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

Table of Contents
(j) Ribbentrop's testimon... >>

(a) Irving's 'chain of documents'

1. Irving has claimed on numerous occasions, as he said on BBC1 television in June, 1977, that 'there is a chain of important documents, starting in about 1938 and going right through to 1943, indicating, firstly, that Adolf Hitler was issuing vetoes, saying this is not to be done to the Jews, they are not to be liquidated.'31 In 1983, Irving told the International Revisionist Conference in almost identical terms: 'There is a whole chain of evidence from 1938 right through to October 1943, possibly even later, indicating that Hitler was completely in the dark about anything that may have been going on' with respect to mass killings of Jews.32 'So far',   he boasted triumphantly, 'I haven't been disproved.' 33 Similarly, in his submission to the court, Irving argues that when the documents are subjected to rigid historical criteria as to their authenticity, the reasons for their existence, and the vantage point of their author, 'a relatively slim dossier of evidence resulted which portrayed Hitler intervening in every instance to mitigate or lessen wrongdoing against the Jews...there were few, if any, documents of comparable quality - documents which met the same criteria - giving the opposite sense.'34
2.The following sections of this Report go through this chain of documents and examine in detail whether they stand up to close and critical scrutiny. It will demonstrate that in every case, without exception, Irving engages in the skewing of the sources and the misrepresentation of data. So egregious are his distortions of the historical record, indeed, that they go far beyond what Lipstadt has actually alleged in this context. These examples have not been chosen because they show how Irving has falsified the historical record. On the contrary, they have been chosen because it is these specific instances of historical evidence and its interpretation which Irving puts forward as the strongest, most unassailable supports for his contention that Hitler did not know about the persecution and extermination of the Jews, and on the occasions when he did discover that Jews were being maltreated or persecuted, did his best to stop it.
3.In dealing with Irving as a Holocaust denier, this Report has already noted a number of instances of Irving's misinterpretation and misconstrual of the sources, and subjected his inconsistent and unprofessional methods of dealing with historical evidence to critical scrutiny. However, the following case-studies, some of which are very extensive and   extremely detailed, will show beyond all doubt that Lipstadt is correct in claiming that Irving misstates, misquotes, falsifies statistics, falsely attributes conclusions to reliable sources, relies on books and sources that directly contradict his arguments, quoting in a manner that completely distorts the authors' objectives, manipulates documents to serve his own purposes, skews documents and misrepresents data in order to reach historically untenable conclusions, bends historical evidence until it conforms with his ideological leanings and political agenda, takes accurate information and shapes it to confirm his conclusions, and - a vital point not mentioned by Lipstadt - constantly suppresses or deliberately overlooks sources with which he is familiar because they contradict the line of argument he wishes to advance.

Notes

30. David Irving, 'On Contemporary History and Historiography. Remarks Delivered at the 1983 International Revisionist Conference', The Journal of Historical Review, Vol. 5, Nos. 2,3,4 (Winter, 1984), pp. 251-88, here pp. 274-5. Also in Audiocassette 75: International Revisionist Conference, September 1983, 307.
31. 'Book a calumny on victims of Hitler', Jewish Chronicle, 17 June 1977.
32. David Irving, 'On Contemporary History and Historiography. Remarks Delivered at the 1983 International Revisionist Conference', The Journal of Historical Review, Vol. 5, Nos. 2,3,4 (Winter, 1984), pp. 251-88, here p. 274.
33. Ibid., pp. 275-83.
34. Reply to the Defence of the Second Defendant, p. 29.
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