Meme Likens German-Occupied Poland in 1944 with the U.S. in 2018

"Whatever your argument is, the minute you base it on a lie, you're a demagogue."

  • Published 20 March 2019
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Claim

A meme accurately compares the treatment of foreign children by Germany in 1944 and the U.S. in 2018.

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Origin

A meme from 2018 attempted to compare the treatment of foreign children incarcerated in territories occupied by forces of Nazi Germany in 1944 to the children of immigrants placed into custody by U.S. Customs and Border Protection in 2018. The meme’s presentation was a false equivalency that missed the mark in every way imaginable:

The U.S. government’s implementation of a so-called “zero tolerance” policy, resulting in migrant children being separated from their parents at the U.S. border and the prolonged detention at times of those children, has drawn heated criticism here and abroad. But the meme’s comparison to German Nazis is a hyperbolically absurd one.

The top image in this meme depicts a group of children released by Soviet forces when they liberated the Auschwitz concentration camp in German-occupied Poland in January 1945. Whatever life may be like for children detained in U.S. immigration facilities, it does not involve — as internment at Auschwitz did — those youngsters’ being starved, put to forced labor, subjected to criminal medical experimentation, or being gassed to death.

Moreover, the bottom image in this meme is not from 2018, has nothing to do with the United States, and does not involve migrant children being held in detention. As documented in numerous news accounts and reports, it’s a photograph dating from 2010, and it and similar pictures capture Palestinian children and adults waiting to receive food at a soup kitchen in the West Bank city of Hebron during the holy month of Ramadan. The original photograph has been cropped to remove the stylized metal work and make it appear that the children are being held in some kind of jail or prison cell:

Palestinian children wait to receive food, donated by the Islamic endowment authority Islamic waqf, at a soup kitchen in the West Bank city of Hebron, 18 August 2010. Muslims around the world abstain from eating, drinking and sexual relations from sunrise to sunset during Ramadan, the holiest month in the Islamic calendar. EPA/ABED AL HASHLAMOUN