The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: people/b//bacque.james/bacque.005

Newsgroups: alt.revisionism
Subject: [Repost] Myth Understanding: The Fallacy of _Other Losses_

Archive/File: people/b/bacque.james bacque.005

[Originally posted on October 7, 1994 by 
(Morrison), as Message-ID: <37416d$>,
UseNet's alt.revisionism]

1.0 Introduction

Recently (September/October 1994) those who would argue the historical
truth of the Holocaust on the Usenet newsgroup alt.revisionism have
taken up as one of their sources the book _Other Losses_, written by
James Bacque.  (Full title:  _Other Losses: An Investigation into the
Mass Deaths of German Prisoners at the Hands of the French and Americans
After World War II_)

The rationale of this move is apparently to paint the Allies as a force
that committed crimes just as terrible as those of the Nazis, probably
in the hope that people will forgive the Nazis their crimes because our
side did the same thing.

1.1 Purpose

It is the purpose of this document to demonstrate the fallacies and shoddy
scholarship inherent in _Other Losses_ and thus to show yet another example
of "Revisionist Scholarship".

1.2 Sources

The Primary source for this document is: 

_Eisenhower and the Germans POWs: Facts Against Falsehood_
Edited by Gunter Bischof and Stephen E. Ambrose
Louisiana State University Press, 1992
ISBN 0-8017-1758-7
LoC Cat# 92-3908

2.0 The Contreversy of _Other Losses_

The main premise of _Other Losses_ is that in the aftermath of World War II,
between 800 000 and 1 000 000 German POWs were systematically killed by
means of starvation and disease in American and French POW camps.  Bacque
claims that Dwight D. Eisenhower, Supreme Commander Allied Forces Europe,
and the US Army orchestrated the deaths by witholding food and shelter from
the POWs.

Furthermore, Bacque claimed that professional historians had participated in
an American-controlled conspiracy of silence about the alleged events he

3.0 An Analysis of the Claims

3.1 Bacque's Math 101

            He asserts that roughly a million German prisoners--
            the "Missing Million"-- disappeared from European 
            theatre of operations (ETO) records between two reports
            issued on June 2, 1945.  In the first, the grand
            total of prisoners "in US custody, ETO" is given as
            2,870,000, and in the second, "Total PWs on hand in
            COM Z" is given as 1,836,000.  But the Communications
            Zone (COM Z) was a subordinate command of the ETO, and
            its total omitted the million or so prisoners held by
            the armies and the army groups.  Moreover, both reports
            state exactly the same number of prisoners for which the
            ETO is responsible overall-- 3,193,747.  To judge from
            these documents, there was no Missing Million.  There
            was not even a Missing One.

                  -Albert E. Cowdrey, _Eisenhower and the German POWs_
                    p. 79

The title of _Other Losses_ comes from a column found on American reports
of prisoner status.  Bacque claims that it represents a body count.
In fact, footnotes in those same documents indicate that "other losses"
is in fact a blanket term covering many things: transfer of prisoners
to other holding units, prisoner releases, etc (daily reports, Status
of Disarmed Enemy Forces.  May 20-June 6, 1945, Third and Ninth Armies,
_Classified Correspondance, 1944-45, Secretary General Staff, USFET, 
RG 332, NA_ reproduced in Bischof, pp 86-87).

Furthermore, there are periods in the records when "other losses" is not
in the record.  It is for this period that Bacque uses the medical record
and the famous missing zero typo.  A total of 700 000 *should* be given as 
the number of prisoners in a report issued by the ETO surgeon, but the
typist mistakingly omitted a zero, making the total 70 000.  Although a
glance at the rest of the chart is sufficient to realize the typo, Bacque
nevertheless uses that incorrect figure and the number of deaths reported
(which was totalled correctly) to give a 30%, when the actual number was
about 3.56%, a figure demonstrated by the following table (ETO Surgeon's
Report on Essential Technical Medical Data) 

Comparison of Number of Admissions and Death Rates Per 1000 Per Annum
For Prisoners of War in ASCZ Enclosures and ETO Troops (Less UK)
During Six Week Period Ending 15 June 1945

                             Admissions (POW)                Deaths (POW)
                          #      rate/1000/yr              #     rate/1000/yr
Disease               345 324       4 285                2 754        34.2
Non-Battle Injury      37 713         468                   98         1.2
Battle Casualty        20 105         250                   16          .2

total                 403 142       5 003                2 868        35.6

[note: US troop figures have been omitted]

Now the table figures make sense if the base number of German prisoners was
700 000.  Take deaths due to non-battle injuries.  Over a 6 week period, there
were 98 deaths, or 2.33 a day.  That is (2.33*365) = 839.5 a year.  Now,
divide by the number of thousands of prisoners (700) and you get 1.2 deaths/
1000 prisoners/year.

If, on the other hand, you use the wrong figure of 70 000, the total becomes
12 deaths/1000 prisoners/year or 10X greater.  Thus the total deaths per 1000
prisoners per year becomes 356, or 35.6%.

The fallacy can be easily shown by looking at the admission rate.  A total of
403 142 prisoners entered hospital during those 6 weeks.  If there were only
70 000 prisoners, that means each prisoner entered the hospital 5.76 times.
The ridiculous nature of that figure is obvious.

