NPR, which is supported by a number of Federal grants, published a piece Wednesday lauding the Jews who “beat back typhus” in Poland’s Warsaw Ghetto as a “model” for the world to curb the COVID-19 outbreak. That typhus outbreak, however, was used by the Nazis to control Jews. Their fascist campaign led to the extermination of 6 million Jews in Europe.
NPR’s story quickly drew backlash.
The piece was based on a new scientific study published in July showing that “social distancing, hygiene and food supplies to supplement the meager rations provided by the Nazis could have been responsible for an unexpected drop in typhus cases in the winter of 1941.”
That same study was posted in Smithsonian Magazine, which is owned by the Smithsonian Institution, another group supported by Federal grants.
“The Nazis justified genocide supposedly to control the spread of disease. This exemplifies humanity’s ability to turn upon itself, based on racially guided epidemiological principles, merely because of the appearance of a bacterium. Deadly disease and starvation dynamics are explored using modeling and the maths of food ration cards,” the study notes.
It adds, “Strangely, the epidemic was curtailed and was brought to a sudden halt before winter, when typhus normally accelerates. A far more massive epidemic outbreak was prevented through the antiepidemic efforts by the often considered incompetent and corrupt ghetto leadership and the Herculean efforts of ghetto doctors.”
Jews forced into the ghettos had to leave behind everything they owned to the Nazis. While in the Ghetto, they were forced to work. The Ghetto was eventually fully closed off to the outside world and it became severely overcrowded, leading to mass hunger and poor sanitation. Nearly 100,000 Jews were infected with typhus in the Ghetto and tens of thousands died of the disease.
Dov Hikind, Founder of Americans Against Antisemitism, wrote on Twitter in reaction to NPR’s story, “Are you out of your freakin minds?!?! Do you know what kind os typhus and other diseases raged in that ghetto?! Do you know people were forcefully confied to a few square blocks?!?! Nearly 100k Jews died there!!!”
He added, “And that’s a good case study for ‘how to beat back an outbreak’?!”
Former New York City Council Member David G. Greenfield pointed to the hundreds of thousands of Jew “murdered from the Nazi’s Warsaw Ghetto,” noting the 1.3 miles Jews were packed into. “This story is disgusting,” he added.
To learn about the Holocaust, click here.