Yoka Verdoner, a survivor of the Nazi Holocaust, this week condemned President Donald Trump’s policy of separating undocumented immigrant children from their parents.
In a Guardian op-ed titled, “Nazis separated me from my parents as a child. The trauma lasts a lifetime,” Verdoner argued that Trump’s “no tolerance” immigration policy “will scar its child victims for life.”
“I know what they are going through,” Verdoner wrote. “When we were children, my two siblings and I were also taken from our parents. And the problems we’ve experienced since then portend the terrible things that many of these children are bound to suffer.”
Verdoner explained that as a Jewish child living in Nazi-occupied Netherlands, she was separated from her parents and forced into hiding.
“[T]he lasting damage inflicted by that separation reverberates to this day, decades hence,” she recalled, noting that her brother “is almost 80 years old now and is still trying to understand what made him the anxious and dysfunctional person he turned into as a child and has remained for the rest of his life.”
“My younger sister was separated from our parents at five,” Verdoner continued. “She had no understanding of what was going on and why she suddenly had to live with a strange set of adults. She suffered thereafter from lifelong, profound depression.”
Verdoner said that she spent “many years in psychotherapy” to deal with her own “anxiety and depression.”
“What is happening in our own backyard today is as evil and criminal as what happened to me and my siblings as children in Nazi Europe,” she concluded. “It needs to be stopped immediately.”