Irving v. Lipstadt
David Irving, Hitler and Holocaust Denial: Electronic Edition, by Richard J. EvansTable of Contents
|(b) Use of gas cham... >||(e) Conclusion >>|
(a) Numbers of Jews killed
1. Until the late 1980s, Irving paid little attention to the numbers of Jews killed during the Second World War. In 1986, for example, while confessing that he thought 'the six million figure is probably marginally exaggerated', Irving described the minimal figure of 100,000 as being put forward by a 'school of thought' that was 'right out at the fringe', and added that 'I have to admit that I haven't examined the Holocaust in any detail.'1 Within a couple of years, however, he was declaring himself to be an expert on the subject. In his evidence to the second Zündel trial in Canada in 1988, Irving was asked to comment on the following statement (put to him by the defence lawyer): 'If the "Holocaust" is represented as the allegation of the extermination of 6 million Jews during the Second World War as a direct result of official German policy of extermination (sic), what would you say to that thesis?' Irving replied:
I am not familiar with any documentary evidence of any such figure as 6 million...it must have been of the order of 100,000 or more, but to my mind it was certainly less than the figure which is quoted nowadays of 6 million. Because on the evidence of comparison with other similar tragedies which happened in the Second World War, it is unlikely that the Jewish community would have suffered any worse than these communities.2
2. Since making this statement in 1988, Irving has rarely deviated from his attempt to minimise the number of Jews killed by the Nazis in the Second World War in order to establish a moral and statistical equivalence with the numbers of Germans and others killed by the Allies. As he himself said in 1996, 'cutting the Holocaust down to its true size makes it comparable with the other crimes of World War II'.3
3. This applies not just to gassing and extermination camps, but also to the mass shootings carried out by the Security Service and Security Police task forces, the Einsatzgruppen. In his evidence to the second Zündel trial in 1988, Irving cast doubt, for example, on the reports filed by task force leaders giving numbers of Jews shot by their forces. 'I don't trust the statistics they contain', he said. 'Soldiers who are out in the field doing a job or murderers who are out in the field doing a job, they don't have time to count.' Each leader, he suggested, submitted reports whose aim was to 'show he's doing a jolly good job', and by inference, therefore, seriously exaggerated or even invented the numbers killed. 'Statistics like this are meaningless', Irving said. 'I'm suggesting', he continued, 'it is possible that at the time some overzealous SS officer decided to put in a fictitious figure in order to do Heinrich Himmler a favour.' This of course is pure speculation, unsupported by any documentary evidence. This is characteristic of Irving's methods in disposing of inconvenient documents. If a document does appear which Irving is unable to suggest is not genuine, or in some way unreliable, such as a memorandum from Himmler to Hitler in which 300,000 Jews are referred to in 1942 as having been exterminated, Irving says he is 'unhappy about it because it is such an unusual, isolated document'.4 But of course, it is only 'isolated' because Irving has dismissed or ignored all the other documentary evidence which points in the same direction: there is no genuine documentary warrant at all for this remark.
4. A particularly clear view of Irving's stance can be gained from the plate sections of two of his most recent books. Between pages 506 and 507 of the 1991 edition of Hitler's War, the following illustration captions occur in sequence:
At the end of November 1941, on Hitler's orders, the railroading of the remaining Jews out of Germany to "the east" begins. In Riga, Latvia, SS officers plunder and liquidate the local Jewish population, machine-gunning them into pits. German army officers secure, too late, orders from Hitler's headquarters that the mass shootings are to stop. A trainload of five thousand Jews from Berlin arrives in the middle of the massacre; they too are shot to death although Himmler telephones (right) to Heydrich the Führer's ruling that they are not to be liquidated.5
A rare original photograph shows the next trainload, of 1,200 Jews from Stuttgart, leaving their passenger train at Riga on December 4, 1941. Except for one uniformed SD officer near the third open carriage door, the escorts are all elderly German police officers, with two Latvian police in the right foreground.
SLAVE LABOUR. On June 26, 1944, a high flying Allied reconnaisance plane photographs the entire Auschwitz complex - the gigantic I.G.Farben synthetic rubber and oil plant at Monowitz, the first concentration camp built at Auschwitz (Oswiecim) itself, and the huge subsequent slave labour camp ("Auschwitz II") erected at nearby Birkenau. In the spring of 1942, after the Wannsee Conference, the Reich Justice Ministry briefs officials including State Secretary Roland Freisler. "The Führer has repeatedly declared...that he wants the Solution of the Jewish Problem postponed until after the war is over."6
FIRESTORM. In July 1943 British bombers devastate the German port of Hamburg. Forty-eight thousand people die in the devastating holocaust.
