Tuesday, November 14, 2023

Donald Trump, Adolf Hitler, vermin & Ungeziefer, and Franz Kafka & Gregor Samsa

When Donald Trump referred to "Communists" and others as "vermin", journalists and historians pointed out that the term was used by Adolf Hitler to refer to the Jews of Germany. The German term Hitler used was "Ungeziefer", which is also what Gregor Samsa turns into at the beginning of Franz Kafka's "Die Verwandlung". All three of Kafka's sisters died in the Holocaust: Elli and Valli in Chelmno in 1942, and Ottla in Auschwitz in 1943. The problem for Trump supporters who cheer his call to "root out" the "vermin" is that, in an authoritarian society, anyone can wake up one morning to find themselves, like Gregor Samsa, transformed into an "Ungeziefer". (Andrew Shields, #111Words, 14 November 2023)

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