The Fading Holocaust
by Gilad Atzmon
“Holocaust Is Fading From Memory” the New York Times reported last week. Apparently a survey commissioned by the ‘Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany’ found that “many adults lack basic knowledge of what happened — and this lack of knowledge is more pronounced among millennials, whom the survey defined as people ages 18 to 34.”
The Jewish Material Claims Against Germany reported that “Thirty-one percent of Americans, and 41 percent of millennials, believe that two million or fewer Jews were killed in the Holocaust”
This leaves me wondering how it is that the number Jews who died in the holocaust keeps dropping in people’s minds. The numbers of dead Russians stays solid at around 20 million. The number of the Brits who died in the Blitz also stays at around 40,000. The number of Palestinians ethnically cleansed by the newly born Jewish State just three years after the liberation of Auschwitz remains solid at about three quarters of a million. Only the number of Jews who died in the big war keeps fluctuating. I’d like to suggest to our friends at ‘Jewish Material Claims Against Germany’ that statistics may not provide the answer. They may want to ask themselves why is it that despite intense holocaust indoctrination in the newly formed religion’s tenet, namely the primacy of Jewish suffering, the message is somehow ignored and often rejected. The anomalies go further. The Russians, the Vietnamese and the Palestinians do not constantly measure Americans’ acknowledgment of their suffering. They do not poll Americans’ approval rate of their holocausts on a weekly basis so the next question is why Jewish institutions feel the need to do so.
The NYT reports that “Forty-one percent of Americans, and 66 percent of millennials, cannot say what Auschwitz was.”
This, I must admit, is worrying. By now we have a holocaust museum in pretty much every city in the West. Clearly this has not been enough. I recommend that we consider building a holocaust shrine on every street of every city in America. And if this fails, there may be no other option but to push for legislation that makes it compulsory for every household in America and beyond to dedicate a room to Holocaust commemoration.
Matthew Bronfman, a board member of the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany told the NYT, “As we get farther away from the actual events, 70-plus years now, it becomes less forefront of what people are talking about or thinking about or discussing or learning action, I think we’re really going to be behind the eight ball.”
Maybe, just maybe, when the ‘Jewish material claims’ body starts to look at Palestinians’ material loses in the name of the holocaust, the American people and everyone else (including Jews) may see a point in internalising the meaning of Auschwitz as a universal message and a lesson in history.