Thursday, October 09, 2008

How Many Perpetrators in the USSR? - Part Nine: Denier Deceit

The mendacity of deniers when discussing the Einsatzgruppen is encapsulated in Graf's screed, Giant with Feet of Clay, which consists of dishonest, ill-informed attacks on the late historian Raul Hilberg. Graf, whose mendacity has been discussed in several previous blogs, 'quote-mines' Hilberg to create a Straw Man version of the historiography of the Einsatzgruppen.

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The analysis given below demonstrates how Graf uses quotes by Hilberg that refer to the personnel composition of the Einsatzgruppen, whilst misrepresenting the instances where Hilberg discusses killings by other agencies, and where Hilberg emphasizes the Einsatzgruppen's utilization of large numbers of Order Police and native auxiliaries. In many cases, this misrepresentation can be shown to be deliberate, because Graf refers to specific killings that are discussed by Hilberg in inter-agency terms. Graf wants the reader to believe that Hilberg is claiming these were exclusively Einsatzgruppen killings, when Hilberg's text actually says the opposite.

Graf sets up his Straw Man as follows (p.40):
The claimed numbers of victims of the Einsatzgruppen are impossibly large. The largest of the four, Einsatzgruppe A, had 990 members. If we subtract from this the 172 vehicle drivers, 3 women employees, 51 interpreters, 3 teletypewriter operators and 8 radio operators, there are about 750 combatants left to use for the mass killings (p. 303; DEJ, p. 289). Up to 15th October 1941, Einsatzgruppe A supposedly killed 125,000 Jews (p. 309; DEJ, p. 289). Considering the fact that the mass murders first began in August (p. 307; DEJ, na), the overwhelming majority of the 125,000 victims, let us say 120,000, must have been killed in a period of ten weeks.
Graf's decision to focus on Einsatzgruppe A exposes his stupidity as well as his mendacity, because even a reader with minimal Holocaust knowledge will be aware that this unit operated in the region with the largest proportion of native collaborators. Moreover, Graf gives this game away himself when he discusses the involvement of native Baltic citizens in pogroms (p.36):
In addition, thousands of Jews were killed in pogroms initiated by the native populations following the German invasion. After they had been freed from the Bolshevist yoke, Latvians, Lithuanians, Ukrainians and others took revenge on Jews because the Red terror machinery had been led mainly by Jews, and this retribution unfortunately fell also on Jews who had nothing to do with the Communist crimes.
Graf is thus skewered by his contradictory aims. In order to promote his antisemitism, he needs to show that the natives hated Jews, but, in order to maintain his Einsatzgruppen Straw Man, he also needs to claim that all killings must have been done by Einsatzgruppe A acting alone.

Hilberg's actual text is clear that Einsatzgruppe A needed local assistance (Note: all quotes below are taken from the 1985 student edition). Hilberg writes that "The importance of the auxiliaries should not be under-estimated" (p.122). Summarizing the actions of Ek 3 in September 1941, Hilberg notes that:
The operations assisted by the Lithuanians accounted for more than half of the Einsatzkommando's killings by that date (p.122)
On the same page, Hilberg makes this point about Ek 4a in Ukraine:
The Ukrainian auxiliaries appeared on the scene in August 1941, and Einsatzgruppe C found itself compelled to make use of them...Thus Einsatzkommando 4a went so far as to confine itself to the shooting of adults while commanding its Ukrainian helpers to shoot children.
Graf's mendacity increases even further when he discusses shootings in large cities (p.38):
Here are the victim counts Hilberg gives for several cities:
33,000 victims in Kiev;
10,600 victims in Riga (this Einsatzkommando numbered only 21
23,600 victims in Kamenets-Podolsk;
15,000 victims in Dnepropetrovsk (p. 311; DEJ, p. 298);
15,000 victims in Rovno (p. 312; DEJ, p. 298);
10,000 victims in Simferopol (p. 391; DEJ, p. 373).
What does Hilberg say about each of these killings?

Kiev: "two detachments of Police Regiment South helped kill over 33,000 Jews" (p.110);

Riga: "In the northern sector the Higher SS and Police Leader (Pruetzmann), assisted by twenty-one men of Einsatzkommando 2 (Einsatzgruppe A), killed 10,600 people in Riga" (p.110; note how Graf quote-mines the "21 men" but omits the prefix "assisted by"!);

Kamenets-Podolsk: "Next Jeckeln struck at Kamenets-Podolsk, shooting there a total of 23,600 Jews" (p.111; no mention of Einsatzgruppen being involved, because this action was perpetrated mainly by Jeckeln's own forces assisted by Police Battalions 45 and 303);

Dnepropetrovsk: "In Dnepropetrovsk...Jeckeln slaughtered 15,000 Jews..." (p.111);

Rovno: "In its report about Rovno, Einsatzgruppe C stated that, whereas the action had been organised by the Higher SS and Police Leader and had been carried out by the Order Police, a detachment of Einsatzkommando 5 had participated to a significant extent in the shooting" (p.111);

Simferopol (pp.115-116): "In Simferopol, the Crimean capital, the Eleventh Army decided that it wanted the shooting to be completed before Christmas. Accordingly, Einsatzgruppe D, with the assistance of army personnel and with army trucks and gasoline, completed the shootings in time to permit the army to celebrate Christmas in a city without Jews."

Graf has therefore lifted these death figures from Hilberg without acknowledging that each of the killings was instigated by the Higher SS and Police Leaders and/or the Wehrmacht, and was carried out by forces that were often primarily non-Einsatzgruppen personnel.

This dishonest denier apparently has no shame.

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