Readers in Council,
The Japan Times,
5-4, Shibaura 4-chome,
Minato-ku, Tokyo 108-0023
In the January 27, 2010 story “Polish bishop’s Holocaust slur hit” Polish bishop Tadeusz Pieronek is quoted denying saying that the Jews have expropriated the Holocaust as a propaganda weapon. Or, maybe he acknowledged saying it, but denied saying that the Holocaust itself was a Jewish invention. I thought the story was a little vague about what the bishop said and what he didn’t say.
Without a doubt, Jews were the greatest single victims of planned Nazi genocide. When I was in high school in the 1970s I was taught in history class that the total number of victims of the Holocaust, while unknown and unknowable, was approximately ten million. The majority Jewish victims account for about 60% of that. The rest included a diverse group of the hated: Polish and Russian prisoners of war, both military and civilian; Roma people, or Gypsies; political opponents at home and abroad; religious opponents; homosexuals; the mentally retarded; victims of dementia, and more. In the end the Nazis were cannibalizing themselves. And yet, when people think about and talk about the Holocaust it is consistently with reference to six million Jewish victims. Even this paper quotes the six million Jewish figure in its occasional Holocaust stories, making no reference to the remaining victims. Four million is a rather large minority to ignore. So I do not disregard suggestions that the reason for it is that Jews get better press. Maybe they have earned it as the most injured party in the Holocaust, or as the single most abused people in history. To suggest that Jews invented or control the Holocaust is just plain stupid. But it is not objectively inaccurate to suggest that the Jewish toll dominates the narrative. Whether or not it is right that it does so is another topic.