Presented by Thomas Kues
In the recently published study Sobibór. Holocaust and Propaganda co-authored by Jürgen Graf, Carlo Mattogno and myself a subchapter (pp. 361-363) of our discussion on the fate of the allegedly gassed Jews is devoted to a number of quotes from war-year issues of the Swedish-Jewish periodical Judisk Krönika (Jewish Chronicle) which contradicts the established historiography on this most important issue. Jewish-American historian Steven Koblik, who has specialized on Sweden’s war-time relationship with Germany and the ”Holocaust” has the following to say about the journal in question:
“One center of activity was within the pro-Zionist groups. They had a journal, Judisk Krönika, founded in 1932, that publicly tried to change the official congregation policy and influence the larger Swedish community. The journal developed close contacts in Eastern Europe, especially Poland, and provided some of the best information on the extent of the Final Solution found in any Western publication. The journal also became a source of information for other non-Jewish publications.”
In my survey of the war-year issues of this journal – which is still the most important Jewish periodical in Sweden – I came across also a number of news notices relating to the activities of the Einsatzgruppen in the occupied Soviet territories, as well as Soviet evacuations of Jews to the Russian interior and Central Asia. I present them here in chronological order accompanied by a few brief comments.
- Vol. 10 Nr 9 (November 1941), p. 141: “50,000 Lithuanian Jews, who initially had been brought to the interior of Russia, have now been allocated to Mongolian farms. About 100,000 Jews from Ukraine have found a haven of escape in Birobidzhan.” The number of evacuated Lithuanian Jews given here is vastly higher than those presented by mainstream sources, who generally state that approximately 10,000 of these Jews escaped or were evacuated to the Soviet Union before the German invasion (cf. Jim G. Tobias, ”Die Massenexekutionsstätte Ponary bei Vilna 1941-1944” in: R. Margolis, J. G. Tobias (eds.) Die geheime Notizen des K. Sakowicz, Antogo, Nuremberg 2003, p. 14, note 12).
- Vol. 10 Nr 10 (December 1941) p. 156: “News of the most terrifying sort have reached us from the Ukraine. There are reports of thousands of killed Jews, among them 15,000 Galician Jews, who had been expulsed from Hungary. Also in Odessa thousands of Jews are said to have been executed as punishment for a time-bomb which exploded in the city hall and buried in its ruins 200 Romanian soldiers with their staff. Similar reports also come from Kiev and other Russian cities.” (The journal consequently used “Russian” to denote “Soviet”, thus the reason why Kiev in the Ukraine is called a “Russian city”).
- Vol. 11 Nr 1 (January-February 1942) p. 12: “In occupied Ukraine, the violent German anti-Jewish persecution has not been able to destroy the Ukrainian population’s good relationship with the Jews. As far as it is possible, the local government takes care that also the Jews are given normal rations of food. The destitution, however, is enormous, and a large part of the population does not have a roof over their heads, since the houses have been destroyed during the fighting. […]. According to Deutsche Zeitung im Ostland [an official German newspaper published in Riga] the Russians evacuated 30,000 Jews from Lithuania, 24,000 Jews from Latvia and 1,000 Jews from Estonia at the beginning of the German-Russian war.” The figure of 30,000 evacuated Lithuanian Jews is three times that held by mainstream historiography (see above). It should be noted in passing that the number of Jews evacuated from Latvia by the Soviets is consistent with that found in the general report of the Einsatzgruppe A from 16 October 1941 to 31 January 1942 (23,479).
- Vol. 11 Nr 2 (March 1942) p. 27: “In Minsk, Berditschev, Schitomir and Mohilev there are no longer any Jews. Their houses have been confiscated to be used as winter quarters for German soldiers. All the Jews of Kharkov [Kharkiv] were brought to a concentration camp soon after the German conquered the city. The Jews in the occupied territories are being strongly decimated by epidemics and hunger.” In the Minsk ghetto there lived in fact tens of thousands of Jews at the time. It seems unlikely that the well-informed journal would be so grossly mistaken on this point. It is possible that what was meant was that there were no longer any Jews outside of the ghettos – the second sentence hints in this direction. As for the Jews of Kharkov, mainstream historiography claims that 15,000 of them were shot in the nearby ravine Drobitsky Yar on 15 December 1941.
