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

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(vii) Deliberate suppression of relevant evidence: the testimony of Heinz Linge

1. Heinz Linge [1913-1980] was an SS Captain and Hitler's personal servant from 1935-1945. His testimony is one of the more important pieces of evidence from Hitler's personal entourage; Irving has long been aware of it, but chooses not to use it. What does it reveal? Recounting events surrounding the invasion of Poland Linge wrote:
At the time of the Polish campaign Hitler remarked some time that already the impressions gained during drives through the country demanded that the Jewish question be solved as soon as possible, also in Poland as an area of German influence from now on. Although the Jews in Poland had not exercised any   particularly great influence in politics it was necessary to take more consequential drastic measures in this respect than had been envisaged in the Reich in the Nuremberg Laws. The ghettos being prepared in Lublin and Lodz were not enough. Evidently he had not planned this far in advance, probably not even thought about it, because in his discussions with the deputy Danzig Gauleiter Arthur Greiser and the Gauleiter Albert Foster, neither he nor they held unified views. He said though that the Franconian Forster was too soft, in contrast to Greiser, that he did not know the Poles, and that he advocated a politically naive "Army attitude of a necessarily lenient Poland policy". But he trusted Greiser and above all Heinrich Himmler who had had to first install a very harsh and rigorous police chief in Danzig.182
2. This collaborates the thoughts which, as the report has already noted, were recorded by Engel that the conquest of Poland was a caesura in Hitler's thinking on how the 'Jewish Problem' best be solved. 'Originally it had only been within his power to break the power of the Jews only in Germany, now the aim must be to eliminate the Jewish influence in the whole domain of the Axis.[...] He thought about some things differently now, not exactly more friendly.'183
3. Albert Forster was the Gauleiter of the newly created Danzig-West Prussia, Arthur Greiser Reichsstatthalter of the newly created Warthegau. Both areas were incorporated into the German Reich: the Warthegau with approximately 400,000 Jews, Danzig-West Prussia with   some 30-40,000.184 Although Foster was responsible for the expulsion and murder of Poles, Jews, and the mentally ill, he had been in constant conflict with Himmler and Himmler's Head of Police in Danzig, Hildebrandt, since 1937. The simmering conflict centred on Forster's competence and methods in the 'Germanisation' The men's mutual dislike was an open secret in Nazi circles: Forster is famously meant to have said of Himmler: 'If I looked like him, I would not speak of race at all.'185
4. The Warthegau's large Jewish population made it one of the centre points of Jewish policy in the newly expanded Reich. Greiser managed to maintain good relations with Himmler and engaged himself energetically to solve the 'Jewish Problem' in his Gau. As early as September 1939 he took part in RSHA discussions and tried to start deporting the Warthegau Jews under the aegis of Himmler's deportation order of 30 October 1939.186 The project soon fell foul of Hans Frank of the General Government, whose area was seen as a dumping ground for deported Reich Jews. Frank managed to block Greiser's early strenuous efforts to deport the Warthegau Jews to the General Government, but Greiser remained tenacious in his claim that Frank was obliged to take them.187
 
5. Greiser turned to a short-term program of ghettoisation of the Jewish population, notably the ghetto of Lodz. As the possibility of deportation receded into the future, Greiser developed a dual policy of exploiting the ghettos, whilst allowing the weak and infirm to die of the rigours of hunger and disease. The murder of the Jews in his Gau was discussed in summer of 1941. Building at Chelmno, the first death camp in Poland, began in November 1941, and the first gassing took place on 8 December with a gas van and staff of the former euthanasia action.188 According to Polish sources more than 300,000 people were murdered at Chelmno between December 1941 and April 1943.189 Between 1939 and 1945 some 630,000 Poles and Jews were murdered or expelled from the Warthegau and replaced by 537,000 Volksdeutsche. Linge testified to the fact that the Führer's will was for the harsher of the two policies in occupied Poland. It also shows Hitler's dislike of half-measures and his trust in those advocating his more radical line, in this case Himmler and Greiser.
6. Linge also recounted Hitler's thinking during his last days in Berlin.
What appeared to me to be most remarkable was what Hitler said about the Jews in the last weeks and days of his life. Contrary to his earlier remarks in speeches etc., in which he always spoke of the 'Jewish race', he now said that seen genetically and anthropologically such a thing as a Jewish race did not exist and that we only spoke of a Jewish race 'out of linguistic convenience'. Jewry did not represent a particular race, but rather a spiritual community, which not least embodied their common fate of persecution since time immemorial. Yet even this interpretation led to the assertion that Jewry, whose existence he interpreted as 'the wretched superiority of the spirit over the flesh', were responsible for all disasters in history, and that one day they would be brought to book. He had made a start of the   extermination of Jewry, from whom humanity had to be 'freed'. There could be no question of a principled turning - away from his doctrine. I was as none the wiser than I was before.190
7. This ties in and strengthens what we have already cited from Hitler's last will and testament. Irving read Heinz Linge's memoirs in the course of his researches for Hitler's War.191 But he chose not to use them, because what they revealed of Hitler's views ran directly counter to the argument he wished to put forward.

