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The Magneto is Jewish FAQNOTE: Some might say that the X-Men movie has forever established that Magneto is, indeed, a Jewish survivor of the Nazi Holocaust. That may be so, but I have little doubt that the tireless work of Rivka and a few others had an influence on Brian Singer's decision to include that in the movie. Thus I am reposting here some very old articles written by Rivka on the subject that they may continue to be accessible to X-Men fans and students of history for many years to come. Ian.
2-21-2009 NOTE: This FAQ recounts the evidence supporting Magneto's Jewish identity as it appears in real-world chronological order. Most recently, the limited series X-MEN: MAGNETO TESTAMENT, appeared, running from September 2008 to Februrary 2009. This limited series, confirmed by the Editor in Chief of Marvel Comics to be in-continuity, has firmly established that Magneto was born Jewish, and that his birth name was Max Eisenhardt. While for the most part maintaining and supporting the existing continuity, there was a divergence from canon with MAGNETO TESTAMENT #5. Because of this, and the importance of X-MEN: MAGNETO TESTAMENT to the character Magneto and his story, I will be posting a separate entry for the series. The Magneto is Jewish FAQ still needs to be updated with material from EXCALIBUR vol.3, and the X-FACTOR: QUICK AND DEAD one-shot by Peter David, which would bring it up to date as of X-MEN: MAGNETO TESTAMENT.
The Magneto Is Jewish FAQ
(1) In Uncanny #113 (Classic X-Men #19) , the added material has Magneto on Asteroid M, talking about the deaths of Magda, Anya, and he mentions Auschwitz for the first time. "I endured one death camp ... in Auschwitz ... I will not see another people fear what they do not understand and destroy what they fear." Uncanny #113 is from 1978. The additional scenes were included in 1988's Classic X-Men #19. So, we know Magnus was at Auschwitz, a death camp, not just a concentration camp. (Many fans [and writers] seem to get the two types of camps confused.) There could have been a number of reasons he was at Auschwitz: he was a Polish political prisoner, a Russian prisoner of war, a member of the French underground, a homosexual from Germany, a Gypsy, or, with a high probability, a Jew. (Out of 1.5 million victims of Auschwitz, between 1.1 and 1.2 million were Jews.)
(2) In Uncanny #150 Magneto mentions, in a fight with Cyclops, "I know something of grief. Search throughout my homeland, you will find NONE who bear my name. Mine was a large family, and it was slaughtered ... without mercy, without remorse."
It seems unlikely he was imprisoned because he was a homosexual or French partisan, because the entire families of such prisoners were not slaughtered throughout an entire "homeland." After Magneto thinks he has killed Kitty, he says: "I remember my own childhood ... the gas chambers at Auschwitz, the guards joking as they herded my family to their death. As our lives were nothing to them, so human lives became nothing to me." Storm is about to blast him for "killing" Kitty, and she says, if have a deity, butcher, pray to it!" Magneto answers, "As a boy, I believed. As a boy, I turned my back on God forever."
So now we know that Magnus is not a political prisoner (German political prisoners were sent to camps on German soil, like Dachau, or Bergen-Belsen), he is not Polish, since whole Polish families were not herded to the gas chambers. While the Soviet peoples were the target of genocide, only Soviet POWs were in Auschwitz, not whole families. So, we are now left with only two groups of people that Magnus could be from, the Gypsies and the Jews. Uncanny #150 is from Oct. 1981; already Magnus says something very interesting here. He says he "remembers" the gas chambers of Auschwitz, "remembers" his family being herded, he "remembers" the guards joking. Fact: no one remembers the gas chambers of Auschwitz except in two ways (or three if you believe the dead can speak to the living), either you were a Nazi SS guard or doctor or official, or you were a member of the Sonderkommando. The Sonderkommando, Jewish prisoners who were forced by the Nazis -- in all the death camps -- to do the dirty work of the killing. It was Nazi official policy. The Jews, the lowest of the low to the Nazis, in Auschwitz hierarchy, followed by the Soviet POWs, and then the Gypsies, the Jews would be the ones to lead the victims to the gas chamber, to haul the bodies from the gas chambers to the ovens, to burn and bury the dead. The Jews would pull the teeth of the corpses, cut the hair, pile the bodies three at a time on the retorts of the ovens in just the right way. The Sonderkommando had a few kapos (overseers) who were German and Polish prisoners, politicals or criminals from civil prisons in Germany and Poland. During the summer of 1944, 19 Russian POWs from Mauthausen were sent to augment the Auschwitz Sonderkommando. Totally documented, on paper and by eye witness accounts. All other members of the Auschwitz Sonderkommando were Jews.
