Readers React: We spent decades saying ‘never again.’ With Trump’s forced family separations, here we go again

Protesters demonstrate against the separation of migrant children from their families in front of the federal building in downtown Los Angeles on June 18.
(Mario Tama / Getty Images)

To the editor: My Jewish mother was 11 years old in 1939 when she was taken from her parents in Nazi Germany to safety in Great Britain as part of the Kindertransport.

My mother’s family was not torn apart without warning. The trip was arranged, and Mom had guardians waiting for her. Everyone knew they would be separated, though nobody knew how long they would be apart.

Seventy-nine years later, Mom continues to grapple with the trauma of separation. Mom’s head knows her life was saved, but her heart makes her feel torn and abandoned even after all these decades.

I have spent a lifetime hearing “never again,” yet here we go again. The travesty at our southern border must stop. It is a crime against the humanity of children and parents who are simply seeking safety in our country.


I cannot stomach this cruelty that will scar families for generations. I am sick that it is being perpetrated in my name.

Jane Drucker, Studio City


To the editor: It was during World War II when my father and his mother, who had just survived the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, presented themselves in Switzerland to the local authorities. The Swiss government’s policy on refugees was similar to ours now.

My father was transported to an orphanage in western Switzerland, while his mother was put to work in the east with threats of being deported. For three years, they corresponded only by mail, a great difficulty since my father, then a young child, had no formal education (he eventually became a research scientist at Michigan State University and a member of the National Academy of Sciences).

I cannot help but feel shame when I consider the fact that our government is inflicting my father’s pain on children today.

— Benjamin Kende, Chicago

His early life experiences stayed with him as an adult in the United States. He often talked about the Holocaust and stated in no uncertain terms that the years in Switzerland separated from his mother were the worst.


He would have found our policy at the border to be an intolerable horror and advocated strongly against it. I cannot help but feel shame when I consider the fact that our government is inflicting my father’s pain on children today.

Benjamin Kende, Chicago


To the editor: Child development experts say that children separated from their parents at a young age are much more likely to show lifelong negative effects, including lower intelligence, potentially violent behavior, addiction and mental illness.

Separating children from their parents at the border only to put these kids in cages is unconscionable. It also puts them at significant risk, making them vulnerable to predators and self-harm. I urge my elected officials to please reunite these families.

I was born in McAllen, Texas, in 1982 to an undocumented mother fleeing violence and a naturalized Mexican father. She was given amnesty by President Reagan in 1986 and is now a successful businesswoman. I am now a doctoral candidate at USC.


As a U.S. citizen, I beg President Trump: See us as human beings. End this humanitarian crisis now.

Vanessa Angelica Villarreal, Los Angeles


To the editor: America, you have a president who thinks of himself as a dictator.

I suffered through a few in my native country of Argentina, and I see the gloomy, painful and abhorrent signs, including demeaning the free press, terrorizing the opposition, creating a personality cult and taking children away from parents.

During the “dirty war” in my native country, parents were arrested and the children were given away to keep people in line. The courts aligned themselves with the tyrant, and desperation took hold of the entire country.

What does it take to wake up conformist Americans who believe someone will come to the rescue and make things nice again?


Rose Davina Magnone, Mar Vista


To the editor: Every day since the conception of laws, lawbreakers have been separated from their children. How and why is this any different?

Michael Baskin, Covina

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