[By Rabbi Yair Hoffman]
It is an unfortunate reality that, at times, well-meaning people help promote misinformation when trying to make a point. Recently, a Rabbi involved in Kiruv, Rabbi Yoseph Mizrachi, did just that and unleashed a fury by the misinformation he helped promote.
The Rabbi cited statistics that are grossly inaccurate about the assimilation rate in Europe prior to the Nazis. He claimed that there was an astounding 80% assimilation rate. Because of that inaccurate statistic he claimed that a good 5 million of the 6 million Jews that were murdered in the holocaust were not Jewish at all. He, therefore, put the number at 1 million halachic Jews and 5 million non-halachic Jews.
Although perhaps well-meaning, the damage that was wrought was significant as this type of inaccurate conjecturing in a public forum without research ends up vilifying the precious neshamos that were murdered in the holocaust. Holocaust deniers take perverse pleasure in minimizing the numbers and claiming that the Jews are always exaggerating.
Although the Rabbi is correct that assimilation existed, his numbers are significantly off.
The Nazis were notoriously accurate in their research and recordkeeping. According to their own statistics (1939 Reich Census) there were 442,000 Jews left in Germany. Of these Jews, 74.7% were fully Jewish. 16% were mixed of first degree, and a little less than 10% were mixed of second degree. If we assume that the genders intermarried equally, the number of non-halachic Jews were half of the 25 percent. About 12 and ½ percent of German Jews were not halachically Jewish.
Germany was the most assimilated country in Europe. Of the other countries, the assimilation was significantly less, probably less than half that of Germany.
So where did the Rabbi get his 80 percent figure? It is wrong, completely. Certainly, there was skyrocketing assimilation. But of those who married before 1914, only 21.5% of Jews were in a mixed marriage. Which translates to 10 percent of the children of Jewish families married before 1914 were halachically not Jewish. By the year 1932, this had surged to 65.1% – the all-time high. Assuming a standard rate of progression on average for the years between 1914 and 1932 the assimilation rate averaged 43 percent. Thus the amount of non-halachic Jews as a percentage of all German Jews was about 21 percent.
88,000 German Jews were not halachically Jewish if we extrapolate from the careful records of the Nazis themselves.
As the Nazis came to power in 1933, intermarriage in Germany plummeted. By 1939, only 20.6% of new marriages involving Jews were mixed, even less than before World War I. Cutting that in half we get about 10 percent again.
According to the 1939 Reich census, there were about 72,000 Mischlinge of the 1st degree, 39,000 of the 2nd degree.
In terms of the other 5.5 million Jews, we would be safe to assume a rate of less than 5% of Jews not being halachic Jews.
The Rabbi is definitely correct in assuming that a percentage of the six million were not halachically Jewish. The correct figure lies somewhere between three hundred and four hundred thousand who were technically not halachically Jewish. He is wrong on the percentage. He should retract his figures because it is a form of lashon harah on the kedoshim.
May Hashem allow the Rabbi to continue his work in Kiruv, and may we all realize that murder and genocide of any people must be stopped.
The author can be reached at [email protected]
Sources: D. Bankier, in Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Volume 3, Number 1 (1988); Married to Intolerance: Attitudes towards Intermarriage in Germany, 1900-2006 Nico Voigtländer, Hans-Joachim Voth.
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This proves how Good Rabbi Mizrachi is that the Soton has to keep on trying to bring him down. Baruch Hashem he is a light to our generation this is who we need. The point is clear sometimes you need to exaggerate to bring out a point.
Can u please explain how he can possibly post such a libelous statement on his you tube channel. I’m not coming to be disrespectful, I’m just boggled how he can take the responsibility to say such a thing?
Excellent response by Rabbi Hoffman.
#1, Noone is trying to bring him down. He should retract his misinformation that he has spewed.
That “low percentage” in assimilation is something to bring up to prove him wring? It’s a busha when comparing the assimilation to the other jewish residing regions of the world so don’t gloat with it to prove this tsadik wrong.