(3) In Uncanny #161, Sept. 1982, we have the story of Xavier's trip to Israel. There he meets Magnus for the first time. However, it should be noted that the entire story is told via Xavier's dream, while he is with Lilandra. In Uncanny #161 we see for the first time Magnus' tattoo from Auschwitz. His number is #214782. Xavier says, "That tattoo, Magnus, were you ...?" Magnus answers, "Auschwitz. I grew up there."
So now we know that Magneto was first in Auschwitz as a very young person, but we can't pinpoint the age yet. Also, his number is high for someone who was there from the beginning of the camp. The first Polish prisoners, like author Wieslaw Kielar, had very low numbers, like in the 200s. Sonderkommando survivor Filip Muller's number was in the 20,000s. He arrived in early 1942. Magnus' number is a standard number, however, without the A of the 1944 arrivals, or the Z of the Gypsies, or the other special classification symbols. Of course the penciller didn't know these details. So a standard Auschwitz number, which is too big, but it doesn't tell us anything.
(4) Vision and the Scarlet Witch, Vol. 1, #4. Magneto has just found out Wanda and Pietro are his children. (This is from Feb. 1983.) He is on the moon, in the Inhuman city of Attilan, telling Vision about his youth. "I was born into a time and place ... Android ... where both man and mutant were persecuted for being ... different." Picture of the Auschwitz camp, guards tormenting emaciated prisoners, one of whom displays a very prominent and exaggerated Star of David on his clothing. In the next panel, however, Magneto sort-of goes into a fantasy. He says, "But unlike the other victims, I possessed the power to fight back." He imagines he's hurling Nazi tanks away with magnetic energy.
Since Magneto's powers didn't manifest until years after the war was over, the reader must conclude he is exaggerating for the benefit of Wanda, Pietro, Vision, and Crystal, or he's picturing an incident that happened many years later.
(5) Now for the second most important comic portraying Magneto as Jewish, Uncanny #199, Nov. 1985. Magneto with Lee Forrester and Kitty Pryde arrive at the National Holocaust Memorial in Washington, DC. (It's not really Lee, but Mystique, trying to capture Magneto.) Magneto has been having an affair with Lee, he loves her. He brings her to the Holocaust Memorial? Why? Fun date, huh? Why, because he has no other family. These people are his family. Jewish survivors of the Holocaust. Lee/Mystique says: "Man's inhumanity to man ... how easily the race kills." Magneto answers: "Then, Lee, it was the Jews. My nightmare has ever been that tomorrow it will be Mutants." Why would he say that, why wouldn't he mention another ethnic group, if he weren't Jewish? Next, Magneto tells Kitty EXACTLY how to address the gathering in order to get information about dead or missing family members. How does Magneto know how to do this? Isn't it obvious that he's done this before? Why would he address a Jewish Holocaust gathering looking for information about his family if his family weren't Jewish? (And it is a Jewish gathering; a speaker says in the background: "... the systematic institutionalized extermination of one people by another.") Kitty asks about her great-aunt Chava, who died at Auschwitz, and Magneto is recognized by two survivors, Ruth and David Shulman, two Jewish survivors. (Shul is another name for synagogue -- Shulman means man of the temple, or man of the synagogue.) They remember Magneto as a youth in Auschwitz, and say he helped them survive. And witness him as having been there. (No implanted memories, please.) They testify that he " ... had been at that accursed place from the very start...."
