Holocaust: Was Six Million Figure Correct?

The historical record on how 6 million figure has been used as a weapon in psychological war.

Israelis mark Holocaust Memorial Day in Jerusalem

by Jonas E. Alexis & Thomas Dalton

Alexis: I knew that the six-million figure was being circulated long before World War II even started.  I knew that it was being perpetuated during World War I, but you trace it back to the late 1800s. You argue that the New York Times was propounding these falsifications way back in 1889. You add:

“Two years later, in 1891, we read about the sorry state of ‘Russia’s population of 5,000,000 to 6,000,000 Jews,’ and of ‘the fat that about six millions persecuted and miserable wretches’ still cling to their religion, against all odds.’”[1]

Walk us through the historical record and tell us how this figure has been used as a weapon in the psychological war.

Dalton: The 6-million figure, as the number of Jewish Holocaust deaths, is the lynchpin of the entire story. Without millions of innocent deaths, the Holocaust becomes much less evil, and perhaps even just a side-note to WW2. Most important, if the number ultimately is shown to be untenable, the whole story collapses. Our ‘experts’ would be shown to be either liars or incompetents. And we would realize that the wool had been pulled over our eyes for decades. So we need to understand something about its origins and justification.

Our basic question, then, is this: Where did the 6 million come from in the first place?  That is, when did it first appear? One would naturally presume it to be impossible to calculate the death toll in the midst of a raging world war. Even in the immediate aftermath, we would know little for certain.

Surely we would not take, for example, the Nazis’ word for it; they would be inclined to either minimize the death toll or, if coerced, exaggerate it.  The many camp survivors would clearly not be of much help; as prisoners, they would have been in no position to know such things as overall death tolls.

Therefore, one would expect a dependable answer to come only from a detailed investigation of all the death sites, including forensic data, mass grave exhumations, autopsies, and so on. This would then be compared with surviving Nazi documentation, photographs, and other evidence. A proper postwar investigation would clearly take months, if not years. Only then could we be confident of an estimate of 6 million.


Oddly, this is not what has been done. Far from it. In fact, nearly the opposite of the above has occurred. The victorious Americans relied heavily on biased Jewish and Soviet sources, and on captured and abused Nazis. They conducted no forensic investigations, no autopsies, and no unearthing of mass graves. The Americans relied strictly on hearsay evidence to establish the all-important Jewish death toll.

All this would be bad enough, but the story gets much stranger still. As you say, the number was circulated years, even decades prior to WW2. This is a fascinating and highly revealing situation.

The first mention of 6 million suffering Jews comes way back in 1889. In a short article, the New York Times asks “How many Jews are there?” The low estimate of “the ubiquitous race” is 6,000,000. “With the exception of half a million,” it adds, “they are all in a state of political bondage.” Then in 1891, as you point out, we read about “six millions persecuted and miserable wretches” in Russia.

Such stories were useful to the newly-emerging Jewish Zionist movement, which wanted to promote tales of Jewish suffering in order to encourage migration to Palestine (there not yet being a nation of Israel).

Referring to the Jews of Russia, Zionist Stephen Wise said this in 1900: “There are 6,000,000 living, bleeding, suffering arguments in favor of Zionism” (Jun 11; p. 7). In 1901, the Chicago Daily Tribune reported on the “hopeless condition” of the “six million Jews in Russia” (Dec 22; p. 13). In 1905, Zionists began to fret that “Russia, with its 6,000,000 Jews,” wasn’t promoting emigration (Jan 29; p. 2).

Periodic and often minor anti-Jewish actions were always portrayed in the most dramatic terms; the NYT despaired over “our 6,000,000 cringing brothers in Russia” (Mar 23; p. 7).  In 1906 we read of “startling reports of the condition and future of Russia’s 6,000,000 Jews”; it is a “horrifying picture” of “renewed massacres” and “systematic and murderous extermination” (Mar 25; p. SM6).

In 1910, we find “Russian Jews in sad plight,” and we are saddened over “the systematic, relentless, quiet grinding down of a people of more than 6,000,000 souls” (Apr 11; p. 18).  In 1911 the NYT reported that “the 6,000,000 Jews of Russia are singled out for systematic oppression and for persecution by due process of law” (Oct 31; p. 5). It’s amazing to think that, even by 1910, there was a clear emphasis on “6 million” and “systematic extermination” with respect to the Jews.

