The attempt to obscure the systematic murder of six million European Jews has been underway since the Holocaust itself. And despite it being one of the most extensively-documented events in modern history, Holocaust denial seems to be picking up. Many saw just such an attempt to minimize the magnitude of the Holocaust in a poll tweeted out by the "Scaramucci Post," a supposed news outlet launched on Oct. 2 by former press secretary, Anthony Scaramucci. The poll asked "How many Jews were killed in the Holocaust?" Anti-Semitism was behind that question, according to many critics. The tweet has since been removed, and Scaramucci has apologized for it.
For many of the tweet's critics, turning the number of Holocaust victims into a poll question represents an attempt to destabilize certainty about what really transpired during Hitler's "Final Solution." This is often the goal of Holocaust denial, according to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. From the USHMM's page on the topic, "Holocaust deniers argue that reports of the Holocaust are really part of a vast shadowy plot to make the white, western world feel guilty and to advance the interest of Jews."
Opening the number of Jewish victims up for online opining could be a way of magnifying the voices of those who want to minimize or refute the well-established facts of the Holocaust.
The Scaramucci Post's tweet is not the sole headline of suggested or overt Anti-Semitism in the news, as two other bizarre, unsettling stories have garnered media attention in recent days.
One is the case of 88-year-old Ursula Haverbeck, otherwise known as the "Nazi Grandma." The German has publicly denied the Holocaust on multiple occasions, which is a crime in her home country. A German court gave Haverbeck a six-month jail sentence for "inciting hatred" with her claims that Auschwitz was a labor camp, not a place of mass extermination.
Auschwitz is perhaps the most infamous death camp, its history one of unspeakable horrors. Nazis murdered over 1 million people there, most of them Jewish.
Haverbeck's views are not new, nor is this her first encounter with law enforcement. In 2015, Haverbeck was televised saying the Holocaust was "the biggest and most sustainable lie in history." She's been sentenced to jail on several occasions, all of them for denying the Holocaust, though Haverbeck has yet to spend a single day behind bars. She has appealed and successfully stalled all of the cases against her.
Also disturbing is the controversy surrounding a Halloween costume for young girls. Called "WWII Evacuee Girl," the costume was also advertised as "Anne Frank," according to Time. It consists of a long blue coat, brown leather bag, green beret, and what looks like an identifying tag pinned to the collar.
The Anne Frank Center provided the following statement on the costume:
"There are more appropriate ways to commemorate the legacy of Anne Frank than through a halloween costume, which is offensive and trivializes her suffering and the suffering of millions during the Holocaust. We are pleased that the costume has been pulled."
Indeed, Halloweencostumes.com and Walmart both pulled the costume from their sites. However, as of Tuesday afternoon, Amazon continued to offer the "WWII Evacuee Girl" costume.
A tweet from HalloweenCostumes.com spokesperson stated they "offer several types of historically accurate costumes," for use in "school plays and projects" as well as Halloween. The message went on to "apologize for any offense" the costume had caused.
From a poll that seems designed to minimize the Holocaust's victims to a deeply questionable Halloween costume to outright Holocaust denial, it's been a discouraging news week for opponents of Anti-Semitism.