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  #1  
Old 12-16-2009, 05:29 PM
Jim B. Jim B. is offline
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EXACTLY What Percentage of Jews Were Killed in the Holocaust?

I think it is safe to say I've probably heard it all of my life: About 6 Million Jews were systematically killed during the Nazi Holocaust. The only thing that has never been made clear to me at least, is what percentage of the total Jews in the world was 6 million back then?

The question is an interesting one too, because if a majority of Jews were killed, in a way Hitler won that part. On the other hand, if a non-majority was killed, at least Jewish people can be consoled with that fact (which is still little consolation to some, I realize).

Thank you in advance to all who reply
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Last edited by Jim B.; 12-16-2009 at 05:30 PM.. Reason: Misspelling typo.
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  #2  
Old 12-16-2009, 05:40 PM
The Hamster King The Hamster King is offline
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Quoting from the U. S. Holocaust Museum website:

"In 1933, approximately 9.5 million Jews lived in Europe, comprising 1.7% of the total European population. This number represented more than 60 percent of the world's Jewish population at that time, estimated at 15.3 million."

So the Holocault killed almost 2/3 of the Jews living in Europe.

But if you use the world-wide population as your base, more than half survived.

Hitler, however, wound up 100% dead.

http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/article.php...elatedArticles
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Old 12-16-2009, 05:57 PM
Markxxx Markxxx is offline
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I like the way the OP puts "EXACTLY," that just is too funny

But remember it was common back then to disassociate yourself from being Jewish. Most entertainers changed their name to try to play this down. Especially if you were only on radio, you could easily hide the fact more than if you were in the movies. I am not saying you can always tell a Jew by looking at them, but sometimes you can.
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Old 12-16-2009, 06:03 PM
Shmendrik Shmendrik is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim B. View Post
I think it is safe to say I've probably heard it all of my life: About 6 Million Jews were systematically killed during the Nazi Holocaust. The only thing that has never been made clear to me at least, is what percentage of the total Jews in the world was 6 million back then?

The question is an interesting one too, because if a majority of Jews were killed, in a way Hitler won that part. On the other hand, if a non-majority was killed, at least Jewish people can be consoled with that fact (which is still little consolation to some, I realize).

Thank you in advance to all who reply
The Nazis succeeded in wiping out 67% of the Jewish population of Nazi/Axis occupied areas, but less than half of the world Jewish population.

I think you have a very odd way of looking at things. It seems like an arbitrary standard. You could just as easily say that Hitler failed if any significant population survived, or that he would have succeeded by wiping out any significant number. Or maybe he succeeded because he was mostly concerned with Germany, and Germany's post-war Jewish population was 2% of what it had been in 1933.
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Old 12-16-2009, 06:19 PM
Exapno Mapcase Exapno Mapcase is offline
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Originally Posted by Markxxx View Post
But remember it was common back then to disassociate yourself from being Jewish. Most entertainers changed their name to try to play this down. Especially if you were only on radio, you could easily hide the fact more than if you were in the movies. I am not saying you can always tell a Jew by looking at them, but sometimes you can.
What the hell has this to do with the Holocaust?
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Old 12-16-2009, 07:18 PM
Horatio Hellpop Horatio Hellpop is offline
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Originally Posted by Markxxx View Post
I like the way the OP puts "EXACTLY," that just is too funny
A quote that got thrown around a lot when I was a business student: "That which can be measured, can be measured exactly."
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Old 12-16-2009, 07:28 PM
Shmendrik Shmendrik is offline
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Originally Posted by Krokodil View Post
A quote that got thrown around a lot when I was a business student: "That which can be measured, can be measured exactly."
That which can be estimated, can't be measured exactly.
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Old 12-16-2009, 07:28 PM
KarlGauss KarlGauss is offline
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From here, a country by country breakdown:

The first number is the Pre-war Jewish Population
The second number is the number of Jews exterminated
The third number is the percent exterminated
(sorry for the awkward display, but I couldn't get it straight any other way)

Poland
3,300,000
3,000,000
90

Baltic States
253,000
228,000
90

Germany/Austria
240,000
210,000
88

Protectorate
90,000
80,000
89

Slovakia
90,000
75,000
83

Greece
70,000
54,000
77

The Netherlands
140,000
105,000
75

Hungary
650,000
450,000
70

SSR White Russia
375,000
245,000
65

SSR Ukraine
1,500,000
900,000
60

Belgium
65,000
40,000
60

Yugoslavia
43,000
26,000
60

Romania
600,000
300,000
50

Norway
1,800
900
50

France
350,000
90,000
26

Bulgaria
64,000
14,000
22

Italy
40,000
8,000
20

Luxembourg
5,000
1,000
20

Russia (RSFSR)
975,000
107,000
11

Denmark
8,000
--
--

Finland
2,000
--
--

Total
8,861,800
5,933,900
67


These are only estimates. Indeed, on different pages of the same site, different estimates are given. Still, they're roughly the same.

