The murder of Soviet Jews by the Nazis after the invasion of the USSR in June 1941 is very hard to deny. There is a wealth of evidence that mass murder of Jews was carried out by the Nazis behind the front line in occupied territory. To deny such a pogrom really is ridiculous. The most up to date research indicates that around 2.7 million Jews were murdered in the killing fields of the USSR. Most deniers with a brain tend to stay away from this topic, but those that do mention it try to justify the murder of Jewish communities as part of anti partisan operations. Mr Wear however seems to think there was no deliberate mass murder of Jews at all. This article is a debunking of Mr Wear’s “theory”.
The “Holocaust by Bullets” is becoming an increasingly popular theme among defenders of the Holocaust story. The allegation is that the Einsatzgruppen with support of the German army attempted to murder every Jew in the Soviet Union.
The murder of the Soviet Jews is not some recent development. It has been studied by historians for decades. Hilberg mentions the killings in his 1960s book, Reitlinger mentions them in his book written in the 1950s. Indeed, I cannot think of any book written on the Holocaust by any historian that does not mention the murder of the Soviet Jews. As to the offenders in this mass murder, they comprised the Einsatzgruppen, the Wehrmacht, Order Police units as well as volunteers from local nationalist groups ranging from Ukrainians to Lithuanians.
The term “Holocaust by Bullets” was introduced by Father Patrick Desbois in his book “Porteur de memoires” written in 2007. Mr Wear does not even mention him.
The Traditional Analysis
Mr Wear now starts to build his elaborate straw man fallacy. He quotes historian Arno Mayer:
“When they set forth on their mission, Einsatzgruppen and the RSHA were not given the extermination of Jews as their principal, let alone their only, assignment.”
Mayer is quite correct. That is the view also held by most modern historians. Here is Richard Browning’s take on the “First Killing Sweep” of Soviet Jews in 1941:
“The perpetrators used their image of “the enemy” and the pretexts of “retaliation” and “pacification” to legitimise the selection and execution of undesirable persons, primarily Jews, without waiting for specific orders from above. If the murder of Jews on occupied Soviet territory did not result from a preconceived master plan, the sequence, speed, and scope of the killings must have been connected to regional factors and the dynamics of ad hoc decision making. In the process, traditional elements of hierarchy lost their importance. […] The authority to inflict suffering and death on civilians became detached from military rank and status, with lower and middle ranking officers taking the initiative while their superiors provided support, encouragement and ex post facto legitimisation. In this way the limits of what was regarded as acceptable in dealing with selected groups within the civilian population were expanded”
“The Origins of the Final Solution”, p 256.
In this way, Jewish men suspected of being part of the Bolshevik system were the first to be targeted, then Jewish men in general, followed quickly by women, children and then whole communities.
In the eyes of the SS and the civilian population of the Soviet Union, many Soviet Jews were regarded as being responsible for or accomplices to the Communist acts of violence.
Quite true in many cases. It was all part of the antisemitism that was typical of areas in the western parts of the USSR. All based on myths and lies.
Even Winston Churchill highlighted the predominant Jewish role in the world-wide communist movement in the following 1920 article.
No he didn’t. He praised the fact that most Jews in the USSR were respected member of the community and that very few non practising Jews were involved in the Bolshevik movement.
Here Mr Wear picks on one or two sources whilst ignoring all others.
Israeli Holocaust historian Yitzak Arad and other historians are now promoting the idea that the Einsatzgruppen with support of the German army murdered almost every Jew in the Soviet Union.
Nope. Completely wrong, as pointed out earlier in this article. The mention of Einsatzgruppen units and their little helpers is not new. Mr Wear is either a liar or a historical ignoramus.
In his book The Holocaust in the Soviet Union, Arad discusses the difficulty of obtaining exact figures of Jews who died in the Soviet Union during World War II
As is the situation with most mass murder committed in out of way places.
Arad estimates that approx. 2.7 million Jews were murdered by the Nazis. He is not however the only source for this figure. Solzhenitsyn in his much abused book (by deniers) “200 Years Together” (My copy is in French) also states a similar figure. His source is Russian demographer M Koupvetski in his work “Human Losses of the Jewish Population in Soviet territory during the Second World war”. (1995)
German Historian Wolfgang Benz comes up with a similar number: 2.2 million.
