IV. Techno-babble and Conclusions
II. Documents and Numbers
In his response to Andrew Mathis and me following our radio conversation with Kevin Barrett on American Freedom Radio, "Revisionist" author "Thomas Dalton" writes:
(3) On the Korherr report, it is true that I do not address it in my book Debating the Holocaust. This is because it is, in my estimation, an insignificant and inconclusive matter in the overall debate. The report was not secret, and nothing in it points to mass killing of Jews. It does, however, talk about mass evacuations, which were indeed occurring at that time (early 1943). And there are internal contradictions, in that the conclusions do not follow from the statistics, which suggests either significant error or ulterior motives of some kind. Finally, Korherr himself stated in 1977 that the “special treatment” cited in the report referred to “Jews who were to be resettled,” not killed.
Who listened to Kevin Barrett's interview with Andrew and me will remember that the Korherr Report was essentially brought up as non-Jewish assessment of the Jewish population in Europe and the world, which alone could sufficiently explain why an author who dismisses all pre-war Jewish population figures as "self-reporting" (thus I understood what Mr. "Dalton" told Kevin Barrett in this respect) calls it "an insignificant and inconclusive matter": it doesn’t fit into his picture. However, rather than accuse Mr. "Dalton" of having ignored evidence that goes against his thesis rather than at least explaining why he didn't take it into consideration, I'll give him the benefit of doubt and assume that he either had never heard of the Korherr Report before Kevin’s radio show or only read about it in run-off-the-mill "Revisionist" publications but never looked at the document itself. In the former case he doesn't seem to have bothered looking up anything other than "Revisionist" literature even after the interview, judging by the beaten "Revisionist" claims regarding the Korherr Report that he comes up with.
These claims inevitably include the one that Korherr himself claimed to have understood the term "special treatment" as referring to resettlement. In my blog Richard "I didn’t know" Korherr, I demonstrated that the text of Korherr’s original version of his report – which he was required to change by a letter from Himmler's personal staff dated 10.4.1943, a translation of which is transcribed in that blog – can only have been one that translates as follows, concerning what was eventually claimed to be deportation to the "Russian East" in the final version (emphasized parts are the ones later changed):
"Special treatment of the Jews from the
eastern provinces: ............................
The following numbers were specially treated
through the camps in the General
through the camps in the Warthegau....."
Korherr's alarm bells should have rung at the latest when he was ordered to replace this wording with the following (emphasized parts are the changes):
" Transportation of Jews from the
eastern provinces to the Russian
The following numbers were sifted
through the camps in the General
through the camps in the Warthegau....."
If, as he supposedly claimed in 1977, Korherr had inquired about the meaning of "special treatment" and been told that it referred to "Jews who were settled in the Lublin district", how could he have failed to notice the contradiction with the information he was now required to put in the report, whereby the Jews had been transported to the "Russian East"? He might have refrained from pointing out this flagrant contradiction as it clearly became apparent from the instruction he had received ("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?
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 report’s "long" version, he wrote the following (my translation):
6. In addition, according to data from
there is the evacuation of... 633 300 Jews
in the Russian territories
incl. the former Baltic
countries since the beginning of the
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 meant 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 report's "short" version (my translation and emphases):
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.
Half of ten million Jews in Europe in 1937 makes 5 million, and half of 5 million is 2.5 million. How could these ca. 2.5 million Jews possibly 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: death.
But Mr. "Dalton" claims that "nothing in it [the report] points to mass killing of Jews". He must have read it with thick ideological tomato slices covering his eyes, if he read it at all. Or then he is making this claim against better knowledge.
The overall order of magnitude mentioned by Korherr in the paragraph last quoted ("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. 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, Korherr apparently chose to remain on the safe side of what his detailed figures add up to, as I demonstrated in the aforementioned blog. I guess this difference between Korherr’s educated guess as concerns overall Jewish population losses and the number of deaths that his detailed figures add up to is what conspiracy-sniffing "Revisionists" like "Dalton", with some self-projection, consider "internal contradictions" suggesting "either significant error or ulterior motives of some kind".
Last but not least, the Korherr Report was secret at the time it was issued, contrary to what Mr. "Dalton" claims. As this facsimile of the report’s "long version" shows, the document was a "Geheime Reichssache", a secret Reich matter.
Mr. "Dalton"’s assessment of the Korherr Report is thus wrong on all counts.
