Holocaust revision is antisemitism. 

Holocaust appropriation is antisemitism.

And the Colorado Springs Gazette plunged into both scurrilous pits up to their neck with the egregiously awful editorial published on Oct. 24, “State board is right; Hitler was a socialist.

The meandering, disjointed missive, authored simply by the Gazette’s “Editorial Board,” co-opts the platform offered up by Colorado State Board of Education representative Steve Durham who is fighting to update the state’s curriculum standards to claim the Nazis were a socialist party.

For the uneducated: That is an abject lie that’s been at the fringes of pedantic political punditry for ages. It’s almost universally only been espoused by right-wing wonks desperate to shift the discussion away from the horrors of fascism into a pillorying of the philosophy of socialism.

And predictably, they start with the full name of the Nazi party as some sort of “gotcha!” moment: the National Socialist German Workers Party. I mean, it’s right there in the name! Clearly they’re socialists!

No. Not even close. The fact that Durham has been beating this drum for years — while a cynical, disgusting tactic — is bad enough. That a supposed journalistic publication like the Gazette would knowingly take on this drumbeat is far more disappointing. Put simply: Durham and the Gazette are appropriating the Holocaust to push a political agenda espousing how “evil” socialism is in their eyes and nothing more. And in doing so, they’re revising the truth of the Holocaust to fit that narrative.

As myriad right-wing politicians and their supporters have clung to this outright falsehood, actual historians and political scientists have provided proof time and time again as to why it’s wrong.

Socialism, as a matter of semantics, was used purposefully by the Nazi party in order to engender support from the working class in the country after it was plunged into economic devastation upon the end of WWI. It had been plucked from the propaganda wings of the already-existing Czech National Socialist Party (left-wing) and the Austria National socialism (right-wing) movement. 

In short, it was a tactic Adolf Hitler adopted in order to amass support and gain control of the populace, and once he had it — it was summarily discarded upon his embracing of a full-frontal fascist doctrine. Hitler used the propaganda approach to further position the Jews in Germany — and across the world — as evil capitalists (or Bolsheviks, depending on the room he was speaking to). Hitler also stomped out the trade unions and murdered the left-leaning members of government in the Night of the Long Knives. 

An example: Otto Strasser and his brother Gregor were members of the Nazi party who embraced the socialist narrative Hitler crafted and worked hard to support Hitler as he ascended into power. However, once it became evident that Hitler was never actually interested in socialism and that the Nazi party wasn’t a socialist movement after all, both were on the outs — Otto left the party in 1930 to organize the Black Front and Gregor was assassinated in the Night of the Long Knives/Röhm purge (Operation Hummingbird) in 1934. Ernst Röhm himself, for whom Operation Hummingbird was the inspiration, was targeted largely because of his outspoken support for a revolution focused on the redistribution of wealth in Germany — an idea Hitler despised. 

The Night of the Long Knives was the turning point for Hitler — he destroyed the left-leaning communist powerbase while also executing any conservatives he felt were disloyal to his regime. It was the move that entirely consolidated his power politically, gave him complete authority over all military, and empowered him to embrace the ultra-violent methodology that made the Holocaust a reality. This is the undisputed definition of fascism. 

Yes, Hitler nationalized around 500 privately held companies to fuel his war machine, but none of those were placed in the hands of the worker class. Meanwhile, he was quick to adopt Italian dictator Benito Mussolini’s brand of fascism which had taken deep root amidst the Great Depression. 

We could go on and on, but this has been expertly explained by actual political scientists and historians for years: Adolf Hitler was a fascist. Period. 

Regardless, the author(s) of the Colorado Springs Gazette column has chosen to ignore the actual truth, and they don’t even make an effort to hide their reasoning: “Socialism means a lot of things but is universally known as an alternative to capitalism in varying degrees,” the column reads. “Since 2010, polling indicates at least 50% of high school and college students would prefer a socialist economy over capitalism. They prefer central control over free-market dynamics, believing it is more socially just.”

The Gazette is unconcerned about historical accuracy — they’re just petrified of socialism, and want to scare the uneducated masses into joining them. And they’ve chosen the Holocaust to twist to their narrative. And then it gets even worse: “They like self-proclaimed socialists, such as U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders and U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Those two and other overt American socialists should never be compared to Hitler. They are not killers. They merely share Hitler’s political identity and much of his fundamental economic and social ideology.”

Nice. Claiming Bernie Sanders, a proud Jew, shares Hitler’s political, economic, and social identity. Real classy, Gazette. The piece cherry picks several quotes from Hitler’s propaganda — again, used to fool his populace into supporting his bid for power — as “proof.” It’s almost like they’re trying to defend their own beliefs … and then, in the final paragraph, they reveal the real reason they’ve embarked on this fool’s errand of falsehood:

“Teach the truth in schools. The United States was not founded in 1619, our schools are not racial caste systems and Hitler was not a Republican.”

Looks like the Gazette sees Republican as a synonym for Fascist. No wonder they want to distance themselves from it.

I’ll leave you with the famous poem by German Lutheran pastor Martin Niemöller that further reminds us all what the Nazi party thought of the political left:

First they came for the Communists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Communist

Then they came for the Socialists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Socialist

Then they came for the trade unionists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a trade unionist

Then they came for the Jews
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Jew

Then they came for me
And there was no one left
To speak out for me