How [many] Jews were killed for real?

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iwh
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Post by iwh » 02 Feb 2006 16:19

Well, what more can you say.....looks very impressive information indeed. Thanks .

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Post by nickterry » 02 Feb 2006 16:38

Thanks iwh and thanks for the trouble & effort with earlier figures. More to come, but alas, I actually have to get on and do some work...

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gaussianum
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Let's do the math.

Post by gaussianum » 02 Feb 2006 19:05

nickterry wrote:(...) losses in (1941 borders) Soviet Union:

Jewish victims out of total civilian victims
RSFSR 144-170,000 of 655,825 civilians killed
Ukraine 1,430,000 of 3,178,084
Belorussia 810,000 out of 1,360,034

Moldavia 130,000
= part of wartime Transnistria, mostly at Romanian hands
Lithuania 215-220,000 of 436,535
Latvia 75-77,000, of 313,798
Estonia 1,000 of 61,307
total: ca. 2.8 million out of 6 million civilian dead (excl. Leningrad blockade)

The Baltic states and Moldovan figures conform to Western sources, the figures for the Slavic nations are significantly higher. Obviously the figures for the Ukraine include Galicia, those for Belorussia include the Bialystok district. Overall figures for Moldova were incomplete for comparative purposes.

source: Ilya Altman, Zhertvy Nenavisti, Moscow, 2002, p.303
for overall statistics, Pavel Polyan, Zhertvy dvukh diktatury, Moscow, 2002, pp.73



What are the margins of error for the estimates regarding the Ukraine, Belorussia, Moldavia and Estonia?

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gaussianum
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More math indeed.

Post by gaussianum » 02 Feb 2006 19:11

iwh wrote:Benz
Poland 2,700,000
Soviet Union 2,100,000
Hungary 550,000
Romania 211,214
German Reich 160,000
Czechoslovakia 143,000
Netherlands 102,000
France 76,134
Austria 65,459
Yugoslavia 60,000-65,000
Greece 59,185
Belgium 28,518
Italy 6,513
Luxemburg 1,200
Norway 758
Denmark 116
TOTAL 6,269,097


Phew...not perfect formatting, but made it!!


That was a good typing work, congrats.

What are the margins of error for every one of these estimates, except Yugoslavia?

Is this taken from "Denying History"? Why do the authors "forget" to mention Reitlinger's lower estimate?

The last question is rhetorical, since we already know the answer to that.

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iwh
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Re: More math indeed.

Post by iwh » 02 Feb 2006 21:16

gaussianum wrote: Why do the authors "forget" to mention Reitlinger's lower estimate?



Reitlinger as most historians do, updated his information as more facts came out. Look at this link to the 1966 copy of his book The Final Solution.

http://holocaust-info.dk/statistics/reit_stats.htm

You can see he doubts his own first lower estimate because:

"Owing to the lack of reliable information at the time of writing, these figures must be regarded as conjectural"

He also has doubts about his figures in the higher estimated column.

The copy of Reitlinger that is shown in the Denying History book is the 1975 version.

Perhaps you could give us a reason why you are so willing to accept Reitlinger's numbers and none of the other historians mentioned.

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The margins are the key.

Post by gaussianum » 02 Feb 2006 21:39

Despite the fact that you have not answered my original question, I will answer yours, with still another question. Why are you so willing to reject Reitlinger's numbers?

The truth is, iwh, and any scientist with a mathematical/physical background will tell you this, is that, unless any of the other authors provide you with an error margin, their figures are absolutely meaningless!

But by all means, once again, do not take my word for it, just log on to any physics forum, and ask them " What is the scientific validity of a measured or extrapolated quantity, which has no margin of error?"

This is the reason why Reitinger's numbers are the only ones we can trust; they are, as far as I can tell, the only ones that have an intrinsic margin of error.

This is a scientific reason, not a political, moral, or religious one. That is why it is so important to find out what the margins of error are, for the other authors, so that we can compare them.

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Post by David Thompson » 02 Feb 2006 22:05

gaussianum -- You wrote:
The truth is, iwh, and any scientist with a mathematical/physical background will tell you this, is that, unless any of the other authors provide you with an error margin, their figures are absolutely meaningless!

But by all means, once again, do not take my word for it, just log on to any physics forum, and ask them " What is the scientific validity of a measured or extrapolated quantity, which has no margin of error?"