5. The last-named caption accompanies no fewer than three photographs spread over two entire pages; one of them shows a dead child clutching the body of an adult. By contrast, there are no pictures of concentration or extermination camp inmates or victims, nor of any of the shootings. The only picture of the Nazis' Jewish victims is of the train at Riga, an orderly scene of passenger carriages and people handing luggage out of the windows; no obvious brutality, no herding, no whips; Irving also neglects to mention in any of his writings the well-known fact that most transports of Jews to the East were in cattle trucks, whose passengers were crowded together without food or water for several days in conditions so bad that many died; on reaching the camps, they were frequently brutally assaulted by the guards.7
6. While Irving's presentation of photographic evidence on the Jewish victims of Nazism is confined to the single illustration of the railway station at Riga, he reproduces between pages 666 and 667 no fewer than six photographs of the bombing of Dresden, covering four whole pages. The caption reads:
Dresden, February 1945. Huge funeral pyres are erected behind police cordons in the city center, and the air raid victims are cremated, five hundred or a thousand at a time. Over one hundred thousand people have died. Previous page: Photographed after the horrific British and American air raid of February 13 and 14, 1945, Dresden is a roofless ghost city. There are no longer enough living to bury the dead.8
7. On the very next page there is a colour photograph of another bombing raid, captioned 'The British air offensive continues. Twenty-seven thousand die as Pforzheim is engulfed in a firestorm.' In this section too, as in all the others, there is not a single photograph of anyone killed by the Nazis, unless one includes high German officials such as Admiral Canaris who belonged to the resistance.
8. In Nuremberg: The Last Battle, published in 1996, the plate section, between pages 182 and 183, includes the following pictures and captions on facing pages: 'Punished...Snapshots from a German soldier's photo album. The daily routine of a cruel warfare in the Balkans. A German soldier is found mutilated. The German troops take reprisals, stringing up the menfolk in the village, like washing on a line - one by one, a chair kicked away beneath each victim and then painful death by strangulation. For crimes like these, German generals are executed at Nuremberg.' '...and Unpunished. No Allied general is ever called to account for the appalling fire-raids on Japan (above) or Dresden (Left and below). In each of these 1945 raids about a hundred thousand innocent civilians are burned alive in what is only now universally recognized as a crime against international law.' It is worth adding that one of the photographs on the page covering the 'cruel warfare' in the Balkans shows two unmistakably Jewish men with long beards and dark coats and hats, suggesting that the atrocities were committed by Jews.
9. The illustration captions in Irving's recent books therefore clearly constitute an attempt to establish an equivalence between the Nazi extermination of the Jews, which is minimised, sanitised or in a number of its key features completely ignored, and the Allied bombing of German cities. Auschwitz-Birkenau is described as a slave labour camp; only a relatively small-scale massacre of Jews in Riga is admitted. A similar equivalence is asserted by the illustration captions between other war crimes for which German military officers were condemned at the Nuremberg Trial, and other actions of the Allies and resistance movements in German-occupied Europe. Indeed, the tendency in these illustrations is strongly to suggest that the Allies' actions were more criminal, and less defensible, than those of the Germans. While the bombing of Dresden is said (incorrectly) to be 'universally recognized as a crime against international law', there is no statement to the same or equivalent effect about the crimes of the Nazis, though the verdict of guilty on them passed at the various trials of the International Military Tribunal after the war are still valid in international law. Irving concedes some of these, such as the shootings, but denies Hitler was responsible for them, and minimises them in comparison to what he portrays as the far greater crimes of the Allies.
10. Irving's description of the bombing raid on Hamburg as a 'holocaust' is repeated on page 440 of his book Goebbels: Mastermind of the 'Third Reich' (published in 1996). Not only does he rely in these descriptions on an explicit or implicit minimization of the number of Jews killed by the Nazis, he also postulates an equivalence by exaggerating the number of Germans killed by the Allies in bombing raids. Irving's work on Dresden deserves separate treatment on its own (see Part IV, Section (b) [sic] , below); here two other examples will suffice to illustrate the point.
