Activists with the Jewish advocacy group Never Again Action are reminding the American people that famed Holocaust victim Anne Frank died in a Nazi concentration camp not from a gas chamber but from typhus—warning that an infectious disease like coronavirus within immigration detention camps in the U.S. could have the same potential for killing migrants as the outbreak spreads throughout the country.
On Sunday night, activists with the group projected an image of Anne Frank onto the John F. Kennedy Federal Building in Boston and onto the wall of a New York City immigration court to call on Gov. Charlie Baker of Massachusetts and Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York to release detained immigrants, including families and children, in their states.
"Anne Frank didn't die in a gas chamber," Never Again Action Massachusetts spokesperson Elizabeth Weinbloom told the Boston Globe. "She died of a communicable disease in a crowded detention facility. It's very clear that that's going to happen to immigrants being held in Massachusetts."
BREAKING: Tonight, Never Again Action showed up at New York’s immigration courthouse, to demand that @NYGovCuomo use his emergency powers and influence to ensure the release of ICE detainees from New York’s detention centers before COVID turns them into death camps. pic.twitter.com/rIYWxTb5zy— Never Again Action (@NeverAgainActn) March 21, 2020
"Anne Frank died of an infectious disease in a crowded detention center," the Boston message read. "Governor Baker, release everyone in ICE detention before it's too late."
The camps, which are run by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), threaten to become "de-facto death camps," said Never Again Action national campaign director Alyssa Rubin—necessitating action from state governors.
"ICE is not interested in the health and safety of their detainees," said Rubin. "We demand that governors use their emergency powers to order the release of all immigrant detainees in their state."
Crowded, unsanitary detention camps are a death sentence for the people inside. These are the conditions that killed Anne Frank, who died of typhus in 1945.— Never Again Action (@NeverAgainActn) March 16, 2020
Governors, use your emergency powers to save lives! Release immigrants in your state from detention before it's too late. https://t.co/qNnDpJQlEy
As Common Deams reported Sunday, Never Again Action protested the continuing detention of immigrant families in New Jersey and California over the weekend by surrounding both the Hudson County Detention Center in New Jersey and Gov. Gavin Newsom's home in California with cars, honking and demanding from bullshorns that the states release detainees.