And, God bless the Danes!

Last edited by KarlGauss; 12-16-2009 at 07:31 PM..
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  #9  
Old 12-16-2009, 07:34 PM
The Hamster King The Hamster King is offline
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Originally Posted by Krokodil View Post
A quote that got thrown around a lot when I was a business student: "That which can be measured, can be measured exactly."
Physics says otherwise.
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  #10  
Old 12-16-2009, 07:39 PM
MPB in Salt Lake MPB in Salt Lake is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KarlGauss View Post
From here, a country by country breakdown:

The first number is the Pre-war Jewish Population
The second number is the number of Jews exterminated
The third number is the percent exterminated
(sorry for the awkward display, but I couldn't get it straight any other way)


Italy
40,000
8,000
20
Anyone know why Italy, who afterall was willingly allied with Hitler, (and therefore, to my mind at least, supposedly more in agreement with his goals than other countries that were taken over) had such a lower percentage of Jewish victims killed than other places?

Last edited by MPB in Salt Lake; 12-16-2009 at 07:41 PM..
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Old 12-16-2009, 07:42 PM
mnemosyne mnemosyne is offline
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Originally Posted by Exapno Mapcase View Post
What the hell has this to do with the Holocaust?
I took it to mean that the numbers may be skewed, because the number of people saying they were Jewish/reported to be Jewish may be lower than the actual number, due to people changing their names and otherwise distancing themselves from the culture/faith in order to save themselves/their families. I think there are some people who "look Jewish", and certain groups/families in particular, and the Nazis probably considered that to be enough for them, while others could "pass" as non-Jewish. So it may affect the statistics related to the Holocaust, if the number of people distancing themselves was significant.
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Old 12-16-2009, 07:50 PM
C K Dexter Haven C K Dexter Haven is offline
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Originally Posted by mnemosyne View Post
I took it to mean that the numbers may be skewed, because the number of people saying they were Jewish/reported to be Jewish may be lower than the actual number, due to people changing their names and otherwise distancing themselves from the culture/faith in order to save themselves/their families. I think there are some people who "look Jewish", and certain groups/families in particular, and the Nazis probably considered that to be enough for them, while others could "pass" as non-Jewish. So it may affect the statistics related to the Holocaust, if the number of people distancing themselves was significant.
I agree. Remember that Hitler defined a person as Jewish if they had at least one Jewish grandparent. A number of people who were born and raised as Christians found themselves murdered for being Jewish. Similarly, a number of Jews thought themselves thoroughly assimiated. So statistics based on counting Jews before and after the Hologcaust are going to be, at best, very rough approximations.
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Old 12-16-2009, 08:00 PM
Captain Amazing Captain Amazing is offline
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Originally Posted by MPB in Salt Lake View Post
Anyone know why Italy, who afterall was willingly allied with Hitler, (and therefore, to my mind at least, supposedly more in agreement with his goals than other countries that were taken over) had such a lower percentage of Jewish victims killed than other places?
The Italians didn't really have any desire to exterminate the Jewish population, and since they were an ally of Hitler and not an occupied country, the Germans couldn't round up the Jews without Italian consent. There weren't large roundups of Jews until the Italian government fell and Germany occupied Northern Italy, so the Germans could do what they wanted.
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Old 12-16-2009, 08:05 PM
KarlGauss KarlGauss is offline
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Originally Posted by C K Dexter Haven View Post
So statistics based on counting Jews before and after the Hologcaust are going to be, at best, very rough approximations.
I don't think they're "very" rough at all. The number of so-called Mischlings was only significant in countries with high rates of assimilation such as Germany itself. In Poland, for example, the number of people with part Jewish ancestry would surely pale in comparison to the over 3 million "full" Jews. Bottom line is that although Mischlings might not be counted accurately, their relatively small numbers can't materially affect the estimates we're using.
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Old 12-16-2009, 08:14 PM
Koxinga Koxinga is online now
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I remember in Robert Harris's novel Fatherland, set in a Germany that had won WWII, a figure of 11 million was used for a fully implemented Holocaust. Of course that's not a cite, but I wonder where he got that figure.
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Old 12-16-2009, 08:21 PM
2ply 2ply is offline
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Originally Posted by MPB in Salt Lake View Post
Anyone know why Italy, who afterall was willingly allied with Hitler, (and therefore, to my mind at least, supposedly more in agreement with his goals than other countries that were taken over) had such a lower percentage of Jewish victims killed than other places?
Italian fascism didn’t have as extreme anti-Semitism as German fascism. The Nazi killed Jews in territories they occupied but Italy was an ally who wasn’t beholden to Berlin. It wasn’t until Italy surrendered following the Allied invasion and Germany took direct control of northern Italy that they rounded up Italian Jews for extermination.

