The Holocaust Historiography Project


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 six million and those who preferred four million. But, he admitted, “the real number will never be known” (p. 159). 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.


One of the first accusations 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 1944. Somewhat coincidentally, Lemkin was later to draw up the U.N. Genocide Convention, which seeks to outlaw “racialism.” On page 89 of his book he quotes a 1943 publication of the Institute of Jewish Affairs of the American Jewish Congress Hitler’s Ten-Year war on the Jews, that 1,702,300 Jews had been murdered. To be published in 1943 this last book must have been written in 1942, so this figure would have been remarkable indeed, since the action was allegedly started only in the summer of 1942. At such a rate almost the entire world Jewish population would have been exterminated by 1945.

After the war, propaganda estimates spiraled 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 no less than forty million concentration camp internees had been gassed. In his first signed memorandum of April 26, 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 4, 1945, he brought the figure closer to the six million preferred at the Nuremburg Trials. Gerstein’s sister-in-law was congenitally insane and died by euthanasia. His own behavior might well suggest a streak of mental instability. 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 6, 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 fiir 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 schools (Dokumentation zur Massenvergarung, 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 26, 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.


It should be emphasized 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 Aufsatze (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 31 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 24 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 (Gesamtlosung) 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” (Endlosung), 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 verbally” (ibid, p. 1l8). The convenience of these “verbal” directives issuing back and forth is obvious.


The final details of the plan to exterminate Jews were supposed to have been made at a conference at Grosse Wannsee in Berlin on 20 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 Miiller and Eichmann represented Gestapo Head Office. Reitlinger and Manvell and Frankl consider the 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 terminology 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 authorization of the Führer.” Here, he explained, their labour was to be utilized. 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 inter-ministerial 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). 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.”


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” (resettlement) and “Abbefiirderung” (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 Manvell and Frankl’s 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.