Irving v. Lipstadt


Holocaust Denial on Trial, Trial Transcripts, Day 1: Electronic Edition

Pages 91 - 95 of 103

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    Mr Irving went to considerable lengths to
 1in Latvia, as part of a process which had been initiated
 2earlier that year in accordance with Hitler's wishes to
 3empty the Reich of its Jews.
 4     On 30th November 1941, as his daily log records,
 5Heinrich Himmler, the head of the SS, was at the Wolf's
 6lair, Hitler's headquarters in East Prussia. Mr Irving's
 7account of this visit, so far as it concerns the fait of
 8the Jews, is as follows. This is in Hitler's War 1977 at
 9page 332:
10     "On November 30th 1941 Himmler was summoned to
11the Wolf's lair for a secret conference with Hitler at
12which fait of Berlin's Jews was clearly raised. At 1.30
13p.m. Himmler was obliged to telephone from Hitler's bunker
14to Heydrich the explicit order that Jews were", and this
15is in the author's italics, "not to be liquidated". The
16next day Himmler telephoned SS overall General Oswald
17Pohl, overall chief of the concentration camp system with
18the order: "Jews are to stay where they are". That is
19what Mr Irving wrote.
20     In the introduction to that edition of the book
21at page 14, anticipating what the reader would find in the
22text, Mr Irving wrote this:
23     "The incontrovertible evidence is that Hitler
24ordered on November 30th 1941 that there was to be "no
25liquidation" of the Jews (without much difficulty I", that
26is Mr Irving "found in Himmler's private files his own

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 1handwriting note on this)".
 2     Thus the reader was led to believe, first, that
 3as early as 30th November 1941 Hitler had issued an order,
 4faithfully passed on by Himmler to the relevant
 5authorities, that there was to be no liquidation of any
 6Jews, and that all Jews were to stay wherever they happen
 7to be; and second that there was incontrovertible evidence
 8of this in handwritten notes by Himmler which Mr Irving
 9had found in Himmler's private files. Mr Irving had
10evidently read Himmler's notes, and Mr Irving's German was
11then, as it is now, very good. So what did the notes
12actually say?
13     The relevant part of the note for 30th November
141941 reads as follows:
15     "Judentranport aus Berlin. Keine Liquidierung".
16That is the German entry by Himmler. The unambiguous
17meaning of those words in English is: "Jew transport" the
18word is singular, "Jew transport from Berlin no
20     Thus so far from being a general prohibition
21against the liquidation of the Jews, it was merely an
22order from Himmler to Heydrich that the particular train
23load of Berlin Jews in question was not to be killed on
24arrival in Riga.
25     The matter gets worse. What was the evidence
26that Himmler's order to Heydrich was derived from

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 1instructions given to him by Hitler at a secret conference
 2at which the fait of Berlin's Jews was clearly raised?
 3The answer is none. This was pure invention by
 4Mr Irving. Indeed, the fact is, as Mr Irving later
 5discovered, that Himmler did not meet Hitler until an hour
 6after he telephoned this order to Heydrich.
 7     Thus the matter gets worse still. I repeat
 8Mr Irving's words:
 9     "And the next day Himmler telephoned SS General
10Oswald Pohl, overall chief of the concentration camp
11system, with the order 'Jews are to stay where they are'."
12     What does Himmler's note of his telephone call
13to General Pohl on 1st November 1941 actually say? It
14says this:
15     "Verwaltungsfuhrer des SS haben zu bleiben".
16      Does this mean, as Mr Irving told his English
17readers, Jews are to stay where they are? No, it does
18not. It means administratively leaders of the SS are to
19stay where they are. Nor is there in this day's entry in
20the Himmler log any reference to the Jews whatsoever.
21I repeat, Mr Irving had, as he proudly announced, read the
22Himmler log and he has very good German.
23     One asks the question: Does not this single
24example condemn Mr Irving as a liar, whose utterances
25about this awful episode in European history can never be
26taken seriously? In fairness it should be pointed out

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 1that in the 1991 edition of Hitler's War Mr Irving
 2corrected, though by implication only, the assertion that
 3Himmler's order to Heydrich of 30th November 1941 "no
 4liquidation" applied to Jews generally, and accepted that
 5it applied only to a single trailer of Jews from Berlin.
 6But did he withdraw his imaginative assertion that
 7Himmler's instruction to Heydrich was derived from an
 8order given to him by Hitler, or that Himmler's log for
 91st December 1941 read, "Jews are to stay where they
10are"? No he did not. He wrote on page 427:
11     "On November 30th 1941 Himmler was summoned to
12the Wolf's lair for a secret conference with Hitler at
13which the fate of a train load of Berlin Jews was clearly
14raised. At 1.30 p.m. Himmler was obliged to telephone
15from Hitler's bunker to Heydrich the explicit order that
16these Jews were not to be liquidated, and the next day
17Himmler telephoned SS General Oswald Pohl, overall chief
18of the concentration camp system, with the order, 'Jews
19are to stay where they are'."
20     Thus was repeated and preserved a monstrous
21distortion of the evidence in Mr Irving's own hands. It
22is true that he printed a facsimile of Himmler's log for
2330th November 1941 in both editions of the book, but he
24never printed the entry for 1st December 1941,
25"administrative leaders of the SS are to stay where they
26are." One wonders rhetorically why not?

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 1      So, my Lord, I pass on to Mr Irving and
 2Holocaust denial. Between the publication of the first
 3edition of Hitler's War in 1977 and its second edition in
 41991, Mr Irving's views about the Holocaust underwent a
 5sea change. In the 1977 edition he accepted it as an
 6historical truth in all its essentials, systematic mass
 7murder of Jews in purpose built extermination factories,
 8but in the 1991 edition all trace of the Holocaust in this
 9sense has disappeared. Auschwitz, for example, has been
10transformed from a monstrous killing machine into a mere
11slave labour camp.
12     What are the reasons for this astounding
13volte-face? The principal reason can be expressed in one
14word Leuchter. In 1988 a man of German origin, Ernst
15Zundel, was put on trial in Canada for publishing material
16which, amongst other things, denied the existence of
17homicidal gas chambers at Auschwitz. In defence of this
18charge Mr Zundel's lawyers recruited a man called Fred
19Leuchter who seems to have made his living as some kind of
20consultant in the design of execution facilities in the
21USA. Mr Leuchter was duly despatched to Auschwitz to seek
22evidence of the use, or otherwise, of homicidal gas
23chambers. He took some samples from various parts of the
24remains of Auschwitz which he later had analysed in
25America and then wrote a report describing his findings
26and summarizing his conclusions. These were that there

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