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From the Israeli Prime Minister's Office

Number of Living Holocaust Survivors

 

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27 July 1997

Translation from Hebrew

(transmitted by AMCHA*** on H-HOLOCAUST@h-net.msu.edu, 13 Aug. 1997)


1. General.

At a meeting held on May 14th 1997 at the Prime Minister's Office, a committee was established for the task of defining who is a holocaust survivor and to estimate the number of survivors living today worldwide.

Members of the committee are: E. Spanic, chairman; H. Factor and V. Struminsky.

The committee held four meetings; its members met with researchers and experts in this field: and in some cases the committee commissioned studies to complement existing data.


2. Findings of the Committee

a) Definition of the term Holocaust Survivor.

A holocaust survivor will be defined as any Jew who has lived in a country at the time when it was

-- under Nazi regime
-- under Nazi occupation
-- under the regime of Nazi collaborators

as well as any Jew who fled due to the above regime or occupation.

b) Estimates of living Holocaust Survivors

Israel 360.000 -- 380.000

FSU* 184.000 -- 220.000

USA 140.000 -- 160.000

Western Europe 80.000 -- 100.000

Eastern Europe 50.000 -- 80.000

Other countries 20.000 -- 20.000

Total 834.000 -- 960.000


3 Explanations

a) Definition of a Survivor

The Committee reached the conclusion that holocaust survivors should be defined inclusively, i. e. to include any Jews who have suffered from the Nazi regime -- be it through limitation or denial of their freedom, or their having to flee their homes due to the Nazi regime or occupation.

b) Estimation of the Number of Living Survivors to Date

-- Israel

The number of Israeli residents who were born before 1944 in countries qualifying them to be defined as survivors, and who have immigrated to Israel since 1945, is based on the Israel Population Register

Of the 499,428 residents who answer the above definition, 249,055 are originally of the FSU and 250,373 are from other countries.

It is assumed that 10% of FSU residents were not persecuted due to race and only 58,5% have lived before the war in areas that were occupied during World War II. Therefore, the number of holocaust survivors living in Israel who came from the FSU is estimated to be 131,127.

In order to determine the number of holocaust survivors from other countries, approximately 5% need to be deducted from the above data, due to the fact that they have immigrated to Israel after World War II, having spent the war years in other countries.

Therefore, the number of holocaust survivors from relevant countries who are currently living in Israel is 237,854.

In summary, the number of holocaust survivors currently living in Israel is estimated to be 360,000-380,000.


FSU

The estimate of holocaust survivors currently living in the FSU is based on the work of Mr. Arkadi Zeltzer, supervised by Prof. M. Altshuler of the Center of Research and Documentation of Estern Europe Jews of the Hebrew University. Prof. Sergio de la Pergolla has confirmed the approximate sizes of the estimates.

In principle these figures were derived from the following:

-- According to a census held in FSU at the beginning of 1989, the number of Jews born before 1945 who were living in the FSU at the time was approximately 800,000

-- From this number, 275,000 was deducted, which is the estimate of immigrants who have left the FSU 1989-1996 (approximately 30% of the Jewish population that immigrated during those years)

-- In order to arrive at the total number of Jews born before 1945 who at the beginning of 1997 lived in the FSU, an annual mortality rate of 3%-5% was deducted -- 148,000-210,000 people.

-- It therefore follows that the total number of Jews born before 1945 and living in the FSU at the beginning of 1997 is 315,000-377,000.

-- Based on a map of the Nazi occupation during World War II, it was estimated that 58,5% of the FSU Jews have lived under Nazi conquest.

In summary, the number of holocaust survivors currently living in FSU is 184-000-220,000.


USA

The estimates of holocaust survivors currently living in the USA was carried out by Allen Gliksman, a researcher specializing in the holocaust from the Polisher Research Institute.

In principle, these figures were derived from:

-- 33,000 refuges arrived in the USA 1933-1937

-- 124,000 refugees arrived in the USA 1938-1941

-- 119,373 refugees arrived in the USA immediately after the war.

-- 24,090 holocaust survivors arrived in the USA during the 1950's and 1960's

-- 49,416 holocaust survivors arrived in the USA from the FSU during the recent wave of immigration

-- The mortality rate was calculated based on the average white American life span.

In summary, the number of holocaust survivors currently living in the USA is estimated to be 140,000-160,000


Western Europe

The number of holocaust survivors in Western Europe at the end of World War II was 410,000. Under the assumption that 25%-30% are still alive, their current number is 100,000-120,000

Taking into account that some of these survivors have immigrated over the years, we estimate that 80,000-100,000 survivors are still living in Western Europe.


Eastern Europe and other countries

The data regarding the number of holocaust survivors in Eastern Europe and the rest of the world was gathered from various estimates and approximations available in Jewish organizations.


Summary based on the inclusive definition of holocaust survivors according to the above, the estimates number of holocaust survivors currently living worldwide is 834,000-960,000.


E. Spanic, Chairman Haim Factor Vladimir Struminsky


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Our footnotes

* FSU: Former Soviet Union.

** This means 916,000 soviet Jews emigrated to Israel between 1989 AND 1996.

*** AMCHA is the National Center for Psychosocial Support of Survivors of the Holocaust and the Second Generation, based in >Jerusalem. Email: amacha@amcha.org. Web: http://www.amcha.org


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The abstract of this paper having reached Professor Faurisson in August, he adds the following comment:

"Environ 900.000 "survivants" 52 ans après la guerre. Confirme mon commentaire (8 juillet 1997) des estimations respectives du juif suisse Rolf Bloch et du député israélien Avraham Hirschon. (La Montagne, 8 juillet 1997, p.12). Il y avait, à la fin de la guerre, plusieurs millions de "survivants". Je consulte le statisticien suédois Carl O. Nordling.

