Hitler never ordered the Holocaust
Holocaust Deniers Say:
No order signed by Adolf Hitler authorizing the 'Final Solution' has ever been found. Since Hitler as supreme ruler signed other orders, the absence of a "Holocaust" order proves that it never happened.
Holocaust deniers argue:
- That if the genocide of the Jews was an official policy of the Nazi government then a document signed by Adolf Hitler ordering their annihilation would have been found by now. There is a document signed by Hitler authorizing the T-4 [euthanasia] program. How come there is no Hitler-signed order authorizing the 'Final Solution'?
- David Irving has "offered a thousand pounds to any person who could produce even one wartime document showing explicitly what Hitler knew, for example, of Auschwitz . . ." [Hitler's War, Introduction, p. xxvii] On his web site Irving states that "nobody has yet claimed the widely publicized $1,000 reward . . . for even one page of wartime contemporary evidence that Hitler was even aware of Auschwitz ('the Holocaust'), let alone gave the order for the Final Solution."
- John Weir, writing on CODOH [Committee for Open Debate on the Holocaust], a prominent American Holocaust denial web site, argues that if such an order was issued "it would have been located... Since none has been found, the conclusion is inescapable: There was no policy to exterminate Jews by the Nazi government." 2
Holocaust historians respond: It is very unlikely that Hitler ever signed such an order for the following reasons:
- Hitler and the Nazi regime were very secretive about the 'Final Solution.' Hitler didn't want to leave an evidence trail that would inflame his own population or the leadership of other countries.
- Heinrich Himmler, the head of the SS, in a speech given at Poznan (Posen, Poland) to a meeting of SS Major Generals on October 4, 1943, acknowledged how secret the Final Solution was: "We will never speak of it publicly. . . I mean the evacuation of the Jews, the extermination of the Jewish race. ... The Jewish race is being — exterminated... that's quite clear, it's in our program elimination of the Jews and we're doing it, exterminating them . . . This is a page of glory in our history which has never been written and is never to be written . . ."
- Hitler often transmitted his important instructions orally. Peter Longerich, a University of London historian and Germanist who has written about Hitler, notes that "Hitler avoided giving a clear written order to exterminate Jewish civilians. He avoided speaking openly about killing in his entourage."
- Hitler signed an order for the T-4 euthanasia program in which perhaps as many as 100,000 German citizens who were thought to be 'unworthy of life' were murdered. That order was found after the war. When the German population caught on to what the Nazis were doing they protested and Hitler was forced to publicly back down and cancel the program (although it continued in secret). Having been embarrassed by a written order once, Hitler would be wary of doing it again.
- As there were over 11,000,000 Jews in Europe at the outbreak of World War II spread throughout Europe, the "Final Solution" was actually many partial solutions. The Nazis went about accomplishing their task through a wide variety of means in many countries. In Poland, they set up ghettos in which large numbers of Jews were systematically starved to death or allowed to die of disease. In the Soviet Union, we know that the Einsatzgruppen, or mobile killing squads, rounded up over 1,000,000 Jews from villages and towns and shot them right on the spot. In Poland, the remaining Jews were transported to the death camps of Treblinka, Sobibor, Belzec, and Chelmno. Jews from other countries in German-occupied Europe were shipped to Auschwitz-Birkenau where they were murdered. Therefore, one "Final" order would not make sense; instead, each individual operation was preceeded by many individual orders.
- Hitler, for instance, specifically asked that he be kept abreast of the Einsatzgruppen's actions in Eastern Europe. The Einsatzgruppen were mobile killing squads arriving in villages as soon as the Wehrmacht conquered them. They then rounded up and shot entire communities of Jews, often forcing them to dig their own mass graves before lining them up. Reports detailing the activities of the Einsatzgruppen were regularly submitted for Hitler's review. They chronicle with clinical precision the numbers of Jews these special killing squads "liquidated."
