View the h-holocaust Discussion Logs by month
View the Prior Message in h-holocaust's May 2000 logs by: [date] [author] [thread]
View the Next Message in h-holocaust's May 2000 logs by: [date] [author] [thread]
Visit the h-holocaust home page.
Peter Novick writes: "Five million is either much too low (for all non-Jewish civilians killed by the Third Reich) or much too high (for non-Jewish groups targeted, like Jews, for murder) ... The Israeli historian Yehuda Bauer reports that Wiesenthal acknowledged to him in a private conversation that he simply invented it, to avoid "dividing the victims" ... the 11 million figure (6+5) ... is meaningless." In his book Novick writes, "Wisenthal's invented number ... combines maximum inclusiveness with the preservation of a Jewish majority." I read Novick as being overly euphemistic/ tactful. Wisenthal's invented number may in some senses be called "inclusive" but more importantly the invented number distorts the historical record and significantly misrepresents the number of gentile victims of the Nazis. An obvious questions: How did it happen that an invented and "meaningless" number has been repeated over and over by well informed scholars and prestigious institutions for the last 20 years? (Scholars/ institutions who are bothered that the general public is not better informed about the Holocaust.) My answer is that Holocaust scholars generally do not criticize any misrepresentation that tends to promote the primacy of the Jewish Holocaust even if such misrepresentations minimize suffering and death amongst non-Jews/ minimize the holocausts of non-Jewish groups. (Does some reader have a better answer as to why a "meaningless" number has received wide circulation and essentially no criticism.) As far as I know I am the only person who has documented the untruths and misleading statements re non-Jewish Nazi death etc at the US Holocaust Museum and in Berenbaum's well circulated >The World Must Know< - Holocaust scholars avert their eyes, and as long as they avert their eyes gentile death will be minimized. Novick's book while condemning the instrumentalization of the Jewish Holocaust and the sacramentalization of the "Final Solution" curiously never addresses the failure of Holocaust scholars to criticize those mis-reprepresentations that create the climate in which sacramentalization is easy. If the Jewish Holocaust is disconnected from its historical context - massive killing of gentles by Germans - then the massive industrial slaughter of Jews appears much more out of the ordinary - for the time and place - than in fact it was. [For readers who might have been offended by my use of "holocaust" to describe massive German killings of non-Jews: The history and meanings of "holocaust" have been misrepresented and sacramentalized by Holocaust scholars for the last dozen years. Contrary to the claims made in the well circulated article by Garber and Zuckerman (if I remember correctly Novick cites the article his bibliography) "holocaust" is not in the King James Bible, and was a well understood referent to destruction with absolutely no Judeo-Christian overtones before World War II. And the word was in use during World War II to describe the killing of both Jews and non-Jews, e.g. "Whereas the holocaust of mass murder of civilian populations, especially Jews continues..." (Congressional Record, 7 July 1943 - A 3601)] Jon Petrie (firstname.lastname@example.org)