Irving v. Lipstadt
David Irving, Hitler and Holocaust Denial: Electronic Edition, by Richard J. EvansTable of Contents
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(b) Jewish criminality in Berlin
1. In one of his speeches, Irving claimed that Goebbels only became antisemitic in the 1920s when he realised the dominance of the Jews in Berlin, and that much of Goebbels's anti-Jewish propaganda was based in fact:
Well, if you remember when the Nazis came to power, which was in 1933, Dr. Goebbels made a great deal of mileage out of the fact that certainly in Berlin, the Berlin that he arrived at in 1926, that was very largely dominated by the Jewish lawyers, the Jewish politicians, the Jewish police chiefs, the Jewish ministers and so on. And he made a lot of mileage out of that and it was a very unhealthy political situation for Germany. In fact, the odd thing is before Goebbels came to Berlin in 1926 he wasn't anti-Jewish. He turned anti-Jewish by what he saw.1
2. This theme is also taken up in Irving's writings, with particular emphasis on the alleged dominance of Jews in the criminal underworld of Berlin. For instance, in his book Goebbels: Mastermind of the 'Third Reich' (1996), Irving states that Goebbels
would highlight every malfeasance of the criminal demi-monde and identify it as Jewish. In the closing years of the Weimar republic, he was unfortunately not always wrong. In 1930 Jews would be convicted in forty-two of 210 known narcotics smuggling cases; in 1932 sixty-nine of the 272 known international narcotics dealers were Jewish. Jews were arrested in over sixty percent of the cases concerning the running of illegal gambling dens; 193 of the 411 pickpockets arrested in 1932 were Jews. In 1932 no fewer than thirty-one thousand cases of fraud, mainly insurance swindles, would be committed by Jews.2
3. Similarly, in 1995 article, Irving wrote;
As Goebbels orchestrated the rise of the Nazi party in Berlin, part of the problem for the democrats there was that much of what he said was true. The Jewish community not only dominated the legal and medical professions in Berlin, they also dominated the crime scene. In my biography I've quoted Interpol figures of the percentage of Jews among those arrested for drug dealing and narcotics. Moreover, three-quarters of the pickpockets in Berlin were Jewish. It was quite easy for Goebbels to draw attention to such facts, and to embellish them in a propaganda campaign.3
4. Irving's claims about the dominance of Jews in various professions are highly misleading. In 1930, around a third to a half of all doctors in Berlin were Jewish. In statistics drawn up by the Nazis, about half of all the lawyers in Berlin were classified as Jews. Many fewer Jews joined the judicial service, from which they had been excluded before the 1920s. Only around one-fifth of the higher judicial officials (höherer Justizdienst) were classified as Jewish by the time of the Nazi seizure of power, and Jews played a minor role in senior positions in the civil service. Irving himself describes the Vice-President of the Berlin Police in the late 1920s, Bernhard Weiss, as 'the first Jew ever to be accepted for the Prussian higher civil service'. Similarily, Jews played no dominant role in Berlin politics. From 1918 to 1933, only a total of eight deputies with Jewish origins were elected to either the Reichstag or the Prussian parliament to represent the various Berlin constituencies. And after the murder of Foreing Minister Rathenau in 1922, hardly any Germans with Jewish origins were appointed as Reich Cabinet Ministers.4 Moreover, the figures given by Irving in Goebbels suggests that 'only' 47% of all pickpockets in Berlin were Jewish, not 75%, as he claimed in the 1995 article. And in the passages quoted above, Irving provides no example of Goebbels having used these figures in his propaganda. More importantly, perhaps, it is possible to examine in detail Irving's claims about the dominance of Jews in the Berlin criminal underworld in the Weimar Republic. Irving gives the following detailed footnote reference for his claims:
Interpol figures, in Deutsche Nachrichten-Büro (hereafter DNB), Jul 20, 1935; and see Kurt Daluege, 'Judenfrage als Grundsatz', in Angriff, Aug 3, 1935 (Hauptamt Ordnungspolizei files, BA file R. 19/406); on the criminal demi-monde of 1920s Berlin, see Paul Weiglin, Unverwüstliches Berlin. Bilderbuch der Reichshauptstadt seit 1919 (Zürich, 1955) and Walther Kiaulehn, Berlin: Schicksal einer Weltstadt (Munich, 1958).5