Later, Mystique reveals herself, and arrests Magneto in front of all these people. Magneto says that he recognizes no authority. "My land ...all the countries of the world ... turned their back on me and mine when we were condemned to Hitler's death camps. Therefore, in return, I have sworn to deny them."
The Gypsies were not persecuted in Greece; the Greek Jewish community was decimated. A small number of Gypsies and Jews in Romania were exiled to a new border country called "Transnistria" but the remainder of the Gypsies were left alone. Several hundred thousand of them. 350,000 Romanian Jews were savagely murdered throughout the country. In Slovakia, the Gypsies were not deported, the Slovakian Jews were among the first sent to Auschwitz. After the Slovakian uprising was crushed in 1944, several hundred Gypsies who had courageously helped in the rebellion were murdered, along with the remainder of the Jews of Slovakia. Hundreds of Gypsy men were also sent to Slovakian work camps. Bulgaria did not persecute its Gypsies. Bulgaria, stopped the deportations of its Jews literally at the last minute, with the trains smoking on the tracks, due to the intervention of Bulgaria's religious leaders. Bulgarian Jews were persecuted locally, however. In the Netherlands, only the "wandering" Gypsies who were captured in camps and wagons were deported, about 500. The remaining who had bought homes or found shelter with neighbors, were left alone. The Netherlands is where Gabrielle Haller comes from -- in under two years 100,000 Dutch Jews were deported, most were killed. I could go on. There was no other people who were hunted everywhere the Nazis went or had influence but the Jews. There was no other people who had the gates of escape so completely closed off after the war started, but the European Jews. Magneto's reasoning is based on this most extreme situation.
(6) Uncanny #211, Nov. 1986. The Mutant Massacre. Page 9 -- Betsy Braddock has just come in from discovering what happened to a wounded Morlock, who has just died. Magneto, Storm, and Wolverine are standing there in Xavier's infirmary. Betsy says, "... I saw a cadre of super-beings ... massacring every living thing in the Morlock tunnels." Magneto reacts immediately, out of pure emotion. "NO! The horrors of my childhood, born again...only this time, Mutants are the victims, instead of Jews."
What else does this mean? He's talking about HIS childhood, he's making a parallel. If he weren't Jewish, he wouldn't have said Jews, he would have at least added the name of another people targeted by the Nazis.
(7) New Mutants #49, March 1987. Magneto is dreaming. It is an entire page representation of the massacre of his family. Here we see for the first time, his family -- father, mother, sister -- as they were gunned down in front of open graves. The family members are dressed in middle class urban clothes. No peasant dress, no traditional Gypsy clothing. (Urbanized and assimilated Gypsy men and women wore the same clothing as everyone else of the time.) Being massacred with Magnus' family is a mixed group of people. Men in bowler hats and suits, one old woman in a long skirt. One man in a bowler hat has the side-locks of the devout Jew, but the other people could be from different victim groups.
Magnus and his family are the ones out of place. They are well-dressed, an urban family in a rural setting. This matches accounts of what happened to Jewish families from cities or towns who were caught by the death squads following the German army in the summer of 1941, or the families who fled or were transported east and sometimes removed to woods and rural settings where they were shot.
( X-Men Classics #12, back-up story, Aug. 1987. The actual scenes of Magneto's escape from Auschwitz. "And with World War II ending... the Third Reich defeated...it's guards wanted no witnesses left...to tell the tale of this horror..." Picture of an SS soldier about to shoot a fallen and stricken Magda. "He had been there from the start ..." Magnus has just slammed a wooden beam into the head of the SS soldier. "Grown to manhood within its electrified barbed wire fence. If he was to die, it would not be in this abattoir ... and not without a fight!" Magnus grabs a terrified Magda by the hand and drags her with him in his escape.
(a) The war is almost over, it is winter, it is the winter of 1944-1945. The Gypsies were gone by 1945. All the Gypsy women were gone. Only 4 clerks, high-status friends of Nazi officials in Camp I, were left. The Gypsy camp was murdered in the gas chambers in August 1944. (b) This scene, by Claremont and Bolton, is completely accurate. It takes place on Jan. 20, 1945, two days after the camp was evacuated and two to three days after the death marches began.
