Sunday, April 29, 2007

Richard "I didn’t know" Korherr

German statistician Dr. Richard Korherr is known for his statistical reports about "The Final Solution of the European Jewish Question". The original text of these reports is available on this site, and the respective English translation can be found on this thread of the HC forum(posts 03/28/12 10:09:44, "long" version, and 03/28/12 10:10:42, "short" version).



Who these two reports were meant for is stated in a letter transcribed here, a translation of which is in my HC forum post 03/28/12 10:12:49: the "long" version, with 16 pages, was for the Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler, while the "short" version, with 6 ½ pages, was for Hitler himself.

The Korherr Reports are considered important documents for historical research about their subject matter, the "Final Solution of the European Jewish Question". Thus on page 534 of the 2nd Revised and Augmented Edition of Gerald Reitlinger’s The Final Solution, one reads the following:

There is one source of inestimable value in dealing with debatable figures, and this is the ‘Korherr report’ (Nuremberg documents, NO 5192-4), which was submitted to Himmler in March, 1943. This report tallies with so many counter-checks that reliability may be assumed even where counter-checks are lacking, as, for instance, in the critical case of Poland. Dr. Korherr was an actuary, employed by Himmler to compile a balance-sheet from the resettlement lists as kept in Eichmann’s office, which he referred to discreetly as the RSHA. He describes himself as ‘Inspector for Statistics to the Reichsführer SS’ and his first report, 16 stencilled sheets headed ‘The-Final Solution of the European Jewish Question,’ was sent to Himmler’s secretary, Rudi Brandt, on March 23rd, 1943, though the figures were not made up beyond the end of 1942. An attempt was made to sum up the total of the various figures in the document, and with the omission of Russia and Serbia, a figure was reached of 1,873,549 Jews, dead, deported, or emigrated, including ‘Special Treatment.’ Then Dr. Korherr concluded: Since the seizure of power, the number of Jews in Europe, which was over ten million in 1933, has been halved; the decline of over-four million is due to German influence.’


Korherr’s work was also used as evidence at one NS-crimes trial before West German courts at least, the trial against Heinrich B. et al before the Bonn District Court, which dealt with crimes committed at Chelmno extermination camp. At this trial, Korherr’s "long" report was an essential part of the evidence on hand of which the court established the minimum number of people killed during the first phase of that camp’s operation, as is shown by the following translated excerpt from the respective judgment, which can be found in my HC forum post 03/18/12 00:48:57:

A summary listing of the Jews killed up to 1 January 1943 is contained in the statistical report by the witness Dr. Korherr about »The Final Solution of the European Jewish Question«, which he prepared at the time as Inspector for Statistics with the Reichsführer-SS. In this report a total of 145,301 Jews »sifted through the camps in the Warthegau« is mentioned. The following is stated here:
» 4. Transportation of Jews from the eastern provinces to the Russian East: ...... 1 449 692 Jews
The following numbers were sifted
through the camps in the Generalgouvernement ...... 1 274 166 Jews
through the camps in the Warthegau ...... 145 301 Jews.«
As Dr. Korherr has credibly stated, the number of 145,301 Jews, like all other numbers in this section of his report, was given to him by the RSHA. It thus seems a reliable data, which is corroborated by Greiser’s cited letter, the note of the RSHA and all established partial numbers. In what concerns the terms »transportation« and »sifted through« used by Korherr, this was expressly instructed to him for camouflage reasons by Himmler’s personal staff, after the RSHA had first chosen the more transparent term »special treatment«. All terms recognizably refer to the killing of the Jews.
.

Korherr himself understandably didn’t feel comfortable after the war with the reports that bore his name, and he accordingly seems to have tried to distance himself from them as best as he could. On 25 July 1977 a letter of his, which is transcribed on David Irving’s website, is supposed to have been published in the German newsmagazine Der Spiegel. This letter, which is a mainstay of "Revisionist" claims against Korherr’s reports being a documentation of Nazi mass murder (see Wilhelm Stäglich, Der Auschwitz Mythos; Stäglich, Erste Reaktionen auf den Holocaust- Revisionismus; Robert Faurisson, Response to a Paper Historian; Germar Rudolf, Holocaust Victims: A Statistical Analysis
W. Benz and W. N. Sanning - A Comparison
; 'Did Six Million Really Die?'
Report of the Evidence in the Canadian 'False News' Trial of Ernst Zündel
-- 1988
Edited by Barbara Kulaszka
) will be translated and commented hereafter.

