David Irving, Hitler and Holocaust Denial: Electronic Edition, by Richard J. Evans

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(C) Manipulation of evidence: The involvement of the SA in the pogrom

1.Part of Irving's strategy in his account of the pogrom is to suggest that practically all leading Nazis were opposed to what was 'Goebbels's folly'.22 Thus, Irving argues that, Hitler, Himmler, Heydrich and many others completely opposed the pogrom. As will be demonstrated later, these claims rely to a large extent on the blatant manipulation of the documentary evidence. Another person whom Irving presents as having been opposed to the pogrom is the SA leader Victor Lutze. In Goebbels: Mastermind of the 'Third Reich', Irving writes that after Goebbels's speech on 9 November 1938, one witness, Max Jüttner, saw Lutze 'warn his old friend Goebbels that his S.A. men would keep well out of any pogrom'. Further on in the text, Irving refers to Lutze's 'misgivings' regarding the burning of synagogues by SA men. Also, he supports his claim that the SA leadership opposed the pogrom by stating that 'only three of the twenty-eight S.A. Gruppen received actual orders to stage demonstrations'.23 These claims by Irving do not hold up when examined in the light of the historical evidence.
2. To begin with, Jüttner is anything but a reliable source, having been a very senior SA official in Nazi Germany. From 1934 onwards, Jüttner acted as head of the Führungsamt der Obersten SA-Führung. and in 1939 he was appointed as Lutze's deputy (Stellvertreter des Stabschefs der SA).24 For this reason, Jüttner had a vested interest after the war in   claiming that the SA had not been involved in any criminal activities. During his testimony at the Nuremberg trial, and in subsequent written statements, he repeatedly lied about the SA's involvement in the violence and destruction in November 1938.25 For this reason alone, his claim that Lutze banned the SA from taking part in the pogrom must be regarded with great suspicion. Jüttner's claim is further undermined by contemporary documents which demonstrate the massive involvement of the SA and its leaders in the pogrom.
3. The improbability of Jüttner's claim is clearly demonstrated by the NSDAP's own Supreme Party Court, which found that all party officials present (which included Lutze) at Goebbels's speech on 9 November 1938 apparently understood this speech to mean that 'the Party should not appear to the outside world as the originator of the demonstrations, but should in reality organize them and carry them out.'26 That regional SA commanders received orders to start the pogrom from above is also borne out by several contemporary documents which clearly show the active role played by the SA group leaders (the top regional SA officials), most of whom were present in Munich. For instance, when the leader of the SA group Nordmark, Mayer-Quade, was informed in Munich at about 10 p.m. on 9 November 1938 of the impending pogrom, he contacted the Gauleiter of Schleswig-   Holstein, Hinrich Lohse, to offer the 'voluntary' participation of his SA group. At around 23.20, Mayer-Quade instructed the Stabsführer of the SA group Nordmark in Kiel:
A Jew has fired a shot. A German diplomat is dead. Completely superfluous assembly houses are standing in Freidrichstadt, Kiel, Lübeck and elsewhere. These people also still have shops with us. Both are superfluous. There must be no maltreatment of people. Foreign Jews must not be touched. Use weapons in case of resistance. The action must be carried out in civilian clothing and be finished at 5 a.m..
