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Flashback 2002: New ‘Official’ Changes in the Auschwitz Story. More Revisions to the Number of Dead: 4M –> 1M –> 500K

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  • Flashback 2002: New ‘Official’ Changes in the Auschwitz Story. Revisions to the Number of Dead: 4M –> 1M –> 500K
    by Mark Weber,
    Since the end of World War II, authoritative claims about the character and scope of killings at the Auschwitz concentration camp have changed drastically. One particularly striking change concerns the various “official” estimates of the number of victims — a number that since 1945 has been steadily declining.

    Today, more than half a century after the end of the war, the process of “establishment” revisionism still continues. It finds recent expression in a lengthy article, “The Number of Auschwitz Victims,” published in the May 2002 issue of the scholarly German journal Osteuropa, issued by the prestigious Society for Eastern European Studies. The article is written by Fritjof Meyer, a respected foreign policy analyst, author of several books, and managing editor of Germany’s foremost weekly news magazine Der Spiegel. / 1

    Drastic Reductions
    The Auschwitz camp complex, located in what is now south-central Poland, was set up by German authorities in 1940. Large numbers of Jews were deported there between 1942 and mid-1944. The main camp, or Stammlager, was known as Auschwitz I. Birkenau, or Auschwitz II, is regarded as the main extermination center.

    At the postwar International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg (1945-1946), the victorious Allied powers charged that the Germans exterminated four million people at Auschwitz. This figure, which was given in a report produced by a Soviet government commission, was uncritically accepted for many years, and often appeared in major American newspapers and magazines. / 2

    Other figures, both higher and lower, were sometimes also claimed during the decades after the end of World War II. / 3

    One of the most widely read books on the German wartime camp system is a detailed study written shortly after the end of the war by former Buchenwald inmate Eugen Kogon. This much-praised work, published in the United States under the title The Theory and Practice of Hell, reports that at Auschwitz alone there were “at least 3,500,000 victims, probably 4,500,000.” / 4

    The 1955 French documentary film “Night and Fog,” which is still widely shown in France, and has been seen by many in the United States, claims that nine million people lost their lives in Auschwitz. / 5

    In his Osteuropa article, Meyer writes that Gerald Reitlinger, a prominent Jewish specialist of this subject, estimated in his 1953 book The Final Solution, that a total of one million people perished in Auschwitz, of whom as many as 750,000 were murdered by gas. / 6

    Until 1989, notes Meyer, it was forbidden in eastern Europe to dispute the official finding that four million were killed at Auschwitz. At the Auschwitz State Museum, staff members who expressed doubts about this figure were threatened with disciplinary measures. In 1989 Israeli Holocaust historian Yehuda Bauer said that it is time to finally acknowledge that the familiar four million figure is a deliberate myth. /7 In July 1990 the Auschwitz State Museum, a Polish government agency, along with Israel’s Yad Vashem Holocaust Center, announced that altogether perhaps one million people (both Jews and non-Jews) died at Auschwitz. / 8

    Franciszek Piper, director of the Auschwitz State Museum, in an essay published in a semi-official 1994 American anthology, put the number of Auschwitz victims at 1.1 million. / 9 More or less consistent with that, prominent American newspapers in recent months have been telling readers that “more than a million” Jews lost their lives at Auschwitz. / 10

    In a book published in 1994, the French anti-revisionist writer Jean-Claude Pressac estimated 631,000 to 711,000 deaths at Auschwitz, of which 470,000 to 550,000 were from gassing. / 11

    In his recent Osteuropa article, Fritjof Meyer presents a further revision downwards. He writes: “These considerations are the basis for the conclusion here that in Auschwitz half a million people were murdered, about 356,000 of them with gas.” Similarly, Meyer ends his article by concluding that 510,000 lost their lives in Auschwitz, of whom 356,000 “probably” were killed by gas.
    Compared to the recently “authoritative” figure of approximately one million Auschwitz deaths, Meyer has reduced the number of Jewish victims there by at least 450,000. If he were held to the legal standards that are routinely applied to revisionist skeptics, he would be prosecuted for violating Germany’s law against “relativizing” or “denying” Jewish deaths.

    Meyer seems vaguely aware of this. In an apparent effort to provide a “politically correct” justification for his “denial” and “relativizing,” he pompously writes: “Accordingly, the dimension of the breach of civilization becomes conceivable and, for the first time, is a convincing portent for those born afterwards … This result does not ‘relativize’ the barbarism, but rather verifies it — and serves as a severe warning against a new shattering of civilization.”

    Meyer’s article is subtitled “New Revelations through new archival findings.” In fact, Fritjof Meyer and Osteuropajournal affirm the decades-old skepticism of the “deniers,” embracing even some of the same “physical” or “forensic” arguments presented for years by revisionists such as Robert Faurisson. / 20 Meyer unintentionally affirms that the skeptics were right to reject the “official” story, which — as his article shows — is still changing.

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July 18, 2017 - Posted by | GeoPolitics, History, Social Trends | , , , , , , ,

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