Some 70 of the Sonderkommando had been assigned to help destroy the evidence of the death factory, and another 30 were left working in Crematorium V. Some 200 women from the woman's camp, Jews, had been chosen to fill in the huge pits where bodies were burned. They had to haul ashes, break up human bones, all in the coldest part of winter. Most of the 100 members of the SK had either joined the evacuation or slipped out of the camp by January 20, but the 200 women had been ordered to stay behind, Magda among them. The SS soldiers sent back on Jan. 20th were sent to kill these women. And that is exactly what you see in this comic book. The SS ordered these woman to assemble at the gate of Auschwitz, began executing them, and hunted down those who fled back into the camp trying to escape the gunfire.
Young Magnus stayed behind as the remaining SK slipped out of the camp, long enough to save Magda as she fled for her life from the SS executioners. The two of them then fled into the woods outside of the camp.
(9) New Mutants #61, March 1988. On page 22, Magneto is alone, kneeling over the dead body of Doug Ramsey, thinking thoughts only the reader can see. This is one moment he would not misrepresent anything, to himself especially.
He says, "An ill wind is coming ... they are registering mutants ... like they once registered my people in Poland ...! Who knows what horrors await us."
Only the Jews were forced to wear armbands with the Star of David on them, and registered before being forced into ghettos in Poland (beginning at the end of 1939). Efforts to murder the Polska Roma (the Polish Gypsies) began in 1942, but they weren't registered first. Young Magnus wouldn't have known about any of that in any case-- he was already at Auschwitz by 1942. He would only have known that "my people" the Jewish people in Poland, including the German Jews who had already been deported there in the first months of the War, were registered.
(10) Classic X-Men #19, March 1988, back-up story. Magneto is apparently working for the CIA hunting Nazis. He is about to be betrayed by them, and his lady love of that time, Isabelle, is about to be murdered. But as he is apprehending a Nazi war criminal he gets one of his massive headaches. "Pain," he thinks, "again indescribable." "Worse than the bite of the kapo's whip. The murder of parents and family, the death of a child ... the loss of a beloved wife!" So here we see that Magneto was the victim of kapos. He could not have been a kapo. He was too young anyway, as we've seen. He grew up in Auschwitz. Here he says the murder of parents, and family. The parents separate, gunned down. The remainder of his family, no doubt sent to the gas chambers later, while he was in the Sonderkommando. Remember what he said in UXM #150; his entire family was wiped out. So as a Jew in the Sonderkommando he not only watched his family die, he helped kill them.
(11) X-Factor Annual #4, 1989. Doom challenges Magneto to a duel of wills, with a helmet that pulls out unpleasant memories and torments the wearer. Who will crack first? Magneto takes his turn -- Doom describes what he sees, "...after the ignoble defeat of the Nazis in Germany, you and the woman Magda you rescued, fled the prison camp Auschwitz, in Poland."
"Auschwitz, where your family had perished --living skeletons -- and you had grown to manhood amid horrors most men could not conceive." First, Doom confirms that Magnus and Magda "fled" or escaped Auschwitz before liberation and after the Gypsy camp was murdered. Then he describes some of Magneto's family perishing, as living skeletons, at Auschwitz. They could either have been kept as prisoners, or brought in, starving, from ghettoes in Poland and gassed.
(12) And now the most important evidence, and just about my favorite X-Men comic, Uncanny #274, from March 1991.
In the Savage Land, the entire comic is told from the point of view of Magneto. It is a first person narrative, he is talking directly to us, the readers. He is not exaggerating, he is not showing off. The writing is elegant and wonderful ...
"My life's ambition has been to safeguard my fellow mutants," Magneto says. "Zaladane has no such compunction. And I hear the echo of Der Fuhrer's voice in the radio of memory, smell the awful stench of the sick and dying as the cattle cars brought the comdemned to Auschwitz. I wear red, the color of blood, in tribute to their lost lives. And the harder I try to cast it aside, to find a gentler path ... the more irresistibly I'm drawn back. I should have died myself with those I loved. Instead, I carted the bodies by the hundreds, by the thousands ... from the death house to the crematorium ... and the ashes to the burial ground. Asking now what I could not then ... why was I spared?!"
