Published on May 10, 2013
On the traditional view, the Holocaust was the deliberate murder of some 6 million Jews by the Nazi regime during World War II. Hitler’s intention all along was to kill the Jews, and many died in specially-constructed gas chambers. The corpses were burned in crematoriums, and the ashes scattered. Some of the most infamous extermination camps—Treblinka, Sobibor, Belzec—were completely dismantled and have all but vanished, as have the remains of the victims.
Revisionists believe, on the other hand, that there was never an intention to kill the Jews; rather, the Nazis simply wanted them out of Germany. They believe that there were no homicidal gas chambers, and that the number of Jews who died during the war, from all causes, comes to less than 1 million—and perhaps only 500,000 or so.
Traditionalists call revisionists “Holocaust deniers,” because, they say, the revisionists deny that the Holocaust happened. But this is obviously a misleading claim. Revisionists accept that Hitler wanted a Germany free of Jews, and that he forcibly removed many of them, seized their property, and sent many others to labor camps. They also accept that Hitler knew that many Jews would die in the process. Depending on your definition, this could certainly count as a “holocaust.” Revisionists do deny, however, that 6 million died, and they do deny that the Nazis constructed homicidal gas chambers. They do not deny that a tragedy happened to the Jews, nor do they deny that many thousands of them died.
SOME TROUBLING FACTS
So, how can the average person begin to check these claims, to see where the truth lies? Start with the “6 million” figure. How plausible, in general, is this number? The war in Europe ran for roughly 2,000 days (or 5½ years: Sept 1939 to April 1945). If the Germans killed 6 million Jews, then they must have averaged 3,000 per day—every day, 365 days a year, for five and a half straight years. And of coursethey also must have burned, buried, or otherwise disposed of those same 3,000 bodies per day. This fact, in itself, seems highly implausible, especially given all the other urgencies of war.
But isn’t the “6 million” figure documented in hundreds of history books? The number itself is, but not the details. Given all we supposedly know about this event, one would expect that there would be a clear and concise breakdown of the number, showing roughly where, and how, 6 million died. Experts like Raul Hilberg claim that there are three main categories of deaths: camps (primarily the 6 main “death camps”), shootings, and ghettos. So, the experts should be able to show us how many died in camps, how many by shooting, and how many in the ghettos—such that the numbers add up to 6 million. But they cannot do this. The reader is invited to look at any mainstream published source for this information; it does not exist. One can find numbers individually for each camp, or each ghetto, but virtually never any total to 6 million. This strongly implies that there are serious problems with the overall picture.
Furthermore, the “6 million” number has a history that long precedes WW2. One can find various accounts of “6 million suffering Jews” as far back as the 1860s. In major newspapers like the New York Times and the Times of London we find about 2 dozen occurrences of that number in the six decadesbefore Hitler even came to power (in 1933). And it shows up another 2 dozen times before the end of the war—a miracle if it were true. This all suggests that the number was more symbolic than factual.