Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Crazy World of Walter Sanning (Part 8)

In this latest installment of my Sanning series, I investigate his claim concerning the Jewish population of Bessarabia, in which he again displays a deliberate refusal to consult primary sources that refute his thesis.

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In The Dissolution of Eastern European Jewry, pp.91-92, Sanning states that "The Rumanian count [census] of August 16th, 1941 [showed that] Of the approximately 200,000 Bessarabian Jews the Soviets had removed all but 6,882." As Table 4 of this link demonstrates, that figure only refers to evacuated cities and excludes 65,742 Bessarabian Jews held in camps and ghettoes pending deportation to Transnistria. Sanning has simply ignored the fact that the census was taken after the Rumanian regime had driven most of the Jews from the cities and put them in camps.

Furthermore, the joint census figure for Jews in Bessarabia and Northern Bucovina (126,434) was cited by Reitlinger (page 399 fn), so must have been seen by Sanning (as he quotes Reitlinger extensively). Reitlinger's source is an essay by Leon Shapiro and Joshua Starr, in Jewish Social Studies, VIII, 1946, so the correct census figures were in the public domain in the immediate post-war period (I am grateful to David Woolfe for the Reitlinger information).

The fate of these Bessarabian Jews was revealed in numerous sources that were published as long ago as 1946-48 in three volumes by Matatias Carp, whose findings are summarized here and in Hilberg, The Destruction of the European Jews, 3rd edition, pp.808-852. These show that the Rumanian occupiers had been killing Jews, and driving them over the border into German-occupied Ukraine, since early July. Carp's sources converge with Nazi ones. For example, Operational Situation Report 67 reported that:
The Rumanians had driven thousands of selected persons unfit for labor, such as invalids and children, from Bessarabia and Bucovina into the German sphere. In the vicinity of Svanzia-Mogilev-Podoiski-Yampol, a total of approximately 27,500 Jews were driven back to Rumanian territory, and 1,265, partly younger ones, were shot.
This report is corroborated by other German documents discussed by Angrick here.

Sanning should, of course, have checked these sources, and was again dishonest in not doing so. Furthermore, he should have been aware that far more than 6,882 Jews were deported from Bessarabia to Transnistria after August 1941. The true figure was again documented by Carp (see p.18 of this link), who cited Vasilui's admission in late-1943 that:
Based on data now in our possession, the number of evacuees in 1941 was the following:
From Bessarabia: 55,867
From Bucovina: 43,798
From Dorohoi Co. and town: 10,368
Total: 110,033
The vast majority of these Jews died in Transnistria before it was liberated in 1944. The responsibility of Antonescu's regime for these deaths is beyond doubt, as has been demonstrated here. Sanning would clearly like to convince his readers that those deaths did not take place.

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