Also, Italy didn't really share the German notion that the Jews were a distint race that needed to be killed off. The tradional Italian soultion to get rid of a Jew was to force him to convert to Catholicism.

Last edited by 2ply; 12-16-2009 at 08:23 PM..
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Old 12-16-2009, 08:33 PM
MPB in Salt Lake MPB in Salt Lake is offline
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Captain Amazing, 2ply---Thank you both for the info; it is NOT what I would have assumed about Mussolini's Italy, which I thought was in idealogical lockstep with the Nazis.
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Old 12-16-2009, 08:34 PM
Captain Amazing Captain Amazing is offline
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Something similar happened in Bulgaria. The King, a lot of the members of the government (but not the Prime Minister), and the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, were all opposed to the Holocaust, and most Jews who were Bulgarian citizens survived, even though anti-semitic legislation was passed. Most of the Jews from Bulgaria who died in the Holocaust were Jews from occupied Macedonia and Thessolonica (who the government of Bulgaria didn't really care about, because they were just damn foreigners anyway, so let them be slaughtered.)
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Old 12-16-2009, 08:41 PM
SandyHook SandyHook is offline
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Originally Posted by KarlGauss View Post
I don't think they're "very" rough at all. The number of so-called Mischlings was only significant in countries with high rates of assimilation such as Germany itself. In Poland, for example, the number of people with part Jewish ancestry would surely pale in comparison to the over 3 million "full" Jews. Bottom line is that although Mischlings might not be counted accurately, their relatively small numbers can't materially affect the estimates we're using.


[highjack]

I wrote a book a while back in which one of the characters (I had decided before hand) was to be black. I was taking the names of the characters from those listed on The Wall in DC. When I randomly picked the name I came up with Wolfram Kretschmann. Not a name that would make one immedietly think, "He's black." So I made him the son of an American soldier stationed in Germany after the war. As part of his back story I needed a suitable term to have other Germans call him before he came to the US. A lady who works at the restaurant where I usually breakfast is German so I asked her. She said the word I was looking for was mischling and it is used much like nigger would be.

[/highjack]
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Old 12-16-2009, 08:45 PM
YogSosoth YogSosoth is offline
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I've always been curious about something regarding the Holocaust. Were any specific Jewish sect or distinct Jewish ethnicity that were wiped out or significantly endangered by Hitler?

The reason I ask is because the Jewish people seems to have made a significant and complete recovery, but were any part of their race/religion pretty much gone after WW2?
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Old 12-16-2009, 09:05 PM
Captain Amazing Captain Amazing is offline
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Originally Posted by MPB in Salt Lake View Post
Captain Amazing, 2ply---Thank you both for the info; it is NOT what I would have assumed about Mussolini's Italy, which I thought was in idealogical lockstep with the Nazis.
German Nazism was much more extreme than Italian fascism in a lot of ways, and even though Mussolini was anti-semitic himself, Italian fascism as a whole wasn't, and there were actually a bunch of Italian Jewish fascists in the early party. In fact three of the fascist blackshirts who were killed in the early fights with Socialist and Communist gangs, Gino Bolaffi, Bruno Mondolfo and Duilio Sinigaglia, were all Jews, and about 200 Jews participated in the march on Rome.

And there were Jews in the Fascist Italian government. Aldo Finzi, one of the members of the first Fascist Grand Council was Jewish, as was Dante Almansi, Vice Chief of Police, Guido Jung, the Finance Minister from 1932-1935, and Maurizio Rava was the governor of Somalia. One of Mussolini's mistresses, Margherita Sarfatti, who was also active in "legitimizing" Fascism, was Jewish.

The Italian government didn't really become anti-semitic until after the invasion of Ethiopia, when they were condemned by the League of Nations, and Germany was really their only choice as an ally. At that point, the government realized it would have to make concessions to German attitudes and moved to a more anti-semitic policy.

But if you look at the situation, Italy became fascist in 1922. It wasn't until 1938, 16 years later, that it passed the "Laws for the Defense of the Race", which forbade Jews from going to public schools, banned marriage between Jews and non-Jews, banned Jewish ownership of land, kicked Jews out of the army and civil service, and so on. Compare that to Nazi Germany where the Nazis took power in 1933 and passed the Nuremberg Laws in 1935, just two years later.

