Irving v. Lipstadt


Holocaust Denial on Trial, Trial Judgment: Electronic Edition, by Charles Gray

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Irving's reponse

5.208Irving agreed that in his account in Hitler's War of the meeting which took place between Hitler and Antonescu, he omitted to refer to Hitler's anti-semitic outburst which included the remark that "one must proceed against the Jews, the more radically the better". Irving justified the omission by saying that it adds not one iota to what is already known.
5.209In this connection Irving, in order to rebut the claim that Hitler displayed a vindictive attitude towards the Jews on this (or any other) occasion, drew attention to the willingness of Hitler on occasion to approve some merciful disposal for individual Jews or groups of Jews. Irving instanced the permission given by Hitler for 70,000 Jewish children to leave Romania and travel to Palestine. Longerich agreed that there were times when Hitler exempted certain Jews from deportation or extermination.
5.210In regard to the meeting between Hitler and Horthy, Irving in his response laid stress on what Hitler said at the first session on 16 April, namely that the Jews would not need to be killed. He argued that it was throughout Hitler's position that there was no need to murder the Hungarian Jews, since they could be accommodated in concentration camps as had happened in the case of the Slovakian Jews. Irving argued that, when Hitler is recorded in the minutes of the meeting taken by Hilgruber as having referred to Jews having "vanished" to the East, he was referring to their deportation. Evans's answer to this was that on 16 April Hitler was setting up a smoke-screen and seeking to conceal from Horthy what his true   intentions were. Longerich concurred, adding that Hitler's reference to the Slovakian Jews is significant because (as Hitler must by this time have known) they had been put to death in extermination camps.
5.211Irving did not in his evidence dispute the accuracy of the record made by Schmidt of the meeting on 17 April. Irving argued that the reason why Ribbentrop said what he did is that the Hungarian Jews were posing a security threat: what Ribbentrop was proposing was that, on that account, they should be sent to concentration camps; if they refused (but not otherwise) they would be shot. Evans replied that Irving is perverting and distorting the clear sense of what Ribbentrop said. Irving persisted in his claim that the use of the term "Ausrottung " in Horthy's draft letter to Hitler of 7 May is significant because it contemplates the Jews being forcibly deported rather than killed.
5.212Irving agreed that he wrongly reported Hitler as saying on 17 April what he had in fact said on 16 April. He also agreed that his error had been pointed out to him as long ago as 1977 by the historian Martin Broszat. But he contended that his error as to the date is a matter of no consequence. That, he claimed, is why he did not correct the reference in the 1991 edition of Hitler's War. There was no deliberate misrepresentation or deliberate suppression. Irving asserted that he included in the 1977 edition the substance of what Hitler said about the Jews on 17 April. His explanation for the removal in the 1991 edition of part of what Hitler said is that it was an abridged edition. In any case he considered that the omitted words do not add much.
5.213As regards Hitler's language, Irving drew attention to the fact that the internal record of the meeting kept by the Hungarians (as opposed to the official Nazi minute) made no mention of the deported Hungarian Jews being killed. There would have been no reason for the Hungarians to conceal the fact that they were to be killed, if that had indeed been stated at the meeting to be the intention. If Hitler had said that the Nazis were proposing to kill the Hungarian Jews, one would expect, suggested Irving, the Hungarians' internal record to include a protest at such barbarism.
5.214Irving explained that Hitler was distressed and angry about recent the Allied bombing raids of cities in Germany. That was the reason for Hitler's outburst to Horthy. Evans pointed out that in the 1977 edition of Hitler's War Irving gave a different explanation for Hitler's menacing words, namely   the Warsaw uprising. Another explanation offered by Irving for the words used by Hitler is that he was full of resentment about the massacre at Katyn. All these explanations and excuses are bogus, according to Evans.
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