Irving v. Lipstadt

Defense Documents

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

Table of Contents
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(xv) Additional evidence.

 
1. The following three accounts all appeared subsequent to the re-issue of Hitler's War in 1991. Characteristically, Irving has not mentioned them anywhere, although he is usually quick to post up any new documentary or other discovery on his website. One assumes that as an avid reader and collector of the testimony of members of Hitler's inner circle and other Nazis and their associates, Irving is none the less aware of their existence. However, these accounts are not presented as examples of Irving's manipulation and suppression of historical evidence, but as additional pieces of evidence deriving from, or reporting statements by, further members of Hitler's entourage. This further undermines his argument and support the view that contrary to Irving's persistent and repeated claims, aspects of the 'Final Solution' were well known amongst Hitler's staff.
2. The first piece of additional evidence comes from Jutta Rüdiger, who was the Reich Leader of the Hitler Youth for Girls [Bund deutsche Mädel]. In 1997 she told a BBC interviewer about an episode during her post-war internment.
After the war I was interned with Hitler's secretaries and one of them told me that Hitler had said "If the Jews really manage to push America and Germany into war against each other, I will have no mercy. On all sides, good, valuable people are losing their lives, be it in England or in Germany or in France. But the Jews are never willing to bring a sacrifice, they stay in the background and pull the strings, and I will have no mercy."286
3. The second, and perhaps more significant testimony comes from Alfons Schulz, who was a switchboard operator in the Führerhauptquartier from January 1942 until April 1945, with the   exception of a single ten-day holiday. His memoirs were published in 1997.287 He recalled an episode from 1942 that is quoted here at length.
On one particular morning, it must have been mid-May or so, Walter Meiendresch who also belonged to "our circle" came in deathly pale from his night shift. He vomited several times and we thought that he was seriously ill. He was actually unfit to work for several days. Finally on the second or third day Dr. Fliegner found out the cause of this sudden collapse. Walter was in fact very robust and hardy in his nature.
In the night in question he had listened in on a conversation between Himmler and Bormann. In it the Reichsführer SS [Himmler]conveyed a "pleasant piece of news from Auschwitz" to the Reichsleiter Bormann, intended, as he said, for the Führer. Once again, exactly according to plan, 20,000 Jews had been "liquidated", "er" he corrected himself immediately, "evacuated" there.
Whereupon Bormann had shouted at him furiously and sharply reminded him that as agreed such reports were only allowed to be in writing and delivered by couriers who were SS officers; delivered to him personally to be passed onto the Führer. He vigorously forbade any such further reports about this subject be delivered in any other way.
For the first time the mass murder forced its way somewhat into the naiveté that held sway even in our communications centre.
To be sure we restricted those who knew about this overheard conversation to our closest circle on grounds of security.
With the exception of Walter Meiendresch, who was quite simply no longer capable of listening in on conversations, we tried to find out more precise information. In vain.
Only some of the staff officers of the OKH, who as was later to be found out were hanged as accomplices to the assassination attempt of 1944, intimated something to higher officers in the FHQ whom they apparently trusted. They referred to rumours which came to them from reliable regiment and division   commanders and not through the official channels. These rumours were of the mass murder of Jews and other "undesirables". No one knew any concrete facts though. Considering what we know today it seems that it was practically impossible, also for someone who did not belong to the SS, to learn anything more precise.288
5. Despite the obvious attempt at self-exculpation, this is none the less an important fragment of testimony about the importance of the use of euphemism and circumlocution by the leading Nazis in the discussion of the mass murder of the Jews.
6. Finally, there is the testimony of General Gerd Schmückle, who described in his memoirs a visit he and Oberst Fröhlich made to Field Marshal Kluge at the headquarters of Army Group Centre in the second week of May 1942. Fröhlich intended to tell Kluge that the war was lost and that the front should fall back to the old borders of the Reich.  
At headquarters everything turned out differently. We had to wait in an outer office. The officer in charge of the bureau said that the Field Marshal was negotiating with a intermediary of Hitler's. That is to say, Kluge had threatened to resign his Marshal's staff to Hitler because the SS had driven Jewish men and women out of Minsk, stripped them in a forest clearing, doused their heads and pubic hair in petrol, and set them on fire.[...] Finally Hitler's messenger left, an SS-Führer who saluted us strictly.289
7. These, then, are a few additional pieces of the mosaic of evidence that cumulatively undermines Irving's claim that the mass murder of the Jews was not known or talked about by Hitler and his intimate circle.