- Vol. 11, Nr. 6 (July-August 1942), p. 91: “From Uzbekistan it is reported, that the Soviet government has prepared for the creation of permanent housing for the one million Jews which have been evacuated there. (…) After several months on the march, the evacuated Jewish colonists from Crimea have reached their destination, the Siberian territory of Krasnojarsk. […]. Part of the Jewish farmers from the Ukraine have travelled to Saratov in the Volga district, where they have been given new soil. […] In Taschkent, where thousands of Jews from Poland find themselves, there have been opened three offices for the registration of the refugees.”
- Vol. 11 Nr. 7 (September 1942), pp. 101-102: “The latest reports to the Polish government in London are concerned with this [‘the horrible blood bath’] and according to them, 400,000 Poles, half of them Jews, have been massacred. A report which reached London even states the number of Jews exterminated in Poland alone to 700,000. This figure is so enormously high, that one find it hard to believe in. […]. Berlin radio has explained, that the message about the killings of 700,000 Jews is not true. Only executions due to actions of sabotage have taken place.” While this quote does not concern the USSR, it is nevertheless worth mentioning here, as it shows that German authorities addressed and explicitly denied the mass killing allegations, while acknowledging executions of (Jewish) partisans (and possibly also reprisal shootings). On page 102 we find a list of a “horrible series of mass executions”: 9,000 Slonim Jews are claimed to have been killed at the beginning of November 1941; 50,000 Vilna Jews from November 1941 onward; another 60,000 Vilna Jews in May 1942; undated mass killings are listed for Lodz (35 000 victims), Lwow (30,000), Stanislawow (15,000), Pinsk (8,000) and Brzesc (6,000). Massacres are also claimed for Czyzew, Szlachecki, Hancewicze and Tarnopol, but neither dates nor victim figures are given. It is further stated that 25,000 Latvian Jews fell victims of pogroms (supposedly carried out by the local population, in contrast to mass shootings carried out by the Germans). As for the alleged Vilna massacre of May 1942, it was reported on by the New York Times on 16 June 1942 (p. 6):
“Stockholm, Sweden, June 15 – Sixty thousand Jews of Vilna were put to death between May 7 and May 20 by the German-controlled Lithuanian police, according to reports brought here by a Pole, who said he was in Vilna until May 24. He arrived in Stockholm a few days ago with an account of escaping from the Nazis by way of Warsaw and Gdynia, where he hid himself aboard a ship bound for Sweden. The Polish refugee’s story of the Vilna massacre, of which he said he was an eye-witness, is impossible to confirm now.
He said members of the special Lithuanian police, recruited from Germans in Lithuania and Lithuanian Quislingists, started persecuting Jews and Poles immediately after Berlin’s announcement of the so-called autonomous status of the Baltic States at the end of April.
Until then 80,000 Vilna Jews were concentrated in two ghettoes, the old ghetto near the German quarter and a new one in the Bakshta quarter of the city. After the announcement of the new status all the Jews were sent to the Bakshta ghetto, the Pole stated.
On May 7 the executions started, he said. The Jews, men, women and children, were taken from sundown to dawn in trucks to the suburb of Ponary, where they were mowed down by machine-gun fire. The executions continued every night until May 20, the Pole related, and during the day members of the Lithuanian police collected and sold the clothing of their victims.
The Polish refugee said that about 20,000 Jews of ‘useful professions’ such as physicians and scientists and specialized workers, escaped execution and that the number of the victims was estimated in Vilna to be up to 60,000. No German military or Gestapo men were seen taking part in the executions, but neither did they interfere, he said.”
