• Tue, Jul 2 - 12:00 pm ET

There Is A Discussion At XOJane About Whether You Could Dye You Hair To Escape The Holocaust

Hair dye

Comments sections, they’re tricky things, right? Because while it’s wonderful to have discussion and lively debate, I suppose you always worry about things going too far. But then, as an editor, you wonder, “what’s the worst that could happen?” The worst is that one of your writers says “why didn’t Jews just dye their hair blonde to escape the Holocaust?”

Which… happened. I want to make sure this avoided my own difficulties with XOJane (I believe shame is a valuable emotion) so I read the comment one of their writers made over four or five times after some of our readers sent it in. Here is what it says:

with the slavery vs. holocaust debate, it’s a bit different, as it was ultimately based upon race vs. religion, as in, Blacks were enslaved for hundreds of years, because they were Black. They couldn’t change or alter the appearance so as to escape and fly under the radar. Jews were exteriminated (@peachgrenade’s words–not mine) for not being blonde + blue and because of their religion–the hair and the religion, they could change.

.Ah. Well, that’s certainly an inflammatory statement, but it’s not as though she’s saying they could dye their hair – OH WAIT:

Sooooo, people couldn’t dye their hair back then? Women were going peroxide blonde back in the early 1900s, so by the 1940s, hair dye was pretty common…

Often, as a child, I wondered about certain things, many of them having to do with planes. I wondered why planes did not come with parachutes rather than flotation devices. I also wondered why the trail of exhaust from planes could not be rainbow colored, because that would make the sky more fun. And I wondered why, when the holocaust happened, all the Jews did not just decide to become Episcopalian. And dye their hair!

I still am frankly very unclear on the first two. However, I turned ten and read a book (only one) and realized that if you had any Jewish grandparents, your dying your hair – or converting extremely quickly – would not save you from being classified as Jewish during the holocaust. There were many people in the concentration camps who barely identified as Jewish. Many were blonde! With blue eyes! Likewise, there were many who spoke Yiddish, and would have had a difficult time passing even had we been air dropping peroxide onto Berlin.

I just thought I would clear that up for anyone reading who thought that if Anne Frank had only had a bottle of Nice ‘n’ Easy she’d be alive today, because, no. No, no, no, no, no.

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  • Raquel

    Ugh. Idiots. Haven’t they ever heard the expression “It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open one’s mouth and remove all doubt?”

  • Eileen

    I would go over there and suggest everyone watch the HBO/BBC movie “Conspiracy” to clear up a few things, but I’m afraid that might disintegrate into an argument over whether Colin Firth or Kenneth Branagh is the cuter Nazi.

    • Jennifer Wright

      I mean, Colin Firth, duh. (Also, that is a spectacular movie.)

    • Eileen

      It’s the most compelling Holocaust movie I’ve ever seen. (And, damn it, yes. Sorry, Branagh)

    • Sean

      Sorry Jennifer, I’m with Eileen on this one. Kenneth Branagh with a beard trumps Colin Firth. I’ve slept on the couch for that statement, and I stand by it.

  • Ellie

    Glad to see TheGloss covering this. The Nazis killed and tortured whoever they wanted. They based their decisions off of perverse “science” that “proved” certain races were inferior.

  • Fabel

    Holy. fucking. shit.

  • anya

    seriously, in fact, even people who never practiced Judaism or even considered themselves Jewish were classified as Jews by the Nazis. If you had one grandparent who was Jewish, then you were considered Jewish, so even if 3 out of 4 of your grandparents were Catholic and you were raised in the Catholic faith, you were still considered to be a Jew. This is just so ignorant

  • goldstargay

    Not to defend XOJ because I think it is an incredibly stupid and poorly managed site with little-to-no editorial oversight and plenty of trainwrecks, but those comments were made solely by the author of the article, India-Jewel Jackson (ironically enough about the Paula Deen fiasco). In the face of dozens of reasoned, well-written responses IJJ continued on a downward spiral of ignorance and flat out antisemitism while also flippantly responding to concerned commenters who tried (and failed) to educate her. Jane Pratt later said they were going to “address it” but nothing official has come out as of yet.

    • Lauper

      They fired her and set up new commenting rules, actually.