This is the reason why Reitinger's numbers are the only ones we can trust; they are, as far as I can tell, the only ones that have an intrinsic margin of error.

This is a scientific reason, not a political, moral, or religious one. That is why it is so important to find out what the margins of error are, for the other authors, so that we can compare them.

For those readers who may not be familiar with statistical reckoning, would you give some sources as to the importance of margin of error calculations, how calculations without them are absolutely meaningless, and why an estimate expressed as a range (12,000-15,000) is inadequate? I'm sure they'd appreciate it, thanks.

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Post by Boby » 02 Feb 2006 22:27

Hello Nickterry!

Ukraine 1,430,000 of 3,178,084


Interesting. According to Wendy Lower the number of Jewish victims in Reichskommissariat Ukraine* was about 650.000

This number (1.430.000) include de parts anexed by the GG, Belorussia, Rumania, etc, yes?

Regards

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Re: The margins are the key.

Post by nickterry » 02 Feb 2006 22:33

gaussianum wrote:Despite the fact that you have not answered my original question, I will answer yours, with still another question. Why are you so willing to reject Reitlinger's numbers?

The truth is, iwh, and any scientist with a mathematical/physical background will tell you this, is that, unless any of the other authors provide you with an error margin, their figures are absolutely meaningless!

But by all means, once again, do not take my word for it, just log on to any physics forum, and ask them " What is the scientific validity of a measured or extrapolated quantity, which has no margin of error?"

This is the reason why Reitinger's numbers are the only ones we can trust; they are, as far as I can tell, the only ones that have an intrinsic margin of error.

This is a scientific reason, not a political, moral, or religious one. That is why it is so important to find out what the margins of error are, for the other authors, so that we can compare them.



This is a misunderstanding of the difference between pure-scientific method and historical method.

By and large, historians don't work with a scientific principle of margin of error imported from pure science experimental methodologies. I have seen Dutch historians, as I think I mentioned before, perform statistical regression analysis on Holocaust numbers and it revolted the soul.

Instead, any figure you read in any history book that is rounded off is always to be taken as 'around' or 'approximately'. Most of the time the historian says so explicitly. If they don't say so, it should be taken as read.

When there is more precision to a figure, then someone has taken the trouble to calculate a better number from god knows how many disparate sources. That ultimately is what many of the Holocaust research projects have been doing for the past forty years!

Unfortunately then you have to check their sources. The onus is as much on the reader as it is on the writer. That is why there are footnotes and references in history books, and not, in general, vast chapters explaining experimental methodologies of the kind one will see in a physics journal.

Another common reason that historians can be more precise is that they are quoting from an official record - the origin of the word statistics is state-istics, numbers generated by the state. In this instance it is therefore crucial to know where the statistics are coming from, how the institutions are arriving at them, etc. Thus historians tend to say, 'according to reports of the Gestapo, this many were arrested on this day'. Or, 'Einsatzgruppe B reported shooting 795 Jews' in such and such a town.

As it happens, the more research that has been done, the more we can narrow the range of estimates from what in many cases were hugely vague ranges - 10-20,000 to 15,000, or 50-100,000 to 70,000, etc. That is the sort of thing that historians slave over, dealing with all manner of topics, not just the Holocaust. Most would not take it too kindly to have their hard efforts queried simply because they have not footnoted a margin of error.

In general, whenever you see a range of numbers, it does NOT mean a scientifically worked out 'margin of error', but more often anything from a wild-assed guess to a reasoned deduction that lacks complete grounding in sources.

Reitlinger is not being any more geschichtswissenschaftlich - historically scientific, to use the German term - because he has a 'margin of error'. That was a simple self-admission that alas, time had come to stop writing and researching and for the moment, he couldn't come up with a more precise answer.

Nobody I know among historians of this period (working on any subject) takes Reitlinger especially seriously, not because he gives such a 'low' estimate, but because his research efforts have been transcended by subsequent work. Reitlinger was a pioneer, and we all applaud him and cite him in the historiographical introductions for that, but his work on the SS was outdone by Heinz Hoehne, his work on German occupation policy in the Soviet Union by Alexander Dallin, and his work on the Final Solution by Raul Hilberg. So this isn't an issue restricted to the Holocaust field.

Reitlinger was writing just before the captured German records became easily available at the start of the 1960s - authors such as Alexander Dallin and Raul Hilberg had begun working with these records because they were on contract to the US Army to produce historical studies in the 1950s. They got a head start on other historians, therefore.

