The Holocaust Historiography Project

Arthur R. Butz archive

The Hoax of the Twentieth Century

Chapter 7
The Final Solution

The German Policy and the Wannsee Conference

We have shown that the exterminations are a propaganda hoax, i.e., we have shown what did not happen to the Jews. To complete our study, we should show what did, in fact, happen to the Jews.

The problem of what happened to European Jews is a fairly easy one, if one wishes only a general answer, but a very difficult, indeed probably impossible problem, if one demands statistical accuracy. To answer the question in general, all one need do is consult the relevant German documents. What the German leaders were saying to each other about their policy is obviously the first authority one should consult.

The general nature of German Jewish policy is very simple to discover; it is all set out in NMT volume 13. The U.S. Prosecution in the Wilhelmstrasse Case presented a document, NG-2586, which consists of several parts, each part being some document important in the development of German Jewish policy. In fact, one part, NG-2586-J, is a summary of the other parts and, thus, a handy summary of the policy. One can do no better than simply reproduce the text, a memo by Martin Luther (Horst Wagner’s predecessor), dated August 21, 1942:[1]

1. The principle of the German Jewish policy after the seizure of power consisted in promoting with all means the Jewish emigration. For this purpose, in 1939, Field Marshall Göring in his capacity as Plenipotentiary for the Four Year Plan established a Reich Central Office for Jewish Emigration, and the direction was given to SS Lieutenant General Heydrich in his capacity as chief of the Security Police. The Foreign Office is represented in the committee of the Reich Central Office. The draft of a letter to this effect to the Chief of the Security Police was approved by the Reich Foreign Minister as 83/24 B in February 1939.

2. The present war gives Germany the opportunity and also the duty of solving the Jewish problem in Europe. In consideration of the favorable course of the war against France, D III proposed in July 1940 as a solution — the removal of all Jews from Europe and the demanding of the Island of Madagascar from France as a territory for the reception of the Jews. The Reich Foreign Minister has basically agreed to the beginning of the preliminary work for the deportation of the Jews from Europe. This should be done in close cooperation with the offices of the Reichsführer-SS (compare D III 200/40).

The Madagascar plan was enthusiastically accepted by the RSHA, which in the opinion of the Foreign Office is the agency which alone is in the position technically and by experience to carry out a Jewish evacuation on a large scale and to guarantee the supervision of the people evacuated, the competent agency of the RSHA thereupon worked out a plan going into detail for the evacuation of the Jews to Madagascar and for their settlement there. This plan was approved by the Reichsführer-SS. SS Lieutenant General Heydrich submitted this plan directly to the Reich Foreign Minister in August 1940 (compare D III 2171). The Madagascar plan in fact had been outdated as the result of the political development.

The fact that the Führer intends to evacuate all Jews from Europe was communicated to me as early as August 1940 by Ambassador Abetz after an interview with the Führer (compare D III 2298).

Hence, the basic instruction of the Reich Foreign Minister, to promote the evacuation of the Jews in closest cooperation with the agencies of the Reichsführer-SS, is still in force and will therefore be observed by D III.

3. The administration of the occupied territories brought with it the problem of the treatment of Jews living in these territories. First, the military commander in France saw himself compelled as the first one to issue on September 27, 1940, a decree on the treatment of the Jews in occupied France. The decree was issued with the agreement of the German Embassy in Paris. The pertinent instruction was issued directly by the Reich Foreign Minister to Ambassador Abetz on the occasion of a verbal report.

After the pattern of the Paris decree, similar decrees have been issued in the Netherlands and Belgium. As these decrees, in the same way as German laws concerning Jews, formally embrace all Jews independent of their citizenship, objections were made by foreign powers, among others protest notes by the Embassy of the United States of America, although the military commander in France through internal regulation had ordered that the Jewish measures should not be applied to the citizens of neutral countries.

The Reich Foreign Minister has decided in the case of the American protests that he does not consider it right to have military regulations issued for making an exception of the American Jews. It would be a mistake to reject objections of friendly states (Spain and Hungary) and on the other hand to show weakness toward the Americans. The Reich Foreign Minister considers it necessary to make these instructions to the field commanders retroactive (compare D III 5449).

In accordance with this direction, the Jewish measures have been given general application.

4. In his letter of June 24, 1940 — Pol XII 136 — SS Lieutenant General Heydrich informed the Reich Foreign Minister that the whole problem of the approximately three and a quarter million Jews in the areas under German control can no longer be solved by emigration — a territorial final solution would be necessary.

In recognition of this, Reich Marshall Göring on July 31, 1941, commissioned SS Lieutenant General Heydrich to make, in conjunction with the interested German Control agencies, all necessary preparations for a total solution of the Jewish problem in the German sphere of influence in Europe (compare D III 709 secret). On the basis of this instruction, SS Lieutenant General Heydrich arranged a conference of all the interested German agencies for January 20, 1942, at which the State Secretaries were present from the other ministries and I myself from the Foreign Office. In the conference General Heydrich explained that Reich Marshall Göring’s assignment to him had been made on the Führer’s instruction and that the Führer instead of the emigration had now authorized the evacuation of the Jews to the East as the solution (compare page 5 of the enclosure to D III 29/42 Secret). State Secretary Weizsäcker had been informed on the conference; for the time being the Reich Foreign Minister had not been informed on the conference, because SS Lieutenant General Heydrich agreed to holding a new conference in the near future in which more details of the total solution should be discussed. This conference has never taken place due to Lieutenant General Heydrich’s appointment as acting Reich Protector of Bohemia and Moravia and due to his death.

In the conference on January 20, 1942, I demanded that all questions concerned with countries outside Germany must first have the agreement of the Foreign Office, a demand to which SS Lieutenant General Heydrich agreed and also has faithfully complied with, as in fact, the office of the RSHA handling Jewish matters had, from the beginning, carried out all measures in frictionless cooperation with the Foreign Office. The RSHA has in this matter proceeded indeed almost over-cautiously.

5. On the basis of the Führer’s instruction mentioned under ‘4’ (above), the evacuation of the Jews from Germany was begun. It was urged that at the same time these Jews should also be taken who were nationals of the countries which had also undertaken Jewish measures. The RSHA accordingly made an inquiry of the Foreign Office. For reasons of courtesy, inquiry was made by way of the German legations in Bratislava [Slovakia], Zagreb [Croatia], and Bucharest [Romania] to the Governments there as to whether they wanted to recall their Jews from Germany in due time or to agree to their deportation to the ghettos in the East. To the issuance of this instruction, agreement was given before dispatch by the State Secretary, the Under State Secretary in Charge of the Political Division, the Director of the Division for Economic Policy and the Director of the Legal Division (compare D III 336 Secret).

The German Legation in Bucharest reports with reference to D III 602 Secret, that the Romanian government would leave it to the Reich Government to deport their Jews along with the German Jews to the ghettos in the East. They are not interested in having the Romanian Jews return to Romania.

The Legation in Zagreb has informed us that the Croat Government expresses gratitude for the gesture of the German Government; but it would appreciate the deportation of its Jews to the East (compare D III 624 Secret).

The Legation in Bratislava reported with reference to D III 661 Secret that the Slovak Government is fundamentally in agreement with the deportation to the eastern ghettos. But the Slovak claims to the property of the Jews should not be endangered.

The wire reports have also been submitted, as customary, to the Reich Foreign Minister’s Bureau.

On the basis of the reports of the Ministers, I have informed the RSHA with reference to D III 661 Secret that the Jews of Romanian, Croat, and Slovak nationality could also be deported; their property should be blocked. The Director of the Political Division, Section IV of the Political Division, Section IX of the Legal Division and Section IV of the Division for the Economic Policy have cosigned the document. Accordingly, the deportations of the Jews from the occupied territories was undertaken.

6. The number of Jews deported in this way to the East did not suffice to cover the labor needs there. The RSHA therefore, acting on the instruction of the Reichsführer-SS, approached the Foreign Office to ask the Slovak Government to make 20,000 young, strong Slovak Jews from Slovakia available for deportation to the East. The German Legation in Bratislava was provided, by D III 874, with proper instruction. The instruction was signed by the State Secretary, the Under State Secretary in charge of the Political Division, and Section IV of the Political Division.

The Legation in Bratislava reported re D III 1002 that the Slovak Government has taken up the suggestion eagerly; the preparatory work could be begun.

Following up this pleased concurrence of the Slovak Government, the Reichsführer-SS proposed that the rest of the Slovak Jews also be deported to the East and Slovakia thereby be made free of Jews. The Legation was, re D III 1559 Ang. II, provided with proper instruction. The draft of the instruction was signed by the State Secretary; after its dispatch it was submitted for their information to the bureau of the Reich Foreign Minister and the Under State Secretary in charge of the Political Division.

As the Slovak Episcopacy meanwhile raised objections to the deportation of the Jews before the Slovak Government, the instruction carries the express statement that in no case must there develop internal political difficulties on account of the evacuation of the Jews in Slovakia. By the telegraphic report, re D III 2006, the Legation reported that the Slovak Government, without any German pressure, has declared itself agreeable to the deportation of all Jews and that the State President agreed personally to the deportation. The telegraphic report was submitted to the bureau of the Reich Foreign Minister. The Slovak Government had furthermore agreed that it will pay as a contribution to the cost entailed RM 500 for every evacuated Jew.

In the meantime 52,000 Jews have been removed from Slovakia. Due to church influences and the corruption of individual officials 35,000 Jews have received a special legitimation. However, Minister President Tuka wants the Jewish removal continued and therefore has asked for support through diplomatic pressure by the Reich (compare D III 3865). The Ambassador is authorized to give this diplomatic help in that he may state to State President Dr. Tiso that the exclusion of the 35,000 Jews is a surprise in Germany, the more so since the cooperation of Slovakia up to now in the Jewish problem has been highly appreciated here. This instruction has been cosigned by the Under State Secretary in charge of the Political Division, and the State Secretary.

7. The Croat Government is likewise fundamentally agreeable to the removal of the Jews from Croatia. It especially considers the deportation of the four to five thousand Jews from the Italian occupied Second zone (centered around Dubrovnik and Mostar) to be important, as they represent a political burden and their elimination would serve the general pacification. The removal can of course take place only with German aid, as difficulties are to be expected from the Italian side. There have been practical examples of resistance to the Croat measures by Italian officials on behalf of well-to-do Jews. Furthermore, the Italian Chief of Staff in Mostar has said that he cannot approve the removal since all the people living in Mostar have been assured of the same treatment.

Since meanwhile according to a telephone communication from Zagreb, the Croat Government has given its written approval of the proposed measure, Minister Kasche thinks it right to begin with the removal, and in fact to begin for the whole country. One could therefore take the risk of having difficulties develop in the course of the action, so far as concerns the zone occupied by Italians.

A report for the Reich Foreign Minister to this effect (D III 562 Secret) has been held up by State Secretary von Weizsäcker since he considered an inquiry should first be made at the Embassy in Rome. The answer has not been received.

The problem of the Italian Jews has come up in the same way in connection with the evacuation of the Jews in France.

Ambassador Abetz points out in connection with the deportation in preparation from the Occupied French Territory that there was an urgent political interest to take the foreign Jews first in the evacuation measures. Since these Jews were regarded as foreign bodies, they were already especially hated and passing them over and giving them thereby a quasi privileging would cause bad feeling, the more so since among them were to be found responsible instigators of Jewish terror and sabotage acts. It was regrettable that the Axis appeared exactly in this point to pursue no uniform policy.

