Monday, May 22, 2006

Two new additions to THHP

One is a great article on Treblinka by Stephen Potyondi.

Another, not so great "Revisionsm FAQ".

With phrases like "resulting in at least 6 million Jews dead" (there should be no "at least" here; it would be correct if the figure of 5 million dead was used; this "at least" is quickly contradicted in the Q/A 10), and "[i]n addition, another 6 million non-Jews" (a widely spread myth, started by Simon Wiesenthal, about which we will write later) it can only mislead.

FAQ also states:
The "final solution" was the attempt to physically annihilate all Jews under Nazi control. The reason it is called "final", as the Nazi documents attest, is that other solutions were attempted before this radical step was taken.
The answer is formally correct - the "Final Solution" was murder, and it was final because other means had been tried before. But the reply is incomplete and therefore misleading.

As is clear from the scholarly literature, initially the "Final Solution of the Jewish Question" meant "mere" deportation. And though it was also called "final", in the end it also turned out to be interim. I.e., it cannot be argued on a purely linguistic basis that the "final solution" meant murder. This is crucial for correctly understanding and analyzing deniers' arguments - and Nazi documents, for that matter.

In QA 12 we read:
As an example, only about 7 Jews survived the Belzec extermination camp, although at least 550,000 were killed there.
This, of course, contradicts the Hoefle telegram, according to which 434,000+ Jews were killed in Belzec. It is true that numbers like 500,000 and greater can be derived from witness testimonies and yizkor books, but now that we have the exact statistic, and in absence of the evidence to the contrary, only the Hoefle figure should be used. At the very least one should use the phrase "at least 434,000 were killed there" to be accurate.

Or take QA28:
None. "Resettlement" meant deportation to, and death at, an extermination camp.
Not necessarily in the extermination camp - Einsatzgruppen were also "resettling" the Jews in their own way, without the camps, and a minority of Jews actually were resettled to the "Eastern territories".

QA41 is not better:
He [Kurt Gerstein] visited Belzec with Professor Pfannenstiel and while there, witnessed a botched gassing van attempt where the engine refused to start for over two hours before the Jews could be gassed.
What Gerstein witnessed was a gassing in stationary gas chambers, not gas vans.

Also there's the topic of Auschwitz plaques:
The correct number, estimated by the Auschwitz commandant Rudolf Hoess as early as 1946, is about 1.1 million, mostly Jews, and that is the number on the plaque today.
Nope, that is not the number on the plaque today. Here's the modern plaque:

Finally, the matter of 6 million again:
The overall total of around 6 million is based on demographic studies and analysis of Nazi train records that record the numbers of Jews shipped to Auschwitz during its existence. An example of the methodology used is in Raul Hilberg's Destruction of the European Jews.
Hilberg's best estimate is 5.1 million, which again contradicts the claim of "at least 6 million".

Clearly, a revision of the FAQ is in order.


  1. The statement "at least 6 million" doesn't refer to Hilberg. Newer studies in fact have resulted in a figure above 6 million, like the German Dimension des Völkermords (1991) edited by Wolfgang Benz. I'm not aware of an English edition of this important book. The research of Benz and his colleagues resulted in minimum and maximum figures for each country:

    country min. max.
    German Reich 160,000 195,000
    Austria 65,459 65,459
    Luxemburg 1,200 1,200
    France 76,134 76,134
    Belgium 28,518 28,518
    Netherlands 102,000 102,000
    Denmark 116 116
    Norway 758 758
    Italy 6,513 6,513
    Albania 591 591
    Greece 59,185 59,185
    Bulgaria 11,393 11,393
    Yugoslavia 60,000 65,000
    Hungary 550,000 550,000
    Czechoslovakia 143,000 143,000
    Romania 211,214 211,214
    Poland 2,700,000 3,000,000
    Soviet Union 2,100,000 2,100,000
    sums 6,276,081 6,616,081

    (Source: Wolfgang Benz, Dimension des Völkermords, p.15-16)

    Note that even the minimum figure is clearly above 6 million.

  2. I am aware of Benz's results, as I have read Benz and Wetzel's report. This is only one of the many estimates, not necessarily the most correct one. (Interestingly, Benz is not mentioned in the FAQ.)

    It is correct to say that according to this particular estimate the number of victims is at least 6,000,000 - not that it is objectively such.

    Objectively we can only say that the number of victims is around 5-6 million (not excluding slightly lower or higher figures). Certainty has not been reached on the issue.

    Moreover, the internal contradiction remains. Either there are many differing legitimate estimates - as Q/A 10 correctly states (though not giving the correct range, as it does not really start at 4.8 million - Reitlinger's minimum is lower), or it is "at least" 6,000,000 Jews. If the latter is true, the lower estimates are no longer legitimate.

    Finally, the last paragraph refers to Hilberg's methodology, but in support of ~6,000,000 figure, while Hilberg has 5.1 million. This underscores my point - Hilberg did use the correct methodology, and he did reach the number significantly lower than 6,000,000, therefore certainty about "at least 6,000,000" is out of place.


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