The opening up of the East European archives at the end of the 1980s had a similar effect - studies of Stalin written before 1990 are simply less well grounded that studies based on material released after 1991. In that particular instance, previous estimates of mortality in the Gulags as well as the number of executions were shown to be quite exaggerated.

The bottom line is, the more research that is done, the more we know more precisely, and the more accurate we can be.

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Post by nickterry » 02 Feb 2006 23:14

Boby wrote:Hello Nickterry!

Ukraine 1,430,000 of 3,178,084


Interesting. According to Wendy Lower the number of Jewish victims in Reichskommissariat Ukraine* was about 650.000

This number (1.430.000) include de parts anexed by the GG, Belorussia, Rumania, etc, yes?

Regards


Hello Boby,

yes, Altman's number covers the entire territory of the Ukraine as it was constituted on 22.6.1941, and, indeed has been constituted more or less ever since.

this means
- those parts of Transnistria not coming under modern day Moldova
- Distrikt Galizien (min. half a million)
- Reichskommissariat Ukraine, excluding Belorussian portions
- military-administered Ukraine

military administered means Kharkov, Voroshilovgrad, Poltava, Zaporozhe, Stalino provinces which were largely Army Group South, later B and A, and Sumy and Chernigov oblasts, briefly Army Group Centre, the latter two went back to Army Group South in early 1942, by which time the 1st SS Brigade had killed the Jewish population, which was not large, almost in its entirety.

Altman himself estimates 515,000 Ukrainian victims inside the Reichskommissariat Ukraine, to which you can add around 80,000 victims in the Belorussians regions of GKs Wolhynien and to a lesser extent GK Shitomir. Thus overall his estimate would be lower than Lower's (ha ha).

I haven't got Dieter Pohl's article on the Ukraine in front of me, he has slightly different figures. But the ballpark is significantly above half a million for the Reichskommissariat Ukraine, and around or above half a million for Galicia.

Altman relies on his own work but mainly on Aleksandr Kruglov's work which is done both chronologically (one handbook) and regionally (another handbook), and so Kruglov is 'the' expert.

Who or what is Wendy Lower citing for her estimate? That would be the question to ask.

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Post by gaussianum » 03 Feb 2006 01:55

David Thompson wrote:

For those readers who may not be familiar with statistical reckoning, would you give some sources as to the importance of margin of error calculations, how calculations without them are absolutely meaningless, and why an estimate expressed as a range (12,000-15,000) is inadequate? I'm sure they'd appreciate it, thanks.


Sure thing David Thompson.

Most of these links are about polling applications of statistical analysys, but the main points are comon to all disciplines.

This is what Robert Niles has to say about it:

"Margin of Error deserves better than the throw-away line it gets in the bottom of stories about polling data. Writers who don't understand margin of error, and its importance in interpreting scientific research, can easily embarrass themselves and their news organizations."

http://www.robertniles.com/stats/margin.shtml

From the Writing Center, UNC (very good link):

http://www.unc.edu/depts/wcweb/handouts/statistics.html

Glenn Iwata writes:

"Quite often the margin of error is more important than the splashy headlines that tout the results of the poll."

http://www.westgroupresearch.com/research/margin.html

An article on Business Today

"(...)The only other option is to use old statistics that have huge margins of error, which effectively make them worthless, she says."

http://www.businesstodayegypt.com/artic ... cleID=1431

Regarding the inadequacy of a (12000 to 15000) range, I don't know anything about it. Perhaps another poster mentioned it?

Regards
Last edited by gaussianum on 03 Feb 2006 03:46, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: The margins are the key.

Post by gaussianum » 03 Feb 2006 02:39

nickterry wrote:


I have seen Dutch historians, as I think I mentioned before, perform statistical regression analysis on Holocaust numbers and it revolted the soul.



Why? Could you be more specific? What results did they arrive at? What is the soul's relevance to the research?


Another common reason that historians can be more precise is that they are quoting from an official record - the origin of the word statistics is state-istics, numbers generated by the state.



Am I missing something? What was the first reason? Since when are numbers generated by the state more reliable than other sources? For example, didn't german information services systematically underestimate german losses, and overestimate german kills during the Battle of Britain?


Most would not take it too kindly to have their hard efforts queried simply because they have not footnoted a margin of error.



Who cares how kindly they take it? Any scientific work must be scrutinized. A margin of error is of the utmost importance, as I have already shown.



