History Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for historians and history buffs. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I know this is pretty sensitive question, I would like to get an objective answer. It is widely known that jewish people were persecuted by Hitler's regime, and many of them died in concentration camps. But I never feel like the numbers are exact, from time to time I see people's documentation about holocaust, the numbers are changing in wide range.

My problem is:
- first of all there are neo-nazis, who claim that the holocaust never happened. Ok, that seems totally false.
- second of all there are soviet and even some american claims about the numbers which are also look falsified. I wouldn't wonder since there was a war which was won, and the winner always try to support their views. Especially the soviet datas are not really reliable.

I see some attempts to get clear picture, for example David Cole's interviews in Auschwitz. He made a low cost documentary movie of this subject in 1992. He seems to me a little bit more reliable person than some soviet officiers or neo-nazi sources. He claims that - and it is pretty believable to me - germans mostly forced jews to work and lot more of jews died in poor condition than gas chambers. But since I am not historian I can't really judge it.

So the point of the question is: Is there any normal objective source on this subject?

share|improve this question
If you decide to visit Auschwitz one day, feel free to contact me for any help. I live only 60 kilometers from there. – Darek Wędrychowski Mar 7 '13 at 12:00
Scholars who study Nazism, World War II, and the Holocaust are diverse and international. There is no central authority to which they report and no headquarters to enforce a single view. The fact that they all agree on the broad outlines of what happened (while still arguing about factual details and historical explanations) shows that the evidence is unequivocal. – Eugene Seidel Mar 7 '13 at 14:20
I have not flagged this Question for attention by the moderators. Basing a Q on a source as dubious as David Cole / "David Stein", a scurrilous holocaust minimizer, impostor, and con man, darling of Nazis, is about as deserving of respect as basing a question about "ancient aliens" on Erich von Däniken and calling his claims "pretty believable". What I find disheartening is that currently this Q stands at 3 net upvotes. Instead, it should be downvoted into oblivion. Maybe "the community" is made up of stupid mouth breathers. Or maybe I am wrong and this is a good Question. – Eugene Seidel Jun 22 '13 at 3:39
Shows the lack of basic research suitable for a good question. – Samuel Russell Jun 22 '13 at 8:10
@CsBalazsHungary the Nazis themselves kept meticulous records of the number of people shipped off to the camps, those have been studied and counted and recounted over decades. Only holocaust deniers believe those records are fakes or don't exist at all. If the only source about the holocaust were Soviet propaganda pamphlets you'd have a strong point, but that's not the case. – jwenting Jun 24 '13 at 5:17
up vote 5 down vote accepted

Does this page answer your question?

UPDT: You might also want to gave a good look at this book. Specifically, search for "David Cole" in it.

UPDT 2: Thanks to Eugene Seidel, we know what is David Cole up to these days.

share|improve this answer
It looks like a valuable source. I will look after other sources as well, thank you! – CsBalazsHungary Mar 7 '13 at 10:20
In particular this section, which opens: "The most paradoxical of the deniers is David Cole..." – T.E.D. Mar 7 '13 at 15:36
If we're already speaking about personal belief if some sources are valuable or not, to be honest I wouldn't trust American studies about Holocaust without checking the methodology, because of strong lobby in this country, which denies to accept any source that doesn't make the number the highest possible. Protests against the mentioned movie by David Cole are a good example here. But I believe that his studies are quite accurate. – Darek Wędrychowski Mar 7 '13 at 18:14
I cannot find any studies on the Holocaust published by a historian named David Cole. The only "David Cole" I can find when searching on his name and "Holocaust" is a revisionist who later recanted his claims. www.nizkor.org has more information. @Mods: Please watch these comments carefully, there is a danger of veering away from answering a specific question and moving towards opinionating. – Eugene Seidel Mar 7 '13 at 20:05
While this may answer the question, it would be preferable to include the essential parts of the answer here and provide the link for reference. Links can and do go dead. And in fact, it appears the first link has already bitten the dust. – mmyers Jun 21 '13 at 21:26

I recommend going to Wikipedia's page on the Holocaust. You have two options. One is to read the article, which is a bit tedious. That is inevitable when you crowdsource the writing of an encyclopedia. On the other hand, that article is among the most watched of all articles on the Wikipedia, so it is unlikely for misinformation to remain in there for long.

The other option would be to skip the entire article body, go straight to its bibliography. Then spend two weeks working through the sources, making sure you also hit the library for paper sources that are not online. If you can find a concentration camp survivor to tell you of their experiences in person, very good: after all, it was not columns of numbers but living, breathing people who were shoved into the cattle cars. But there aren't many left. If not, watch some survivor videos recorded by the Shoah Foundation.

Read the pre-eminent scholars: Hilberg, Broszat, Browning, Evans, Friedländer, Kershaw, Lipstadt... Pay attention to where they agree and where they disagree. For contrast, briefly descend into evil/insanity/stupidity by reading David Irving and others of his ilk. If after that you still have doubts that Nazi Germany, together with collaborators in allied nations, waged a campaign of extermination against the Jews and managed to kill more than two-thirds of Europe's Jewish population, then I don't know what more to say to you.

share|improve this answer
This should really be the accepted answer. Oh, and maybe add the Nizkor project? – Marakai Jul 5 at 0:22

In "The War Against the Jews," Lucy Dawidowitz provides estimates of Jewish casualty rates by country. The book has been challenged by others such as Raul Hilberg, but is still a useful reference.

share|improve this answer
just wanted to add a link about Raul Hilberg, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Destruction_of_the_European_Jews. – John Donn Feb 28 at 15:10

protected by Tom Au Jun 25 '13 at 21:08

Thank you for your interest in this question. Because it has attracted low-quality or spam answers that had to be removed, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site (the association bonus does not count).

Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead?

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.