Holocaust Denial on Trial, Trial Judgment: Electronic Edition, by Charles Gray

Table of Contents

The Defendants' evidence of the falsity of Irving's claims

8.21 A formidable obstacle in the way of arriving at an accurate number for those killed by gas is that no records were kept by the Nazis of the numbers put to death in the gas chambers or, if they were, none have survived. Records were kept, as I have mentioned earlier, of the number of deaths amongst those who were registered as inmates of the camp. But, for reasons which are perhaps obvious, none of those deaths is recorded as having been due to gassing.
8.22 The difficulty of arriving at an accurate estimate is compounded by the undoubted fact that many inmates died from disease and above all in the typhus epidemics which from time to time ravaged the camp. Whilst the Defendants do assert that these deaths are the result of deliberate genocidal policy on the part of the Nazis, they must of course be discounted in order to reach a correct estimate of the number of deaths in the gas chambers. Initial estimates, largely based on the capacity of the crematoria, ran as high as 4 million. As has been see the camp commandant, Hoss, gave varying estimates, ranging from 3 million to 1.1 million. However, analysis of the numbers of Jews transported to Auschwitz produced a lower estimate of around 1 million. Research carried out more recently, notably by Raul Hilberg and by Dr Piper of the Auschwitz Museum, has concluded that the true figure for the number of deaths at Auschwitz is in the region of 1.1 million of which the vast majority perished in the gas chambers. This figure has, according to the evidence of van Pelt and Longerich, been endorsed by the majority of serious, professional historians concerned in this field. The only significant exception is Jean-Claude Pressac, a French chemist and amateur historian, whose study concluded that the overall number of deaths was 630-710,000, of which 470-550,000 were gassed on arrival at the camp.
8.23 Longerich estimated that between February 1942 and January 1945 between 900,000 and 1 million Jews died at Auschwitz. But he made clear that those figures included those who died otherwise than by being gassed, for example in epidemics. Deaths outside the gas chambers accounted for about 100,000 deaths, leaving 800,000 to 900,000 murders by gassing. Longerich made clear that he regarded all the deaths as genocidal since the conditions in the camp were deliberately prepared by the Nazis.
8.24 It is the contention both van Pelt and Evans on behalf of the Defendants that Irving has consistently under-estimated the number of Jews killed in the Holocaust and more particularly at Auschwitz. The Defendants assert that the available evidence demonstrates that the number of Jews killed in the Holocaust, both at Auschwitz and more generally, far exceeds Irving's estimates (which themselves vary considerably). They contend that he has paid no proper regard to that evidence and that he has carried no or no adequate research into the numbers killed.

accessed 11 March 2013