NYC, NY – Fox News host Greg Gutfeld has come under fire for saying Jewish people survived Nazi concentration camps by being “useful.”
Gutfeld made the controversial comments on popular political talk show ‘The Five’ where the panel were discussing new educational standards in Florida.
Under the standards, history students will now learn that enslaved people in the US, who endured forced kidnapping, then brutal violence and bondage on plantations, “developed skills” that could be “applied for personal benefit”.
Jessica Tarlov, one of the panellists on the ‘The Five’, said the provision within the standards made her uncomfortable.
As a Jewish person, she felt a similar framing of the Holocaust would be highly offensive.
She explained: “I’m just fundamentally uncomfortable with the sentence that Blacks benefited at all from this.“It made me think as someone, obviously I’m not Black, I’m Jewish, would someone say about the Holocaust, for instance, that there were some benefits for Jews, that while they were hanging out in concentration camps, you learned a strong work ethic, maybe you learned a new skill?”
Responding to Tarlov, Gutfeld said: “Did you ever make [read] ‘Man’s Search for Meaning’?.
“Vik Frankl talks about how you had to survive in a concentration camp by having skills. You had to be useful. Utility. Utility kept you alive.”
Gutfeld was referring to Viktor Frankl, an Austrian psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor who developed logotherapy, a school of psychotherapy premised on the idea that human beings are motivated to find meaning in their lives.
Frankl wrote “Man’s Search for Meaning,” a 1946 autobiography which details his experiences in four Nazi concentration camps and how those ordeals shaped his psychological worldview.
The Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum said in a statement on social media that Gutfeld’s comments were an inaccurate description of the Nazi genocide.
They said: “While it is true that some Jews may have used their skills or usefulness to increase their chances of survival during the Holocaust, it is essential to contextualize this statement properly and understand that it does not represent the complex history of the genocide perpetrated by Nazi Germany.
“While it is accurate to acknowledge that some Jews may have survived temporarily due to their perceived usefulness, it is crucial to remember that the Holocaust was a systematic genocide with the ultimate aim of exterminating the entire Jewish population.
“It would be more appropriate to say that some Jews survived the Holocaust because they were considered temporarily useful, and the circumstances of the Nazi regime’s collapse prevented their murder.
“We should avoid such oversimplifications in talking about this complex tragic story.”
White House spokesperson Andrew Bates added: “What Fox News allowed to be said on their air yesterday — and has so far failed to condemn — is an obscenity.
“In defending a horrid, dangerous, extreme lie that insults the memory of the millions of Americans who suffered from the evil of enslavement, a Fox News host told another horrid, dangerous and extreme lie that insults the memory of the millions of people who suffered from the evils of the Holocaust.”
Fox News has declined to comment on the remarks so far but the JC has approached them for comment.