What especially struck me is Keegan's allegation that 450,000 [!?] Jews were delivered to the SS between March and June 1944 and gassed at Auschwitz -- Keegan doesn't give a source for these figures; hence, we don't know the origin of these numbers.
Question: does anyone know the source for these fantastic figures, and what should one make of them?
"[Jews] sent to camps associated with an industrial plant run by the SS economic branch were usually worked to a state of enfeeblement before being sent to the gas chamber, though the old, the weak adn the young might be gassed immediately; Auschwitz, the large camp in southern Poland, served both purposes. Those sent to the extermination camps, like Treblinka and Sobibor, were gassed on arrival. In this way, by the end of 1943, about 40 per cent of the world's Jewish population, some 6 million people, had been put to death; of the large European Jewish community to survive, the 800, 000 in Hungary, 450,000 were delivered to the SS between March and June 1944 and gassed at Auschwitz.
By that time, the head of the SS economic branch reported to Himmler on 5 April, there were twenty concentration camps and 165 subsidiary labour camps; in August 1944 the population was 524,286, of whom 145,119 were women. In January 1945 the total had risen to 714,211, of whom 202,674 were women.
John Keegan, The Second World War (New York: Viking Penguin, 1989) at 288-289.