If the evacuation of the foreign Jews were not immediately possible, the Italian Government should be for the time being asked to repatriate their Jews from France.

On the Italian side, economic interests appear to play a decisive role. The safeguarding of these interests, however, is entirely possible, so that on this point there needs to be no obstacle to the planned solution.

On this question of the Italian Jews in France a conference record of July 24, re D III 562 Secret, has been submitted to the Reich Foreign Minister.

8. On the occasion of a reception by the Reich Foreign Minister on November 26, 1941, the Bulgarian Foreign Minister Popoff touched on the problem of according like treatment to the Jews of European nationalities and pointed out the difficulties that the Bulgarians had in the application of their Jewish laws to Jews of foreign nationality.

The Reich Foreign Minister answered that he thought this question brought up by Mr. Popoff not uninteresting. Even now he could say one thing to him, that at the end of this war all Jews would have to leave Europe. This was an unalterable decision of the Führer and also the only way to master this problem, as only a global and comprehensive solution could be applied and individual measures would not help very much. Furthermore, one should not attribute too much worth to the protests on behalf of the Jews of foreign nationality. At any rate, we would not let ourselves be taken in any further by such protests from the American side. He — the Reich Foreign Minister — would have the problem described by Mr. Popoff investigated by the Foreign Office.

The Reich Foreign Minister commissioned me to undertake the investigation promised (compare D III 660g) [document NG-4669].

I should like to make reference to my basic conference memorandum of December 4, 1941, re D III 660 Secret, which I am dispatching, together with the proper files. This conference memorandum was held up by the State Secretary, because he considered a further examination by the Legal Division first necessary. In their opinion the German-Bulgarian trade and shipping pact was not in agreement with the German-Bulgarian arrangements proposed by me. I therefore notified the German Legation in Sofia, re D III 497 Secret, under the date of June 19, in reference to the suggestion of the Bulgarian Foreign Minister Popoff at his reception to contact the Bulgarian Government and find out whether it was prepared to come to an agreement in the Jewish problem that there should be no rights from the trade and shipping pact given effect in favor of the Jews in the promise of reciprocality.

If the question is put from the Bulgarian side as to whether Germany is ready to deport Jews from Bulgaria to the East, the question should be answered in the affirmative, but in respect to the time of the departing should be answered evasively. This decree was cosigned by the State Secretary, the Under State Secretary, the Director of the Political Division, the Director of the Division for Economic Policy, Section IV of the Political Division, Section IV of the Division for Economic Policy, and also by Ribbentrop. The Legation exchanged notes with the Bulgarian Government and reported that the Bulgarian Government is fundamentally prepared in the problem of the evacuation to sign an agreement with us. Thereby the basis is given to include the Bulgarian Jews in the Jewish measures. (D III 559 Secret and 569 Secret).

9. The Hungarian Government has not yet been approached with respect to the Jewish removal, because the status of the Hungarian legislation up to the present does not promise a sufficient success.

10. In accordance with the agreement of the Romanian Government mentioned under 8 the evacuation of the Romanian Jews from Germany and the occupied territories was begun, whereupon various Romanian consulates and the Romanian Minister in Berlin, who had no instructions from their Government, intervened. Ambassador von Killinger was therefore asked for clarification. The Legation seems to have made use of the Jewish advisor assigned to it, Richter, for this purpose. He is a person to whom the Romanian Government confirmed its earlier agreement to the inclusion of the Romanian Jews in the German measures and to whom the Deputy Ministry President Mihai Antonescu informed of the request of the Marshall that the German agencies should also carry out the removal from Romania itself and should be then immediately with the transport of the Jews from the areas Arad, Timisoara and Turda.

For details may I refer to my conference memorandum of August 17 as D III 649.

11. At the request of the governments concerned, the legations in Bratislava, Zagreb and Bucharest have been assigned advisors for Jewish affairs. They have been made available at the request of the Foreign Office by the RSHA. Their assignment is for a limited time. It ends as soon as the Jewish problem in the country concerned can be regarded as solved in the German sense. Originally it was regarded as solved as soon as the country concerned has issued Jewish laws similar to the German ones.

Accordingly Richter was recalled from Romania last year by the RSHA.

At the urgent request of the legation in Bucharest, Richter was again assigned to the legation despite the objection of the RSHA. This was done with the express intention of having him remain there until the actual final solution in Romania (D III 1703 Secret and 1893 Secret).

Since all negotiations with the Romanian Government went through the Foreign Office, the report of SS First Lieutenant Richter submitted by the Reichsführer-SS should be considered only as an internal work report to the RSHA. The unusual procedure of having the confirmation of a final conference in the handwriting of the Deputy Minister President was sharply objected to immediately through the directive of the 17th of this month; the official handling of the affair must be carried out immediately. The files have been submitted there already under D III 659 Secret.

The intended deportations are a further step forward on the way of the total solution and are in respect to other countries (Hungary) very important. The deportation to the Government General is a temporary measure. The Jews will be moved on further to the occupied Eastern Territories as soon as the technical conditions for it are given.

I therefore request approval for the continuation of the negotiations and measures under these terms and according to the arrangement made.

Signed: LUTHER

The material starting with the words If the question is put from the Bulgarian side […] and ending with the words The files have been submitted there already under D III 659 Secret, is deleted in NMT volume 13. In section 4 the date of June 24, 1940, for document Pol XII 136 appears, from the context, to be in error; it should be 1941.

This is not a solitary document; not only is it a summary of a certain number of documents spelling out the Jewish policies of the German Government, but all documents bearing on Jewish policies, except for those we have identified as forgeries, fall within the scheme implied by it. The final solution meant the expulsion of all Jews from the German sphere of influence in Europe. After the invasion of Russia, its specific meaning was the resettlement of these Jews in the East. The German documents at every level (among those that have survived) express this unambiguously, a fact which is conceded even by the bearers of the extermination legend, who are forced to declare that this must just be code terminology for extermination.[2]

Actually, in the discussions prior to this chapter, we have had several occasions to refer to this program of resettlement to the East. Its most important expression has been in the Red Cross excerpt which, despite its ambiguous remarks about extermination, presents a picture in rather close accord with the story told by NG-2586-J. At Theresienstadt, the Red Cross wondered if the place was being used as a transit camp and asked when the last departures for the East had taken place. In Slovakia the Jews had been subject to forced immigration towards the territories under German control. A large number of Romanian Jews had been resettled in the East, but things did not work out and many returned, although there had been adequate opportunity to exterminate them, if such had been the policy. Despite the several vague and ambiguous remarks about extermination, which we noted in Chapter 5 (p. 194), the undeniable effect of the Red Cross Report is to confirm that the Germans were doing what their documents say they were doing.

The German documents are not only confirmed by neutral authority; we have seen that they are even confirmed by hostile sources. In Chapter 4 (p. 152), we discussed the Theresienstadt Jews sent to Auschwitz, as related by the WRB report. The manner of their treatment makes sense only if Birkenau was serving as a transit camp for them. Moreover, the Israeli source cited on page 153 reported that Theresienstadt Jews were, indeed, being sent to the East. Thus, even hostile sources report that the Germans were doing what their documents say they were doing.

What is described in NG-2586-J is the program as it existed starting in early 1939. Actually, on account of the pressures against the Jews between 1933 and 1939, the great majority of German-Austrian Jews had emigrated before the outbreak of the war. The Germans had not cared very much where the Jews emigrated to. Palestine seemed a good possibility on account of the British Balfour Declaration of 1917, but negotiations with the British on this did not go very well, because the British wished to maintain good relations with the Arabs who, at that time, constituted the bulk of the population of Palestine. Nevertheless, there was some steady Jewish emigration from Europe to Palestine, but this was finally cut to a trickle by the policy announced by the British White Paper of May 1939.[3]

The Madagascar project, fantastic as it seems today, was taken quite seriously by the Germans, although nothing ever came of it. The war with Russia which started in June 1941, opened up obvious new resettlement possibilities, and this resulted in Göring’s famous letter to Heydrich regarding the final solution of the Jewish question, dated July 31, 1941:[4]

As supplement to the task that was entrusted to you in the decree dated January 24, 1939, namely to solve the Jewish question by emigration and evacuation in a way, which is the most favorable in connection with the conditions prevailing at the time, I herewith commission you to carry out all preparations with regard to organizational, factual, and financial viewpoints for a total solution of the Jewish question in those territories in Europe under German influence.

If the competency of other central organizations is touched in this connection, these organizations are to participate.

I further commission you to submit to me as soon as possible a draft showing the organizational, factual, and financial measures already taken for the execution of the intended final solution of the Jewish question.

It is customary to quote this letter with deletion of the reference to emigration and evacuation.[5] The planned Jewish emigration to the eastern territories of not only the German Jews but also the Jews in the territories in Europe under German influence was a relatively extensive project and so, in accord with Göring’s reference to the competency of other central organizations, Heydrich called a special conference, the Wannsee Conference, which was finally held on January 20, 1942. Representatives of several branches of the German Government attended the conference. Eichmann was the next to lowest ranked person at the conference. The minutes of the conference, NG-2586-G, are lengthy, but the heart of the project was expressed as follows:[6]

Meanwhile, in view of the dangers of an emigration during the war and in view of the possibilities in the East, the Reichsführer-SS and the Chief of the German Police had forbidden the emigrating of the Jews.

The emigration program has now been replaced by the evacuation of the Jews to the East as a further solution possibility, in accordance with previous authorization by the Führer.

These actions are of course to be regarded only as a temporary substitute; nonetheless here already the solution of the Jewish problem is of great importance. […]

Under proper direction the Jews should now in the course of the final solution, be brought to the East in a suitable way for use as labor. In big labor gangs, with separation of the sexes, the Jews capable of work are brought to these areas and employed in road-building, in which task undoubtedly a great part will fall out through natural diminution.

The remnant that finally is able to survive all this — since this is undoubtedly the part with the strongest resistance — must be given treatment accordingly, since these people, representing a natural selection, are to be regarded as the germ cell of a new Jewish development, if they are allowed to go free. (See the experience of history.)

In the program of the practical execution of the final solution, Europe is combed through from the West to the East. The Reich area, including the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia, will have to be taken in advance, alone for reasons of the housing problem and other social-political necessities.

The evacuated Jews are brought first group by group into the so-called transit ghettos, in order from there out to be transported farther to the East.

An important provision for the whole execution of the evacuation, so SS General Heydrich explained further, is the exact establishment of the category of persons who are to be included.

It is intended not to evacuate Jews over 65 years of age, but to remove them to a ghetto for the aged — Theresienstadt is under consideration.

Along with these old-age classes — of the perhaps 280,000 Jews who on 31/10/1941 were in the Old Reich and in Austria, perhaps 30% are over 65 years old — there will also be taken to the ghettos for the aged the Jews who are serious war-wounded cases and Jews with war decorations (Iron Cross, First Class). With this appropriate solution the many potentials for exceptions will be eliminated with one blow. […]

In connection with the problem of the effect of the Jewish evacuation on the economic life, State Secretary Neumann stated that the Jews employed in war-important industries could not be evacuated for the present, as long as there were no replacements available.

SS General Heydrich pointed out that these Jews, in accordance with the directive approved by him for the execution of the current evacuations, would not be evacuated.

State Secretary Dr. Bühler states that the Government General would welcome the initiation of the final solution of this problem in the Government General, because here for once the transport problem plays no out-of-the-ordinary role, and here labor commitment considerations would not hinder the course of this action. […] Furthermore, of the approximately two and one half million Jews here in question the majority of cases were unfit for work. […] He had only one request, that the Jewish problem in this territory be solved as quickly as possible.

