Breaking the Spell by Nicholas Kollerstrom Review and Commentary Part Four

In my previous post I looked at some of Nicholas Kollerstrom’s comments about the evidence of Rudolf Hoess, Commandant of Auschwitz. Hoess had originally claimed that 2.5 million Jews had been killed in Auschwitz. In his memoirs written in November 1946, Hoess wrote that 1,230,000 Jews had been killed in Auschwitz (Rudolf Hoess, Commandant of Auschwitz, Phoenix press, London, 2000, p 194).

In May 1945 the Soviet Extraordinary State Commission concluded that four million people had died in Auschwitz. They based this on the capacity of the crematoria. But just because it was theoretically possible to cremate four million bodies does not mean that four million were killed in Auschwitz (Franciszek Piper, “The Number of Victims” in Yisrael Gutman and Michael Berenbaum (editors), Anatomy of the Auschwitz Death Camp, Indiana University Press, Bloomington, 1998, p 65).

In spite of all the revisionist claims that Hoess was coerced into writing his confessions and memoirs, he was clearly not coerced into going along with the “official” Communist estimates of Auschwitz deaths.

Kollerstrom writes,

“Franciszek Piper, Director of the Auschwitz museum in the early 1990s when David Cole got to interview him, shockingly reduced the number who died in the Auschwitz camp from four million to one, or 1.1 million – and he somehow kept his job. The notice up at Auschwitz saying four million had to be changed, but the total remained: Six million minus three million equals six million.” (Nicholas Kollerstrom, Breaking the Spell, Castle Hill Publishers, Uckfield, 2014, p 30)

Piper began his study of the number of victims in Auschwitz in 1980. The first draft of his results was completed in 1986 and it was published in 1991 (Franciszek Piper, “The Number of Victims”, in Yisrael Gutman and Michael Berenbaum (editors), Anatomy of the Auschwitz Death Camp, Indian University Press, Bloomington , 1998, p 68, 74).

His comments were only “shocking” to those who do not follow Holocaust research. Even before 1991, hardly any western historians believed that four million Jews had been killed in Auschwitz. The revisionist Jurgen Graf writes,

“Shortly after the Red Army’s takeover of the Auschwitz camp in January 1945, the Soviets told the world that four million persons had died there. Although this absurd figure was widely cited in the West, and was officially defended in Poland until 1990, few Western historians accepted it.” (Jurgen Graf, “What Happened to the Jews Who Were Deported to Auschwitz But Were Not Registered There?”, Journal of Historical Review, Vol. 19, No. 4, July-August 2000)

Thus, Kollerstrom’s argument that the “official” reduction of the Auschwitz death from four to one million means that the overall death toll in the Holocaust should also be reduced by three million is flawed because Western historians never believed that four million Jews had been killed in Auschwitz.

Their estimates for the total number of Jews killed in the Holocaust  was not worked out by adding up the number of Jews killed in each of the camps, including four million in Auschwitz. Their estimates were based on the number of missing or unaccounted for Jews at the end of the war.

While it is widely believed that six million Jews were killed, some historians have come up with lower estimates. In 1961 Raul Hilberg wrote that one million Jews had died in Auschwitz and 5.1 Million Jews had died in the Holocaust (Raul Hilberg, The Destruction of the European Jews, Quadrangle Books, Chicago, 1961, p 572, 767). In 1968 Gerald Reitlinger wrote that 700,000 Jews had been  killed in Auschwitz and between 4,2 and 4.57 Jews had been killed in the Holocaust (Gerald Reitlinger, The Final Solution, Valentine, Mitchell, London, 1968, p 501, 546).

Kollerstrom and other revisionists point to the Jews  who survived the war, as though this somehow proves there was no mass murder program (Breaking the Spell, p 210, 212). He writes,

“Supporters of the Holocaust legend cannot have it both ways. If they are taking endless “reparations” from Germany claiming to be “Holocaust survivors”. then how can they allege that such numbers of Jews were liquidated in Europe?” (Breaking the Spell, p 46)

“One can either have an ongoing program of extermination or have workers capable of doing skilled work – but not both.” (Breaking the Spell, p 102)

They did have both. This argument reveals their ignorance of the nature of the Holocaust. The Holocaust was not a pogrom in which the Nazis killed every Jew they could find. No historian has ever said this was the case. In general, the unfit Jews were killed, while the fit Jews, who could be used for slave labour, were kept alive for a while. Some of these survived the war. This policy is outlined in a well-known  March 27, 1942 passage from Joseph Goebbels’ diary,

