All but a few madmen and megalomaniacs accept that the Nazis set out to exterminate the Jewish population of Europe, and that in the period 1941–45 over six million Jews and members of other minority groups died at the hands of the Odin-worshipping fascists. But what lasting impact did the Shoah have on world Jewry?
Sergio DellaPergola, an expert in Jewish demography at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, estimates that if it were not for the Holocaust, the number of Jews in the world today would be at least 26 million, and perhaps as many as 32 million:
“The Holocaust struck a deep blow to the demographic, cultural and social fabric of the Jewish people in many ways and with long-range consequences,” says DellaPergola.
In 1939 there were 16.5 million Jews in the world. By the end of of the second world war the number was around 11 million, and today the population stands at 13.2 million. DellaPergola notes that more than 60 years following the Nazi-perpetrated genocide, the Jewish people have failed to restore even half the losses sustained during the war. Also, today’s Jews are significantly older and less fertile than they were before the Holocaust.
These facts will no doubt be welcomed by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and others assembling this week in Geneva for a controversial UN-sponsored conference on racism. Owing to an obsession with Israel on the part of many of its delegates, the conference is being boycotted by the United States, Germany, Canada, Italy, the Netherlands, New Zealand and Israel.
Britain and France, on the other hand, have decided to take part in proceedings that will likely be dominated by the Iranian president (aka “Mahmoud the Mad”): a man on record as having denied the Holocaust, and who would like to see Israel wiped off the map.
“United against racism: dignity and justice for all”
…reads the Durban Review Conference banner. Maybe there was insufficient space for the words “…apart from the Jews”.