Holocaust survivor: Spicer’s remarks ‘beyond stupidity’
For Morris Glass, the Holocaust is no abstraction, no off-the-cuff talking point.
Glass, who spent six years in concentration camps at Auschwitz and Dauchau, says, “Nothing that happened in the last 70-some years is compared to the Holocaust. Believe me, believe me.”
At age 89, Glass is moved to new tears when discussing the careless comments of White House press secretary Sean Spicer.
Spicer apologized Wednesday for comments the day before in which he attempted to compare the Holocaust and Syrian President Bashar Assad’s use of chemical weapons.
He said the comment, made Tuesday at the White House briefing, was “inexcusable and reprehensible,” especially during a Holy Week for Christians and Jews, and he asked for “folks’ forgiveness.”
Spicer told reporters on Tuesday that Adolf Hitler “didn’t even sink to using chemical weapons.” The comment drew an instant rebuke from critics, who noted the remark ignored Hitler’s use of gas chambers to exterminate Jews during the Holocaust.
“I was deeply hurt by that,” Glass said. “Deeply hurt. We really thought the world learned from that, but look what’s going on today.”
Glass was 11 when he last saw his mother and sisters. “I waved to them, and I never saw them again,” he said.
“What took place in the Holocaust is beyond your comprehension. They were killed for no reason at all, only because they were of the Jewish faith.”
Glass said he had nightmares for years after Americans liberated his camp in 1945.
Reaction from around the world continued to dog Spicer Wednesday. A spokesman for German Chancellor Angela Merkel said comparing Nazi war crimes to present-day situations “leads to nothing good.”
Robert Rozett, director of libraries at Yad Vashem, said Spicer’s comment implied a “profound lack of knowledge of the events of the Second World War, including the Holocaust” and “are liable to strengthen the hands of those who seek to destroy history.”
In the U.S., Democrats and Jewish organizations condemned the comments.
The New York-based Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect also called on Trump to fire Spicer, saying he denied that Hitler gassed Jews during the Holocaust.
Congressman Lee Zeldin, a Jewish Republican from New York, said in a statement that the comparison could be made “a little differently and it would be accurate, but it’s important to clear up that Hitler did in fact use chemical warfare to murder innocent people.”
But Matt Brooks, executive director of the Republican Jewish Coalition, said that while “using the issue of the Holocaust or Hitler is problematic on many levels,” he believed Spicer had “genuinely and sincerely apologized.”
But that apology was not enough for Glass.
“Of course he used gas,” Glass said. “What do you think the gas chambers were? Seventy-two years later, you can still smell it!
“It’s unforgivable, it’s stupid, it’s irresponsible,” Glass said. “I’m really surprised a man of his knowledge would say anything that stupid. It’s beyond stupidity.”