So there it is. He describes his job at Auschwitz. That is it. This is no vague job description, this is what the Sonderkommando did. This is fundamental to the history of the Holocaust, to the history of Nazi Germany. Making the Jews the ones who had to do all the dirty work in the death camps.
Marvel cannot say they have their own version of Holocaust history. What kind of reasoning is that? Where do the editors and writers of Marvel get off making up their own history of the Holocaust? Where do they draw the line? Has there ever been any major publisher or entertainment provider, outside Neo-Nazi groups or Far Right hate groups, who just took it upon themselves to eliminate a Jewish character and change Holocaust and Auschwitz history to make it fit? Magneto says it here, he was a member of the Sonderkommando. He was not a kapo. He was not a Russian POW. He was a Jew! On page 14 of UXM #274, Magneto is dreaming again. He again sees his family being gunned down. He again feels what it was like to be buried alive. Rogue wakes him up.
(13) Uncanny X-Men #275, April 1991, which concludes the Savage Land story from UXM #274, referred to above, also contains confirmation as to what happened to young Magnus. Magneto says, directly to the reader, in diary-like narration, as he uses the last strength of his emaciated body to push away his captors, "They think me beaten, finished. A mistake many have made in the past. As I found the strength, as a boy, to survive being machine-gunned and buried alive, and later the unimaginable horror of Auschwitz ... so do I find it in me, here and now, to break free."
(14) X-Factor #92, July, 1993. Havok and X-Factor are battling Cortez and the Acolytes, in this opening chapter of Fatal Attractions. The Acolytes are ranting about the "flatscans" and how mutants have to subjugate them. Havok says, "Out to destroy the "inferior" race ... in Magneto's name? Don't you know what an insult that is to the memory of the very man you claim to worship? Fifty years ago, Magnus barely survived a Holocaust that destroyed almost all of his people: all because some lunatic took it upon himself to decide who deserved to live ... and who didn't. Where's the sense in resurrecting that kind of evil ... in the name of one of its victims?!" An Acolyte answers, "You've seen this place Havok! You've seen the sentinels! You tell me ... where's the sense in letting the flatscans do to the mutants what Hitler did to the Jews? ..."
The Acolytes have done research on Magneto, they worship him. This Acolyte says the Jews, as a parallel metaphor. Why say that, if Magneto isn't Jewish?
(15) Then comes the infamous X-Men Unlimited #2. I won't go into detail at the moment. But the bottom line is, nearly everything that Gabrielle Haller says about Magneto's history in this comic book, including the claim he is a "Sinte Gypsy" is false.
For example, Danzig was not annexed. It was a Free City, under League of Nations protection, that voted itself a Nazi government and welcomed the Nazi troops in like liberators. Gauleiter Forster, the extremely anti-Semitic Nazi leader of Danzig ordered all the remaining Jews of Danzig to be kicked out of the city in 1939, not the Gypsies. The Jews. Auschwitz wasn't opened as a Polish political prisoner camp until the summer of 1940, not 1939. The Gypsies were sent to German municipal camps, in Germany and the Greater Reich, as early as 1933. But they were not sent to Auschwitz from Germany until 1943. The only people who were in a work camp in Auschwitz before it opened were 300 Jews from the town of Auschwitz who were forced to transform a collection of horse stables and army barracks into the Polish prisoner camp. "Genocide, extermination ..." of Poles? Although controversial in some circles, most historians would say, no. The Polish people suffered terribly, and were considered "sub-human" by the Nazis. Millions of Polish citizens were killed throughout the course of the war, as soldiers, as slave laborers, as underground fighters, as members of the intelligentsia. But this was Nazi suppression of a conquered country, enslavement, but not planned genocide. Gypsies, Yes. The homosexuals, no. Not genocide. Persecution and imprisonment. Treated terribly. But whole families weren't sent to the gas chambers because they were homosexuals. And "intellectuals" ? Intellectuals were targets of genocide? Well, I hardly think so, since Goebbels, and Albert Speer, and even Mengele were considered intellectuals.
