A while back, in the course of doing some research on World War II and the Holocaust, I came across a statistic that absolutely stunned me: the percentage of Jews in the population of Germany immediately prior to World War II.
Since then, every so often I will ask people if they can guess what it might have been, and no one's ever gotten it right, or even come close.
So, what percentage of the population of pre-WWII Germany do you suppose was Jewish? Take a moment and think about it. Then guess.
Here's another one that no one ever seems to get right: the percentage of Jews in the population of Baghdad around the time of World War I. Take a moment and think about it. Then take a guess.
Now look here for the answer to the first question (hint: it's in the first sentence).
Now look here for the answer to the second question (hint: it's in the second sentence of the second paragraph).
Okay, let's review. Answer to the first question: just prior to World War II, Jews constituted less than 0.75% of the population of Germany. In case you're bad with figures or think that was a typo, I'll say it in words: less than one percent of the population of Germany was Jewish around the time Hitler rose to power.
Answer to the second question: around WWI, Jews constituted about one-third of the population of the city of Baghdad.
Most people will guess between 5 and 20 percent for the first question, and a couple of percentage points or even less for the second. You get closer to the truth if you reverse Germany and Baghdad.
What does it all mean? I'm not sure, except that it's another case of facts sometimes being quite different than what we suppose them to be.