“Beginning with Lublin, the Jews are now being deported eastward from the Government-General. The procedure is pretty barbaric, and one that beggars description, and there’s not much left of the Jews. Broadly speaking, one can probably say that sixty percent of them will have to be liquidated while only forty percent can be put to work.” (David Irving, Goebbels, Mastermind of the Third Reich, Focal Point, London 1996, p 388)

The Wannsee Protocol is the minutes of a January 1942 conference on the implementation of the Final Solution. Part of it explains what will happen to the Jews who were deported,

“In pursuance of the final solution, the Jews will be conscripted for labour in the east under appropriate supervision. Large labour gangs will be formed form those fit for work, with the sexes separated, which will be sent to these areas for road construction and undoubtedly a large number of them will drop out through natural wastage. The remainder who survive – and they will certainly be those who have the greatest powers of endurance – will have to be dealt with accordingly. For, if released, they would, as a natural selection of the fittest, form a germ cell from which the Jewish race could regenerate itself.” (J. Noakes and G. Pridham (editors), Nazism 1919-1945, A History in Documents and Eyewitness Accounts, Volume 2, Schocken Nooks, New York, 1988, p 1131)

Like Goebbels’ diary, the Wannsee Protocol says that the fit Jews would be used for slave labour, but it does not say what would happen to the unfit Jews. If it was nothing sinister, why didn’t they just say so? It looks like they did not want to put into writing that the unfit Jews would be Jews.

Furthermore, there is no evidence that Jews were actually used to build roads in the East.

Kollerstrom quotes from both Goebbels’ diary and the Wannsee Protocol, arguing that the Final Solution only meant deporting the Jews to the East (Breaking the Spell, p 214). That part is true. The issue is what happened to the Jews when they got there. He quotes several passages from Goebbels’ diary about the deportation of the Jews and concludes, “Let’s hope this settle the matter.” (Breaking the Spell, p 216)

However, he ignores the two passages quoted above. How can someone ignore the most famous passage in Goebbels’ diary on the fate of the Jews when discussing the fate of the Jews?

Kollerstrom argues that there could not have been any mass murder program because there were 5 million Jews still alive at the end of the war (Breaking the Spell, p 46, 48). If there were about 11 million Jews n Europe at the start of the war and 5 million Jews at the end, this does not prove that around 6 million Jews were not killed.

However, Kollerstrom claims there were only 3 million Jews in Nazi-occupied Europe (Breaking the Spell, p 46, 50). He even says there were only 1.1 million Jews in Poland (Breaking the Spell, p 46).


I think the Nazis would have known how many Jews they had. The Wannsee Protocol said there were 11 million Jews in Europe, including 2.7 million in Poland (Nazism, 1919-1945, Volume 2, p 1130). In a diary entry for March 7, 1942, Joseph Goebbels wrote, “There are 11 million Jews still in Europe.”

Before the Wannsee Conference Hans Frank, Governor of the General Government (part of Nazi-occupied Poland), said in a speech on December 16, 1941,

“We have an estimated 2.5 million Jews in the General Government; if one includes those married to them and all their dependents, perhaps 3.5 million. We cannot shoot these 3.5 million Jews, we cannot poison them, but we must be able to intervene in away which somehow achieves a successful extermination.” (Nazism, 1919-1945, Volume 2, p 1126-1127)

This does not sound like a resettlement policy.

In The Holocaust and the Soviet Union Yitzhak Arad estimates there were between 2.6 and 2.7 million Jews in the Nazi-occupied areas of the Soviet Union, including the Baltic States and eastern Poland, and 2.5 to 2.6 million were killed (Yitzhak Arad, The Holocaust and the Soviet Union, University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln, 2009, p 525).

Kollerstrom deals with the issue of the Jews killed in the soviet Union by ignoring them,

“We are not concerned with Jews in Russia, namely because the German pay-outs for “Holocaust survivors” excluded these until the collapse of the Soviet Union.” (Breaking the Spell, p 46)

What is that supposed to mean? Because the post-war West German government did not pay reparations to the surviving Russian Jews, the Jews, which came under Nazi rule, do not count?

To be continued.






Author: Malcolm Nicholson

I am a small business owner and I live in northern Tasmania. I am a graduate of the University of Tasmania and I have a Master of Arts in Early Christian and Jewish Studies from Macquarie University. I am a member of the Churches of Christ. I have been a teacher librarian, New Testament Greek teacher, branch president and state policy committee chairman of a political party, university Christian group president. My interests include ancient history, early Christian history, the Holocaust, Bible prophecy, revival, UFOs, peak oil and science fiction.

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