Bernard Marks gained internet fame after he spoke up at an immigration forum in Sacramento, Calif., in March. Marks, an 87-year-old Holocaust survivor, hadn’t planned to speak — but he felt compelled to take the mic after Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones spoke about deportation policy. (The forum also featured Thomas Homan, acting director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE.)

“History is not on your side,” Marks told Jones, prompting cheers from the crowd.

In a new interview on the podcast “This Is Happening,” Marks tells host Jerry Quickley that he attended the forum out of curiosity. “When I heard the sheriff, Mr. Jones, and the gentleman from ICE give their little speech, it just made my hair stand up,” Marks tells Quickley. “It put a deep, deep sorrow into my soul.” Listen to the full interview below:

Marks also wrote an impassioned op-ed for the Sacramento Bee in which he urges Americans to “not stand silently by and watch as executive orders erode the essence of this nation’s character and creed.” He elaborates on his message during the interview with Quickley.

“We supposedly in America have what’s called a justice system,” Marks says. “[But] ICE is just picking people off the streets and locking them up in different facilities throughout the United States. … It happened in Germany. People were picked off the streets, and sent off, and nobody said anything. And I felt that it was time for me to speak up.”

Marks speaks at length about his experience as a child in Auschwitz and Dachau during the Third Reich, and the social atmosphere during Adolf Hitler’s rule.

“I went through it, and I can feel the agony like people today, because fear-mongering is what’s going on,” Marks says. “This country cannot exist this way. We live in a democracy. … What’s going on now is a travesty of justice.”

—Posted by Emma Niles

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