Institute for Historical Review
The genocide legend was propagated with increased zeal after the brutal unconditional surrender pronouncement. Numerous statements were extracted from a few of the German defendants in Allied custody after World War 11 to document the charge that there was a gradual drift into a policy of exterminating the Jews of Europe after the outbreak of war between Germany and the USSR in June. 1941. 'Many of these so-called key statements appear in Léon Poliakov and Josef Wulf, Das Dritte Reich und die Juden: Dokumente und Aufsätze (The Third Reich and the Reich: Documents and Articles, Berlin, 1955). Poliakov is the director of the Centre de Documentation Juive Contemporaine in Paris, which was launched by Isaac Schneersobn in 1943 during the German occupation. The Centre was presented with the files of the German Embassy in Paris by Provisional French President Charles de Gaulle in 1944. Its collection of materials on German policy toward the Jews, 1933-1945, is more extensive than any other, including the Haifa Document Office for Nazi Crimes and Dr. Albert Wiener's similar Library in London.
The most celebrated of all key "documents" is the statement of Dieter Wisliceny obtained at the Communist-controlled Bratislava prison on November 18, 1946. Wisliceny, who had been a journalist before engaging in police work, was an assistant of Adolf Eichmann in the Jewish Division of the Chief Reich Security Office prior to receiving his assignment in Slovakia. Wisliceny was a nervous wreck and addicted to uncontrollable fits of sobbing for hours on end during the period of his arrest prior to his execution.
The Wisliceny statement begins convincingly enough. It indicates that Reich SS Leader Heinrich Himmler was an enthusiastic advocate of Jewish emigration. More than 100,000 Jews had been persuaded to leave Austria between March, 1938, and January, 1939. This figure eventually reached 220,000 of the total 280,000 Austrian Jews. A special Institute for Jewish emigration in Prague had produced remarkable results in the period after March, 1939, and secured an eventual emigration of 260,000.
The above points are indisputable, but the comment follows, allegedly from Wisliceny, that more than three million Jews were added to the German sphere by the war in Poland in 1939. This would be a major factual error for any expert on European Jewry. There were more than 1,130,000 Jews in the section of Poland occupied by Russia, whereas the figure of more than three million Jews could scarcely apply even to the total territory of Poland before the war. An estimated 500,000 Jews had emigrated from Poland prior to the war. The 1931 Polish census had established the number of Jews in Poland at 2,732,600 (Reitlinger, Die Endlösung, Berlin, 1956, p. 36). An additional minimum of 250,000 Jews had fled from Western Poland to the Soviet occupation sphere in 1939. If one subtracts 1,880,000 from 2,732,600 and allows for the normal Jewish population increase, the Polish Jews under German rule at the end of 1939 could scarcely have exceeded 1,100,000 (Gutachten des Instituts für Zeitgeschichte, Munich, 1958, p. 80).
The Wisliceny statement emphasizes that the emigration of Jews from German occupied territories continued after the outbreak of war. The emigration of Danzig Jews by way of Rumania and Turkey in September, 1940, is cited as a typical instance. Himmler and Eichmann had taken over the idea of a Madagascar haven for the Jews from the Poles. The latter had sent the Michal Lepecki expedition -- accompanied by Jewish spokesmen -- to Madagascar in 1937, and Theodor Herzl, the founder of Zionism, had also considered Madagascar as a good possible basis for the future Jewish state. Madagascar meant the "final solution" of the Jewish question to Himmler and Eichmann. The Madagascar plan was still under discussion many months after the outbreak of war with the USSR.
The statement of Wisliceny goes on to state that until June 1941, the conditions of Jewish life in Germany, including Austria, and in the Bohemia-Moravia protectorate, were no worse than before the war. The Jews in Poland had returned to their customary and traditional ghetto life, but war plants were being located in the ghettos to provide adequate employment.