The Guardian published an article showing that more than half pf people living in Great Britain are unaware of the extent of Jewish deaths at Nazi hands, or that the UK government shut the door to Jewish immigration at the outbreak of the Second World War. Jeff Lever, a Jewish socialist, has responded to this on the Republican Socialist Alliance blog.
A JEWISH SOCIALIST RESPONDS TO GUARDIAN ARTICLE ON THE HOLOCAUST
Aama Mohdin and Rachel Hall, The Guardian, 10.11.20
“Just over half of Britons did not know that 6 million Jewish people were murdered during the Holocaust , and less than a quarter thought that 2 million or fewer were killed, a new survey has found.
The study also found that 67% of UK respondents wrongly believed that the government allowed all or some Jewish immigration, when in fact the British government shut the door to Jewish immigration at the outbreak of the war.”
Jeff Lever responds
I’m not surprised.
I would add that up to a further 5 or 6 million non-Jews were also murdered, including people with disabilities (the earliest such victims), Roma, homosexuals, labour movement activists, Communists, Jehovah’s Witnesses and others dissenting from fascism or conformism.
So, when the category of holocaust victims is systematically narrowed to Jews alone, as implicitly the case in survey reported by The Guardian, and in the failure of The Guardian to contextualise the report more broadly, it doesn’t help us in our important task of preserving the memory and learning the lessons of Europe’s plummet into barbarism in the mid-twentieth century.
In my view, it’s a real and dangerous form of holocaust denial, permitting the majority non-Jewish population to imagine that their family members would have been safe from this atrocity, and therefore reducing the social base of material interest and pressure for learning, preventative policy and action for the future. That too contributes to the state of ignorance reported by The Guardian.
It is argued that the genocidal motive against the Jews was specific to them (us, in my case), but is that not also the case for the Roma who suffered a loss of between half and one million, a proportion of their total population similar to that suffered by the Jews? Of course, both require serious study. Moreover, although different, the murderous passions and motives relating to other the victim groups, such as people with disabilities and political opponents, are no less barbarous and dangerous to civilisation.
Today, I notice certain ironies.
John Mann, the former MP, now Baron Mann, who made his name smearing Corbyn as an alleged antisemite, and who Boris Johnson has appointed advisor on antisemitism, notoriously racialised the offence of trespass in the Bassetlaw Anti-Social Behaviour Handbook he authored in 2007, with the bold strapline “Police have powers to remove any Gypsies and Travellers” which, although wrong in law, has been distributed to the public on at least six occasions since.
And “Never Again” campaigners (never again to who?) sloganise that “six million Jews died in concentration camps” or even “in Auschwitz”, when in fact the number of Jews who died is thought to be between 5.2 and 6.2 million, but of whom one to two million (including my grandfather Jonas Engelmayer in Ustrzyki Dolne, in SE Poland) were never in camps, but were murdered in the street or on the outskirts of their towns by Nazi death squads, so that the concentration camps account for between 3.2 and 5.1 million Jews. Blanking out the prospect of the murder of your neighbours in your streets by death squads again sanitises the holocaust for the majority of the population for whom death camps can safely be assumed to be geographically remote and “out of sight”.
Experience has taught me that these casual inaccuracies (of a mere one or two million Jews) are a telling hallmark of those who are not educating, but are making rhetoric for other political ends.
[For the avoidance of doubt, the Auschwitz figures are estimated at around 1.1 million dead out of 1.3 prisoners, of whom 960,00 Jews (including my grandmother Clara Engelmayer), 74,000 Poles, 21,000 Roma, 15,000 Soviet prisoners of war and 15,000 other Europeans were murdered before the camp was liberated by the Soviet army on 27 January 1945. There were at least another four purpose-engineered killing centres; as well as slave camps where people died having been intentionally overworked, malnourished and denied medical attention; and thousands of other holding centres where the Nazis kept victimised civilians captive.]
1. The growing recognition that Israel is an apartheid state – Tony Greenstein, Weekly Worker
2. On Anti-semitism – Roland Rance, Socialist Resistance
3. Zionist attempts to close down the debate on Zionism lies in ruins – Tony Greenstein blog
4. Netanyahu in alliance with neo-nazis – Tony Greenstein, Weekly Worker
5. The IHRA and apartheid Israel – i) Moshe Machover ii) Shahd Abuslama, iii) Edinburgh RIC