Der SPIEGEL, Nr. 31, 25. Juli 1977, S. 12 :
THE known, racially persecuted writer H. G. Adler, formerly in Prague, now in London, wrote the following in 1960, in the foreword to the second edition of his extraordinary book "Theresienstadt 1941--1945": "It should be expressly stated that the designation of Dr. Korherr as 'SS-statistician' ... is not accurate, as he was never a member of the SS and has been rehabilitated for his conduct in the years of National Socialism."
Der SPIEGEL unfortunately publishes the claim of English historian Irving that I had in the spring of 1943 calculated the number of Jewish victims at Himmler’s order. In fact these data were provided to me completely finished including text by the Reich Main Security Office (Reichssicherheitshauptamt – RSHA) with the condition that I was not allowed to change any number and any word.
The statement that I had mentioned that over a million Jews had died in the camps of the Generalgouvernement and the Warthegau through special treatment is also inaccurate. I must protest against the word "died" in this context.
It was the very word "Sonderbehandlung" ("special treatment") that led me to call the RSHA by phone and ask what this word meant. I was given the answer that these were Jews who were settled in the Lublin district.
Braunschweig
Dr. Richard Korherr


Let us assume that this letter is authentic, even though Raul Hilberg manifested his surprise about Korherr being still alive and able to write letters in 1977, and despite the fact that "Revisionists" have quite a record of fabricating or relying on false documents.

Let us also assume that Dr. Korherr was not indulging in denial of the mass murder he had reported about, but merely tried to make believe that he had i) not been aware of the meaning of "Sonderbehandlung" in the context of the data provided to him by the RSHA, ii) attempted to clarify this term, iii) received an innocuous explanation ("Jews who were settled in the Lublin district") and iv) taken this explanation at face value, thus remaining unaware of what he was compiling figures about.

Would this claim be credible?

The statement in his reports that Korherr was referring to, authenticity of his above-quoted letter provided, was item 4 of chapter V on page 9 of the "long" version, which reads as follows in the original:

4. Transportierung von Juden aus den
Ostprovinzen nach dem russischen
Osten: ............................1 449 692 "
Es wurden durchgeschleust
durch die Lager im General-
gouvernement..................... 1 274 166 Juden
durch die Lager im Warthegau..... 145 301 Juden


and as follows in my translation (HC forum post of 03/28/12 10:09:44):

4. Transportation of Jews from the
eastern provinces to the Russian
East: ............................ 1 449 692 "
The following numbers were sifted
through the camps in the General
Government ............. ........ 1 274 166 Jews
through the camps in the Warthegau..... 145 301 Jews


As mentioned in the above-quoted judgment, this had not been the original wording of the passage, but the wording dictated to Korherr on behalf of Himmler by the latter’s personal staff, in a letter dated 10.4.1943 that reads as follows (my translation, see HC forum post of 03/28/12 10:11:44):

The Reichsführer-SS
Personal Staff
Diary Nr.
-V.

Field Command Post 10.4.1943

[Stamp: Secret Reich Matter]

2 Copies
2nd Copy

To the
Inspector for Statistics, Party Comrade Korherr
B e r l i n

The Reichsführer SS has received your statistical report about "The Final Solution of the European Jewish Question". He wishes that in no place a "special treatment of the Jews" is referred to. On page 9, item 4, the wording must be the following:

" Transportation of Jews from the
eastern provinces to the Russian
East: ............................
The following numbers were sifted
through the camps in the General
Government .............
through the camps in the Warthegau....."

Another wording may not be used.
I send back the copy of the report already signed by the Reichsführer SS with the request to change this page 9 accordingly and to send it back.

SS-Obersturmbannführer


It is not known, unfortunately, what the wording originally submitted by Korherr was. So let us look at what possibilities there are and how each of these possibilities matches i) the above-quoted letter of 10.4.1943 and ii) Korherr’s supposed letter to Spiegel magazine in 1977. Differences in relation to the final text are highlighted in each alternative.