Notes

286. The Nazis. A warning from History, BBC 1 television programme.
287. Alfons Scultz, Drei Jahre in der Nachrichtenzentrael des Führerhaupquartiers (Stein am Rhein, 1997), 2nd ed.
288. 'An einem Morgan, es muss so um Miite Mai gewesen sein, kam Walter Meiendresch, der auch zu "unserem Kreis gehört, totenbleich von seinem Nachtdienst. Er übergab sich mehmals, und wir dachten, er wäre ernstlich erkrankt. Für mehrere Tage war er tatsächlich dienstunfähig. Erst am zweiten oder dritten Tag kam Dr. Fliegener hinter die Ursachen dieses plötzlichen Kollapses. Walter war nämlich von Natur aus sehr robust und widerstandsfähig.
In der fraglichen Nacht hatte er ein Gespräch zwischen Himmler und Bormann mitgehört. In diesem brachte der Reichsführer SS dem Reichsleiter Bormann eine "erfreuliche Nachricht aus Auschwitz", wie er sagte, für den Führer. Wieder seien, ganz plangemäß, dort 20,000 Juden "liquidert", "ah", verbesserte er sich umgehend, "evakuiert" worden./ Bormann habe ihn daraufhim wütend angefahren und scharf darauf hingewiesen, dass solche Meldungen, wie ausgemacht, nur schriftlich durch Kuriere, gestellt von Offizieren der SS, ihm persönlich zur Weiterleitung an den Führer zugesstellt werden dürften. Er verbat sich energisch jegliche weitere Benachrichtung über dieses Thema auf anderen Wegen./ Zum ersten Mal drang von diesem Massenmord etwas in die Ahnungslosigkeit, die selbst in unserer Nachrichtungszentrale über dieses Thema herrschte./ Wir beschränkten allerdings aus Sicherheitsgründen den Mitwisserkreis über dieses abgehörte Gespäch auf unseren engsten Kern./ Mit Ausnahme von Walter Meiendresch, der einfach nicht mehr imstande war, Gespräche mitzuhören, versuchten wir, Näheres darüber in Erfahrung zu bringen. Vergebens./Nur von Staabsoffizieren des OKHs deuteten einige, die, wie wir später herausstellen sollte, als Mitverschwörer beim Aattentat 1944 gehenkt wurden, höheren Offizieren im FHQ, denen sie anscheinend vertrauen konnten, einiges darüber an. Sie wiesen auf Gerüchte hin, die ihnen von Regiments- und auch verlässlichen Divisionskommandeuren vertraulich, und nicht auf dem Dienstwege, zugegangen waren. Diese sprachen vom Massenmord an Juden and anderen "Unerwünschten". Konkrete Fakten kannte aber niemand. Nach dem, was wir heute darüber wissen, scheint es auch für einen, der nicht zur SS gehörte, kaum mölich gewesen zu sein, etwas Näheres zu erfahren.' (Schultz, pp.98-9).
289. 'Im Haupquartier sah dann alles andes aus. Wir mussten im Vorzimmer warten. Der Bürooffizier sagte, der Feldmarshall unterhandle mit einem Vermittler Hitlers. Kluge habe nämlich dem Führer gedroht, im seinen Marschallstab zurückzusenden, weil die SS jüdische Männer und Frauen aus Minsk hinausgetrieben, auf einer Waldwiese nackt ausgezogen, Kopf- und Geschlechtshaare mit Benzin übergossen und sie angezündet habe. [...] Endlich ging Hitlers Abgesandter, ein SS Führer, der uns streng grüsste'. Gerd Schmückle, Ohne Pauken und Trompeten, Errinerung an Krieg und Frieden (Stuttgart, 1982), p. 54-55.
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