Arad’s assumed death total of Jews in the Soviet Union is absurd.
Personal opinion doesn’t count Mr Wear. The only thing around here that is absurd is your distortion of history.
The German army and the Einsatzgruppen were engaged in a monumental struggle against the Soviet army.
The Einsatgruppen were not front line units. The Wehrmacht had time to aid in the atrocities committed against Jews. German generals freely admitted to that fact:
“Choltitz: The worst job I ever carried out, which however I carried out with great consistency, was the liquidation of the Jews. I carried out this order down to the very last detail.”
“Tapping Hitler’s Generals” Sonke Neitzel, p 192.
So now Mr Wear tries to make Arad out to be a liar and distorter of historical sources. Here is his claim…in bold!
Yitzak Arad has given out false historical information in the past to support the official Holocaust story.
Regarded by many as the leading Treblinka expert, Arad distorted a report dated November 15, 1942 by saying the report referred to gas chambers instead of steam chambers as the murder weapon at Treblinka.
Well, firstly note the shining accolade for a historian slightly long in the tooth. It’s a common literary technique because the higher you build a person, the more dramatic the fall. The Report of 15 November 1942 was, as Arad states “in the most part, correct” when it came to a full description of the camp. Well before Arad wrote his book on Treblinka and the other AR camps, it was well known that steam was NOT the means of mass murder at Treblinka. What were described as steam chambers were obviously gas chambers. Only a fool would think otherwise. Wiernik gives a very similar description to the November report, but he states the rooms were gas chambers. Mr Wear has failed to take into account the context of the November 1942 report in the historiography of the Treblinka extermination camp. 3 accounts of steam come from a few Jews not directly involved with the gassings and who escaped from Treblinka before August 1942. After that date all accounts talked of gas chambers. There has never been a steam chamber narrative. MOST EYEWITNESSES talk of gas chambers. Only deniers like Mr Wear build their straw man fallacies by boosting the steam stories more than they deserve.
Arad had to make this change because the official historiography now states that steam chambers were never used to kill Jews at Treblinka.
Arad didn’t “have to” change anything. Steam chambers were discounted after the summer of 1942, and all eyewitnesses after that date described the use of gas as the main form of murder.
Mr Arad neglects to acknowledge the Bolshevik Holocaust killed by some estimates approx. 60 million people and that the role of numerous Jews, including Stalin’s Jews, were also known and widely resented as depicted in this non-too-subtle graphic.
Arad was not writing about the deaths by Stalin in the USSR. There is no reason why he should mention them. As for 60 million deaths…well I have seen numbers ranging from 20 – 50 million. It appears Mr Wear is far more “loose” with numbers when it comes to other mass murders. As to the graphic; well it is just the usual antisemitic dross that comes out of the Jew hater camp.
Mr Wear now gets his history really wrong. His lack of knowledge concerning Aktion 1005 is astounding from such a self professed “expert” on the Holocaust.
Since the bodies of the alleged 2.5 million murdered Soviet Jews have not been found, the official Holocaust historiography claims that they were cremated in what is called Aktion 1005.
Well I would love to know what Mr Wear defines as “the official Holocaust historiography”. Perhaps if he is reading this, he might like to tell us. In reality of course, Mr Wear seems to believe that no bodies have ever been found. He could not be further from the truth. Mass murder sites are being found right up to present day in places like the Ukraine. Aktion 1005 could only get rid of the evidence fro the large mass murder sites like Babi Yar and the extermination camps of Treblinka, Sobibor, Belzec and Chelmno. There were too many smaller sites littering the countryside to be able to dig them all up and burn the bodies. Father Desbois has spent the last decade or so hunting down these graves with the help of German documentation and non Jewish eyewitnesses to the mass shootings. The huge list of discovered sites can be found here:
The list is continually updated.
It is unrealistic to assume that Aktion 1005 succeeded and the Germans exhumed and burned over 2.5 million bodies.
That is because they didn’t. No historian has ever claimed they did. This is yet another straw man fallacy.
