Number of Victims of the Holocaust - Reference Thread

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Sid Guttridge
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Re: Number of Victims of the Holocaust - Reference Thread

Post by Sid Guttridge » 16 Mar 2020 18:46

Hi NickA,

I agree that it is vital that facts are adhered to accurately.

However, there are two pieces of information in "(1) the death of six million Jews (2) in Nazi concentration camps".

I would suggest that, provided that some 6 million Jews really were killed at the hands of the Nazis and their hangers-on, in the wider scheme of things it matters a great deal less where they died, because the crime remains substantially the same. (1) is most important. (2) [your objection], though accurate, is relatively secondary.

I presume you are not disputing the general accuracy of (1)?

Cheers,

Sid.

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Re: Number of Victims of the Holocaust - Reference Thread

Post by NickA » 17 Mar 2020 09:12

Sid Guttridge wrote:
16 Mar 2020 18:46
Hi NickA - I agree that it is vital that facts are adhered to accurately ... I presume you are not disputing the general accuracy of (1) ... the death of six million Jews
I am emphatically not disputing the death of six million Jews.

Since you ask, I can even lay out the evidence and tell people exactly why we can be confident that the number is (at least roughly) correct.

It's because, after the war, with absolutely no encouragement from the establishment, an escaped Austrian Jew called Raul Hilberg (19 years old in 1945) returned to Germany (employed by the occupation forces) and took the opportunity to research a thesis that he wrote up between 1950 and 1955 at Columbia University. He called it "The Destruction of European Jewry".

From German records, he could estimate that about 5.1 million Jews had been killed. 3 million slaughtered in Poland, about 1.1 million gassed at Auschwitz and the rest in many other places. (Later work, using non-German figures have raised the generally accepted total somewhat almost to 6 million - and some calculations go up to about 6.7 million).

When Hilberg had done all the work and wanted to publish this quite important work properly for more people to read he found himself blocked. Yad Vashem were hostile, at one stage barring him from accessing their archives. "Raul Hilberg", The Times, (London), August 8, 2007 (http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/commen ... 217692.ece - paywall - cited - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raul_Hilb ... _reception).

Eventually, in the excitement of the Eichmann trial in 1961 Raul Hilberg found someone to pay for his work to be published (but in very small text to save paper!) and it's now considered the "seminal" work on the subject (whatever that means!).

So the number 6 million is definitely round-about correct, calculated as carefully as was possible (by a source of serious integrity) immediately after the war. I've seen nothing that undermines it - only a whole lot of tat from (a rather small number of) seriously stupid deniers.

There are of course other reasons for thinking that Holocaust Deniers are a bunch of idiots. There are barely any statements from them that have led to a correction or re-interpretation of this vast event, parts of which are indeed obscure or obscured.

My query concerns this very widely published statement, of which there are 100s of examples on Google eg this one from Penguin Random House. Almost looks like an attempt to feed Holocaust Denial:
Denying the Holocaust - THE GROWING ASSAULT ON TRUTH AND MEMORY - By DEBORAH E. LIPSTADT wrote:
"The denial of the Holocaust has no more credibility than the assertion that the earth is flat. Yet there are those who insist that the death of six million Jews in Nazi concentration camps is nothing but a hoax perpetrated by a powerful Zionist conspiracy. Sixty years ago, such notions were the province of pseudohistorians" https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/book ... -lipstadt/
You wrote "I agree that it is vital that facts are adhered to accurately".

Now, can we discuss (or maybe condemn) a moderately significant inaccuracy that has suddenly appeared in our understanding of the Holocaust?

(Alternatively - is there a better thread to have this discussion?).

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Re: Number of Victims of the Holocaust - Reference Thread

Post by Terry Duncan » 17 Mar 2020 13:47

NickA wrote:
16 Mar 2020 09:01
There is another mystery, though I'm not sure how significant it is. How did the commies arrive at a figure of 4 million for deaths at Auschwitz? How could they get it so wrong? Did they use evidence we've never heard of? The Russians seem to have murdered Wallenberg - were they covering up some giant mass-murder (eg 3 million) of their own?
Others will be far better answering most of your questions, but the original estimates for Auschwitz is something I am reasonably certain about so will answer.

The Russians took the size of the gas chambers, worked out how many people it would be possible to fit into such a space, then worked out a 'maximum' work rate allowing for clearing the chamber and filling it again, and ran with the resulting figure. It was mathematical guesswork, and they were not overly concerned about the accuracy.

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Re: Number of Victims of the Holocaust - Reference Thread

Post by Sid Guttridge » 18 Mar 2020 10:50

Hi NickA,

Good post.

