How Many People Died at Auschwitz?
Foner's Spotlight article makes the following assertions regarding the number of people killed at the camp:
Foner's assertions are simply not true; although it is correct to note that the Polish Communist government did claim that four million people were exterminated at Auschwitz, historians (Feig, Reitlinger, Hilberg, et al.) have never supported that figure. Consider the estimates provided by Buszko at the end of his article on Auschwitz, which appeared in the Encyclopedia of the Holocaust:
Buszko's article, and the above estimates, appeared in the 1990 edition of the Encyclopedia, which clearly puts the lie to Foner's comment that "anyone who publicly doubted the 4.1 million .. " figure "previous to 1992..." was "...labeled an anti-Semite...". Buszko is not only a Jewish historian, but Polish as well.
Leon Poliakov, the author of the well-documented Harvest of Hate, which was, we note, first published in 1956, provides the following information, which clearly demonstrates that Foner's contention, cited above, is an outright lie:
Feig also provides evidence of the false nature of Foner's comment when she notes that:
According to Snyder, Adolf Eichmann reported to Heinrich Himmler, in 1944, that four million had been killed in the camps, and another million had been shot or killed by mobile units. (Snyder, Louis. Encyclopedia of the Third Reich Marlowe & Co., 1997.) Eichmann's report, which referenced all the camps (most of which were in Nazi-occupied Poland), may have been the source of the Polish Communist government's figures. (Snyder is a Professor of History at the City College and the City University of New York.)
During the war crimes trials, Höss was was asked if it was true that he had no exact numbers because he had been forbidden to compile them, and he agreed. He also agreed that Adolf Eichmann had told him that that more than two million people had been exterminated there. (von Lang, Jochen. ed. Eichmann Interrogated: Transcripts from the Archives of the Israeli Police. NY: Farrar, Straus, & Giroux, 1983, p.120)
The Institut Fuer Zeitgeschichte, Munich, provided the following capsulated paragraph about Auschwitz in a March, 1992, letter of inquiry.
While it is admittedly difficult to compile exact figures, since the Nazis did not maintain registration records for those who were to be exterminated immediately upon arrival at Auschwitz, it seems accurate to assert that the number of Jews killed fell somewhere between one and one-point-six million.
Jews were not the only victims of the Auschwitz killing machine - estimates that from 200,000 (Gilbert, Martin. Holocaust Maps and Photographs. NY: Anti-Defamation League, 1992, p. 22, Kenrick, Donald. The Destiny of Europe's Gypsies. NY: Basic Books, 1973, p. 184) to 500,000 (Bubenickova, 190, Yoors, Jan. Crossing, A Journal of Survival and Resistance in World War II. Waveland Press, 1988, p. 34) Gypsies were ultimately destroyed are noted by Laska. Himmler signed the decree sending all of them to Auschwitz in 1942. In addition, an unknown number of homosexuals were sent to Auschwitz and executed.
The Leuchter Report, which Foner alludes to extensively in his Spotlight article, has been thoroughly refuted. For detailed information about the report, see the Leuchter FAQ.
Source: The Nizkor Project