The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: people/b/bacque.james/bacque.002

Archive/File: people/b/bacque.james bacque.002
Last-Modified: 1994/06/29

Newsgroups: alt.revisionism
Path: oneb!kmcvay
From: (Ken Mcvay)
Subject: Vicksell turns to Bacque, looks the fool.
References: <2ucc21$> <2uffl4$> 
Organization: The Old Frog's Almanac
Message-ID: <>
Date: Sun, 26 Jun 94 00:54:52 GMT

In article (Ross Vicksell) writes:
>Chris Krolczyk (krolczyk@MCS.COM) wrote:
>: Last time I looked, the US didn't resort to the mass execution of Germans 
>: after they won the war, Berg. 
>Look again. Tha American army deliberately starved 1,000,000 German POWs
>to death after the war. It's documented in James Bacque's book Other
>Losses.  Bacque recently corroborated his findings by checking the records
>in the Soviet archives that dealt with German POWs there. 

Bacque's work is so badly flawed that no-one but the terminally
stupid could or would take it seriously. His conclusions were based
upon nothing more or less than a complete misreading of his raw
data, as several users point out each and every time another
Bacque-based claim is posted to the net.....

[From an old post, archived here as holocaust/usa/bacque.001]

Some comments
on the work were made by Prof. Stephen Ambrose, director of the Eisenhower
Center at the University of New-Orleans (a thorough refutation appears
in the NYT, Feb. 24, 1991). Ambrose does admit that there was mistreatment
of German POW's in the spring and summer of 1945, but adds:

"When scholars do the necessary research, they will find Mr. Bacque's
work to be worse than worthless. It is seriously - nay, spectacularly -
flawed in its most fundamental aspects". For example, Bacque's 
extrapolation of one million deaths is based on on a typographical error
in a single army medical report. Ambrose wrote "[Bacque] arrived at
his most basic conclusion, a death rate at all camps of 30 percent, by 
dividing the 21,000 deaths by the 70,000 prisoners [listed in the 
report]... all other figures in the document make it clear that that the 
correct number of the prisoners was 700,000. This would make the death 
rate not 30 percent but 3 percent".

In concluding his arguments against Bacque's spurious research, Ambrose
wrote "Mr. Bacque is wrong on every major charge and nearly all his
minor ones". He than quotes Albert Cowdrey, a military historian for
the Department of the Army: "Surely, [Bacque] has reason to be satisfied
with his achievement. He has no reputation as a historian to lose, and
_Other_Losses_ can only enhance his standing as a writer of fiction".

[My thanks to Dr. Keren for the above]

[Another user responded in similar fashion...]

A team of historians lead by Stephen Ambrose thoroughly debunked this
story.  There's a rebuttal book that came out of a conference to
examine these claims (No, I don't have a citation.  If you're really
interested, I'd suggest getting in touch with Dr. Ambrose at the
University of New Orleans.  This isn't in my area of interest.)  It
received a lot of 'airplay' within military history circles when the
book came out, and I remember hearing something about it on the
national media, too.  The national media treated the story with some
distance, because some of the points stretched credibility, even
without any significant historical analysis.

[Another user comments upon Bacque's "research"]
The whole thesis of Bacque's silly book rests on one simple mistake
by Bacque: the term "other losses" in prison camp censuses.  

The term refers to prisoners *released*; not to prisoners killed.

Tell me this: of the thousands of Germans who *survived* American
prison camps during and after the war, none has ever reported
anything like what Bacque talks about.  Many of these people
are still alive, and can be interviewed.  I've got a whole 
book of oral history of such experiences.  

Why has nobody ever reported the supposed mass killing?

[And ends his comments with the following advice, which Mr. Vicksell
might employ to his benefit...]

And I urge you to read *any* review of the book by a competent 
historian.  Your librarian will help you find these reviews.

The book you bought was reduced in price for a reason: it's trash.

[Still another user's observations about this issue...]

	One other thing about Baque's scholarship in "Other Losses" that
came clear when he was interviewed on Canadian television (on the program
"W5") was that his research was so shoddy that he "missed" the explanation
for other losses contained in the document folder next to the one where he
first encountered the phrase.  When he found no other explanation for
"other loses," he asssumed that the phrase had sinister meaning.  When
these examples of shoddy scholarship were pointed out to Baque's academic
supervisor (who had only just before said for the camera that he thought
Jim's work was great and had written so in the book's introduction)
repudiated his student and said that in the light of this he felt it was
best to re-evaluate his support for the work.

[A German user commented...]