5. On checking out these references, which are, typically, without specific page numbers, it becomes clear that while there are indeed sections in Kiaulehn's and Weiglin's books which deal with the Berlin criminal underworld, there is not a single reference in either of the books which could back up Irving's claim regarding the dominance of Jews in the crime scene in Berlin in the 1920s.6
6. Next come the 'Interpol figures', as quoted in the Deutsche Nachrichtenbüro. This source, which sounds very authorative, is clearly regarded by Irving as the key evidence for the claims advanced both in Goebbels and in his 1995 article. However, on closer inspection this document turns out to be nothing more than a piece of Nazi propaganda. The Deutsche Nachrichtenbüro(DNB) was not an independent news agency, but a mouthpiece of the Nazi leadership. Since its creation in December 1933, it had been controlled directly by Goebbels's Propaganda Ministry and was subject to the same controls and directions as any other part of the Nazi news media.7
7. Second, the article of 20 July 1935 in the DNB does not report any 'Interpol figures', as Irving claims, but rather consists of a transcript of a press conference by Kurt Daluege on the 'Jews and criminality'.8 Daluege is anything but an objective source. He was a committed Nazi, who had joined the NSDAP as early as 1926 and entered the SS in 1930. In the Spring of 1932, he was elected as a Nazi deputy to the Prussian Parliament. Immediately after the Nazi 'seizure of power', Daluege was appointed by Göring in February 1933 to the Prussian Ministry of the Interior. In September 1934, he was awarded the rank of SS-Obergruppenführer and in April 1935 he was promoted to Generalleutnant der Landespolizei. It was in this capacity that he gave his press conference on 20 July 1935. During the Second World War, Daluege was responsible for the involvement of the German order police (which he had headed since 1936) in the Nazi extermination of Jews in the East. In January 1943, Daluege described the Second World War as a 'struggle of annihilation against the world enemies, Jewry, Communism, which is led by Jewry, and plutocracy...' Daluege was also responsible for Nazi occupation policy in Czechoslovakia in 1942-43 (when he served as deputy Reichsprotektor für Böhmen und Mähren). In October 1946, Daluege was executed for his crimes against the Czech population during the war.9
8. Daluege's press conference in July 1935 was a blatant propaganda exercise, designed to justify the brutal Nazi persecution of the German Jews. Daluege complained that while the 'Jew-subservient' (judenhörigen) sections of the world press reported the 'alleged' persecution of Jews in Germany, none of these journalists went to the trouble to discover the reasons
that compel the German people to take up its defensive struggle against Jewish arrogance and against Jewish criminality. I am in a position to supply to all those who out there in the world make themselves out to be so concerned about the allegedly endangered position of the German Jews material which will make their mood more reflective.
9. Daluege went on to present figures detailing the alleged participation of Jews in criminal activities in Germany which proved the 'danger of Jewry for the German people'. Daluege's implication was clear: it was not Nazi Germany which posed a danger for the Jews, but it was the Jews who threatened Germany.
When one reflects on the fact that according to the latest statistical investigations there are 7.6 Jews per 1,000 Germans, and that the Jew is at the top of the figures with 80 per cent in particular types of crime and in others again at least a quarter of all convictions, one can be really happy that the German people has been freed from a large part of this evil. We want to deal all the more energetically with the other part, which now as before is mounting its thieving raids against the property and the health of our people.10
10. This antisemitic propaganda by a fanatical Nazi is utterly useless as a statistical source for the participation of German Jews in the Weimar Republic in criminal activities.
11. Contemporary figures from the Weimar period do not indicate that Jewish criminality was particularly important. For instance, in 1925, an average of 1.05 per cent of all inmates in Prussian penitentiaries (Zuchthäuser) were Jewish, and 1.79 per cent of inmates in larger Prussian prisons.11 It is typical for Irving's disregard for even the most basic conventions of historical scholarship, that he presents Daluege's figures as objective facts ('Interpol figures'). This uncritical use of Nazi propaganda material is indefensible.
