Guest post by Hallie Dolin
Let me tell you a story. It’s violent and it’s not pretty, but it needs to be told.
My paternal grandmother’s mother was from a family called Sereichik, named after their hometown of Sereija in what is now Lithuania. My dad has a sheaf of documents, full of my grandmother’s meticulous research, attesting to the fact that the town was a center of learning. Sereija boasted one of the best yeshivas (Jewish schools for children, almost always boys) in the area. In fact, my great-grandmother earned her passage to America by writing letters for illiterate people, for which she was paid.
Somewhere around forty years after she left, my great-grandmother’s mother Pesse Baile Sereichik, her two daughters who hadn’t managed to get out of the country, and their husbands and children were rounded up over the course of two days in September 1941. They were taken to the edge of town and, by the testimony of surviving townsfolk, were forced to dig their own graves. They were then lined up at the edge of the pits they had dug and shot so that they fell in. Murder and burial in one convenient step.
This is the family of ONE great-grandparent accounted for – an EIGHTH of my ancestry. Every single one of my ancestors, even my maternal grandmother’s American-born parents and her immigrant grandparents, had family back on the continent they were forced into by the Romans and ghettoized within (which is why I go freaking ballistic if you call me white, by the way). They lived in the Ukraine. Poland. Lithuania. Romania. Russia. A scant train car’s ride away from Stutthof, Kaiserwald, Koldichevo, the six extermination camps of Poland. One in six Jews killed in the Holocaust was killed at Auschwitz, and it’s likely that at least some of my family went there.
I’m telling you this story because the people who shot them were not Nazis. The SS didn’t dirty their hands with backwater towns like Sereija. No, my family’s murderers were their own neighbors. Lithuania was one of the bloodiest countries in terms of Jews murdered by their own countrymen. In fact, about ninety-three percent of Lithuania’s 210,000 Jews were killed. Much of this predated the gas chambers. Imagine the sheer hatred, the sociopathy in the upper echelons that goaded these people to foaming rage and let them shoot hundreds of thousands of their own neighbors between the eyes because of their ANCESTRY. Thousands of mass executions in God knows how many unmarked graves.
That is what I’ve seen in these two days of The Orange One taking office, and in the months preceding it. The short story I wrote back in 2008 that explored my fear of what might happen if MCCAIN won doesn’t seem so far-fetched now. The religious right wants much of the country dead. So does any Angry Calvinist businessman who thinks that people who don’t or can’t conform to a fairly recent model of productivity deserve death by no help at all.
Make no mistake, I am not talking just about Black people, Muslim people, immigrants of all stripes, or same-sex-attracted people like my fiancee and me. I’m talking about Jews. I’m talking about being scared as hell that we’re next.
Nearly every pro-Trump gathering that I’ve seen involves that same rage at Jewish people. There is an armed march being planned, specifically against the Jewish people of Whitefish, Montana. Armed march. Does the term “Kristallnacht” ring a bell?
I’m telling you this because we will be among the first to go. Maybe not by Trump and his cronies, who will turn their heads and focus on people who are “less desirable” than us horrible lizard people (yes, I know all the euphemisms that Nazis use). No, Bannon is going to quietly smile as thousands of our neighbors turn against us and reawaken centuries-old racial and ethnic prejudice – yes, I said racial against US, no matter how well some of us pass – to do what they’ve been longing to do for years.
Look me in the eyes, if you know me. Look at my photo, if you don’t. Somewhere in this country is a human being with the fortitude to face me head-on and put a bullet through my brain. I’d even wager that there is more than one.
Help me. Help others like me. FIGHT HIM.