Montreal Gazette | 27Mar2010 | Orest Slepokura

"Holocaust soap peddler incites rage and ridicule"

The Editor:

Re: "Holocaust soap peddler incites rage and ridicule," Irwin Block, The Montreal Gazette, 27 March 2010.

While reporter Irwin Block, citing Holocaust experts, may generally dismiss the story of Nazi-era Germans recycling the fat of murdered Jews to make bars of hand soap as unfounded, the fact is this hoary and grisly legend was represented as real history in secondary school textbooks for use in Canadian high schools. In the section devoted to the Holocaust, Canada: The Twentieth Century (Fred McFadden, et al., Toronto: 1982) informs students that the Germans "boiled" the corpses of their Jewish victims in order "to make soap" of them.

That said, I wonder how many scholars and lay people trying to set the historical record straight in this matter were charged with being an anti-Semite, a Holocaust denier. A lot, I bet. Hollywood may crank out wild fantasy blockbusters like Inglourious Basterds that turn history on its head with total impunity, but woe betide anyone who tries to bring a degree of exactitude to the historical record where the Holocaust is concerned once an emotional attachment has been formed to an aspect of the standard narrative.


Orest Slepokura
Strathmore, Alta