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

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<< (e) The Eichmann memoirs

(f) The 'Kaufman plan'.

 
1. In the passage quoted by Irving above, Eichmann also justified the Holocaust by reference to 'the Jews' plans for Germany' after the war. Once again, Irving does not dissociate himself from this suggestion. Indeed, he actually backs this up by referring to
a sensational book, Germany must Perish', in which 'American writer Theodor N. Kaufman proposes the sterilization of all male Germans. Time magazine lauds his book. In August 1941 Goebbels translates it for the troops and uses it to persuade Hitler to tackle the Jewish problem now.
2. This statement appears as a caption to a picture of the book in the illustrations between pages 332 and 333 of Goebbels, under the heading: 'FINAL SOLUTION', a term, it will be remembered, conventionally used for the Nazi extermination of the Jews, though not employed by Irving in this sense. In fact, Goebbels did not translate the book, or even have it translated by someone else. An examination of the Goebbels Diaries for August 1941 shows that Goebbels had a pamphlet made about the book, with extracts. In his entry for 13 August 1941, he mentioned that he had had to abandon the idea, originally mooted in his entry for 3 August, of translating the whole book, because he feared the consequences for German publications in America of breaching the copyright law in such a blatant fashion.
3. In his entry for 19 August, Goebbels did indeed write that 'the mass pamphlet on the book of the American Jew Kaufman, doctored for the war needs of the German people, finds the approval of the Führer'. However, this is only towards the end of a lengthy report of a conversation with Hitler, some time afterthe two men had discussed the 'Jewish problem' and after they had gone on to other subjects. In other words, Hitler had already agreed to more radical measures against the Jews - more rapid deportations of Berlin Jews to the East, and the imposition of the obligation to wear the identifying yellow star on Germany's remaining Jews- some time before the Kaufman book had been brought to his attention by Goebbels. The diary entries show clearly that Goebbels considered the pamphlet, together with the yellow star, to   be propaganda weapons in influencing German popular opinion against the Jews; nowhere does he mention using the pamphlet to persuade Hitler to do anything at all.65 Thus Irving has skewed the diary entry to make it look as if the pamphlet was discussed before the 'Jewish problem', and invented a connection between the two for which there is no evidential basis whatsoever.
4. The publicity generated by Goebbels's translated extracts from the Kaufman book, and the commentary he had appended to them, ensured that it was widely known amongst German troops and civilians during the war and remained lodged in the memory of Nazi apologists long afterwards, not least because of Nazi claims that it represented official US policy. In a press conference called by the Reich government on 23 July 1941, a representative of the German Foreign Ministry said: 'We know that Roosevelt dictated individual chapters himself. This programme of annihilation of Roosevelt's deserves the sharpest possible repudiation. It really is a programme of Roosevelt's policy.'66 Following this claim, the Nazi daily newspaper, the Völkischer Beobachter, ran the story on 24 July 1941 under the headline: 'Roosevelt demands the sterilization of the German people.'67 The publication date of the book, which actually had been at the beginning of 1941, was manipulated to place it just after   the signature of the Anglo-American Atlantic Charter in August, to give it a further appearance of being official Allied policy, 'the cornerstone of thousand-year-long Jewish plans for world domination'.68
6. When extracts from the book were published in German translation as ordered by Goebbels, the commentary made clear what the implications were. 'Who shall die?', ran a page-heading for example: 'The Germans or the Jews?' The commentary on the text continued in the following way, drawing out its significance for those who might still have some difficulty in getting the message the Propaganda Ministry was trying to get across:
Here a modest reference may be permitted: There are some 20 million Jews in the world. How would it be if instead of the 80 million Germans, these 20 million Jews were treated according to the recipe of their racial comrade Kaufman? At all events, peace would then be secured. For the Jew is the trouble-maker, the disturber of the peace in the whole world.69
7. Not surprisingly, long before Irving came to quote it in his own work, Holocaust deniers were using the 'Kaufman plan' to suggest that if anything bad happened to the Jews during the war, it was their own fault. The Holocaust denier Paul Rassinier (1906-1967) wrote in 1963:  
Hitler ordered the book to be read out on all radio stations. One can imagine the kind of impression this made on the public opinion of Germany. I myself have met Germans who said to me that from the day this plan became known, the necessity of physically destroying the Jews began to be talked of, in the people, in the army, in the police and everywhere. The hope was expressed that Hitler would give an appropriate order, and very frequently people were even convinced that such an order had already gone out to Himmler or Heydrich...In short, the reading-out of Theodore Kaufman over the German radio unleashed popular rage against the Jews.70
8. Similarly, in 1970 another Holocaust denier, former SA member Heinz Roth, argued that the Wannsee Conference was less harmful than the 'Kaufman plan' because it only dealt with 'emigration' not extermination or sterilization.71 Adolf Eichmann's claim, advanced in his memoirs, that the book acted as a trigger in the Nazi leadership for 'killing measures against Jews', as he quite openly called them, belongs essentially to this literature of retrospective justification as well.72 Thus, as in other aspects of his Holoaust denial, Irving here is not reporting research of his own, but simply lifting arguments from others, or in other words, engaging in what he calls 'inter-historian incest' with other Holocaust deniers.
9. In fact, not even Irving went so far as to repeat Nazi propaganda claims that the book was dictated by Roosevelt or formed part of official Allied policy towards the Germans. These claims indeed had no foundation in reality at all. The compiler of the Propaganda Ministry's translated extracts, Wolfgang Diewerge, went out of his way to argue that Kaufman was 'no   nameless loner, no fanatic rejected by world Jewry, no deranged crank...rather a leading and well-known Jewish personality in the United States', indeed an adviser to President Roosevelt himself.73 But actually Kaufman had no connections with the US Administration. He was also a completely marginal figure in the Jewish political scene. Germany must Perish! was self-published by Kaufman and had no financial backing from anyone else. The 'American Federation of Peace' was not a mainstream political organization, but largely a figment of Kaufman's own imagination. It had few members and lacked any kind of influence on the establishment.
10. The book did indeed advocate the postwar division of Germany and the sterilization of the entire German population.74 But as Time magazine pointed out in an article, entitled 'A Modest Proposal', on 24 March, 1941, on the foundation of the 'American Federation of Peace' establishment by Kaufman in 1939 Kaufman had declared that its aim was to petition Congress '1) to keep the U.S. out of Europe's wars or 2) to sterilize all Americans so that their children might not become homicidal monsters.'75 'In step with the times', commented Time, 'Sterilizer Kaufman had simply transferred his basic idea back to the enemy'. This presentation gives the lie to Irving's claim that Time magazine received Kaufman's book with praise. On the contrary, the magazine made it clear that it was the work of an eccentric, and noted that readers might wonder 'whether the strange book was a landmark, the first appearance of the Streicher mind in the U.S.', referring to the notoriously violent, rabid racism of the prominent Nazi Julius Streicher, publisher of the vulgar antisemitic paper Stürmer.
 