As a consequence of this order, the local SA in Schleswig, Lübeck, Heide and Pinneberg raided Jewish houses, synagogues and shops, and shot two Jews.27
4. Similarly, the leader of the SA Brigade 50 reported on 11 November 1938 that on the previous day he had received orders from his superior, the SA group leader in the Palatinate (Kurpfalz):
The following order reached me at 3 a.m. on 10. 11. 1938:
On the orders of the Gruppenführer all Jewish synagogues in the area of Brigade 50 are immediately to be blown up or set on fire. Neighbouring houses which are inhabited by the Aryan population must not be damaged. The action is to be carried out in civilian clothing. Mutinies and acts of looting are to be forbidden.28
5.As a consequence of this order, SA Brigade 50 destroyed (or partially destroyed) a total of 35 synagogues.29 Herbert Fust was the SA Gruppenführer Kurpfalz who had given the orders for this orgy of destruction to SA Brigade 50. Contradicting this documentary evidence of Fust's actions, Irving in his account claims that Fust explicitly ordered that no synagogues should be destroyed at all. This claim goes far beyond any mere manipulation of a source. Irving mistakenly refers to Fust as 'Lust'. He provides no evidence for his claims regarding Fust, which are nothing more than pure invention.30
6. The leader of SA group Nordsee, Böhmcker, in the evening of 9 November 1938 issued the following instructions from Munich to his subordinates: 'All Jewish shops are immediately to be destroyed by SA-men in uniform...Jewish synagogues are to be immediately set on fire...The police are not permitted to interfere. The Führer wants the police not to interfere...All Jews are to be disarmed. In case of resistance immediately shoot them down.'31 There is no mention of this order in Irving's Goebbels.
7. These orders by the SA group leaders Nordmark, Kurpfalz and Nordsee make Jüttner's story highly improbable. It is extremely unlikely that the SA group leaders issued orders to organise the pogrom of their own accord, in flagrant disregard of the orders which Irving   claims their superior officer Lutze issued to keep the SA out of the whole affair. It is extremely misleading by Irving to claim that only three SA groups 'received actual orders to stage demonstrations'. To be sure, only the three orders cited above have survived; but this does not mean that no other such orders were given to any other SA groups. In fact, it is clear that many other SA group leaders (Gruppenführer) gave similar orders which have not survived in the archives. This has been confirmed in numerous post-war testimonies by SA- and NSKK-Obergruppenführer und Gruppenführer, who stated that Lutze on 9 November 1938 instructed the Nazi officials very much in accordance with Goebbels's speech, and that after these instructions, the SA-Gruppenführer rang their district officials to give them the orders for carrying out the pogrom.32 That such orders were issued seems also clear from the involvement of SA groups in violence and destruction against Jews and Jewish property all over Germany on 9 and 10 November 1938. Various contemporary documents and evidence collected in numerous post-war trials established the participation of the SA in a great number of cities and towns beyond any doubt.33 Thus Irving's claim that Lutze had opposed the pogrom and ordered the SA not to get involved is contradicted by a great wealth of historical evidence. It is not even confirmed by Lutze's own diary, cited by Irving   elsewhere.34 There is no documentary evidence for Irving's assertion that only three SA groups received orders to participate in the pogrom. Irving has taken over this claim from the antisemitic Nazi-sympathiser Ingrid Weckert, whose writings (and Irving's use of them) will be discussed in detail later in this Report.


22. For this quote, see Irving, Goebbels, p. 281.
23. Irving, Goebbels, pp. 274-6.
24. IfZ ZS 251/2, M. Jüttner, Eidestattliche Erklärung, 9.12.1947.
25. For instance, Jüttner falsely claimed that all SA members who had participated in the pogrom were later punished by ordinary criminal courts, due to the insistance of SA leader Lutze; Der Prozess gegen die Hauptkriegsverbrecher vor dem Internationalen Militärgerichtshof Vol. XXI, p. 223, Aussage Jüttner, 15 August 1946. Jüttner also claimed that the SA leadership was informed of the pogrom only days, or even weeks after 9 November 1938; IfZ, Zs 251/I, Max Jüttner, 'Führung, Aufgaben und Tätigkeit der SA und Nürnberger Prozess', no date.
26. Der Oberste Parteirichter an Hermann Gôring, 13.2.1939; in Der Prozess gegen die Hauptkriegsverbrecher vor dem Internationalen Militäargerichtshof, ND 3063-PS, IMT Vol. XXXII: 'die Partei nach aussen nicht als Urheber der Demonstrationen in Erscheinung treten, she in Wirklichkeit aber organisieren und durchführen sollte'
27. BA Berlin, Slg. Schumacher 409, Bericht der SA-Grupe Nordmark, 9.12.1938: 'Ein Jude hat geschossen. Em deutscher Diplomat ist tot. In Friedrichstadt, Kiel, Lübeck und anderswo stehen völlig überflüssige Versammlungshäuser. Auch Läden haben diese Leute bei uns noch. Beide sind überflüssig. Es darf nicht geplündert werden. Es dürfen keine Misshandlungen vorkommen. Ausländische Juden dürfen nicht angefaßt werden. Bei Widerstand von der Waffe Gebrauch machen. Die Aktion muß in Zivil durchgeführt werden und um 5.00 Uhr beendet sein.'
