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Holocaust book repeats the word ‘Jew’ six million times


It’s a book that contains just a single word, repeated six million times across 1,250 pages. Gefen Publishing, a Jerusalem-based published, has produced And Every Single One Was Someone and it’s a book that was worthy of the front page of the New York Times at the weekend.

That one word is ‘Jew’ and this substantial book, a coffee-table book if you will, is designed to provoke thoughts about the Holocaust and remind readers of the numbers of Jewish people who were killed by the Nazis.

“When you look at this at a distance, you can’t tell whether it’s upside down or right side up, you can’t tell what’s here; it looks like a pattern,” said Phil Chernofsky, the author, though that term may be something of a stretch. “That’s how the Nazis viewed their victims: These are not individuals, these are not people, these are just a mass we have to exterminate.

“Now get closer, put on your reading glasses, and pick a ‘Jew,’ ” Mr. Chernofsky continued. “That Jew could be you. Next to him is your brother. Oh, look, your uncles and aunts and cousins and your whole extended family. A row, a line, those are your classmates. Now you get lost in a kind of meditative state where you look at one word, ‘Jew,’ you look at one Jew, you focus on it and then your mind starts to go because who is he, where did he live, what did he want to do when he grew up?”

Chernofsky is the educational director of the Orthodox Union’s OU Israel Center in Jerusalem and editor of the Torah Tidbits parsha pamphlet.

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