Carl O. Nordling estimated in ‘Wie viele Juden gab es in Reichweite von NS-Verfolgung und potentieller Vernichtung?” (How many Jews were within the reach of NS-persecution and porential extermination?)
4,830,000 ± 300,000 Jews
Source: VffG Sept. 2005
Michael Mills comes up with an absolute maximum of 4,999 million Jews in areas under German control:
The statistics on the Jewish population of Europe included in the Wannsee Protocol are manifestly exaggerated; most historians concede that, and do not take them seriously.
It is quite easy to see where the exaggeration occurs; it is in the figures for the Soviet Union and Poland, which Pumpkin quite correctly notes make up the bulk of the alleged 11 million total. If we add up the figures for the different components of the Soviet Union and Poland, we get the following total:
Soviet Union 5.000 million
Generalgouvernement 2.284 million
Eastern Territories 0.420 million
Bialystok 0.400 million
TOTAL 8.104 million
Now, the 5.0 million given for the Soviet Union includes the Jewish populations of the territories annexed in 1939 from Poland, and in 1940 from the Baltic States and Romania. Since for the purposes of calculation we are considering only the Jews of the Soviet Union and Poland, we need to exclude the Jews of the Baltic States and the territories seized from Romania (Bessarabia and Bukovina); these totalled approximately 0.5 million (0.25 million for both areas).
Deducting 0.5 million from 8.1 million leaves 7.6 million. That figure may be compared with the true total for the Soviet Union and Poland.
According to the Soviet census of 1939, there were just over three million persons of Jewish nationality in the country at that date. However, it is known that the census was falsified to hide the massive population losses due to the famines and purges of the 1930s. It is not known how many Jews there really were, however defined, but we can adopt three million as a ball-park figure.
The last Polish pre-war census gave two different figures for the total number of Jews, 2.8 million by nationality (defined as speakers of the Jewish languages Yiddish and Hebrew) and 3.1 million by religion. Again, it is known that the Polish census was falsified in order to minimise the size of the dissident ethnic minorities (Ukrainians, Belorussians, Germans). Again, we can adopt three million as a ball-park figure.
Thus, we arrive at 6.0 million as the total for the Soviet Union and Poland. The derived total in the Wannsee Protocol of 7.6 million is therefore exaggerated by 1.6 million. Deducting 1.6 million from the alleged Europe-wide total of 11 million leaves 9.4 million.
Furthermore, the figures for France are also grossly exaggerated. The Wannsee Protocol gives the following total:
Occupied France 165,000
Unoccupied France 700,000
In fact, it is known that the toal number of Jews in France in 1940 was about 340,000, including French citizens and refugees from Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium, and resident aliens from a number of countries.
Accordingly, the Wannsee Protocol's figure for France is exaggerated by about 525,000. Deducting that number from our adjusted Europe-wide total of 9.7 million leaves a new adjusted total of 9.175 million.
However, that adjusted total is not an accurate guide to the number of Jews who might have perished at German hands, since it includes countries that were never occupied by Germany; they need to be deducted, as follows:
Deducting that total for unoccupied countries from the adjusted Europe-wide total of 9.175 million leaves 8.748 million as the pool of potential victims.
A further adjustment needs to be made. The above total includes the entire Jewish population of the Soviet Union, but it is well-known that only the western part of that country was occupied by Germany, and furthermore a large number of Jews from the areas that were eventually occupied were evacuated by the Soviet authorities or fled before the Germans arrived.
The figure for Soviet Jews who never fell into German hands needs to be deducted. Some authorities such as Hilberg postulate that a good three million Jews survived in the Soviet Union, and that can be used as a reasoanble ball-park figure.
Deducting 3.0 million from 8.748 million leaves 5.748 million. That is the absolute maximum of the Jews who fell into German hands, and therefore could have been killed by them. However, there was a considerable number of Jewish survivors at the end of the war in the German-occupied territories. A by no means exhaustive calculation of the survivors includes:
France at least 260,000
Hungary at least 200,000
Romania at least 400,000
TOTAL at least 860,000
Deducting 860,000 from 5,748,000 leaves 4.888 million as the ABSOLUTE MAXIMUM number of Jews who could have perished at German hands. That figure would need to be adjusted downward to take account of Jewish survivors in other formerly occupied countries; for example, I have not included any figure for Polish Jews who survived, but their number is reliably estimated by historians as in the low hundreds of thousands, perhaps more than half a million.
In summary, I conclude that the total number of Jews who perished due to German actions could not be much more than four million. The canonical six million accordingly represents a 50% exaggeration.