11. On page 441 of Goebbels, he describes the number of those killed in the bombing raid on Hamburg on 27-28 July 1943 as 'nearly fifty thousand'; in 1989, he put it far higher, claiming that while 74,000 people had died at Auschwitz, 'nearly twice as many died in the July 1943 RAF attack on Hamburg'.9 In fact, all these estimates are inflated; the Hamburg air defence reported that 31,647 dead had been found, and other official German estimates of the time put the overall total at 34,000 or 35,000. The postwar estimate of 41,800 given by the Hamburg authorities is regarded by some experts as too high, while the amateur military historian Martin Middlebrook's figure of 44,600 has no basis in any identifiable source at all. The probable number, therefore, is between 35,000 and 40,000; Irving's wildly varying but invariably categorical statements that 48,000, nearly 50,000 or nearly twice 74,000, and deliberately inflated claims designed to establish an equivalence with his minimized statistics of Jewish deaths at the hands of the Nazis. They have no basis in documentary evidence or historical fact.10
12. There are even more explicit examples of Irving's attempts to show that Allied killings of German civilians were a greater crime than German killings of Jews. The same tactic of inflating the numbers involved in the former and minimising the numbers involved in the latter is particularly clearly visible in a speech delivered in Toronto on 8 November 1992, when Irving estimated the numbers who 'died' in Auschwitz ('most of them from epidemics', he said) as 100,000. 'Around one hundred thousand dead in that brutal slave labour camp.' Around 25,000 were killed by shooting or hanging, according to German radio reports from Auschwitz received and decrypted by the British, he added. He continued:
Twenty-five thousand killed, if we take this grossly inflated figure to be on the safe side: That is a crime; there is no doubt. Killing twenty-five thousand in four years - 1941, 1942, 1943, and 1944 - that is a crime; there is no doubt. Let me show you a picture of twenty-five thousand people being killed in twenty-five minutes. Here it is, in my book, a vivid picture of twenty-five thousand people being killed in twenty-five minutes by the British (in February 1945) in Pforzheim, a little town where they make jewellery and watches in Baden, Germany. Twenty-five thousand people were being burned alive...That is what it looks like when twenty-five thousand civilians are being burned alive in twenty-five minutes. One person in four, in twenty-five minutes. One person in four in that town. As I said when I was speaking in Kitchener yesterday, it is as though somebody came to Kitchener, a town of about a hundred thousand people, and killed one person in four in twenty-five minutes. That too is a crime. Twenty-five minutes! In Auschwitz it was a crime committed over four years. You don't get it spelled out to you like that. Except by us, their opponents. When you put things into perspective like that, of course, it diminishes their Holocaust - that word with a capital letter.....
13. Yet, Irving went on, spelling out this equivalence had led to a massive campaign against him. 'Anybody who wants to analyse any part of the Holocaust story is dismissed and smeared as an anti-Semite or at the other end of the scale, a "pro-Hitler apologist("), a "Nazi apologist"...'11
14. 'Analyse' here is a synonym for 'refute' or 'deny', words which Irving was careful to avoid in this particular context. Irving's almost incantatory repetition of the figures 'twenty-five thousand' and 'twenty-five minutes', mentioned in this passage respectively four times and five times, compared with his figure of twenty-five thousand for Auschwitz ('grossly inflated'), mentioned only twice, left no room for doubt about which crime he considered the greater. In fact, quite apart from the gross minimization of the Auschwitz figures, Irving's equivalence does not stand up to examination because of his wild exaggeration of the number of deaths caused by the Pforzheim raid, which was estimated in a report of the Statistical Office of the City of Pforzheim in 1954 not as 25,000 or 27,000, as Irving claims, but as 17,600.12
15. In recent years, Irving has deployed a range of arguments to buttress his minimal estimates for the numbers of Jews killed by the Nazis. In Nuremberg: The Last Battle (London, 1996), he claims that the Auschwitz death books give 46,000 names, dying mainly from disease.13 Citing British decrypts of German code messages from Auschwitz to Berlin, Irving has suggested on a number of occasions that some 25,000 Jews may have died in Auschwitz by killing, the rest from disease, the cause given in most of the reports.14 On occasion, he has gone so far as to claim that all the Jews who died in Auschwitz died from disease: 'Probably 100,000 Jews died in Auschwitz', he said in 1993, 'but not from gas chambers, they died from epidemics.'15 Indeed, Irving actually claims that the official history of British Intelligence during the Second World War, by the late Professor Sir Harry Hinsley,
states...that upon analysis of the daily returns of the Auschwitz concentration camp, it becomes completely plain that nearly all of the deaths, nearly all of the deaths, were due to disease. The others were by execution, by hanging, and by firing squad. There is no reference, and I'm quoting this page, there is no reference whatever to any gassings. So why hasn't this extraordinary revelation been headlined in the newspapers around the world? It's not just some cranky, self-appointed, British, neo-fascist, neo-Nazi pseudo-historian. And you journalists who are present can take those words down. It's not just some pseudo-historian from Britain saying this. This is the British official historian, Professor Hinsley, who had unlimited access to the archives of the SIS, the Secret Intelligence Service, and to the archives of the British code-breaking agency, who says that in Auschwitz nearly all the deaths were due to disease. There is no reference whatsoever to gassings. (Applause).16
16. In fact, Hinsley did not claim that nearly all the deaths were due to disease; all he wrote was that the British decrypts of encoded radio messages sent from Auschwitz did not mention gassings, which is hardly surprising, given the Nazis' policy of not mentioning the gas chambers explicitly in any of their communications with one another.