The author’s next point is this:
(4) Andrew said that the two dozen or so references to "6 million" suffering Jews, in the years prior to WWII, was a result of "cherry-picking". Of course, there are other references to fewer than 6 million, since different portions of that number were suffering in different places and times. But the peak figure is almost always 6 million (occasionally, 5 million). So he has a case only if there are many references to more than 6 million, i.e. 7 million, 8 million, 9 million, etc. I doubt that they exist, but perhaps they do. I suggest he undertake that research, in the New York Times, for the years 1900-1945, and let us know the results. If they prove to be more numerous, then the '6 million' would carry no special significance, and I would be happy to modify my text accordingly.
Andrew may want to do the exercise suggested by Mr. "Dalton". I for my part think it is of little if any relevance whether or not there is a predominance of pre-1945 references to "6 million" Jews living in misery or threatened by annihilation. If this is so, it doesn't in any way affect the fact that the order of magnitude of Jewish losses under the Nazis accepted by historians – i.e. 5 to 6 million – is borne out by demographic data regarding the Jewish world population, the Jewish population of Europe and the Jewish population of each individual country that was affected by Nazi anti-Jewish measures, and it is supported by adding up the death toll that can, based on the available evidence, be attributed to the various sources of Jewish mortality due to Nazi violence during World War II.
The first report detailing Jewish population losses in Europe, "Statistics on Jewish Casualties During Axis Domination", was prepared by the Institute of Jewish Affairs in New York in June 1945. According to the table attached to this report, out of a total population of ca. 9,612,000 Jews living in the listed European countries (including the USSR) before Axis domination, between 3,825,000 and 3,889,000 were still alive, which meant a loss of 5,723,000 to 5,787,000 lives.
The estimated Jewish population in Europe at the end of World War II was also established by an Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry appointed in order to, among other tasks, "examine the position of the Jews in those countries in Europe where they have been the victims of Nazi and Fascist persecution …". In Appendix III to the committee’s report, which was completed in Lausanne/Switzerland in April 1946, the committee listed the Jewish population in 1939 and the current number of survivors, divided into the categories "Native" and "Refugee and displaced", for two groups of European countries, those that had been under Axis domination and those that had not or not wholly (the USSR) been occupied or otherwise dominated by the Axis. In the first group, the committee established a total of 6,015,700 Jewish inhabitants in 1939 vs. 1,153,106 remaining after the war, i.e. a loss of 4,862,594. In the second group, the corresponding subtotals were 3,930,600, 3,071,600 and 859,000. The totals for Europe were 9,946,300 Jews in 1939 and 4,224,700 after the war, the difference being 5,721,600.
Jewish population losses in Europe were also the subject of various later studies, some of which are mentioned hereafter.
Gerald Reitlinger arrived at a total between 4,204,400 and 4,575,400 dead, which he himself didn't consider final, however. His figures for Rumania (pre-1940 frontier), Poland and the USSR (pre-1939 frontier plus Baltic States) carry the following remark "* Owing to the lack of reliable information at the time of writing, these figures must be regarded as conjectural".
Raul Hilberg concluded on a total of 5,100,000 Jewish victims of Nazi persecution and mass murder. His study is notable in that it is the first and (as far as I know) the only to offer a breakdown of the death toll by country, by year and by cause of death.
Reitlinger and Hilberg had limited if any access to data from the USSR and the countries of Eastern Europe that were behind the Iron Curtain at the time they wrote their books, and this affected the accuracy of their estimates especially as concerns the Nazi-occupied territories of the former Soviet Union. The first study about Jewish population losses that appeared following the demise of the Soviet Union was the volume Dimensionen des Völkermords, edited by Wolfgang Benz et al, which was first published in 1991. This volume consists of studies on each individual country affected by the Nazis persecution and genocide of the Jews. As concerns the territories of the USSR within its borders as of 22 June 1941 (the date of on which the German attack began), i.e. including the Baltic Countries, Eastern Poland and Romanian territories annexed by the USSR in 1939/40, the estimates of historian Gert Robel point to about 2.2 million Jews who were still alive on the territory of the Soviet Union in 1945, out of a population of 5.1 million on the eve of the German attack. More recent data mentioned by German historian Hans-Heinrich Nolte (Kleine Geschichte Russlands, page 257) point to a similar result. According to Nolte, there were 5.1 million Jews on Soviet territory on 22 June 1941 (3.1 million in 1939, 1.8 million in the annexed western territories, 200,000 who fled across the Bug from German-occupied Poland), thereof 2.7 million who fell under German rule. Of these 100,000 survived, 20,000 as partisans and maybe 80,000 in concentration camps in Germany, and 2.6 million were murdered. About 300,000 Jews fell as soldiers of the Red Army or succumbed to famine behind the front line, and about 100,000 Jewish children were born during the war, so that at the war’s end there were about 2.3 million Jewish survivors in the USSR and the total loss of life was 2.6 + 0.3 = 2.9 million. Nolte’s figures are mentioned here.
