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The "some groups that killed Jews by shooting them" is probably either a reference to the Einsatzgruppen or to the local East European militia Kommandos.
There is no doubt that the Einsatzgruppen and these Kommandos killed Jews. The question is how many and why.
As far as the number of Jews killed in this way, traditional historians usually cite the number of about 1 million, some jack it up to 2 million. Hilberg cites a handful of documents to support the figure of 900,000, to which he arbitrarily added a few hundred thousand more. At the Einsatzgruppen trial in Fall, 1947, about 200 reports were submitted as proof that these groups were killing Jews, but insofar as they were prepared in Berlin for the purposes of the Nazi bureaucracy it is likely that they are inaccurate, and they were said to be inaccurate by all of the Einsatzgruppen personnel on trial. Nevertheless the totals of these reports is about a half a million, and even if they were exaggerated by half, which Ohlendorf claimed, we are still looking at a couple of hundred thousands of Jewish people slain. Greater exactitude is probably achievable but no one has ever tried to reconcile the totals with all other available data.
As to cause, it appears that the Jewish people were oftentimes killed as hostages, that is, if the Wehrmacht or other military agency ran into any partisan or saboteur activity, the local Jewish populations were likely to be rounded up and shot, even though there might not have been any evidence that they were involved in sabotage or partisan activity. In addition, according to the testimonies and statements at the Einsatzgruppen trial, and subsequent trials, it appears that often a Jewish community would be rounded up and shot because it was believed that they were natural communist sympathizers or potential partisans. Of course, in that latter case the Einsatzgruppen or their militias were engaging in simple mass murder, however much it was dressed up in the need for rear area security.
The severest massacres appear to have taken place in the Baltics. In the first seven months of the campaign, something like 140,000 Jewish people were shot, either by the Einsatzgruppen or their local helpers. These massacres constitute the kernel of truth out of which the rest of the Holocaust story has unfolded.
One word about the "Holocaust Lobby." There are groups, frequently Jewish groups, that use the Holocaust to draw attention to themselves, their political agendas, or to raise money. Such groups often repeat elements of the Holocaust narrative to get attention, and in the process they usually cite the more spectacular elements, which frankly are usually the elements which are not true. And so we hear about the gas chambers, or the extermination plan, or the six million, all of which are unsubstantiated legends. However, it is going too far to accuse this "lobby" of telling lies. It is doubtful that they know they are telling lies. They are simply living in a fantasy world where time stopped in 1945 and reality is whatever the war propaganda tells them it is. Eventually, they will grow out of it. Let's just hope they do before any more people get hurt in the current efforts to suppress revisionism.
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|Dates||published: 1998-01-01, first posted on CODOH: June 29, 1998, 7 p.m., last revision: n/a|