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Here’s The Story Of Anthony C. Acevedo, The First Mexican-American Recognized As A Holocaust Survivor

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When people think of those that survived or died in the Holocaust, Mexican-Americans are not the first that come to mind. In fact, they might not come to mind at all. However, there’s are millions of non-Jewish people that were victims of Hitler’s regime. There are 11 million people, including gay people, priests, gypsies, people with mental or physical disabilities, communists, trade unionists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, anarchists, Poles and other Slavic peoples, and resistance fighters, whodied in World War II. Like Jewish people, the non-Jewish community were seen as “undesirables.” One of those undesirables was Anthony C. Acevedo, a military medic for the United States. He documented life and death at a Nazi concentration camp.

Anthony C. Acevedo, a World War II veteran and survivor of a Nazi camp, died at the age of 93.

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While Acevedo died on Feb. 11,  his family buried him on March 8 in Riverside, California.

“If I can describe my father with one word, it would be heart,” Acevedo’s daughter, Rebeca Acevedo-Carlin, said at an earlier memorial service, according to CNN.

What an incredible, genuine man he was,” Fernando Acevedo, his son, said according to CNN. “He would always say have faith, care for others and, more importantly, love one another. I saw my father act with love toward everyone.”

Acevedo joined the U.S. Army as a medic in 1944.

CREDIT: U.S. Latino & Latina World War II Oral History Project. The University of Austin Texas.

Acevedo’s father was an engineer who worked for the U.S. government despite not having proper documentation. Acevedo’s mother died while he was a baby. In 1937, during the Great Depression, Acevedo’s father — like many Mexicans during that time — was deported to Mexico.

While Acevedo was born in San Bernardino, California, he went to Mexico to be with his dad.

In 2009, Acevedo said in an interview with The Press Enterprise that when he was interrogated by a German officer in 1945, the man knew all the details about his life.

“He pointed at me with his baton,” Acevedo said in 2009. “He knew everything about me. He knew about my family. He talked to me in Spanish and English. He said, ‘You were born in San Bernardino and raised in Pasadena. Your parents were kicked out of the United States. That’s what the Americans do.'”

On Jan. 6, 1945, Acevedo and 350 U.S. soldiers were captured during the Battle of the Bulge and sent to a Nazi prison and labor camp.

CREDIT: YouTube

“The Germans were getting closer and closer,” Acevedo said, according to U.S. Latino & Latina World War II Oral History Project. “We ran out of ammunition until, finally, we were caught.”

For the next several months, Acevedo had to help his fellow soldiers since he was a medic, but he was also trying to survive. They all faced torture and illness from brutal beatings and barely any food, the Washington Post reports.

“At the time, you would eat anything to try and survive,” Acevedo said, according to U.S. Latino & Latina World War II Oral History Project.

When he arrived at the camp, Acevedo weighed 149 pounds, and after he was released he weighed only 87 pounds.

While at the prison camp, Acevedo risked his own life by keeping a journal and documenting every death he witnessed.

CREDIT: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Anthony Acevedo

Here’s an example of one entry that the Washington Post reprinted.

April 2, 1945

Two more of our men died today + one last night makes 3 + 16 — makes 19; living in unsanitary conditions; water must be boiled before it is drinkened. No latrines. Deaths are increasing in great number.

When asked by the Holocaust Memorial Museum why he kept a journal and risked his life by doing so, he said: “It was my moral obligation to do so.”

“Prisoners were being murdered and tortured by the Nazis,” Acevedo told CNN in 2008. “Many of our men died, and I tried keeping track of who they were and how they died. I’m glad I did it.”

On April 23, 1945 the war ended and out of the 350 soldiers captured only 120 survived including Acevedo.

Acevedo spent the last two decades of his life volunteering at the veterans hospital where he passed away.

“They saluted my dad all the way up and down the hallway as we were walking. Four floors like that,” his son Fernando told CNN. “Nurses, doctors, patients who were able to stand — everyone was standing at attention saluting my dad. I tell you, that was really heavy.”