11. Reporting on 9 August 1941 that the Jewish residents of Hanover had been herder together in the mortuary of the Jewish cemetery in an antisemitic action justified by the town's mayor as a response to the 'Kaufman plan', the New York Times cited Kaufman himself as saying: 'The Nazis are merely finding a scapegoat for their barbarities. They have hounded the Jews since the beginning of the Nazi regime, and I am sure anything I have written could not make their atrocities worse.'76
12. The critical reception the book received in the American press was in fact well known to Goebbels and the Propaganda Ministry, who took what brief biographical details there were about Kaufman - his foundation of the so-called American Federation of Peace, and so on - from 'A Modest Proposal', Time magazine's article on him published on 24 March 1941. Not only did Goebbels know, therefore, that Time magazine had dismissed the book as eccentric, he was also well aware of the fact that, as he put it in his diary entry for 3 August 1941, Kaufman's book demonstrated a 'complete lack of realism' and was therefore not to be taken seriously; his use of it as a propaganda measure bore all the usual hallmarks of his cynical disregard for the truth.77
13. Irving's appropriation and uncritical repetition of Holocaust denial myths surrounding Theodore Kaufman's Germany must Perish are characteristic of his attempts to suggest that Nazi antisemitism was somehow a reaction to a Jewish threat; those attempts in turn are characteristic of the wider antisemitic context of Holocaust denial, just as is the crude and obvious falsification of the relevant historical evidence which it involves. As in his attempts to provide a documentary basis for his exculpation of Hitler from the charges of antisemitism   and mass murder, Irving engages in a knowing and conscious manipulation of the historical record in order to lend a semblance of credibility to his insinuation that the Jews were to blame for their own misfortunes. A simliar manipulation was also observable in his allegation that a Jewish organization was behind the assassination of the German diplomat vom Rath in 1938, as this Report showed above in its discussion of Irving's account of the pogrom of 9-10 November 1938. As in that instance, so in the case of the Kaufman book, a critical examination of his work reveals examples of all the dishonest techniques of manipulation and falsification with which Lipstadt has charged him.

