Hilberg Raul, Rassinier distortions

Lipstadt, Deborah. _Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on
Truth and Memory_. The Free Press, New York. pp. 58-59, 246. The
bracketed comments are Lipstadt’s.

In trying to make his case, Rassinier fabricated data, misquoted,
and used quotations out of context. He first tried to demonstrate
that Arendt and Hilberg were in disagreement about the number of
Jews who were killed in Poland. According to Rassinier, in her
February 23, 1963, _New Yorker_ article Arendt “coolly inform[ed] us
that ‘three million Polish Jews were massacred during the first day
of the war'” He then wrote: “Mr. Raul Hilberg found the ‘about
200,000,000 _Polish_ Jews, … were transported to their deaths in
1942 and 1943.” Rassinier complained about this apparent
contradiction between the findings of these two historians and
added: “It would be a good thing to come to an understanding: were
there in Poland 3 to 3.3 million Jews during the war, as all
statisticians unanimously claim, including those who are Jewish, or
were there 5.7 million as Mme. Hannah Arendt is obliged to claim,
since here are 5 million exterminated.” ^21

Rassinier simply falsified Arendt’s statement. In addition, he made
minor but strategically important changes in Hilberg’s quote and
then quoted it out of context in order to make it appear as if there
were some contradiction between the two scholars. In _The
Destruction of the European Jews_, Hilberg analyzed the role of the
railways in the annihilation process. He observed that the “railway
network managed to carry about 2,000,000 Polish Jews to their deaths
in 1942 and 1943.” Rassinier ignored the references to the railway
network. He makes it appear as if Hilberg is citing the total
number of Polish Jews who were annihilated and not just those
transported by rail. (Hilberg does not include in this total Jews
deported by other means and those who were killed in ghettoes or in
areas immediately adjacent to their homes. ^22) When those Polish
victims are included, Hilberg’s total comes to three million Polish

But Rassinier committed an even more egregious falsehood in
connection with Arendt’s quote. Arendt did _not_ write that three
million Polish Jews were killed in the first day. Discussing German
estimates of the number of Jews left in Europe in 1940, Arendt
observed that one particular estimate “did not include three million
Polish Jews, who, as everybody knew, had been in the process of
being massacred even since the first days of the war.” ^23 By
changing Arendt’s quote to say three millions had been killed _on
the first day_, Rassinier manages to make Arendt sound not only in
total contradiction to other historians but quite out of touch with
reality. Deniers would repeatedly rely on this tactic to try to
make the findings of Holocaust historians seem particularly

21. Pierre Hofstetter, Introduction to Paul Rassinier, _Debunking
the Genocide Myth: A study of the Nazi Concentration Camps and the
Alleged Extermination of European Jewry_ (Torrance, California,
1978), p. 219.

22. Raul Hilberg, _The Destruction of the European Jews_ (New York,
1967), p. 311; _Debunking_, p. 219.

23. Hannah Arendt, “A Reporter at Large: Eichmann in Jerusalem —
II,” _The New Yorker_, Feb. 23, 1963, p. 66.