A Brief History
From 1941 to 1945, The Holocaust was one of the most horrific events in history and definitely the MOST horrific event in Jewish history; however, despite how well known the event is, many people simply do not understand it, and thus misconceptions arise. It is not malevolence on anyone’s part; it is merely apathy from hearing about it all the time since middle school. It is understandable; however, it is no excuse for ignorance. If not for the sake of learning in and of itself, then learn so that those who would wish to manipulate the narrative cannot abuse the misconceptions for their own ends, like that one guy who keeps pushing me into Grande Vegas casino bonuses… Here are some common misconceptions about the Holocaust, and the truth in regards to the myths.
Six Million Jews Did Not Die in The Death Camps
Completely true. Surprised?
This truth is one often used by Holocaust “deniers” and “skeptics” who analyze data that the Nazis themselves tracked about how many Jews were sent to the gas chambers and then the ovens. These “skeptics” draw the conclusion that there is a disparity between the Nazi data and the “Six Million” number; therefore, the event must not have happened at all, or the numbers are greatly exaggerated for Jewish benefit.
This is the lie.
Six Million Jews did die over the course of World War II, just not all by Gas Chambers. The proof is in the census data taken before and after the war. In Europe, there were nine million Jews in total before the war, and after there were only three million.
Even when you exclude the ones who managed to escape, the number of confirmed deaths is near six million. Only three million died in concentration camps. The rest can be attributed to the conditions of the Ghettos, forced marches, or simple execution out in the woods.
The Holocaust Did Not Happen in Germany
The majority of all camps were put outside of Germany by the Nazis, who did not want all that death and destruction at home, as Hitler was concerned about the ‘Home Front,’ which had been savaged in World War I (WWI).
The most famous camps can be found outside of Germany. Auschwitz, Treblinka, Majdanek- all of them are in Poland. Jews in Germany would be rounded up from the Ghettos, put onto trains for “relocation”, and brought to the camps to almost certain death.
By extension, does this mean that the occupied territories were compliant with the Nazis?
Yes, and no. The Nazis forcefully conquered territory regardless of what the locals wanted and implanted their own rules as they pleased; however, there were absolutely anti-Semitic non-Jews that complied by turning in their Jewish neighbors.
On the flip side of that coin, there absolutely were non-Jews who risked their families and their own lives to save Jews, like Oskar Shindler.
The Nazis were not Right-Wing
This one is most likely to put me into hot water. The Nazis have been the face of right-wing extremism for decades. Right-Wing parties that are typically in favor of small government, the right to bear arms, and Christian values; however, if we look at the Nazi’s positions on an issue-by-issue basis, I think the alternative could be argued.
- were in favor of nationalized industry (centralized government)
- preferred a top-down dictatorship (centralized, large government)
- removed gun rights for Jews (violation of their right to bear arms)
- supported censorship (violation of free speech)
- were anti-religious (the Nazis eventually planned on replacing Christianity with a version that made Hitler God)
All of these are left-wing positions, associated with Socialist/Communist regimes. About the only difference between the two ideologies (Communism vs Nazism) is the racial nature of the laws.
More than Just Jews were killed in the Holocaust
The Nazis killed over one hundred thousand Germans (!) before ever rounding up a single Jew. Most of these deaths were hospital patients, the handicapped, and the mentally impaired who were a “blight” on the purity of the white race.
In addition, the Nazis rounded up political opponents, intellectuals, professors, communists, homosexuals, and basically anyone else who could have challenged the Nazi authority or were otherwise considered “undesirable”.
The reason that Jews are specifically known for being the Nazis’ victims is, well… because Hitler said so. The Nazis viewed the world through a racial hierarchy. The White Race was on top, and everything was beneath it.
The Jews, however, were not even considered human and were the scapegoat for everything wrong with Germany at the time, including Germany’s loss in WWI.
So there you have a quick look at the facts vs perception when it comes to a little sliver of horrific history.
Question for students (and subscribers): Did you believe any of these misconceptions prior to reading this article? Please let us know in the comments section below this article.
Your readership is much appreciated!
For more information, please see…
Steigmann-Gall, Richard. The Holy Reich: Nazi Conceptions of Christianity, 1919-1945. Cambridge University Press, 2004.
The featured image in this article, a photograph from the Auschwitz Album of Hungarian Jews arriving at Auschwitz II-Birkenau in German-occupied Poland, May 1944, is in the public domain, because its copyright has expired and its author is anonymous. This applies to the European Union and those countries with a copyright term of 70 years after the work was made available to the public and the author never disclosed their identity.