Schneider: Neil’s ‘Nazi’ reference ‘offensive and cruel’


I am a citizen of Dover, and on June 10, I observed a Dover City Council meeting. During the meeting, there was a discussion on the topic of censuring a councilman named William Hare for an ethics violation involving him allegedly stalking a city employee. As I listened to everyone speak on this issue, there was a councilman named Fred Neil who requested a letter he wrote be read into the record. As I listened to the contents of the letter he wrote and that was read by the secretary into the record, I boiled with outrage over the offensive and derogatory content. Before I continue, I would first like to identify myself as a German American, whose parents migrated to the United States during World War II to escape the Nazi regime that Mr. Neil mentioned. For those who are unaware, many German people opposed the Nazi regime and what they stood for and how they treated others, to include many of the German people. Mr. Fred Neil wrote in his letter, “History has shown the atrocities that have occurred by the hands of the self-righteous or to totalitarian regimes, such as the Nazis.”

The points Mr. Neil was attempting to make with this statement regarding the censure of William Hare and the Nazi regime leave my mind oblivious. Are the victims in this matter, Lauren and Cameron Eisenbraun, of German descent, and Mr. Neil is taking a potshot and being biased against their ethnicity? Or is the spokesperson that Mr. Neil alluded to in his letter of German ancestry? Whatever the intention, Mr. Neil is out of order!

As a former employee of the Anti-Defamation League in New York City, I fought hard through the years to attempt to stop the defamation of all groups of people. Mr. Neil only opens up old wounds of cruelty when he brings up the word “Nazi,” not only to me but possibly others who are of German descent and who were observing this City Council meeting. The taunting meaning of “Nazi” is now long gone, replaced forever by the image of history’s most despised regime. “Nazi” is a short word. It has only two syllables, like “racist” or “killer.” “Democracy,” on the other hand, is a long word with lots of syllables and is very tiring to say.

Mr. Neil’s comments were offensive, cruel and prejudiced, and I would expect a public apology is forthcoming.

William Schneider


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