If you don’t agree with his figure keep it to yourself and go learn something for all these people who got killed la Kadush Hashem … Enough with this nonsense I think everyone has better thing to do in his life he is the best because he always says the truth and he don’t care about what other thinks about him as long as he saying the truth I wish we all be like that and learn from him ….
What bothers me, is, that he thinks that if the victims were not Halachakly Jewish, or not Jeweish at all, that diminishes the tragedy.
Did he ever learn the end of Sefer Yona Hanavi?
R. Hoffman, you’ve made some errors here:
You cited two different sets of intermarriage rate in German Jewry. First you said “About 12 and ½ percent of German Jews were not halachically Jewish” and then you said “Thus the amount of non-halachic Jews as a percentage of all German Jews was about 21 percent.”
Also, Rav Mizrachi, although perhaps it could have been clearer, was referring to the percentage of assimilated Jews, not just intermarried Jews and/or non-halachic “Jews” (i.e. partially of Jewish descent.) A halachic Jew married to a gentile is still halachicly Jewish but entirely cut off from the Jewish people. Traditionally Jews would sit shiva for someone who intermarried, even though they are technically still alive and halachicly Jewish.
And there are other assimilated Jews who effectively cut themselves off from the Jewish people. That is the percentage Rav Mizrachi was referring to.
By the way, 71%, yes 71%, of American and European non-Orthodox Jews intermarry. 71% of the non-Orthodox today intermarry.. It is now far worse than what it was in Europe. (Even if you count Jews as a whole, including the Orthodox [who virtually all only marry Jews], the intermarriage percent today is 56%.
It is far far worse today that what it ever was in Europe. We are facing another holocaust. A spiritual holocaust is happening before our blind eyes today. And, like in Europe, can lead to a physical holocaust.
And make no mistake, the next holocaust can c”v affect Israel, American and the rest of the world.
Non stop non sense against this holy Rav.
Yeshiva world…shame on you
But he said it as his opinion and not as a fact. Let’s not forget his great contribution to klal yisrael. Maybe he made a mistake but he definitely doesn’t deserve such angry outburst from people, after all we all benefit from his work in kiruv. Every soul he saved, averted many tragedies to am yisrael. We’re all humans and could make mistakes. Let’s not attack right away
Chachamim hizoharu bedivraichem…
Rabbi Mizrachi is an amazing holy person who has a major influenced he was trying to explain how many Frum and non – Frum Jews perished. We heard it many times in the past that the nazis never differentiated between a Frum or non frum
This appears to be a publicity stunt to get scrubby on the map.
He most probably has some agenda against ashkenazim.
His statement is only tip of ice burg
Mizrachi has been making outrageous statements like this for a long time.
The statistics mentioned here are of intermarriage. However, it does not dount the assimilated jews.
I don’t have the statistics but if yiu ever listened to Rebbi Avigdor Millers speeches on this subject matter, you’ll know that 80% is probably a correct figure.
Still, since we live in a world where everything gets posted on YouTube and distributed indiscriminately, we should be careful before making such remarks in public.
Not everything that is true needs to be mentioned on the podium
A well balanced and informed response by Rabbi Hoffman. Bravo.
The issue is not whether or not r’ Mizrachi is “holy,” but whether he has his facts straight.
Oh, and BTW, his quote from Herzl is not from the book where he says it appears (it does not), but from the Neturei Karta website – and it’s wrong, aside from being irrelevant. Yes, Herzl wrote an ESSAY suggesting such a thing, but it was before he recognized that the better solution to European anti-semitism was a Jewish State. To say that his goal in resettling the Jews was the same thing is outright shekker, the opposite of what he himself said. And, anyway, that was more than 100 years ago, completely not relevant to today’s situation.
Over the millenia many have attempted to rewrite history and, hey, the material sells! Jews have never had a their temple on temple mount etc.