17. Moreover, although Irving claimed that the radio reports from Auschwitz to the central administration of the camps in Berlin were decrypted by British intelligence at Bletchley Park 'from 1942 to the end of 1943',17 in fact the decrypts ended on 1 September 1942, when the authorities stopped reporting deaths by radio, and reported them only in writing. The returns to which Hinsley referred covered early-to-mid-1942, which was the only period during which the total number of prisoners in the camp corresponded to the total number of inmates mentioned in the decrypts. It was only subsequently that numbers increased (to 135,000 in March 1943) and mass gassing began on a really large scale with the completion of Crematorium II in March 1943.18 Crucially, too, the decrypts were decipherments of radio reports of the additions and subtractions to the regular camp population: these reports omitted all Jews (as well as gypsies) selected for gassing immediately on arrival. Thus they proved nothing, except that there were numerous deaths from executions and disease amongst the regular camp inmates.19 Finally, as Hinsley himself pointed out in reply to a letter from Irving on 17 June 1991, he had not in any case seen the original intercepts himself at all: 'I saw only a summary of them, compiled afterwards, and they were probably not translated and circulated at the time.'20 The originals certainly contained information not purveyed in the summaries, and it is anybody's guess as to what it might have been. The decrypts therefore completely fail to substantiate Irving's allegation that there were no deaths by gassing in Auschwitz.
18 This is far from being the only attempt Irving has made to twist the evidence in order to minimise the numbers of Jews deliberately murdered by the Nazis. 'Despite the most strenuous efforts' he has also claimed, 'the Yad Vashem Museum, Jerusalem, has compiled a list of no more than three million possible Holocaust victims. The same names appear in this list many times over.'21 This does not mean, of course, that the same names refer to the same people; nor does the fact that the number of names compiled totals less than six million mean that six million were not killed.
19. In order to suggest that the figure of six million is mythical, Irving claims that as early as 1919 the governor of New York claimed that 'six million' Jews were being exterminated - a claim that implies the later statistics of Jews killed in the Second World War was not only invented but part of a long tradition of invention.22 In fact, of course, even if this claim was actually made, it has no direct bearing on figures provided by historians and others of Jews killed in the Second World War, which must be assessed on their own merits. The later figure of six million, Irving says, originated in a guesstimate based on a comparison of European Jewish population figures in 1929 and 1946. It has no basis, he declares, in documented historical fact.23 This depends of course on one's definition of 'documented', which in Irving's case, as this Report has already shown, changes according to what he wants to prove. The discrepancy in population is a documented historical fact, and a figure of between five and six million is what is arrived at when calculations are made which take into account everything else which is known about the fate of the European Jews in these years, including emigration and natural deaths.
20. When it comes to suggesting ways in which the missing Jews might in fact have survived the war, Irving suddenly and conveniently forgets his demand for 'documented historical fact'. Nobody, alleges Irving, has 'explained what became of the one million cadavers' which it is claimed 'were produced by killing operations at Auschwitz', nor for that matter what happened to the alleged corpses produced by supposed gassings in other camps.24 There is no trace in Allied aerial photographs of mass graves at Auschwitz, so where have the bodies gone? he asks.25 Irving himself has supplied more than one answer. He has for instance claimed that the Jews who disappeared did not die but were secretly transported to Palestine by the Haganah, the Zionist underground, and given new identities. Irving also suggests some of the missing Jews were killed in the February 1945 bombing raid on Dresden: 'Many other raids were like that. Nobody knows how many Jews died in them. Nobody knows how many Jews died on the road of hunger or cold, after the evacuation of concentration camps in late 1944 and early 1945. Nobody knows how many Jews survived in displaced persons' camps. None of the Holocaust historians have researched this.'26
21. Such allegations commonly occur in Irving's speeches. They derive ultimately from the Holocaust denier Paul Rassinier's unsubstantiated assertion that four-fifths of the six million Jews most historians agree had been killed in fact 'were very much alive at the end of the war', repeated by Arthur Butz in his Holocaust denial tract The Hoax of the Twentieth Century.27 In 1989, Irving told an audience who had come to hear him present the Leuchter Report in London, that he had
Alternative explanations to the gas chamber. Obviously if the gas chamber now turns out to have been phony, then we have to try and explain what happened to the figures. Now, one possible reason is the large number that turned up in the state of Palestine, what's now the state of Israel. The Jews that were in Israel didn't come from nowhere. Another part of them, when Auschwitz was liberated, were sent out on the roads to be shipped westwards, where they ended up in cities like Dresden. I don't have to tell you what happened in Dresden three weeks after Auschwitz was evacuated by the Germans. There were one million refugees in the streets of Dresden at the time that we burned Dresden to the ground, killing anything between 100,000 and 250,000 of them. Large numbers of people on the streets in Europe that winter also suffered normal deaths of exposure and starvation and epidemic. I'm offering to you alternative solutions to where the people went.
