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2013 Archives

Researchers: Holocaust Numbers are Worse Than We Thought


The following story ran in the March 15, 2013, edition of Dallas South News. Rick Halperin, professor and director of the Embrey Human Rights Program at SMU, provided expertise for this story.

March 15, 2013

By Ayen Bior

There was a time when many thought the slaughter of millions in the 11-year reign of the Nazi regime was so egregious it could not get any worse. That time has passed.
Recent information from the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum reveals well known and accepted numbers from the Holocaust are exceptionally conservative. According to the Museum’s 13-year investigation led by Geoffrey Megargee and Martin Dean, the figure is closer to 15 million and ranges to 20.
“It is such a revolutionary finding,” said Sarah Abosch, director of education at the Dallas Holocaust Museum. “It will revolutionize the way the Nazi period is studied.”
The project documented over 42,500 ghettos and camps from France to Russia in the territory controlled by the Third Reich.
This is the first time that the Holocaust has been documented at this scale — starting at the location of the camps and examining how they were run as well as their primary purpose.
According to the New York Times, the project uncovered 30,000 slave camps, 1,150 Jewish ghettos, 1,000 prisoner-of-war camps, 980 concentration camps, 500 sex-slave brothels and thousands of other camps. Various human rights violations occurred, including forced abortions, mandatory euthanasia of the elderly and ill, “Germanisation” and transportation hubs to murder sites.
Based on postwar estimates, Megargee’s initial prediction was 7,000 Nazi camps and ghettos.  He was shocked at his findings, and he isn’t the only one.
“It’s a shocking number, it’s an amazing, horrifying and startling and number,” said Dr. Rick Halperin, director of the Embrey Human Rights Program  at Southern Methodist University.
Halperin said, “Records will always be found to indicate that numbers are always likely to be higher than we think they are, no matter how high we think they are.”
Halperin, who calls the Holocaust “the crime of crimes,” will easily admit that Hitler’s reign is one of the worst eras in human rights history....