The other thing to remember was that the Nazis in Germany had substantially more public support than the Italian fascists.
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Old 12-16-2009, 09:12 PM
KarlGauss KarlGauss is offline
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Originally Posted by YogSosoth View Post
were any part of their race/religion pretty much gone after WW2?
I can't be specific or give a cite, so I guess my answer is nothing more than 'anecdote', but I am certain that certain ultra-orthodox sects were annihilated, totally wiped out. I'm referring to those where the entire sect lived in a small area, over a few villages. Phrased differently, ultra-orthodox sects can sometimes form around a specific individual, typically a rabbi of particular intellect, passion, or persuasion. It's easy to see how such a sect can be confined to a very small, limited area. Unfortunately, it's then also easy to see how it can be wiped out. Remember, many, many Jewish villages (especially in Poland, Ukraine, and Belarus) suffered complete, literally 100% loss of their populations.

Here's a picture of a wonderful memorial from the Treblinka extermination camp. Each rock represents a village or town that's gone, its name etched on the stone.

(BTW, the Jews are most definitely not a race. They share a common religion, that's it. Hitler promulgated the notion that Jews were a race, that "Jewishness" was in the genes. Hence, conversion to Christianity was not a solution. Only extermination would do).

Last edited by KarlGauss; 12-16-2009 at 09:14 PM..
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  #23  
Old 12-16-2009, 09:21 PM
Captain Amazing Captain Amazing is offline
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Originally Posted by YogSosoth View Post
I've always been curious about something regarding the Holocaust. Were any specific Jewish sect or distinct Jewish ethnicity that were wiped out or significantly endangered by Hitler?
Well, about 96% of the Jewish population of Thessilonica was wiped out, if that's what you mean.
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Old 12-16-2009, 09:38 PM
Shmendrik Shmendrik is offline
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(BTW, the Jews are most definitely not a race. They share a common religion, that's it.
Race is not a very popular term nowadays, but that's mostly wrong.
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Old 12-16-2009, 09:45 PM
KarlGauss KarlGauss is offline
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Race is not a very popular term nowadays, but that's mostly wrong.
Sorry, what's wrong? My statement? Yours? That race is not a popular term? Colour me
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Old 12-16-2009, 09:49 PM
Shmendrik Shmendrik is offline
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Sorry, what's wrong? My statement? Yours? That race is not a popular term? Colour me
Sorry for being unclear/curt. I meant to say that Judaism, or perhaps "Jewishness", is as much an ethnicity as a religion.
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Old 12-16-2009, 09:53 PM
Eyebrows 0f Doom Eyebrows 0f Doom is offline
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Sorry, what's wrong? My statement? Yours? That race is not a popular term? Colour me
That you have to be religious to be a Jew. You can be an atheist and still be Jewish. It's as much a culture/ethnicity as a religion.
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Old 12-16-2009, 10:12 PM
Exapno Mapcase Exapno Mapcase is offline
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We wind up getting into this on every thread concerning Judaism, but I need to stress forcefully that it is a religion, not an ethnicity.

You're thinking of a cultural group that may be best expressed as Yiddish. The Yiddish came from a variety of Eastern European nations mostly within what became the USSR. Their immigration to America created the stereotype of Jewishness.

This has little to do with the religion. Sephardic Jews don't correspond to the Yiddish stereotype. Ethiopian Jews do not. Chinese Jews do not. Arabian Jews do not. There have been thriving Jewish cultures in all portions of world for hundreds if not thousands of years that would be puzzled by being considered a common ethnicity.

For that matter, how many Jews in Western Europe think of themselves as having an ethnicity in common?

That Jewishness is an ethnicity seems to me to be a trope that occurs only in America and possibly among some in Israel. Even in America there were huge divides between the middle to upper class immigrants from Germany who started arriving in the mid-19th century and the lower class immigrants from Eastern Europe who started arriving a generation later. The Germans were not subject to the depth of prejudice from Christian Americans and were horrified to find themselves lumped in with the lower class immigrants that became what Christian America thought of as Jewish.

It was the success of these Jews in Germany (and in other European nations: Germans hardly had a monopoly on anti-Semitism) that made the Nazis so determined to eradicate them. It made it easier from their point of view to be able to lump all Jews together even though there were huge ethnic differences among them.

Jewishness was a matter of strict definition involving ancestry and paperwork. Peoples' looks, culture, language, or customs had little to do with the matter. Your birth papers stamped you as a Jew, because that was how your religion was recorded.

I'm sure that many modern day Americans proclaim themselves to be ethnically Jewish or to retain their Jewishness even if they stop believing in God. Fortunately, those of us in America can allow them to proclaim and believe anything they please. But there is simply no worldwide or historic truth to the statement. Judaism is a religion. Period. Ask Sammy Davis, Jr. or Rod Carew.
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Old 12-16-2009, 10:15 PM
KarlGauss KarlGauss is offline
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That you have to be religious to be a Jew. You can be an atheist and still be Jewish. It's as much a culture/ethnicity as a religion.
Well, yes and no. The only definition that really counts is being the child of a Jewish mother. I suppose that's not a religion, but neither is it a race. So, you bring up a good point and frankly, now that you and Shmendrik have got me thinking about it, I'm not sure what the right answer is.
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Old 12-16-2009, 10:25 PM
Shmendrik Shmendrik is offline
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This has little to do with the religion. Sephardic Jews don't correspond to the Yiddish stereotype. Ethiopian Jews do not. Chinese Jews do not. Arabian Jews do not. There have been thriving Jewish cultures in all portions of world for hundreds if not thousands of years that would be puzzled by being considered a common ethnicity.