Alternative a)

" Transportation of Jews from the
eastern provinces to the Russian
East: ............................
The following numbers were specially treated
through the camps in the General
government .............
through the camps in the Warthegau....."

Had this been the original wording, there would have been no reason for Himmler’s personal staff to dictate the wording of the whole paragraph; the instruction to replace the term "specially treated" (sonderbehandelt) by the term "sifted" (durchgeschleust) would have been sufficient. The wording of the letter of 10.4.1943 ("He wishes that in no place a ‘special treatment of the Jews’ is referred to.") also suggests that the original text contained the noun "special treatment" (Sonderbehandlung) and not (only) the verbal form "specially treated" (sonderbehandelt). It is therefore unlikely that Alternative a) had been Korherr’s original wording.

What would Korherr’s reaction to receiving such wording from the RSHA have been, assuming he didn’t know – as he supposedly claimed in 1977 – what had actually happened to these Jews? He would hardly have asked about the meaning of the term "specially treated", as the Jews' final destination – transportation to the "Russian East" – would have been clearly stated and this was what mattered for the purpose of the report, whereas what "special treatment" the deportees were submitted to at the mentioned camps before being moved on to their final destination was a detail of no consequence in this context. If curiosity had nevertheless prompted Korherr to ask, he would, according to his alleged 1977 claim, have received an information that contradicted the claim of transportation to the "Russian East" and could hardly have left that contradiction unresolved, if his objective was to report accurately to Himmler. So Korherr’s claim that he had swallowed the RSHA’s explanation that "these were Jews who were settled in the Lublin district" would have no credibility, if Alternative a) had been the original wording of his text. Plainly speaking, it would be a lie.

Alternative b)

" Transportation of Jews from the
eastern provinces to the Russian
East, including special treatment: ............................
The following numbers were sifted
through the camps in the General
government .............
through the camps in the Warthegau....."

Had this been the original wording, there would have been no reason for Himmler’s personal staff to dictate the wording of the whole paragraph; the instruction to remove the term "including special treatement" (einschließlich Sonderbehandlung) would have been sufficient. The wording of the letter of 10.4.1943 ("He wishes that in no place a ‘special treatment of the Jews’ is referred to.") also suggests that the original text contained the term "special treatment" immediately followed by the term "of the Jews", and not in the construction hypothesized in this alternative. It is therefore unlikely that Alternative b) had been Korherr’s original wording.

What would Korherr’s reaction to receiving such wording from the RSHA have been? If he understood "including special treatment" in the sense that "special treatment" was some procedure within the scope of the process of transporting the Jews to the "Russian East", he would not have asked except if prompted to do so by curiosity. Had he asked and received the claimed Lublin settlement response, however, he would have been faced with the problem of having to find out how many Jews, then, had been transported to the "Russian East" and how many had instead been settled in the Lublin District of the Generalgouvernement, if he was to report accurately to Himmler. If he understood "including special treatment" in the sense that "special treatment" was a destination other than transportation to the "Russian East", he would probably not only have asked what "special treatment" meant but also requested right away a breakdown into Jews transported to the "Russian East" and Jews submitted to "special treatment", and either obtained such breakdown or, as a good professional statistician, pointed out that he had unfortunately been unable to obtain it. So Alternative b) is also incompatible with Korherr’s alleged claim towards Spiegel magazine.

Alternative c)

" Transportation of Jews from the
eastern provinces to the Russian
East, including special treatment: ............................
The following numbers were specially treated
through the camps in the General
government .............
through the camps in the Warthegau....."

This original wording would have made the "correction" by Himmler’s personal staff more complex and therefore made it seem recommendable to transcribe the desired wording of the paragraph in its entirety, in order to avoid misunderstandings. However, the original wording would not have contained the expression "special treatment of the Jews" that the letter of 10.4.1943 refers to, which makes this alternative seem unlikely as well.