This alleged massacre of 60,000 Vilna Jews is clearly invented. No other known source claim a mass killing of even remotely this size during 1942, and moreover the figure of 60,000 victims is numerically impossible: In January 1942 there lived some 15,000 Jews in the Vilna ghetto, while according to a census carried out at the end of May the same year, the inhabitants of the Vilna ghetto numbered 14,545 (cf. J. Graf, C. Mattogno, Treblinka: Extermination Camp or Transit Camp?, Theses & Dissertations Press, Chicago 2004, p. 209, 212). The census moreover shows that among these 14,545 ghetto inhabitants, no fewer than 3,693 were children of 15 years of age or less, whereas there were 59 registered Jews aged 65 or older (ibid., p. 212). This clearly contradicts the claim that only ”Jews of ‘useful professions’” were spared. Moreover, one of the major testimonial sources for the alleged mass extermination of Jews at Ponary, the diary of Kazimierz Sakowicz, states that not a single Jew was shot at Ponary during May 1942, or for that matter in April or June (R. Margolis, J. G. Tobias (eds.) Die geheime Notizen des K. Sakowicz, op.cit., p. 69).
The most bewildering aspect of the anonymous Polish witness testimony is the implication that there had been no (large-scale) massacres of Vilna Jews until May 1942, and that until April the same year there had existed two ghettos in the city, housing a total of 80,000 Jews. According to mainstream historiography, there existed two ghettos in Vilna, together housing some 60,000 Jews, until the end of October 1941, when the smaller of the two ghettos (“Ghetto No. 2”) was liquidated. By this time there reportedly remained only some 27,000 – 28,000 Jews in Vilna, which the Germans sought to reduce to 12,000. The Jews now had to get new work certificates and were moved to the now empty Ghetto No. 2. Those Jews who did not managed to receive new work certificates were sent to Ponary and allegedly killed there in three ‘actions’ in late October, early November and December 1941 (ibid., pp. 30-32). The anonymous Polish witness thus places the liquidation of the smaller ghetto in April 1942, when in fact it happened in October the year before! But how could anyone confuse something which happened more than half a year ago with something transpiring a mere few weeks ago?
By listing the alleged mass murder of 50,000 Vilna Jews together with the alleged mass murder of 60,000 Jews from the same city in May 1942 – despite the two allegations being mutually contradictory – Judisk Krönika somehow wanted its readers to believe that there had lived at least 110,000 – possibly as many as 130,000 – Jews in the Vilna ghetto! Nonetheless, in its issue from May/June 1944 (vol. 13, No. 5, p. 68) the same journal reported that there still lived 20,000 Jews in the Vilna ghetto, but these were said to have been ”foreign Jews” – something which flies straight in the face of mainstream historiography, according to which not a single foreign Jew was ever deported to Vilna (cf. J. Graf, T. Kues, C. Mattogno, Sobibór. Holocaust Propaganda and Reality, TBR Books, Washington D.C. 2010, pp. 362-363).
Here should also be noted that mainstream historiography holds it that there remained only some 40,000 Jews in Lithuania by the end of 1941 (ibid., p. 45). Several thousands of Lithuanian Jews were allegedly shot in early 1943, including 4,000 Jews from smaller ghettos in the vicinity of Vilna. In the autumn of 1943 most of the remaining Jews in the country were either sent to Poland to be killed in the “extermination camps” there or deported to labor camps in Latvia and Estonia (ibid., pp. 33-34). However, according to the memoirs of the Hungarian Jewess Reska Weiss, who was deported from Auschwitz to Riga in June 1944 and from there on to Lithuania via Daugavpils (Dünaburg), some 30,000 inmates, mainly Baltic Jews, were detained in a camp in the northern Lithuanian town of Panevezys (Ponevezh). After spending some time there, Weiss was transferred to the ghetto of Siauliai (Schaulen, in western Lithuania), where she was informed by a nurse working in the ghetto hospital that the ghetto’s population amounted to some 30,000 Jews (R. Weiss, Journey through hell, Valentine Mitchell, London 1961, p. 81, 95).
- Vol. 11 Nr 8 (October 1942). On p. 122 we are informed that 76,000 Jews were evacuated from Vitebsk at the beginning of Operation Barbarossa, while 24,000 stayed in the city. We are also told that 200 Jews were shot in Kujbysjev as a result of partisan activity, 600 Jews were machine-gunned in the same town the following week. The remaining 15,000 Jews of Kujbysjev were then supposedly massacred during the next following weeks. The Jews in Jelsk were supposedly put on a barge in the Pripjet river which was then made to capsize (!). 5,000 Jews are stated to have been shot in Kersh. A witness, a fisherman named Josef Weingarten, crawled out of the mass grave and escaped. On pp. 122-123 we learn that “The result of the Nazis inhuman actions against the Jews is that they – men and women alike – have joined the guerillas, since they prefer to die in combat rather than be butchered like animals.” That this would in turn result in more Jewish men – and women – being shot as partisans, as well as more Jews being targeted in reprisal shootings ordered due to the activity of the same – increasingly Jewish – partisan groups – goes without saying.