In general, whenever you see a range of numbers, it does NOT mean a scientifically worked out 'margin of error', but more often anything from a wild-assed guess to a reasoned deduction that lacks complete grounding in sources.



You seem to be right, there.


Reitlinger is not being any more geschichtswissenschaftlich - historically scientific, to use the German term - because he has a 'margin of error'. That was a simple self-admission that alas, time had come to stop writing and researching and for the moment, he couldn't come up with a more precise answer.


I suppose that's your opinion, right?

It's a pity that others don't follow his pioneering exactness.

So, I ask again, what are the margins of error for the countries presented in your fresh data?

Now, it appears that I'm the only one who really wants to look at the exact information. Isn't it funny, the ironies and contradictions that appear in this debate? :)

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Post by David Thompson » 03 Feb 2006 03:35

gaussianum -- You wrote:
Regarding the inadequacy of a (12000 to 15000) range, I don't know anything about it. Perhaps another poster mentioned it?

No, I did, as a hypothetical example of a range of figures. Thanks for the links, which I'll read.

You also said:
Now, it appears that I'm the only one who really wants to look at the exact information. Isn't it funny, the ironies and contradictions that appear in this debate?

Not so fast, gaussianum. We're all interested -- not just you. There's no call to "poison the well" so quickly.

viewtopic.php?p=808704#808704

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Post by michael mills » 03 Feb 2006 04:07

source: Ilya Altman, Zhertvy Nenavisti, Moscow, 2002, p.303
for overall statistics, Pavel Polyan, Zhertvy dvukh diktatury, Moscow, 2002, pp.7


What methods did Altman and Polyan use to arrive at their figures for the numbers of victims of German action in the occupied Soviet Union?

Are their figures just an addition of statistics given in German documents?

Or are their totals when in excess of the totals obtained by adding up the statistics given in German documents, on the assumption that the German documents are incomplete or that not all the victims were counted?



The opening up of the East European archives at the end of the 1980s had a similar effect - studies of Stalin written before 1990 are simply less well grounded that studies based on material released after 1991. In that particular instance, previous estimates of mortality in the Gulags as well as the number of executions were shown to be quite exaggerated.


This is precisely the reason why I am somewhat sceptical of recent claims about the number of victims of German actions in the occupied Soviet Union, particularly of the numbers of Jewish victims.

I have observed a rather strange trend in statistical work by Leftist historians in recent years in relation to the events of the 1930s and 1940s in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. On the one hand, estimates of the number of victims of the German Government are constantly being increased, while estimates of the number of victims of the Soviet Government are constantly being decreased.

It seems to me that that is because two different methodologies are being used by essentially the same school of scholars in relation to the two groups of victims.

In the case of the victims of the Soviet Government, it is assumed that the figures found in Soviet records indicate the maximum number of victims, ie it is assumed that all victims were recorded, and that there are no unrecorded victims, or missing Soviet documents.

In the case of the victims of the German Government, it is assumed that the figures found in German records indicate the minimum number of victims, ie that there was a huge number of victims not recorded by the Germans, and/or that large numbers of german records are missing.

Another difference is that German documents are claimed to be full of code-words, meaning that certain groups of persons included in the statistics can be assumed to have been killed, even though the records do not actually say that, whereas it is claimed that Soviet records are to be read literally.

Thus, if Soviet records show huge numbers of sick and exhausted prisoners in the cconcentration camps of the GULag being released before expiry of their respective sentences, it is taken for granted that those prisoners really were released, and that the category "released" was not simply a euphemism for the liquidation of prisoners no longer able to work, even though the phenomenon of such a huge number of sick prsioners being recorded as "released" should give rise to such a suspicion.

What I have found in relation to estimates of the number of victims of the German government in occupied Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union, particularly of the number of Jewish victims, is that there is always a huge gap between the estimated total and the total that can be supported on the basis of German documents. The difference is always justified on the basis on the basis of other methods of calculation, such as extrapolations from census data of varying degrees of reliability. And the constant tendency is to increase that gap.

The fact is that there are many unknowns that render unreliable any estimate of the number of victims of German actions over and above those actually recorded in German documents, for example the number of Jews evacuated by the Soviet Government to Central Asia before and immediately after the German invasion.

Thus, the tendency is to count any difference between a prewar figure of Jews lving in a certain area, eg Bessarabia, and the number registered after the war as victims of German action, without taking full account of the numbers that might have been evacuated by the Soviet Government in the period between the prewar count and the German invasion.

