Irving v. Lipstadt

Defense Documents

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

Table of Contents
<< (G) Bending a reliable ...(J) Conclusion >>

(H) Manipulation of evidence (Wiedemann testimony, Hederich testimony) and suppression of reliable documentation (Goebbels diary, Supreme Party Court Report)

1. On the same page of Goebbels: Mastermind of the 'Third Reich', Irving then attempts to reinforce his thesis that Hitler was totally opposed to the pogrom (for which Irving claims he blamed Goebbels), and to argue that Hitler ordered Goebbels to stop the attacks on Jewish property as soon as he heard about them:
Philip Bouhler, head of the Führer's private chancellery, told one of Goebbels's senior officials that Hitler utterly condemned the pogrom and intended to dismiss Goebbels. Fritz Wiedemann, another of Hitler's adjutants, saw Goebbels spending much of that night of November 9-10 ' halt the most violent excesses'.88
2.Irving had given a similar account in 1978, when he wrote: 'Goebbels, now in no doubt where Hitler's real favour lay, also spent the night on the telephone trying to extinguish the conflagration that his mischievous tongue had ignited.89
3. In his footnotes to Goebbels: Mastermind of the 'Third Reich', Irving states that the reference to Bouhler is based on 'Hederich interrogation', presumably a reference to the 'Interrogation of Hederich, Nuremberg, Apr 16, 1947', to which Irving had referred previously.90 Hederich was an old Nazi, first having joined the party in October 1922 (according to his own testimony), in which he also held a senior rank (Befehlsleiter). In 1934, he was made manager of the Parteiamtlichen Prüfungskommission zum Schutze des nationalsozialistischen Schrifttums. This meant that he had the power to declare books and other publications to be official party material. Hederich carried out this work in the party agency run by Hess (not Goebbels, as claimed by Irving). Hederich was first interrogated in Nuremberg by Robert Kempner, who was irritated by Hederich's reluctant and evasive answers.91
4. Examining Hederich's testimony of 16 April 1946, it is easy to see why. Hederich stated that
At that time, I took part in this meeting in Munich, at which Dr. Goebbels spoke, and I had the impression that all these events, which followed this, on 8th and 9th, that that was a provocation of Dr. Goebbels...for he had held a speech, and I had the impression, that it did not harmonise with what Hitler himself had said before, and I have been strengthened in this conviction by the   investigation which Herr Schneider has carried out, a man who was well known to me personally. He was in the Supreme Party Court and through this investigation I came to the conviction that Dr. Goebbels and perhaps also Heydrich...must have borne the principal blame for these events and on the other hand, that emerged from the conversations at Buhle(r)'s, but substantial instances and above all it is also said to have been Hitler himself, condemned these things. It was said that Goebbels would be removed from office because of it.92
5. Hederich's testimony is highly unreliable. First, no other witness of the events on the evening of 9 November 1938 claimed that Hitler had made a speech before Goebbels. Hitler left the dinner in the Old town Hall without making a speech, breaking with his usual custom. Despite this obvious inconsistency, Irving has used this part of Hederich's testimony in another passage in Goebbels: Mastermind of the 'Third Reich', claiming that Hederich felt that Goebbels's speech 'conflicted with the tenor of Hitler's speech'.93 Secondly, there is no passage in the report of the Supreme Party Tribunal Report, signed by Schneider, which backs up Hederich's claims. There is also no mention in this document of a speech by Hitler.94
6. So Hederich falsely claimed that Goebbels's speech contradicted a previous speech made by Hitler, thus exonerating Hitler from any guilt for the pogrom. This conclusion seriously undermines Hederich's subsequent claims about the reaction in leading party circles against Goebbels. In any case, Hederich nowhere claims that Bouhler himself told him directly that Hitler 'utterly condemned the pogrom' and that he intended 'to dismiss Goebbels's. As is plain to see, Irving manipulates Hederich's testimony to reach this conclusion. All that Hederich said was that someone in discussions with Bouhler claimed that Hitler was supposed to have condemned the pogrom and that there was also speculation that Goebbels might be dismissed. A lot of this was just hearsay. Thus Irving uses a highly suspect source for his claims, and then manipulates it to say something which it does not.
7. Turning to Irving's claim about Fritz Wiedemann, it seems very peculiar indeed that Irving uses Wiedemann as a source at all, having dismissed his testimony in the 1991 edition of Hitlers War as untrustworthy.95 Evidently the only reason for Irving's use of this supposedly discredited source in Goebbels: Mastermind of the 'Third Reich' is because in this particular instance, it apparently suits his twisted interpretation. The source which Irving gives for his claims in Goebbels: Mastermind of the 'Third Reich' is 'Fritz Wiedemann, handwritten MS, Feb 1939 (Libr. of Congress, Wiedemann papers, box 604).'96
8. Irving has disclosed some documents which appear to originate from this collection. These documents are presented in his Discovery List in no particular order, and include   letters to Wiedemann and some hand-written notes, as well as some typed notes. Irving evidently draws on one passage where the author (presumably Wiedemann) refers to the pogrom in November 1938: 'There is absolutely no doubt that this action slipped out of the hands of those who instigated it. It is reliably reported that Göbbels (sic) as well repeatedly telephoned from Munich during the night to stop the worst outrages.'97 Thus it is clear that Wiedemann did not see Goebbels make any phone calls on the night of 9-10 November 1938 at all, as Irving has claimed. He merely repeated what other people had told him. He also only said the Goebbels made a series of phone calls, and not, as Irving would have it, that Goebbels spent 'much of that night' making these phone calls.
9. In any case, Wiedemann's suggestions are incorrect. Goebbels was certainly not engaged in stopping excessive violence against Jews, as Irving well knows. What Goebbels was actually saying on the phone on the night in question is amply documented by other, reliable historical sources. The Supreme Party Tribunal report of 13 February 1939 states that when Goebbels was phoned at around 2 in the morning on 10 November 1938 with the news of the first death of a Jew in the pogrom,
According to the statement of the deputy Gauleiter of Munich-Upper Bavaria, Party Comrade Dr Goebbels answered to the effect that the man reporting it should not get upset because of one dead Jew; thousands of Jews would have to believe in it in the coming days. At this moment in time, most of the killings could have been prevented by a supplementary order. If this did not happen, the conclusion has to be drawn from this fact, as from the comment in itself, that the end result was either intended, or at least taken into account as possible and desirable. Then the   individual perpetrator had put ...the correctly recognized, if unclearly expressed will of the leadership into effect.98
10. Thus Goebbels was explicitly intervening to stop any attempt to save Jewish lives. In his diary entry for the night of 9-10 November, moreover, he noted the excesses with obvious approval, as this Report has already shown. And yet, according to Irving, Goebbels had spent the previous few hours desperately telephoning all over Germany to get this kind of thing to stop!
11. Goebbels's only concern was to stop looting and prevent damage to German property, which is what he was referring to when he wrote in the same diary entry for an earlier point in the evening: 'I now issue a precise circular in which is set out what may be done and what not.'99 As the rest of the diary entry and the evidence of the Supreme Party Tribunal both conclusively demonstrate, he continued to encourage all the continuing attacks on Jewish persons and property and to greet news of their occurrence not with alarm, but with enthusiasm. Irving's use of Wiedemann's testimony is intended to give a different impression from this proven reality and to advance his deliberate distortion of the events of 9/10 November 1938.


