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Did Six Million Really Die?
By Richard E. Harwood

 

4 

THE SIX MILLION:
DOCUMENTARY EVIDENCE

 

From the foregoing it would seem certain that the figure of six million murdered Jews amounts to nothing more than a vague compromise between several quite baseless estimates; there is not a shred of documentary evidence for it that is trustworthy. Occasionally, writers narrow it down to give a disarming appearance of authenticity. Lord Russell of Liverpool, for example, in his The Scourge of the Swastika (London, 1954) claimed that "not less than five million" Jews died in German concentration camps, having satisfied himself that he was somewhere between those who estimated 6 million and those who preferred 4 million. But, he admitted, "the real number will never be known." If so, it is difficult to know how he could have asserted "not less than five million." The Joint Distribution Committee favours 5,012,000, but the Jewish "expert" Reitlinger suggests a novel figure of 4,192,200 "missing Jews" of whom an estimated one third died of natural causes. This would reduce the number deliberately "exterminated" to 2,796,000. However, Dr. M. Perlzweig, the New York delegate to a World Jewish Congress press conference held at Geneva in 1948 stated: "The price of the downfall of National Socialism and Fascism is the fact that seven million Jews lost their lives thanks to cruel Anti-Semitism." In the Press and elsewhere, the figure is often casually lifted to eight million or sometimes even nine million. As we have proved in the previous chapter, none of these figures are in the remotest degree plausible, indeed, they are ridiculous.

 

FANTASTIC EXAGGERATIONS

So far as is known, the first accusation against the Germans of the mass murder of Jews in war-time Europe was made by the Polish Jew Rafael Lemkin in his book Axis Rule in Occupied Europe, published in New York in 1943. Somewhat coincidentally, Lemkin was later to draw up the U.N. Genocide Convention, which seeks to outlaw "racialism". His book claimed that the Nazis had destroyed millions of Jews, perhaps as many as six millions. This, by 1943, would have been remarkable indeed, since the action was allegedly started only in the summer of 1942. At such a rate, the entire world Jewish population would have been exterminated by 1945. After the war, propaganda estimates spiralled to heights even more fantastic. Kurt Gerstein, an anti-Nazi who claimed to have infiltrated the S.S., told the French interrogator Raymond Cartier that he knew that no less than forty million concentration camp internees had been gassed. In his first signed memorandum of April 26th, 1945, he reduced the figure to 25 million, but even this was too bizarre for French Intelligence and in his second memorandum, signed at Rottweil on May 4th, 1945, he brought the figure closer to the six million preferred at the Nuremberg Trials. Gerstein's sister was congenitally insane and died by euthenasia, which may well suggest a streak of mental instability in Gerstein himself. He had, in fact, been convicted in 1936 of sending eccentric mail through the post. After his two "confessions" he hanged himself at Cherche Midi prison in Paris. Gerstein alleged that during the war he passed on information concerning the murder of Jews to the Swedish Government through a German baron but for some inexplicable reason his report was "filed away and forgotten". He also claimed that in August 1942 he informed the Papal nuncio in Berlin about the whole "extermination programme", but the reverend person merely told him to "Get out." The Gerstein statements abound with claims to have witnessed the most gigantic mass executions (twelve thousand in a single day at Belzec), while the second memorandum describes a visit by Hitler to a concentration camp in Poland on June 6th, 1942 which is known never to have taken place. Gerstein's fantastic exaggerations have done little but discredit the whole notion of mass extermination. Indeed, Evangelical Bishop Wilhelm Dibelius of Berlin denounced his memoranda as "Untrustworthy" (H. Rothfels, "Augenzeugenbericht zu den Massenvergasungen" in Vierteljahrshefte für Zeitgeschichte, April 1953). It is an incredible fact, however, that in spite of this denunciation, the German Government in 1955 issued an edition of the second Gerstein memorandum for distribution in German chools (Dokumentation zur Massenvergasung, Bonn, 1955). In it they stated that Dibelius placed his special confidence in Gerstein and that the memoranda were "valid beyond any doubt." This is a striking example of the way in which the baseless charge of genocide by the Nazis is perpetuated in Germany, and directed especially to the youth.