22. All of this, of course, is pure speculation, unsupported by any of the documentary evidence which Irving usually claims is such an essential and characteristic feature of his historical work.28
23. By advancing such claims, Irving is seeking to minimise the number of Jews killed by the Nazis, and if there is anything consistent at all in the methods which he uses to do this, it is in the double standard of criticism he applies to evidence according to whether it is in his favour or tells against his argument. In a speech delivered on 11 October 1992, for example, Irving recounted how he has discovered hitherto unknown personal papers and memoirs by Adolf Eichmann, the principal bureaucrat in the implementation of the 'Final Solution'. He was obliged to point out that by the time he wrote this account of his life in the 1950s, 'Eichmann's mind is rather confused and muddled', because he used the Morgenthau Plan - an American plan, never accepted by the Allies, to reduce Germany to a pre-industrial condition after the war - as a justification for Auschwitz, whereas Auschwitz was on the point of being closed down at the time of the plan. This does not stop him, however, praising the accuracy of Eichmann's memory when it comes to casting doubt on the estimate given in the memoirs of Rudolf Höss, the commandant of Auschwitz, of the numbers of Jews killed in the camp and the abortive negotiations he claimed to have conducted with Zionists in 1944 about a possible 'rescue' of Hungarian and Slovakian Jews (on which 'he has almost total recall').29 Nor does Irving question Eichmann's powers of recall when on 10 April 1961 Eichmann testified that he had not received any written order from Himmler which stated that Hitler had decided that the 'final solution' should begin at once.30
24. What Irving did concede in his 1992 speech was that there were some unauthorized mass shootings of Jews behind the Eastern Front, not least because he was concerned to present the Eichmann papers as authentic and important, and in them Eichmann himself described witnessing one such incident in considerable detail. On this point, Irving was explicitly supported by the leading Holocaust denier Robert Faurisson, speaking on this occasion from among his listeners, who confirmed: 'We assume that there were massacres and hostages and reprisals and so on...I don't know any Revisionist who says that there were no massacres, because there is no war without massacres, especially on the Russian front where you had Jews, and partisans, women, and children all mixed together.' Irving agreed: 'It's important to say this because we are called Holocaust deniers, and the television screens show you the mass graves and all the rest of it, which we don't deny.'31 Irving agreed once more, in 1995, conceding that 'there is no doubt in my mind that on the Eastern front large numbers of Jews were massacred, by criminals with guns - SS men, Ukrainians, Lithuanians, whatever - to get rid of them.'32 Atrocities, as Irving has said or written on many occasions, always occur during wars.33
25. Does this amount to 'Holocaust denial'? Irving is quite explicit that it does, claiming without qualification that 'Eichmann's memoirs are an important element of the refutation of the Holocaust story'.34 If engaging in a 'refutation of the Holocaust story' is not Holocaust denial, then what is? 'For me as a historian', Irving said in 1992, 'the Holocaust is a mere footnote to history. I write about world history; I write about Real History, and I am not going to talk at any great length about something which is of far more obsessive interest to other historians, revisionists, or whatever.'35 Speaking in Toronto on 1 November 1992, Irving declared:
The legend was that Adolf Hitler ordered the killing of six million Jews in gas chambers in Auschwitz. This is roughly how history has had its way for the last forty or fifty years. But when people come along, with no real axe to grind - because I don't think any of us on the right wing on this matter has axes to grind - when people come along and say, "I don't believe this version of it all;" or, "I am not going to accept all the ingredients of that statement," the methods used against us are becoming increasingly bizarre. But why should we accept all the ingredients of their statements? It's like any other marketing project. I don't like that capital "H" they use for the word Holocaust for example: when you see a capital letter on a work it makes you think it is some kind of brandname or trademark like Tylenol, and that we are being sold a package of something, and that we are not allowed to open it at either end to check it first. Well, I am not a Holocaust denier, and that word really offends me, but I am a Holocaust analyst, I think we are entitled to analyse the basic elements of the statement: Adolf Hitler ordered the killing of six million Jews in gas chambers at Auschwitz, and to ask, is any part of this statement open to doubt?36
26. Once again Irving, as in another speech already quoted from his Canadian lecture tour in 1992, was using the term 'analysis' as a euphemism for 'denial'; the difference between 'analysis' and denial' here is non-existent, when one takes Irving's own, highly idiosyncratic definition of the term 'Holocaust' into account. Irving will use almost any word rather than 'denial': 'I don't like this word "deny", he said in 1993 with reference to the figure of six million Jewish victims of Nazism: 'the word "deny" is only one step away from lying, really. I challenge it, I contest it.'37 There is nothing about the word denial that implies telling a lie, however, any more than there is anything about the words challenge, contestation, or analysis that implies telling the truth.