The data contained in Benz et al's volume are well substantiated as concerns Jewish losses in each individual country examined, but care is advised in adding up the figures for each country to a Europe-wide total. The addition made by Benz himself in the book's introduction, which leads to a total of over 6 million dead, contains figures that are considered in more than one country study and are thus counted double, e.g. as concerns Jewish victims on Romanian territory annexed by Hungary following the 1940 Vienna Award. These double-counts can be weeded out, however, and this was done by my fellow blogger, British historian Dr. Nick Terry. The results of his study, published on the reference thread Number of Victims of the Holocaust of the Axis History Forum, are the following:
Victims of the German 'Final Solution of the European Jewish Question'
Finland 8 German refugees handed over
Hungary 410,000+ (1940 borders)
Czech Republic 77,297(1940 borders)
Slovakia 66,000 (1940 borders)
Romania 120,919 (1940 borders)
Lithuania 140,000 (1939 borders)
USSR 1,050,000 (1939 borders
- Belorussian SSR 250,000 (1939 borders)
- Ukrainian SSR 656,000 (1939 borders)
- Russian SFSR 144,000
Poland 2,890,000 (1939 borders)
- western Poland 1,600,000 (German occupation from 1939)
- eastern Poland 1,210,000
- Wilno district 80,000
Total 5,364,492 as a minimum
Like all its predecessors, this study has been subject to reasonable criticism. As in all previous cases, however, such criticism refers to the accuracy of certain figures for individual countries (in this case the figure for the Russian SFSR, which another fellow blogger, Sergey Romanov, considered way too high). No reasonable criticism has been raised against the overall order of magnitude, which – assuming that Sergey is right about the Russian figures – approaches the one estimated by Hilberg. All country figures underlying either of these estimates are based on a multitude of documentary and demographic evidence, and all aforementioned sources established the death toll of European Jewry by adding up the Jewish losses in all countries assessed. The results of these additions are furthermore borne out by substantiated estimates, based on detailed assessments of documentary and other evidence, of the numbers killed in ghettos, camps and open-air shootings.
That being so, the most that Mr. "Dalton" can reasonably argue, if his pre-1945 references to a "6 million" figure of Jews living in misery or threatened by annihilation are not the result of cherry-picking, is that these references are one of the reasons why the higher and not the lower end of estimates about the Jewish death toll – 6 million and not 5 million – is more frequently mentioned in the media, in political statements and in often non-scholarly secondary sources. My comment to this would be: so what?
(5) Of course, this would not affect the other main problem with the ‘6 million,’ namely, that we find no breakdown of this figure in any conventional source. This strongly suggests that no one really understands this number, which is so vital to the entire story. Hilberg is the only one to provide details for the 3 main categories—ghettos, shootings, and camps—but he finds only 5.1 million deaths, and even these are unsubstantiated. Here is my proposal for the traditionalists: ghettos 1.0 million, shootings 1.7 million, camps 3.3 million. Do Roberto and Andrew wish to defend these numbers? Or do they have others? Once they decide, then we can begin a serious analysis.
Mr. "Dalton" seems to labor under the assumption that Andrew and I belong to what Kevin Barrett ironically called the "'six million Jews died and not a Jew less' crowd". I have no idea what could have Mr. "Dalton" to this conclusion, other than his desire to be in a more disadvantageous debating position. There is no breakdown of 6 million by causes of death that I know of, and Wolfgang Benz' addition of country-by-country demographic data, which turns out more than 6 million, is affected by double-counting, as I pointed out above. Even if that were not so, it would still be wrong to equate demographic losses with the sum of "Dalton"’s "3 main categories", for demographic losses obviously also include Jewish soldiers of various armed forces and Jewish civilians who lost their lives due to war-related causes – 300,000 in these two categories in the Soviet Union alone, as I mentioned before. As concerns breakdowns by the "three categories", my idea would be the following:
• Ghettoization and general occupation – as per Hilberg’s estimate (ca. 800,000).
