Irving v. Lipstadt

Defense Documents

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

Table of Contents
<< (iv) Further suppression ...

(v) Conclusion

1. The significance of the meeting between Hitler and Horthy on 16-17 April 1943 only really becomes clear when we recall what happened subseqently. In May 1943 the Hungarian Prime Minister Kállay publicly rejected the idea of 'resettlement' of Hungary's Jews in the East until he received a satisfactory answer from the Germans as to how and where the resettlement was to take place.32 But the Nazi government did not abandon its designs for the extermination of the Hungarian Jews. In March 1944, Horthy was again summoned to meet Hitler. According to Horthy, at the meeting on 18 March 1944 Hitler complained that 'Hungary did nothing in the matter of the Jewish problem, and was not prepared to settle accounts with the large Jewish population in Hungary'.33 Meanwhile, German troops marched into Hungary and took the country over. Sztójay was appointed Prime Minister on 22 March 1944 of a puppet government. Already on 19 March 1944, the Eichmann Sonderkommando was in Budapest to organise the deportation of the Hungarian Jews. By July 1944, over 430,000 Jews had been deported to Auschwitz. After a brief halt called by Horthy, who still retained some influence, the Germans staged another coup in October 1944 and installed the Hungarian fascist leader Szalasi as Prime Minister. Although plans were laid to deport more Jews and thousands were marched to Austria under terrible conditions, many of them dying en route, Auschwitz was now being wound up in the face of the Russian advance and there was no more major   extermination, although thousands of Jews died in what had become a virtual ghetto in Budapest in the winter of 1944-45. All of this demonstrated clearly the paramount importance the extermination of Hungary's Jews had for Hitler.
2. Irving is at pains to obscure this in his account of the German leader's meeting with Admiral Horthy on 16-17 April 1943. Through bending reliable sources to fit his argument, misrepresenting and skewing historical data, misinterpreting sources and deliberately suppressing relevant information, he conveys the impression in his book Hitler's War that Hitler was actually opposed to the extermination of the Hungarian Jews, demanding merely their confinement in internment camps, a measure for which, Irving falsely insinuates, events in Poland (including the Warsaw ghetto uprising, which as we have seen had not actually taken place at the time of the meeting between Hitler and Horthy) provided a reasonable justification. This argument is untenable on historical grounds, and rests on a deliberate falsification of the historical record.


32. Jagow to Froeign Office, 2 June 1943, reprinted in Braham (ed.), document 107.
33. Cited In Braham, Politics, p. 391.
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