In his op-ed for The Dispatch, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine addressed the haunting rise of discrimination, hate, and bigotry in our society and emphasizing the importance of learning from history to prevent its repetition.
One of the stories the governor shared within the op-ed was that of Louise Gips, who turned 90 in December. Governor DeWine highlighted her family’s journey, as they fled to Ukraine following the Nazi invasion of their native Poland and eventually ended up as Jewish prisoners of war in Siberia.
Louise had shared her family’s story at the Governor’s annual Holocaust Remembrance Ceremony in April, including the story of her late husband, Harry, who tragically lost most of his family in the Holocaust. Governor DeWine underscored the significance of sharing these stories, quoting Louise’s words: “If all of us don’t speak, history will definitely repeat itself.”
The governor expressed deep concern over the increasing antisemitic incidents in Ohio, citing the Anti-Defamation League’s data. He found it both incomprehensible and alarming that there were individuals in America who tolerated discrimination, hate, and bigotry. Governor DeWine emphasized the urgency of confronting these issues and reiterated that such hateful ideologies had no place in our society.
Governor DeWine believed that history served as a teacher. He recalled his father’s experiences as a soldier in World War II, where he witnessed the horrors of the Dachau concentration camp. The images of the ovens used to burn the bodies and the shower rooms where poisonous gas was released were etched into his father’s memory.
It is both incomprehensible and scary to me that there are people today in America who think that discrimination, hate, and bigotry are OK. https://t.co/WIWphqVgDZ
— Governor Mike DeWine (@GovMikeDeWine) May 15, 2023
The governor underscored the importance of using these stories to educate young people and remind everyone of the atrocities committed by Hitler and the Nazis.
Perhaps most surprisingly, the op-ed highlighted recent incidents of neo-Nazi groups perpetrating acts of hatred, such as the gathering outside a Columbus brewery during a Drag Brunch where they displayed a Nazi swastika and threatening banners while chanting and screaming Nazi slogans.
Nationwide, GOP leaders have been quick to push anti-trans propaganda and legislation, so the fact that the governor mentioned the incident at all was a break from other Republican leaders.
Governor DeWine reminded readers that the time would come when there were no more survivors or liberators to share their firsthand accounts of WWII, making it even more critical for us to continue telling their stories.
While the op-ed served as a reminder of the importance of addressing the rise of discrimination, hate, and bigotry, it also left some feeling that the Governor could do much more than just speak out.
That said, there is an importance of sharing the stories of Holocaust survivors so that we can learn from history and work collectively to ensure that such atrocities are neither forgotten nor repeated.
You can read the full op-ed over at dispatch.com.
Featured image via Facebook.