Photo Credit: Courtesy
Inge Auerbacher

A Reddit fan page formerly devoted to discussions about rapper Kanye West (Ye) has dramatically shifted course after his latest statements praising Hitler and Nazis and denying that the Holocaust happened.

On December 1, Ye appeared on far-right commentator Alex Jones’s show, InfoWars, where he hid behind a thick black mask that covered his entire face and head while menacingly stating, “There’s a lot of things I love about Hitler” before mocking Netanyahu. Some of his other vitriolic Jew hating comments included, “The Holocaust is not what happened…Hitler has a lot of redeeming qualities…Every human being has something of value that they bring to the table, especially Hitler…He didn’t kill six million Jews… There’s a lot of good Nazis that were just fighting for their country.”


Ye brought to the show his white supremacist friend Nick Fuentes, who smilingly nodded his head in agreement when Ye professed how much he “loved Hitler.” In a 2019 livestream video, Fuentes laughingly compared Jews who were killed in the Holocaust to baking six million cookies in an oven. Hours after the show, Ye got suspended from Twitter, where he had 32 million followers, for posting an image of a Swastika inside a Star of David.

Tswi Herschel

Tswi Herschel was just a six-month-old baby when his parents gave him to a Christian family to hide him from the Nazis before they were taken to the Sobibor extermination camp in German-occupied Poland, where they were murdered in gas chambers. His mother was 24, and his father 27. Herschel sorrowfully revealed to The Jewish Press, “I paid the price, the highest price you can pay in life. My parents – 24 and 27. I was their first born. Can you imagine?” Addressing Ye’s comments, Herschel continued, “Hitler, the Nazis, they sterilized Black people and they incarcerated them, murdered them in Germany…He doesn’t have the knowledge. He’s a full idiot.”

Child Holocaust survivor Inge Auerbacher, who was imprisoned with her parents for three years in Terezin, a concentration camp in Czechoslovakia, echoed Herschel’s sentiment. “Kanye, if you were living in Germany during the time of the Nazi period, you would not be able to speak the vile language that you are saying today because you would be a pile of ashes. They would hate you, too. Black people were killed as well… They hated anybody who was not lily white. So what do you have to say to that? Your filthy mouth would have been silenced with a heap of ashes.”

According to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, when Hitler was in power Afro-Germans, or Black Germans, were not permitted to attend universities or hold jobs, and sometimes their citizenship was taken away from them. There was systemic and vicious racism; Black people were imprisoned or sent to concentration camps where they were treated extremely cruelly and medically experimented on; many were killed or worked to death. Interracial marriages, like Ye and Kim Kardashian’s, were forbidden. Children of Black soldiers and white German women were disparagingly called “Rhineland Bastards” and forcibly sterilized. Ye has four children from an interracial marriage.

After Ye kept to his promise of “going death con 3 on JEWISH PEOPLE,” a 700,000 member subreddit called r/Kanye, which used to be devoted to discussions about Kanye West’s music and fashion, turned into a Holocaust remembrance and awareness forum. Haunting photos of Jewish children behind barbed wire in concentration camps and personal accounts from saddened and angry ex-Ye fans whose relatives were murdered by Nazis filled the page. A Reddit member named u/averagevegetable shared photos of a basement and oven at the Mauthausen camp in upper Austria, where her grandfather was incarcerated; another member posted a frightening photograph of a gas chamber to prove that they existed.

U/ahmed0112 wrote “6 million human beings, each with their own childhoods, likes, and families, brutally targeted for nothing other than their faith. Those who chose to ignore this tragedy deserve no forgiveness.” Upon seeing the photos, a poster called u/overthinkable, who grew up listening to Ye’s music and describes himself as “The Brooklyn Jew” said he was “in tears right now…. Thank you for standing up for us.”

The forum also has tributes to heroes, like Japanese diplomat Chiune Sugihara, who saved 10,000 European Jews by giving them visas so they could flee from the Nazis, and Nancy Wake, a French Resistance leader who became the Gestapo’s #1 most wanted enemy for helping Jews escape France. There is also a post honoring 93-year-old Sir Ben Helfgott and the late Alfred Nakache, the only two Holocaust survivors who became Olympians.

People from Germany expressed the remorse they felt about their own history. 26oclock posted, “It should be a no-brainer nowadays to stand up against antisemitism and racism after learning from our history. I am German and I still regret what has been done by our great-grandfathers. Can‘t imagine how some are not even regretting their damaging actions in the present like Kanye.”

After hearing about the Reddit posts, Auerbacher commented, “The sleeping giant awoke to show his true self. His fans who used to adore him were awakened by the reality of seeing his dark heart and his ugly soul.”

A Reddit post headlined “This is officially a Holocaust awareness sub” featured statistics from the Claims Conference’s 2020 Holocaust Knowledge & Awareness Study, which showed how a large percentage of U.S. millennials are alarmingly ignorant about the Holocaust. Sixty-three percent of millennials did not realize that six million Jews were killed in the Holocaust, one in ten have never heard or don’t remember having heard the word “Holocaust” before, and 15 percent believe “it is acceptable for an individual to hold neo-Nazi views.” Another 15 percent were not sure.

In response to a middle school teacher’s post lamenting that her students are taking talking points from Ye, leading them to question if the Holocaust really happened, Auerbacher stated, “They don’t even know about Anne Frank; nothing. Too little has been taught in schools…. Even young children can learn it in their own perspective that’s kid-friendly. That is what’s important because most people come up with lies…. Also, as long as survivors are alive, they can invite them to the schools to speak there because certainly personal contact is, of course, the best.”

When hearing about how Ye turned down the Holocaust Museum LA’s invitation for a private tour, Auerbacher said “He’s a coward. He knows he will see the truth and he doesn’t want to face the truth.” Auerbacher offered Ye a personal invitation to her home. “Come meet me! I’m offering him an invitation. When he comes over he will be surprised to see my African American friend, Ilene, answer the door. I’m in music, too. We can write a song together. He’ll get to know me and know my story.”

Herschel, who lives in Israel, was thinking about the dangerous rise in antisemitism when he saw his grandson that afternoon, and told him, “We have to be very happy that we have our own State of Israel.” He revealed, “My father wrote in his diary, ‘A people without a country doesn’t have a future.’ We are in a situation here. We have to defend our State, our Jewish democratic State of Israel. If we can’t do that, then we are lost and there is a second Shoah coming up. But don’t be afraid. Feel the fear, but hit back.”

He added, “It starts with words. And the end is genocide…. Whatever non-Jewish people say, ‘We have such a power,’ – Yes, we have power! And we are using our power in order to defend ourselves and to hit back!”


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