28. Der Prozess gegen die Hauptkriegsverbrecher vor dem Internationalen Militärgerichtshof, Vol. XXVII, ND 1721-PS, SA der NSDAP, Brigade 50 (Starkenburg) an SA Gruppe Kurpfalz, 11.11.1938: 'Am 10.11.1939 3 Uhr erreichte mich folgender Befehl: "Auf Befehl des Gruppenführers sind sofort innerhalb der Brigade 50 sämtliche jüdischen Synagogen zu sprengen oder in Brand zu setzten. Nebenhäuser die von der arischen Bevölkerung bewohnt werden dürfen nicht beschädigt werden. Die Aktion ist in Zivil auszuführen. Meutereien oder Plünderungen sin (sic) zu unterbinden."
29. Ibid.
30. Irving, Goebbels, p. 275.
31. Telephonisch aus München erteilter Befehl des Führers der SA-Gruppe Nordsee vom 9. November 1938, 1MG, XXV, p. 376ff, reprinted in K. Pätzold, I. Runge, 'Kristallnacht'. Am Pogrom 1938 (Cologne, 1988), pp. 112-3: Sämtliche jüdischen Geschäfte sind sofort von SA-Männern in Uniform zu zerstören... Jüdische Synagogen sind sofort in Brand zu stecken... Die Polizei darf nicht eingreifen. Der Führer wünscht, daß die Polizei nicht eingreift...Sämtlichen Juden sind zu entwaffnen. Bei Widerstand sofort über den Haufen zu schießen.'
32. Staatsanwaltschaft Wiesbaden 2 KLs 38/51; Staatsanwaltschaft Regensburg KLs 1/5 1; cited in Obst, "Reichskristallnacht", p. 77.
33. For a selection, see Staatsanwaltschaft Aschaffenburg 4 Js 6/49, KLs 7/51; Staatsanwaltschaft Schweinfurt KLs 16/47; Staatsanwaltschaft Wiesbaden 2 KLs 38/51; Staatsanwaltschaft Kaiserslautern KLs 14/50; Staatsanwaltschaft Saarbrücken 11 KLs 16/49; Staatsanwaltschaft Kassel 3 KLs 3/49; Staatsanwaltschaft Bad Kreuzenach 2 KLs 4/51; Staatsanwaltschaft Ansbach KLs 28/47; Staatsanwaltschaft Flensburg 2a Ks 6/49; Staatsanwaltschaft Ulm KLs 4/46; Staatsanwaltschaft Bonn 7 Ks 1/50; Staatsanwaltschaft Pforzheim KLs 17/47; Staatsanwaltschaft Mannheim 1 KLs 8/49; Staatsanwaltschaft Bamberg 7 KLs 5/49; Staatsanwaltschaft Düsseldorf 8 Js 47/46; all cited in Obst, "Reichskristallnacht", pp. 204-242. See also various testimonies in Benz, 'The relapse into barbarism'; and in Lauber, Judenpogrom.
34. While Lutze, according to Irving's notes, acknowledges that opinion in Germany was divided over the pogrom, he gives no indication at all that he himself was opposed to it: 'In der Nacht v. 9 auf 10.11.1938 Vergeltung für Ermordung v. Rath in Paris. --Judengeschäfte stillgelegt, Synagogen niedergelegt'; Irving's typed notes, by Irving. ('In the night of 9 to 10.11.1938 retribution for the murder v. Rath in Paris. - - Jewish shops made to cease business, synagogues knocked down'). The original diary can be found in the archive of the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, Bonn, but is at the moment not accessible to historians.
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