Germany had four roles within the context of the Holocaust:
- Crime Scene
The last role is discussed in detail in the section on Germany of the entry on propaganda, so it will not be covered here.
If we consider Austria as not being a part of Germany, then the main perpetrator of the Holocaust, Adolf Hitler, was originally Austrian, not German. It has also been observed that a higher number of Austrian nationals was involved in the operation of the so-called extermination camps than would be expected from their share among all ethnic Germans. Of course, considering the involvement of the vast majority of all German officials and government agencies in actively supporting, advocating, promoting, implementing, carrying out or at least condoning the persecution of the Jews – whatever that might have entailed – there is no way around the fact that it was, at its main core, a German affair.
Orthodox scholars state that no extermination camp was erected on German soil. However, the German government of the time surely saw that differently, because both the areas around the Chełmno Camp (in the Warthegau) – and Auschwitz (eastern Upper Silesia) had been annexed by Germany after the invasion of Poland. Hence, these camps were on German territory in the eyes of Third-Reich officials. The same is true for the Natzweiler Camp. It was located in the Alsace region, which was annexed by Germany after France’s defeat in 1940. However, that camp was only the claimed location of one minor gassing incident.
To this must be added the many claimed minor extermination crime scenes by gassings at several other camps. All of them were on German (or Austrian) soil, such as Mauthausen, Neuengamme, Ravensbrück, Sachsenhausen and Stutthof, plus others not supported by orthodox historians. (See the entry on extermination camps.)
German citizens of Jewish faith or descent fell victim to the persecutorial measures of the German authorities during the war. On the details, see the section on demography below.
SS statistician Richard Korherr reported in his 1943 report that, by the end of 1942, 382,534 German Jews had emigrated from the territory of the “Old Reich” (not including Austria, the Sudetenland and any later gains). On the other hand, when any further emigration was prohibited in late October 1941, the Reich Association of Jews in Germany reported to the German government that 164,000 Jews were still present in Germany at that time. Even as late as May 1942, Goebbels was complaining in his diary that there were “40,000 Jews still in Berlin” alone (entry of 24 May 1942). Mainstream figures for Jews still present in Germany after the war was around 25,000.
Deportation figures resulting from extant documents show that the differential between the two estimates (164,000 and 25,000) were people largely deported to various camps in the East, or “for resettlement” to the East, mainly to Kaunas and Minsk. Orthodox scholars insist that many if not most of them were killed there on arrival by mass executions. (See the entries on Fort IX and Maly Trostenets.) However, if the intention was to kill these deportees to the East, trips to Auschwitz, Chełmno or any of the other alleged extermination camps would have been shorter and cheaper. These camps are also said to have been better prepared to cope with the deportees, as they were allegedly equipped with sophisticated mass-extermination facilities. But that is not what happened.
Furthermore, there is abundant documentation that a real resettlement indeed took place. (See the entry on resettlement.) If so, it is difficult to assess how many of these Jews sent east and placed there in ghettos, camps or settlements managed to survive the war. Many may have been executed by the Einsatzgruppen for the slightest transgressions, as reprisal victims or during simple massacres. Others may have starved to death or succumbed to diseases. Again others joined partisan forces, some of whom perished in this context. Some became collateral damage when the front moved through with heavy gunfire and artillery shelling. At war’s end, some may have gotten deported to Siberia by Stalin, and some may have migrated west and emigrated to Israel, the U.S. and other countries without ever getting registered as such.
(For details on demographics, see Rudolf 2019, pp. 178f.)