For one to attack the numbers of the הרוגים ע”ש קידוש שם שמים has been perpetrated before too! But for a ירא שמים to denigrate the קדושים by denying wjat has been accepted as fact by all rational accounts brings that person’s יראת אלקים into question for me! Does he even agree that 1.5 million קינדערלעך were also annihilated?
How about if we begin to cast doubt on the atrocities brought upon the Sefardik Jewry from their homelands!??
Rabbi, retract! You’re knowledgeable in areas other than this subject! DON’T GO THERE!!!
To aYidFromNY: So if a person is assimilated his blood spilled al kiddush Hashem is hefker?? He doesn’t “count” in the numbers of murdered Jews, despite being halachically as Jewish as as any of us? And if that’s not what you meant, what’s the point of mentioning that some of them were assimilated?
The murders of those who weren’t Jewish were also a disgusting crime.
Shkoyach to Rabbi Hoffman
If this controversy would get some more people to start listening to rabbi mizrachi it was all well worth it even if its not 100 percent true!!!!!!
Oh really? Can you give us some examples? You’ve made a scurrilous accusation, now back up your words. Or are you to busy with your Maharat girlfriends?
There are many problems with what is going on here but I think the most glaring is that, today, everyone needs proof for himself on his terms or else he renders it false. 6,000,000 is a figure which is on the books in all historical recordings of the holocaust. But that is not good enough for today’s self-appointed messengers of G-d because they’re smarter more sophisticated…Personally, I find it repulsive even to subtract “just” a couple hundred thousand yiddishe souls until one gets his facts straight, and I don’t think a day or two is enough time to do that. Lastly, please don’t make excuses for a grievous error, or by telling us about his tzidkus. When one makes an error in public involving such a sensitive and delicate topic, he should just admit it and try to do teshuva.
Rabbi Mizrachi likes to blame the holocaust on reform judaism.
Why he is trying to prove his point with lies I don’t know..
Mizrachi has said Autistic children are the result of a punishement from a previous life
He said the Holy Sasson Kedoshim were Gilgulim from a previous life
He saw the R’L women who were forced to undress and have their photographs without clothes taken before being killed by the Nazis were there because of the sin of not following Tzniut
Those who think they are defending Rabbi Mizrachi by telling us how awful it is to speak against such a tzadik, I want to point out the flawed thinking in this. A great Rav/Rebbe/Moreh Derech doesn’t have to prove his greatness or that his talmidim should consider him greater than anyone to the exclusion of everyone else. My Rosh Yeshiva zt”l, was a soft-spoken person and we all saw his great character. The Rov of my shul i
s so consistent in all that he says and does, his great level of middos tovos and chasidus is what shines through and he would tell us himself not to defend him this way. Moreover, he wouldn’t be making such statements that only incite passions and lead to disagreement. He MUST speak the truth? He MUST? How about always speaking divrei Shalom? There was some pressing need this needed to be said NOW? I don’t think so. I don’t respect someone who speaks this way and I think the bigger test of someone’s middos is how much Shalom he wants to make between people. EMES is easy to say. Having a gentle word takes much more strength of character.
