Many thanks to Mendy Hecht for his satire column, which last week (July 17) focused in part on the principal in Boca Raton who couldn’t say the Holocaust was “a factual, historical event.” That principal’s remark to a parent that “not everyone believes the Holocaust happened” led to the school board reassigning him.
Talk about a slap on the wrist! What a halfhearted message this sends.
It is troubling – and I’m getting used to it, which is even more troubling – that the principal is not operating in a vacuum. No, not by any stretch of the imagination. A 2018 article in Newsweek reported that one-third of Americans think the number of people killed in the Holocaust was “substantially less” than six million. Just this month, posters labeling the Holocaust as “fake news” were plastered onto the entrance of a house of worship in Massachusetts, attributed to the neo-Nazi Daily Stormer Book Club.
Statements and incidents like this have become too numerous to count, and show a definite shift in how the Holocaust is perceived in the United States, never mind Europe.
How does it benefit individuals or groups to deny the Holocaust? Is it an effort to delegitimize Israel? Something about this denial is extremely painful, but I’m not able to identify what it is.
Sarah Kleinman, Brooklyn, N.Y.