Vivian Bird: Auschwitz – The Final Count

A Review
Published: 1999-01-01

Auschwitz: The Final Count, edited by Vivian Bird. The Barnes Review, Washington, D.C.. 1999. Soft cover. 112 pages. Notes. $12.95.

Vivian Bird's latest effort is an anthology of essays dealing with what he describes as the "true story" of the Auschwitz concentration camp. The title of this work as well as its recent promotions suggest that it will reveal the "authoritative and final figures" for the number of inmates who died at Auschwitz. Instead, this volume presents three revisionist articles that are still readily available in English and one older reprint. Unfortunately none of these articles deal directly with the issue at hand.

Bird does admittedly treat the subject of the "final count" at Auschwitz. This is however only given short shrift in the introduction to the volume. Bird offers a brief discussion of the wide range of figures that have been offered as the "official" number of dead at Auschwitz. These numbers range from 9 million down to 73,137, the number that Bird asserts is the correct figure. Bird presents 27 different statistics arranged in descending order giving the false impression of a downward spiral in the "official" numbers of Auschwitz dead. In fact, these statistics are far from chronological. Although some background is offered as to the origin of each of these figures, the failure to use any actual citations makes the researchers job very difficult and the skeptics belief unchanged.

Bird asserts that 73,137 inmates succumbed to the conditions at Auschwitz. This statistic, he claims comes from the German concentration camp records. Bird states more than once that the statistics in the death books are both complete and authentic. The problem of course is not the authenticity of the death books but with their completeness. As Arthur Butz pointed out (Journal of Historical Review [JHR] Vol. 13, No. 3, p. 26) the death books from 1940, 1941, 1944, and January 1945 remain missing. Assuming all inmates at Auschwitz were accounted for in the concentration camp records, one would need to extrapolate the number of deaths for the missing years. Using this method, Butz estimated 125,000 deaths at Auschwitz. David Irving similarly notes that the 46 death books of Auschwitz "cover the years 1942 completely, 1943 almost completely, and 1944 incompletely." (JHR Vol. 10, No. 4, p. 500).

Bird appears to be satisfied with his conclusions regarding of the number of Auschwitz victims and moves quickly on to other topics. The balance of the book does not directly address this issue. It seems that Bird is more concerned with the Jewish declaration of war on Germany in 1933 than the Auschwitz death toll. In fact, the only picture in "The Final Count" is that of the March 24, 1933 Daily Express which announced the declaration on its cover. The emphasis placed on the Jewish "declaration of war" casts this book into the "they got what they deserved" variety of revisionism.

The book continues with Thies Christophersen's essay, "The Auschwitz Lie." This important revisionist work has been available in English since 1974 and is still in print. The newly reprinted version is without any of the photographs contained in the original. Christophersen's work, although very important in the field of Holocaust revisionism deals with his personal observations at Auschwitz and nothing to do with coming to a statistical reckoning of Auschwitz.

The centerpiece of the book is William Lindsay's essay, "Zyklon B, Auschwitz and the Trial of Bruno Tesch." This lengthy essay comprises about one-third of the new volume. No reference to the original publication of this work in the Journal of Historical Review Vol. 4, Number 3 Fall 1983 is given.

Final Count is rounded out by Fred Leuchter's article, "Inside the Auschwitz 'Gas Chambers' and Willis Carto's "Why is the 'Holocaust' Important?" Leuchter's article was originally published as "The Leuchter Report: The How and the Why" in JHR Vol. 9, No. 2 Summer 1989 and has been circulated widely as a pamphlet. Carto's essay is still available as an afterward to Michael Collins Piper's book, Best Witness. Carto has also seen fit to publish this essay in the March/April 1998 issue of The Barnes Review.

Revisionism would gain tremendously by the publication, in English, of several hard-hitting anthologies. Several important collections like Grundlagen zur Zeitgeschichte have yet to be published in English. Unfortunately much energy and cost was put into this small but attractive book which reprints works readily available to anyone interested in the subject. The authors and selections included barely deal with the title and promise of this book. Important essays dealing with the statistics of the Holocaust like "Statistisches ueber die Holocaust-Opfer" and "Wieviele Juden ueberlebten den Holocaust?" by Germar Rudolf or various works of Carl Nordling would have greatly enhanced this volume. The current volume gives the impression that revisionism has been frozen in time for the past decade. In fact revisionist scholarship and research has soared to new heights during the 90's. It is disappointing that those who would publish new revisionist works in English seem to lack the funds and wherewithal to do so while publishers like The Barnes Review focus their efforts only on the early breakthroughs of revisionism.

Additional information about this document

Author(s) Richard A. Widmann
Title Vivian Bird: Auschwitz – The Final Count, A Review
Sources Adelaide Institute Newsletter # 108, May 2000
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Dates published: 1999-01-01, first posted on CODOH: June 29, 1999, 7 p.m., last revision: n/a
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