Here is unambiguous documentary evidence that no extermination program existed; the German policy was to evacuate the Jews to the East. It did not, moreover, require the capture of German documents to expose this fact. It was well known during the war and, during the resettlement program’s early states, it was reported and commented on countless times in the Allied press. In the case of Vienna Jews deported to Poland in early 1941, The New York Times even remarked that they found their new homes much more comfortable than they expected or even dare hope. Later reports on the resettlement program did not describe it so favorably, but the press at least reported approximately what was going on.[7]

Rothe, incidentally, had taken the position that the Wannsee Conference is itself a propaganda myth. His principal reason for this is his belief, for which he presents respectable evidence, that Heydrich was in Prague on January 20, 1942. However, the date attributed to the conference and the document said to be the minutes of the conference are so consistent with everything else that is known about the German policy that we believe that Rothe is mistaken on this point.[8]

The only factual aspect of the program of evacuation to the East which is generally consistent with the extermination claims is that many Jews sent to the camps in Poland did not return, at least not to their former homes. This, apparently, had been the reason why many people with more or less first hand information about certain individuals have accepted the extermination claims. However, the situation is basically simple. These camps were obviously serving as transit camps for the program of evacuation to the East. We have observed that at Birkenau there was a special compound that served as a transit camp for Theresienstadt Jews, and that Dutch Jews also passed through Auschwitz (Chapter 4, p. 152). The concentration camp at Lublin also played this incidental role on occasion.[9] Treblinka, which was a labor camp but does not appear to have been administered by the WVHA, clearly served also as a transit camp, especially for Warsaw Jews. As with Auschwitz, Reitlinger finds the alleged facts put forward concerning gassings at Treblinka difficult to reconcile with one another. Sobibor was explicitly called a transit camp.[10]

It may astonish the reader that the documents we have reviewed, which constitute very strong evidence that no extermination program existed, are not passed over in silence by the bearers of the extermination legend, but are thrust boldly into our faces as evidence that an extermination program did exist. Not only is this the implicit idea conveyed by the collection of documents in NMT volume 13; Reitlinger and Hilberg are quite serious in considering these documents relevant to an extermination program. Thus, the evacuation to the East is claimed as a code term for extermination.

On account of the fact that a fixed feature of the extermination legend is that one of the tasks of the Einsatzgruppen in Russia was the extermination of the Jews, the bearers of the legend are committed to the view that the policy of extermination had been settled on by the summer of 1941. Thus, although Göring’s letter of July 31, 1941, to Heydrich specifically states that the final solution is a program of emigration and evacuation, and although it makes specific reference to the program, which existed from 1939, which both Reitlinger and Hilberg concede was an emigration program, both authors must and do take the position that this was really an extermination order. They are apparently not bothered by the fact, noted by them, that deportations of Reich Jews to Russia and the Baltic states had started in the autumn of 1941.[11]

Continuing to keep faith with their fundamental commitment, the Wannsee Conference of January 1942 is also interpreted as a veiled discussion of extermination, although the evacuation program, of which the minutes of the Conference speak, was in fact in progress. Both authors lay stress on the reference to the remnant that finally is able to survive all this and are to be given treatment accordingly. This passage could mean any number of things. The version of the Wannsee Conference minutes that is printed in NMT volume 13, incidentally, has the phrase if they are allowed to go free deleted by the editors. This suggests that the editors may have interpreted the passage as a recommendation that the remnant should be allowed to go free. In commenting on the Wannsee Conference minutes, Reitlinger remarks that Heydrich was discreet enough not to mention the rest, and that the drafting of circumspect minutes was one of the major arts of Hitler’s Reich. Hilberg resolves the lack of clarity of meaning of some of the passages (from his point of view) by remarking that we know from the language of the Einsatzgruppen reports that he meant killing.[12] This amounts to making the extraordinary claim that Hitler’s Reich was circumspect regarding the language used in the minutes of secret conferences, but not circumspect regarding the language used in the widely distributed Einsatzgruppen reports. In any case, these passages in what is said to be the minutes of the Wannsee Conference are the only passages in the documents describing German Jewish policy for which a sinister interpretation is possible, although many interpretations are possible.

The excessively strained interpretations of these documents are factors, added to the several discussed in Chapter 4, which forced Reitlinger to declare that Höss must have really meant the summer of 1942 as the date of receiving his extermination orders from Himmler. Reitlinger and Hilberg both assume that the deportations to the east were for the purpose of killing the Jews there, in one way or another, and that the gas chambers in Poland were established in mid-1942 as a change in the method of killing. We have seen that this theory does not harmonize with the dates associated with the planning of and preliminary work on the Auschwitz crematories that are supposed to have been designed for the exterminations. Thus, the claim that the documents should be interpreted as meaning other than what they say leads one into irresolvable contradictions and difficulties, but such would also be the result, if comparable practices were applied to the interpretation of recipes, road signs, mathematical formulae, etc.

There is no point in discussing further these efforts to make these documents mean other than what they say. The German policy, the final solution, was to resettle Jews in the occupied territories in the East. This is what their documents say, and the program spoken of in these documents is confirmed by neutral sources and even, to a significant extent, by hostile sources. By way of additional confirmation, it is worth mentioning passages by Grayzel in his History. In one paragraph he says that the Germans were doing what their documents say they were doing:

They followed this up with wholesale deportations. They set aside a number of places in Eastern Europe in which they concentrated Jews from other lands, in line with the avowed Nazi policy of freeing all of Europe from Jewish influence.

In the next paragraph Grayzel contradicts this statement by saying that the Germans were doing what the Allied propaganda said they were doing: exterminations, gas chambers, etc. Grayzel makes no attempt to resolve the contradiction.[13]

It may be wondered why the authors of the hoax have presented us with documents which describe, in very general terms, what the German policy was. The hoaxers were confronted with (a) the fact that Europeans were told by the Germans, at the time of the deportations, that the Jews were to be resettled and (b) the fact that the resettlement program had been reported in the Allied press and (c) the fact that, in regard to the documents, it was necessary to make a choice among three possibilities: presenting no high level documents dealing with the Jewish policy, presenting forged high level documents dealing with the policy, and presenting selected high level documents dealing with the policy. Under the circumstances, the third of the three possibilities was obviously to be preferred. It was clearly better to present a genuine document, signed by Göring and speaking of the final solution of the Jewish question, than to present a forged document or no document. Although the final solution is specified as emigration and evacuation, it was considered not possible to avoid the fact that the Nazis described their program in such terms. Thus, today the bearers of the extermination legend merely claim that all of this was code terminology.

One must not pass over the important work of R. L. Koehl, who is that strange bird, a professional academic historian writing in or near a field completely dominated by non-historians. The main value of Koehl’s work is in putting Poland into proper focus and perspective.

During the war years, Germany undertook to change the composition of the populations near its eastern borders. The main instrument of this program was the RuSHA (Rasse- und Siedungshauptamt, Race and Settlement Main Office) of the SS. The basic policy was to move selected Reich Germans and ethnic German communities of Eastern Europe (Volksdeutsche) into the conquered territories contiguous to Germany. Jews and Poles were expelled from these areas and sent to various places, in some cases to the farms the ethnic Germans had vacated, to special Eastern ghettos, and also to certain special Z villages in Poland.

Koehl explicitly endorses the reality of the extermination program, but his account of it is most peculiar:[14]

The official version insisted that the Jews were going to be moved further east into conquered Soviet territory to remove them more effectively from the German sphere of life. Like many other German pronouncements, this one contained several grains of truth: (1) train-loads of Jews from the Reich were sent as far east as possible for liquidation, often at the hands of non-Germans such as the Ukrainians or the Baltic peoples. (2) The Poles were, in Rosenberg’s early plans as Minister for the East, to be considered for resettlement in the Soviet area (Smolensk), thus freeing the General Government for German settlement.

Koehl does not provide any evidence for the killings by Ukrainians or the Baltic peoples; the sources cited at this point make no such claims. Then in referring to the extermination camps:[15]

In the fall and winter of 1941–1942, the last 240,000 Jews of the annexed provinces were removed to the newly constructed extermination camps at Kolo, Belzec, Majdanek, and Sobibor.

The list excludes Auschwitz, which comes up in Koehl’s book only in a remark about some Germans sent there for punishment, in connection with Action Reinhardt (to be explained below) and also in the following:[16]

[Dr. Klukowski] stated that of 691 villages in the county of Zamosc, 297 were wholly or partly evacuated by July 1943. He estimated that 110,000 Poles and Jews were removed from the area, males and females of working age going to forced labor in the Auschwitz Hydrogenation Plant, the rest going to the other 394 (Z) villages.

One may draw one’s own conclusions. Koehl’s book is recommended to the reader who wishes a detailed view of Nazi population policies, especially in their relations to German nationalism, Nazi racial ideology, and internal Nazi party politics.

Numbers Deported: Whence and Whither

Many European Jews were deported East, and we should now take a closer look at this program of deportations. There are several obvious questions: who was deported, how many, to where, what was life like where they were sent, and what happened to them. To some extent only partial or provisional answers are possible here.

First, we should consider the numbers and origins of the Jews involved in this resettlement program. Here we run into the problems discussed in Chapter 1; counting Jews can be difficult. However, it is not statistical accuracy we seek here but order of magnitude or approximate figures that can be used to show that, on the basis of verifiable data, the Jews who were deported could easily have survived after all. It will thus be satisfactory to merely accept certain figures offered by Reitlinger and by Hilberg for the purposes of discussion, although one can pick quarrels with them (as one can with Rassinier’s study). The figures are estimates of numbers killed; it is understood that here we assume that these people had merely been resettled in the East. In the case of Reitlinger we employ his higher estimate:[17]

Table 8: Numbers of resettled Jews
  Reitlinger Hilberg
Germany 180,000 160,000
Austria 60,000 53,000
Czechoslovakia 251,000 271,000
Denmark 1,000
France 65,000 70,000
Belgium 28,000 50,000
Luxembourg 3,000 2,000
Norway 700 1,000
Holland 102,700 120,000
Italy 8,000 17,000
Yugoslavia 58,000 63,000
Greece 60,000 62,000
Totals 816,400 870,000

To some extent these figures are based on German documents, notably the Korherr Report, documents NO-5193–8; to some extent neutral sources are involved, such as the Dutch Red Cross with the Holland figures. There is also a certain amount of demographic speculation involved. However, I believe that at least the totals given are of the correct order.

We do not admit Hungary into the list, because those said by both Reitlinger and Hilberg to have been exterminated are pure invention; they were not even deported East. Somewhat fewer than 100,000 were sent to Germany for labor toward the end of the war; quite a few of these must have perished in the chaotic conditions of the last months, but the number is essentially impossible to arrive at.

Romania is also supposed to have lost 200,000–370,000 Jews via extermination, but as Reitlinger remarks, such figures are conjectural on account of the lack of reliable information. Conceded to be in the same category are the largest groups of allegedly exterminated Jews: 2,350,000–3,300,000 from Poland and 400,000–700,000 from the USSR. These figures are pure demographic speculation, with absolutely no supporting data other than the declarations of post-war Communist governments.

