Since the terrorist attacks on Paris last Friday, xenophobic backlash against Syrian refugees is on the rise. 27 U.S. governors have said they will not allow any refugees into their states. Not only is this hateful, it's stupid. It's not up to them! Governors are presumably responding to their constituents' vocal fear that admitting refugees might mean harboring terrorists (even though Syrian refugees are vetted for many months and face obstacles to immigration much greater than those entering Europe). The issue is polarizing, and now, polls from the late 1930s over whether Jewish refugees should be admitted into the U.S. are illuminating the history behind this sentiment. @HistOpinion shared graphs on Twitter that display people's attitudes toward allowing political refugees from Germany and Austria into the U.S.:
As you can see, lots of folks were pretty hesitant to admit Jewish families fleeing Europe as the Nazis took power. By 1939, more citizens were aware of the horrors facing those families, including mass killings. But it didn't change their perspective:
Anyone who wanted to turn away Jewish refugees now truly knows what it feels like to be on the wrong side of history. "But wait!" you say, "It's not the same! Jewish people weren't suspected as terrorists, you can't compare the situation." Um, actually, they were:
Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it.
Let's not repeat it.