• Camps – about 2,797,000, broken down as follows:
- Belzec: According to a document that became available in the British Public Records Office in 2000, the intercepted and decoded 14-day-report about "Einsatz Reinhart" that was sent on 11 January 1943 by SS-Sturmbannführer Höfle in Lublin to SS-Obersturmbannführer Heim of the BdS office in Krakow (hereinafter referred to as the Höfle Report), the number of Jews deported to Belzec in 1942 was 434,508. Round figure: 435,000.
- Sobibor: a minimum figure of ca. 150,000 was established by a court in Hagen, Germany, based on deportation evidence assessed by court expert Dr. Scheffler (see my article Meet Karl Frenzel (1)). Later historical research showed the Hagen court's estimate to be too low, the currently accepted range being 160,000 – 200,000 (Julian Shelvis, Sobibor. A History of a Nazi Death Camp, page 198; Dieter Pohl, Verfolgung und Massenmord in der NS-Zeit 1933-1945, page 95). In a recent expert opinion provided at the trial of John Demjanjuk in Munich, Pohl gave an estimate of about 170,000 Jews killed at Sobibor. I’ll stick with that.
- Treblinka: On the basis of the Höfle Report and additional data for 1943, Polish historian Jacek Andrzej Młynarczyk estimates the minimum death toll of Treblinka as 780,863. Round figure: 781,000.
- Chelmno: The minimum death toll established by by a West German court in 1963 is about 152,000.
- Auschwitz-Birkenau: about 900,000, according to Franciszek Piper’s detailed documentary research outlined in the Van Pelt Report, as corrected by recent research finds of German historians Christian Gerlach and Götz Aly.
- Majdanek: 2005 research by the Head of Scientific Department at Majdanek Museum, historian Tomasz Kranz, indicates that there were 78,000 victims, 59,000 of whom were Jews.
- Janowska forced labor camp in Lemberg: about 100,000.
- Maly Trostinec camp in Belorussia: about 60,000.
- Other camps: about 140,000. Hilberg’s estimates for other camps add up to 300,000, from which I deducted the figures for Janowska and Maly Trostinec, assuming these were taken into consideration by Hilberg.
• Mobile killing operations: the overwhelming majority of the about 2.6 million killed from among the Jewish population of the Soviet Union as of 22 June 1941 (i.e. including the Baltic Countries and the territories of Eastern Poland and Romania annexed by the Soviets) fell victim to mobile killing operations. The main positions to be deducted from this figure are about 255,000 from Galicia deported to extermination camps (Sandkühler, Endlösung in Galizien, as quoted in my blog Belzec Mass Graves and Archaeology: My Response to Carlo Mattogno (5,2)), Jews deported from the Bialystok District to Treblinka (about 120,000, according to Yitzhak Arad – I added up the figures for the Bialystok District), and the about 160,000 victims of the Janowska and Maly Trostinets camp mentioned above. Let’s deduct another 150,000 to take account of further deportations to camps from the occupied Soviet territories, even though this number seems too high to me, and we got at least about 1.9 million victims of mobile killing operations in the occupied territories of the Soviet Union, which saw the bulk of such operations. Gas vans are likely to have accounted for only the smaller part of these victims, considering what German historian Christian Gerlach wrote about their efficiency in his book Kalkulierte Morde, pages 766 f. (my translation):
It is not possible to establish the number of Belorussian people killed in gas vans. A perpetrator mentioned 20,000 to 30,000 Jews who were murdered in Minsk during his time. In fact the operational conditions in Belorussia led to the large majority of Jews and other victims being murdered not by gas but by shooting. For the gas vans' killing capacity was too low for the killers’ purposes. In one van about 350 to 400 people could be murdered in one day. Most Belorussian Jews, however, died during large massacres in which up to 10,000 people were wiped out within one or two days; with three or four as vans this would not have been possible. Also for the annihilation of transports with Jewish deportees numbering 1,000 people – one of the gas vans' main functions in the GK Weißruthenien - three vans seemed too little, so that a fourth was ordered. For outside operations during extermination actions in the ghettos of the smaller, often remote little towns the gas vans were also not adequate for two reasons: due to the high risk of defects on the bad roads and due to possible partisan attacks. Such outside operations were accordingly rare, especially in the context of anti-partisan fighting. Seldom were the vans from different locations put together, and then only for actions at central places. Besides, other reasons against the use of gas vans were invoked..
