Auschwitz museum: Important to remember Holocaust ‘did not start from gas chambers’

The Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum in Poland issued a statement on Monday amid an ongoing debate between U.S. lawmakers over whether the Holocaust offers lessons for contemporary events such as those at the U.S.-Mexico border.

“When we look at Auschwitz we see the end of the process,” the museum said in a tweet on Monday afternoon.

“It’s important to remember that the Holocaust actually did not start from gas chambers,” the museum continued. “This hatred gradually developed from words, stereotypes & prejudice through legal exclusion, dehumanization & escalating violence.”

The tweet came hours Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham (S.C.) slammed Democratic Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.) for comparing recent events along the southern border involving migrants to Jews fleeing Nazi Germany. 

{mosads}”I recommend she take a tour of the Holocaust Museum in DC,” Graham tweeted Monday. “Might help her better understand the differences between the Holocaust and the caravan in Tijuana.”

Graham was replying to a tweet Ocasio-Cortez shared over the weekend, in which she wrote, “Asking to be considered a refugee & applying for status isn’t a crime.”

“It wasn’t for Jewish families fleeing Germany,” she continued. “It wasn’t for targeted families fleeing Rwanda. It wasn’t for communities fleeing war-torn Syria. And it isn’t for those fleeing violence in Central America.”

Ocasio-Cortez also responded to Graham’s tweet later on Monday night, in which she told Graham “the point of such a treasured museum is to bring its lessons to present day.”

“This administration has jailed children and violated human rights,” she  added. “Perhaps we should stop pretending that authoritarianism + violence is a historical event instead of a growing force.”

Ocasio-Cortez has since found support from many on Twitter in making her case, including from actor Ben Stiller, who countered Graham’s suggestion with his own.

“Just to add into this, I would say that @LindseyGrahamSC go visit Guatemala as I did earlier this year and talk to the families fleeing the terror of targeted gang violence an unlivable poverty rate to understand the refugee experience,” Stiller said in a tweet on Monday night.

“These people are fleeing for their lives,” he added.

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