Silent Holocaust

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The silent holocaust is a phrase that is used to refer to multiple unrelated items.

The term is often highly controversial, regardless of use.

Use in pro-life circles[edit]

To pro-life activists, the "silent holocaust" refers to the estimated 60,000,000 fetuses that have been aborted in the United States since 1973.[4][5][6] One activist group, known as the "Survivors of the Abortion Holocaust," feels that everyone has been directly affected by this holocaust because all people have been denied the company of aborted individuals. This group believes it is their job to "defend the right to life of future generations and end America's genocide." [7][8][9]

In 2013, Jim Bob Duggar, former state legislator and star of the reality television series 19 Kids and Counting, compared abortion to the Holocaust at the Values Voters Summit. The comparison sparked criticism, to which Duggar responded, “Let me clarify, We have since 1973 had 55 million abortions, so what we have going on is a baby holocaust.” Opposition to this statement prompted a petition to cancel Duggar’s reality television series.[10][11][12]

In 2014, a pro-life politician, Senator Mike Fair, brought this terminology into the political domain, during a debate in the South Carolina State Senate. The debate was over a proposed bill which would ban abortions past 20 weeks. Fair said, “This Holocaust of our making in our country is 60 million and counting,” referring to the estimated number abortions performed since Roe vs Wade legalized abortion in the US. Fair also said Hitler believed "because you're a Jew you had no right to live. In essence, some people are more qualified to live than others. And that's what we're saying here", referring to abortion. This sparked an outcry from Senator Joel Lourie, who is Jewish. Lourie said, “We can debate science and medicine and personhood all day long. But when 6 million people, men, women and children, are dragged into gas chambers, I don’t think that’s an appropriate comparison.” Fair responded with, “Six million, it shouldn’t have been one, for crying out loud. Six million is incredibly horrible, what they endured. But those 60 million taken out of the womb will never have a chance to be dragged into anything. They’re gone.” [13][14] Fair has also compared Planned Parenthood to Hitler.[15][16][17]

Referring to assimilation of Jews[edit]

Concerned Jewish people sometimes refer to assimilation (along with abortion within the Jewish community) as a type of "Holocaust". This is because assimilation [1] is the leading cause for the shrinkage of almost all Jewish populations in Western countries. Since World War II, and it has been called the Silent Holocaust [2] (in comparison to the genocide against Jews during World War II) by communal leaders such as Rabbi Ephraim Buchwald of the National Jewish Outreach Program, perhaps the best-known popularizer of the phrase.

Controversy with the assimilation usage[edit]

As noted above, use of the term "Silent Holocaust" is highly controversial and occurs mainly among Orthodox Jews of conservative and Nationalist tendencies. An especially outspoken opponent of the term and the train of thought behind it is Shulamit Aloni. Aloni is a former Israeli Education Minister, who considered its use "an insult to and desecration of the Holocaust victims' memory".

Adam Keller, editor of the Tel Aviv-based The Other Israel, spoke at length on the issue during a lecture tour of the US in September 2004, especially in the course of an intense and highly emotive debate with right-wing Jewish hecklers on the university campus at Fullerton, California. Among other things he said on that occasion:

"I find this term, 'Silent Holocaust', more obscene than all the pornography in the world put together. The Holocaust, from which my mother and my father barely escaped and in which many of their relatives perished, was the systematic genocide and mass murder of millions of people, solely because of their ethnic and religious identity. The so-called "silent holocaust" is the freely chosen exercise by human beings of the right to choose a spouse and live a happy and satisfying life with him or her, a right specifically guaranteed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to which the State of Israel is one of the first signatories. Only a monstrously perverted mind can possibly conceive of making such a comparison. This comes from a mindset in which an individual counts for nothing, his or her wishes count for nothing, and the individual's only worth is as being a component of an overwhelming, all-supreme Nation or Ethnos. This is a racist way of thinking, a fascist way of thinking. It is, I must say, Hitler's way of thinking, and I am deeply ashamed that some Jews have taken it for their own."

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Wyler, Grace (26 November 2013). "The New Face of the Anti-Abortion Movement". Vice. Retrieved 29 April 2014. 
  2. ^ Berger, Ronald J. (2010). Surviving the Holocaust: A Life Course Perspective (1. publ. ed.). New York: Routledge. p. 149. ISBN 9780203848517. 
  3. ^ Edgar M. Bronfman, Beth Zasloff (2008). Hope, Not Fear: A Path to Jewish Renaissance. Macmillan. p. 24. ISBN 9781429947213. 
  4. ^ Wyler, Grace (26 November 2013). "The New Face of the Anti-Abortion Movement". Vice. Retrieved 29 April 2014. 
  5. ^ Smith, Tim (2 May 2014). "Mention of Holocaust in SC abortion debate sparks anger". The State. 
  6. ^ "Who Are the Survivors?". Survivors LA. Retrieved 3 May 2014. 
  7. ^ Wyler, Grace (26 November 2013). "The New Face of the Anti-Abortion Movement". Vice. Retrieved 29 April 2014. 
  8. ^ Abcarian, Robin (31 March 2014). "The liberal professor who stepped right into an anti-abortion trap". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 29 April 2014. 
  9. ^ "Who Are the Survivors?". Survivors LA. Retrieved 3 May 2014. 
  10. ^ Jones, Laura (13 Nov 2013). "’19 Kids And Counting’ Jim Bob Duggar Compares Abortions To Holocaust, Now Show Protested". The Global Dispatch. Retrieved 6 May 2014. 
  11. ^ Haley, Garrett (11 Nov 2013). "Abortion Advocates Call for Cancellation of Duggar Family’s ’19 Kids and Counting’". Christian News Network. Retrieved 6 May 2014. 
  12. ^ Dries, Kate (16 Oct 2013). "Jim Bob Duggar Thinks America's in the Midst of 'A Baby Holocaust'". Jezebel. Retrieved 6 May 2014. 
  13. ^ Smith, Tim (2 May 2014). "Mention of Holocaust in SC abortion debate sparks anger". The State. 
  14. ^ Borden, Jeremy (1 May 2014). "20-week abortion ban moves to S.C. Senate floor". The Post and Courier. Retrieved 3 May 2014. 
  15. ^ Smith, Tim (9 April 2014). "Fair criticizes abortion bill poll by group". The Greenville News. Retrieved 3 May 2014. 
  16. ^ MCDONOUGH, KATIE (April 9, 2014). "Republican lawmaker: "I have no more confidence in Planned Parenthood than I do in Adolf Hitler"". Salon. Retrieved 4 May 2014. 
  17. ^ Bracco, Butler (9 April 2014). "South Carolia State Senator Compares Planned Parenthood To Hitler". The Global Dispatch. Retrieved 4 May 2014.