Thus the gassing vehicles were primarily used directly at the places where they were stationed, for two tasks: first for the regular emptying of prisons, i.e. for murdering prisoners from labor or death camps (like in the Minsk Shirokaia Street), who had mostly been selected as unable to work, for instance for the murder of 3,000 ostensibly unproductive "bandit suspects" (old people, women and children) from the Polozk area in Trostinez in February 1943, and second for exterminating the Jew transports arriving from central Europe in 1942.
Gerlach refers to Belorussia, i.e. only one of the Nazi-occupied Soviet areas. But his assessment suggests that if the Nazis killed 200,000 Jews in gas vans throughout all occupied Soviet territories, that's a lot. Even with this improbably high deduction, the figure for mass shootings in those territories would be about 1.7 million.
The sum toll of persecution and murder of Jews by the Nazis would thus be roughly the following:
• 800,000 from ghettoization and general occupation
• 2,800,000 in camps
• 1,900,000 in mobile killing operations, by shooting or gas vans
• 5,500,000 in total.
On to Mr. "Dalton"'s point (6).
(6) Roberto says that Hilberg is too low on his Einsatzgruppen shootings number (1.4 million). Andrew cites the recent Desbois book, Holocaust by Bullets, which claims 1.5 million. What neither of them mentioned is that we have not nearly enough forensic evidence to support such numbers. Desbois found (allegedly) 800 “mass graves” in the East, but have absolutely no useful data on these graves: size, area, location, corpse count, ash quantity—nothing. The Nazi reports that Ricardo relies on add up to only about 450,000 (so where are the other 1 million?), but we can be sure there is significant error and exaggeration even in these, if only because have, again, no evidence of any such mass killings.
Regarding my take on the toll of mobile killing operations (which, contrary to what Mr. "Dalton" seems to be assuming, were not carried out only by Einsatzgruppen and their auxiliaries), see my above response to Mr. "Dalton"'s point (5). In response to point (6) I’ll address the various misconceptions and falsities included in that point.
a) "Not nearly enough forensic evidence":
Mr. "Dalton" is invited to explain what exactly he means by "forensic evidence" and to quote any rules or standards of evidence applied in criminal investigation or historiography whereby counting or estimating the toll of mass murder requires such "forensic evidence" and may not rely only or mainly on demographic data, documents and eyewitness testimonies.
Next he should make us a list of at least five murderous events or connected series of events claiming at least half a million victims, the generally accepted order of magnitude of which he accepts as accurate, and for each of these events show us or guide us to the "forensic evidence" that made him accept as accurate the generally accepted order of magnitude of such mass murders.
After that, I would kindly ask him to reveal what he would consider "nearly enough forensic evidence" in our context, and what "forensic evidence" he considers to be in known. This is to rule out the possibility that his assessment is based on insufficient research.
b) "Add up to only about 450,000 (so where are the other 1 million?)"
Mr. Dalton is requested to tells us how he arrived at the figure 450,000 regarding the "reports that Ricardo relies on" (I guess he means the Einsatzgruppen reports, which cover only part of the period in which mobile killing operations were carried out in the occupied Soviet territories, and only one set of units involved therein). Consider what Raul Hilberg wrote in this respect (The Destruction of the European Jews, 1985 student edition by Holmes and Meier, page 153):
Ostland and Army Group Rear Areas North and Center.
An Einsatzgruppe A draft report (winter 1941-42) listed the following figures of Jews killed:
White Russia 41,000
Einsatzgruppe B reported on September 1, 1942 a toll of 126,195.
Ukraine, Bialystok, Army Group Rear Area South, and Rear Area Eleventh Army:
Einsatzgruppe C reported that two of its Kommandos (4a and 5) had killed 95,000 people up to the beginning of December 1941. Einsatzgruppe D reported on April 8, 1942, a total of 91,678 dead.
Hilberg's figures add up to 562,294, if my math is correct.
c) "But we can be sure there is significant error and exaggeration even in these"
Mr. Dalton should lead us to the sources claiming that "there is significant error and exaggeration even in these" – unless he prefers to first read the last five blogs of the series That's why it is denial, not revisionism. and drop this old herring right away.
d) "If only because have, again, no evidence of any such mass killings"
This remark leads us to the more general question, related to the requests under item a) above, what Mr. "Dalton" would accept as evidence and what not and what rules or standards of evidence other than his irrelevant own his distinction is based on. As concerns matching Soviet investigations of physical evidence with other evidence independent of the Soviets, Mr. "Dalton" is invited to read Dr. Terry's blog Mass Graves in the Polesie and my blog Neither the Soviets nor the Poles have found any mass graves with even only a few thousand bodies ….
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