfit to be in society.
I should note in the American context that the Indian "reservation" could be seen as another, larger form of concentration camp in many ways. Attempts to separate an "undesirable" population, etc. (The Nazis planned Jewish reservations)
Certainly, the Japanese internment camps were CCs as they did not contain "war captives, internal dissidents" but (mostly) American citizens deemed undesirable and whose status as "real" citizens was disputed.
In fact, your old friend points this out explicitly:

Summary of historically valid comparisons of ICE detention centers to CCs:
1) Separation of a population deemed "undesirable" by the majority population.
2) Lack of transparency
3) Poor policy planning leads to inhumane conditions, including medical care
4) Ad hoc, extralegal areas of incarceration lead to dysfunctional and brutal cultures by guards.
5) Ethnicity a factor in determining quality of treatment
6) CLEAR connection to immigration and removing/keeping out unwanted people
7) Detention is at some level extralegal
8) No set sentence or discrete period of incarceration
9) Unclear oversight
10) Conditions designed to elicit intended immigration behavior by prisoners.
P.S.- Consider the additional information about Rives Saltes and the work of @dr_tgpeterson on a camp that fulfilled multiple functions over literally decades.
Here's some reading:

KL: A History of the Nazi Concentration Camps by Nikolaus Wachsmann amazon.com/dp/0374535922/… via @amazon
One Long Night: A Global History of Concentration Camps by Andrea Pitzer amazon.com/dp/0316303569/… via @amazon
Gulag: A History by Anne Applebaum amazon.com/dp/1400034094/… via @amazon
The Kaiser's Holocaust: Germany's Forgotten Genocide amazon.com/dp/057123142X/… via @amazon
Blood and Soil: A World History of Genocide and Extermination amazon.com/dp/0300144253/… via @amazon
Postscript: RE: immigration and Nazi camps, I should note that the first Jews forcibly removed from Germany were not German Jews but Eastern European immigrant Jews. Likewise, the first Jews handed put in camps by the French and deported were non-native Jews.
I have cited his work and recommended his excellent book, but let me explicitly thank Nikolaus Wachsmann for his friendship and his great book with so many good contributions to this discussion. @NaziCamps
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