On the other hand, Bacque does math like this: there were 98 accidental
deaths in those 6 weeks.  For no reason whatsoever, he decides that the 98
is a projection, that the table states that it predicts 98 prisoners will die
over a year.  He divides 98 by 52, multiplies by 6 and voila, 11.30769 died
during that 6 week period.  Aha! he cries, because that is not a whole
number, therefore the figures have been fudged!

This despite the fact that it is clear that 98 men died *during* the 6 week
period.  If you use the exact same method on the total of deaths and assume
the 2 868 is a projection for the year, then the death rate would be 
2868/70 or 40.97 deaths/1000/year, or a death rate of approximetly 4.1%,
which is not in agreement with his around 30% calculation.  Thus, his own
method on his own numbers does not work.

3.2 A Million Unaccounted Dead?

The Maschke Commission, set up by the UN in 1950 at the request of the
Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) to determine where missing
POWs were determined that 120 000 had died in POW camps outside the USSR.
The majority of the deaths were in Eastern and Southern Europe.


3.3 Bacque Rules of Revisionist Analysis Part I: Use Reliable Witnesses

                I am 91 years old, legally blind, and my memory
                has lapsed to a point where it is quite unreliable...
                Often during my talk with Mr. Bacque I reminded him
                that my memory has deteriorated badly in the 40 odd
                years since 1945.  Mr. Bacque read to me the USFET
                POW figures for discharges and transfers to other
                national zones.  It seemed to me that, after accounting
                for transfers and discharges, there was nothing left 
                to make up the grand total except deaths and escapes,
                i.e: the term OTHER LOSSES.  I was mistaken...many
                POWs were transferred from one U.S. Command to 
                another U.S. Command.  This left one with a loss
                and the other with a gain.

                         -Col. Philip S. Lauben (ret) to David S. Hawkins,
                          6 March 1990, copy supplied by Col. Lauben
                          to US Army Center of Military History,
                          Washington, DC.  Bischof, p. 84

3.4 Bacque Rules of Revisionist Analysis Part II: The Whole Truth and...

Bacque cites the book _One Great Prison_ by Helmut M. Fehling wherein
the West German Ministry of Refugees gave a total of 1 407 000 missing
German soldiers.

In the Canadian edition, he (wrongly) claims the book states Chancellor 
Adenauer gave that total in a speech in the Bundestag.  In the American 
edition, he corrects the error and properly attributes the origin of the 

Of course, in *neither* edition does he give the full title of the book--
_One Great Prison:  The Story Behind Russia's Unreleased POWs_

3.5 Bacque Rules of Revisionist Analysis Part III: Context, always with context

Bacque states that Eisenhower was starving the POWs because there was a
surplus of food at the time, yet the POWs were hardly getting enough to

Really?  Even as late as April, 1945, during the fighting, the food situation
was so bad in Holland that the Germans *allowed* the Allies to airdrop
supplies to civilians behind their lines.

By the end of July, 1945, most liberated areas were struggling to get
civilian diets above 2000 calories. 
(United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration Council Meeting,
London, 30 July 1945 pp 3-4, Box 25, 080 UNRRA, Adjutant General Files,
1945-46, Office of Military Government (US) for Germany, RG 260,
Washington National Records Center, Suitland, Maryland)

Document JCS 1517: "The food situation in western Germany is perhaps the
most serious problem of the occupation.  Average consumption is now about
one-third below the generally accepted subsistence level of 2000 calories
per day."
(20 August, 1945, p.6 in 319.1, CCAC, Records of the Joint Chiefs of Staff,
RG 218, NA)

Everybody was starving, not just POWs under US Army confinement.

3.6 Bacque Rules for Revisionist Analysis Part IV:  Me, exaggerate?

Yes, the POW camps were bad.  Some really bad.  It was documented by the
Maschke Commission in the 60s and 70s, Paul Carrell and Gunter Boddeker in
_Die Gefangenen_, Rolf Steininger and Heribert Schwan _Als der Kreig zu
Ende ging_, both books published in 1981.

They did *not* mention any mass deaths.

3.7 Bacque Rules for Revisionist Analysis Part V: The bodies are over there...

So where are they?  One million dead.  The Soviets couldn't hide 40 000
bodies after Katyn and keep it a secret.  The US Army couldn't cover up
deaths in a tiny jungle village called My Lai.  The most powerful men in
the US government couldn't keep the lid on Watergate or Iran-Contra.

And your telling me that in fifty years *nobody* besides Bacque says anything?
None of the guards, none of the POWs, none of the civilians living nearby,
not the Red Cross, no respected investigative reporter, not even Eisenhower's
political foes in the states?

Yeah, right.

4.0 Conclusion

There was no food for the POWs because there *was* no food.
Conditions were bad, but that has been extensively documented.
No reports of mass death and no evidence to support it.
Every thesis of Bacque's proven wrong.

Full of error, facts out of context, math that makes your head spin,
deliberate omission of relevant information...

Definitively a textbook example of a revisionist reference.

Home ·  Site Map ·  What's New? ·  Search Nizkor

© The Nizkor Project, 1991-2012

This site is intended for educational purposes to teach about the Holocaust and to combat hatred. Any statements or excerpts found on this site are for educational purposes only.

As part of these educational purposes, Nizkor may include on this website materials, such as excerpts from the writings of racists and antisemites. Far from approving these writings, Nizkor condemns them and provides them so that its readers can learn the nature and extent of hate and antisemitic discourse. Nizkor urges the readers of these pages to condemn racist and hate speech in all of its forms and manifestations.