No one was sent to the gas chambers, or was shot in an open grave, or was tortured and murdered JUST because they happened to be an intellectual. Thousands of Polish citizens who were members of the intelligentsia (the educated class, the vanguard or elite of the educated class), were murdered in the first months of the war. But there was no planned campaign to hunt down every intellectual in Europe and exterminate them. The mentally ill and handicapped, the Jews, and the Gypsies were the primary targets of Nazi genocide.
(16) In X-Men Vol. 2, No. 40, which takes place in Israel, David Haller, (Legion), pulls out Magneto's memories. One can see a picture of young Magnus with older male prisoners, standing behind and below a high, barred window. This is an accurate portrayal of the quarters of the Sonderkommando at Auschwitz I. At Auschwitz I, only the Sonderkommando (other than prisoners awaiting execution) were kept in isolated basement cells, the windows of which were high, barred, and as seen from the outside, half-below ground level.
And why is Magneto in Israel anyway? How could he have come there? Well, why would a Gypsy go to Israel when at least 30,000 Gypsies lived in Germany in the late 1960s and early 1970s? And many more Roma formed a thriving community in Paris. Why not just go home to his own clan and tribe? Gypsies have a complex system of extended familes, clans, and tribes. Why go to Israel to "find himself" or find his "soul"? A German Jew had no place to go but somewhere else. A Polish Jew definitely had no place to go back to, since some Polish fanatics continued to murder returning Holocaust survivors well into the late 1940s. Any Jew can emigrate to Israel, under the Law of Return. All Magneto had to do was show them the tattoo on his arm. And he was home. (And in case some were wondering, with the exception of the Muslim Bosnians, only the Jews of Europe practiced circumcision. It was a religious rite, not a medical procedure. Only Jewish men and boys were circumcised among the prisoners at Auschwitz. The Nazis already knew what Magneto was. He was chosen for the Sonderkommando, he was Jewish. He was not pretending to be a Jew. He wasn't misidentified as a Jew. He was a circumcised, young Jewish man.) Furthermore, Magnus at this time had forged papers, that identified him as "Erik Magnus Lehnsherr." He could have immigrated to any country in the world, including the United States! If he were a Gypsy, and didn't want to self-identify as such, why not go to America? Why go to the one country that represents enormous pain for modern Gypsies -- i.e., the Roma today deeply resent the focus on Israel, and the support Israel enjoys among nations of the Western world, while the Gypsies continue to be persecuted and ignored.
(17) In Astonishing X-Men #3, formerly Uncanny, from May 1995, we have a clear reference to Magneto's being Jewish, written by Scott Lobdell. Magneto has just hit Bishop, and is helping him to his feet. He says, "Long before Xavier died ... before this point of divergence ... I stood by helplessly as millions of my people were led to slaughter in the name of 'genetic purity."
Now the AOA is not a what-if story. It is a divergent timeline. Magneto says, before the timeline diverged. What other people were lead by the millions, led to the slaughter, in the name of genetic purity? Many people suffered and died in World War II. 250,000 to 500,000 Gypsies were murdered (some say as many as 750,000 but any larger claims than that are completely unsubstantiated and rejected by all reputable historians). Millions of Russians, Ukrainians, and Poles during the course of the invasions, and in political violence, and in acts of pure murder, were exterminated. But only the European Jews were "led to the slaughter" in the millions because of one man's racial beliefs. Persecution and incarceration are not the same as genocide and extermination.
(1 X-Men #72, cover date February 1998, published in mid-December 1997. This comic book makes a significant contribution to Magneto's history. Basically, the book reveals that the name *Erik Lehnsherr* which was revealed by Gabrielle Haller in Unlimited #2 to be Magneto's real name, is fake, and so Haller's assertion that Magneto is a *Sinte* Gypsy was based on false and forged identity papers.
