Irving v. Lipstadt


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

Table of Contents


6.60 Whilst it would not be right to say that there is no issue between the parties in relation to the existence of a policy of deporting Jews eastwards, the differences in the parties' respective case appear to me to be comparatively unimportant. The topic can therefore be taken quite shortly.
6.61 According to Longerich, the Nazi policy towards the Jews evolved over the years. In the 1920s and 30s various legal and economic sanctions were applied to Jews in Germany with a view to compelling them to emigrate. Longerich draws attention to various statements made by Hilter at this time which foreshadow a more radical solution to the Jewish question. Towards the end of the 1930s pressure for the emigration and even expulsion of the Jews intensified. The term Endlosung (final solution) came into use, carrying with it the implication that all Jews would be removed from Nazi Germany.
6.62 Hitler's attitude at this time is reflected in an entry in Goebbels's diary for 24 August 1938:
"We discuss the Jewish question. The Fuhrer approves my procedures in Berlin. What the foreign press writes is insignificant. The main thing is that the Jews be pushed out. In 10 years they must be removed from Germany. But in the interim we still want to keep the Jews here as pawns".
6.63 From the outbreak of war in September 1939 the policy towards the European Jews in those countries invaded by the Nazis was to find for them a "territorial solution", that is, to find an area at the periphery of the Nazi empire to which the Jews might be deported and where they might very well perish. At this stage, Longerich agrees, the policy was not a homicidal one, although he adds the rider that there already existed what he called the "perspective" of mass murder. His argument is that this is discernible from the comments made at the time which suggest that it was recognised that it was unlikely that the Jews would survive for long after their deportastion. They would perish through disease or starvation.
6.64 It is the Defendants' case, largely although not entirely accepted by Irving, that the hard-line policy towards the Jews manifested itself when the   Nazis invaded and conquered Poland in September 1939. There were two aspects: the first was the establishment of a reservation in Poland between the Vistula and the Bug into which all Jews under Nazi domination would be deported. The second was a programme to execute selected Jews in Poland as a means among others of rendering the country leaderless and destroying it a nation. According to Longerich, the first aspect commenced with the deportation from about the autumn of 1941 of Jews from the Central Europe into the ghettoes in Eastern Europe. The intention was to deport them further east later, probably in the spring of 1942, when they would perish.
6.65 On 18 September Himmler wrote to the Gauleiter in Warthegau, Greiser, informing him:
"The Fuhrer wishes that the Old Reich and the Protectorate be emptied and freed of Jews from west to east as quickly as possible. I am therefore striving to transport the Jews of the Altreich and the Protektorat in the Eastern territories that became part of the Reich two years ago. It is desirable that this be accomplished by the end of this year, as a first and initial step in deporting them even further to the East next spring.
I intend to remove a full 60,000 Jews of the Altreich and the Protektorat to the Litzmannstadt ghetto for the winter. This has, I have heard, the space to accommodate them".
Himmler forewarned Greiser of the arrival of Jewish transports from the Reich. Hitler appears therefore to have initiated the programme of deportation some time before mid-September 1941.
6.66 The deportations, which were initially to ghettoes in Lodz, Rikga and Misk, began in early to mid-October 1941. Although six trainloads of Jews were summarily executed on their arrival at Kovno and in Riga, Longerich agreed that the policy at this time in relation to European Jews was to deport them and not to kill them or at least not to kill them on the spot. The Defendants say that vast numbers of Jews were deported from the Altreich, the Protektorat, Austria, France, Slovakia, Croatia and Romania to the East. Many of these European Jews may have been led to believe that they were going to a new life in the East. That explains why they travelled with food and in some cases with the tools of their trade (although Longerich points out that the food was provided by the Jewish Commission and not by the   Nazis). Irving put it to Browning (and Browning accepted) that the extant records relating to deportations, consisting mainly of transport documents, are incomplete. In consequence, suggested Irving, the estimates of the numbers deported vary enormously. Irving maintains that the scale of the intended deportation was nowhere near as comprehensive as the Defendants maintain. In France for example estimates of the number of deportees range from 25,000 to 200,000. (Browning asserted that the consensus now is 75,000 French Jews were deported).
6.67 Irving recognised the emergence of a policy of wholesale deportation of European Jews. He accepted that Hitler was an advocate of this policy. Indeed Irving's case is that the deportation of the Jews continued to be Hitler's preferred solution to the Jewish question until 1942. The so-called "Magagascar plan", whereby the Jews were to be deported from the Reich to the island off the east coast of Africa, was not abandoned until then. Thereafter it is Irving's case that Hitler wanted the entire Jewish question put off until after the end of the war (see section V(ix) above under the heading "The Schlegelberger note"). Whether or not Irving is right about that, he firmly rejected the contention for the Defendants that the evidence shows that there was to the knowledge of Hitler a genocidal implication underlying the policy of deportation.