If he had been faced with this wording, and if he had asked about the meaning of "special treatment" for whatever reason, Korherr would have been baffled. For he would have had to conclude that out of 1,449,692 Jews either transported to the "Russian East" or settled in the Lublin district, 1,274,166 + 145,301 = 1,419,467 Jews belonged in the latter category and only 1,449,692 minus 1,419,467 = 30,225 had been transported to the "Russian East", although the wording of the paragraph suggested the exact opposite, i.e. that the majority of these Jews had been transported to the "Russian East" and only a minority had been settled in the Lublin district. Wouldn’t his professionalism have thus required Korherr to point out that this wording was misleading and that most of the Jews mentioned in this paragraph had actually not been removed from the Generalgouvernement but settled in one of its districts? Wouldn’t he have found it rather unbelievable that there were 1,419,467 Jews in the Lublin district not confined to ghettos or concentration camps against only ca. 20,000 in ghettos (see Section VI of the "long" version) and 4,683 men plus 2,659 women still alive in the Lublin concentration camp (see Section VII)? And how could he have counted these Jews under the "Evacuations total" in Section V and as a main position of the diminishment of European Jewry in Section X of the "long" version ("partially due to the evacuations especially in the more strongly populated Eastern Territories"), if they were still in a Nazi-occupied territory that by all standards and definitions is part of Europe, the Polish Generalgouvernement? So also under this Alternative c), Korherr’s supposed claim towards Spiegel magazine is rather dubious.

Alternative d)

"Special treatment of the Jews from the
eastern provinces or transportation to the Russian
East: ............................
The following numbers were sifted
through the camps in the General
government .............
through the camps in the Warthegau....."

This alternative would be compatible with the statement "He wishes that in no place a ‘special treatment of the Jews’ is referred to" in the letter of 10.4.1943. It would not explain, however, why the "correction" was not limited to transcribing the desired wording of the paragraph’s first part:

" Transportation of Jews from the
eastern provinces to the Russian
East: ............................"

but also included the unchanged second part:

"The following numbers were sifted
through the camps in the General
government .............
through the camps in the Warthegau....."

Alternative d) is therefore also unlikely.

As to Korherr, he would, as in the second scenario of Alternative b), have been compelled to not only ask what "special treatment" meant but also request right away a breakdown into Jews transported to the "Russian East" and Jews submitted to "special treatment", and either included such breakdown in his report or pointed out that he had unfortunately not been able to obtain it. Alternative d) would thus not speak for the honesty of Korherr’s Spiegel claim either.

Alternative e)

"Special treatment of the Jews from the
eastern provinces or transportation to the Russian
East: ............................
The following numbers were specially treated
through the camps in the General
government .............”

This alternative would be wholly compatible with the letter of 10.4.1943, as it would both contain the term "special treatment of the Jews" expressly mentioned in that letter and make a transcription of the entire paragraph seem at least recommendable for the purpose of providing a clear instruction to Korherr on how to "correctly" word this paragraph.

It would not be compatible, however, with Korherr’s alleged claim towards Spiegel magazine in 1977, for the same reasons that make this claim implausible under Alternative c).

Alternative f)

"Special treatment of the Jews from the
eastern provinces: ............................
The following numbers were sifted
through the camps in the General
government .............
through the camps in the Warthegau....."

This alternative seems unlikely in light of the letter of 10.4.1943 for the same reason as Alternative d).

As to Korherr, how could he possibly have reconciled the "clarification" that 1,449,692 Jews from the "eastern provinces" had been settled in the Lublin district with the title and context of Section V and his statements in Sections VI, VII and X of the long version? The resulting incoherencies in the report would be the same as under alternatives c) and e), except that the number of Jews who could not have been written off as Korherr did would have been higher by 30,225 (1,449,692 instead of 1,419,467) than in the other two alternatives.

Alternative g)

"Special treatment of the Jews from the
eastern provinces: ............................
The following numbers were specially treated
through the camps in the General
government .............
through the camps in the Warthegau....."