  • Colleen

    Can I please point out that the Nazi regime didn’t target people of Jewish descent alone? They also targeted the Roma (gypsies), the mentally handicapped, the physically handicapped, the homosexuals, the people who assisted the “undesirables” in any way. They targeted provocative artists and authors. They targeted twins for medical experimentation. They did spend a lot of their energy on the “Jewish problem” but they weren’t the only ones. Your appearance did not save you. Your apparent profession of Nazi ideals did not save you. If they were going to come for you, they would come no matter what you looked like, what you were wearing, or what you were saying.

    • Ellie

      Someone (me) already pointed that out. Ellie • 5 hours ago

      Glad to see TheGloss covering this. The Nazis killed and tortured whoever they wanted. They based their decisions off of perverse “science” that “proved” certain races were inferior.

    • Dave Eboch

      Really that is bad but why in Israel do they treat the Palestinians subhuman. Palestinian children cat be treated in an Israeli hospital without donating their organs. Palestinians have to use different roads than the Jews. The Israeli defense force shoots Palestinian children on their way to school. The holocaust may have happened but apparently it is okay to do the same thing to someone else. The history books are written by whoever wins and after learning of the brutality in Palestine I now wonder about these experiment stories. The Zionist propaganda hasn’t been entirely truthful.

    • Kharet ro gahidam

      Are you insane?

  • Cee

    Ugh XOJane. I can’t believe it has survived this long. Jane is a child, I said this last week. She is a desperate high schooler wanting to be popular. I can’t stand that site, though on the weekend when the girls on The Gloss are having their slumber parties and the writing slows a bit, I venture there and there can be a good article or two every blue moon, but the commentariat, yikes! Do NOT disagree with those people! Everything the writers say is right! Just go “Toootally agree, Emily!” And you will get no snark and cattyness from commenters or writers themselves.
    I haven’t read this article, can’t find it. But I hear Jane is going to discuss it, you know, the way she MARVELOUSLY handled the Cat Marnell birth control fiasco. I can’t wait for that to come about.

    • Jurassic_Babe

      I this this whole fiasco is an example of the opposite? A regular writer said something offensive and the commenters took her to task. I do agree that there are some writers who can be really combative in the comments (tempted to name names but will refrain) which can create a culture of “don’t question things” Luckily the majority of commenters/writers on that site are awesome and will still make their perspective known/disagree with one another. Also, I think the site as a whole handled the situation really well. That being said, I could not agree more about Jane. WHAT IS HER DEAL?!

  • Lex_Discipulus

    Oh man if ONLY someone, ANYONE in the Jewish community thought of dying their hair! And finding Jesus. Then they would have all been saved!

    /sarcasm.

    With all honesty, the author of that “article” was a walking train wreck of hypocrisy. She was writing about how Paula Deen was a racist and then proceeded to be AntiSemetic.

    But it got worse when she kept on talking! And defending her position. She and ONE other person were in agreement on this. The remainder of the community was very clear that she was wrong.

  • becksss

    I don’t really see the point of this ‘article’. The ridiculous comments were made my one dumb-ass author and have absolutely nothing else to do with the site. There was not a ‘discussion’ as such about whether you could dye your hair in this situation, but rather one woman claiming you could, and the rest of the commenters tearing her to shreds about her stupid statement.

    I find this just as misleading a title as the ones you have previously berated xojane for – such as the ‘raped at Disneyland’ one.

    • atheologist

      Also, IJJ was fired from XOJane for her comments, which was announced after this piece was posted, but merits an update.

  • Cara

    You acting so petty towards XO Jane makes you seem like the insecure bully, just FYI – for a site who promotes positivity towards other women I’d think you’d be a bit better at practicing what you preach

  • Tusconian

    Someone over there expressed shock that someone her age with a college degree could know so little. And for a split second I agreed, as I recall reading stories about Jews who did dye their hair in attempt to escape, and naturally blonde haired Jews who went to concentration camps, in the 4th grade.

    And then I remembered that I know young adults who went to American, mainstream, allegedly “exceeding” schools and took AP history classes who aren’t entirely aware that the Holocaust happened, and people want to ban the Diary of Anne Frank.