 Having read the first edition of his book and some other 'second hand'
 material on treatment of german POWs by allied forces as well I can in
 no way agree with Bacque's claim that more than 1 million POWs died
 in french and american custody.
 The true points in his book are 
 1) The record keeping by american forces is a mess. 
 2) Treatment of german POWs by France was criminal (100.000 presumed
    dead by other sources too)  
 3) Treatment of german POW by US forces was not according to international
 4) Eisenhower used legal tricks (POWs reclassified as DEPs etc.)
 5) Eisenhower had psychic problem with regard to Germany
 But in my eyes


 There's a lot of wild adding, subtracting, estimating and classifying in
 which even the inclined reader qickly looses the trace. Other solutions to
 Braque's number enigmas are always possible. For example: US forces 
 allegedly reported more POW camp inmates released than there where re-
 gistered to make up for the dead. 30 or so pages earlier he states that
 there was no tag field for the Volkssturm guys on the register field
 which he views as another attempt to make up the numbers. He nowhere 
 rules out that the several hundred thousand surplus releases stem from
 that category. 
 Even when he deals with details his (moral?) outrage carries him to far
 sometimes. In a camp in Alsace the american officers did have their casino
 rooms redecorated three times in 1945, which provokes Bracque to the remark
 that they did so while the POWs were starving (non-lethal if I remember 
 correctly). Now, boys and girls, to anybody who's served with the forces
 it's well known that one of the main objectives of superiors is to keep
 their men employed. So a more realistic solution here too, and usually such
 work means extra rations or other advantages also. Old forces habit. BTW, 
 should they feed the POWs with wallpaper and paint?  
 But the most dubious part of his book is the one where he judges other exam-
 inations dealing with this topic. He, of course, reviews soviet publications
 postively that support his allegations. Those contrary to his position are
 eigther inaccurate or blatant politically motivated lies. I remember only
 two cases. One is that of a red cross office in Bavaria which found out most
 of the bavarian MIAs were last sighted on the Eastern front. Bracque challenges 
 this with the idea that Bavaria is a small state (wrong) and that Bavarians
 might have been predominantly sent to the Eastern front ( totally unproven)
 or that they might not have had time to sent post when redestinated to the
 Western front (Do I hear laughter?). The other is that of the official
 federal examination on the treatment of german POWs. Here he declines to
 say that it's simply a politically fake. That Prof. Maschke and his team
 questioned ten thousands if not hundredthousands of former POWs in the 
 fifties and sixties and most hints on the question of missing POWs pointed
 to the Soviet Union is absolutely unwellcome to Bracque so he cooses to 
 debunk it straightforward.

[and again...]

The above is definitely untrue. Bacque's book, far from being "well-docu-
mented, is based on distorted evidence and irresponsible extrapolations.
Bacque took some figures from POW camps with well-known hard conditions
(especially the grasslands on the banks of Rhine during the first chaotic
weeks) and extrapolated the mortality therefrom onto the total of German
POWs on the Western front during the whole period of 1945/46. In one case
(French POW camp) he misread the released persons as dead, further on, he
failed to recognize that the waste majority of aged "Volkssturm" people
and minors caught as AA artillery helpers (Flakhelfer) were registered 
as POWs but sent home instantly in most cases which explains much better
some differences of figures of POWs taken and released than Bacque's
speculations do.
The total of German POW losses in the West during that time was between
6,000 and 10,000 persons rather than the million asserted for ends of 
sensationalism, most of them in the provisional camps in May/June, 1945.

Most convincing evidence against Bacque's hypothesis is that the "Deutsche
Diensstelle" (German registration office for military losses) did register
less than 60,000 missing soldiers on the Western front and in the Western
part of the Reich during the whole period 1939-1945/46. Those numbers are
including missing personnel during the bomb war. As the pensions for the
relatives of missing/killed soldiers are based on the data of that office,
it would be impossible to hide away hundreds of thousands of MIAs. 


Ref.: Erich Maschke (Ed.), Zur Geschichte der deutschen Kriegsgefangenen
      des Zweiten Weltkriegs, Muenchen 1962-1974
      Wolfgang Benz and Angelika Schmidt (Ed.), Kriegsgefangenschaft. Be-
      richte ueber das Leben in Kriegsgefangenenlagern der Alliierten,
      Muenchen 1991
      Deutsche Dienststelle (WASt), Jahresbericht, Berlin 1985, p.20ff.

Btw., Bacque's distortions are starting to become just another Neonazi 


In short, Mr. Vicksell, Bacque's work is nonsense at best, shoddy to
the point of being worthless, and absolutely typical of the sort of
scholarship those who would deny the Holocaust must rely upon.

You'll have to do much, much better than that if you expect anyone
here to take anything you have to say seriously, and you'd be far
better off (and coincidentally avoid making such a fool of yourself
in front of your readers) consigning Mr. Bacque's work to the trash
bin, a home it richly deserves.

Surely this isn't the best CODOH has to offer?

--------------------------The Old Frog's Almanac-------------------------
"However, it is sophistry to proclaim that something must have happened a
certain way because your `reason' demands it." (Greg Raven, Institute for
Historical Review)

Home ·  Site Map ·  What's New? ·  Search Nizkor

© The Nizkor Project, 1991-2012

This site is intended for educational purposes to teach about the Holocaust and to combat hatred. Any statements or excerpts found on this site are for educational purposes only.

As part of these educational purposes, Nizkor may include on this website materials, such as excerpts from the writings of racists and antisemites. Far from approving these writings, Nizkor condemns them and provides them so that its readers can learn the nature and extent of hate and antisemitic discourse. Nizkor urges the readers of these pages to condemn racist and hate speech in all of its forms and manifestations.