Movie and TV star Whoopi Goldberg has been sharply criticized for making false statements about the Nazi holocaust of the Jews. Her ignorance of the matter is not surprising as she dropped out of high school, never went to college, and is not a WWII scholar.
And although she ignorantly claimed that the Holocaust was not about race — a view she has since apparently recanted — Goldberg did make a very important (and often overlooked) point about the Nazis: In addition to Jews, they killed people they considered to be physically and “mentally defective.”
In a Dec. 24 interview with The Sunday Times, Goldberg (real name Caryn Elaine Johnson) falsely claimed that the persecution of the Jews “wasn’t originally” about race. She further said, “Remember who they were killing first. They were not killing racial; they were killing physical. They were killing people they considered to be mentally defective. And then they made this decision.”
It is true that the Nazis killed the so-called “defective” early on. This was based in large measure on Darwinism and eugenics, which were all the rage in Europe and the U.S. at that time. The writings of Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger were very popular with Nazi “scientists” and intellectuals.
However, the attacks on the physically and mentally handicapped in Germany were based on a racial idea to create a “master race.” The systematic killing was geared towards breeding a better man, or so they believed. And the Jews were always a primary target, in addition to other peoples the Nazis considered undesirable.
The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum states that Germans with disabilities were targeted as a “racial threat and burden.”
“The Nazis viewed these individuals as biologically ‘defective’ and a drain on national resources,” states the museum. “Nazi propaganda depicted them as ‘useless eaters.’ A 1933 law aimed to prevent the birth of children with genetic ‘defects.’ It enacted forced sterilization of persons diagnosed with certain mental or physical conditions. An estimated 300,000 to 400,000 males and females were sterilized. Among the persons sterilized were many teenaged youth.”
“The Nazis used the ‘national emergency’ of war as a cover,” according to the Holocaust Museum. “In 1939 the regime escalated their policies against individuals with disabilities. They targeted for murder disabled patients living in mental health and other care institutions.”
“A total of 250,000 people were killed in the secret ‘T-4’ and related ‘euthanasia’ programs carried out inside Greater Germany,” reported the museum. “Most of the victims were ethnically German, not Jewish. Some 7,000 children were among the victims.” (Emphasis added.)
In addition to the so-called “defective,” the Nazis targeted political opponents (many of them Catholic or Protestant), Jehovah’s Witnesses, Roma (gypsies), Poles, Soviet POWs, and some homosexuals.
As the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum reports:
— The Roma were viewed as a “gypsy nuisance,” a racially “inferior” people with criminal habits. “Between 250,000 and 500,000 Roma from across Europe were killed.”
— “The Nazis considered Poles to be racially inferior. … The Germans shot thousands of teachers, priests, and other intellectuals in mass killings. … It is estimated that the Germans killed between 1.8 and 1.9 million non-Jewish Polish civilians during World War II. In addition, the Germans murdered at least 3 million Jewish citizens of Poland.”
— “Nazi leaders targeted Jehovah’s Witnesses because they were unwilling to accept the authority of the state…. An estimated 1,000 German Jehovah’s Witnesses died or were murdered in concentration camps and prisons during the Nazi era, as did 400 Witnesses from other countries, including about 90 Austrians and 120 Dutch persons.”
— “Captured Soviet soldiers were viewed as ‘subhuman’ Slavs. The Nazis believed they were linked to the ‘Judeo-Bolshevik threat.’ 3.3 million Soviet soldiers died in executions or through intentional starvation and mistreatment.”
— “Homosexuals—gay men—were viewed by the Nazis as socially ‘deviant.’ The Nazis considered them a danger to Nazi policies aimed at raising the German birthrate. … Hundreds, possibly thousands, died from harsh treatment.”
Whoppi Goldberg is harshly criticized for her remarks, one suspects, because from her perches on TV, in Hollywood, and on social media she has a commanding influence. She can sway public opinion. If she were a housewife in rural America, the critics likely would ignore her.
Goldberg should read more, study more history before she pops off about one of the darkest chapters in 20th century history. To her credit, she says she is “still learning.”
On a related note, although many people may think Whoopi Goldberg is Jewish, she was not born Jewish. Goldberg is a stage name.
As The Times of Israel has reported, “In 1994, her publicist told the Orlando Sentinel that her stage name Goldberg came from her mother’s side of the family (her first name is a nod to the whoopee cushion). But DNA tests and family trees constructed by the likes of Henry Louis Gates, Jr. trace her lineage back to non-Jewish roots in West Africa.”
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