In 2010, Acevedo was the first Mexican-American to register as a Holocaust survivor at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum .

CREDIT: Facebook/Travis Cole

Kyra Schuster, U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum curator told CNN: “He was this man who, despite the odds against him, despite what he was going through and experiencing, it was still important for him to take care of others, to document what was happening, to make sure the world knew what had happened to them. That’s why he spoke out later in life. He was always putting other people ahead of himself. That’s how I see him, and that is so admirable.”


READ: A New Exhibition Tells The Stories Of Mexicans And Mexican-Americans Who Were Illegally Deported In The ’20s And ’30s

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Here Are 23 Feminista Instagram Accounts To Keep You Going

Things That Matter

Here Are 23 Feminista Instagram Accounts To Keep You Going

queerxicanochisme / dominicanbrujaprincess / Instagram

As of 2015, Latinxs make up over 17 percent of the U.S., but only make up 5.8 percent of the characters we see on TV. It’s 2018 now and while we wait for more Guillermo Diaz to get us to Thursday night’s “Scandal”, we’ll be on Instagram, where the popular vote actually counts. #democracy

Here’s our roundup for the Latinxs who are saying the things we can’t find words for, creating art that speaks our language, and who inspire us to keep taking up space in this world. I mean, we *are* the best thing that’s happened to Instagram, clearly.

1. Sofia Vergara

CREDIT: @sofiavergara / Instagram

Sofia Vergara co-founded a business called Empowered By You that gives 10 percent of sales back into a micro-financing loan programs specifically for women. What’s the business? It’s women’s underwear. Bless you, Sofia.

2. @theunapologeticallybrownseries

CREDIT: @theunapologeticallybrownseries / Instagram

Johanna Toruño created @theunapologeticallybrownseries when she was sitting in her bathtub in New York City. She was feeling frustrated and isolated after moving from El Salvador. Her art is influenced by the political street art that engulfed her childhood during the civil war.

3. Selena Gomez

CREDIT: @selenagomez / Instagram

Gomez has faced sexism and racism in the industry, from radio interviews to straight trolling on social media. But she doesn’t back down, and speaks up for lupus awareness, suicide prevention and Dreamers.

4. @latinarebels

CREDIT: @latinarebels / Instagram

Bio: “5 Latinas unveiling the complexities of Latina embodiment. Spreading knowledge 1 meme at a time.” We’re here for your memes that break hearts and wake us all up to action. #bowdown

5. Prisca Dorcas Mojica Rodriguez

CREDIT: @priscadorcas / Instagram

She’s the founder of ‘Latina Rebels’ and she’ll add the dose of realness to your Intagram feed that you need. When Rodriguez gives speeches, she refuses to stand behind a podium “because podiums have been used by [mostly] white politicians and preachers to spew hateful rhetoric towards women, LGBQI+ folks, and excused the destruction and exploitation of the global south – so fuck the podiums.”

6. @bad_dominicana

CREDIT: @bad_dominicana / Instagram

She’s bad but she’s so, so good. Her art collections are titled things like, “BLACK GIRLS LAYING DOWN, NOT GIVING A FUCK BOUT U Collection”. You can buy her prints at ShopZahiraKelly.com or get her work and words in your feed.

7. Dior Vargas

CREDIT: @dior_vargas / Instagram

Mental health has become a nationwide crisis, and one of the best things we can do to combat it is to talk about it. If you’re Latinx, your mom probably also just force-fed you chocolate to resolve your “depression.” Dior Vargas fights to remove the stigma in communities of color with her People of Color & Mental Illness Photo Project.

8. @dominicanbrujaprincess

CREDIT: @dominicanbrujaprincess / Instagram

Una “vigilante residing in Nueva York,” she brings bright, Dominican street art colors straight to your phone. Our bodies take up space, and I feel a thousand times more fabulous seeing a semblance of mine surrounded by agua de coco. TY, @dominicanprincessbruja. 

9. Demi Lovato

CREDIT: @ddlovato / Instagram

Lovato is vegana, speaks up for shelter dogs and is bae. Plus, she just released a Spanish version of ‘Tell Me You Love Me’ on Spotify and I’m ready to snuggle a pup while I listen.

