The Holocaust Historiography Project
Auschwitz, by J.-C. Pressac

“At our own risk, we have been leading the combat throughout the world and on the spot to challenge the impunity of the Nazi criminals and the development of Neo Nazism. We have also decided to make publicly known the unequivocal refutations of this propaganda and to bridge certain obvious gaps regarding the history of the Holocaust. In addition our publications are distributed free of charge to research centers on the Holocaust and to sources of information everywhere: major university and public libraries, the mass media.

“We may cite as an example our Memorial de la Deportation des Juifs de France, in which we reproduced the official Nazi data (last names, first names, places and dates of birth, nationalities) concerning 80,000 Jews who were victims of the “final solution” in France, as well as the description of each convoy. This work has put an end to the propaganda which claimed that the Jews of France had been spared.

The Holocaust and the Neo Nazi Mythomania is based on irrre futable German documents. Through an examination of often unpu blished papers of the Service for Jewish Affairs of the SD, a careful study of the orders for the “final solution” and the Fuhrer’s announ cements of this solution, Dr Joseph Billig for the first time shows step by step how the decision to exterminate the Jews was reached,

“Georges Wellers in a first study demolishes the Neo Nazi arguments which are in contradiction with the accounts of those, SS or internees, who themselves saw the gas chambers in operation.

“In the second study, devoted to the number of victims, Georges Wellers brilliantly demonstrates that more than 1,800,000 Jews were liquidated by the Nazis in the Soviet Union. His conclusions are supported by indisputable figures which have never before been presented. He explores in addition the extraordinary report drawn up for Himmler by the Inspector of Statistics of the SS, Richard Korherr; who established with great precision the Jewish losses as of December 31. 1942, and as of March 31, 1943.

“Georges Wellers thus succeeds in demonstrating that, in taking as a basis only the indisputable figures, one reaches a total of more than 4,800,000 proven victims, all while leaving out of consideration other Jewish victims in numerous countries.”

In a later study entitled Essai de determination du nombre des morts á Auschwitz (Le Monde Juif, issue 112, 1983), Georges Wellers reduced the figures for deaths at Auschwitz to a level far below that, for example, generally cited in the publications of the Auschwitz State Museum.¹ Precision should be rule. For our part, we have established the number of Jews deported from France at 75,721 This figure is virtually definitive and cannot possibly be modified by more than 1%. It will be seen that it differs considerably from the French figure of 100,000 to 120,000 racial deportees and the German figure of 50,000 to 60,000 Jewish deportees from France. Neither in the case of the figures cited by Georges Wellers, nor our own, is it a matter of revisionism, It is quite simply the result of meticulous examination and critical analysis of documents and sources and extensive research to discover new documents.

It was to this examination and this research that Jean-Claude Pressac devoted himself in the Auschwitz Museum, where he benefited from the enlightened help of the deeply regretted Archivist, Tadeus Iwaszko. Through our personal research in the Soviet Union and the German Democratic Republic, we were able to obtain some documentation to add to the impressive amount he had been able to collect in Poland and his exceptional field knowledge of the Auschwitz Birkenau camp

When we see what an isolated and tenacious researcher like Jean-Claude Pressac has been able to reconstitute, starting his work 35 years after the liberation of Auschwitz, we cannot but regret that it was not possible for Jewish research missions to study the Auschwitz site and its archives in 1945. But at that time there was, alas, no Jewish State, and the Jews as such were not authorized to undertake such research. They were not even authorized to appear for the prosecution in the name of the Jewish people at the Nuremberg trials. As for the archives of the Soviet War Crimes Commission which worked for two months at Auschwitz, only fragments of them have come to light and the Soviets themselves, who lost interest in the subject after Nuremberg, do not seem to even know where they are. Thanks to the new possibilities opened up by Perestroika and the thawing of Soviet-Israeli and Polish Israeli relations, we may hope that the historians and archivists of the Yad Vashem will succeed in recovering a valuable documentation that has so far remained unpublished.

The present work will certainly open the way for other researchers to go more deeply into or modify some investigations or conclusions, and go further than Jean-Claude Pressac in the study of some particular problem or other: But we are certain that his book will remain a reference work pointing the way. In the last part of it, Jean-Claude Pressac relates with sincerity the personal path that led him, a Frenchman, not a Jew, of conservative political inclinations, to concentrate for so many years on a problem that is of such great concern to the Jewish people.

For our part, we shall continue through our actions and though our publications to strive for justice, commemoration and historical truth.

Beate and Serge KLARSFELD

¹Table summarizing the findings of Georges Welters' research: Number of deaths at Auschwitz
Category Total Number of deportees Number of Dead Total dead Total survivors
In gas chambers other causes
Jews 1,433,405 1,323,000 92.3% 29,980 2.3% 1,352,980 94.4% 80,425 5.6%
“Poles” + EH* 142,940 3,665 2.5% 83,010 56.6% 83,010 58.1% 59,930 40.9%
Gypsies 21,665 6,430 29.6% 13,825 63.8% 20,255 93.5% 1,410 6.5%
Russians 11,780 1,605 13.6% 10,080 85.6% 11,685 99.2% 96 0.8%
TOTAL 1,613,455 1,334,700 82.7% 136,895 8.5% 1,471,595 92.1% 141,860 8.8%
* EH = Erziehungshäftlinge= (prisoners interned for reeducation).

It should be pointed out that the great historian Raul Hilberg estimates the number of Jews who entered Auschwitz Birkenau at between 1,050,000 and 1,100,000. (Le Nouvel Observateur 3rd July 1982).