Saturday, June 27, 2009

German and Soviet killings from 1933-1944: 15 million

In this NY Review of Books article, the writer says:
Auschwitz as symbol of the Holocaust excludes those who were at the center of the historical event.

His point is that there were very many more Eastern Europeans were killed by Hitler and Stalin than Western Europeans between 1933 and 1944.
The Germans killed somewhat more than ten million civilians in the major mass killing actions, about half of them Jews, about half of them non-Jews. ... The project to kill all Jews was substantially realized; the project to destroy Slavic populations was only very partially implemented.

Stalin killed five million people:
Of the Stalinist killing policies, two were the most significant: the collectivization famines of 1930–1933 and the Great Terror of 1937–1938. ... It is established beyond reasonable doubt that Stalin intentionally starved to death Soviet Ukrainians in the winter of 1932–1933. ... By the end, more than three million inhabitants of Soviet Ukraine had died.

The plans were diabolical. Hitler and his team had prepared a plan called the Generalplan Ost:
Generalplan Ost, the colonization plan for the western Soviet Union, ... foresaw the elimination of some 50 million people.

The author urges us to look beyond Auschwitz and the Gulag as symbols of mass murders by a state during the 1930s and 1940s:
If we concentrate on Auschwitz and the Gulag, we fail to notice that over a period of twelve years, between 1933 and 1944, some 12 million victims of Nazi and Soviet mass killing policies perished in a particular region of Europe, one defined more or less by today's Belarus, Ukraine, Poland, Lithuania, and Latvia.

Assuming this article is historically accurate, it deserves to be read in full.

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