The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Deceit & Misrepresentation
The Techniques of Holocaust Denial

The Auschwitz Gambit: The Four Million Variant


More recently there have been attempts to accurately the number dead at Auschwitz. Franciszek Piper of the Auschwitz State Museum published a study called "The Number of Victims" in Anatomy of the Auschwitz Death Camp.[12] The study outlines his investigation into the total Auschwitz death toll, and how he reached his estimate of1.1 million, effectively debunking the old Soviet figure.

  • "The four million figure was changed due to 'revisionist' findings."

This claim is clearly fallacious, as the revised figure is actually more in tune with the estimates of credible historians than the Soviet Commission's count. If anything, it was the easing of cold war tensions that allowed reexamination of the four million total rather than the research of "revisionist historians."

In fact, it was a study begun in 1980 by Franciszek Piper, head of the Historical Department at the Auschwitz State Museum that finally displaced the Museum's four million figure. [13] Piper collected all available documentation on how many deportees arrived at Auschwitz, and subtracted from this all known transfers, releases, and escapees to arrive at his estimation. Here are his calculations:

Deportees to Auschwitz:1,300,000
Released prisoners:-1,500
Liberated Prisoners:-8,000
Total Dead:1,077,180

Or about 1.1 million dead, which is not that different from Hilberg's estimate of one million dead at Auschwitz.[14] Piper concluded that this figure is a minimum estimate, as this does not account for victims not listed in the records, particularly those who were killed immediately upon arrival. After the study's completion in 1986, Piper's findings were confirmed by a panel of historians appointed by Poland's Ministry of Culture.[15] Shortly thereafter, the official death toll at the State Museum was lowered to 1.1 million.

  • "Since the Auschwitz State Museum lowered its death toll to one million, the total number of Holocaust victims should be reduced by about three million."

Again, this is false. Few (if any) historians ever believed the Museum's four million figure, having arrived at their own estimates independently. The museum's inflated figures were never part of the estimated five to six million Jews killed in the Holocaust, so there is no need to revise this figure.


Holocaust deniers often misstate a historical fact to confuse and confound an otherwise naïve reader, and the "Four Million Variant"is no exception. Each piece of this denier puzzle is flawed, from the contention that the number killed at Auschwitz was protected as an "irrefutable fact" to the existence of some cabal that slanders all those who question this figure.

Deniers often use the "Four Million Variant" as a stepping stone to leap from an apparent contradiction to the idea that the Holocaust was a hoax, again perpetrated by a conspiracy. They hope to discredit historians by making them seem inconsistent. If they can't keep their numbers straight, their reasoning goes, how can we say that their evidence for the Holocaust is credible? One must wonder which historians they speak of, as most have been remarkably consistent in their estimates of a million or so dead. [16], [17], [18]

In short, all of the denier's blustering about the "Four Million Variant" is a specious attempt to envelope the reader into their web of deceit, and it can be discarded after the most rudimentary examination of published histories.

Click here for tthe well detailed analysis from the Auschwitz Museum, including Fritjof Meyer's attempt to show that only 510,000 people died in Auschwitz.

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