27. At the beginning of his videotape The Search for Truth in History, Irving says once more: 'The Holocaust with a capital "H" is what's gone down in history in this one sentence form, so to speak: "Adolf Hitler ordered the killing of six million Jews in Auschwitz".38 But nobody in fact has ever argued that six million Jews were killed by gassing in Auschwitz, and Irving nowhere cites any references to demonstrate that anybody has: his claim that this is what the term 'Holocaust' means is a figment of his own imagination. The standard works on the Holocaust make it clear both that a substantial proportion of those killed were shot or starved to death or deliberately weakened and made susceptible to fatal diseases as a matter of policy, and that gassings took place at other centres besides Auschwitz, including notably Belzec, Sobibor and Treblinka.39
28. Only on one recorded occasion, namely during an interview with the Australian journalist Ron Casey on 27 July, 1995, in other words after the publication of Deborah Lipstadt's book, has Irving departed at all significantly from his extreme minimization of the numbers killed:
Casey: What is your estimate of the number of Jews who died at the hands of Hitler's regime in the war years? What number - and I don't like using this word - what number would you concede were killed in concentration camps?
Irving: I think, like any scientist, I'd have to give you a range of figures and I'd have to say a minimum of one million, which is a monstrous crime, and a maximum of about four million, depending on what you mean by killed. If putting people into a concentration camp where they die of barbarity and typhus and epidemics is killing, then I would say the four million figure, because, undoubtedly, huge numbers did die in the camps in the conditions that were very evident at the end of the war.40
29. Nowhere else in recent years has Irving even come close to putting the figure at more than a million. Far more usual has been his claim that the Nazis killed 'on the order of thousands at a time....not millions.'41
30. Even in giving, exceptionally, a figure of between one and four million however, it was noticeable that Irving strongly qualified his remarks by claiming that 'barbarity and typhus and epidemics' were the main causes of death. Irving had a long record of blaming the high mortality rate in the camps - insofar as he conceded it at all - on epidemics rather than on deliberate, systematic killing. Thus for example in 1986 he told an audience, again in Australia, that the piles of dead filmed in Buchenwald and Bergen-Belsen at the end of the war had been the result of epidemics which 'had only broken out in the last two or three weeks of the war.' And who in Irving's view was responsible for these epidemics?
We have to admit probably that we, the British and the Americans, were partially responsible, at least partially responsible for their misfortune. Because we vowed deliberate bombing of the transportation networks, deliberate bombardation, bombarding the German communications, by deliberate destruction of the German pharmaceutical industry, medicine factories. We had deliberately created the conditions of chaos inside Germany. We had deliberately created the epidemics, and the outbreaks of typhus and other diseases, which led to those appalling scenes that were found at their most dramatic in the enclosed areas, the concentration camps, where of course epidemics can ravage and run wild.42
31. In fact, of course, conditions for epidemics were deliberately created by the Nazis, who ran the camps in a way that deprived the inmates of hygiene and medical attention as a matter of policy.43 Irving has a repeated tendency to blame virtually all the deaths of the Second World War on the Allies in general, the British in particular, and above all on Winston Churchill. Thus he told an audience in South Africa in 1986:
We went in and we bombed the Belgians, and the Poles, and the French, and the Dutch. We did appalling damage. We killed millions of people in Europe in the most bestial way, in defiance of all conventions. In a way which eventually damned with infamy on the name of the British, and it all goes back on Winston Churchill's name.
31. Indeed, he said on another occasion, probably in the same year: 'We'd killed 20 million people.'44 Winston Churchill, in Irving's view, 'bears at least a partial share of the blame for the tragedy that befell the Jews in Europe, because Churchill fought the war five years longer than was necessary and provided the smokescreen behind which the tragedy could occur.'45
32. In conclusion, therefore, it is clear that Irving has consistently and grossly underestimated the number of Jews deliberately killed by the Nazis, usually by quoting a total figure, or figures for individual killing centres such as Auschwitz, of a completely different, lower order of magnitude than those generally accepted by reputable professional historians, frequently by attributing such deaths as he does concede occurred to 'natural' causes such as epidemics and malnutrition, and occasionally even by blaming British bombing raids and the British persistence in prosecuting the war throughout the period 1940-1945. All of this puts him into the same camp as the well-known Holocaust deniers who regularly give a negative answer to the question 'did six million really die?'46
1. Audiocassette 89: Terry Lane, ABC 3L0 Radio, interview with Irving, 18 Narch 1986.
2. David Irving's 1988 Testimony at the Trial of Ernst Zündel, on Irving's website 'Documents on the Auschwitz controversy', p. 12.