Thanks,

Sid.

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Re: Number of Victims of the Holocaust - Reference Thread

Post by Sid Guttridge » 18 Mar 2020 10:53

Hi Terry,

NickA's point is that Hilberg worked from German records, not a Soviet estimate.

Cheers,

Sid.

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Re: Number of Victims of the Holocaust - Reference Thread

Post by Nickdfresh » 20 Mar 2020 04:28

NickA wrote:
17 Mar 2020 09:12
Sid Guttridge wrote:
16 Mar 2020 18:46
Hi NickA - I agree that it is vital that facts are adhered to accurately ... I presume you are not disputing the general accuracy of (1) ... the death of six million Jews
I am emphatically not disputing the death of six million Jews.

Since you ask, I can even lay out the evidence and tell people exactly why we can be confident that the number is (at least roughly) correct.

It's because, after the war, with absolutely no encouragement from the establishment, an escaped Austrian Jew called Raul Hilberg (19 years old in 1945) returned to Germany (employed by the occupation forces) and took the opportunity to research a thesis that he wrote up between 1950 and 1955 at Columbia University. He called it "The Destruction of European Jewry".

From German records, he could estimate that about 5.1 million Jews had been killed. 3 million slaughtered in Poland, about 1.1 million gassed at Auschwitz and the rest in many other places. (Later work, using non-German figures have raised the generally accepted total somewhat almost to 6 million - and some calculations go up to about 6.7 million).

When Hilberg had done all the work and wanted to publish this quite important work properly for more people to read he found himself blocked. Yad Vashem were hostile, at one stage barring him from accessing their archives. "Raul Hilberg", The Times, (London), August 8, 2007 (http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/commen ... 217692.ece - paywall - cited - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raul_Hilb ... _reception).

Eventually, in the excitement of the Eichmann trial in 1961 Raul Hilberg found someone to pay for his work to be published (but in very small text to save paper!) and it's now considered the "seminal" work on the subject (whatever that means!).

So the number 6 million is definitely round-about correct, calculated as carefully as was possible (by a source of serious integrity) immediately after the war. I've seen nothing that undermines it - only a whole lot of tat from (a rather small number of) seriously stupid deniers.

There are of course other reasons for thinking that Holocaust Deniers are a bunch of idiots. There are barely any statements from them that have led to a correction or re-interpretation of this vast event, parts of which are indeed obscure or obscured.

My query concerns this very widely published statement, of which there are 100s of examples on Google eg this one from Penguin Random House. Almost looks like an attempt to feed Holocaust Denial:
Denying the Holocaust - THE GROWING ASSAULT ON TRUTH AND MEMORY - By DEBORAH E. LIPSTADT wrote:
"The denial of the Holocaust has no more credibility than the assertion that the earth is flat. Yet there are those who insist that the death of six million Jews in Nazi concentration camps is nothing but a hoax perpetrated by a powerful Zionist conspiracy. Sixty years ago, such notions were the province of pseudohistorians" https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/book ... -lipstadt/
You wrote "I agree that it is vital that facts are adhered to accurately".

Now, can we discuss (or maybe condemn) a moderately significant inaccuracy that has suddenly appeared in our understanding of the Holocaust?

(Alternatively - is there a better thread to have this discussion?).

Was Raul Hilberg the only one that came to the conclusion of six million killed in the Shoah? Is somehow everything hinged on his figures?

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Re: Number of Victims of the Holocaust - Reference Thread

Post by NickA » 20 Mar 2020 08:04

Nickdfresh wrote:
20 Mar 2020 04:28
Was Raul Hilberg the only one that came to the conclusion of six million killed in the Shoah? Is somehow everything hinged on his figures?
Emphatically not. The figure of 6 million was already being spoken of at the time of the Nuremberg trials - just not widely repeated. It may have gained general currency during and after the Eichmann trial and was especially used by David Ben-Gurion. (Hannah Arendt still doesn't really want to use it in 1964 - she speaks of "between four and a half and six million" in the 2nd edition of "Eichmann in Jerusalem")

Nevertheless, the number wasn't politicised when Raul Hilberg was working on his thesis and book. Wearing my "non-historian" hat, I presume that, if it had been much bigger or much smaller, he would have been tough-minded enough to go where the evidence would lead him.

