Scott Adams, creator of the comic strip "Dilbert." (Photo/Bob Riha, Jr.-Getty Images)
Scott Adams, creator of the comic strip "Dilbert." (Photo/Bob Riha, Jr.-Getty Images)

‘Dilbert’ cartoon creator once questioned the number of Jews killed in the Holocaust

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Scott Adams, creator of the “Dilbert” comic strip, wrote in a now-deleted blog post from 2006 that he wanted “to know how the Holocaust death total of 6 million was determined.”

“Is it the sort of number that is so well documented with actual names and perhaps a Nazi paper trail that no historian could doubt its accuracy, give or take ten thousand?” he wrote. “Or is it like every other LRN (large round number) that someone pulled out of his ass and it became true by repetition?”

“Dilbert” was dropped by its distributor and hundreds of news outlets after Adams said Black Americans are “a hate group” and advised white people to “get the hell away.”

He made the comments on a YouTube livestream posted Feb. 22 in reference to a Rasmussen poll that found 53% of Black Americans agree with the statement, “It’s okay to be white,” while 26% disagreed and 21% were not sure.

“If nearly half of all Blacks are not OK with white people — according to this poll, not according to me,” Adams said, “that’s a hate group.”

Rasmussen is a right-leaning polling group whose methodology has been called “dubious” by The New York Times. The phrase “It’s OK to be white” originated on the extremist forum 4chan and has been labeled a “hate slogan” by the Anti-Defamation League.

Adams’ blog post questioning the number of Jews killed in the Holocaust went on to ask whether the 6 million figure includes “resistance fighters and civilians who died in the normal course of war, or just the Jews rounded up and killed systematically? No reasonable person doubts that the Holocaust happened, but wouldn’t you like to know how the exact number was calculated, just for context? Without that context, I don’t know if I should lump the people who think the Holocaust might have been exaggerated for political purposes with the Holocaust deniers. If they are equally nuts, I’d like to know that. I want context.”

So where does the 6 million figure come from? According to Yad Vashem, Israel’s official memorial to Holocaust victims, that was the number cited by senior Nazi official Adolf Eichmann, who was in charge of the logistics of the campaign to annihilate Jews. Yad Vashem said that other calculations using prewar and postwar census data and data from Nazi deportations have estimated the number at between 5 and 6 million. More than 4.7 million victims are named in Yad Vashem’s archives.

The Israeli news outlet Haaretz reported that 6 million was also the number cited by Wilhelm Hoettl, a senior Third Reich official and trained historian who testified for the prosecution in the Nuremberg trials of accused Nazi war criminals and in Eichmann’s 1961 trial. Hoettl said Eichmann told him that 4 million Jews had been killed in concentration camps and another 2 million by shooting, disease and other causes.

In a tweet, Adams appeared to double down on his comments about Black Americans being a “hate group,” saying: “An obvious question for those who canceled me is do they disagree with my point. So far I have not seen it. I only see disagreement with my use of hyperbole.”

Other controversial views espoused in the past by Adams include him saying “women are treated differently by society for exactly the same reason that children and the mentally handicapped are treated differently. It’s just easier this way for everyone.” He also said he lost the contract for his “Dilbert” TV show for “being white” when the network UPN “decided it would focus on an African American audience.” His thoughts on the COVID-19 pandemic include his account of participating in a “mask boycott to overwhelm the hall monitors.”

“Dilbert” is a satire about a white-collar engineer and the workplace, described by Adams as “the most skeptical business-oriented content on the planet.”

Adams, who lives in Pleasanton and received an MBA from UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, did not immediately respond to a request for comment made via Twitter.

Beth Harpaz
Beth Harpaz

Beth Harpaz is a reporter for the Forward. She previously worked for the Associated Press, first covering breaking news and politics, then as AP Travel editor. Follow her @literarydj or email [email protected].

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