Sept. 1 1939, Holocaust Denial & Inglorious Basterds

Today is the seventieth anniversery of the official start of World War II, when the armies of the Third Reich crossed the Polish border. W.H. Auden famously wrote about that day, September 1, 1939. By then the Holocaust had already begun.

Sadly however, there are still many people who refuse to accept that the Holocaust happened, or at the very least think the number of victims have been greatly exaggerated by the Jews and Zionists in order to get what they want. So it was very appropriate that Orac addressed the blog of one such individual that he stumbled upon. The blogger wrote about his disbelief in the Holocaust while reviewing the film Inglorious Basterds, and what blogger Larry Fafarman says is a whole lotta stupid.

Fafarman insists that the Nazis had no viable way to identify Jews from the rest of the population except to say that somebody simply looks Jewish and thus, according to him, no mass hunting down and extermination of Jews could take place. Now even if that were true (just for the sake of argument), is the alleged inability to definitively identify Jews really a deal-breaker when one considers similar behaviors in human history like the Salem Witch Hunts or the witch hunts that continue today in Africa? No. But as the science and skeptical blogger Orac explains, the Nazis did indeed have more efficient ways of identifying Jews:

Apparently, Larry hasn’t heard of the mobile killing units, the Einsatzgruppen, mobile killing units who rounded up Jews and shot them by the hundreds and even thousands. Or how Jews like Ann Frank did indeed hide in the houses of gentiles willing to protect them from the Germans and were indeed found.

. . .

He clearly does not know that the Nazis expended an enormous amount of thought, resources, and effort on disinguishing Jews from non-Jews. In fact, the Nazis did not decide who was and was not a Jew by whether or not they “looked Jewish,” although it is true that Nazi racial hygienists did try to come up with measurements that would allow them to distinguish Jew from non-Jew. Rather, the Nazis enacted the Nuremberg Laws in 1935 in the first place. The first purpose of these laws was to strip Jews of virtually all rights. However, the second purpose was to define who was a Jew and who was Mischling (having Jewish ancestry but not enough to be considered Jewish under Nazi law).In effect the Nuremberg laws systematized the identification of Jews and tried to make it as objective as the Nazis could. Under these laws, a Jew was defined as (1) anyone having three or more Jewish grandparents regardless of whether he self-identified as a Jew or practiced the Jewish religion or (2) anyone having two Jewish grandparents who either:

  • Practiced the Jewish religion
  • Were married to a Jew
  • Had a Jewish parent, even if illegitimate

This latter category of Jews were known as Geltungsjude (“Jews by legal validity”). People who didn’t fall under any of the above conditions but had two Jewish grandparents were Mischling of the first degree, while anyone with only one Jewish grandparent was Mischling of the second degree, “Mischling” meaning “crossbreed” or “mixed.” In any case, the point is that the Nazis had a fairly straightforward definition of who was and was not a Jew based on their defining Jews as a race rather than a religion. In essence, they tried to define Jews by genetics rather than than self-identification or practicing the Jewish religion. True, there may have been gray areas, and there were even legal cases in Nazi Germany over who would and would not be considered a Jew, but it was very, very systematic, and, yes, about as “objective” as such a process could be made. It is also true that the basis of the systematized and objective standards of the Nuremberg Laws were based on a dubious conception of Jews as a race, but they were very systematic.

That’s a pretty solid refutation that’s far better than I could have given, but what puzzles me most of all is Fafarman’s comment regarding two of the film’s characters:

It was very sad about Shosanna and Frederick (pictured) — in different circumstances, they could have had a very good relationship.

Really? Now for those who haven’t seen the movie, this will be pretty meaningless to you. But I very strongly feel that the two characters refered to above could never have  had “a very good relationship” under virtually any other circumstances unless history unfolded dramatically different from how it did. Shosanna and Frederick legitimately together? I don’t see it.

Now perhaps for dramatic purposes, Orac treats this Holocaust denier’s blog as particularly delusional compared to much of the other nonsense he regularly encounters. And I have to disagree. Sadly, this blogger strikes me as no more delusional than the typical evolution denier, anti-vaccinationist, moon landing denier, or any other denialist crank. It shows the same unwillingness to do proper research and accept findings that might disconfirm one’s own beliefs.

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