CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Bright torches in the sky send unsettling messages on American soil. Those bold actions of protest are fueling flashbacks for Dr. Susan Spatz to a different place and time in her life.
"I saw it happen, and I saw it happen in a supposedly very civilized country," Spatz said.
She lived through the Holocaust, which occurred in her native home of Germany. The genocide occurred during another rise to power and claimed far too many lives. Aging numbers on her left arm, which were etched in ink by Hitler's regime, are worn as a badge of honor.
"I will never take it off either, because it exactly lets people know not to forget, " Spatz said. While so many perished during the Holocaust, survival for Spatz came through what she calls a stroke of luck.
The 95-year-old who lives in south Charlotte would eventually marry an American GI and move to the states by 1946.
"I was determined to live and I used every way I could," she said.
The racially charged violence that we've seen play out in Charlottesville, Virginia has her asking a simple question. "Where they come off to maintain that white is superior?" she asks.
With recent protests, counter protests and even death in the streets, Spatz worries that a painful page of international history has the potential of repeating itself.
"Never forget because that is the main problem," Spatz said."The danger signs are here."
She understands first amendment rights, but feels it can go to far.
"Hate speech is not freedom of speech," she said.