Guys, I Think My Dad’s Antifa

Dave Pell
4 min readJun 11, 2020

Guys, I really need to talk to you about something. It’s been weighing on my mind for a while. I’m probably just being hysterical. But it keeps nagging at me. I can’t let it go.

I think my 96 year-old dad might be part of Antifa.

I can feel you rolling your eyes like my friends and family do when I whisper to them about this theory. But hear me out.

There’s been a troubling pattern of behavior since he was a child.

In Holocaust ravaged Poland, as the Nazi front approached, instead of simply waiting to be absorbed by the Fascist lifestyle and embracing the convincing messaging put together by Joseph Goebbels and his copywriters, my dad’s family actually moved away from the incursion. (I know, I know. But wait. It gets worse.)

By the time my dad was in his early teens, he had lost his entire family to the Nazis and their henchmen. One day he got a tip that the Nazis were planning to combine his ghetto with a neighboring one because so many people had been killed. Instead of sticking around to participate in this community building effort, he hid in a barn. A soldier approached the barn, walked in, an got within a few feet of where my dad was hiding behind a few bales of hay.

Did my dad call out out and say, “Here I am! I’m not Antifa. Can you show me the way to the new unified ghetto?” No. Sadly, he didn’t. He just kept quiet. And like everyone keeps saying, silence is consent.

After the soldier left, my dad—having missed his opportunity—crawled on his hands and knees, with no family, and nothing but the clothes on his back, through the snow, until he reached the darkness of the Polish forest, where he survived, on his own for many months in the winter. (In addition to being Antifa, I’m pretty sure he’s Antisocial.)

He finally managed to get a gun which made him eligible to join a group of partisans who lived in the woods and ran operations … this part is hard to even say out loud … against the fascists.

Yeah, you’re not rolling your eyes now, are you? Imagine trying to explain that little piece of family history to a potential mate, a child, or the hosts of Fox & Friends.

Sometimes these partisans would ambush Nazis who were trying to invade a new town. My dad found himself put in charge of blowing up Nazi trains that were bringing weapons and supplies to the front. He would be given a small explosive device with a button on it. He’d dig a hole underneath a train track and place the bomb so that the button was right under a railroad tie. When the train arrived, its weight would press down on the button and boom! The engine would be damaged and the track would often take days or weeks to repair.

I mean, I sure as hell wouldn’t call that Protifa, would you?

Then after helping the allies win the war (an outcome directly related to the Fas’ loss), my dad moved to America, of all places. And this was back when America and its leaders were lost in something of anti-fascist fervor (which wore off starting in 2016).

And not just America. He ended up in San Francisco (blech) where he started his own business (ugh) and became a wildly successful guy (puke) who was able to give away large sums of money (elite) to organizations. That seems great, until you dig in and realize that not a single one of those organizations has done a damn thing to support fascism.

A few years ago, my parents and I went to Washington, DC, where I saw their names on the wall at the Holocaust Museum. I’m not telling anyone where to donate their money. But that place sure doesn’t put fascism in a very nice light.

I’ve been able to brush this all aside for years; to convince myself that these life experiences were just random, momentary diversions that put my dad in a position where he appeared not to be pro-fascist.

Finally, I had to confront him. I drove over to his house, walked into his living room, and that’s when I saw it. He and my mom, both wearing masks, watching Fareed Zakaria on CNN.

So you see why I’m so worried. If it had been Maddow, I’d be sure.

Dave Pell is The Internet’s Managing Editor.



Dave Pell

I write NextDraft, a quick and entertaining look at the day’s most fascinating news.