.Holocaust Survivors and Remembrance Project
preserving the past to protect the future ...
.
combing the sacred grounds of the Holocaust and its current representation

Stephen Feinstein's CHGSStephen FeinsteinStephen Feinstein's CHGS

Taking Exception to Dr. Stephen Feinstein's
Teachings of the Holocaust

  • On the Purported Myth of the 11 Million Holocaust Victims
  • On the Purported Feud Between the Late Simon Wiesenthal and Elie Wiesel
  • On the Exclusion of Homosexuals and Romanies (Gypsies) from the Victims of the Holocaust

by K. K. Brattman
Managing Editor

.

Stephen Feinstein
0. Opening Statement

.

 
Dr. Stephen Feinstein who is the Director of the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies (CHGS), University of Minnesota, USA, has posted at the Center's website a webpage entitled : " Myths About Holocaust" with a last entry entitled "THE MYTH OF 11 MILLION HOLOCAUST VICTIMS" (EXHIBIT-Feinstein, hereto). There, several current representations of the Holocaust are being questioned and new ones are given.

We, respectfully, take issue with the points and representations made by Dr. Feinstein as they lack both logic and substance. In short, we take exception to the Holocaust teachings of Dr. Feinstein for reason and analysis presented below.
.

Stephen Feinstein
I. On the Purported Myth of the 11 Million Holocaust Victims

.

 

Dr. Feinstein, taking issue with the number of the "11 million victims" of the Holocaust, notes this:
"As of 2006. there have been seeing [aka 'seen'] more references, or a return to references that there were 11 million victims in the Holocaust. As far as this is understand [aka 'understood'] from documents and analysis, this number is fictitious and actually can serve to undermine the teaching of the Holocaust Shoah."
Dr. Feinstein is most certainly correct on this score if we stop here with the reading of his referenced entry.
Holocaust definitionThe so-called "forgotten victims" of the Holocaust is an attempt by some to incorporate victims of the Nazi era into the body of victims of the Holocaust. As an example, the 3 million non-Jewish Poles that were killed during the Nazi era were, for sure, victims of the war but not of the Holocaust --a differentiation and demarcation that is essential in understanding the nature of the Holocaust. (See herein, if you will, our definition of the Holocaust.)

Often the so-called "forgotten victims" of the Holocaust are considered to be in the vicinity of some 5 million incorporating asides from the 3 million non-Jewish Poles, Communist, Political Prisoners, and Jehovah's Witnesses. Thus, the erroneous number of the 11 million victims of the Holocaust is being derived by adding to the 6 million Jewish victims the 5 million "forgotten" victims.

!

But this is NOT what Dr. Feinstein is talking about.
Dr. Feinstein is talking only about the Jewish Holocaust or the Shoah Holocaust!!!
Dr. Feinstein is talking only about those representations that place "11 million Jews" as victims of the Holocaust.

How could it be "11 million Jews" victims of the Holocaust?, Dr. Feinstein is asking, when the entire population of European Jews was 11 million in 1942, according to "the population census that is mentioned in the 16th copy of the Wannsee Protocol, notes taken by Eichmann (January 20, 1942)"?

Wannsee Conference

THAT was the issue for Dr. Feinstein prompting him to invoke it as a "myth." Dr. Feinstein goes further in asserting that anyone using "11 million Jews" as the number of victims of the Shoah Holocaust is in a way a Holocaust denier --sic!

Indeed, Dr. Feinstein without given any reasoning arrives somehow to the conclusion that this representation of the 11 million Jews" victims of the Holocaust
"can even be a form of denial that occurs out of the best intentions."

  

Simon Wiesenthal
Simon Wiesenthal

Who exactly Dr. Feinstein was targeting and branding as a Holocaust denier?

Well, continuing with the reading of his referenced webpage, the answer to this is as astonishing as it can be: the tireless Nazi hunter, the late Simon Wiesenthal. [sic!]

Dr. Feinstein reaches this incredible twisted inference by placing as "proof" another renown and respected Holocaust survivor --Elie Wiesel, at the center of all this, without recognizing that both representations of Simon Wiesenthal and Elie Wiesel were, in fact, complementary to each other --the subject of our next section.
.

Stephen Feinstein
II. On the Complementary Representations of Elie Wiesel and Simon Wiesenthal

.

 

Dr. Feinstein, at one time a history professor, was born and Ph.D educated in the United States and, as such, one expects to see a certain degree of mastery and command of the English language in his writings. As such, no little is our surprise to see his incoherent writing where grammatically incorrect sentences and misspelled words are the norm and not the exception. His website, for instance, is full of such examples. It is something amiss about all this that could even provide a clue to Dr. Feinstein's current state of mind.

!

 

What is even more shocking is the type of trash that Dr. Feinstein is being attracted to in his studies of the Holocaust and its tragic legacy:

that of a purported feud between Elie Wiesel and Simon Wiesenthal --two truly extraordinary Holocaust survivors that for many, including this editor, represent the voice of the Holocaust itself.

As we have shown elsewhere, Dr. Feinstein appears to have a fundamental problem in understanding the nature of the Holocaust and that lack of understanding, as we shall see, is present in full force in here as well. Also, as we shall see in here, Dr. Feinstein has a problem in understanding simple words and concepts and, as such, we will be most careful in defining the words and concepts related to Dr. Feinstein's purported Holocaust myth that he is concerned with declaring that
"The heart of the matter is the '11 million victims' issue."

