Andrea Pitzer is an American journalist, known for One Long Night: A Global History of Concentration Camps and The Secret History of Vladimir Nabokov.
Pitzer was widely cited, in 2019, when there was a spirited discussion as to whether the camps where the United States Border authorities detained refugee claimants were or weren't canonical concentration camps. In particular, a tweet where Congressional Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez linked to an article in Esquire magazine, that extensively quoted Pitzer stirred widespread debate.
Pitzer was interviewed on All In with Chris Hayes, on the Border Patrol detention camps, on June 6, 2019. According to Pitzer, recognizable concentration camps were first used in Spanish Cuba, in the 1890s. She said that while the Nazi death camps were the best known concentration camps, they have been used around the world. She said she found that concentration camps were hard to close; how she found that authorities found them so convenient, that they were re-used for other groups. She cited how French camps first used to house refugees from the Spanish Civil War were later used by the Vichy French to house Jews rounded up to hand over to their Nazi occupiers, and a camp at the Guantanamo Naval Base to house Haitian and Cuban refugees was later used to house captives from Afghanistan. She said her book began when she "looked to see how this idea, of rounding up a whole bunch of civilians - noncombatants - and putting them in detention, without trial... How did that get to be seen as a good idea?"
- Andrea Pitzer (April 30, 2019). "The small-town West Virginia bookstore that helped me survive my terrible childhood: The Books in My Grandparents' Parkersburg Store Helped Me Escape From My Troubles and Understand Cruelty". Zocalo Public Square. Retrieved July 17, 2019.
Jack Holmes (June 13, 2019). "An Expert on Concentration Camps Says That's Exactly What the U.S. Is Running at the Border: "Things can be concentration camps without being Dachau or Auschwitz."". Esquire magazine. Retrieved July 17, 2019.
But while the world-historical horrors of the Holocaust are unmatched, they are only the most extreme and inhuman manifestation of a concentration-camp system—which, according to Andrea Pitzer, author of One Long Night: A Global History of Concentration Camps, has a more global definition.
Masha Gessen (June 21, 2019). "The Unimaginable Reality of American Concentration Camps". New Yorker magazine. Retrieved July 17, 2019.
Pitzer argued that "mass detention of civilians without a trial" was what made the camps concentration camps.
- "The Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez 'concentration camp' debate, explained". Jewish Telegraphic Agency. June 19, 2019. Retrieved June 25, 2019.
Chris Hayes (June 6, 2019). "Lessons from history as U.S. detains more migrants". MSNBC. Retrieved July 17, 2019.
As the U.S. camp system to detain migrants grows, author Andrea Pitzer laid out lessons from history on camp detentions.