PS - strictly speaking, Raul Hilberg said this:
the Wiki editors of "The Destruction of the European Jews" wrote:Discussing the writing of Destruction in his autobiography, Hilberg wrote: "No literature could serve me as an example. The destruction of the Jews was an unprecedented occurrence, a primordial act that had not been imagined before it burst forth. The Germans had no model for their deed, and I did not have one for my narrative."[2]
And the same Wiki summarises the total figures thus:
the Wiki editors also wrote:... Within a death toll often viewed as ranging from a low estimate of five million to a high estimate of seven million, Hilberg's own detailed breakdown in The Destruction reveals a total estimated death toll of 5.1 million Jews. Only for the death toll at Belzec does Hilberg provide a precise figure, all the others are rounded. When these rounding factors are taken into account a range of 4.9 million to 5.4 million deaths emerges. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Destr ... opean_Jews
Intriguingly, the figure of six million has a much longer history - there are not many things one should assume in cases like this, but I think we can take this particular convergence as coincidence.

This is why its so disturbing to read "there are those who insist that the death of six million Jews in Nazi concentration camps is nothing but a hoax perpetrated by a powerful Zionist conspiracy" as is both politicised and false. (Bizarrely - 297 Ghits for that phrase up to 453 for a shorter version of it)

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Re: Number of Victims of the Holocaust - Reference Thread

Post by NickA » 20 Mar 2020 08:11

Terry Duncan wrote:
17 Mar 2020 13:47
The Russians took the size of the gas chambers, worked out how many people it would be possible to fit into such a space, then worked out a 'maximum' work rate allowing for clearing the chamber and filling it again, and ran with the resulting figure. It was mathematical guesswork, and they were not overly concerned about the accuracy.
Useful answer, and intelligently commented, thankyou, Nick.

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Re: Number of Victims of the Holocaust - Reference Thread

Post by Nickdfresh » 20 Mar 2020 19:18

Thank you for your responses NickA...

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Re: Number of Victims of the Holocaust - Reference Thread

Post by NickA » 21 Mar 2020 22:11

Nickdfresh wrote:
20 Mar 2020 19:18
Thank you for your responses NickA...
It needs noting that of course, even though the "six million" figure is, to my mind, decently proven by the way that the passionate Raul Hilberg came to it, this same figure (in this exact context, the number of murdered Jews) had had a mystical significance since much earlier.

But I'll assume that everyone who has come this far knows what I'm referring to.

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Re: Number of Victims of the Holocaust - Reference Thread

Post by Sid Guttridge » 23 Mar 2020 16:10

Hi Nickdfresh,

Nope, I don't.

Can you be more specific and less cryptic?

Cheers,

Sid.

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Re: Number of Victims of the Holocaust - Reference Thread

Post by steve248 » 26 Mar 2020 11:31

I just took Hilberg's "Destruction of the European Jews" off the shelf - I have the 1985 revised edition to hand; the 1960 original is in the loft - and in Vol 3, pp 1219-1220 (which I do not think has been revised) Hilberg comes up with 5,100,000 victims:

1. Ghettoization and general privation: over 800,000
(this includes Ghettos in German-occupied Eastern Europe - over 600,000; Theresienstadt and privation outside of ghettos - 100,000; and Transnistria colonies (Romanian and Soviet Jews) - 100,000).

2. Open air shootings: over 1,300,000
(this includes Einsatzgruppen, HSSPF, Romanian and German armies in mobile operations; shootings in Galicia during deportations; killings of prisoners of war and shootings in Serbia and elsewhere).

3. Camps: up to 3,000,000
(this includes Death Camps - up to 2,700,000 which he divides as Auschwitz - 1,000,000; Treblinka - up to 750,000; Belzec - 550,000; Sobibor - up to 200,000; Kulmhof - 150,000; Lublin - 50,000; he then has Camps with tolls in the low tens of thousands or below and quotes 150,000 for Bergen-Belsen, Buchenwald, Mauthausen, Dachau, Stutthof and others, Poniatowa, Trawniki, Semlin and Labor and Transit Camps; then 100,000 victims form Golta complex and Bessarabian Transit camps; and under 50,000 for Croatian and other).

Total: 5,100,000.


To complement Hilberg's work I also have Gerald Reitlinger's "The Final Solution" and again I have only the 2nd revised and augmented edition of 1968 on the shelf; the original 1961 edition is in the loft.
Reitlinger has a total figure (p. 546) of 5,721,800 victims based on "Anglo-American Committees Figures, April 1946".

Unlike Hilberg, Reitlinger tends to use victim deaths by country (so Hungary 200,000; Poland 3,271,000; USSR 1,050,000 as examples).
Reitlinger does attempt a figure for Auschwitz (pp 500-501) which he places as "exceeds 700,000; but he was largely left with the Korherr report of March 1943 for the Generalgouvernement figures and unable to render them down for the Reinhardt camps (Belzec, Sobibor and Treblinka).