The scenario begins with Gabrielle Haller, lying on her bed, working on a lap-top computer, writing the American Sen. Kelly, begging him to help find and secure the release of Charles Xavier. Sabra, the Israeli super-hero, a mutant and Mossad agent, suddenly appears floating in the air outside Haller's balcony doors. Haller has just pushed open the doors, saying, "You're too important to lose, Charles. I will see you ... FREE?" And Sabra says, "Sometimes, Ambassador Haller ... freedom, like the truth, is little more than an illusion. Don't you think?"
Sabra has come to Haller with information. She says to Gabrielle Haller: "I"m sure you recall shocking the world when you announced that you had UNDENIABLE proof ofMagneto's identity as Erik Lehnsherr. The undeniable has just been DENIED." Sabra then goes on to show Haller, and the readers, the file on a master forger named George Odekirk. In this file, apparently, is a computer analysis of the identity papers of Erik Lehnsherr, which shows that Odekirk forged those documents. Haller says, "He created Erik Lehnsherr? If this is true ... you must take me to him! He could be our only link to Magneto's true identity ... our last chance to stop him once and for all!"
But just as Sabra is flying Haller to the Transylvanian Alps, to meet with Odekirk, the scene switches to Odekirk, who is working on another forged passport, sitting in bed while his wife sleeps beside him. Suddenly, Odekirk looks up -- he has a visitor. It's Magneto, in full costume.
Magneto is floating in the air. He surrounds Odekirk's bed with his magnetic energy, and uses his power to keep Odekirk's wife unconscious. He says, "You failed me." Odekirk responds, "Please ... please, my wife ..." Magneto answers, "She will sleep the sleep of the innocent. She has done nothing ... but you ... YOU, my friend, have BETRAYED me." Odekirk protests his innocence, and then Magneto makes this remarkable speech: "Do you remember what you promised me the night I came to you, torn and filthy, nearly a quarter century ago? I was searching for my beloved MAGDA, determined not to lose her as I had lost so many others in the fire that engulfed all of Europe during my childhood. The authorities were in pursuit of me for the "crime" of avenging my daughter's murder. I was willing to deny who I was ... everything that my family died for ... so that I could find one woman ... so that I would not be caged AGAIN. The Erik Lehnsherr fabrication was a convenient means of ensuring that. You swore that the forged papers were FLAWLESS, that your skills were unsurpassed... but now, you have proven to be a liability. Your work has been called into queston by my enemies, and they will trace Erik Lehnsherr the Sinte BACK to you." Odekirk protests, "That is impossible! That forgery was impeccable! My work is ... " Magneto answers: "It was not ENOUGH! You gave birth to Erik Lehnsherr, Odekirk. And tonight, you have killed him. My secrets shall die with him. All that remains now ... is MAGNUS."
This scene says, subtly but clearly, that Magnus denied who he was, gave up everything his famly died for, to take the false identity of a Sinte Gypsy named Erik Lehnsherr. It seems there is no doubt now, that Magneto's family and he himself, were Jews. Magnus would not say he denied *everything* his family died for, by taking a Gypsy identity, if his family were indeed Gypsies. As I pointed out above, only the Jews and Gypsies were targeted as entire peoples, and killed for no reason other than they were Jews and Gypsies. Magnus was either one, or the other. Since in XM #72, it is revealed that he is NOT a Gypsy, we must conclude he was born a Jew.
(19) A more recent reference to Magneto’s Jewish identity dates from May of 2001, in X-MEN #112. At this time, Magneto was the president/dictator of the island nation of Genosha, but was also psychologically unstable. He was preparing to wage war against all non-mutant inhabitants of earth, and the X-Men had infiltrated the island in order to stop him. As Cyclops and Wolverine secretly observe the massed, helmeted troops that Magneto has gathered, Cyclops says: “ It’s ironic, really. Magneto lost his family in a Nazi death camp, persecuted just because they were Jewish, for the crime of being ‘different.’ Fifty-odd years later … and this time he’s the monster. It’s his army prepared to cleanse the earth of a race they’ve decided isn’t worthy to continue. He’s become what he’s always hated.”