Notes

63. M. Brechtken, 'Madagascar für die Juden' (Munic, 1997).
64. David Irving on the Eichmann and Goebbels Papers. Speech at Los Angeles, California, October 11, 1992' (11th Conference of the Institute for Historical Review, transcript on Irving's "Focal Point" Website), also in Jackson, The Case for David Irving, pp. 26-7.
65. Elke Fröhlich (ed.), Die Tagebücher von Joesph Goebbels, Teil II: Diktate 1941-1945, BD. 1. Juli-Sept. 1941 (Munich, 1996), pp. 168-9, 225, 271, 312, 328, 334, 515; the references to Hitler's toughness towards the Jews occur on pages 267-9, the reference to Goebbels's mentioning the pamphlet to Hitler on page 271. The German original of the quotation is: 'Die massenbroschüre über das Buch des amerikanischen Juden Kaufman, zurechtgestützt für den Kriegsbedarf des deutschen Volkes, findet die Billigung des Führers.'
66. 'Man wisse, daß Roosevelt einzelne Kapitel selbst diktiert habe. Diese Vernichtungsprogramm Roosevelts verdiene die allerschärfste Zurückweisung. Es handelt sich tatsächlich um ein Programm der Rooseveltschen Politik', cited in Wolfgang Benz, 'Judenvernichtung aus Norwehr? Die Legenden um Theodore N. Kaufman', Vierteljahreshefte für Zeitgeschichte, Vol. 29 (1981), pp. 615-30, here p. 619.
67. Benz, 'Judenvernichtung', pp. 615-16.
68. Wolfgang Diewerge, Das Kriegsziel der Weltplutokratie. Dokumentarische Veröffentlichung zu dem Buch des Präsidenten der amerikanischen Friedensgesellschaft Theodore Nathan Kaufman "Deutschland muß sterben" ("Germany must Perish") (Berlin, 1941), p. 8 cited in Benz, 'Judenvernichtung', p. 623.
69. 'Hier sei ein bescheidener Hinweis gestattet: Es gibt etwa 20 Millionen Juden auf der Welt. Wie wäre es, wenn statt der 80 Millionen Deutsche diese 20 Millionen Juden nach dem Rezept ihres Rassegenossen Kaufmann behandeln würde? Dann wäre der Frieden auf alle Fälle gesichert. Denn der Unruhestifter, der Friedensstörer, auf der ganzen Welt ist der Jude' (Diewerge, p. 14, cited in Benz, p. 623). Kaufman's supposed middle name 'Nathan' was a Nazi invention to make Kaufman seem irrefragably Jewish; his middle name was in fact 'Newman'. Diewerge was the head of radio in the German Propaganda Ministry.
70. Paul Rassinier, Zum Fall Eichmann Was ist Wahrheit? Oder unbelehrbaren Sieger (Leoni am Starnberger See, 1978), cited in Benz, 'Judenvernichtung', p. 624.
71. Heinz Roth, Was hätten wir Väter wissen müsen/ Auf der Suche nach der Wahrheit (Odenhaussen/Lumda, 1970), cited in Benz, 'Judenvernichtung', pp. 624-5.
72. 'Tötungsmassnahmen gegen Juden', in Rudolf Aschenauer (ed.), Ich, Adolf Eichmann. Ein historischer Zeugenbericht (Leoni am Starnberger See, 1980), pp. 177-8, cited in Benz, 'Judenvernichtung', pp. 625-26;cf. also Irving, Goebbels, p. 640, n. 38.
73. Diewerge, Die Kriegsziel, p. 5, cited in Benz, Judenvernichtung', p. 620.
74. Theodore N. Kaufman, Germany Must Perish (Newark, N.J., n.d.; the Library of Congress copy is stamped as received on 28 February 1941).
75. Benz, 'Judenvernichtung', pp. 627-28.
76. Associated Press release in the New York Times, 9 August 1941, as cited in Benz, p. 627 and fn. 42. See also Associated Press release, 'Nazis attack Roosevelt' in the New York Times, 24 July 1941, ibid.
77. Ralf Georg Reuth (ed.), Josef Goebbels. Tagebücher, Vol. 4: 1941-1942 (Munich, 1942), p. 1,646.
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