For that matter, how many Jews in Western Europe think of themselves as having an ethnicity in common?

That Jewishness is an ethnicity seems to me to be a trope that occurs only in America and possibly among some in Israel.
I'm really not sure what you mean by "Yiddish Stereotype". A large majority of American Jews are of Ashkenazi Jewish descent. They share a common genetic heritage - hence there is a stereotypical Jewish look, and more importantly certain genetic diseases which occur far more often in the Ashkenazi Jewish community.

Yes, obviously Sephardic Jews and other groups are not as closely related to Ashkenazic Jews, although genetic research has shown that they share relatively recent (<2000 years) common decent.

Yes, of course Judaism is a religion, and people of any ethnicity can convert to it, etc. That makes the situation considerably more complex, but it does not justify your statement that "Judaism is a religion. Period."
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Old 12-16-2009, 10:46 PM
qazwart qazwart is offline
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Originally Posted by MPB in Salt Lake View Post
Anyone know why Italy, who afterall was willingly allied with Hitler, (and therefore, to my mind at least, supposedly more in agreement with his goals than other countries that were taken over) had such a lower percentage of Jewish victims killed than other places?
Italy and Germany were't the tightest of allies. For example, Mussolini was very upset with Britain and France over the Munich Agreement. Mussolini was worried about an overly powerful Germany for the same reasons other countries were. Mussolini didn't want to be Germany's puppet.

There was also some resentment to the Nazi party. The Italian Fascists were in power a whole decade before the Nazis and the Italians resented the fact that the Nazis were getting all the attention. As far as Mussolini was concerned, Germany's Nazis were a johnny-come-late pale comparison to the true Fascists in Italy.

The Italian Fascists weren't as anti-Sematic as the Nazis were. And, Mussolini didn't want to be pushed around by Germany. There were official rules about Jews having to report to interment camps, but local officials and residents simply ignored those orders. As far as Mussolini was concerned, he wasn't going to kill Italians to satisfy Hitler. Most of the 8,000 Jews killed in the Holocaust happened in Nazi occupied Italy.

From the Jewish Virtual Library:

Quote:
In 1931, approximately 48,000 Jews lived in Italy. By 1939, up to 4,000 had been baptized, and several thousand other Jews chose to emigrate, leaving 35,000 Jews in the country. During the war, the Nazi pressure to implement discriminatory measures against Jews was, for the most part, ignored or enacted half-heartedly. Most Jews did not obey orders to be transferred to internment camps and many of their non-Jewish neighbors and government officials shielded them from the Nazis. Some Jews were interned in labor camps in Italy.

After the north was occupied by the Germans in 1943, the Nazis wanted to deport Italian Jewry to death camps, but resistance from the Italian public and officials stymied their efforts. A gold ransom was extorted to stop the S.S. commanding officer in Rome from killing 200 Jews. Still, nearly 8,000 Italian Jews perished in the Holocaust, but this number was significantly less than in most countries in Europe. Roughly 80 percent of the Italian Jews survived the war. In 2000, a stone plaque was unveiled at the Tiburtina train station, the site of the deportations, to honor the memory of Rome's Jews, whom the Nazis deported from the city on Oct. 16, 1943.
Another interesting note. Denmark's Jews were not attacked for most of the war even though Denmark was actually under German occupation. Germany wanted to make Denmark a showcase of a fellow European Arian state that gets along with Germany and allowed Denmark to remain more or less self governing. The Danes understood this and did their best to represent a united front against the Nazi occupiers.

Gobels decided not to press the Danes into arresting and deporting their Jews. The Germans needed Denmark to be quasi-independent and to collaborate with the Nazi occupiers.

The Germans did think of setting up a fascist government in Denmark, but the Fascist party in Denmark received less than 2% of the vote in the 1943 election. Danish cooperation with the Nazis started to end in the middle of that year. The Germans were upset with the anti-German feel of the election, and the Danes who could finally see the defeat of Germany in the air became less cooperative.