This alternative is not only wholly compatible with the letter of 10.4.1943, but also the only one compatible with all other evidence to what this part of the procedures listed by Korherr under "The Evacuation of the Jews" was all about. For all this documentary, demographic, eyewitness and physical evidence shows that these Jews were either (in a minority of cases, probably corresponding to the difference between the total of 1,449,692 Jews mentioned in this paragraph and the sum of the partial figures concerning the various camps) bumped off at their places of residence or (in the majority of cases) ended up at "the camps in the Generalgovernment" (Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka and Lublin-Majdanek) or "the camps in the Warthegau" (Chelmno), whereas there is no evidence, although one could expect a huge paper trail and thousands upon thousands of eyewitnesses if such had happened, that these Jews were ever taken where the letter of 10.4.1943 required Korherr to claim they had been taken, the "Russian East" – and of course also no evidence supporting the RSHA’s "settled in the Lublin district" version that Korherr is supposed to have claimed towards Spiegel magazine.

As to Korherr, he would have been faced with the same dilemmas as in Alternative f), which means that his alleged Spiegel claim would be no more convincing, under this most probable alternative regarding the original wording of the paragraph in question, than under any other.

The credibility of Korherr’s claim that he believed the RSHA’s "settled in the Lublin district" version would further be reduced by his having been instructed to use the wording transcribed in the letter of 10.04.1943, which of course contradicted what the RSHA had supposedly told him.

Wouldn’t he have felt compelled to point out to Himmler’s staff this flagrant contradiction?

He might have refrained from doing so as it clearly became apparent from the instruction ("Another wording may not be used.") that he was to use the prescribed text regardless of what had actually been done with the Jews from the "eastern provinces", i.e. that the claim of their having been transported to the "Russian East" was meant to cover up their actual fate in the report.

But then, what could Korherr have expected that actual fate to have been?

Unless we are to accept the proposition of Korherr having assumed that Himmler, ostensibly the most loyal of Hitler’s paladins, wanted to cheat his beloved Führer by having him believe that more than 1.4 million Jews who were actually living in the Lublin district, moreover without being confined to ghettos or concentration camps, had instead been moved to the occupied Soviet territories (a deception of the head of state in which Korherr himself would have been directly involved, at the latest, when he prepared the "short" version of his report for Hitler), we cannot but conclude that, at the latest when he received the instruction of 10.4.1943, it must have dawned on Korherr that "special treatment" of the Jews meant neither settlement in the Lublin district nor transportation to the occupied Soviet territories, but something that neither the RSHA nor Himmler wanted to spell out.

And what, other than killing, could that possibly have been, especially in the context of the "Final Solution of the European Jewish Question", an endeavor to remove all Jews from the German area of influence in Europe?

So we can conclude that, which ever way you look at it, Korherr’s claim towards Spiegel magazine, if authentic, carries a distinct smell of fish, to say the least.

That Korherr was aware of tabulating mass murder also becomes apparent from further parts of his report. Thus, under item 6 of chapter V on page 9 of the "long" version, he wrote the following (my translation):

6. In addition, according to data from
the Reichssicherheitshauptamt
there is the evacuation of... 633 300 Jews
in the Russian territories
incl. the former Baltic
countries since the beginning of the
Eastern Campaign.


How the Jews could have conceivably been evacuated in the Russian territories, the claimed destination of most other "evacuees" mentioned in this chapter, Korherr did not explain. And if this alone didn’t already make clear what said "evacuation" meant, Korherr spelled it out in the final chapter X of the "long" version, where he wrote the following (my translation and emphases):

It must not be overlooked in this respect that of the deaths of Soviet Russian Jews in the occupied Eastern territories only a part was recorded, whereas deaths in the rest of European Russia and at the front are not included at all.


The only other place in the "long" version where Korherr mentioned Soviet Russian Jews was the above-quoted item 6 of chapter V on page 9, so it is clear that the term "evacuation" in that item means nothing other than "deaths of Soviet Russian Jews" in the passage quoted immediately above, Korherr pointing out that the figure of such deaths given to him by the Reichssicherheitshauptamt was only a partial figure.

Another passage that shows Korherr’s awareness of what he was collecting figures about is the following at the end of the "short" version (my translation and emphasis):

In total it is likely that since 1933, i.e. in the first decade of National Socialist power, European Jewry lost almost half of its stock.
Thereof again only half, i.e. a quarter of the European total stock in 1937, is likely to have gone to the other continents.


