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Dr. Waitman Wade Beorn
[THREAD] On what a concentration camp IS or why doesn't need to lose his historically-disadvantaged mind over nuanced comparisons. 🙄🤦‍♂️ Let's talk about this. ( , I've got your back here.) 👇👇👇👇
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Dr. Waitman Wade Beorn Jun 18
Replying to @waitmanb
Me checking into Twitter this afternoon... On it...
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Dr. Waitman Wade Beorn Jun 18
Replying to @waitmanb
First, I've actually written on this a couple times or been interviewed about it. So we'll lead with that.
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Dr. Waitman Wade Beorn Jun 18
Replying to @waitmanb
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Dr. Waitman Wade Beorn Jun 18
Replying to @andreapitzer
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
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Dr. Waitman Wade Beorn Jun 18
Replying to @waitmanb
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.
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Dr. Waitman Wade Beorn Jun 18
Replying to @waitmanb
The Germans created concentration camps in Namibia as well in the early 1900s as well.
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Dr. Waitman Wade Beorn Jun 18
Replying to @waitmanb
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.
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Dr. Waitman Wade Beorn Jun 18
Replying to @waitmanb
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.
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Dr. Waitman Wade Beorn Jun 18
Replying to @waitmanb
Secondly, he (not surprisingly) gets his 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.
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Dr. Waitman Wade Beorn Jun 18
Replying to @waitmanb
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
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Dr. Waitman Wade Beorn Jun 18
Replying to @waitmanb
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)
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Dr. Waitman Wade Beorn Jun 18
Replying to @waitmanb
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.
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Dr. Waitman Wade Beorn Jun 18
Replying to @waitmanb
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.
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Dr. Waitman Wade Beorn Jun 18
Replying to @waitmanb
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?
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Dr. Waitman Wade Beorn Jun 18
Replying to @waitmanb
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.
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Dr. Waitman Wade Beorn Jun 18
Replying to @waitmanb
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.
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Dr. Waitman Wade Beorn Jun 18
Replying to @waitmanb
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.
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Dr. Waitman Wade Beorn Jun 18
Replying to @waitmanb
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.
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Dr. Waitman Wade Beorn Jun 18
Replying to @waitmanb
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.
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