إرفنج ضد ليبستدات

Defense Documents

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

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(C) False attribution and manipulation of corroborating testimony confirming the authenticity of TB 47.

1. Irving claimed to have been able to talk to a number of Grosse's 'war-time police associates' who 'have spoken out for its general authenticity.'106 However Irving has never identified any of them in his published work. He wrote to the Bundesarchiv, the German Federal Archive, in December of 1964 asking them to comment on TB 47, and to help him establish its   authenticity.107 They replied that they could not comment on the authenticity of the document, but supplied Irving with the address of Frau Grosse and five former members of the Dresden police.108 Thus Irving was able to establish that there had indeed been a Colonel Grosse, chief of staff to SS Major-General Oberheidacher, but was no closer to vouching for the document's authenticity.
2. In fact it was not Irving who followed up the names provided by the Federal Archive. In March 1965 the German illustrated magazine Der Stern conducted investigations into TB 47 (presumably at Irving's suggestion). On 15 March Irving received the results of their researches. Of the five people named in the letter from the Federal Archive, two would seem to have died and one was marked as 'away.'109 A reporter had managed to interview Major Ludwig Nölke, one of those people suggested to Irving by the Federal Archive. Nölke was unable to comment on the authenticity of TB 47. He had not seen it at the time as it lay outside his area of competence. However, Nölke was willing to comment on the figures in TB 47 based on his position as the then police commander of Dresden Middle: 'Based on his experience and memory the figures about buildings in the Order of the Day could be correct, but not the figure of the dead. Nölke considers the figure of 35,000, which was given by the Lord Mayor Weidauer after the war and that the Soviet officials also adopted, as correct.'110
 
3. * * Apparently at the suggestion of Frau Grosse, a reporter likewise interviewed Wolfgang Thierig, who had been responsible for air raid precautions in Dresden. 111 Thierig considered the document authentic including the number of dead.112 Irving had no way of knowing it, but, as will be discussed below, Wolfgang Thierig's signature was to turn up a year later on a document which recorded that as of 10 March 1945 (i.e. 12 days before TB 47) the police had been able to establish 18,375 persons as 'killed.' Thierig was lying.
4. Irving would seem to have only contacted one former official himself. In June 1965 Irving approached Werner Bühlmann, a former army officer in Dresden, again at a later suggestion of Herr Teske of the Federal Archive, asking him if he would care to comment on TB 47.113 Bühlmann wrote back that he was unable to comment on TB 47 as he had been hospitalised in Bad Elsten from 20 February 1945 until the end of the war.114 Taken together these three statements would not amount to an endorsement of the 'general authenticity' of the document by any stretch of the imagination.
5. We also have Irving's interview with Frau Eva Grosse, the wife of Oberst Grosse. He reproduced his notes of the interview with her on July 10, 1965, as appendix 5 in the German edition.115
 
6. Let us pause for a moment and consider the particulars. Irving had in his hand in 1965 a document which, if genuine, would have gone a long way to proving that nearly quarter of a million people died in the attacks on Dresden. To date he had no supporting documentation for TB 47. Of the three of Grosse's former colleagues Irving had been contacted one had been unable to help and one had doubted the authenticity of the death-roll given in TB 47. Only one witness thought the figure to be correct and was lying. The Dresden archivist Walter Lange had clearly told Irving that TB 47 was a fake when he had snapped it away from an unwilling Hahn. Max Funfack, whom Irving had named as the source of the document, denied being such.
7. Irving then met the wife of TB 47's dead author, so it would seem from the details, for the first time.116 Since Der Stern had contacted her in February on Irving's behalf, Frau Grosse had collected and sorted all the papers of her husband, and at the time of Irving's visit was occupied with her son in sifting these papers for reference points to TB 47's authenticity.
8. All well and good. His papers consist of a) his military identification, driving licence etc. b) military assessments of his superior officers from 1930 to 1943 and c) Frau Grosse's correspondence with the Allied authorities to secure her husband's release. The only papers Frau Grosse had that could provide any comparison on which to confirm the authenticity of TB 47 were letters her husband had written to her during his imprisonment after the war.117
9. Never a man to be deterred, and without even the slightest note of irony, Irving solemnly declared in point 10 of his interview that indeed: 'There are clear similarities between the style and expression of the Order of the Day and some of Grosse's letters from the period May to   July 1945.'118 TB 47 was of course typewritten, so the similarity alleged by Irving referred to the content of the letters and the report, not to the handwriting. But he provides no evidence whatsoever to show what these supposed similarities were, beyond the fact that both were presumably written in German. Did Frau Grosse's emotional nourishment during the painful period of uncertainty and separation from her husband consist, then, of letters written in the style and expression of a bureaucratic police document such as TB 47? Surly not.
10. Nevertheless Irving obviously concluded that he had been able to confirm the authenticity of a report putting the Dresden death-roll at three times that of Hiroshima. Irving's notes recorded that the interview had lasted from 9.30 p.m. until 10.30 p.m. Allowing a minimal amount of small talk and perhaps ten minutes' perusal of the documents which Frau Grosse handed him to glean the background information contained in points 1-9, we could even whittle this achievement down to the result of half an hour's work.
11. Irving also claimed that Frau Grosse confirmed to him that her husband had mentioned the final figure of 250,000 to her. Point 8 reads that Frau Grosse '...remembers very well how her husband confided in her the daily number of victims found in the weeks after the attack - it grew daily from a figure of 10,000. She remembered his prediction [Vorhersage] that the final figure would be a quarter of a million.'119 In the 1966 English edition of his book Irving writes that Frau Grosse 'confirmed to the author that her husband spoke of the death-roll as having been a quarter of a million.'120 In reporting the details of the interview in 1995, Irving   again fails to include the word 'prediction'.121 In Irving's hands, the future tense becomes the past, and a prediction becomes a report.

Notes

106. Corgi edn., 1966, p. 280. My italics.
107. Doc. 157, Irving to Oberst Teske, 1 December 1964.
108. DJ 10, Bundesarchiv to Irving, 13 January 1965. See also DJ 35, Boberach (Bundesarchiv) to Irving, 13 May 1966. In a letter to Walter Hahn Irving passed finding the five names off as the work of himself and his publisher. See DJ 12, Irving to Walter Hahn, 27 January 1965.
109. DJ 12, copy of Bundesarchiv to Irving, 13 January 1965, with pen marginalia, stamped as received 15 March 1965.
110. DJ 10, interview with Major Nölke by Stern reporter.
111. Der Stern had interviewed Frau Grosse in January or early February 1965, who had suggested contacting Wolfgang Thierig. See DJ 35, Virchow to Sakowsky, 4 February 1965.
112. DJ 35, Stern Hausmitteilung, Gerd Baatz to Sakowski, 6 February 1965, received by Irving 15 March 1965.
113. DJ 10, Irving to Werner Bühlmann, 24 June 1965.
114. DJ 10, Werner Bühlmann to Irving, undated, received 21 July 1965.
115. Heyne 1985, appendix 5, 'Aktennotiz zu einem Interview mit Frau Eva Grosse, München, Johanisplatz 14, am 10. Juli 1965 von 21.30 bis 22.30 Uhr in ihrer Wohnung', pp. 295-297.
116. DJ 35, Virchow to Sakosky, 4 February 1965.
117. Heyne 1985, p. 295
118. Heyne 1985, p. 297.
119. Heyne edn., 1985, p. 296. My italics.
120. Corgi edn., 1966, p. 259. My italics.
121. Focal Point, edn., p. 240.
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