It’s Sept. 11, again

It’s Sept. 11, again

I actually almost forgot this seventh anniversary. I mean not to denigrate this significant date, but allow me a flight of Jewish and historical perspective:

A few years ago, I made a rough calculation of the number of Jews murdered during the Holocaust. Using the approximate start date of June 22, 1941, the German invasion of the Soviet Union, for its beginning — the Einsatzgruppen began their mass shootings at this time — I calculated that an average of over 29,000 Jews were murdered each week until the war ended on May 8, 1945. This was over 4,000 per day; in other words, the European Jewish population of 11 million suffered the equivalent of more than one and a third 9/11 size catastrophes everyday for three years and ten months.

Still, there’s no gainsaying that the somewhat smaller number of people murdered in this country on Sept. 11, 2001 has had a singular effect on the world since that day. This links to my remembrance of that historic day, after experiencing the horror, in the company of my visiting Israeli cousin, from my Manhattan apartment about six and a half miles above the World Trade Center.

By | 2008-09-11T13:36:00-04:00 September 11th, 2008|Blog|2 Comments


  1. Jewish Currents September 11, 2008 at 6:40 pm - Reply

    This blog entry feels a little crass, and for what purpose? It’s like: YOU WANT TO TALK ABOUT DEATH AND DESTRUCTION? I’LL TELL YOU ABOUT DEATH AND DESTRUCTION!! Let us exercise our Jewish sorrow as a source of empathy, not cynicism.

    Lawrence Bush

  2. Ralph Seliger September 11, 2008 at 8:58 pm - Reply

    Since I know you Larry, and you know me, you didn’t say this with malice. I was actually quoting from a very well received
    “Viewpoint” article in Jewish Currents, the publication you edit and which I occasionally write for.

    Your reaction reminds me of a friend who bristled some years ago when I indicated that the Rwanda genocide in 1994– killing 800,000 people in about 90 days– may have exceeded the rate of killing that went on at Auschwitz. I was definitely not downplaying the horrors at Auschwitz. Similarly, what I say here is not meant to minimize what happened on 9/11.

    Just as I had wanted to illustrate how horrible the Rwanda genocide was in relation to Auschwitz, I was also illustrating with this calculation how unbelievably awful the Holocaust was. Sept. 11 gave me another measure of that earlier horror. As I said in that article in JC, the fact that we Jews experienced the latter doesn’t make us better than others, but it does require a degree of consideration when it comes to our fears and our concerns for security and well-being.

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