#27 is 100% right i might add even if his statements are 100% correct why in the world would a sane person repeat it in public? what point is so important to convey that cant be conveyed another way, without using hurtful divisive comments like this
And how many Israelis today are Halachically Jewish–considering the large influx of non Jewish Russians and non Jewish Ethiopians whose children today speak perfect Hebrew, serve in the IDF, and so on? They marry, intermarry, and so on, within the population. Are these persons also Jews? Certainly not Halachically. Is this also an inconvenient truth? Sure it is. It is not any different than listening to the Sheurim of Rav Avigdor Miller (OBM) whose Shul I sat in as a teenager, listening to his talks concerning Slavodka–not to mention his other talks where he put full blame on the Zionists–Americans and others–for helping to destroy Hungarian Jewry as a result of their siding with Stephen Wise and Roosevelt (destroying all hopes in 1943 for a backdoor rescue). I assure you, had the Internet existed then, Rabbi Miller–well beloved and highly respected in the Yeshiva world today (and then)–would also have been the pariah of the 15 minute moment. As Rabbi Mizrachi notes, the day will come when only Mashiach will be able to sort the Yiddin from the Goyim. The intermarriage in Europe from the latter part of the Nineteenth-Century to the start of the Second World-War was very high–but it is even worse today in the United States with American Jews marrying 71 percent out of the faith (the numbers rise each year). Are their children Jews?–not if the mother is a Goyah. Is this something that Rabbi Mizrachi’s critics have missed? Of course those in the secular world will have us base Halacha on the 1966 record title, “When You’re In Love, The Whole World Is Jewish.” Hopefully, certain elements within the Yeshiva world will not follow suit–rather, they’d be better served taking a remedial course in Musar–I suggest Taharas Halashon.
#26 “Mizrachi has said Autistic children are the result of a punishement from a previous life.”
The Rabbi said that Autistic children are at the highest stage of holiness, with only one fault needing correction–specifically, they spoke and/or listened to Lashon ha Ra during a previous incarnation. This is not punishment, it is correction before entry into Gan Eden.
“He said the Holy Sasson Kedoshim were Gilgulim from a previous life.”
The Sasson Children according to Rabbi Mizrachi had completed their Tikun. Their purpose in this world had been fulfilled–therefore, they were taken by HaShem.
“He saw the R’L women who were forced to undress and have their photographs without clothes taken before being killed by the Nazis were there because of the sin of not following Tzniut.”
What the Rabbi really said was that women who were religious, huddled around one another in a group with their backs to the camera in order to keep themselves as hidden as possible from the German photographers. Non religious women who were not accustomed to the Laws of Tzniut–and who were not used to always hiding their bodies from public view–typically did not try to cover themselves to the same degree as did the datim.
Anyone who speaks loshon hora, motzei shem rah or rechelus about any Jew, will be held accountable in heaven after they leave this world.
The fact that people still regard this meshuganer as a Torah authority is a sad commentary on the abysmal ignorance of this generation. Rabbi Hoffman is going easy on Mizrachi, perhaps because many think Mizrachi is legit. He’s a charlatan and like all charlatans he will eventuallt impale himself on the sword of his own falsehoods and delusions.
And to the commenter who claims that Rav Avigdor Miller held that 80% of those killed in the Holocaust were not Jewish: if you only get your info from his shiurim then you will misunderstand most of what he says. Limud Torah is not about finding a Torah guru to be your only source of learning and inspiration. Open up some books and read, hear what others have to say. Give yourself some connection to reality so as to give context to what you hear from your favorite Rav.
I am the son of both parents holocaust survivor, Mizrahi you are a self hating jew holocaust denier, you. lo.mizera ysroel,it is Talmud chacham sheen Bo dass,NEVEILEH
Shriche Toive himenu.your parents where tanning in the sun when.jews where burned in ovens,not having in mind how even savings on jew,so Mizrahi take of your, jamulke,at least there be less of a chillul hashem
After such a ridiculous statement and all the publicity it engendered, he can run for president on the Republican ticket!!!
I don’t get where all of these R’ Mizrachi defenders are coming from. Truth is a very very important thing. Its not some side issue like maybe he doesn’t have the finest manners- it is quite fundamental and is a way to judge people in totality. If this R’ Mizrachi confidently says such an absurd lie as if it’s true that is quite telling of what type of person this “tzaddik” is.
Rabbeinu Yonah on Mishlei explains that all good comes from emes and all evil comes from sheker. For someone to be such a shakran that he says such an absurd lie while giving a shiur…
In fact I might add- it shows a tremendous lack of seichal and discerning in what information he believes and to the point that he says it over.
I, for one, would be extremely suspicious of anything this guy says.
Rav Mizrachi shlita made an error in numbers but his underlying message is as true as ever.