I am not a Holocaust denier but I am skeptical of some of the reported numbers and details of the historical event. Is there any evidence that 6 million Jews were executed as part of a plan to eliminate the Jewish people? I am also skeptical of some of the accounts of Jewish skin used for lampshades and shrunken heads of concentration camp inmates.

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    I have suggested an edit to bring this question up to minimal standards; but please do improve it further by quoting the actual claims you are talking about. The phrase "is there any evidence" is very inappropriate in the context of a historical genocide which has been thoroughly researched. – codesparkle Apr 24 '14 at 2:28
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    Normally, I would recommend that this be broken into two questions (Were 6 million Jews killed in the Holocaust? Were lamps made from skin?), but people have already answered, so I'm letting it go. – Oddthinking Apr 24 '14 at 4:13
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    This anecdotal account found that one such purported lampshade turned out not to be real, and that the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum believe it to be a myth. Not a definitive answer, though. – Oddthinking Apr 24 '14 at 4:17
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    The problem is that the various objective estimates have varied over the years and depending on the method. For example, if you use census data for the reduction in the number of Jews in Europe, you come up with the 6 million number. If you just count those who are documented to have been killed in the camps, you get something closer to three million. Where the truth lies is hard to say as there are obvious problems with both methods. – RBarryYoung Apr 24 '14 at 18:19
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    So regarding the 6 milion number, you say that you don't trust wikipedia on that matter? (with all the references etc) en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Holocaust#Victims_and_death_toll You may write that you are not a denier, but the way you articulate puts you in that group in my view. – bla Apr 25 '14 at 6:09


The Nazis documented their extermination campaign. So they left detailed documentary records that provide good evidence that six million were killed.

For example, there are Nazi records of how many Jews were transported to Auschwitz and Soviet records of how many were liberated at the end of the war.

For example, approximately a million Jews on the Eastern Front were shot during 1941-42, and buried in large pits. This is known partly because the Einsatzgruppen, the mobile killing units that coordinated these massacres, prepared detailed reports on the murders - reports that contained precise death tolls, broken down into men, women and children.

These reports were sent to high ranking officials in Berlin, and to army, police and SS officers, as well as diplomats and even prominent industrialists. This wide distribution suggests that the perpetrators felt no shame at what they did. Had these killings not been part of Berlin's policy, the reports would never have been so widely distributed.

From Denying the holocaust, BBC

enter image description here

In the Museum Archives there are 252 lists of newcomers from different periods. Each list contains: date, date of registration, camp number, prisoner category, names and surnames, date and place of birth and occulation. (Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum Archives)

From Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial & Museum

Letter from SS-Sturmbannführer Jahrling to SS-General Kammler estimating the number of corpses that can be disposed off in 24 hours in the Auschwitz crematoriums, June 25 1943.

 1.) Crematorium I     3 x 2 muffles     340 persons
 2.) Crematorium II    5 x 3 muffles     1440 persons
 3.) Crematorium III   5 x 3 muffles     1440 persons
 4.) Crematorium IV    8 muffles         768 persons
 5.) Crematorium V     8 muffles         768 persons

Auschwitz: Technique and operation of the gas chambers - J.C Pressac, the Beate Klarsfeld Foundation, NY, 1989, p. 247:

I make that up to 4756 corpses each day. That would be 1,046,320 corpses in each year of five-day working weeks with two months out of operation (220 working days in a year).

Large amounts of evidence

Of course, the above is just a few small examples from a huge mountain of evidence.

According to the US holocaust memorial museum

Allied prosecutors submitted some 3,000 tons of records at the Nuremberg trial.

And of course, there is a lot of evidence other than that submitted at Nuremberg. Some of this additional evidence can be found at numerous museums and libraries around the world.

Other references

From comments below.