  • http://coffeeontheedge.wordpress.com/ Jennie

    I think the part that really disgusted me was when she mentioned that a Jewish friend told her that the holocaust was worse than slavery, Ms. India concluded that: ‘My response? “4 years < 400 years. NO COMPARISON."'

    Judaism is seen as a racial group, an ethnic group, and as a religion.

    The Jewish people have faced thousands of years of oppression. In 70 AD over one million Jews were killed by Romans. They were killed, expelled, or forced to convert in Spain when Isabella and Ferdinand took control. The list could go on and on; at various points in history Jews have been oppressed in the whole of Europe, as well as the United States. During the Holocaust and after, many were denied entry into the United States, and when they got here many found that they faced the same hostility and hatred.

    To say that they had it easier than slaves is offensive. Neither were good, neither were easy. They shouldn't be compared because both were horrible, they are different, that doesn't make one "better" or "worse" than the other. We can learn from both of these histories.

    • Dave Eboch

      That is an outright lie! Many Americans opened their arms to the Jews. America gives Israel 3 billion a year while people here are starving! Everything you have said is a lie! Hitler was a deranged bad guy but he wasn’t fighting a religious war with the Jews he was fighting their communism and infiltration in the German government! The Jews were the communist! They don’t tell you that in American public schools but it is 100 percent true! The nazis and the Zionist had a hateful relationship but the Jews were not the only ones in those concentration camps. You tools have no real education and obviously never sought out the true world history! You are content in being a New World Order slug who is always the victim! What pathetic nonsense! There are still many black people who live below the poverty line and they need help to get their situation changed but that sure as hell would not be someone like India Jewel who is on here crying the blues. If you want to help your race India go to schools and encourage education and self esteem and stop playing the victim game. There are more scholarships for blacks than any other race. You can’t be denied certain jobs. The people who are victims in this society are the white kids. They really need to stand their ground against the NWO because so much dishonesty and blame is directed at innocent people! They are the victims!

  • http://www.omg-ponies.com OMG! Ponies!

    India Jewel Jackson writes an article on Paula Deen’s inbred racism, saying that ignorance is no defense, and that she is glad that Paula Deen got fired.

    Then, Ms. Jackson makes ignorant anti-Semitic statements in her own article’s comment section and gets fired.

    Irony: it’s not something you do to get wrinkles out of shirts.

  • peachgrenade

    In other news, I would just like to point out that despite the implication otherwise, I did not misspell “exterminated” in my original comment. Salt on the wound, bitch!! (Good riddance.)

  • Sabine

    Ugh.
    I’m a Holocaust historian, and this erroneous and simplified explanation is sadly how a lot of school teachers gloss over the extremely complex racial-classing process of the Nazi regime. I cringe every time I hear someone say “…but, Hitler had brown hair! He’s crazy and was probably projecting his self-loathing..” Looks didn’t matter. It was all about blood/ethnicity or political/social affiliations.. those were the persecuted (but we must not forget that exceptions were made for the rich, the powerful, the well connected).
    Check out books by Raul Hilberg, Saul Friedländer, Anna Pawełczyńska, Hermann Langbein, Primo Levi…

  • Dave Eboch

    Omg….. Both parties despicable! There were many other types of people besides Jews in the holocaust !!! Gypsies, Catholics, polish, plus the Jews don’t mention they were the Bolshevik communist who murdered 25 million White Russian Christians or that Israel has treated Palestine with horrible brutality. As far as blacks go they continually demonize the whites for slavery and actually the Jews were a big part of the slave trade. Furthermore the white people of the north freed the slaves! So sick of all these idiots playing victims when they are so not! Get a life losers!

  • …her?

    The Holocaust was based on race. Nazis considered Jews to be a race.

  • Anna

    There were plenty of blonde haired, blue eyed Jews. It still didn’t save them during the Holocaust. This myth of Hitler only wanting blonde haired blue eyed people has been oversimplified. It was not about hair color, but of false ideas of race.

  • Lune

    My grandmother looked like a stereotypical Jewish girl and we still wonder — but she didn’t get any side-eye because her family was on record as being Catholic for enough generations. Trust me. It wasn’t about looks.

    (And she grew up to look like a stereotypical bubbe, too.)