These figures will be considered further below. At this point we merely recall that the Jews deported from France and Belgium were not French or Belgian Jews (pp. 114, 119), but that those deported from Holland were almost all Dutch Jews (p. 119). The reason for this appears to have been a mere legal technicality. France and Belgium had formally surrendered to the Germans and formal armistice terms were agreed to. In Holland, the Queen had merely fled to England and thus the Germans viewed Holland as being without an independent state.[18] German rights in Holland were correspondingly more extensive. Of course, the Germans intended to eventually expel all Jews from Europe, but they naturally started with the ones for which the minimum of legal difficulties existed.

The excerpt of the Red Cross Report, which we examined in Chapter 5, is certainly in conflict with the extermination claims in the case of the Romanian Jews. It is reasonable to assume that the bulk of the Jews in Soviet controlled territory that was occupied by the Germans after June 22, 1941, escaped into the interior before the arrival of the latter, a belief that is also held by Reitlinger (page 241). In any case, there is no evidence that the Germans did more than adopt the sort of guarded and hostile attitude toward the Jews who remained, which was implied by the partisan menaces discussed in the preceding chapter. The Polish Jews constituted the majority of the Jews moved around by the Germans and present, on account of their location and circumstances, the greatest difficulties to any detailed analysis of the matter. We can only reconstruct in general outline what happened to them.

We first remark that, while it is convenient here to distinguish between Russian and Polish Jews, the real distinction is most slight, if it could be said to exist at all. Before World War I, both sets of Jews were subjects of the Russian Empire.

The first relevant events involving Polish Jews were due to Russian, rather than German measures. Germany and Russia partitioned Poland in 1939, the eastern half and thus a large portion of the Polish Jews thereby coming under Soviet rule. These Jews were the objects of a Russian resettlement program whose broad features have been described by Korzen in an article published by the Israeli Government. Korzen’s article is of some importance to the matters treated in this chapter.[19]

Briefly, what happened is that hundreds of thousands of these Jews were dispersed throughout the Soviet Union in an evacuation program which commenced in June 1940. At first, many were sent to labor camps, but after September 1941, a serious effort was made to convert the refugees into Soviet citizens and prevent their leaving the Soviet Union. The dispersion was as far as Central Asia and even to the Far East. Details are difficult to develop, and Korzen pleads for more interest in research into the matter. Many became Soviet citizens, some trekked back to Poland after the war and in may cases proceeded on to Israel. Korzen remarks that the Jews who remained in Poland as leaders of the new Communist regime were put under pressure to change their names to purely Polish-sounding ones as well as to keep their Jewish origin secret. Some eventually arrived at places such as Persia and India via Shanghai. The Joint Distribution Committee of New York maintained contact with the refugees in the Soviet Union during the war and assisted their movements after the war.

It is also known that a large number of Jews, given by one source as 300,000, fled from western to eastern Poland in 1939 when the Nazis invaded the former.[20] Thus, a significant fraction, perhaps as many as a third, of the Polish Jews had been moved beyond reach of the Germans before the outbreak of war between Russia and Germany in June 1941.

Although there had been a limited German resettlement program earlier, notably for Vienna Jews, the Nazi resettlement program began with earnestness in the autumn of 1941. If Polish Jews are excluded but Romanian Jews included in our immediate considerations, we see that the Germans moved at most a million Jews to settlements or ghettos in the occupied East. From the locations that have been mentioned, we can get a fairly good idea of where these settlements were located: Riga — Minsk — Ukraine — Sea of Azov (north of the Black Sea) forms a connected and plausible line on a map.

While we have a good idea of where these settlements were, we know little else about them other than that they existed. As one should naturally expect, the Allied occupation destroyed the relevant German records and documents, so that only scraps survive that deal with the resettlement program in terms more specific than, say, the Luther memorandum (NG-2586-J reproduced above). Indeed, Steengracht’s defense made a serious effort to produce such documents at Nuremberg, but the best it could do relative to the eastern camps was to submit two documents into evidence. The first, Steengracht 64,[21] is a letter from Eichmann, dated June 5, 1943, to the Foreign Office for the attention of Thadden. It concerns the Jewish camps in the east and some articles that had appeared in various European magazines concerning them. It appears that fantastic rumors in Slovakia concerning these camps were being given credence by some people there, and in addition to citing the magazine articles, Eichmann remarked:

[…] to counteract the fantastic rumors circulating in Slovakia about the fate of the evacuated Jews, attention should be drawn to the postal communications of these Jews with Slovakia […], which for instance amounted to more than 1,000 letters and postcards for February/March this year. Concerning the information apparently desired by Prime Minister Dr. Tuka about the conditions in Jewish camps, no objections would be raised by this office against any possible scrutinizing of the correspondence before it is forwarded to the addressees.

The second Steengracht document, Steengracht 65 (also going under the number NO-1624), is somewhat more effective in giving a picture of the situation of the Jews in the occupied east. It is an order, dated August 20, 1943, by the chief of the RuSHA (Race and Settlement Main Office), SS General Hildebrandt, relative to associations between Germans and Jews in the occupied east and to the permissible ways in which the latter could be employed. It reads:

It has been pointed out to me by various sources that the behavior of German offices in the occupied Eastern territories toward Jews had developed in such a way in the past months as to give rise to misgivings. In particular, Jews are being employed in jobs and services, which, in consideration of maintaining secrecy, should only be assigned to absolutely reliable persons, who should appear to be the confidential representatives of the German offices in the eyes of the indigenous population. Unfortunately, in addition to this, there is allegedly personal association of Reich Germans with Jewesses, which exceeds the limits that must be strictly observed for ideological and racial reasons. It is said to concern native Jews as well as Jews and Jewesses who have been deported from the Old Reich to the occupied Eastern territories. This state of affairs has already led to the fact that Jews are exploiting their apparently confidential positions in exchange for the supply of preferential rations by the indigenous population. It is said that recently, when apprehensions were expressed in the East about a German retreat, indigenous persons endeavored to ingratiate themselves particularly with those Jews employed in German offices, in order to ensure better treatment at the hands of the Bolshevists. The decent section of the indigenous population viewed these events with great disapproval, because it saw in them the contradiction between National Socialist principles and the actual attitude of the Germans.

Owing to improper labor assignment of Jews, the esteem of the Greater German Reich and the position of its representatives are being harmed and the necessity for effective police security of the occupied Eastern territories prejudiced. Grave dangers could arise particularly from the fact that the Jews are utilizing the jobs assigned to them for espionage and propaganda in the service of our enemies.

I therefore request that the subordinate offices in the occupied Eastern territories be given the following instructions:

1) Jews and persons of a similar status may only be employed in manual labor. It is prohibited to employ them in office work (such as bookkeeping, typewriting, card indexing, registration). Strict attention must be paid to the fact that they will not be given work, which would permit them to draw conclusions on matters that are to be kept secret.

2) It is forbidden to employ Jews for general or personal service, for the discharging of orders, for the negotiation of business deals, or for the procuring of goods.

3) Private association with Jews, Jewesses, and persons of a similar status is prohibited as well as any relations beyond those officially necessary.

The persons of a similar status referred to were probably mainly gypsies. We assume that Steengracht’s counsel made a thorough search of the documents which had been allowed to survive at Nuremberg. Hildebrandt’s order to the RuSHA merely repeated, verbatim, a Kaltenbrunner order of August 13, 1943, to all German offices in the occupied eastern areas (document NO-1247). The failure of Steengracht to use NO-1247 was probably due to its being nearly identical to NO-1624.

Such documents are only a pathetic scrap from what must have been extensive written records dealing with the Jewish settlements in the East. The first was probably allowed to survive because it speaks of fantastic rumors in circulation in Slovakia. The other two probably just slipped through because their implications were not sufficiently obvious.

In Boehm’s book We Survived, Jeanette Wolff, a German Jewess who was a leader of the German Social Democratic Party, has contributed an article on her experiences after being deported to Riga in Latvia. Her tale of gratuitous beatings by the SS, sex orgies, and drunkenness is not believable. Her article is worth something, however, because it shows that there was a large system of settlements, ghettos, and camps for Jews in the vicinity of Riga. These settlements quartered not only Latvian Jews, but also large numbers of Jews deported from Germany and other European countries. Of course, in Chapter 4 (p. 153) we noted the Theresienstadt source who reported that the Nazis were deporting Jews to Riga and other places throughout the course of the war. Nazi documents dealing with the Riga settlement have not survived.

The Polish Ghettos

One can see, in general outline, what happened to the Polish (and Latvian and Lithuanian) Jews by consulting the holocaust literature, which has been contributed by survivors. In the larger towns and in the cities, the Jews within Poland were quartered in ghettos, which existed throughout the war. In Poland, there were particularly large ghettos at Lodz (Litzmannstadt), Warsaw, Bialystok, Lwow, and Grodno; in Lithuania, at Vilna and Kovno; in Latvia, as we noted above, at Riga. Although the survivor literature offers endless ravings about exterminations (frequently of a sort not reconcilable with the legend, e.g., gas chambers in Cracow in December 1939), it also offers enough information for one to grasp approximately how things were. In each ghetto, there was a Jewish Council, Judenrat, which was the internal government of the ghetto. The ghetto police were Jewish and responsible to the Judenrat. The Judenrat usually counseled cooperation with the Germans because, under the circumstances, it saw no other plausible course. The Germans made frequent demands for labor details drawn from the ghetto, and the Judenrat then drew up the lists of people to be thus conscripted. There were also resistance organizations in the larger ghettos, usually well armed, whose members often viewed the Judenrat as composed of German stooges.[22]

Dawidowicz’s book devotes several chapters to conditions in the Polish ghettos. Although the initial policy of the Germans, immediately after occupying Poland, had been to forbid Jewish schools, this policy was soon abandoned and Jewish children received an essentially regular education in schools operated either privately or under the authority of the Judenrat. Cultural activities for adults — literary, theatrical, musical — helped alleviate the otherwise unhappy features of ghetto life. The Jewish social welfare agency was the ZSS (dissolved in mid-1942 by the Germans but shortly later reconstituted as the JUS, Jüdische Unterstützungsstelle), which drew supplies of food, clothing, and medicine from the German civil administration and which also maintained contact, through the German Red Cross, with foreign organizations that provided money and supplies. Before the U.S. entry into the war, the bulk of such external funds came from the Joint Distribution Committee in New York, but after December 1941 this was no longer legally possible.

Despite the protected status of the ZSS-JUS, it sometimes provided cover for illegal political activities. The various political organizations — Socialist, Communist, Zionist, Agudist — were connected with the resistance organizations, whose activities ranged from active sabotage to propaganda and, on occasion, to armed resistance. Extermination propaganda started in underground publications slightly earlier than it started being generated by the World Jewish Congress (see Appendix E), but it was not believed by the Jewish population, because nothing in their experiences supported it; letters received from Jews deported East reassured friends and relatives. As Dawidowicz writes in her introductory chapter on the problems posed by the holocaust for historical research:

One impediment was the inadequacy of Jewish documentation, despite its enormous quantity. […] The absence of vital subjects from the records may be explained by the predicament of terror and censorship; yet, lacking evidence to corroborate or disprove, the historian will never know with certainty whether that absence is a consequence of an institutional decision not to deal with such matters or whether it was merely a consequence of prudential policy not to mention such matters. The terror was so great that even private personal diaries, composed in Yiddish or Hebrew, were written circumspectly, with recourse to Scripture and the Talmud as a form of esoteric expression and self-imposed reticence.