The story of six million Jews exterminated during the war was given final authority at the Nuremberg Trials by the statement of Dr. Wilhelm Hoettl. He had been an assistant of Eichmann's, but was in fact a rather strange person in the service of American Intelligence who had written several books under the pseudonym of Walter Hagen. Hoettl also worked for Soviet espionage, collaborating with two Jewish emigrants from Vienna, Perger and Verber, who acted as U.S. officers during the preliminary inquiries of the Nuremberg Trials. It is remarkable that the testimony of this highly dubious person Hoettl is said to constitute the only "proof' regarding the murder of six million Jews. In his affidavit of November 26th, 1945 he stated, not that he knew but that Eichmann had "told him" in August 1944 in Budapest that a total of 6 million Jews had been exterminated. Needless to say, Eichmann never corroborated this claim at his trial. Hoettl was working as an American spy during the whole of the latter period of the war, and it is therefore very odd indeed that he never gave the slightest hint to the Americans of a policy to murder Jews, even though he worked directly under Heydrich and Eichmann.

 

ABSENCE OF EVIDENCE

It should be emphasised straight away that there is not a single document in existence which proves that the Germans intended to, or carried out, the deliberate murder of Jews. In Poliakov and Wulf's Das Dritte Reich und die Juden: Dokumente und Aufsätze (Berlin, 1955), the most that they can assemble are statements extracted after the war from people like Hoettl, Ohlendorf and Wisliceny, the latter under torture in a Soviet prison. In the absence of any evidence, therefore, Poliakov is forced to write: "The three or four people chiefly involved in drawing up the plan for total extermination are dead, and no documents survive." This seems very convenient. Quite obviously, both the plan and the "three or four" people are nothing but nebulous assumptions on the part of the writer, and are entirely unprovable. The documents which do survive, of course, make no mention at all of extermination, so that writers like Poliakov and Reitlinger again make the convenient assumption that such orders were generally "verbal". Though lacking any documentary proof, they assume that a plan to murder Jews must have originated in 1941, coinciding with the attack on Russia. Phase one of the plan is alleged to have involved the massacre of Soviet Jews, a claim we shall disprove later. The rest of the programme is supposed to have begun in March 1942, with the deportation and concentration of European Jews in the eastern camps of the Polish Government-General, such as the giant industrial complex at Auschwitz near Cracow. The fantastic and quite groundless assumption throughout is that transportation to the East, supervised by Eichmann's department, actually meant immediate extermination in ovens on arrival. According to Manvell and Frankl (Heinrich Himmler. London, 1965), the policy of genocide "seems to have been arrived at" after "secret discussions" between Hitler and Himmler (p. 118), though they fail to prove it. Reitlinger and Poliakov guess along similar "verbal" lines, adding that no one else was allowed to be present at these discussions, and no records were ever kept of them. This is the purest invention, for there is not a shred of evidence that even suggests such outlandish meetings took place. William Shirer, in his generally wild and irresponsible book The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, is similarly muted on the subject of documentary proof. He states weakly that Hitler's supposed order for the murder of Jews "apparently was never committed to paper - at least no copy of it has yet been unearthed. It was probably given verbally to Goering, Himmler and Heydrich, who passed it down . . ,"(p. 1148). A typical example of the kind of "proof' quoted in support of the extermination legend is given by Manvell and Frankl. They cite a memorandum of 31st July, 1941 sent by Goering to Heydrich, who headed the Reich Security Head Office and was Himmler's deputy. Significantly, the memorandum begins: "Supplementing the task that was assigned to you on 24th January 1939, to solve the Jewish problem by means of emigration and evacuation in the best possible way according to present conditions . . ." The supplementary task assigned in the memorandum is a "total solution (Gesamtlösung) of the Jewish question within the area of German influence in Europe," which the authors admit means concentration in the East, and it requests preparations for the "organisational, financial and material matters" involved. The memorandum then requests a future plan for the "desired final solution" (Endlösung), which clearly refers to the ideal and ultimate scheme of emigration and evacuation mentioned at the beginning of the directive. No mention whatever is made of murdering people, but Manvell and Frankl assure us that this is what the memorandum is really about. Again, of course, the "true nature" of the final as distinct from the total solution "was made known to Heydrich by Goering verbafly" (ibid, p. 118). The convenience of these "verbal" directives issuing back and forth is obvious.

