(JTA) — A New York-based haredi Orthodox rabbi apologized for saying that only about 1 million halachic Jews died in the Holocaust.
“I wish to apologize for my incorrect statement regarding the six million Kedoshim (holy ones) that were tragically murdered in the Holocaust,” Rabbi Yosef Mizrachi said in an apology emailed to the Yeshiva World News, the news website reported Sunday.
Mizrachi, who has posted thousands of popular outreach lectures online, said in the apology, “I have been shown the accurate statistics and I realize that those that were not halachically Jewish were a very small minimal number. I do not wish to offend any of the Holocaust survivors or their family members it has never ever been my intention.
“The Kedoshim of the Holocaust need to be remembered and sanctified in the most honorable way possible. My goal was to wake up our nation to the silent holocaust that is happening now which is the increasing intermarriage cases in the U.S.A. and the rest of the world.”
Mizrachi said his words were taken out of context since only part of the video, made several years ago, was broadcast.
In the video posted Tuesday on his YouTube channel, Mizrachi cited high assimilation rates in Europe before World War II to make his claim that 80 percent of those identified as Jews killed by the Nazis during the Holocaust were not Jewish according to halachah, or Jewish law.
“If you look at the percent of assimilation that there was in Europe, which already reached 80 percent, it’s reasonable to assume that 80 percent of the 6 million were not Jews,” said Mizrachi, who teaches at a yeshiva in Monsey.
“The truth is that not even 1 million Jews were killed. Not that this is, God forbid, an insignificant number, it’s massive, but there is a difference between 1 million and 6 million.”