Furthermore, we know that no Soviet planes discovered and photographed the burning bodies, because otherwise the Soviets would have exploited the photographs for propaganda purposes.
Mr Wear does like his supposition. The Conditional must be his favourite tense.
Yitzak Arad attempts to explain away these problems by stating that Aktion 1005 was a failure
Arad doesn’t “explain away” anything. He is totally correct. Aktion 1005 did not succeed in its attempts to obliterate the evidence. Why? Because there were too many death sites and too many bodies.
The problem with Arad’s explanation is that neither the Soviets nor anyone else have found the mass graves in which large numbers of Jews were supposedly buried in the Soviet Union.
Not true. Not true since the first years of 2000. Mr Wear relies on out of date data. His history is out of date. Such is the state of Holocaust Denial.
Germar Rudolf writes
…the same rubbish as well.
Thus, the undocumented and imaginary Aktion 1005 provides no evidence of a German program of genocide against Soviet Jews.
Sorry, Mr Wear…but contemporary documents would beg to differ:
There was nothing “imaginary” about Aktion 1005.
Benjamin Ferencz, the chief prosecutor at the Einsatzgruppen trials, has admitted to using death threats to obtain evidence. Ferencz said in an interview
Ferencz was not describing an interrogation of men involved in the Einsatzgruppen trials.
Ferencz, who enjoys an international reputation as a world peace advocate
I see another straw man fallacy being constructed here.
This and other admissions by Ferencz cast an immediate shadow over the entire proceedings.
No they don’t.
Benjamin Ferencz took only two days to present the 253 captured documents in the Einsatzgruppen case. These documents were the primary evidence used to convict the defendants in these trials
Interesting thing to say, considering the trial lasted just over 8 months.
The accuracy and authenticity of the Einsatzgruppen reports have been called into question by many researchers.
I think Mr Wear means Holocaust Deniers, neo Nazis and Nazi apologists. None of these I would give the label “researcher” to….
The reason why deniers like Mr Wear shout forgery is because the Einsatzgruppen reports are extremely damning. Claiming forgery is the last resort of the Holocaust denier backed into a corner.
However, even Benjamin Ferencz has admitted that the copies of these reports originated with the copies held by the German Foreign Office in Berlin, which makes them Soviet-origin papers.
So what? Is Mr Wear trying to tell us the Soviets made them up? He can of course prove this assertion? Can’t he? It doesn’t matter though. The reports can be used in conjunction with the PRO decodes taken by the British and the statements of German general POWs secretly recorded by the British mentioned earlier in this article.
The unreliability of the Einsatzgruppen reports was acknowledged in the trial of German Field Marshal Erich von Manstein in 1949. Von Manstein’s lawyer demonstrated that whole areas claimed by the reports to be “cleared of Jews” actually contained many flourishing Jewish communities that were untouched throughout the entire war. The trial court accepted the argument that the Einsatzgruppen reports were unreliable, and Von Manstein was acquitted in regard to the Einsatzgruppen activities in his command sector.
Seriously? Who made up this trash? Oh yes…Peter Winter, the not very bright Holocaust Denier who thinks that the wooden door found today in Crematoria 1 is the original gas chamber door.
Von Manstein was acquitted of the crimes of the Einsatzgruppen not because they did not take place, but because he managed to prove to the court that he had no knowledge of the crimes taking place.
Dr. Arthur Robert Butz explains why the Einsatzgruppen documents were forged
Butz is a denier. He can’t prove forgery. Full stop.
The Einsatzgruppen were assigned the tasks of killing Soviet Commissars and fighting partisan activity in the Soviet Union. Large numbers of Jews and non-Jews were killed in these operations.
Indeed. Over 2 million Jews were murdered…for being Jews.
However, the Einsatzgruppen did not serve the additional purpose of committing genocide against Soviet Jewry.
Yes it did. As proven by a variety of independent sources.
The increased death toll in the “Holocaust by Bullets” is being used today by Yitzk Arad and other historians to offset the diminishing estimated deaths in the German camps.
Nope. The “death by bullets” has been known about since the end of the war. It is not a modern addition to the Holocaust.