Germany finally made some demands that the Danes refused to meet (censorship laws with German oversight, laws banning unions and assembly, the introduction of the death penalty, and allowing German military courts to oversee the Danish courts) As a result, the Germans dissolved the Danish government. However, before the Germans had a chance to deport the Danish Jews, the Danes helped almost all of them escape to Sweden.
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Old 12-17-2009, 12:36 AM
code_grey code_grey is offline
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actually, I would like to point out that the case of Italy and Jews is not unique. Hungary and Romania, the lesser known but more valuable German allies, were not very keen on Holocaust also. In Hungary, in particular, Holocaust happened only in 1944 when Germany occupied them (btw that's also the time of Raul Wallenberg's work, and he was so successful precisely because he was saving people from quick deportation/death immediately before the coming Soviet advance which ended the persecution). In Romania there seems to have never been direct German occupation but they had their own limited genocide, limited probably in part by lack of enthusiasm; on a related note I recall reading that in the occupied Ukraine Romanian soldiers were (andecdotally) considered to be much less of a threat to Jews than German ones. In generally friendly Spain there was no genocide at all, and in fact some Spanish diplomats became "righteous among the nations" while working under Franco's low key directions to give Jews visas.

So basically Holocaust was a long, drawn out process if you look at it on the European scale. Some groups were lucky because they had more time to flee (e.g. lots of German Jews emigrated before the war), some were lucky because persecution started late in the war and was ended by the Russian advance, some were lucky because they were in Soviet Union and could flee to the east.

Then again others, as in Poland or Greece, were quickly rounded up and had absolutely nowhere to go. Likewise those who did not flee east in western Soviet Union when there was time - the locals usually handed them out to Germans or killed them themselves.
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Old 12-17-2009, 12:57 AM
Koxinga Koxinga is online now
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How strange that it was late in the war, when the Soviets were coming down on them from the east like a steamroller (aided by a bit of activity in the west), that the Germans seemed to step up the Holocaust in relatively recently occupied territories like Hungary, Denmark and northern Italy. I wonder if anyone has ever examined the personnel and material involved and analyzed whether abandoning the Holocaust, rather than stepping up the effort, could have made a difference to Germany's war efforts in 1944-45? Not to mention the question of why they accelerated extermination efforts rather than diverting resources to fighting.

Last edited by Koxinga; 12-17-2009 at 12:58 AM..
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  #34  
Old 12-17-2009, 01:02 AM
Captain Amazing Captain Amazing is offline
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Right. The only German allies (to be distinguished from German occupied territory, where the Germans could pretty much do what they wanted without regard to local sentiment) where you saw enthusiastic cooperation by the governments to participate in the Holocaust were Slovakia, Croatia, and Vichy France. The rest fairly eagerly turned over "foreign" Jews, but were less enthusiastic about murdering native Jews.
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Old 12-17-2009, 01:09 AM
Captain Amazing Captain Amazing is offline
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Not to mention the question of why they accelerated extermination efforts rather than diverting resources to fighting.
It makes sense to me. They had access to the Jews of the newly occupied territories for the first time. Besides, in 1944, the Germans knew pretty clearly they weren't going to win the war, whatever they did. So they had to step up extermination efforts. They no longer had the luxury of time. If they were going to wipe out European Jewry, they had to do it now.
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Old 12-17-2009, 06:51 AM
C K Dexter Haven C K Dexter Haven is offline
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The discussion has moved on, but on the question of whether Judaism is a religion or an ethnicity, I suggest: http://www.straightdope.com/columns/...till-be-jewish

Basically, it's both. One can convert and become Jewish, which makes it a religion. But one can be born into Judaism without having any religion (I know many Jews who are profound atheists or agnostics) which makes it an ethnicity. In any case, not a race.
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Old 12-17-2009, 07:35 AM
Exapno Mapcase Exapno Mapcase is offline
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How strange that it was late in the war, when the Soviets were coming down on them from the east like a steamroller (aided by a bit of activity in the west), that the Germans seemed to step up the Holocaust in relatively recently occupied territories like Hungary, Denmark and northern Italy. I wonder if anyone has ever examined the personnel and material involved and analyzed whether abandoning the Holocaust, rather than stepping up the effort, could have made a difference to Germany's war efforts in 1944-45? Not to mention the question of why they accelerated extermination efforts rather than diverting resources to fighting.
Large numbers of Jews and other prisoners were used as slave labor, freeing up Germans to serve in the troops. Much of this slave labor was worked to death, so the end result was the same, but the Germans got utility out of these roundups.

Dex, the problem with your column is the same as with Shmendrik's argument. (Huge Peter S. Beagle fan am I, I hasten to add, assuming it's the same reference since it's misspelled.) It's circular, beginning and ending with the same group of people rather than looking at Jewry across all cultures. That Ethiopian Jews identify as Jews is not the same as their identifying as an ethnicity.

What you need to do is to look at what aspects a group shares other than religion to give it a common identity. As far as I can tell, the only aspects are those Eastern European customs I call Yiddish culture, which apply only to a fraction of even American Jews and hardly at all elsewhere. If a collection of believers share nothing in common than their religion I can't see how it is possible to label them an ethnicity.