In short, any estimate of the number of victims of German actions in Eastern Europe, particularly in Poland and the occupied Soviet territories needs to be treated with extreme caution. Reitlinger stands out because of his extremely sceptical and cautious approach, and despite the fact that he has been proved wrong in a limited number of cases, eg the number of deportees from France, his figures for places like Poland, the Soviet Union and Romania are probably quite acceptable as ball-park figures.

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Post by Laments » 03 Feb 2006 05:57

michael mills wrote:
source: Ilya Altman, Zhertvy Nenavisti, Moscow, 2002, p.303
for overall statistics, Pavel Polyan, Zhertvy dvukh diktatury, Moscow, 2002, pp.7


What methods did Altman and Polyan use to arrive at their figures for the numbers of victims of German action in the occupied Soviet Union?

Are their figures just an addition of statistics given in German documents?

Or are their totals when in excess of the totals obtained by adding up the statistics given in German documents, on the assumption that the German documents are incomplete or that not all the victims were counted?



The opening up of the East European archives at the end of the 1980s had a similar effect - studies of Stalin written before 1990 are simply less well grounded that studies based on material released after 1991. In that particular instance, previous estimates of mortality in the Gulags as well as the number of executions were shown to be quite exaggerated.


This is precisely the reason why I am somewhat sceptical of recent claims about the number of victims of German actions in the occupied Soviet Union, particularly of the numbers of Jewish victims.

I have observed a rather strange trend in statistical work by Leftist historians in recent years in relation to the events of the 1930s and 1940s in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. On the one hand, estimates of the number of victims of the German Government are constantly being increased, while estimates of the number of victims of the Soviet Government are constantly being decreased.

It seems to me that that is because two different methodologies are being used by essentially the same school of scholars in relation to the two groups of victims.

In the case of the victims of the Soviet Government, it is assumed that the figures found in Soviet records indicate the maximum number of victims, ie it is assumed that all victims were recorded, and that there are no unrecorded victims, or missing Soviet documents.

In the case of the victims of the German Government, it is assumed that the figures found in German records indicate the minimum number of victims, ie that there was a huge number of victims not recorded by the Germans, and/or that large numbers of german records are missing.

Another difference is that German documents are claimed to be full of code-words, meaning that certain groups of persons included in the statistics can be assumed to have been killed, even though the records do not actually say that, whereas it is claimed that Soviet records are to be read literally.

Thus, if Soviet records show huge numbers of sick and exhausted prisoners in the cconcentration camps of the GULag being released before expiry of their respective sentences, it is taken for granted that those prisoners really were released, and that the category "released" was not simply a euphemism for the liquidation of prisoners no longer able to work, even though the phenomenon of such a huge number of sick prsioners being recorded as "released" should give rise to such a suspicion.

What I have found in relation to estimates of the number of victims of the German government in occupied Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union, particularly of the number of Jewish victims, is that there is always a huge gap between the estimated total and the total that can be supported on the basis of German documents. The difference is always justified on the basis on the basis of other methods of calculation, such as extrapolations from census data of varying degrees of reliability. And the constant tendency is to increase that gap.

The fact is that there are many unknowns that render unreliable any estimate of the number of victims of German actions over and above those actually recorded in German documents, for example the number of Jews evacuated by the Soviet Government to Central Asia before and immediately after the German invasion.

Thus, the tendency is to count any difference between a prewar figure of Jews lving in a certain area, eg Bessarabia, and the number registered after the war as victims of German action, without taking full account of the numbers that might have been evacuated by the Soviet Government in the period between the prewar count and the German invasion.

In short, any estimate of the number of victims of German actions in Eastern Europe, particularly in Poland and the occupied Soviet territories needs to be treated with extreme caution. Reitlinger stands out because of his extremely sceptical and cautious approach, and despite the fact that he has been proved wrong in a limited number of cases, eg the number of deportees from France, his figures for places like Poland, the Soviet Union and Romania are probably quite acceptable as ball-park figures.


I don't see how or why historians would make these assumptions. Is it only becuase of the demonization of the Nazis? Certainly, by the same logic, the same assumptions should be made regarding the soviets. Seeing as they had the blood of millions on their hands before Hitler was even in power. I question why it is other documents, like those produced by the English or Americans, are treated in such a different manner? After all, they, just like the soviets or Germans, have motive to distort war documents as well. Shouldn't it be as objective as possible?

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