  • Schutzhaft - The use of "protective custody" (Schutzhaft) to round up people for concentration camps is discussed more here: Law and Justice in the Third Reich, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum - Oddthinking

  • Non-Jewish victims - In addition to the 6 million quoted above, there are several articles on the web (such as this one) that estimate five million non-Jews were killed in the Holocaust, including Jehovah Witnesses, gypsies, homosexuals, and the disabled, among others. - tcrosley

  • Denial - Convicted Holocaust denier Germar Rudolf has a web-site where he publishes books that contend that the Holocaust never happened. - infatuated

  • ICRC - The International Committee of the Red Cross has 25,000 pages of information that it acquired on the subject prior to the end of World War II. - Himarm

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    I have cleaned up a load of useless comments, extended discussion should be taken to chat. New answers should be posted as such. Please avoid discussion, other than used to improve the answer, in comments. – Jamiec Jun 5 '15 at 12:13
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    @Mustang How can you fake 25.000 pages of information that the ICRC has in 5 minutes? (A lot of those are on public display at the ICRC museum in Geneva, and I've seen it personally). The same goes for the documentation that the Nazi left behind. Those are huge quantities of documentation, and it would be no easy feat to fake those all. So if you say those are all fake, then the burden of proof lies with you and then you are free to post an answer detailling why all this evidence is fake and what contrary evidence you have. But just saying 'it's all faked' without proof is way too easy. – drat Mar 12 '16 at 12:46
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    Also ironic that you cite the red cross when it estimated only 400,000 deaths in German prison camps total. – D J Sims Apr 28 '16 at 4:58
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    I don't understand what you're proving with the trophies section. There's no evidence for any so called Jew skin lamp. Also, that whole section is not providing evidence of anything. It's begging the question. – fredsbend Jul 4 '16 at 19:08
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    You really should add Eisenhower's efforts in documenting and force marching allied troops through concentration camps so the truth was witnessed to what the Nazis did – K Dog Mar 9 '18 at 21:18

The story about the lampshade was presented as being possibly true by the National Geographic society, who say that there is a lampshade that is definitely made of human material and for which evidence "points to" an origin in Nazi Germany. According to snopes there is a book on the topic (the wonders of Google!). However, this turns out not to be the case, see the comment by @Oddthinking below.

There appears no shortage of sources for evidence on the numbers killed, see also the excellent answer by @RedGrittyBrick above. I don't see any reason to be skeptical of any exaggeration, so I'd say "no, it hasn't been exaggerated". There also seems good documentary evidence that it was part of a deliberate plan.

However I have to say that making a lampshade out of human skin is not by any means the worst thing that happened in the concentration camps. It is a pretty damning indictment of what went on there if being skeptical of whether they made lampshades out of human remains is the level we have to reach before skepticism becomes reasonable.

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    Ah, I stumbled on the same book: Wikipedia gives the spoiler: it was not made of human skin. – Oddthinking Apr 24 '14 at 4:18
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    Quite to the contrary - the Nat. Geo. documentary in the end proves that the lampshade was made out of the cow skin and it was just contaminated with the Human DNA. – Evgeny May 21 '14 at 4:41
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    @DikranMarsupial The point is that there is zero material evidence to the lampshades of the human skin, and you still use the statement in the reasoning. All specimens that were reported to date were made of animal skin. – Evgeny May 27 '14 at 1:53
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    Your post is rubbish, your very first sentence refers to a national geographic article that (if you read the end) was just an advert for a program that was about to be shown, to find the origins of a lampshade. The program concluded against it. Also, it is important to note, "Both the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., and the Yad Vashem museum in Jerusalem, declined to take possession of the lampshade, saying that the concentration camp lampshades made of human skin were probably a "myth" – barlop Aug 2 '15 at 20:34
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    Your first line still states that the story is, I quote, "quite possibly true". You should, finally, fix that. – DevSolar Feb 3 '16 at 8:11

Additionally to great answers provided @DikranMarsupial and @redgrittybrick I would strongly recommend Chronicles of Terror - a digital repository of the witness depositions made before Main Commission for the Investigation of German Crimes in Poland (predecessor of the Polish Institute of National Remembrance).

As of today it contains depositions 3927 testimonies (2530 with English translation), mostly collected shortly after the war. While alone don't provide any exact numbers, they document scale of Nazi atrocities.


Your skepticism is warranted. I'll give just a few reasons. While there were 20,000 Nazi prisoner camps of various sorts Archive Helps Detail Scope of Nazi Camps) only six were 'death camps' - https://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10005145). Four were razed by the Nazis before the end of the war; two, Auschwitz and Majdanek, were captured intact by the Soviets.

