Though the 100 million death estimate has been discredited again and again, it continues to be repeated by right-wing ideologues seeking to brand communism as history’s worst crime. While large numbers of people died under the watch of governments that identified as communist, this fake statistic includes the tens of millions of Soviets who died during Nazi Germany’s genocidal onslaught in World War II as supposed “victims of communism.” The Black Book of Communism is a collection of right-wing essays published in France in 1997, and subsequently translated into English and published by Harvard University Press in 1999. Some of its contributors have admitted that the book’s figures are fabricated or exaggerated.Contributors Jean-Louis Margolin and Nicolas Werth distanced themselves from the text, criticizing the editor Stéphane Courtois and his “obsession to arrive to the 100 million deaths.” When he could not round out the figure to 100 million, Courtois apparently just added numbers.Perhaps more troubling than The Black Book of Communism’s many egregious errors is the fact that it counts Nazicollaborating fascists, anti-Semitic White Army fighters, and czarist officers who oversaw genocidal pogroms against Jews in its list of “victims of communism.”The International Commission on the Holocaust in Romania — known popularly as the Wiesel Commission, after Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel, who led it — condemned Black Book editor Courtois for “comparative trivialization” of the Nazi Holocaust.In order to portray communism as more evil and murderous than fascism, and demonize scholars who refuse to do the same, Courtois fell back on anti-Semitism, “inserting an incriminating insinuation directed at the Jews,” the Wiesel Commission wrote.The commission noted that the editor’s tactics inspired “prestigious intellectuals” to rehash anti-Semitic stereotypes and talking points like “Red Holocaust,” “monopoly on suffering” and “Judeocentrism,” which it noted “are widely popular in radical-right circles.”When The Black Book of Communism was published 20 years ago, its impact was immediately clear: to diminish the crimes of fascism and portray it as a lesser evil compared to communism. In his introduction to the book, Stéphane Courtois explicitly likened the Marxism-Leninism of the Soviet Union and the People’s Republic of China to Nazism.As early as 2000, historian Peter Kenez warned that the book was already being exploited by far-right ideologues and Holocaust revisionists like Jean-Marie Le Pen to rewrite history