3. Videotape 223: Irving interviewed on Australian Channel 7, 1 October 1996, 3 mins. 25 secs..
4. Ibid., pp. 16, 151, 93.
5. For a discussion of this document and Irving's interpretation of it, see below, Part III, section c, subsection (iv)
6. This refers to the 'Schlegelberger memorandum', discussed in Part III, section c, subsection (v) below.
7. Gilbert, The Holocaust, Ch. 26-27.
8. For a detailed discussion of these figures, see below., Part IV, Section b.
9. Letter from Irving to The Spectator on 25 November 1989, cited in Eatwell, 'How to Revise History', p. 312; the figure of 50,000 appears in Irving's speech in Latvian Hall, Toronto, on 8 November 1990 (Videotape 190, from 55 mins. 30 secs.).
10. See H. Brunswig, Feuersturm über Hamburg (Stuttgart, 1978), pp. 279, 400-402; W. Johe, 'Strategisches Kalkül und Wirklichkeit: Das "Unternehmen Gomorrah". Die Großangriffe der RAF gegen Hamburg im Sommer 1943', in K.-J. Muller and D. Dilks (eds.), Großbritannien und der deutsche Widerstand 1933-1944 (Paderborn, 1994), pp. 217-228, here p. 221; F. Bajohr, 'Hamburgs "Führer". Zur Person und Tatigkeit des Hamburger NSDAP-Gauleiters Karl Kaufmann', in F. Bajohr and J. Szodrzynski (eds.), Hamburg in der NS-Zeit (Hamburg, 1995), pp, 59-92, here p. 82; U. Büttner, 'Hamburg im Luftkrieg', in M. Hiller et al. (eds.), Städte im Zweiten Weltkrieg (Essen, 1991), pp. 272-298; Richard Overy, Why the Allies Won (London, 1995), p. 120; M. Middlebrook, The Battle of Hamburg (London, 1980), p. 328.
11. Speech by David Irving to an audience in the Latvian Hall, Toronto, November 8, 1992. Transcript from Irving's 'Focal Point' website (Irving's italics) - also as Videotape 190. Quite who Irving means by 'them' in the phrase 'us, their opponents', is not entirely clear, but from the reference to 'their Holocaust', it would seem to mean the Jews.
12. U. Hohn, Die Zerstorung deutscher Städte im Zweiten Weltkrieg (Dortmund, 1991), pp 119 and 208, note 586; H. Bardua, 'Kriegsschäden in Baden-Württemberg 1939-1945', in Kommission für geschichtliche Landeskunde in Baden-Württemberg (ed.), Historischer Atlas von Baden-Württemberg (Stuttgart, 1975), p. 8; W. A. Boelcke, 'Wirtschaft und Sozialsituationen', in 0. Borst (ed.), Das Dritte Reich in Baden und Württemberg (Stuttgart, 1988), pp. 29-45, here p. 40.
13. lrving, Nuremberg: The Last Battle (London, 1996), p. 352, n. 13. As we have seen, camp records did not incude those killed on or shortly after arrival.
14. lrving videotape, 'The Search for Truth in History', cited in Nigel Jackson, The Case for David Irving (Sidgwick, Australia, 1992), p. 88. Jackson describes Irving as 'one of the greatest historians ever to have written in English' (p. 95). This appears to be the same as Videotape 200. For other examples of Irving's estimation of the number of deaths and murders at Auschwitz, see Videotape 190 (Latvian Hall, Toronto, 8 November 1990) -'50,000 people were killed in Auschwitz... the number is too high ...nearly all of the deaths were due to disease' (from 55 mins. 30 sees.); audiotape 108 (speech to the 'Free Speech League',Victoria, British Columbia, 27 October 1990, no. 507) -40,000 killed at Auschwitz in three years; Videotape 200, 'The Search for Truth in History' (1993) - 100,000 deaths from all causes, '25,000 people murdered in Auschwitz in three years' (from 1 hr. 13 mins. 15 secs.).The variation in the figures is typical of Irving's indifference to statistical accuracy: for a classic case study of his invention of statistics to suit his arguments, see the analysis of his account of the Dresden bombing raids, below.
15. Videotape 200: 'The Search for Truth in History', 1993, at 1 hr. 12 mins..
16. Videotape 190: Irving at Latvian Hall, Toronto, 8 November 1992, from 1 hr. 7 mins. 15 secs..
17. lrving, 'Battleship Auschwitz', The Journal of Historical Review, vol. 10, No. 4.
18. See Irving, 'Auschwitz and the Typhus Plague in Poland. More preview pages from David Irving's new biography, Churchill s War, Vol. II', posted on Irving's 'Focal Point' website, seen at 12 February 1999: see also F. H. Hinsley et al., British Intelligence in the Second World War: Its Influence on Strategy and Operations (Cambridge,m 1979-1984), Vol. 2, Appendix, p. 673: 'The returns from Auschwitz, the largest of the camps with 20,000 prisoners, mentioned illness as the main cause of death, but included references to shootings and hangings. There were no references in the decrypts to gassing.'
19. Richard Breitman, Official Secrets: What the Nazis Planned, What the British and Americans Knew (London, 1998), p. 115.
