The Number of Victims of the "Final Solution"
and the Korherr Report
As soon as the war had ended, the question was raised
as to the number of victims of the "final solution to the Jewish question."
It is evident that this macabre accountancy had to be kept by the
administration of the Third Reich, so that the precise and total evaluation of
the exterminations had to exist somewhere. Unfortunately, at the current
writing, the archives of the Gestapo have yielded only incomplete data of this
accountancy. They do, however, attest its existence.
The first summary
indication concerning the problem was given at the time of the first important
Nuremberg trial (1945-46), that of Goering and his associates, during the
depositions of two witnesses, Wilhelm Hoettl, SS-Sturmbannführer of the
Central Security Office of the Reich, and Dieter Wisliceny,
SS-Hauptsturmführer. They were both friends of Eichmann and the second his
close collaborator. On November 6, 1945, Hoettl declared that in April 1944 in
Budapest, Eichmann had told him under the seal of secrecy that "in different
extermination camps four million Jews had been killed, whereas two million more
had met their deaths in another manner" (32, pp. 100 101). For his part, Wisliceny, under
interrogation on January 3, 1946, related that at the end of February 1945, in
Berlin, Eichmann had spoken to him of the murder of five million Jews (32, pp. 99 100).
1. Convergence of
Later a report due to Korherr, the "Inspekteur
für Statistik" of the SS, was found. We shall refer to this below. Let us
say immediately, however, that this report stopped at the date of March 31,
1943, so that it appears interesting only for the first year of the execution
of the program of the "final solution," a program which was continued for
another year and a half after that date. It nevertheless presents the
inestimable advantage of a direct "accountancy" of the number of victims, drawn
up by the executors of the "final solution" themselves.
In the course
of the year 1945, an American specialist of statistics and demography, Jacob
Lestchinsky, accomplished an important piece of work by attacking the problem
of the number of Jewish victims according to statistical methods: he thus
calculated the "balance sheet"