That many self-identify as an ethnicity is interesting, to be sure. The only parallel I can think of is race-based, in which some African-Americans claim a culture outside of their skin color and some Hispanic-Americans claim a culture outside of their language. Many don't and vehemently deny that they should be all lumped together based on this one characteristic. Perhaps Jewish-American has become an ethnicity in a way that Jewish has not. I'm doubtful, though, and I think there is too much individual variation to make this claim.
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Old 12-17-2009, 07:50 AM
Alessan Alessan is offline
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What you need to do is to look at what aspects a group shares other than religion to give it a common identity. As far as I can tell, the only aspects are those Eastern European customs I call Yiddish culture, which apply only to a fraction of even American Jews and hardly at all elsewhere. If a collection of believers share nothing in common than their religion I can't see how it is possible to label them an ethnicity..
What they have in common is that they all think of themselves as Jews. Or to put it another way, what they have in common is that other people think of them all as Jews.

If it helps, think of it as a club or as a political construct. I prefer the term "people" - as in "the Jewish People" - myself; it's the best translation for the Hebrew term we use for ourself, Ahm.

Last edited by Alessan; 12-17-2009 at 07:52 AM..
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Old 12-17-2009, 08:26 AM
ShibbOleth ShibbOleth is offline
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The other thing to remember was that the Nazis in Germany had substantially more public support than the Italian fascists.
How much support did the Italian Fascists have, initially? I checked up and just see some stuff about controversial elections and changes to the laws in the early 20s. IIRC, the Nazis had just over a third of the vote* and leveraged a coalition government into a power grab and martial law.

*After Hitler was installed as Chancellor he did get up to mid-high 40s before voting ceased.
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Old 12-17-2009, 10:03 AM
Captain Amazing Captain Amazing is offline
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In 1922, when Mussolini marched on Rome and became Prime Minister, the Fascists controlled 35 seats out of 355, so about 10%. In the next elections in 1923, they got about 65% of the vote.
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Old 12-17-2009, 10:24 AM
Musicat Musicat is offline
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From here, a country by country breakdown:

The first number is the Pre-war Jewish Population
The second number is the number of Jews exterminated
The third number is the percent exterminated
(sorry for the awkward display, but I couldn't get it straight any other way)

Poland
3,300,000
3,000,000
90

Baltic States
253,000
228,000
90

Germany/Austria
240,000
210,000
88

Protectorate
90,000
80,000
89

Slovakia
90,000
75,000
83

Greece
70,000
54,000
77

The Netherlands
140,000
105,000
75...<snip>
Wow. Looking at it that way, it looks like Hitler nearly exterminated the entire group in some areas, and he started ca. 1939? If he could kill 90% of a population in ~4 years, imagine what would have happened if the war had continued for another year. He would have run critically short of raw material.
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Old 12-17-2009, 11:43 AM
Eva Luna Eva Luna is online now
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Remember, many, many Jewish villages (especially in Poland, Ukraine, and Belarus) suffered complete, literally 100% loss of their populations.

Here's a picture of a wonderful memorial from the Treblinka extermination camp. Each rock represents a village or town that's gone, its name etched on the stone.
If you want to get really depressed, you can read numerous accounts of the fate of various Jewish communities during WWII here. It's chilling to read about what life was like there before the war, and how an entire way of life was nearly completely wiped out in some areas.
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Old 12-17-2009, 12:33 PM
qazwart qazwart is offline
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What they have in common is that they all think of themselves as Jews. Or to put it another way, what they have in common is that other people think of them all as Jews.

If it helps, think of it as a club or as a political construct. I prefer the term "people" - as in "the Jewish People" - myself; it's the best translation for the Hebrew term we use for ourself, Ahm.
The idea of religion vs. ethnicity is a hard concept with Jews. Common experience creates an ethnicity, and can say that Jews had a common experience of being a people who were constantly in the minority and considered outsiders where ever they settled. Judaism is also an extremely old religion. It was founded back in the days when each ethnic group had its own religion. And, the Jews had their own country for quite a while.

Shared heritage does give you an ethnicity which makes Judaism unique compared to Christianity and Islam which are solely based upon belief systems. It also helps that Christianity and Islam were out to convert foreigners while conversion never figured heavily in the Jewish religion.

However, in the end Judaism is a religion, and it would be nice if the world stopped looking at us as an outside culture. Jews in Germany were Germans. They spoke German, they listened to German music, and they liked German food. Most importantly, they were proud of their German heritage and happily served in the German army during the Franco-German war and in World War I. They only became ethnic Jews only when Germany decided they couldn't be Germans.

One of the biggest ironies is that the German Jews were the most assimilated groups of Jews in the world. Quite a few people didn't know they were even Jewish until the Nazis came to take them away. This isn't to say that there was no anti-Semitism in German. That was rampant throughout German history, but the Jews in Germany, by the 20th century really thought they were as German as anyone else.

