Statistics of Extermination.

The other day, while looking for pictures of Adolph Hitler to use as a background image I came across the Institute For Historical Review, and Arthur Butz's "The Hoax of The 20th Century. Section D of that book contains what is, in effect, a statement of defence for Joseph Kramer (aka: "The Beast of Belsen).

Kramer's narrative, being generally a denial of the idea of a wilful mass murder and, alternatively a denial of responsibility, Butz seems to accept it as being mostly true. Where there are glaring inconsistencies, Butz seems to take this as a proof of innocence.

In this commentary, I am simply going to take the claims at face value.

Kramer seems to point to the summer death rates in one camp he controlled being in the range of 1~1.5% "This was a weekly average." (P. 308). Death rates in other camps (Auschwitz, for example) ranged up to 2% according to his narrative.

1% may not seem much until you consider that it was a weekly death rate. a quick eyeball of the stats for this would give a yearly death rate of 52% of the camp residents. A camp with a 2% weekly death rate would similarly have an annual fatality turnover just above 100%.

Using only these summer death rates, we can then consider the survivability of one of his camp inmates. According to the proper rules of statistics, the survivability of an inmate would be (1-D)^P... Where D is the periodic death rate and P is the number of periods. For a 1% weekly death rate over a 52 week year, this gives (1-.01)^52, or (.99^52) = 59%. Over 5 years (260 weeks) this would mean (.99^260)= 7.3% suvivability.
A camp with a 2% death rate would give .98^52 = 35% survivability over 1 year or (.98^260)= 0.5% over 5 years. This is without accepting the existence of gas chambers.

camp inmate survivability over various time spans
At various death rates
Weekly 1 Year 2 Years 3 Years 4 Years 5 Years
1.0% 59% 35% 21% 12% 7.3%
1.5% 46% 21% 9.5% 4.3% 2%
2.0% 35% 12% 4.3% 1.5% 0.52%

To further this perspective, consider that using Kramer's estimates of 100,000 prisoners at Auschwitz and a 2% weekly fatalty rate would give a 5 year 'natural' extermination rate of half a million people, before taking into account the added effect of the gas chambers. To refer to an indefinite sentence at such a camp as anything less than a 'journey into death' is to ignore reality.

Written by

Stephen Samuel (

Sun Mar 23, 2003
Originally written Sun Mar 23 19:21:35 PST 2003

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