As is clear from all studies of German population policies in Poland, e.g. those of Dawidowicz and of Koehl, there was a constant moving about of Jews, in accordance with the general German policy of concentrating them as far east as practicable. According to the Korherr Report of March 1943, 1,449,692 Jews had been transported out of the East provinces to the Russian East. It is further specified that 90% of these had passed through camps in the General Government, and the others had passed through camps in the Warthegau (presumably meaning mainly Lodz). The huge ghetto of Warsaw was liquidated in the spring of 1943, and most of the Jews were sent further east, with Treblinka serving as a transit camp for this resettlement. This was only accomplished, however, after fierce Jewish resistance and a battle that received world publicity while it was raging. The resettlement, however, was not complete, because there were always at least some Jews at the site of the ghetto and, as remarked above, all of the larger ghettos existed in some degree throughout the war.

When a resettlement was announced to a ghetto, it was the duty of the Judenrat to draw up the lists of those to be resettled. With only rare exceptions, the Jews being resettled went along peacefully, because it was well known that the resettlement was just that.

It appears that epidemics were common in the ghettos. The Germans attributed them to a lack of discipline on the part of the Jews. They took what counter-measures they could and, as The New York Times reported on at least one occasion, many ambulances were sent to Warsaw to disinfect the ghetto.[23]

While the general eastward movement of these Jews is an established fact, the data to reconstruct exactly what numbers were sent where does not exist. The important point to note, however, was that it is almost certain that the greater number of Polish Jews were completely cleared out of all of pre-war Poland except the most eastern part. Because the territory of post-war Poland is made up of what had been eastern Germany and western and central Poland (Russia acquiring what had been eastern Poland), this means that most Jews had, indeed, been removed from what is today referred to as Poland. In connection with the large ghettos, which are mentioned above, it is worth noting that Lwow, Grodno, Vilna, Kovno, and Riga were all absorbed into the Soviet Union after the war, and that Bialystok is now at the extreme eastern side of Poland. If there were about three million Jews in Poland before the war then, when one takes into account the numbers, which fled to the Soviet Union in 1939, those who were deported by the Russians in 1940, those who managed to slip into such countries as Slovakia or Hungary, and those who might have perished in epidemics, we see that there were at most two million Polish Jews in scattered ghettos in German controlled territory, and that the greater number of these people had been sent to territory considered Soviet after the war.

Thus we see, in general outline sufficient for our purposes, the actual nature of the so-called final solution of the Jewish problem. It is not necessary here to attempt to fill in much more detail, and the ultimate prospects for providing great detail are questionable in any case. That this solution was really in no sense final and that the Jews would have returned with a change in the political climate, is not so extraordinary. Twentieth century governments invariably give their projects bold and unrealistic labels: Peace Corps, Alliance for Progress, Head Start, war to end wars, etc.

What Happened to Them?

It remains to consider what happened to all of these people. Here again we have a situation, in which there exists much less data than one would hope for. However, we have enough information to reconstruct what happened to an extent suitable for our purposes. Actually, we must consider several possibilities in this respect. The following are the reasonable possibilities.

1. The Germans liquidated many while in retreat, because these people could be considered manpower to be employed against the Germans. It is necessary to consider this as a reasonable possibility because we have noted that the Germans had, indeed, considered this aspect of the matter seriously enough to make it difficult for Jews to emigrate from Europe.

However, there are two things working strongly against the possibility that the Germans liquidated on a significant scale while in retreat. First, the most able workers, who were also of military age, had already been picked out for labor and were being employed by the Germans in various ways. Second, and most importantly and simply, if the Germans had carried out such liquidations on a large scale, the Allies would have charged them with it. The Allies would have had material for legitimate extermination charges rather then the gas chamber nonsense.

While the evidence indicated that the German authorities did not carry out large scale liquidations of Jews while in retreat, common sense and a feel for the conditions that existed should cause us to assume that there were numerous massacres of Jews carried out by individuals and small groups acting on their own. Some German, Hungarian, or Romanian troops, and some East European civilians, their anti-Jewish feelings amplified by the disastrous course of the war, no doubt made attacks on Jews at the time of the German retreats. It is known that earlier in the war, when East Europeans had attempted to start pogroms, the German authorities had restrained and suppressed them.[24] However, under conditions of chaotic retreat, the Germans were probably much less concerned with anti-Jewish pogroms.

2. The Russians liquidated many. We list this only because Russia is such an enigma and its actions in the populations area often seem very arbitrary. However, there is no evidence for liquidations at the hands of the Russians, and one should doubt this possibility.

3. Many perished on account of conditions in the camps or ghettos. This is a most serious possibility. We have seen that health conditions can be very unstable in camps and that the situation can be very sensitive to any sort of chaos or shortage of necessities. Moreover, we have observed that the ghetto conditions, whether the Germans were at fault or (as the Germans claimed) the Jews were responsible, were favorable to epidemics even early in the war when the Germans had the general situation under control in other respects. Therefore, there is a good possibility that many Jews in ghettos perished in the chaotic conditions that accompanied the German retreats. Also, Korzen believes that many of the 1940 exiles to Russia died in the Russian camps they were sent to, so it is possible that many ghetto Jews perished on account of Soviet ways of administering the ghettos after they fell into Russian hands.

4. Many were dispersed throughout the Soviet Union and integrated into Soviet life somewhere. This is a most likely possibility, because it is well established that the Soviet Union encouraged the absorption of Jews during and immediately after the war. For example, we have noted that this was the policy exercised toward the 1940 deportees. Another example is what happened with respect to the Carpatho-Ukraine, before the war a province of Czechoslovakia and annexed by the Soviet Union after the war. Ten thousand Jews, former residents of the Carpatho-Ukraine, had the status of refugees in Czechoslovakia in the spring of 1946. Russia insisted that these Jews be repatriated to the Soviet Union. Although such a step was contrary to the existing agreements on refugees, the Soviet pressure on President Benes was great enough to force him to yield.[25]

One should also note the existence, within the Soviet Union, of the specifically Jewish autonomous state of Birobidzhan, which is in the Soviet Far East on the Amur river on the border of Manchuria. Birobidzhan had been established by the Soviets in 1928 as a Jewish state. Immediately after the war, there existed in New York the Einstein Fund of Ambijan (acronym for American Birobidzhan Committee), whose purpose was to help refugee colonization of Birobidzhan. There were other operations in New York, which aided Jews resettled in Birobidzhan immediately after World War II.

There were also Jewish organizations, such as the Joint Distribution Committee, which aided Jews in other parts of the Soviet Union, and there also existed in New York the Committee for Aid to Minsk and Neighboring Towns. There also existed UNRRA programs in White Russia (Byelorussia) and Ukraine, which will be commented on below. These efforts to aid Jewish refugees in the Soviet Union had the public support of prominent Jews, e.g. Albert Einstein expressed appreciation to the Soviet Government for helping hundreds of thousands of Jewish people by giving them a home in the USSR.[26]

While the Soviet Union encouraged the absorption of Jews, it also made a specific agreement with the Communist government of Poland for the repatriation of those who had been Polish citizens on September 17, 1939. The agreement, made in July 1945, specifically included those resident on territory annexed by the Soviet Union in 1940 and provided that such people could either elect Soviet citizenship or Polish citizenship. With respect to Jews, it was eventually decided that the deadline for making the choice was June 30, 1946.

As we noted in Chapter 1 (p. 36), Reitlinger concedes that the post-war Jewish population of the Soviet Union might very well have exceeded the pre-war figure, on account of the addition of Polish (and Baltic and other) Jews. He regards the Jewish Observer estimate of 500,000 Polish Jews who elected to remain in the Soviet Union as very conservative, and concedes huge and insuperable uncertainties in this connection. Thus, although the Russians were willing to let Polish Jews leave before the June 30, 1946, deadline, they nevertheless encouraged their absorption into the Soviet Union. This could account for an enormous number of the Jews who had been resettled to the East by the Germans. It is pointless, however, to try to infer anything from alleged population statistics offered by the Russians or by Jewish organizations.[27]

5. Many of the uprooted Jews might have returned to their original homes or at least to their original homelands in Europe. We have seen that the Russians were willing to allow Polish Jews to leave the Soviet Union, and we should assume that a similar policy was practiced toward Jews of other nationalities. It is only possible but not probable that the Soviet Union absorbed all of the Jews who had been deported East by the Germans from Germany, the Netherlands, etc.

At first thought, it might appear that the clearly logical course after the war for any uprooted Jew would have been to return to his original country of residence. This is not the case, however, for various reasons. For one thing, in perhaps the majority of cases there was nothing to return to. The main reason for this was the German program called Action Reinhardt, in which Jews deported to the East were deprived of almost all of their property; their furniture, any livestock, business property, their jewelry, any clothing they could not carry as luggage, and all but about $25 of any ordinary currency they had were simply confiscated in the course of resettlement (some of the business property might have been resettled with them). The camps at Lublin and Auschwitz were principal gathering and processing points for much of this property, wherever it had actually been confiscated.[28] Thus, many Jews, having neither property nor relatives at their original homes, had no very compelling reasons for returning to them. The German program had truly been one of uprooting.

Another aspect of the situation was that, in late 1945 and in 1946, there was much talk about anti-Jewish pogroms allegedly occurring with great frequency in Poland and other East European countries. If these reports were true, then the pogroms were a powerful inducement to the Jews to leave. If these reports were merely Zionist propaganda having little, if any, basis in fact, then one can infer that the Zionists were engaging in operations designed to move Jews out of eastern Europe. Thus, whether the reports of pogroms were true or false, they suggest a movement of Jews out of eastern Europe.

At the Yalta meeting in 1945, Churchill, Roosevelt, and Stalin had agreed that it would be impossible for Jewish refugees to return to Poland and be reintegrated into its normal life.[29] While it is certain that many Jews returned to their homelands, there were solid facts and also, apparently, much propaganda discouraging them from doing so. If this is true and if it is also true that a significant number of Polish Jews left Soviet territory, then many of them must have proceeded through Poland to other destinations. This is the case. The Zionist political leadership had other destinations in mind for them.

6. Many of the Jews eventually resettled neither in the Soviet Union nor in their original countries but elsewhere, mainly in the U.S. and Palestine. We all know this to be true, but there is some uncertainty in the numbers involved, principally in the case of the U.S. immigrants. Until November 1943, the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service recognized a category Hebrew among races and peoples, but in that month this practice was stopped, and no official records of Jewish immigration have been kept since then.[30]

Another problem in accounting in detail for Jewish movements around the time of the end of the war is that we run right into the War Refugee Board and the UNRRA (United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration) in attempting to examine this subject. It will be recalled that the WRB was set up in early 1944 as an apparently joint venture of the U.S. State, Treasury, and War Departments, but that it was, in fact, under the control of Secretary of the Treasury Morgenthau. The Board was granted the extraordinary power of appointing special attachés with diplomatic status. Another very irregular feature was that the WRB worked very closely with private organizations. Collaboration with the Joint Distribution Committee and the World Jewish Congress and several other Jewish and Zionist organizations was extensive. Some non-Jewish organizations were also involved, notably the American Friends Service Committee. The WRB and the three U.S. government departments involved with the WRB were specifically authorized to accept the services or contributions of private persons or organizations.[31] We therefore have a rather slippery entity involved here, engaged in both propaganda and relief work, with the rights of a government operation when an official status seemed convenient and the rights of a private organization when a private status was advantageous.

