Navarro used the poem in an attempt to compare a recent resignation in the Justice Department, and her predicted future departures of others, with the cowardice many exhibited toward the Nazi Germany as Hitler rose to power.
Navarro took to twitter to share her thoughts:
“First he come for Comey, & they didn’t speak out b/c they were Trump apologists
Then, he came for McCabe, & they didn’t speak out b/c they were Trump apologists
Next, he’ll come for Rosestein & they won’t speak out b/c they’re Trump apologists.
Last, he’ll come from Mueller…”
Comparing Trump to Hitler and minimizing the Holocaust are never recommended when making a point. If Navarro had asked Oak Lawn Trustee Terry Vorderer, he may have been able to tell her that using the famous poem is not a good idea. He actually did so and disparaged a proud nationality.
Vorderer made the mistake in a budget meeting while comparing the Village Board to Nazi Germany and referring to Polish Americans as “Polacks” as he tried to argue that the village’s unions should make concessions while misquoting the famous poem to support his position.
Vorderer made the slur during a budget meeting on November 6, 2013 after Mayor Sandra Bury reminded the board that the village’s union contracts prevent the village from unilaterally changing benefits or work rules.
Vorderer entered into a clumsy comparison of the village’s budget situation with the story he said he remembered reading about Nazi Germany. In response to Carberry, Vorderer stated, “I think the message you’re trying to say Mike, I remember reading the story about Nazi Germany. They came for the Jews and I didn’t care. They came for the Polacks, and I didn’t care but when they came for me, I cared. Nobody was there to help me”. He said that they should use the story as an analogy and that if all the unions came together they could save
(To listen to Vorderer’s comment Click Here)
Frank Spula, the President of the Polish American Congress reacted to Vorderer’s comments at the time stating, “I can’t believe it in this day and age that he would be so insensitive”. Spula said the use of the term “Pollack” is just like using the “n-word”.
According to the American Heritage Dictionary, the term “Polack” is used as a disparaging term for a person of Polish descent or birth. After Vorderer made the slur, Village Clerk Jane Quinlan is heard laughing on the tape although it is not clear if she is laughing at or with Vorderer. An unidentified woman is heard stating, “that’s right”.
Spula stated, “I can’t believe a public official would use such a term”. Spula, while not calling for Vorderer’s resignation did say that Vorderer should “obviously apologize and be aware in the future of other people’s feelings”.
The Polish American Congress is a National Umbrella Organization, representing at least 10 million Americans of Polish descent and origin. Spula serves as President of the organization.
When reached by the Oak Lawn Leaf, Vorderer claimed that he though he said “Polish” instead of “Polack”. When told that the Oak Lawn Leaf had a recording of the slur, Vorderer ended the conversation before once again stating, “I thought I said Polish”.
Gary Kenzer, the Executive Director of the Polish American Association, was also critical of Vorderer’s comments. “We have zero tolerance for these types of comments”.
Kenzer cautioned that it isn’t just about the Polish people being slurred. “Any (ethnic or racial) community should be treated with the same respect,” he said.
The poem that Vorderer referenced and misquoted when he said the dispute with the unions reminded him of a story about Nazi Germany was first attributed to Nazi concentration camp survivor, Pastor Martin Neimoller.
There have been several versions of the poem by Niemoller because he often spoke extemporaneously in speeches. None of the versions include the word “Polack” or other slurs. (To read Pastor Niemoller’s poem, click here)
It seems whenever someone tries to compare anyone or any organization to Nazi Germany they end up sticking their foot in their own mouths.