Op-ed: QAnon, the Holocaust and the deadly power of conspiracy theories

The Holocaust was the most murderous and massive manifestation of Jew hatred — and it began and ended with the aid of conspiracy theories. State-sponsored conspiracism fueled the genocide of 6 million innocent human beings. A major pillar of Nazi ideology — and an effective method of drumming up anti-Semitism — was the false accusation that Jews had “stabbed Germany in the back” during World War I.

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One of the slippery things when writing about conspiracy theories is this: how to explain their convoluted logic without making them sound more sensible? How to lead the reader along the twisted path, without constantly having to shout “it’s not true!”? During WWI, German Jews served in the imperial military with distinction — and in far greater numbers than their proportion of the population. After the Nazi rise to power, many German Jewish veterans assumed (and then hoped in vain) that prior sacrifice and service would shield them from intensifying persecution. That was a reasoned line of thinking. But rationality is irrelevant in a world permeated by conspiracism. —Chicago Tribune