88. Irving, Goebbels, p. 277.
89. Irving, War Path, p. 165.
90. Irving, Goebbels, p. 613, note 47; see ibid., p. 612, note 32.
91. BA Berlin, Film 44320,Vernehmung des Karl Hederich, 16.4.1947. See also ibid., interrogation of 23.10.1947; interrogation of 16.12.1947; interrogation of 26.2.1948;
92. 'Ich habe damals 1938 diese Versammiung in Muenchen mitgemacht, auf der Dr. Goebbels gesprochen hatte und ich hatte den Eindruck, dass diese ganzen Ereignisse, die sich an diese anschlossen, am 8. und 9., dass das eine Provokation von Dr. Goebbels war... denn er hatte eine Ansprache gehalten und ich hatte den Eindruck, dass sie nicht im Einklang mit dem stand, was vorher Hitler selbst gesagt hatte und ich bin in dieser Ueberzeugung bestaerkt worden durch die Untersuchung, die Herr Schneider gefuehrt hat, der mir persoenlich gut bekannt war. Der war im obersten Parteigericht und durch diese Untersuchung bin ich zu der Ueberzeugung gekommen, dass Dr. Goebbels und vielleicht auch Heydrich... wohl die Hauptschuld an diesen Ereignissen trugen und dass andererseits, das ergab sich aus den Besprechungen bei Buhle[r], doch wesentliche Stellen und vor allem soll es auch Hitler selbst gewesen sein, these Dinge verurteilt hat (sic). Man sprach davon, dass Goebbels dieserhalb seines Postens enthoben wuerde', BA Berlin, Film 44320, Vernehmung des Karl Hederich, 16.4.1947.
93. lrving, Goebbels, p. 274.
94. Der Oberste Parteirichter an Hermann Göring, 13.2.1939; in Der Prozess gegen die Hauptkriegsverbrecher vor dem Internationalen Militärgerichtshof, Vol. XXXII, ND 3063-PS.
95. 497Irving, Introduction to Hitlers War(1991), copy posted on the Focal Point website at
96. Irving, Goebbels, p. 613, note 48.
97. 'Es ist gar kein Zweifel dass these Aktion denen, die sie angezettelt haben aus der Hand geglitten ist. Es wird zuverlässig berichtet, dass auch Göbbels (sic) während der Nacht selbst wiederholt von München aus angerufen hat um die stärksten Ausschreitungen zu stoppen.' -folder 51 (a).
98. Bericht des Oberseten Parteigerichts an den Minsterpräsidenten Generalfeldmarschall Göoring vom 13.3.1939, Der Prozess gegen die Hauptkriegsverbrecher, Vol. 32, pp. 20-9.
99. Ibid.
Popups by overLIB
<< (G) Bending a reliable ...(J) Conclusion >>