What did the holocaust cost to the German war effort?

In this thread, Marley23 said:

What did the holocaust take from the war effort? The millions of dead people, plus the guards and other infrastructure could have otherwise been put toward the front lines and factories.

How many workers did they loose? What percentage?
How many guards and victims that could have been at the front lines?
How much did it cost? What percentage of the budget did they spend on it?
It has been firmly established in the above mentioned thread that Hitler was a genius. :smiley: So I’m thinking that when I get my time machine built, I will go back to him and convince him not to do the Holocaust on economic grounds. Please help me with the numbers, so I can be as persuasive as possible.

I also need to learn Austrian German, but that is a different thread.

Tanks in advance!


The first thing that comes to mind is the trains. German war effort in the East was in large part hampered by crummy logistics, so using a non-trivial amount of trains to ferry starving families around instead of ammunition and winter gear seems a bit daft.

And are we assuming the Jews and other minorities are still being oppressed, just not interned/exterminated, or is this postulating a more “inclusive” Naziism that embraces all it’s citizens*, and what they can contribute to the Reich?

The latter would probably skew the OP’s scenario too much to readily calculate.
*(Presumably not the anti-fascist ones, though, one imagines.)

Kobal2: Right, and the guy that made those trains run on time would have been really helpful on the eastern front too!

Ranchoth: Lets assume that the Jews were put in the ghettos close to their prior home, and were able to travel to work outside of the ghettos. No camps or trains. Similar wages to what was paid to french workers, still second class citizens.

I can’t even comment on is the non-Jewish half of those killed (I guess mostly homos, gypsies, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and dissidents?). I don’t know how those groups were treated before the final solution came along.

I always thought that if you could just convince him not to mess with the Soviet Union, he’d more than likely be able to hold on to most of Europe. All he has to do is delay the Western front invasion long enough to develop nuclear weapons, and then the most likely outcome is that the future borders would remain static.

So the two facts you’d have to convince him of in order for him to win would be
a. Don’t mess with the Red Army
b. Here’s a few books on basic fission bombs. (his R&D team was on the wrong track).
Interestingly, his nuclear research facility had uranium that was used to finish one of the bombs used on Japan. The Nazis had everything they needed to build a nuke had they known how to do it.

Many of the nuclear physicists were Jews from Nazi occupied areas who left and emigrated to the US – Einstein and Teller most notably. Nuclear physics was considered a “Jewish science” and was thought to be incompatible with Nazi ideology. Anyone working in the area was suspect and carefully watched, for example Heisenberg.

Hitler did not develop a nuclear bomb because of his ideology. Had he not been so focussed on making Nazi occupied areas free of Jews, he could have easily had nuclear weapons – probably before the Allies did.

I am a homo, and I’m sure they were treated fabulously. Just look at “Cabaret.”

Are you thinking “Well, we won’t execute them anymore. We’ll just work them in slave labor camps until they die of malnutrition, disease, industrial accidents, and failed escape attempts.” ?

Actually, some of the Nazis did realize it made more sense to work the Jews to death, rather than just kill them. For example, Auschwitz was actually planned as a synthetic rubber plant ("Buna"rubber), and was to be run by IG Farben. The idea is that the Jews would be fed the absolute minimum food, and worked to death. This was opposed by Nazi fanatics like Himmler. Fritz Todt (who headed German war production) wanted to use Jewish labor-he was killed in a plane crash (which may not have been accidental). I wonder how much the German war effort in Russia was handicapped by the need to ship Jews and others to the death camps.

Are we all using period terminology as well?

Many of those rounded up where used for the war effort. Stone quaries comes to mind. Many more, did not.

What Hitler and the Whermarct considered a good use of labor is easily questioned. But then we are dealing with a megliomaniac that had people either worshipping or cowering at his feet.

I saw Eagles Nest not 2 weeks ago. (the structure, not the movie). It was a ridiculous waste of resourses, and did not help the German war effort (for which I am happy).

Did they have trouble following him? “We can see him, but we can’t tell where he’s going…”

Roddy, you and I may be fabulous, but do you think the same people that ignored “Jewish physics” would see how fabulous we are?

Seriously, I understand that early on there was a big homo contingent (they could not resist the uniforms I guess) but Hitler et al got rid of them around '35 to '37.


I’m thinking more like Jim Crow than slow starvation.


This might be better in a thread of it’s own, but imagine if, instead of having antisemitism a basic tenet of Nazism, they passed on hating Jews and just embraced all German citizens. There would be no Jewish “brain drain” since 1933 and Einstein, Teller, et al would not have fled and worked for the government. IMHO, that’s an alternate history worth exploring.

Then again, I wonder how much of the underpinnings of Naziism you could change before they stop being, well, recognizably Nazis. And, importantly, still rise to power in the time, place, and way that they did, rather than just ending up as a grumpy minority party in the Reichstag with an unusually impressive brand identity.

You’d have had to convince Hitler to not be Hitler to keep him from invading the Soviet Union. That was the whole point of the war for him, to seize lebensraum in the East for the German people, and to kill or exile to Siberia the majority of the population living there, with the rest reduced to illiterate slavery. See Generalplan Ost and Mein Kampf where he spells this out quite clearly in 1925:

Germany was also not going to develop the bomb before the Americans and British did. If the Nazis were still alive and kicking in August 1945, the first atomic bombs would have been dropped on German cities rather than Japanese ones.

The secret police shined a light on him, which made him take a wrong turn at Albuquerque.

Aunt, mother-in-law both survived Auschwitz thereby, liberated by the Russians while barely alive (different story for each).

Everybody else straight to gas.

The German army was a little less than four million men for most of the war. The part of the SS that oversaw the camps was around 22,000 men. That is a percentage of .58%
The were around 522,000 jews in germany when the Nazis took over. 214,000 had not left prior to WW2. If a half of that number were men and half those men were fighting age that is a little over 50,000 potential soldiers.
Thus the camps decreased the German army by about 75,000 soldiers. That is alot but only 1.5% of the strength of the German army at its height.