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Five years ago, my wife and I toured Eastern Europe. One of our destinations was Auschwitz-Birkenau, the site of mass killing of Jews, gypsies, political dissidents, prisoners of war and others.

Upon arrival at the camp, families were separated with those people capable of working moving to the right while the rest were sent to the left and the gas chambers.

Our experience was both chilling and mind-numbing. We couldn’t fathom the terror people must have felt upon arrival at the camps where they were prodded with batons and roughly told to go here or there. Families were immediately separated, resulting in loud wailing and screaming.

Detained illegal immigrant children are currently being separated from their parents and placed in detention centers. Imagine the extreme anxiety they must feel, not knowing if or when they will be reunited with their parents.

At this point, you are possibly saying to yourself: “We aren’t killing anyone!” Many Germans in the mid 1930’s felt they were too civilized to allow such atrocities. Unfortunately, they became desensitized to the barbaric treatment of others because they were not affected personally.

We are at the threshold of losing our moral compass and with it, a sense of right vs. wrong, just vs. unjust, compassionate vs. uncaring.

I pray that we have enough empathy to recognize how we would feel if our own children were treated this way and can act to end this practice.

Dan Prosser, Normal 

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