Regarding Douglas Schoen and Arielle Confino’s April 25 op-ed, “How to fight anti-Semitism”:
When I was a youth, my father took me and my sisters to several concentration camps, including the ones he helped liberate. Since then, I have been a believer in the events of the Shoah (loose Hebrew for the Holocaust). However, some people are not quite as aware of the past.
More than 30 years ago, a co-worker constantly denied the Shoah as merely propaganda to justify Israel. I tried speaking to him, to no avail. An elderly gentleman who carried on his belt a well-worn fanny pack butted in during one of my Shoah-denying co-worker’s screeds. He opened his fanny pack and unrolled an old panoramic picture. On it was a multitude of people, with circles around each face and lines going to the names of various death camps — Treblinka, Dachau, Auschwitz, etc. — written in the margin of the picture. In a thick Polish accent, the man told us that this was his family portrait, taken in Warsaw in June 1939. He then drew another picture from his pack, this one with only three people in it: himself, his brother and his wife, whom he met in Auschwitz. He then asked the Shoah denier, “If the Holocaust never happened, where’s my family?” The denier was silent and never again brought up the topic.
The only thing that can possibly silence the deniers of the Shoah is to confront them with the losses involved and ask them to provide an alternate explanation. To do that, we must better educate people. More education, less argument.
Daniel B. Johnston, Gaithersburg