Thursday, May 2, 2019

... and others

Source: USHMM 
I found this chart on Wikipedia here. I cannot vouch for its accuracy 

I was just listening to the Ben Shapiro radio show, which I like a lot, even though I disagree with him about much, esp Trump. Shapiro is intelligent and there is not enough intelligent radio out there. 

Today Shapiro's guest was Robert Rozett, identified as chief historian at Yad Vashem. 

Shapiro presented Rozett with a daunting task: nowadays too many people, including young Americans, don't know much of anything about the Holocaust. What are the basic facts they need to know? 

Rozett said, and I'm attempting to paraphrase from memory, that people needed to know that the Nazis murdered six million Jews. Not only the Nazis carried out these murders. The Nazis had accomplices in local, occupied populations. This was all about anti-Semitism, and to prevent such events in the future we need to educate people about Jews. 

I understand that Rozett was under pressure on a live radio show to summarize cataclysmic, and very painful, history in a few minutes. 

At the same time his assessment could be improved. I note that Dr. Rozett was emphatic in emphasizing that people who were not German or Nazis participated in mass killing. There is another emphasis that Dr. Rozett could have chosen. He could have mentioned what are frequently referred to as "...and others." 

The Nazis mass murdered, gassed, tortured, deported, planned genocides of and experimented on  members of other groups, including Gypsies, aka Rom, Poles, Serbs, handicapped people, homosexuals, Polish priests, communists, "...and others." 

Yes, we must always cede the dubious distinction to Jews of being the population most victimized by percentage, and we must acknowledge the disproportionate attention Nazis placed on demonizing Jews. Yes. 

At the same time, unless I am reading the above charts incorrectly, in terms of raw numbers, Nazis killed more Slavs than Jews. I'm not competing here. I'm mentioning a pertinent historical fact. 

I remember when Polish-American poet John Guzlowski appeared on Leonard Lopate's NPR radio show. Guzlowski was there to discuss his poems about his parents, who had been victimized by the Nazis. John's father was in Buchenwald. John's mother was a slave laborer whose family members were raped, tortured, and murdered by Nazis and Ukrainian collaborators. 

Lopate is a 78-year-old man, educated, and a radio host for 42 years. Authors and statesmen appear on his show. 

Lopate's first question to Guzlowski, iirc, was, "Polish Catholics were victimized by the Nazis? Really???" 

 Dr. Rozette's summary, one all too often fallen back on, distorts history, distorts Nazism, and does not help us to live up to "Never again." The Rwandan genocide, said to be the world's fastest, had nothing to do with anti-Semitism. 

I say this again and again. Every semester, I ask new students, what was the first and last group the Nazis murdered as part of an organized program? A group Nazis continued to murder even after the Nazi surrender? 

My students *never know the answer.* They haven't a clue. And yes they've all received state-mandated Holocaust education.

The answer is handicapped people. 

And my students are flabbergasted, utterly confused. That Nazis would murder their own fellow citizens because they were handicapped is incomprehensible to them. They have been taught that Nazism began and ended with anti-Semitism. 


  1. Your cited table includes the minimized figure of 1.8 million Poles dead at the hands of Nazi Germany. I dispute this. It could be as high as 4.4 million. It is always the minimized figure that is cited.

    1. Hello Mr. Peczkis,

      I post a link to an article that You may like. I hope You will enjoy the reading it.

    2. Interesting article, but its significance should not be overstated. Those who publicly make statements of fairness to Poland are few and far between.

    3. I commented on the article and expressed my thanks. its brave to speak up in face of the Zeitgeist.

  2. In Polish, but I think it easy to understand what this is about. please check their website and note that there are so mamy "German Fighters" and only one Pole. I'm being cynical Herr but it beta the question- what nationality were the nazis?


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