- Einsatzgruppe D reported on November 5, 1941 that it had killed 11,037 Jews and 3 communist officials in the previous two weeks. For the period from November 16 to December 15, 1941, Einstazgruppe D reported executing 17,645 Jews, 2,504 Krimchaks (categorized racially as Jews), 824 Gypsies, and 212 communists. For the last two weeks of December 1941, Einsatzgruppe D reported shooting 3,176 Jews, 85 partisans, 12 looters and 122 communists. Einsatzgruppe C in late October 1941 also reported that it had "liquidated" some 80,000 people of which 75,000 were Jews.3
- Another Einsatzgruppen report, "Report to the Führer on Combating Partisans," ( No. 51, December 1942) reported that 363,211 Jews had been executed. The report had been typed in large type favored by Hitler (who hated to wear his reading glasses) and was signed by Himmler. It was included in the select documents placed before Hitler and marked "Shown to the Führer ."
- Christopher Browning, Professor of History at Pacific Lutheran University, in his report prepared for the Irving v. Penguin Books and Deborah Lipstadt trial (1996-2001), referenced 8 additional Einsatzgruppen reports detailing another 18,000 Jewish deaths. Other reports reference 44,125 people murdered in August, "mostly Jews." (Browning, pages 12, 13)
- As Germany's defeat became inevitable the Nazi regime began to systematically destroy any and all evidence trails leading to their murderous activities. When the SS abandoned Auschwitz-Birkenau, they destroyed all the paperwork and the gas chamber building, but they forgot about one collection of documents that related to the gas chambers that was stored off-site. These documents reveal many of their murderous activities.
- The Nazis also destroyed much of the physical evidence of their crimes. They destroyed the death camps of Treblinka, Sobibor, Belzec, and Chelmno. They dug tens of thousands of bodies from the mass graves, burned them, crushed the bones and returned them to the ground as ash and dust. Finally, the sites were camouflaged as farms.
In their own words, Nazis say:
- Rudolf Höss, the Commandant of Auschwitz, wrote after the war that Adolf Eichmann, the bureaucrat in charge of organizing the deportations of Jews to the death camps, was "the only SS officer who was allowed to keep records concerning these liquidation operations, according to the orders of the Reichsführer-SS [Himmler]. All other units which took part in any way had to destroy all records immediately."
- Adolf Eichmann, in his memoirs, which were taped by a reporter named Willem Sassen and then turned into a book, Ich: Adolf Eichmann, published in 1980, said: "Around the end of 1941 or the beginning of 1942 Heydrich, the Chef of the SIPO [Security Police] and SD [Security Service], told me in conversation that the Führer had ordered the physical destruction of the Jewish opponent."
- Elsewhere in his memoirs, Eichmann offered a virtually identical version of the content of Heydrich's message: "The Führer has henceforth given the order for the physical destruction of the Jews;" and "The FüC;hrer has ordered the physical destruction." Eichmann asked for no written order; Hitler's wish as expressed through Himmler and Heydrich was good enough for him.
Historians point to the convergence of evidence from all levels of the Nazi hierarchy including diary entries from prominent Nazis including Josef Goebbels and Heinrich Himmler; letters and reports that circulated between bureaucrats, generals, and upper level Nazis including Hitler; and primary documents that survived Nazi attempts to destroy all the evidence.
Further, it is an accepted historical axiom that "absence of proof is not proof of absence." This means that even if Hitler did sign an official order it would have been one of the first documents destroyed and would be unlikely to have been found after the war. The Holocaust deniers want you to believe the opposite reasoning that does not hold up under scrutiny and the preponderance of evidence.
2. John Weir, "The Plum Cake," The Revisionist, www.codoh.com/revisionist/comment/tr08plumcake.htm
3. (Overall cite, Browning Report, pgs 12-13; the actual documents are: Ereignismeldung (EM) No. 129 (8.4.42); EM No. 150 (2.1.42); EM No. 153 (9.1.42); EM 157 (19.1.42), and EM NO. 165 (6.2.42). The Einsatzgruppe C citation is EM NO. 128 (3.11.41).