Then World War I began. We read of the plight of “more than 6,000,000 Jews who live within the war zone” (2 Dec 1914).  The next month carried more reports of “more than 6,000,000 are in the very heart of the war zone”; they are consequently “subjected to every manner of suffering and sorrow,” and all Americans are called upon to help (Jan 14; p. 3).

In 1916, we read that “the world is silent” despite the fact that “nearly six million Jews are ruined, in the greatest moral and material misery” (Feb 28; p. 8). A year later, Rabbi Samuel Schulman exclaims that “six millions of Jews are living in lands where they are oppressed, exploited, crushed, and robbed of every inalienable human right” (Jan 22; p. 6).  In May of 1917, we hear that “six million Jews—half the Jews of the world—are calling to you for help” (May 21; p. 1).

By September, the situation was being described in the strongest possible terms; women and infant Jews must be saved, we are told, “if the Jewish race is to survive the terrible holocaust of the world war” (Sep 24; p. 20).  No one today realizes that a Jewish “holocaust” is said to have occurred in both world wars.

After WW1, the famous number then shifted to a new region.  In September 1919, we find that it is now the Ukrainian and Polish Jews who are subject to misery; “6,000,000 are in peril” (Sep 8; p. 6). We are further horrified to read that “the population of 6,000,000 souls in Ukrania and in Poland…are going to be completely exterminated.” Once again, 6 million Jews under threat of extermination.

The trend continued for years, too numerous for me to elaborate here.  References include the following:

  • “unbelievable poverty, starvation and disease [for] about 6,000,000 souls, or half the Jewish population of the earth” (12 Nov 1919).
  • “typhus menaced 6,000,000 Jews of Europe” (12 Apr 1920).
  • “hunger, cold rags, desolation, disease, death—six million human beings without food, shelter, clothing” (2 May 1920).
  • “Russia’s 6,000,000 Jews are facing extermination by massacre” (20 Jul 1921).
  • “over 6,000,000” Russian Jews “neglected” (16 Sep 1924).

This brings us to the Nazi era, where the ‘6 million’ appears once again—and long before WW2. The first reference comes just two months after Hitler assumed power in January 1933. The NYT reports on a “Hitler protest” vote by some local New York government officials. Rabbi Stephen Wise issued an appeal: “We in America have taken the lead in a battle for the preservation of German Jewry,” adding that his group “is now active in relief and reconstruction work in Eastern Europe where 6,000,000 Jews are involved” (Mar 29; p. 9).

Three years later, we read in the London Times of “6,000,000 unwanted unfortunate” Jews, and of “these 6,000,000 people without a future” (26 Nov 1936; p. 15). On that same day, the NYT reported on a speech by British Zionist Chaim Weizmann, who “dwelt first on the tragedy of at least 6,000,000 ‘superfluous’ Jews in Poland, Germany, Austria.”  In February 1937, we hear that “five to six million Jews in Europe are facing expulsion or direst poverty” (Feb 26; p. 12).

In 1938, the NYT ran an article headlined “Persecuted Jews Seen on Increase” (Jan 9; p. 12). “6,000,000 victims noted,” they said—referring to a combined total in Germany, Poland, and Romania. The very next month we hear about “a depressing picture of 6,000,000 Jews in Central Europe, deprived of protection or economic opportunities, slowly dying of starvation, all hope gone…” (Feb 23; p. 23).

By May, it was the “rising tide of anti-Semitism in Europe today which has deprived more than 6,000,000 Jews and non-Aryans of a birthright” (May 2; p. 18).  Later that year, the London Times printed an account of the “treatment of German Jews”; “the problem now involved some 6,000,000 Jews,” they wrote (Nov 22; p. 11).  Bear in mind: the start of World War II was still nearly a year away.

Into early 1939, the London Times continued to report on Weizmann’s view that “the fate of 6,000,000 people was in the balance” (Feb 14; p. 9). War began in September of that year, and anti-Nazi propaganda accelerated. In mid-1940, the NYT quoted Nahum Goldmann: “Six million Jews are doomed to destruction if the victory of the Nazis should be final” (Jun 25; p. 4).

This was still at least one full year before Hitler allegedly decided to begin his program of Jewish mass murder—according to our experts.  How could Goldmann have known what was to come?