The number killed at Auschwitz has varied wildly since the end of the war. Following Nuremberg a plaque was placed at the gate to the camp stating that 4 million had died there - Auschwitz plaque 1946 When the Soviets liberated Auschwitz they captured the Nazi records, including doctor signed death certificates for each registered prisoner that had died, and monthly summaries now known as death books. They promptly disappeared the records. The records for the period 7/41 - 12/43 (the missing records were presumably lost by the Soviets) were revealed following glasnost in 1989. You can read about the records here - Sterbebücher / Death records / . The sign at Auschwitz was replaced with this one claiming that 1.5 million had died there - Auschwitz plaque - 1990

Here is what wiki has to say about the records - Auschwitz

The SS destroyed written records, and in the final week before the camp's liberation, burned or demolished many of its buildings.

Yet, you can check the death books out of the NY Public Library. Perhaps wiki also warrants a little skepticism - Auschwitz Death Books

And, the number has changed again, from 1.5 million on the plaque above to 1.1 million as per the wiki -

An estimated 1.3 million people were sent to the camp, of whom at least 1.1 million died.

The numbers at Majdanek have gone from 1.5 million following Nuremberg, to 78,000 today. Nuremberg Trial Proceedings Vol. 7

Maidanek and Auschwitz camps served as a means of extermination only for those who really were sent to these camps. These two camps were not a direct menace for those people who were outside the walls of the camp; but, in the course of the war, having already suffered grave defeats, German fascism began to practice

In only two camps of death the criminals exterminated 5 1/2 million people. In proof of this I quote the conclusions of the Extraordinary State Commission for Auschwitz. I will quote only a short excerpt. It is preceded by a detailed calculation. The Tribunal will find this reference on Page 356 of the document book, second column of the text, fourth paragraph. I begin the quotation:

"However, employing rectified coefficients for the part-time use of the crematorium ovens and for the periods when they stood empty, the technical expert commission has ascertained that during the period of time that the Auschwitz Camp existed the German butchers exterminated in this camp not less than 4 million citizens of the U.S.S.R., Poland, France, Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, Romania, Hungary, Bulgaria, Holland, Belgium, and other countries."

wiki Majdanek

The official estimate of 78,000 victims,

I believe everything in the answer is documented. There is a reference to the Auschwitz museum that describes the Nazi records, there are photos of original plaque at the gate to Auschwitz and the updated plaque. There is a Nuremberg transcript reference for the 1946 Auschwitz and Majdanek death tolls, and wiki references for the current Auschwitz and Majdanek death tolls. What is not documented?

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    @Qwertie -1 Because using early wrong estimates to be "skeptical" about the Holocaust are classic Holocaust denial arguments, and skeptics doesn't need more antisemitic nonsense. The quick -1s are likely also because based on their answers, OP is only here to deny or qualify the Holocaust. I'm surprised and a bit disapointed that they haven't been banned yet for being disruptive and violating the be nice policy. – tim Jul 8 '18 at 18:22
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    @Qwertie The total didn't change because the wrong 4m was never part of the 6m count. If you would take the false 4m, plus ~2m killed in other extermination camps, plus 1.3m killed by the Einsatzgruppen, plus ~800k shot in other operations, plus 800k deaths in ghettos, plus 500k other deaths, you would arrive at over 9m deaths. – tim Jul 8 '18 at 18:29
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    For completeness sake: The Sterbebücher are often cited by Holocaust deniers, as they put the number at ~70k. The reason for this is that they only cover a period from 41 to 43 and only cover registered prisoners, not the "majority of victims [who] perished in the gas chambers immediately after arrival, without being entered in the camp records, and without their deaths being noted in the German documents." They are by no means evidence that only 70k Jews were murdered. – tim Jul 8 '18 at 18:55
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    I'm sorry but estimates being revised over time does not equal the Holocaust being exaggerated – DenisS Jul 8 '18 at 21:03
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    What astonishes me is that when tens of thousands of survivors and other witnesses, living in different countries, all testify to the mass murder that was taking place during WWII, it’s part of a carefully-orchestrated conspiracy, but when a single convicted nazi war criminal says something to exculpate themselves, it’s gospel. The sheer tonnage of perpetrator testimony that speaks to widespread murder would absolutely blow you away, if you ever looked for any of it. – Shimon bM Jul 10 '18 at 14:01

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