Relief activities were carried on by the WRB from about mid-1944 to mid-1945, at which time the operations of an international character fell almost entirely into the hands of the UNRRA. This organization had been set up in November 1943 and had operated until March 1949. Its first director, appointed by Roosevelt, was Herbert Lehman, ex-Governor of New York State and a leading New Deal Democrat. Roosevelt’s reported logic for choosing Lehman was as follows:[32]

It would be a fine object lesson in tolerance and human brotherhood to have a Jew head up this operation, and I think Herbert would be fine.

Lehman was succeeded in early 1946 by Fiorello LaGuardia, ex-Mayor of New York City. Although LaGuardia’s father was not Jewish and he naturally found it profitable to court the huge New York Italian vote, LaGuardia really counts as a Jewish Zionist politician and is essentially treated as such by the Encyclopedia Judaica. Thus, we can be sure that the crowd involved here is basically the same as with the WRB. Also, we again have a slippery entity, this time because it is a so-called international organization. For example, when Congress demanded in September 1945 that the General Accounting Office be allowed to examine the UNRRA operations (the U.S. was said to be paying about two-thirds of the costs of UNRRA, but the fraction was probably somewhat higher), Lehman told it to mind its own business.[33]

The UNRRA operations were far-flung. Most of the UNRRA aid went to Eastern Europe, and the amount sent to Poland was second only to that sent to China. Aid was also sent to White Russia and Ukraine.[34]

By mid-1944, the WRB and the UNRRA were operating a large system of refugee camps in North Africa, Italy, and Palestine. These camps were almost exclusively for Jews. Starting in 1944, extensive evacuations of Jews from Europe to these camps were in progress. Many were evacuated from the Balkans via Istanbul, and there was also a Black Sea route through Istanbul. Entry into the U.S. or countries of South America was sought and obtained for many of these people while the war was still in progress. It was in this context that the camp at Oswego, NY, right next to the Canadian border, was established. In addition, many who had not initially been put into one of the camps in Palestine managed to reach that destination anyway.[35]

After Germany collapsed, the UNRRA administered DP (displaced persons) camps, mainly in the British and American zones of occupation in German and Austria. Of course, there were many non-Jews in these camps, but the Jews had a privileged position and in may cases were quartered in houses or hotels, which had been requisitioned for them.[36]

The UNRRA operations in Germany were one of the scandals of the occupation era. Notorious were the raids on German homes for the purposes of rescuing children. It had been the Nazi policy in eastern Europe, when orphans fell into their hands, to conduct a racial examination in order to select Aryan orphans for adoption by German families. These children were being raised exactly as German children were and became the innocent victims of the UNRRA terror. It is not known what happened to them.[37]

The behavior of the DPs in the UNRRA camps was abysmal. As the most prominent historian of the U.S. military government in Germany wrote:[38]

They not only consumed large quantities of food, but they exhibited many of the psychoneurotic traits, which must be expected from people who have undergone the tribulations that many of the displaced persons suffered. It was commonplace for them to allege that they were not receiving the consideration that they deserved from the Allied authorities. They often objected to the camps, in which they were living, maintaining that it reflected on their position to be lodged in camps. Some urged that the best German houses be cleared of their occupants and placed at the disposal of the displaced persons, especially the Jews. They refused to assist in some instances in keeping their quarters reasonably habitable, taking the position that it was not their responsibility to make any effort to help themselves. During this period, the actual care of the displaced persons was handled for some months by UNRRA, but final responsibility remained with military government, and it had to give attention to the charges made in the press as to inadequate treatment.

Moreover, the displaced persons continued their underground war with the German population, despite all their promises and the efforts exerted by UNRRA and the American Army personnel. Forages into the countryside never ceased; some displaced persons took advantage of every opportunity to pick a quarrel with the Germans. With German property looted, German lives lost, and German women raped almost every day by the displaced persons, widespread resentment developed among the populace, especially when they could not defend themselves against the fire-arms which the displaced persons managed to obtain.

In one well publicized incident, Jewish and Polish DPs, with the assistance of some U.S. Army personnel, forced German townspeople to dig up recently buried bodies and, while beating and kicking the Germans, forced them to remove decayed flesh and clean the bones.[39]

Zionism Again

We are interested, however, in the political role that these DP camps played, and the simple fact of the matter is that the Jewish DP camps and other living quarters served as transit and military training camps for the invasion of Palestine.

The world had an opportunity to learn this fact as early as January 1946. As happens on occasion in international organizations, the nominal head of the UNRRA operations in Germany, British General Sir Frederick E. Morgan, was his own man and not a Zionist stooge. While he had real control only over a part of the UNRRA German operations, he knew most of what was going on and made a public issue of it. At a press conference in Frankfurt, he charged that an organized Jewish group was sponsoring an exodus of Jews from Poland into the U.S. zone in Germany. He ridiculed all the talk about pogroms within Poland, pointing out that Jews arriving in trainloads in Berlin were well fed, well dressed, and had plenty of money:

They certainly do not look like a persecuted people. I believe that they have got a plan, a positive plan, to get out of Europe.

Morgan added that their money was to a great extent occupation marks, printed by the Russians. It may be recalled by the reader that one of the most spectacular acts of Soviet agent Harry Dexter White, whom we encountered in Chapter 3 (pp. 97, 133) as the boss of the U.S. Treasury’s international operations, was his transmission to the Russians of the plates of the U.S. occupation currency.

Chaim Weizmann denounced Morgan’s statement as palpably anti-Semitic, and Rabbi Wise declared that it savored of Nazism at its worst and was reminiscent of the fraudulent Protocols of Zion. UNRRA headquarters in the U.S. announced that Morgan had been dismissed, but Morgan denied this. Wise, Henry Monsky (president of B’nai B’rth), and other prominent Jews then huddled with Lehman and assured Governor Lehman that it was unwise under the circumstances to press the case against Morgan, since Morgan apparently had enough evidence to support his statement.

Later in 1946, there was an inquiry into the Jewish problem by an Anglo-American committee, which determined that Morgan had under-estimated the situation. In the Jewish DP camps

faces changed from day to day and new persons answered to old names on the nominal roles as the Zionist Organization moved Jews ever nearer to Palestine.

The Jews, mainly Polish, were pouring into western Germany from the East and passing through the UNRRA operated camps. In these camps, many of them received military instruction for the invasion of Palestine from uniformed non-commissioned officers of the British and U.S. armies. Although it was the case that almost none actually wanted to go to Palestine but to the U.S. , every means of forcing immigration to Palestine was employed. Summing up his association with UNRRA, General Morgan wrote in his memoirs (Peace and War, 1961):

To serve such an outfit is beyond description.

Years later, Zionist authors conceded Morgan’s charge in laudatory accounts of the organized exodus of Jews from Europe.[40]

In August 1946, LaGuardia fired Morgan for charging that UNRRA served as an umbrella covering Russian secret agents and criminal elements engaged in wholesale dope-peddling and smuggling. Morgan was replaced by Meyer Cohen of the Washington office of UNRRA. This action was taken at a time when there was a great deal of well-publicized conflict between UNRRA and military authorities in Germany. LaGuardia had come to Germany at the time, in order to deal with various problems, Morgan being one of them. At a news conference held immediately after he fired Morgan, LaGuardia had an angry exchange with Hal Foust of the Chicago Tribune, whom we encountered in Chapter 1 (p. 51). Foust had asked how much money nations other than the U.S. had contributed to UNRRA. LaGuardia, however, would answer none of Foust’s questions, on the grounds that Foust’s dirty, lousy paper would not print it anyway. To Foust’s repeated requests for the information, LaGuardia shrieked Shut up![41]

Morgan had not been the first high ranking Allied officer to collide with the Zionists. In the summer of 1945, the Harrison report to the White House had asserted that Jews in the U.S. zone in Germany were treated almost as badly as they had been under the Nazis. Although many Jews in the camps publicly ridiculed these claims, General Eisenhower, the Supreme Allied Commander, visited General George S. Patton, Jr. (U.S. Third Army commander and military governor of Bavaria), and read the riot act to him and astounded him by saying that he meant it when he said that Germans were to be ousted from their homes, if necessary, to make their victims comfortable. Shortly later, Eisenhower relieved Patton of his duties, allegedly because Patton had said in public that too much fuss was being made about ousting Nazis from key positions, that the distinction between Nazis and non-Nazis was similar to the distinction between Republicans and Democrats, and that the key to a successful occupation of Germany lay in showing the Germans what grand fellows we are. This was just the most publicized instance of the widespread reluctance of occupation authorities on the operational level to act as tough as the policies enunciated by the heads of state in Berlin and by General Eisenhower himself. Patton was assigned to command a group writing a military history, but he was in an automobile accident in December 1945 and died two weeks later from complications.[42]

Eisenhower’s attitude toward Zionists had always been most friendly. Shortly before the end of the war, the Zionist organizer Ruth Klieger, a native of Romania who had emigrated to Palestine before the war, had visited Eisenhower’s SHAEF headquarters in Paris in order to explain to Judge Rifkind, Eisenhower’s adviser on DP matters, her mission of organizing transports of Jews to Palestine from Germany. She was made a U.S. Army colonel on the spot and given the papers necessary for her mission in Germany. Eisenhower’s services did not end there, because the troop transport ship Ascania, owned by SHAEF and manned under orders from Eisenhower’s command, was then put at the disposal of the Zionists, and 2,400 Jews were taken to Palestine in it. The British met it on arrival but did not want complications with SHAEF, so they allowed the passengers to enter Palestine. Eisenhower later became President of the United States.[43]

As suggested above, the Jews who left the Soviet Union for Poland did not, for the most part, remain in that country very long. Supported by the Joint Distribution Committee and related Jewish organizations (contributions to which were tax-deductible in the U.S.),[44] the Jews moved on to Germany and, in some instances, Czechoslovakia, spurred on by Zionist propaganda of all sorts. There was the talk, which we have noted, of pogroms, and there was also, no doubt, a widespread idea among the Jews that all were bound for the U.S. From Germany, many did indeed eventually depart for the U.S. But many others moved on to Italy, where there were also UNRRA camps for them, or to France, which earned a reputation at that time for marked friendliness to the Zionist cause. From Czechoslovakia the Jews moved on to Italy or to Vienna and from Vienna to ports in Italy, or Yugoslavia, or to Budapest, Belgrade, and points near Palestine. In all this hectic illegal movement there was, of course, no respect paid to such things as legitimate passports or identity papers. Greek identity papers were manufactured on a large scale, and many Jews posed as Greeks returning home from Poland. When the Greek government learned of this, they sent an official to investigate, but the official was an active Zionist himself and merely informed the Zionist Organization that he could cover up the past illegalities but that the Greek angle would have to be discarded. It had, however, served so well that in Czechoslovakia, border guards, who thought that they had learned from the large number of Greeks that they had processed what members of that nationality looked like, got suspicious and made arrests when real Greeks appeared.[45]

In the beginning of the mass movements, the Zionist Organization had found that the Jews were too undisciplined and demoralized to serve as members of an effective movement. They therefore settled on the method of the propaganda of hatred to boost the fighting morale of the Jews in the various camps; they began to instill into these Jews a deep dislike and hatred for the German and, indeed, for their entire non-Jewish environment, for the goyim around them. In the winter of 1946, the Anglo-American investigation committee visited the Jewish camps in Germany and was overwhelmed by this anti-goyism among the camp inmates, by the impossibility of maintaining any contact between the displaced Jews and the British and American peoples.[46]

