In the wake of the the Tree of Life synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh that left 11 Jews dead, some Americans are grappling with how it could have happened here.
"A 97 year-old Holocaust survivor was killed for being Jewish yesterday," a post that appeared on Instagram on Oct. 30 said. "In the United States, Let that sink in." It was also posted on Facebook on Oct. 28 and reshared more than 1,500 times on that platform.
This story was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.) It’s true that a 97-year-old was killed—but was she a Holocaust survivor?
Only one of the people murdered was that age: Rose Mallinger, the eldest victim. She was among many older members of the synagogue who were killed, according to the New York Times. "Some, like Rose Mallinger … were alive while the Holocaust was devastating Jewish communities around Europe, the paper reported. "They were the steady anchors of a faithful community that had changed over the years but persisted as a source of devotion, camaraderie and memory."
Profiles of Mallinger in publications including the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette don’t describe her as a Holocaust survivor.
But other media did—and then retracted the information. Forward, a Jewish publication, corrected an Oct. 28 story about Mallinger on Oct. 30. "An earlier version of this story erroneously stated that Rose Mallinger was a Holocaust survivor," the editor’s note says. People magazine also corrected a story that "incorrectly identified Rose Mallinger as a Holocaust survivor."
Yahoo News reported on Oct. 29 that census records "appear to show she was the fourth of six children of Yiddish-speaking parents who had themselves arrived in the U.S. from Lithuania as children."
We rate this statement False.