12. This is also true for the final source cited by Irving for his claims about the dominance of Jews in the Berlin criminal underworld, Daluege's article of 3 August 1935 in Der Angriff. (incidentally, this article could not be located in the file referred to by Irving). Der Angriff was one of the most important Nazi propaganda papers, originally set up by Goebbels in 1927. Daluege in this article defended the material he had presented at the press conference on 20 July 1935:
If a section of the foreign press is trying to portray the official statistical material on the criminality of the Jew as an attempt to justify the legal measures which are to be expected against the increasing presumptiousness of the Jews, that is either malicious, or at least a lack of understanding for the stantpoint of the German people in the Jewish question.12
13. As an objective source, Daluege's article is just as worthless as is his preceding press conference of 20 July 1935.
14. Not only does Irving uncritically use Daluege's propaganda as an objective source, he even fails to cite Daluege's figures correctly. For instance, in the original text of the press conference, Daluege claimed that in 1933, there were a total of 31,000 fraud cases recorded in Berlin. By 1934, there were only 18,000 such cases. According to Daluege, 'a considerable part, if not the largest (part)' of these perpetrators in 1934 were still Jewish. In Irving's text, this passage is rendered in the following way: 'In 1932, no fewer than thirty-one thousand cases of fraud, mainly insurance swindles, would be committed by Jews'. As is plain to see, this does not correspond to Daluege's original text. First, Daluege's figure of 31,000 fraud cases refers to 1933, not 1932. Second, not even the Nazi propagandist Daluege claimed, like Irving does, that all of these 31,000 fraud cases involved Jews. Irving thus further inflates the figures presented in Daluege's propaganda material. Thirdly, Daluege nowhere claims that these fraud cases were mainly insurance swindles, as Irving does. It would have been easy for Irving to have verified his account against other sources. Thus the official German Criminal Statistics for the year 1932 recorded a total of 74 persons convicted of insurance fraud (paragraph 265 of the German Criminal Code) in the whole of Germany - a far cry from Irving's figure of over 15,500 cases of insurance fraud committed in 1932 by Berlin Jews alone.13
1. Videotape 226: Unedited material from This Week, 28 November 1991: 1hr.. 32 mins. 05 secs. To 1 hr. 34 mins. 10 secs..
2. Irving, Goebbels (1996), pp. 46-7.
3. Irving, 'Relations from the Goebbels Diary', p. 8.
4. For this information, see A. Barkai, 'Die Juden als sozio-ökonomische Minderheitsgruppe in der Weimarer Republik', in W. Grab, J. H. Schoeps (eds.), Juden in der Weimarer Republik (Stuttgart, Bonn, 1986), pp. 330-346; E. Douma, Deutsche Anwälte zwischen Demokratie und Dikatur 1930-1955 (Frankfurt a.M., 1998), p. 75; R. Angermund, Deutsche Richterschaft 1919-1945 (Frankfurt a.M., 1990), p. 51, note 37; B. Breslauer, Die Zurücksetzung der Juden im Jusitzdienst (Berlin, 1907); Irbing, Goebbels, p. 46; E. Hamburger, 'Jüdische Parlamentarier in Berlin, 1848-1933', in H. Strauss, K. Grossmann (eds.), Gegenwart im Rückblick (Heidelberg, 1970), pp. 56-85; T. Maurer, 'Juden in der Weimarer Republik', in D. Blasius, D. Diner (eds.), Zerbrochene Geschichte (Frankfurt a.M., 1991), pp. 102-120, here 110.
5. Irving, Goebbels (1996), pp. 547-8, note 29.
6. Walther Kiaulehn, Berlin, Schicksal einer Weltstadt (Munich, Berlin, 1958); Paul Weiglin, Unverwüstliches Berlin, Bilder der Reichshauptstadt seit 1919 (Zurich, 1955), here esp. pp. 67-68.