Before we can discuss the issue of the 11 million Jewish victims of the Holocaust, we want to make sure that Dr. Feinstein is fully aware of the true and correct meaning of the 'victim' concept that is defined as "one who is harmed or killed by another." Thus, in the most broader sense, by a 'victim' is understood 'one that is being harmed by another'. In this larger sense of the 'victim' concept, Elie Wiesel's words encapsulating the Jewish sufferings as victims of the Holocaust were not only poignant and to the point, but also of extreme eloquence when he noted that
=

"Not all the victims of the Holocaust were Jews, but all the Jews were victims."

And since the number of
all European Jews were, as documented by the 1942 Wannsee Conference, of 11 million, then by a simple inference from Elie Wiesel's powerful words, one can derive the simple proposition that
all 11 million European Jews could be construed as victims of the Holocaust.

Clearly the human suffering during the Hitler era extended well outside of the boundaries of the Holocaust, and that extended suffering was always present in Wiesenthal's remembrance. But that extended remembrance on the part of Wiesenthal, that was part of Wiesenthal's makeup based on his belief of the "universality of suffering" as noted by Wiesel and accepted by the great majority of people, need not be construed as a feud between these two extraordinary representatives of the Holocaust and its tragic legacy.

The recognition of Elie Wiesel that "all [11 million] Jews" were victims of the Holocaust --on one hand, and the recognition of Simon Wiesenthal that the suffering inflicted by Hitler's Nazi machine was "universal," transcending well outside of the Jewish suffering --on the other hand, are complementary to each other and not exclusionary. If anything, these two recognitions were revealing different complementary sides of the monumental global tragedy that Hitler's reign has brought to the humanity, as a whole.

How then these two tragic recognitions --one coming from Elie Wiesel, the other from Simon Wiesenthal-- are in any conflict whatsoever when they both complement each another in their respective portrayals?

Are we missing something here from our reasoning? Do we have any takers?

How then Dr. Feinstein can post this ludicrous statement on his CHGS website, (EXHIBIT-Feinstein, hereto), where it is stated:
"From the perspective of CHGS, all organizations that teach the Holocaust who adhere to the 11 million number will eventually have trouble maintaining the integrity of the Holocaust as a subject."

How the "integrity of the Holocaust" is being affected by the portrayal of ElieWiesel versus the one of Simon Wiesenthal?

How long CHGS can afford to have Dr. Feinstein at its helm injecting his bizarre "perspectives" on the Holocaust?
.

Stephen Feinstein
III. On the Exclusion of Romanies and the Homosexuals From the Victims of the Holocaust

.

 

Dr. Feinstien's lack of fundamental understanding of the nature of the Holocaust (described and detailed elsewhere) can be seen again in here, with full force, when he questions, trough a rather bizarre and unheard of reasoning, the propriety that the Romanies (Gypsies) and the Homosexuals be part of the victims of the Holocaust.

In his rambling and incoherent presentation of the Holocaust in his referenced page (EXHIBIT-Feinstein), Dr. Feinstein first states this:
"If only racial and biological related categories, it should encompass only the Jews, Roma and Sinti and victims of T-4."
and then, abruptly reversing course, he continues with this:
"This is not to belittle other victims of war and political policies, but the other groups had some choices regarding compliance with Nazi domination or resistance, and some, like Jehovah'S Witnesses, Homosexuals and Gypsies have a history of persecution even in democratic countries ..."
Now, Dr. Feinstein advances the argument that because the Homosexuals and Gypsies have had a history of persecution prior to the arrival of the Nazism "even in democratic countries" --sic!, they need not be incorporated into the body of the victims of the Nazi's Holocaust. Of course, if one would follow that incredulous rationale, Jews need not be part of the victims of the Holocaust either, since they have had an even longer "history of prosecution" prior to the arrival of Hitler on the world's stage. Dr. Feinstein should know by now that the Anti-Semitism is considered to be the world's longest hatred.

Finally, yes, as in the past, Dr. Feinstein incorporates under one single roof Jehovah's Witnesses Holocaust definitionwith Homosexuals and Gypsies victims when Jehovah's Witnesses should never ever be incorporated within the victims of the Holocaust because they were targeted by the Nazis not because of who they were (as the Jews, Romanies/Gypsies, Homosexuals, and the Disabled), but because of what they did and believed in. This solid line of demarcation is completely absent from Dr. Feinstein's consideration and reasoning, a line that is essential in understanding the meaning and the nature of the Holocaust.
.

Stephen Feinstein
IV. Concluding Statement

.

 

  

Stephen Feinstein

Undated photo of Dr. Feinstein showing his concern "of a problematic image by student studying the Holocaust."[sic!]
Source: <chgs.umn.edu>

Dr. Feinstein's bizarre understanding and "perspective" of the Holocaust cannot be left unchallenged when it is being presented in an academic setting of a respected American university under the umbrella of an American Center for Holocaust Studies.

The Holocaust is indeed a far too important and serious subject to be left in the hands of such an inept educator who appears to be distracted by a number of issues bearing no relevance whatsoever to the scholarly study of the Holocaust and its tragic legacy.

Respectfully submitted,

K. K. Brattman
Managing Editor

Dated: January 22, 2007

 

 


On March 4, 2008, Dr. Stephen Feinstein, 65, died unexpectedly of
a brain aortic aneurysm (that resulted in a heart attack) while speaking
at The Sabes Foundation Minneapolis Jewish Film Festival.
May he rest in peace.
 


Stephen Feinstein
Stephen Feinstein