Issue Date: May 30, 2016
‘Died’ versus ‘murdered’
This letter concerns the article “Chemistry Nobel Laureate Walter Kohn Dies at Age 93” (C&EN, May 2, page 10).
If nothing else, as scientists and engineers, we cannot allow ourselves to join the mass of disingenuous (if not overtly inaccurate) reporting so common today. As the title of the article correctly notes, Kohn “died.” However, the article also states (using the same word) that “his parents died at Auschwitz”—certainly not correct. On the contrary, an honest reporter would write that “his parents (together with about 1,000,000 fellow Jews) were murdered at Auschwitz.” “Died” and “murdered” are not the same thing, and for C&EN to use “died” to apply to both Kohn and his parents betrays a lack of intellectual integrity.
Today, with lunatic haters throughout the world denying the Holocaust, intelligent people have no choice but to select words carefully to describe the facts. Beyond the demand for honest reporting, such care helps to deny anti-Semites the space to distort the historical record to further their prejudice.
Bernard H. White
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