- Vol 11 Nr 9 (November 1942). On pp. 142-143 we find reported massacres on Jews in Belarus (Delchitzi: 1,000 victims; Velizh in the Vitebsk district: 1,400 victims; Vaulino near Pskov: 1,000 victims) and in Lithuania (Ponevezh district: 11,000 victims; Kovno (Kaunas) in 1941: 800 victims). It should be noted here that if we are to believe the so-called Jäger Report, a total of 23,175 Jews had been shot in Kovno up until 1 December 1941. None of the individual Kovno shootings allegedly listed by Jäger are in the vicinity of the figure 800. The nearest ones are 463 and 534. There is mentioned, however, for 18 August, among a total of 1,811 Jewish victims, a shooting of ”711 Intelligentia Jews from the ghetto as reprisal for an act of sabotage”. But if the journal was in fact referring to this particular group of killed Jews, how come that it was unaware of all the other shootings in Kovno?
- Vol. 12 Nr 1 (January-February 1943), p. 6: “It is estimated that at the beginning of 1942 approximately 250,000 Jews were serving [as Red army soldiers] in the Russian battle zone. With the later instituted mobilization of reserve forces the number is likely to reach up to 400,000 in the end.” That the latter estimate was reached, or even surmounted, is indicated by the fact approximately 200,000 Jews are stated to have fallen as soldiers in the Red Army (cf. W.N. Sanning, The Dissolution of Eastern European Jewry, IHR, Costa Mesa 1990, p. 108). War-time Soviet reports state that 600,000 Jews served in the Red Army (ibid., p. 111f).
- Vol. 12 Nr 4 (May 1943), p. 63: “Since October 1942 more than 10,000 Jews have been killed by German special troup units only in the Brest-Litovsk district. Thousands have been poisoned with gas in hermetically sealed barns and others have been shot in groups of 60 in the forests in the vicinity.” The claim that barns were turned into improvised gas chambers is, to my knowledge, not found elsewhere.
- Vol. 13 Nr 4 (April 1944), p. 53: “It is yet impossible to say, how many of the Jews living in western Russia and the Ukraine managed to escape when the Germans occupied those territories in 1941 and 1942, and how many of these refugees really managed to find a safe haven after surviving the horrors of war, the starvation and the epidemics. It has been calculated, that between 1,000,000 and 1,500,000 Jews were able to reach the Russian interior during this period of time. It is thus likely that, despite the German invasion troups’ massacres on the Jewish population there are about 4,000,000 Jews in Russia. […]. In fact, more than half of Russian Jewry are at the present living in Ural and beyond this area.” It should be noted here that it is unclear whether evacuated Belarus and Baltic Jews are included in this figure. The 4 million figure is consistent with statements made later that year by a Soviet source, according to which the number of Jews in the world after the end of the war would amount to ”little over 12,000,000”, whereof one third would be ”citizens of the USSR” (see my article ”Soviet Mouthpiece Journal in Late 1944: Only Some 3 Million Jews Exterminated”, Smith’s Report, No. 173, pp. 10-11).
- Vol. 16 Nr 5 (May 1947), p. 94: “In the Ukraine there live once more one million Jews. They have returned from the eastern parts of Russia to their old homes. Kiev and Odessa once more have 125,000 Jews [each?]. In Moscow there live 250,000.” According to the Soviet census of 1959, there lived 154,000 Jews in Kiev, 102,200 in Odessa, and 239,246 in Moscow. The 1970 edition of the Encyclopedia Judaica estimated the Jewish populations of the same three cities to, respectively, 200,000, 180,000 and 500,000 (W.N. Sanning, The Dissolution of Eastern European Jewry, op.cit., p. 119).