Notes

182. 'Zur Zeit des Polenfeldzuges bemerkt Hitler gelegentlich, daß bereits der während der Fahrten durchs Land gewonnene Augenschein dazu zwinge, auch in Polen als nunmehrigem deutschem Einflußgebiet die Judenfrage zu lösen, sobald dies möglich sei. Obwohl die Juden in Polen keinen besonders großen Einfluß auf die Politik ausgeübt hätten, wäre es notwendig, in dieser Hinsicht konsequenter durchzugreifen, als es nach den Nürnberger Gesetzen im Reich geschehen sei. Mit den in Vorbereitung befindlichen Gettos in Lublin und Lodz allein sei es nicht getan. So weit hatte er vorher offentsichtlich nicht geplant, vermutlich noch nicht einmal gedacht; denn in seinen Unterhaltungen mit dem stellvertrtenden Danziger Gauleiter Arthur Greiser und dem Gauleiter Albert Forster vertraten weder er noch sie einheitliche Auffassungen. Er meinte zwar, daß der Franke Forster im Gegensatz zu Greiser zu weich sei, die Polen nicht kenne und die politisch naive "Heeres-Vorstellung über eine nötige milde Polen-Politik" verfechte, aber er vertraue auf Greiser und vor allem auf Heinrich Himmler, der zunächst einmal einen sehr scharfen und rigorosen Polizeiführer in Danzig einsetzen müsse.' (Linge, pp. 186-87).
183. Heeresadjutant bei Hitler, pp. 94-5.
184. Raul Hilberg, The Destruction of the European Jews (New York Etc., 1961), p. 131; Frank Golczewski, 'Polen', in Wolfgang Benz (ed.), Dimension der Volkermords. Die Zahl der jüdischen Öpfer des Nationalsozialismus (Munich, 1996), pp. 411-90, p. 431.
185. Christopher Browning, 'Nazi Resettlement Policy and the Search for a Final Solution to the Jewish Question, 1939-1941' in Christopher Browning, The Path to Genocide. Essays on the Launching of the Final Solution (Cambridge, 1992), pp. 3-27, p. 11.
186. Anordnung Himmlers, 30 October 1945 1939, document 4, in Fascismus, Getto, Massenmord, pp. 42-3.
187. Notes on a discussion in Berlin on the deportation of the Lodz Jews to the General Gouvernment, 1 April 1941, document 15, ibid., pp. 53-4.
188. Cf. Friedländer, Origins of Nazi Genocide , pp 286-7
189. Gudrun Schwarz, Die nationalsozialistischen Lager (Frankfurt a. M., 1997), pp. 248-50.
190. 'Bemerkenswert erschien mir vor allem, was Hitler in den letzten Wochen und Tagen seines Lebens über die Juden sagte. Im Gegensatz zu seinen früheren Ausführungen in Reden usw., in denen er stets von der "jüdischen Rasse" gesprochen hatte, sagte er jetzt, daß es von genetischen und anthropologischen Standpunkt aus gar keine jüdische Rasse gäbe und daß "wir nur aus sprachliche Bequemlichkeit" von einer jüdischen Rasse redeten. Nicht eine besondere Rasse, sonderen eine Gemeinschaft des Geistes repräsentiere das Judentum, das nicht zuletzt auch die Schicksalsverbundenheit der siet jeher Verfolgten verkörpere. Doch auch diese Interpretation mündete in der Behauptung, daß das Judentum, dessen Existenz er als "traurige Überlegenheit des Geistes über das Fleisch" deutete, für alles Unheil in der Geschichte verantwortlich gewesen sei und daß es eines Tages bezahlen müßte. Den Anfang zur Ausrottung des Judentums, von dem die Menschheit "befreit" werden müsse, habe er gamacht. Vor einer grundsätzlichen Abkehr von seiner Lehre konnte also nicht die Rede sein. Ich war so klug oder so dumm wie zuvor.' (Linge, p. 264).
191. Hitler's War, p. 844.
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