In January 1942, we read that Heinrich Himmler “has uprooted approximately 6,000,000 human beings” and shipped them into occupied Poland, “where they necessarily starve and freeze to death and die of disease” (Jan 18; p. SM10). By mid-1942, it was “a vast slaughterhouse for Jews” in Europe; one million were reported dead, and the remainder of the “6,000,000 to 7,000,000” at risk (Jun 30; p. 7).

By December the Jewish death toll was reported as 2 million, representing one third of the 6,000,000 “in Hitler’s domain.” It was, said the NYT, “a holocaust without parallel” (Dec 13; p. 21).

The sad tale continued throughout the war years:

  • Hitler intends “the extermination of some 6,000,000 [Jewish] persons in the territories over which [his] rule has been extended” (London Times, 25 Jan 1943).
  • “Save doomed Jews,” says Rabbi Hertz; the world “has done very little to secure even the freedom to live for 6,000,000 of their Jewish fellow men” (Mar 2; p. 1).
  • Two million are dead, “and the four million left to kill are being killed, according to plan” (Mar 10; p. 12).
  • “Five and a half million Jews in Europe are reported to have been put to death” (10 May 1944; p. 5)—still one full year before the end of the European conflict.
  • And again later: “Dr. A. Leon Kubowitzki…reported that 5,500,000 Jews had been killed in Nazi controlled countries” (Nov 27; p. 14).

Then the first definitive claim—in January of 1945, four months before the end of the war: “6,000,000 Jews Dead” (Jan 8; p. 17). Jacob Lestchinsky claimed that the prewar population of 9.5 million had been reduced to 3.5 million. No mention of how he came to this figure, amidst the chaos of an ongoing war. In April, the NYT headlined a story: “5,000,000 Reported Slain at Oswiecim [Auschwitz]”—an incredible miscalculation, even assuming the correctness of the present-day figure of 1 million.

In May we read something of an official declaration from Lord Wright of the UN War Crimes commission: “It has, however, been calculated that in all about six million Jews were deliberately slaughtered in [gas chambers] and other ways” (May 13; p. SM4).  Calculated by whom? On what basis? And using what hard evidence? He does not say.

This is the short version of the story. From there, the number shows up in the Nuremberg trials, becomes “documented”, and thus accepted as fact ever since.

It’s clear why no one wants to talk about this. If people realized that the 6 million had been in circulation for some 50 years prior to WW2, they might begin to question its accuracy—as they should. The obvious conclusion is that the number had a purely symbolic character, representing something like ‘all the Jews’ or ‘lots of Jews’. It was never intended as a factual figure.

Given this, we can likely conclude that the actual death toll was much less. And there is plenty of other evidence to suggest that this is exactly the case.

Alexis: You have provided enough evidence against the six-million figure here, and he who has ears to hear, let him hear. He who has the mind to think and use reason, let him think and use reason.

The fact is that we have been inundated with comfortable lies for far too long, and it is high time that people of reason and people who are of the truth stand for that which is intellectually rigorous and morally satisfying. If we continue to allow the people who have rejected metaphysical Logos to rewrite history, then lies, hoaxes, and complete fabrications will be passed on to the next generation as brute facts. As Friedrich Nietzsche himself conceded, when metaphysical Logos plays no part in one’s historical and philosophical enterprise, then lies can become the truth and vice versa.

There is indeed an industry out there that will do virtually anything to produce deliberate lies, colossal hoaxes, and crafty deceptions in order to perpetuate a pernicious ideology. If you do not think so, then consider this.

When Ruth Shalit graduated from Princeton University Phi Beta Kappa in 1992, one could compare that event to the time when Archimedes discovered the beauty of mathematics. Alicia Shepard of the American Journalism Review declared,

“Practically overnight she became a star—a TNR [The New Republic] associate editor writing cover stories for the political weekly as well as for the New York Times Sunday magazine, with a $45,000-a-year contract to do pieces for GQ.”[2]

Many of the articles she wrote, however, were complete fabrications and she was later labeled as the “journalistic Unabomber.”[3] In Shalit’s own words,

“I started as an intern but knew this was my fantasy scenario, getting asked to stay. As an intern I threw my heart into it. I was bloodless. I just pounded the pavement and cranked out stories.”[4]

Stephen Glass
Stephen Glass

Shalit was not the only journalist from the New Republic who was caught fabricating stories. Stephen Glass, who earned a law degree from Georgetown University and who attended the University of Pennsylvania before that, was declared by Vanity Fair as

