Irving v. Lipstadt

Defense Documents

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

Table of Contents
(L) Invention of evidenc... >>

(B) Suppression of important aspects and concentration on insignificant aspects of reliable evidence to divert attention from its significance

1. That Goebbels's version of events was an accurate one is strongly indicated by the fact that the economic measures which Hitler proposed in his meeting with the Reich Propaganda Minister were shortly afterwards put into effect. Goebbels did not have the power to intervene in economic matters in this way. The main responsibility lay with   Göring, as head of the Four-Year Plan. Göring summoned a conference to put into effect Hitler's views on the economic and other measures to be taken in the aftermath of the pogrom. It was held on 12 November 1938. Those present included Göring and Goebbels, Heydrich as Chief of the Security Police, the Economics and Finance Ministers, the head of the uniformed police, and representatives of the Foreign Ministry and the insurance companies. Göring opened the meeting by declaring that he had 'received a letter written on the Führer's orders by Bormann, the chief of staff of the Führer's deputy, requesting that the Jewish question be now, once and for all, co-ordinated and solved one way or another. And yesterday once again the Führer requested me on the phone to take co-ordinated action in the matter.'115
2. The meeting proceeded to issue a decree ordering the Jews to bear the cost of the damage and declaring any insurance payments made to them the property of the state. Another measure, the 'Decree Excluding Jews from German Economic Life', ordered the final 'Aryanization' of Jewish property. The running or management of shops and businesses was to be forbidden to Jews from 1 January 1939. In the Spring of 1938 there were still some thirty to forty thousand Jewish businesses in Germany; by 1 April 1939, nearly 15,000 of these had been 'liquidated', over 10,000 had been or were being 'Aryanized' and just over 7,000 were being investigated.116 These were precisely the measures that had been proposed by Hitler when he met Goebbels in the Osteria restaurant. Yet Irving makes no mention at all of the connection between that meeting and the meeting of 12 November, nor of the way in which Hitler had obviously been pushing Göring on to   implement his ideas in the intervening period. Nor does Irving mention that Hitler later publicly endorsed various measures which had been discussed at the meeting on 12 November 1938. For instance, Göring reported on 28 December 1938:
On my report, the Führer has taken the following decisions in the Jew-question:...The Aryanization of businesses and shops, landed property, forests etc. is a matter of priority. The use of sleeping-cars and restaurant-cars is to be barred to Jews...Moreover the Jew-ban can be pronounced for bathing establishments, certain public places, seaside resorts etc..117
3. However, Irving's account of the conference in Berlin on 12 November focuses on differences of opinion between Göring and Goebbels, from which Irving concludes that Goebbels's diary entry for 12 November ('I am co-operating splendidly with Göring. He's going to crack down on them too. The radical line has won') was written with 'less than total honesty'. But in fact Göring did agree with Goebbels, and did follow a radical line, agreeing for example to Goebbels's suggestion that Jews should be banned from German baths, parks and other public spaces.
4. The kind of disagreement which arose between them is exemplified by Göring's remark on 12 November: 'I would have preferred it if you had beaten 200 Jews to death and hadn't destroyed such valuable property.'118 Once the property was damaged, however, Göring ensured that the meeting took maximum financial advantage out of the events for   the Nazi state. The tone of the meeting is vividly captured in the following exchange between the two men:
Goebbels: For instance, it is still possible today for a Jew to share a compartment in a sleeping car with a German. Therefore we need a decree by the Reich Ministry of Transport stating that separate compartments shall be available to Jews; in cases where this compartment is full up, Jews cannot claim a seat. They will be given a separate compartment only after all Germans have secured seats. They are not to mix with Germans, and if there is no more room, they will have to stand in the corridor.
Göring: In that case, I think it would be more sensible to give them separate compartments.
Goebbels: Not if the train is overcrowded!
Göring: Just a moment. There is only one Jewish coach. If that is full up, the other Jews will have to stay at home.
Goebbels: Suppose, though, there aren't many Jews going on the express train to Munich, suppose there are two Jews in the train and the other compartments are overcrowded. These two Jews would now have a special compartment. Therefore, one has to say that Jews may claim a seat only after all Germans have secured one.
Göring:... I'd give the Jews one coach or one compartment. And should such a case as you mention really ever arise and the train be overcrowded, believe me, we won't need a law. We'll kick him out even if he has to sit all alone in the lavatory all the way!
Goebbels: I don't agree. I don't believe in that. There ought to be a law....119
5. Clearly, whatever the differences between them, both Göring and Goebbels were united on the need to impose radical new measures against the Jews. That is what the meeting of   12 November 1938 came up with; and that is what Hitler had been urging on the two men since November 10th.

Notes

115. ND PS-1816 in IMT,Vol. XXV!!!, pp.499-540; translation in Noakes and Pridham, Nazism, Vol.2, p. 588.
116. Reichsgesetzblatt I (1938), pp. 1579-80; T.W. Mason, Arbeiterklasse und Volksgemeinschaft(Opladen, 1975), pp. 890-2; H. Genschel, Die Verdrängung der Juden aus der WIrtschaft im Dritten Reich (Götingen, 1966), p. 206; A. Barkai, 'Schicksalsjahe 1938', in Pehle (ed.), Der Judenpogrom, pp. 94-117, here p. 96.
117. Der Führer hat auf meinen Vortrag folgende Entscheidungen in der Judenfrage getroffen: ... Vordringlich ist die Arisierung der Betriebe und Geschäfte, des landwirtschaftlichen Grundbesitzes, der Forsten u.a... Die Benutzung von Schlafwagen und Speisewagen ist Juden zu untersagen... Ferner kann der Judenbann für Badeanstalten, gewisse öffentliche Plätze, Badeorte usw ausgesprochen werden.' - Der Prozess gegen die Hauptkriegsverbrecher, Vol. XXV, pp. 132-4, Göring note, 28.12.1938, ND 069-PS.
119. Nuremberg Document PS 1816, in Der Prozess gegen die Hauptkriegsverbrecher, Vol. 28, pp. 499-540.
119. Ibid..
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