Star Wars actor Oscar Isaac believes that the crimes of Adolf Hitler’s Third Reich are incredibly relevant in the context of America’s current political climate under President Donald Trump.
In an interview with The Huffington Post, the 39-year-old actor discussed his latest film, Operation Finale, which recounts the story of a covert Israeli intelligence operation in Argentina in 1960 to capture Adolf Eichmann, a Nazi living in exile understood to be one of the chief architects of the Holocaust and ‘The Final Solution.’
Isaac, who plays the role of Mossad agent Peter Malkin, said the film was especially important to him because of America’s current political climate, where he argued there has been “sudden shift into extreme rhetoric centered around nationalism and anti-immigrant rhetoric and a lot of division and hatred being whipped up.”
“It’s easy to kind of think of the Nazis as just these monsters that came out of some abyss somewhere, and we fought them back, and now they’re gone. [That] they were these mindless psychopaths,” he explained.
“But the truth is these were people that seemingly had consciences, had families that they loved, had jobs, seemingly loved their country and because of a demagogue were able to be led into extreme racial hatred,” he continued. “That’s an incredibly relevant thing that’s happening now… This isn’t just a closed capsule of history, but something that could happen again, and I hope people draw those parallels.”
Interestingly enough, Isaac’s comments came just before President Donald Trump deported a former Nazi death camp guard, who has been living in the United States for decades.
Meanwhile, the film’s director Chris Weitz said that last year’s white nationalist protests in Charlottesville were a stark reminder of the historical prevalence of anti-semitism, that he believes could be replaced by hostility towards immigrants.
“To see Nazi flags on the streets of the U.S., to see torchlight processions … I think we always like to imagine that we put the thing to bed, but, eventually, we haven’t,” Weitz said. “It’s unfortunately perennial. It pops up in one form or another. It’s not only just about Nazis and about anti-Semitism… Yesterday’s anti-Semitism could be tomorrow’s anti-immigrant sentiment.”
It is not the first time that Isaac has expressed concern over America’s political sentiment. In a 2016 interview with Rolling Stone, the Guatemalan-born actor said he was not so concerned by Donald Trump, but by the views of his supporters.
“The problem is it’s less about the guy that’s saying it, and more that he’s being the mouthpiece for a large part of the population,” he said at the time. “Because that’s me, that’s my family. We’re immigrants.”
Operation Finale is released in theaters August 29th.