20. lrving's discovery list: document 1,350 (see also document 1,349). Hinsley added that he thought it highly unlikely that the original transcripts had been retained.
21. lrving, Nuremberg: The Last Battle (London, 1996), p.341, n. 12.
22. 'The Crucifixion of the Jews Must Stop', American Hebrew, 31 October, 1919, is the source cited by Irving.
23. lrving, Nuremberg, p. 62.
24. Reply to Defence of Second Defendant, pp. 5-6.
25. lrving, Nuremberg, pp. 24-5, 353.
26. Videotape 200, 1 hr 15 mins. 40 sees. Given the extent of the evidence for systematic murder as the principal cause of the 'disappearance', the burden of proving alternative causes, by adducing evidence of similar quality, lies on the denier.
27. Rassinier, Debunking, p. 214; Butz, The Hoax, p.242.
28. Videotape 184: Leuchter Report Press Conference, 23 June 1989, from 19 mins. 40 secs; see below, Section IV (g), for Dresden
29. This well-known episode is the subject of Chapter 9 of Yehuda Bauer, Jews for Sale? Nazi-Jewish Negotiations, 1933-1945 (New Haven, 1994).
30. David Irving's 1988 Testimony at the Trial of Ernst Zündel, p. 147.
31. '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" Web site).
32. David Irving, 'Revelations from Goebbels's Diary', Journal of Historical Review, Vol. 15 (1995), No. 1, pp. 2-17, here p. 15.
33. David Irving's 1988 Testimony at the Trial of Ernst Zündel, pp. 86, 132, 141, when he told the court that 'about 50,000 people' were killed in the Nazi 'euthanasia' murders of asylum inmates and the mentally and physically handicapped, 'as many as in one small British air raid'. In fact, as this Report demonstrates, Irving's estimates of the numbers of Germans killed in all the British air raids he mentions are grossly inflated, and none of the actual figures even for large air raids comes anywhere near 50,000; while the accepted figure for the 'euthanasia' killings is over 70,000 for officially recorded killings up to August 1941, and at least another 100,000 in the so-called 'wild euthanasia' thereafter; see Michael Burleigh, Death and Deliverance (Cambridge, 1994), and Henry Friedländer, The Origins of Nazi Genocide. From Euthanasia to the Final Solution (Chapel Hill, 1995).
34. David Irving on the Eichmann and Goebbels Papers. Speech at Los Angeles, California, October 11, 1992 (opening sentence of section: 'Eichmann on Höss').
35. David Irving on Freedom of Speech. Speech at Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, October 28, 1992. Transcript on Irving's 'Focal Point' website.
36. Speech by David Irving to a packed hall in the Primrose Hotel,Toronto, November 1, 1992. Transcript from Irving's 'Focal Point' vebsite.
37. Videotape 206: Holmes Show, New Zealand television, 4 June 1993, at 6 mins. 25 secs..
38. Jackson, The Case for David Irving, p. 89.
39. See for example Gilbert, The Holocaust, Marrus, The Holocaust in History, Hilberg, The Destruction of the European Jews, etc.. Not one of the works listed in footnotes 3-8, above, puts forward the definition of the Holocaust used by Irving in the passages cited here.
40. Ron Casey interview with David Irving, 27 July 1995, Station 2GB, Media Monitors (Sydney etc.), Broadcast transcript S36962003.
41. Videotape 190: Irving at Latvian Hall,Toronto, 8 November 1990, at 42 mins. 25 secs..
42. lrving, 'Censorship of History', lecture in Runnymede, Australia, 18 March 1986: Audiocassette 86, 270-291.
43. Wolfgang Sofsky, Die Ordnung des Terrors" Das Konzentrationslager (2nd ed., Frankfurt am Main, 1997), pp. 237-45. See also Videocassette 180,Toronto 1989.
44. Videotape 232: undated speech to the Canadian Association for Free Expression, Carlton Inn, Toronto, from 20 mins. 25 sees. to 20 mins. 55 sees.
45. Audiocassette 93: Irving, 'The Manipulation of History', Toronto, 1 November 1986, 528-532.
46. Paul Rassinier, Debunking the Genocide Myth: A Study of the Nazi Concentration Camps and the Alleged Extermination of European Jewry (Torrance, California, 1978); Austin J. App, The Six Million Swindle: Blackmailing the German People for Hard Marks with Fabricated Corpses (Tacoma Park, Maryland, 1973); Richard Harwood, Did Six Million Really Die? The Truth at Last (London, n.d.); Arthur J. Butz, The Hoax of the Twentieth Century (Torrance, California, 1976; the 'hoax' in Butz's view was the claim that six million Jews had been killed by the Nazis); Carlo Mattogno, 'The Myth of the Extermination of the Jews', The Journal of Historical Review, Vol. 8 (1988), pp. 133-72 and 261-302.
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