The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: camps/aktion.reinhard/appendix.arad

Newsgroups: alt.revisionism,soc.history
Subject: Holocaust Almanac: How Do We Count the Deported?
Followup-To: alt.revisionism
Organization: The Old Frog's Almanac, Vancouver Island, CANADA
Keywords: Belzec,Reinhard,Sobibor,Treblinka

"The exact number of Jews who were departed to the Operation Reinhard death 
camps is difficult to determine because of the prevailing conditions at the 
time and the method employed by the Nazi extermination machine in expelling 
the victims to Belzec, Sobibor and Treblinka. The number of Jews who lived
in the towns and townships of Poland before the war is known from the
population census carried out there in 1931. Some demographic changes took
place during the years 1931-1939, but these did not basically alter the
number of Jews living there on the eve of the German occupation.

Substantial demographic changes did occur during the war, during the years
1939-1945, until the onset of the deportations to the death camps. In these
years, tens of thousands of Jews escaped from one place to seek refuge in
another. Hundreds of thousands of Jews were expelled and resettled, sent to
labor camps, or centrated in larger ghettos. Thousands of Jews were
murdered in shooting Aktionen in the vicinity of their homes -- before,
during, and after the deportations to the death camps. Thus, on the eve of
the expulsions, there were many small localities in which Jews no longer
lived and other localities in which the number of Jews was much higher than
before the war.

The deportation method, as carried out by the German authorities in the
General Government, was 'en masse', without lists of names or even exact
numbers. Usually ghettos were totally liquidated, and only the killing
capacity of the camps and the volume of the trains dictated the number of
people who were deported. In places where some Jews were temporarily left
behind, the Germans counted the few who remained, while all the others were
pushed into the trains.

Documents of the German railway authorities, which were found after the
war, provided some data on the number of trains and freight cars. If we
take into account that each fully packed freight car carried 100-150
people, we can arrive at an approximate indication of the number of Jews in
each transport.

Another source of information was the census of the ghetto inhabitants
carried out by the Judenrats in some of these places. A census of this type
was usually taken by order of the German authorities for purposes of
forced-labor requests or in preparation for the deportations. Sometimes the
Judenrats also took a census for their own purposes ... food rationing or
housing problems. Documents containing these data and sometimes even the
number of Jews who were deported, as collected by the Judenrat, were found
after the war. Sometimes they were mentioned in diaries wirtten by ghetto
inmates and left behind.

Numerous memoirs written by survivors, as well as the memorial books
(Yizkor books), contain important data about the deportations, including
dates and the number of deported. Testimonies by survivors, statements by
local people who witnessed the deportations, and evidence given by members
of the German administration at the war crims trials serve as significant
sources of information.

Together, all these documents and sources enable us to arrive at an
estimation that comes very close to the actual figures and dates of the
deportations to the Operation Reinhard death camps."

Excerpted from....----------------------------------------------
BELZEC, SOBIBOR, TREBLINKA - the Operation Reinhard Death Camps
Indiana University Press - Yitzhak Arad, 1987. ISBN 0-253-3429-7

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