German Author Of ‘Dear Americans’ Viral Message Says Rise Of Trump Made Him ‘Physically Sick’
The German author of the viral ‘Dear Americans’ note warning of the parallels between Adolf Hitler and Donald Trump has revealed feeling “physically sick” at the prospect of the Republican nominee entering the White House, and his frustration at how “civilized discussion” has been off-limits.
On Friday, ‘Johan Franklin’ posted the message above on Twitter that was shared and re-tweeted hundreds of thousands of times over the weekend.
In an interview with The Huffington Post UK, ‘Johan Franklin’ – which is a pseudonym – reveals himself as a German-born, 44-year-old IT consultant, who currently lives in San Diego, California, but still has a home in Germany.
He explains the response has been largely positive: re-tweeted by, among others, J.K Rowling to her 8.5 million followers. But some Trump supporters have made death threats, and even found his email address.
With the note gaining traction, ‘Franklin’ penned another tweet explaining that he did not work for the Clinton campaign, but would vote for her if he could. “I can’t. I’m German. Pay attention,” he added.
In the interview with HuffPost UK, he joked about “my 15 mins of fame!” but added: “Andy Warhol didn’t mention anything about death threats though.”
“What prompted me?,” he says. “It was a growing feeling of frustration. Of seeing people I used to have a great connection with turn into Trump supporters with absolutely zero capability of a civilized discussion.
“It made me question whether I was the one who made the wrong assumptions. It made me question whether 30,000 deleted emails on a non-government email server really ARE worse than boasting about sexual assault and basically insulting anything and anybody under the sun.”
He added: “And it started to remind me of all the times I had to defend my country’s reaction to what happened from ‘33 to ‘45
‘Franklin’ says ‘German collective guilt’ is “really a thing”.
He’s surprised that the tweet would “take up a life on its own”, but is “glad it touched a nerve”.
He goes on: “In fact, I am pleasantly surprised about the amount of positive feedback. I’ve been following the run-up to the election on Twitter for a while, and it sometimes made me physically sick. So I was expecting a lot more hate mail when my text when viral. Happy to say, apart from the odd death threat, it’s been mostly good.”
‘Franklin’ explains some of the less favourable responses.
“Some people replied stuff like ‘Fix your own country first’, and I can see their point. But when people start quoting figures from the Daily Mail (a highly reputable source of quality journalism) that refugee crimes in Germany are ranking so highly since the beginning of the year … that’s just silly.”
‘Franklin’ has been “in and out” of the US since 2007, and living in San Diego since 2014. “Still have my place in Hamburg, so I guess I still qualify as ‘German’,” he says.
He joked that his tweets “could have just as well been the brainchild of a crafty young HC campaign manager”. “That’s what worried me actually, that this whole thing could backfire by being instrumentalised by Trump supporters.”