 

THE WANNSEE CONFERENCE

The final details of the plan to exterminate Jews were supposed to have been made at a conference at Gross Wannsee in Berlin on 20th January, 1942, presided over by Heydrich (Poliakov, Das Dritte Reich und die Juden, p. 120 ff; Reitlinger, The Final Solution, p. 95 ff). Officials of all German Ministries were present, and Müller and Eichmann represented Gestapo Head Office. Reitlinger and Manvell and Frankl consider tile minutes of this conference to be their trump card in proving the existence of a genocide plan, but the truth is that no such plan was even mentioned, and what is more, they freely admit this. Manvell and Frankl explain it away rather lamely by saying that "The minutes are shrouded in the form of officialdom that cloaks the real significance of the words and terminolgoy that are used" (The Incomparable Crime, London, 1967, p. 46), which really means that they intend to interpret them in their own way. What Heydrich actually said was that, as in the memorandum quoted above, he had been commissioned by Goering to arrange a solution to the Jewish problem. He reviewed the history of Jewish emigration, stated that the war had rendered the Madagascar project impractical, and continued: "The emigration programme has been replaced now by the evacuation of Jews to the east as a further possible solution, in accordance with the previous authorisation of the Führer." Here, he explained, their labour was to be utilised. All this is supposed to be deeply sinister, and pregnant with the hidden meaning that the Jews were to be exterminated, though Prof. Paul Rassinier, a Frenchman interned at Buchenwald who has done sterling work in refuting the myth of the Six Million, explains that it means precisely what it says, i.e. the concentration of the Jews for labour in the immense eastern ghetto of the Polish Government-General. "There they were to wait until the end of the war, for the re-opening of international discussions which would decide their future. This decision was finally reached at the interministerial Berlin-Wannsee conference . . ." (Rassinier, Le Véritable Proces Eichmann, p. 20). Manvell and Frankl, however, remain undaunted by the complete lack of reference to extermination. At the Wannsee conference, they write, "Direct references to killing were avoided, Heydrich favouring the term "Arbeitseinsatz im Osten" (labour assignment in the East)" (Heinrich Himmler, p. 209). Why we should not accept labour assignment in the East to mean labour assignment in the East is not explained. According to Reitlinger and others, innumerable directives actually specifying extermination then passed between Himmler, Heydrich, Eichmann and commandant Hoess in the subsequent months of 1942, but of course, "none have survived".

 

TWISTED WORDS AND GROUNDLESS ASSUMPTIONS

The complete lack of documentary evidence to support the existence of an extermination plan has led to the habit of re-interpreting the documents that do survive. For example, it is held that a document concerning deportation is not about deportation at all, but a cunning way of talking about extermination. Manvell and Frankl state that "various terms were used to camouflage genocide. These included "Aussiedlung"(desettlement) and "Abbeförderung" (removal)" (ibid, p. 265). Thus, as we have seen already, words are no longer assumed to mean what they say if they prove too inconvenient. This kind of thing is taken to the most incredible extremes, such as their interpretation of Heydrich's directive for labour assignment in the East. Another example is a reference to Himmler's order for sending deportees to the East, "that is, having them killed" (ibid, p. 251). Reitlinger, equally at a loss for evidence, does exactly the same, declaring that from the "circumlocutionary" words of the Wannsee conference it is obvious that "the slow murder of an entire race was intended" (ibid, p. 98). A review of the documentary situation is important, because it reveals the edifice of guesswork and baseless assumptions upon which the extermination legend is built. The Germans had an extraordinary propensity for recording everything on paper in the most careful detail, yet among the thousands of captured documents of the S.D. and Gestapo, the records of the Reich Security Head Office, the files of Himmler's headquarters and Hitler's own war directives there is not a single order for the extermination of Jews or anyone else. It will be seen later that this has, in fact, been admitted by the World Centre of Contemporary Jewish Documentation at Tel-Aviv. Attempts to find "veiled allusions" to genocide in speeches like that of Himmler's to his S.S. Obergruppenführers at Posen in 1943 are likewise quite hopeless. Nuremberg statements extracted after the war, invariably under duress, are examined in the following chapter.

 

 



Index

Introduction

1. German policy toward the Jews prior to the war

2. German policy toward the Jews after the outbreak of war

3. Population and Emigration

4. The Six Million: Documentary Evidence

5. The Nuremberg Trials

6. Auschwitz and Polish Jewry

7. Some Concentration Camps Memoires

8. The Nature & Condition of War Time Concentration Camps

9. The Jews and The Concentrations Camps: A Factual Appraisal by the Red Cross

10. The truth at last: The work of Paul Rassinier


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