10. Favianna Rodriguez

CREDIT: @favianna1 / Instagram

Rodriguez’ artwork is dedicated to immigrant rights, womanhood, queerness, and sexuality. Her art, like most art, is a revolution and a bold political statement. See beauty that lights up dark places here.

11. Zuly de la Rose

CREDIT: @zulydelarose / Instagram

An “artivist”, feminist and just badass advocate to break out of heteronormative constrictive roles, De La Rose is creating the space all of us need. The beauty of feminism, imo, is that it creates space for every other gender besides just the one cisgender male. We’re all beautiful and worthy of basic dignity and De La Rose makes it oh so obvious.

12. Janel Martinez

CREDIT: @janelm / Instagram

Creator of “Ain’t I Latina?”, Janel speaks through her journalism and with media companies about the role of colorism in the Latinx community and beyond. She has a lot of good and necessary things to say, so listen up.

13. Juliana Pache

CREDIT: @thecityofjules / Instagram

You might have heard of Pache back in February 2016 when she coined the hashtag heard around the world: #BlackLatinxHistory. @thecityofjules will light your feed up with her favorite Afro-Latinxs stories. We all need her.

14. Kat Lazo

CREDIT: @itskatlazo / Instagram

Our very own mitú Video Producer, Kat Lazo, is Peruana, Columbiana y feminista y orgullosa. She’s using her YouTube fame to let everyone know what’s up and dismantling myths and the patriarchy one video at a time. #TheKatKall

15. @xicanisma_

CREDIT: @xicanisma_ / Instagram

If you aren’t listening to a podcast right now, you *must* listen to Xicanisma. At the very least, follow to see what’s not making your news, including gentrification, and social justice issues around the globe.

16. @QueerXicanoChisme

CREDIT: @queerxicanochisme / Instagram

Rubén is Xicano, but doesn’t fuck with Mexico-centrism and is all about inclusivity. he is quick to use his social media reach and platform to seek social justice in times of crisis. Follow him.

17. @bitterbrownfemmes

CREDIT: @bitterbrownfemmes / Instagram

Cohosted by @xicanisma_ and @queerxicanochisme, this ‘gram gives us the memes and stories we need. Thank you for keeping us all accountable. ? They need your support, so check them out!

18. Eiza Gonzalez

CREDIT: @eizagonzalez / Instagram

Ok, it’s not hard for Gonzalez to redefine beauty standards because she’s, well, a drop-dead gorgeous model. She dedicates her platform to “todas las mujeres Mexicanas” who have helped inspire her to rep México in everything she does. We ❤ you!

19. Melissa Lozada-Olivia

CREDIT: @ellomelissa / Instagram

@ellomelissa is an artist, spoken word poet and author. Her posts are raw elements of her day and fan art of her poetry, like this “Ode to Brown Girls With Bangs”. This is one feminista you don’t want to miss.

20. @feministailustrada

CREDIT: @feministailustrada / Instagram

The machísmo is real in the Latinx communities and @feministailustrada is speaking our language… in our language. These feel like things you should be sharing with your bro primos.

21. @revolucionfeminista_

CREDIT: @revolucionfeminista_ / Instagram

“No habrá revolución sin evolución de conciencias. ♀” Recording the revolution around the globe. Be part of it. 

22. Cristal Gutiérrez

CREDIT: @cris8acupcake / Instagram

She’s a Xicana illustrator of all things feminista, immigrant rights and more. Plus, she sells these amazing Frida stickers!

23. Amanda Alcantara

CREDIT: @yosoy_amanda / Instagram

Amanda self-describes herself as an “unapologetic Caribbean Palabrera living in Spanglish” on all our IG feeds. She co-founded La Galería magazine and is the Digital Media Editor for Latino USA. What I love about following Amanda is that she gets vulnerable. Caption: “#tbt One year ago today I cut my hair at home at 2am because I didn’t want it to no longer define me, cuz I wanted to fight beauty standards and because I wanted to stop hiding my face.”

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