The same is true for the Sephardic community. Most Sephardic Jews in the middle east considered themselves as Arabs until the mid 20th century. They spoke Arabic, and even used the term Allah when referring to God. They ate the food in their region, adopted many of the same cultural habits. It's that they went to a Synagogue on Saturday instead of a Mosque on Friday. In fact, in many towns, the Jews shared the local Mosque with their Muslim neighbors.

When the Vichy French tried to round up the Jews in Algeria and Morocco, the Moslem population fought against it. As far as they were concerned, the French foreign colonizer were attempting to attack their fellow Arabs. When the French Vichy government in Algers offered as a reward to the Arabs for their cooperation the property of Jews seized, many of the Muslim religious leaders denounced the practice and threatened any Muslim who cooperated.

So, yes Judaism does have cultural aspects. You have a group of people who have a common heritage. However, much of that heritage was given to us by non-Jews who determined we were an ethnic group and not a mere religion. When Jews are allowed to settle freely among another group, they quickly adopt the culture of that group. Falafels, the national dish of Israel has Arab roots. Bagels and bayles from Poland/Russia (in fact, Bayles was a town in Poland). Even the dress of certain Chasidic sets can be traced back to the clothes of the Polish nobility.
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Old 12-17-2009, 12:48 PM
Exapno Mapcase Exapno Mapcase is offline
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What they have in common is that they all think of themselves as Jews. Or to put it another way, what they have in common is that other people think of them all as Jews.

If it helps, think of it as a club or as a political construct. I prefer the term "people" - as in "the Jewish People" - myself; it's the best translation for the Hebrew term we use for ourself, Ahm.
Are you saying then that Mormon is an ethnicity?
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Old 12-17-2009, 01:22 PM
ThisOneGuy ThisOneGuy is offline
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Are you saying then that Mormon is an ethnicity?
I can't speak for others, but I consider myself "ethnicly mormon". Don't believe the religion, but it is the culture of all my family, and my upbringing.
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Old 12-17-2009, 03:18 PM
Alessan Alessan is offline
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Are you saying then that Mormon is an ethnicity?
In 2000 years, it probably will be.
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  #47  
Old 12-17-2009, 03:47 PM
MPB in Salt Lake MPB in Salt Lake is offline
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I can't speak for others, but I consider myself "ethnicly mormon". Don't believe the religion, but it is the culture of all my family, and my upbringing.
There is something to this, at least for those born and raised in Utah.

Its hard to explain, but the Utah Mormon experience is more that just religion, a strong cultural component exists even for those who have never been active, practicing Mormons.


ETA---I am NOT trying to say that Mormons have a claim to the unique situation (and problems) that Jewish people have had to deal with for way too long...........

Last edited by MPB in Salt Lake; 12-17-2009 at 03:52 PM..
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  #48  
Old 12-17-2009, 04:01 PM
Exapno Mapcase Exapno Mapcase is offline
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In standard English a culture is not an ethnicity and neither is a religion. Catholics are not an ethnicity. Baptists are not an ethnicity. You can talk about Southern culture but not of Southern ethnicity.

Words do change meanings as people use them in new and different ways. It's possible that in time a sufficient number of people will talk about ethnicity in this sense that it will take on this meaning. Obviously, a certain number of people already do so.

The problem will become defining what aspects of culture are separate from aspects of religion. What are the defining aspects of Jews who identify as a non-religious group that are distinct from the religious elements they have in common and also distinct from non-Jews of similar backgrounds? I've never been able to come up to an answer to that question, so I define Judaism as a religion not as an ethnicity.

If you say there are aspects of Mormonism that are commonalities to non-religious Mormons it would be an interesting exercise to try to name them and see how they differ from a similar set of non-Mormons. I think you'll find it's harder than it seems to make it more than "I know it when I see it."
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Old 12-17-2009, 06:54 PM
Shmendrik Shmendrik is offline
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The problem will become defining what aspects of culture are separate from aspects of religion. What are the defining aspects of Jews who identify as a non-religious group that are distinct from the religious elements they have in common and also distinct from non-Jews of similar backgrounds? I've never been able to come up to an answer to that question, so I define Judaism as a religion not as an ethnicity.
I thought I made it clear in my first response to you, but the answer is simple: They tend to be more closely genetically related to each other than to the general population.
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Old 12-17-2009, 07:15 PM
Exapno Mapcase Exapno Mapcase is offline
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I thought I made it clear in my first response to you, but the answer is simple: They tend to be more closely genetically related to each other than to the general population.
This is true for Ashkanazi Jews. It is not true for Jews worldwide. Chinese Jews are more closely related to other Chinese than to Ashkenazi Jews, just as one example. That's a large part of my point.
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