“the most sought-after young reporter in the nation’s capital, producing knockout articles for magazines ranging from The New Republic to Rolling Stone.”[5]

Yet there was one problem: “Trouble was, he made things up—sources, quotes, whole stories—in a breathtaking web of deception that emerged as the most sustained fraud in modern journalism.”[6]

When the whole media found out about Glass’s obvious fabrications, he was confronted by his manager, Charles Lane. And Glass was on the defensive line, asking Lane to protect his reputation:

“You know, Chuck, I just feel really attacked. And you’re my editor and you should be backing me up.”[7]

Buzz Bissinger of Vanity Fair declared,

“This, after all, was Stephen Glass, the compelling wunderkind who had seeped inside the skins of editors not only at the New Republic but also at Harper’s, George, Rolling Stone, The New York Times, and Mother Jones.

“This was the Stephen Glass who had so many different writing contracts that his income this year might well have reached $150,000 (including his $45,000 New Republic salary). This was the Stephen Glass whose stories had attracted the attention not just of Random House—his agent was trying to score a book deal—but of several screenwriters…

“The New Republic, after an investigation involving a substantial portion of its editorial staff, would ultimately acknowledge fabrications in 27 of the 41 bylined pieces that Glass had written for the magazine in the two-and-a-half-year period between December 1995 and May 1998.

“In Manhattan, John F. Kennedy Jr., editor of George, would write a personal letter to Vernon Jordan apologizing for Glass’s conjuring up two sources who had made juicy and emphatic remarks about the sexual proclivities of the presidential adviser and his boss.”[8]

How far was Glass able to go? Almost all the way:

“Glass created fake letterheads, memos, faxes, and phone numbers; he presented fake handwritten notes, fake typed notes from imaginary events written with intentional misspellings, fake diagrams of who sat where at meetings that never transpired, fake voice mails from fake sources. He even inserted fake mistakes into his fake stories so fact checkers would catch them and feel as if they were doing their jobs.”[9]

In 2003, Glass finally did an interview with 60 Minutes in which he declared,

“My life was one very long process of lying and lying again, to figure out how to cover those other lies.” How, then, did Glass build this lying process, particularly over the years with no suspicion? Simple:

“I would tell a story, and there would be fact A, which maybe was true. And then there would be fact B, which was sort of partially true and partially fabricated. And there would be fact C which was more fabricated and almost not true. And there would be fact D, which was a complete whopper. And totally not true. And so people would be with me on these stories through fact A and through fact B. And so they would believe me to C. And then at D they were still believing me through the story.”[10]

Glass, who had been a fact-checker before, knew how to get by and deceive even his own publishers:

“I knew how the system worked. And I made it so that my stories could get through. I invented fake notes. I later would invent a series of voice mailboxes and business cards. I invented newsletters. I invented a website. For every lie I told in the magazine, there was a series of lies behind that lie that I told—in order to get it to be published.”[11]

Charles Lane, after discovering that Glass had concocted nearly every single story, wrote, “If it was sunny outside and Steve and I were both standing outside in the sun and Steve came to me and said, ‘It’s a sunny day,’ I would immediately go check with two other people to make sure it was a sunny day.”[12]

Holocaust lies, fabrications and deceptions  work  almost in the same way. Their proponents always start with a little bit of truth, such as Jews suffered and died in Nazi Germany and in concentration camps, but they always change the rules as the Holocaust game goes on.

A person has to be clinically insane to deny the fact that Jews, as well other ethnic groups, suffered and died under Nazi Germany. But should that be proof enough to universally declare that six-million Jews died during the war? Shouldn’t people of reason ask for serious backup? And should people be called anti-Semites for asking the Holocaust establishment to provide solid evidence?

[1] Thomas Dalton, Debating the Holocaust: A New Look at Both Sides (Uckfield: Castle Hill Publishers, 2015), kindle edition.

[2] Alicia C. Shepard, “Too Much Too Soon?”, American Journalism Review, Dec. 1995.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Buzz Bissinger, “Shattered Glass,” Vanity Fair, September 1998.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Ibid.

[10] Rebecca Leung, “Stephen Glass: I Lied for Esteem,” CBS News, August 17, 2003.

[11] Ibid.

[12] Ibid.