The U.S. occupation authorities in Germany were naturally very concerned about the fact that so many people, so tenuously classified as refugees, were pouring into their area of responsibility, but were reluctant to speak out too loudly or bluntly, for fear of the sort of abuse that had been heaped on Patton and Morgan. However, the constant increase in the refugee population was creating problems that could not be ignored. In June 1946, a group of U.S. editors and newspaper executives arrived in Frankfurt as the first stop in a tour of Germany and were told by high United States officers that Jews were flooding into the U.S. zone at the rate of 10,000 per month, thereby creating a grave problem. It was said that many of them are coming from Russia, and if they join those in Poland in an apparent mass movement toward Palestine, we may have to look after 3,000,000 of them. Of particular interest in this statement is where many of the Jews were coming from, and the fact that the U.S. Army authorities felt it plausible to use a figure of 3,000,000 (not a misprint). They were, of course, exaggerating the situation in order to provoke some sort of relevant action, for there was never any possibility that 3 million Jews would enter the U.S. zone in Germany. Nevertheless, their use of such a figure and their specifying that many of the Jews were coming from Russia are worth noting.[47]

The problem got so much attention that in early August 1946 the American military governor, General McNarney, announced that the United States border patrol will not permit Jewish refugees from Poland to enter the United States zone in organized truckloads and trainloads. McNarney added, however, that if persecutees come across the borders individually, of course, it is a different matter, and we will accept them. It may have surprised many observers that this seemingly unimportant qualification was so satisfactory for the Zionists that, shortly later, Rabbi Wise and other prominent Zionists publicly lauded the attitude of Gen. Joseph T. McNarney […] toward the entire problem. The puzzle was resolved the following November, when it was reported that a record 35,000 Jews entered West Germany from Poland (the greater part of them to the U.S. zone) in September and that the trickle that existed in November amounted to 150 to 200 persons daily.[48]

In the news stories of this period, it was frequently the case that the Jews returning from Russia to Poland were described as consisting mainly of the 1940 deportees to the Soviet Union. Such a press treatment was to be expected, because the others were supposed to be dead, but such interpretations may be disregarded, although, as Korzen remarks, this group included 1940 deportees.

During 1946, the U.S. Senate War Investigating Committee sent its chief counsel, George Meader, to Germany to investigate the U.S. occupation policies. Meader’s report, which charged, inter alia, widespread immorality and racketeering in the Army, was suppressed as a result of tremendous pressure by the White House, State and War Departments, and Senator Arthur Vandenberg and a threat of resignation by General Clay, but the contents eventually were made public anyway. The report was very critical of the entire practice of accommodating the Jews who were pouring in from Poland, because they were not really refugees (in the sense of having been stranded in Germany at the end of the war) but part of the mass movement of people that was being sponsored by private groups on behalf of a specific political cause, Zionism. The U.S., therefore, was financing a political program by receiving these Jews in the German DP camps, although that program had never been submitted to the Congress for consideration. In the U.S., therefore, there was concern with and opposition to the substantial support that U.S. refugee policy was giving to the Zionist cause, but it was too late and too little to have any significant influence on events.

In his report, Meader complained of the difficulty of getting the Jewish (as distinct from non-Jewish) DPs to do any work or even help fix up their own dwellings. Nevertheless, they constantly complained that things were not being done as well as they thought they could be done. Meader also pointed out that illegal activities and crimes of violence by DPs were numerous. He remarked that the U.S. had agreed to accept as immigrants 2,250,000 refugees from Europe.[49]

It is of only slight value to report here the figures that were being given for the number of Jewish DPs. In the autumn of 1946, it was said that there were 185,000 Jewish DPs in camps in West Germany. When one adds those in Austria, the figure would exceed 200,000. It is also said that there were over 400,000 Jewish refugees in Western Europe on July 1, 1947.[50] However, such figures do not say very much, because the camps for Jews and other refugees really served as transit camps and, in the case of the Jews, there was the constant movement toward the U.S. and Palestine, largely illegal or unofficial in the case of the latter destination and possibly in the case of the former destination as well.

The principal, but not sole, destinations of the Jews who left Europe were Palestine and the U.S., so we should attempt to estimate the numbers involved. Palestine population figures kept by the British authorities are probably accurate up to some point in 1946, see Table 9.[51]

In late 1946, there were supposed to be 608,000 Jews and 1,237,000 Moslems, Christians, and Others. Past this point, accurate British figures do not exist, on account of the large extent of illegal immigration, as the British gradually lost control of the situation. In any event, by the time some of the dust had settled in July 1949, the Israeli Government reported that there were 925,000 Jews in Israel. These were predominantly Jews of European origins, the large scale immigration of Jews from North Africa and Asia having been a subsequent development promoted by the Israeli Government. By 1957, there were about 1,868,000 Jews in Israel, and 868,000 Arabs had fled to neighboring countries since the Jewish takeover.[52]

Table 9: Palestine population
Year Moslems Jews Christians Others
1924 532,636 94,945 74,094 8,263
1929 634,811 156,481 81,776 9,443
1934 747,826 282,975 102,407 10,793
1939 860,580 445,457 116,958 12,150
1944 994,724 528,702 135,547 14,098

It is worth pausing here to remark that many people have a very mistaken picture of Zionism and Israel. It is now widely assumed that Zionism was born at the end of World War II, when large numbers of European Jews, having decided that they could no longer live in Europe, invaded a previously all-Arab Palestine and drove the Arab inhabitants out. In fact, Zionism, the movement for the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine, has a history that starts in the late nineteenth century. By 1917, Zionism was such a potent political force that Britain, locked in bloody struggle with Imperial Germany, made the Balfour Declaration, effectively promising Palestine to the Jews, in return for Jewish support in the war. Since Britain also had certain agreements with the Arabs, Palestine became the too often promised land.

Zionist organizations promoted the movement of Jews to Palestine after World War I, and during the Thirties, as the population figures above suggest, Palestine had become perhaps the biggest headache of British foreign policy, which faced the impossible task of reconciling the Jewish and Arab claims to Palestine. It was during the late Thirties that Zionism found itself actively cooperating with the Gestapo, which met regularly with Zionist representatives and even helped in the provision of farms and facilities to set up training centers in Germany and Austria for Jewish emigrants. The Zionists and the Gestapo had the same objective of getting Jews out of Europe.[53]

The consequence of World War II did not create Zionism as an effective political movement; they merely gave Zionism the world political victory it needed for the final stage of the takeover of Palestine. All world power had fallen to the U.S. and the Soviet Union, both of which were most friendly to the Zionist cause at the time. Under the circumstances, the Arab position was hopeless, because it depended on the firmness and political independence of a Britain that was almost prostrate politically and economically.

Migration to the U.S.A.

While it is possible to get a presumably fair idea of the extent of Jewish immigration into Palestine, one encounters what amounts to a stone wall in attempting to determine this for the U.S. We have seen that the policy of classifying immigrants as Hebrews was dropped in the same month of 1943 that the U.S. government went into the business of processing DPs on a large scale through the creation of UNRRA. Immediately after the war, there was naturally much Jewish pressure for the admission of great numbers of Jewish immigrants, and in December 1945, President Truman announced that there would be an acceleration in the immigration process in order to allow a higher rate of admission. While Truman regretted that the unused quotas from the war years were not cumulative and could not be applied to future admissions, he pledged that all outstanding immigration quotas and regulations would be respected.[54] If they were indeed respected, then the effect on Jewish admissions would nevertheless have been secondary because they entered under the categories of the various nationalities: German, Austrian, Dutch, Polish, etc. However, the existing regulations did not permit the admission of as many persons as was desired, so shortly after the war, there was special legislation relating to the admission of DPs, in which existing barriers were set aside. The legislation also set up a Displaced Persons commission to assist in the resettlement of the immigrants and, according to the account of the Commission, over 400,000 such persons were resettled in the U.S. in the period 1948–1952 (the period specified in the legislation). The official account goes on to claim that only 16 percent of these 400,000 were Jewish, but that is just the official account of a government which had taken specific steps to assure that the relevant data would not exist.[55]

For what it is worth, we summarize here the more relevant parts of the immigration data that the U.S. government has published, see Table 10.[56]

Table 10: U.S. government immigration data
  Regular Immigration
Area 1941–1950 1951–1960 DPs 1948–1952 Total from Area
Austria 24,860 67,106 8,956 100,922
Belgium 12,189 18,575 951 31,715
Czechoslovakia 8,347 918 12,638 21,903
Denmark 5,393 10,984 62 16,439
Estonia 212 185 10,427 10,824
France 38,809 51,121 799 90,729
Germany 226,578 477,765 62,123 766,466
Greece 8,973 47,608 10,277 66,858
Hungary 3,469 36,637 16,627 56,733
Italy 57,661 185,491 2,268 245,420
Latvia 361 352 36,014 36,727
Lithuania 683 242 24,698 25,623
Netherlands 14,860 52,277 64 67,201
Poland 7,571 9,985 135,302 152,858
Romania 1,076 1,039 10,618 12,733
USSR 548 584 35,747 36,879
Yugoslavia 1,576 8,225 33,367 43,168

We have only given the numbers for selected European countries, i.e. those countries that may have contributed many uprooted Jews, although there is a difficulty involved here, as we shall see shortly. The total for Hungary 1951–1960 does not seem to include those who entered on account of special legislation passed in connection with the refugees from the Hungarian rebellion in 1956, about 45,000 of whom were admitted to the U.S. It is worth mentioning that 285,415 persons entered the U.S. from Europe in the years 1954–1971 under various other provisions for refugees.

For reasons that will be clear when we attempt to interpret this data, we note the immigration totals from the various continents:

Table 11: Immigration totals by continent
Area Regular Immigration DPs Total from Area
1941–1950 1951–1960 1948–1952
Europe 621,704 1,328,293 405,234 2,355,231
Asia 31,780 147,453 4,016 183,249
N. & S. America 354,804 996,944 307 1,352,055
Africa 7,367 14,092 107 21,566
Pacific 19,242 16,204 10 35,456
Totals 1,034,897 2,502,986 409,674 3,947,557

An important point in interpreting this data is that, in the case of regular immigration in the years 1941–1950 and 1951–1960, the country of origin is defined as the country of last permanent residence, while in the case of the DPs who entered in U.S. in 1948–1952, the country of origin is the country of birth.

That nationality was the country of last permanent residence in the case of regular immigration makes these figures particularly difficult to interpret. This is well illustrated by the total 766,466 who entered the U.S. from Germany, more than 90 percent on the regular quota basis. If we imagine a German Jew as a Jew who actually was raised in Germany and had possessed German citizenship, then only a fraction of the 766,466 could have been Jews, for the simple reason that the greater number of the estimated 500,000 or 600,000 German Jews had emigrated before the war. In order to get some idea of the number of German Jews who might have immigrated into the U.S. after the war, recall that the Jews deported east by the Germans from France and Belgium were almost all German Jews who had emigrated from Germany before the war. Thus, if we accept Reitlinger’s figures, the total German Jews deported to the east might have been around 250,000. If, say, half went to Palestine after the war, then it would appear that no more than about 125,000 of the Germans who entered the U.S. could have been Jews. However this calculation is upset by the simple observation that the status of permanent resident might have been conferred on many of the Jews of several nationalities who were quartered under various conditions in Germany immediately after the war. The period was not noted for strict adherence to legalities, so it is safe to assume that somewhat more than 125,000 of these Germans were Jews. Likewise with the figures for Italy.

