I was writing this a couple of weeks ago, well before the recent shootings at a synagogue in San Diego. That hate crime underscores everything I’m going to state here.
Sunday, January 27th, 2019 was Holocaust Remembrance Day, and these thoughts are about the possibilities of Nazism rearing its ugly head once again, this time in the United States.
Just the other day, I stumbled across a superbly-written article penned in late January of this year and published by BBC News. It described a poll recently conducted of two thousand people in England by Opinion Matters for the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust (HMDT), and I’ll take a moment to summarize the results.
Forty-five percent of those polled in that study in England stated they have no idea how many people were killed in the Holocaust.
Nineteen percent of those polled believe that fewer than two million Jews were murdered.
Five percent of those polled believe the Holocaust never actually occurred.
“Prime Minister Theresa May led tributes online with a message she had written in the Holocaust Educational Trust’s book of commitment, calling for people to once again remember the catastrophe, and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn commented, ‘Let us never allow anti-Semitism or any other form of racism to disfigure our society.’”
Nice that Britain’s leadership has it right. However, an alarmingly high percentage of Britain’s citizenry remains either ill-informed or unconvinced that the Holocaust was the tragedy that it was. Forty-five percent plus nineteen plus five is sixty-nine percent of those polled, with the implication that only the remaining thirty-one percent of the two thousand people polled have a reasonable concept of the Holocaust as a hideous historical event. And if you elect to challenge my math by saying, “Wait a minute, nineteen percent were aware of the Holocaust, but they simply got the order of magnitude wrong,” I’ll reluctantly grant that as a somewhat valid objection to my analysis.
Two million, six million, it’s all the same, right?
So forty-five percent of those polled have no clue about the depth of death in the Holocaust, and five percent are Holocaust “Denialists” in Great Britain.
That’s an astounding fifty percent.
And that discouraging data, if nationalized as a statistically valid sampling of Britons, has global implications because the United Kingdom is, as a whole, an extremely well-educated nation.
From master-and-more.eu, a partial list of the finest national educational systems in the world.
The United Kingdom
If fifty percent of British citizens have little or no depth of knowledge of the Holocaust in a highly educated nation (6th internationally), and we already must certainly agree that the citizens of Germany (ranked 12th educationally) were successfully manipulated and led by Adolph Hitler into an era of Nazism, then where might this nation, the United States (ranked 14th), sit on the “Likelihood Scale” … my creation, of future anti-Semitic behavior?
The Likelihood Scale contains two basic factors, the educational awareness of the general population, and the societal temperament of a nation’s citizenry. First, educational awareness. The UK ranks sixth in the world, and we are fourteenth on the current scale of academic excellence. Somewhere in all of this, there is a syllogistic thought process that suggests that if fifty percent of Britons are essentially unaware of the slaughter that was the Holocaust, then at least that many Americans are as unaware, as well. And the American percentage is probably somewhat higher, given this nation’s lower international ranking in educational awareness.
If you disagree with the logic in the prior paragraph, please answer this question.
How can a nation less educationally sophisticated be more informed than a nation with a profoundly better system of education? It makes no sense that if the British are ill-informed about the Holocaust, Americans have a better working knowledge of that time in the history of mankind. And now, here’s the thrust of this article.
It is Georges Santayana’s statement, “Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
When Japan attacked this nation on December 7th, 1941, in a single day we were no longer Democrats or Republications. Our common bond united us and overshadowed our differences, and we all became Americans against Japan.
When Adolph Hitler gave the German people a unification proposal, hatred of Jews, the Nazi party was born. You are miserable, hate the Jews. I am miserable, hate the Jews. As a nation, we have enormous economic problems. All caused by the Jews. And so, the bond was forged. There is great similarity in what Hitler did for Germany and what Japan did for the United States. Each gave the citizens of a nation a reason to unite and a common enemy to despise.
Today, this nation is plagued with issues, as have generations before us been plagued with the issues of their time. On the Likelihood Scale, however, I sense that the United States, because of the divisive nature of our society, is ripe for a powerful leader, a skilled orator, to plead his case that the source of all our turmoil and national complexities must be the Jew. His goal would be unification against a common foe, as was Adolph Hitler’s approach in the 1930’s. The orator I depict cannot be successful, to the extent I fear, if he blames a different ethnic group. He cannot be anti-white, nor can he be anti-black. Each group is far too large to attack. But to paint the Jew as the money-hoarding, economic-crisis-causing blemish on American society is a concept that might just take hold. Fresh out of college in the mid-1960’s I went to work for Univac, primarily because IBM didn’t hire Jews. So antisemitism isn’t new to America, it’s just quietly there, festering. We are the legendary “Christ-killers”, after all, and without a pulpit, the reincarnate American Hitlerian-Orator can play on age-old religious beliefs and stir the masses. He can also play to the disadvantaged in ghetto communities, claiming it is the money-hungry Jew who gouges the poor and ruthlessly cares only for the contents of his purse. It’s the mood and temperament of any nation that concerns me, and when that nation’s citizens need an excuse, a whipping-boy, a united entity to blame and despise, Nazism may again rear its head once more.
The only tool we possess to combat the possibility of the rise of National Socialism on American soil is education. Never allow a school board to strike the Holocaust from its curricula. Never permit all the shocking atrocities of Adolph Hitler’s Germany to be glossed over. And never soften the blows. Blatantly show our children the disturbing photographs, the films of walking stick-figures on liberation day, and allow our offspring to openly weep when we show them the ovens of Dachau.
We must never forget, and these images of unimaginable atrocities must be etched firmly in our minds, for all time. It is our duty, our obligation to the entire human race, to teach and remember what human beings have done in the name of some obscure, ludicrous doctrine of grand but purely theoretical supremacy.
We must, at all cost, preserve our humanity, our decency, and our commitment to never have a Hitlerian-type orator sway us, primarily because we have allowed ourselves to become uninformed and, therefore, receptive to filth.
Never allow our children, and our children’s children, to forget.
That is the obligation of a Jew.
And a Christian. And a Muslim. And an atheist, as well.
And if there is to be a show of hands, let us all raise ours in unison as we say,