Thursday, February 18, 2010

Against Stupidity?

Neville Angove

 One day I will learn how to use Typing is such slow torture that I have trouble following through with my plans. I started well with a blog when I subscribed to Bigpond three years ago, but when I changed ISPs, the blog disappeared.

Trying to keep up to date via the media is hard. My experience is that the media invariably gets it wrong, and later media items reference earlier media items that managed to get it wrong (but being medias, mist be a reliable source). In "Band Of Brothers", the penultimate episode refers to the finding of the first Nazi concentration camps. I have a few bones of contention.

It was known for several years before the Allied invasion that the concentration camps existed, and what they did. The magnitude may have been hidden, but the purpose wasn't. This TV show implies that the existence of the camps was unknown until 1945. Since TV is how most people get their information , then this misinformation will continue to the nth generation.

Not long after this show premiered, the Israeli prime minister was quoted as saying that the world should not forget the deaths of six million Jews during the Holocaust. I was taken aback at this number quoted, since I had been taught from many sources, that the deaths of Jews due to murder in the Nazi camps was between three and five million. The accepted estimate was four million Jews and two million others (including ethnic groups, political enemies, forced labourers, and POWs).

I saw where this misinformation quoted by the Israeli PM was sourced: in the penultimate episode of "Band of Brothers", the credits included the written quote that six million Jews and five million from ethnic groups were killed in the Nazi concentration camps.

This seems like another William Safire/USS Aegis controversy in the making.


  1. You're giving Band of Brothers far too much credit. I have seen the 6 million estimate many times, including in sources predating that program.

  2. Sam, you are reading too much into this. I said that the figures quoted in the speech used the same ones used in the TV series. I do not know where they came from. But for decades the figures quoted by the history books were about 4 million Jews and 2 million others. Someone added them together for the show, they were not checked, and the Jewish PM took advantage of general ignorance to requote the incorrect figures as the truth. Of course, since no one reads paper books these days, who can prove the televised figures are wrong. Fighting against such ignorance is one purpose of this blog.