The overall order of magnitude mentioned by Korherr in this paragraph ("almost half" of ca. 10 million Jews in Europe in 1937, i.e. "almost" 5 million Jews) is not borne out by Korherr’s detailed figures but largely based on probably nothing more than educated guesses regarding the categories expressly mentioned by Korherr (deaths of Soviet Russian Jews in the "occupied eastern territories" not included in his tabulations, deaths in the rest of European Russia and at the front, movements of Jews inside Russia to the Asian part thereof, Jewish emigration and Jewish excess mortality in the states of central and western Europe other than Germany) and maybe also regarding categories not expressly mentioned (the difference between the original Jewish population of Poland in 1937 according to the "long" version, 3.3 million, and the numbers recorded in that document as being under German control on former Polish territory, 2.79 million in total, is 510,000, presumably lost to excess mortality or emigration).

However, in what concerns the ca. 2.5 million persons lost to the "stock" of European Jewry without having gone to the world’s other continents, according to the above-quoted statement, Korherr apparently chose to remain on the safe side of what his detailed figures add up to, for this order of magnitude tallies with the sum of

i) excess mortality in the Old Reich, the Ostmark (Austria) and the Protectorate Bohemia and Moravia according to chapter II of the "long" version (82,776, thereof 61,193 in the Old Reich including the Sudetengau and Danzig, 14,509 in the Ostmark and 7,074 in the Protectorate Bohemia and Moravia);

ii) mortality in the Theresienstadt ghetto according to item 1 of chapter VI of the "long" version (reduction from 87,193 to 49,392, "mainly by deaths"); and

iii) "evacuations" until 31.12.1942 according to chapters V and VI of the "long" version, except for items 1 ("Evacuation of Jews from Baden and the Palatinate to France") and 3 ("Evacuation of Jews from the Reich area and the Protectorate to Theresienstadt"), as detailed hereafter:

1. Greater Germany: 124,051
1a. (thereof German Reich including Sudetenland)(1): 60,763
1b. (thereof Austria) (2): 33,333
1c. (thereof Protectorate Bohemia and Moravia)(3): 29,955
2. Belgium: 16,886
3. France: 41,911
4. Norway: 532
5. Yugoslavia: 4,927
6. Netherlands: 38,571
7. Former Polish Republic: 1,496,283
7a. (thereof "Eastern Provinces"): 1,449,692
7b (thereof Bialystok District) (4): 46,591
8. Slovakia: 56,691
9. Soviet Union incl. Baltic Republics: 633,300
SUM TOTAL: 2,413,152

Notes:

(1) Total of "evacuation" under item 1 of chapter II and at the beginning of chapter V (100,516), minus (a) the balance between Jews from the Reich deported to Theresienstadt according to item 1 of chapter VI (47,471) and the portion of Jews from the Ostmark included therein (14,222) and (b) the Jews deported from Baden and the Palatinate to France, according to item 1 of chapter V (6,504): 100,516 minus 33,249 minus 6,504 = 60,763.
(2) Total of "evacuation" under item 2 of chapter II and at the beginning of chapter V (47,555) minus deportees to Theresienstadt according to item 1 of chapter VI (14,222).
(3) Total of "evacuation" under item 3 of chapter II and at the beginning of chapter V (69,677) minus deportees to Theresienstadt according to item 1 of chapter VI (39, 722).
(4) Figure for "Evacuation of Jews from the Reich territory incl. the Protectorate and Bialystok district to the East" under item 2 of chapter V of the "long version" (170,642) minus figure under item 1 of my table (124,051).

Now, how could these ca. 2.5 million Jews under categories i), ii) and iii) above have been lost to the "stock" of European Jewry if, as pointed out by Korherr, they had not moved to the world’s other continents?

There is only one possibility, which is the fate that at least the overwhelming majority of the "evacuees" listed under category iii) above had by the time of Korherr’s reports shared, according to all known evidence, with those mentioned under categories i) and ii): death.

Thus there can be no doubt that Dr. Richard Korherr knew very well what he was reporting about, and that his alleged later pretensions to the contrary, which preachers of the "Revisionist" faith put much stock in, were somewhat less than honest.

[Edited on 30.04.2008 to update links to RODOH forum.]

[Edited on 27.03.2012 to replace broken links to RODOH forum.]

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