The haziness of the concept of permanent resident is also the reason for the inclusion of immigration figures from such places as North and South America and Asia. We should not expect that the uprooted Jews were particularly scrupulous in regard to legal credentials, and we have seen this illustrated in the case of the Greeks who passed through Czechoslovakia. It should not have been difficult to arrange for the creation of credentials which declared Jews to have been permanent residents of various South American countries, and possibly also of Canada. A side trip to the country in question while en route to the U.S. might have been necessary, but such a trip would have been scenic anyway. South American countries would probably have been happy to cooperate, because the Jews were not in the process of settling with them, and there was no doubt bribe money as well.

For these reasons, I believe that one is perfectly safe in assuming that at least 500,000 uprooted Jews entered the U.S., and the correct figure is probably higher. Since the area of New York City is the home of millions of Jews, a few hundred thousand could have moved there alone, and nobody would have observed more than the fact that he, personally, was aware of a few Jews who came to New York from Europe after the war.

In this analysis we have assumed, of course, that the great masses of Jews who resettled after the war were uprooted Jews and did not include statistically significant portions of, say, French Jews, who had no more reason to leave France than Jews in the U.S. have to leave that country. The net result of the Nazi Jewish resettlement policies was that a great number of Jews, uprooted from their homes, came into the power of Zionist-controlled refugee relief organizations, which were able to direct these masses of Jews to destinations chosen for political reasons.


This is as far as the demographic analysis need be carried here, and it is probably essentially as far as it could be carried in any case. If we assume that at the end of the war there were about three million uprooted Jews whose situations had to be disposed of somehow by the Allies, then it is possible that one-half million emigrated to the U.S., one-half million went to Palestine, one million were absorbed by the Soviet Union, 750,000 settled in Eastern Europe excluding the Soviet Union, and 250,000 settled in Western Europe. On the other hand, the correct figures, including those offered here as data, may very well be somewhat different. The treatment presented here is guaranteed to be valid in a general way, but statistical accuracy cannot be attained.

If we attempt to estimate the number who perished, on account of the chaotic conditions in the camps as the Germans retreated, on account of epidemics in the ghettos during more normal periods, on account of pogroms or massacres that might have taken place especially while the Germans were retreating, on account of Einsatzgruppen executions, and on account of unhealthy conditions in the concentration camps in Germany, especially at the very end of the war (which affected only Jewish political prisoners and ordinary criminals and the young adult Jews who had been conscripted for labor and sent to the concentration camps), we again have, in my opinion, an impossible problem on our hands. Rassinier’s estimate is about a million Jewish dead, but one can take very many exceptions to his arguments. A figure of a million Jewish dead, while possible, seems rather high to me. However, given the vast uncertainties involved, I really have no taste for arguing the matter one way or another.

One should feel no need to apologize for such confessions of statistical ignorance. Korzen, in his study of the Polish Jews dispersed by the Russian deportations of 1940, confesses large and important areas of ignorance in his study, especially in regard to numbers, and he had the friendly offices of the Israeli government to help with his research. A study such as the present one necessarily labors under severe handicaps regarding relevant statistics. Indeed, I was surprised that it was possible to reconstruct statistical and quantitative aspects even to the incomplete extent presented here. The most powerful groups on earth have sought to distort the record of what actually happened to the Jews of Europe during the Second World War.

J. G. Burg

In his memoirs, J. G. Burg (Josef Ginsburg) has presented a story completely consistent with the historical record. At the outbreak of war in September 1939, he was resident in Lemberg, Poland. He immediately fled with his family to Czernowitz, Romania, in the province of Bukovina, which the Red Army occupied in June 1940. A year later, the German attack on Russia drove out the Red Army, and Ukrainian bands started conducting pogroms, which were halted by German and Romanian troops. Later, Ginsburg and his family were deported east to Transnistria, where life was at least bearable. A Mr. Kolb of the Swiss and International Red Cross visited their settlement in early 1943.

After the German defeats mounted, there was growing tension between the Germans and Romanians, and many Romanians attempted to befriend the Jews. The German-Romanian front started to collapse in mid-1944, and Ginsburg and family returned to Czernowitz. Everywhere there was chaos, starvation, and the Russian terror. Even after the end of the war, conditions were not very good, so in 1946, Ginsburg and family moved on to Breslau and then proceeded to an UNRRA DP camp near Munich in the U.S. occupation zone of Germany. In the camp, almost all Jews were naturally very interested in the possibility of proceeding to the U.S., because they knew that many Jews were doing just that. However, the Zionist leadership attempted by all means to divert their interest from the U.S. to Palestine. To the question Can one emigrate to the U.S. and remain a Zionist?, a Professor Spiktor replied:[57]

Whoever emigrates to the US in this hour of destiny, can not only be no Zionist, he also thereby forsakes his own Jewish people.

Six months later, Professor Spiktor emigrated to the U.S. Ginsburg and his family went to Palestine with many of the other Jews from the camp.


We are now very close to the end of our study. The thesis of this book has been proved conclusively. The Jews of Europe were not exterminated, and there was no German attempt to exterminate them. The Germans resettled a certain number, and these people were ultimately resettled again in accordance with Allied programs. Although various statistical details are missing from our analysis, it is possible to reconstruct quantitative aspects of the problem to a satisfactory degree.

The Jews of Europe suffered during the war by being deported to the East, by having had much of their property confiscated, and, more importantly, by suffering cruelly in the circumstances surrounding Germany’s defeat. They may even have lost a million dead.

Everybody in Europe suffered during the war, especially the people of central and eastern Europe. The people who suffered most were the losers, the Germans (and Austrians), who lost 10 million dead due to military casualties, Allied bombings, the Russian terror at the end of the war, Russian and French labor conscriptions of POW’s after the war, Polish and other expulsions from their homelands, under the most brutal conditions, and the vengeful occupation policies of 1945–1948.[58]

Himmler Nailed it Perfectly

The gas chambers were wartime propaganda fantasies completely comparable to the garbage that was shoveled out by Lord Bryce and associates in World War I. The factual basis for these ridiculous charges was nailed with perfect accuracy by Heinrich Himmler in an interview with a representative of the World Jewish Congress just a few weeks before the end of the war:[59]

in order to put a stop to the epidemics, we were forced to burn the bodies of incalculable numbers of people who had been destroyed by disease. We were therefore forced to build crematoria, and on this account they are knotting a noose for us.

It is most unfortunate that Himmler was a suicide while in British captivity, because had he been a defendant at the IMT, his situation would have been such that he would have told the true story (being fully informed and not in a position to shift responsibility to somebody else), and books such as the present book would not be necessary, because the major material could be read in the IMT trial transcript. But then, you see, it was not within the bounds of political possibility that Himmler live to talk at the IMT.

That Himmler’s assessment of the gas chamber accusations is the accurate one should be perfectly obvious to anybody who spends any time with this subject, as we have seen especially in Chapter 4. In particular, Hilberg and Reitlinger should have been able to see this before completing even fractions of their thick books, which are monumental foolishness.

[1] NMT. vol. 13, 243–249.
[2] Hilberg (1961), 619 or 621.
[3] Sachar, 365–368, 412–417; John & Hadawi, vol. 1, 295–326.
[4] NMT, vol. 13, 169f.
[5] E.g. Shirer (1960), 964.
[6] NMT, vol. 13, 212f.; Poliakov & Wulf (1955), 119–126.
[7] See particularly The New York Times (Feb. 28, 1941), 4; (Oct. 18, 1941), 4; (Oct. 28, 1941), 10; (Feb. 9, 1942), 5; (Mar. 15, 1942), 27; (Aug. 6, 1942), 1.
[8] Rothe, 173–196.
[9] NO-1611 and NO-1882 in NMT, vol. 5, 616–619.
[10] Reitlinger, 149, 279; Hilberg (1961), 318, 619 or 621.
[11] Reitlinger, 84–97; Hilberg (1961), 262f.
[12] Reitlinger, 102–109; Hilberg (1961), 264f.; NMT, vol. 13, 213.
[13] Grayzel, 785f.
[14] Koehl, 131f.
[15] Ibid., 146.
[16] Ibid., 130, 184.
[17] Reitlinger, 533–546; Hilberg (1961), 670.
[18] Reitlinger, 367, 377.
[19] Yad Vashem Studies, vol. 3, 119–140.
[20] Kimche & Kimche, 63.
[21] Steengracht 64 in NMT, vol. 13, 300; NO-1247 cited by Reitlinger, 308, and quoted by Hilberg (1961), 254. Steengracht 65 (or NO-1624) does not appear to be reproduced anywhere.
[22] In the survivor literature, see in particular Glatstein et al., 25–32, 43–112; Gringauz (1949 & 1950); Friedman & Pinson.
[23] The New York Times (Oct. 18, 1941), 4.
[24] The best source to consult to see the nature of and motivation for the anti-Jewish pogroms, and the German measures to suppress them, seems to be Raschhofer, 26–66. See also Burg (1962), 50.
[25] The New York Times (Apr. 13, 1946), 8.
[26] The New York Times (Jul. 20, 1945), 9; (Sep. 7, 1945), 5; (Nov. 25, 1945), 32; (Mar. 10, 1946), 2; (Apr. 17, 1946), 27; (May 13, 1946), 18; (May 17, 1946), 5; (Dec. 2, 1946), 5.
[27] Reitlinger, 534, 542f.; The New York Times (Jul. 8, 1945), 1; (Mar. 24, 1946), 3.
[28] Koehl, 198f.; NMT, vol. 5, 692–741; vol. 4, 954–973.
[29] The New York Times (Jun. 28, 1945), 8.
[30] Davie, 33.
[31] US-WRB (1945), 3f., 12f..
[32] Rosenman, 399.
[33] The New York Times (Sep. 21, 1945), 7.
[34] The New York Times (Dec. 23, 1945), 1.
[35] US-WRB (1945), 9, 16–45, 61–69, 72–74.
[36] John & Hadawi, vol. 2, 34.
[37] Koehl, 219f.
[38] Zink, 121f.
[39] The New York Times (Oct. 26, 1946), 5.
[40] Kimche & Kimche, 88f.; John & Hadawi, vol. 2, 23–26, 34–36; Kubek, 79.
[41] The New York Times (Aug. 14, 1946), 10; (Aug. 21, 1946), 1, 5; (Aug. 23, 1946), 18.
[42] The New York Times (Oct. 1, 1945), 2; (Oct. 2, 1945), 1; (Oct. 3, 1945), 1.
[43] Kimche & Kimche, 101–103.
[44] Ibid., 97–98.
[45] Ibid., 85–88.
[46] Ibid., 81–83.
[47] The New York Times (Jun. 24, 1946), 12.
[48] The New York Times (Aug. 10, 1946), 4; (Aug. 27, 1946), 6; (Nov. 2, 1946), 7.
[49] The New York Times (Dec. 2, 1946), 3; (Dec. 3 1946), 13.
[50] The New York Times (Nov. 2, 1946), 7; Kimche & Kimche, 95.
[51] John & Hadawi, vol. 2, 45, 179.
[52] World Almanac (1950), 193; (1958), 364f.; Prittie, 149f.; McDonald, 142f.
[53] Kimche & Kimche, 15–19. Editor’s note: cf. Nicosia.
[54] The New York Times (Dec. 23, 1945), 1.
[55] U.S. Displaced Persons Commission, v, 248.
[56] This data comes ultimately from the Annual Report of the US Immigration and Naturalization Service. In this case, I employed the summaries given in the Information Please Almanac (1969) and the Statistical Abstract of the U.S. (Sep. 72).
[57] Burg (1962), 108.
[58] Aretz, 337–346.
[59] Reitlinger, 521.