RESPONSE TO COLLINS ON BAUER IN HIS LETTER OF JULY 25
The Bauer matter – third paragraph of Collins letter of July
25. Of course one “cannot take three million from six
million and still leave six million”, but I can make no
sense of Collins’ ‘the claimed number of deaths would have
been reduced [reduced?] to eight or nine million if the
Auschwitz deaths were reduced by three million”. I’ll be
pleased to present a bottle of Scotch (or whatever is his or
her favourite booze) to any member of Council who can
explain that to me.
What Collins is trying to say, I believe, is that nobody has
ever argued that the total number of deaths was 9 million
which it would have to have been if the Auschwitz figure is
reduced by three million and still leaves a total figure of
6 million. Six million (not 9 million) has always been the
top total number. Reducing the Auschwitz figure by 3 million
reduces the total number to 3 million.
But Bauer allows for this type of objection. In the third
paragraph of the NYT article (Document D), Bauer writes:
“The four million figure, combined with the known deaths
elsewhere would result in a figure well above the appoximate
figure of six million that has long been established bv
different methods, including a comparison of European Jewish
population statistics before and after the war, he
For Bauer, the 4 million figure for Auschwitz would give an
exaggerated total figure (say, 9 million). Collins is not
telling us (or Bauer) anything new when he (Collins) tells
us that we cannot change the Auschwitz figures without
changing the total figures.
For Bauer the 6 million total figure is incontrovertible –
it is established by demographic considerations, quite
independent of the figures given for Auschwitz (“the six
million figure has long been established by….a comparison
of European Jewish population statistics before and after
the war”). Bauer’s position is that if 4 million is taken as
the Auschwitz figure then, that Auschwitz figure must be
wrong – not the 6 million figure. If we take the generally
accepted figures for each concentration camp and 4 million
for Auschwitz, then, we do, indeed, come to a total figure
of 9 million. But what this means for Bauer is, not that the
6 million total figure is wrong (that figure has long been
established by incontrovertible demographic statistics), but
that the 4 million figure for Auschwitz is wrong. It leads
to an unsustainably high total figure.
An explanation for the exaggerated Auschwitz figure is
given. In the NYT article Bauer tells us: “Polish Communists
and nationalists alike promoted the larger figure [for
Auschwitz] to serve a political purpose, casting both Jewish
and Polish losses in such numbers that the distinction
between the fates of the two groups was blurred”.
In the Washington Post article which Collins has sent you,
the head of research at Israel’s Yad Vashem memorial
(Krakowsky) is reported as saying that the former communist
government in Poland perpetuated the false figure (4
million) “to support claims that Auschwitz was not
exclusively a Jewish death camp”. In other words, what both
Bauer and Krakowsky are saying is that the Polish government
perpetuated the 4 million story, because, for political
reasons, they wanted to include a number of non-Jews –
according to Krakowsky an exaggerated number of them – among
the Auschwitz dead. (According to Krakowsky “at most only
300,000 non-Jews died there [i.e. at Auschwitz]”.) That is
Karakowsky’s explanation of the exaggerated figures for
Auschwitz, and. it would seem, Bauer agrees with him.
Experts on the matter have known for years that there is
something wrong with the 4 million figure for Auschwitz.
They know that if the 4 million figure for Auschwitz is
accepted, the numbers do not add up properly – the figures
for individual concentration camps (including Auschwitz)
will then add up to a higher total number (9 million) than
the figure firmly established by demographic considerations
In the NYT article we are told: “Among Holocaust historians,
Mr. Bauer said, the larger figures [for Auschwitz] have been
dismissed for years, except that it hasn’t reached the
general public yet and I think it’s about time it did”. And
one of the reasons that Bauer believes that “it is about
time it did” is that “Exaggerating the number of dead at
Auschwitz, he said ‘would only be grist for the mills of the
deniers of the Holocaust….They can add up you know”. They
would make hay out of the inconsistent numbers.
But Collins is worse than those Revisionists who, before
Bauer announced to the general public that the 4 million
figure for Auschwitz was an exaggeration, would make hay out
of the faulty figures. Collins tries to make hay out of the
figures even after Bauer has explained the matter.
Collins is now trying to tell the Press Council, that
although Bauer is talking about Auschwitz numbers, he can
still be quoted to the effect that the six million story is
not true, since a reduction in the Auschwitz figures implies
a reduction in the total numbers.
Bauer explicitly denies this.
For Bauer, it is the original Auschwitz figure of 4 million
which results in an exaggerated total number.
The reduced Auschwitz number is consistent with the
incontrovertible long established total figure of 6 million.
Bauer’s position, as is made perfectly clear in the NYT
article, is that with the reduced Auschwitz figures we still
get a 6 million total figure; with the 4 million Auschwitz
figure we get an unsustainable 9 million figure. The reduced
Auschwitz figure does not result in a reduced total figure,
because the original 4 million figure for Auschwitz results
in an unsustainably high total figure.
Bauer has answered Collins’ objection, even before Collins
made it. My contention that Collins has distorted Bauer’s
position so as to deceive his (Collins’) readers into
believing that Collins’ may properly cite Bauer in defence
of his own Revisionist position still stands.
The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)