Remember that Hilberg and Reitlinger were basically confined to using Nuremberg documents for their research and working out the numbers of victims.

One particular problem (among others) they had was with the number of Hungarian Jews deported and murdered.

Modern historians, especially German historians, have moved on to the documentation that has since become available and the final figures of Hilberg and Reitlinger have been shown to be on the low side.

I am not condemning either of them, you can only work with the material available at the time.

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Re: Number of Victims of the Holocaust - Reference Thread

Post by NickA » 27 Mar 2020 18:22

steve248 wrote:
26 Mar 2020 11:31
I just took Hilberg's "Destruction of the European Jews" off the shelf - I have the 1985 revised edition to hand ... 1. Ghettoization and general privation: over 800,000 ... 2. Open air shootings: over 1,300,000 ... 3. Camps: up to 3,000,000 = Total: 5,100,000 ... Gerald Reitlinger's "The Final Solution" ... total figure (p. 546) of 5,721,800 victims based on "Anglo-American Committees Figures, April 1946" ... Hilberg and Reitlinger were basically confined to using Nuremberg documents for their research and working out the numbers of victims ... I am not condemning either of them, you can only work with the material available at the time.
How do you feel when you hear that the six million (or thereabouts) is not the total number - but only the number killed in camps? (Presumably both slave labour camps and death camps).

The number of ghits bob up and down very mysteriously - but today I get 406 for the exact phrase "those who insist that the death of six million Jews in Nazi concentration camps is nothing but a hoax perpetrated by a powerful Zionist conspiracy".

A shorter phrase "the death of six million Jews in Nazi concentration camps" used to get 100s of hits but is today back to only 90 ghits.

Nobody will explain to me what's going on and I'm not inclined to think the total number of Jewish Holocaust victims is actually 9 million (nor 12 million).

I'm more inclined to suppose that some people think that the six million figure is not really a number atall but a pillar of scripture.

A sort of mystic talisman. 6 million died in camps, 6 million were gassed, 6 million were shot - and that totals 6 million. By this understanding, it's pretty much a coincidence that the real number of Jews murdered in the Holocaust was indeed about 6 million. (Or between 5.1 million and up to 6.9 million).

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Re: Number of Victims of the Holocaust - Reference Thread

Post by steve248 » 27 Mar 2020 21:34

I don't get anywhere.
I looked at the discussion you started and added something.
My interest doesn't lay in this direction and I know more about Einsatzgruppen crimes than I want to admit so I am not really interested in adding anything more.
As the joint author with my colleague Peter Witte who wrote the Hoefle Telegram article and its relevance to Aktion Reinhard number of victims that is my sole contribution.

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Re: Number of Victims of the Holocaust - Reference Thread

Post by NickA » 28 Mar 2020 12:12

steve248 wrote:
27 Mar 2020 21:34
I don't get anywhere. I looked at the discussion you started and added something.
You don't see a systemic problem of falsification and attempts to incite disbelief about the Holocaust? Wiesenthal told people he'd been through 6 camps - but then later said it was 13 camps. May we be told why the Nazis shuttled him round in this way?

Note, discussions of the Holocaust are not the purpose of this Forum - but this thread specifically concerns the numbers.

We know that bad people have uttered falsehoods about the Holocaust - but it would appear from my new example (and many, many older ones) that new and quite ridiculous falsehoods are being uttered by people we're supposed to trust.

I've mentioned the total demolition of Simon Wiesenthal's reputation as soon as he was dead in 2005 - the excellent Mondoweiss blog sums up the ripples of further harm done by Wiesenthal:
Philip Weiss on the devastating expose of Wiesenthal 'The Nazi Hunter' wrote:... There is ongoing fallout to the Walters’ book in other areas.

On November 26, 2009, there appeared a sensational Associated Press report (carried on Walters’ website) that 12 members of the 15 member international advisory board of the Vienna Wiesenthal Institute for Holocaust Studies have resigned, apparently after a hysterical uproar about the availability of research material to scholars. (The AP report gives as the reason for the international hullabaloo certain objections by scholars "that restrictions on access to files made independent research impossible.")

Inevitably, one of those involved in the AP report warned that unrestricted access to the Institute’s files might encourage "holocaust deniers." The opposite seems much more likely. The longer people hide the truth about Wiesenthal, the more doubts it will create about how objectively historians are able to write about the Holocaust. http://mondoweiss.net/2010/01/deconstru ... nthal.html
I think we need explanations of what's been going on.

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