America cannot condone persecution based on fear
It is the second decade of the 21st century and in some ways things seem to repeat themselves. One hundred years ago, with the U.S. entry into the Great War now known as World War I, there was a great ambivalence and fear that the U.S. was going to be attacked and terrorized from within by enemy aliens. They were not Muslims, Syrians or Hispanics of the present, but an ethnic group more low profile today than it was back then – German-Americans.
Their loyalty was tested to the point that German language was forbidden to be taught in schools. Previously there were several German-language public schools in Ohio and Illinois. Here in the Buffalo area, my aunt told me of a German teacher at St. Matthew Lutheran School in North Tonawanda who was fired. And my grandfather lost his job at the post office because he was against the U.S. going to war with Germany.
There was also the lynching of a German immigrant, Robert Prager, in Collinsville, Ill., who was attacked by a mob for his socialist leanings. Today many Americans are unaware of this past, yet we are repeating the same mistakes.
Susan R. Wilke