7. A. Heider, 'Deutches Nachrichtenbüro', in W. Benz, H. Graml, H. Weiß (eds.), Enzyklopädie des Nationalsozialismus (Munich, 1997), p. 427.
8. Die Juden in der Kriminalität. Ausführungen des Generalleutnants Daluege', Deutsches Nachrichtenbüro, 20.7.1935; disclosed as part of Irving's Third Supplemental List of Documents, 51 (A).
9. F. Wilhelm, Die Polizei im NS-Staat (Paperborn, 1997), p. 198; C. Browning, Ganz normale Männer (Reinbek b. Hamburg, 1996), pp. 45-6; BA Berlin, Film 14769, K. Daluege, 'Zum 10. Jahrestage der nationalsozialistischen Revolution' (no date, Jan. 1943): 'Vernichtungskampfe gegen die Weltfeinde, das Judentum, den von ihren geführten Kommunismus und das Plutokratentum...'.
10. Die Juden in der Kriminalität. Ausführungen des Generalleutnants Daluege', Deutsches Nachrichtenbü;ro, 20.7.1935; disclosed as part of Irving's Third Supplemental List of Documents, 51 (A). For the original text of Daluege's speech, see BA Berlin, Film 14769, K. Daluege, 'Der Jude in der Kriminalistatistik!', 20.7.1935: 'die das deutsche Volk zu seinem Abwehrkampf gegen jüdische Anmaßung und gegen jüdisches Verbrechertum zwingen. Ich bin in der Lage, allen denen, die draußen in der Welt um das angeblich gefährdete Schicksal der deutschen Juden so besorgt tun, Material an die Hand geben, das sie nachdenklicher stimmen so.... Gefahr des Judentums für das deutsche Volk... Wenn man sich überlegt, daß nach den neuesten statistischen Erhebungen auf 1000 Deutsche 7,6 Juden kommen und daß der Jude mit 80 v. H. in einzelnen Verbrechensarten an der Spitze steht, und in anderen wieder mindestens 1/4 aller abgestraften Fälle stellt, so könnte man wirklich froh sein, daß das deutsche Volk von einem großen Teil dieses Uebels erlöst ist. Umso energischer wollen wir uns mit dem anderen Teil befassen, der skrupellos nach wie vor seine Raubzüge gegen das Vermögen und gegen die Gesundheit unseres Volkes unternimmt'
11. Statistik über die Gefangenenanstalten der Justizverwaltung in Preußen für das Rechnungsjahr 1925 (Berlin, 1928).
12. BA Berlin, Film 14768, K. Daluege, manuscript for article 'Judenfrage als Grundsatz', Angriff, 3.8.1935: 'Wenn ein Teil der Auslandspresse das amtliche Zahlenmaterial über die Kriminalität des Juden als einen Rechtfertigungsversuch für die zu erwartenden gesetzlichen Maßnahmen gegen die überhandnehmenden jüdischen Anmaßungen hinzustellen versucht, so ist das entweder Böswilligkeit oder zum mindesten Mangel an Versändnis gegenüber dem Standpunkt des deutschen Volkes in der Judenfrage.'
13. 'ein beträchtlicher Teil, wenn nicht der größte'. As will be remembered, Irving claimed that most of the 31,000 fraud cases were insurance fraud (i.e. more than 15,500). For the insurance fraud figures, see Kriminalstatistik für das Jahr 1932, Bearbeitet im Reichsjustizministerium und im Statistichen Reichsamt (Berlin, 1935), p. 112. Allegations of Jewish criminality occur elsewhere in Irving's speeches and writings too. Thus in a speech delivered by Irving at the Bayrischer Hof, Milton, Ontario, 5 October 1991 (Videotape 190, 2h 28m 30s - 2h 29m 40s) Irving claimed that Jewish survivors of the Holocaust were criminals: 'The big lie [i.e. what Irving terms the Holocaust lie] is designed to justify both in arrears and in advance the bigger crimes in the financial world elsewhere that are being committed by the survivors of the Holocaust.'
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