SKOKIE, Ill., March 25 (UPI) -- Some of them spent World War II in concentration camps.
Others hid in Europe's forests or in the homes of people who refused to knuckle under to the Nazi regime.
A few spent the war in the Soviet Union.
But to a man and woman -- all now in their 70s and 80s -- they are of one mind when it comes to the U.S.-led war against Iraq: It's something that must be done and done now.
The Holocaust survivors who attend a weekly meeting at the Holocaust Memorial Foundation of Illinois see parallels between Adolf Hitler and Saddam Hussein -- and parallels between the ways other countries are dealing with the situation.
Tucked away on a moderately busy street in Skokie, a Chicago suburb, which has been the scene of Neo-Nazi demonstrations in the past because of its large Jewish population, the group debates the merits of war and the costs of the conflict. Skokie was where white-supremacist Benjamin Smith, during a two-state killing spree in 1999, shot and killed former Northwestern University head basketball coach Ricky Birdsong because he was black.
Appeasement was the approach before World War II and the group worries about the opposition of the French, Germans and Russians to the U.S. military attack against Iraq.
"We know who appeased Hitler," said Joe, one of several Memorial Foundation members who asked that their last names not be used. "And we know what the results were."
"Look who's opposed. France and Germany," said Sima, a small woman who expressed her opinions with energy. "The reason they oppose the war is business: They sold more to Iraq than anyone else."
Showing a defiance that was a luxury they could not afford under Nazi domination, the group equated Saddam with Hitler and warned that unless he is taken out now, he will have to be taken out later -- at a higher cost.
"Whatever Bush did is right," said Irving Rubinstein, an Auschwitz survivor. "They are bloody murderers growing us another Hitler." Given the chance, Rubinstein said, Saddam would take over Iran, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Jordan, and then destroy Israel. "We should nuke him."
"He presents a danger for the whole world, especially Israel," said Anshel, who kept jumping into the debate. "Thank God America has courage."
Paula said she was unsure about the president's position but was reassured when Secretary of State Colin Powell started pushing for action. The former head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff "deserves respect," she said.
"Nobody likes war," said Simon, a veteran of the British Army in Palestine and, later, a captain in the Israeli Army, "but it was forced on us. ... Evidently they (France and Russia) didn't learn their lesson and don't appreciate what America did for them (in World War II)."
But Simon is worried. He sees signs of anti-Semitism growing in the United States.
"That's how Hitler started," he reminds the group. "(Saddam) tried everything he could to be king of the Middle East. ... It was a very good idea they finally decided to hit him. Now they (other Arab regimes) will think twice (about taking on Israel and the United States)."
A few miles away at the Islamic Community Center of Des Plaines, President Ghuram Farooqie, who immigrated two decades ago from India, said he doesn't know if Saddam is a threat to the world but "as a person, I think he's not a good person because of what he does to his own people."
Farouqie said if he could talk with Saddam, he would advise him to get out of Iraq.
"Get out of the country and leave the people in peace," he said.