"Around 900.000 "survivors" 52 years after the end of the war. It confirms my commentary (July 8, 1997) on the estimates made by the Swiss Jew Rolf Bloch and by the Israeli MK Avraham Hirschon. (La Montagne, 8 July 1997, p.12) There were, at the war's end, several million "survivors". I consult the Swedish demographer, Carl O. Nordling."

Mr Nordling thinks this is probably the first time an estimate of the number of WW2 Jewish survivors in Europe has been made. Here is the comment in a short article Mr Nordling said was free for publication as such.


1 September 1997


HOW MANY HOLOCAUST SURVIVORS WERE THERE IN MAY, 1945?



By Carl O. Nordling


 

According to an AMCHA office report dated 13 August, 1997, there were in this year about 900,000 "Holocaust survivors" -- within an uncertainty range of 7 per cent plus or minus. A "Holocaust survivor" is defined as a *Jew* (=person born of a Jewish mother?) who lived in a country under National Socialist ("Nazi") regime (such as Germany from February, 1933), or in a district that was under Nazi occupation (such as some parts of the Soviet Union, 1941 to 1944), or in a country under regime of Nazi collaborators (such as Finland, 1941 to 1944), and who did not die before May, 1945.

If there are still as many as 900,000 living, there must of course have been many more in 1945. But how many? It is impossible to answer that question with precision. Another range of uncertainty -- let us say 8 per cent -- must be added to the one that we have to start with. The final figure will therefore have an uncertainty range of plus or minus 15 per cent.

The starting point for the following calculation has been an assumed age distribution of the Jewish survivors in May, 1945.

This distribution is based on what is known about the distribution of Jewish populations by age groups in various countries in the 1920's and 1930's and about birth rates among Jews in these years. The age distribution of the Jewish population of Prussia in 1925, shown as a diagram on page 22 of *Atlas of Modern Jewish History* (Oxford 1990), is a typical example. (Figure 1 here)$

In order to be valid for the year 1945 it is required that the death rate caused by the Holocaust and the wartime hardships was the same in all the age groups. Actually, the older age groups lost proportionally many more lives than the younger ones. This is evident from the known death rates in a sample of 722 Jews (victims and survivors), accounted for in *Revue d'histoire revisionniste*, issue n· 2, p. 62. $$

I have calculated the number of survivors in each age group after a time space of 52 years assuming the Holocaust survivors having the same rate of mortality -- related to the ages -- as males in Sweden about 1970. If the age distribution in 1945 had been as shown above, each 1,000 of the 1945 survivors would have left 265 survivors in 1997. Their age distribution would have been as shown in Figure 2.

(Figure 2 here) $

Realizing, however, that the conditions of war (including all manners of persecution) affected the older part of the Jewish population much more than the younger part, a certain modification is necessary. I have estimated that the older age groups (making up half the population) had lost an *extra* 15 per cent of their numbers already in 1945 (these age groups have left practically no 1997 survivors). Consequently we should calculate that 1,000-75=925 survivors of 1945 produced about 265 survivors in 1997.

Since actually about 900,000 survivors are reported for the latter year, there ought to have been about 3.14 million survivors in 1945 (925/265 x 900,000). Applying the estimated range of uncertainty, it emerges that the number of "Holocaust survivors" must have been between 2.7 and 3.6 million in 1945.

That is to say, there were between 2.7 and 3.6 million "survivors" according to a specific definition of "survivor" (viz. the one cited above).

There are a couple of reasons to comment on the definition. First, it seems unlikely that a Jew who moved from Germany, let us say in 1933 or 1934, and who is alive today would consider himself a "*Holocaust* survivor". If all such Jews have been tracked down and are included in the total of 900,000, there is definitely a certain discrepancy between the concept of Holocaust survivors dealt with above and the concept of Holocaust survivors existing among people in general. This should be kept in mind.

On the other hand, it seems unlikely that all those who rightly should be classed as "Holocaust survivors" have ever reported themselves as such. Failure to join "the class" may be due to the reason just mentioned, but it may also be the consequence of a deliberate renouncing of their Jewishness by a number of born Jews. It is well known that many Jews assumed Gentile identities as a means to escape deportation during the war. Probably, not all of them resumed their original identities after the war. (They were, however, still "persons born of Jewish mothers".) We must realize that this phenomenon represents a case of "hidden statistics" since it is quite impossible to know anything about the number of these cases. The real number of (born) Jews who survived living under National Socialist regime may therefore be even higher than 3.6 million.

My concise summary is anyway: *There were probably a little more than three million "Holocaust survivors" in May, 1945*.

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$ We cannot reproduce the two figures showing demographic distribution.

$$ Carl O. Nordling, "L'Etablissement juif sous la menace et la domination nazies de 1938 à 1945", *Revue d'histoire revisionniste*, issue n· 2, August 1990, p. 50-64. This journal is visible on the Zundelsite.


Now, IF those Israeli statistics are based on serious research (which we do not really know) and IF Mr Nordling's conclusions are correct (demographers will tell), what are we facing? A project of extermination without a plan, without a decision, without a budget, and which leaves three to four million people surviving the attempt?

What words could we use to just stick to the facts and not embark in wild speculations and political agendas?

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