Irving v. Lipstadt

Transcripts

Holocaust Denial on Trial, Trial Transcripts, Day 32: Electronic Edition

Pages 11 - 15 of 222

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    That was what Heydrich stayed at 1.20 a.m. on
 110th November 1938.
 2     Then, on page 277 of his book, after a colourful
 3account of Hitler's supposedly furious intervention,
 4Mr Irving writes this: "At 2.56 am Rudolf Hess's staff
 5also began cabling, telephoning, and radioing instructions
 6to gauleiters and police authorities around the nation to
 7halt the madness", and I emphasise those words.
 8     The source given by Mr Irving for this is a
 9report made by the Nazi Party Court about the pogrom in
10February 1939. It records this order from Hess's office,
11made on Hitler's authority. This shows that, in truth,
12all that the order forbade was the continuing of arson
13attacks on Jewish shops. Synagogues, houses, apartments,
14cemeteries, and, in particular, Jewish people were left to
15the mercy of the continuing violence.
16     As your Lordship knows, there was an aftermath
17of Reichskristallnacht. Mr Irving describes one aspect on
18page 281 of Goebbels in these terms:
19     "Hess ... ordered the Gestapo and the party
20courts to delve into the origins of the night of violence
21and turn the culprits over to the public prosecutors".
22     Thus Mr Irving gives the impression that those
23who had perpetrated the violence were to be brought to
24justice and properly punished.
25     Nothing could be further from the truth. As the
26contemporary documents, and in particular the Party Court

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 1report of February 1939, which Mr Irving himself used as a
 2principal source for his account of Reichskristallnacht,
 3reveal:
 4     First, the Ministry of Justice ruled, on 10th
 5November 1938, that those who had "merely" caused damage
 6to Jewish shops, synagogues and the like should not be
 7prosecuted at all.
 8     Second, other more serious offences, such as
 9looting, rape, assault, murder and the destruction of
10Jewish homes for selfish motives were to be referred to
11the Party Court, which would first decide whether any of
12the offenders should be referred to the ordinary criminal
13courts or acquitted by order of the Fuhrer.
14     Third, in the event, as was no doubt intended,
15the proceedings of the Party Court were a farce. Of 16
16cases dealt with in the report of February 1939, 14 were
17disposed of with little more than a rap on the knuckles
18for the culprits, including 13 cases of murder involving
19the deaths of 21 Jews. The two cases which were referred
20to the criminal courts were sexual offences against Jewish
21women - not because of their gravity, however, but because
22the offenders had been guilty of "racial defilement"
23(Rassenschande)!
24     Finally, the reason the Party Court gave for its
25leniency in the other 14 cases was that the criminals were
26in fact "only carrying out the unclearly expressed but

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 1properly recognized will of the leadership" - that is,
 2Hitler.
 3     Mr Irving knows all of this, but suppresses it
 4entirely in his book.
 5     The second striking example, amongst many, of
 6Mr Irving's shocking falsification of history relates to
 71943.
 8     By the beginning of 1943, many of Europe's Jews
 9had already been murdered. Hungarian Jews, however, of
10whom there were perhaps 600 to 700,000, had, so far,
11escaped the destruction. The reason was that the ruler of
12Hungary, Admiral Horthy, although Hitler's ally, had
13steadfastly refused to deliver up Hungary's Jews. There
14was much agitation about this in Berlin. Eventually, on
1516th and 17th April 1943, Hitler and his Foreign Minister,
16Ribbentrop, summoned Admiral Horthy to Klessheim, near
17Salzburg, in order to put pressure on him to surrender the
18Hungarian Jews into Nazi hands. The notes of the meetings
19were taken by a man called Paul Schmidt and are agreed by
20Mr Irving, who used them for his own accounts of these
21meetings, to be very reliable.
22     According to Schmidt's notes at the first
23meeting on 16th April, Horthy protested at the Nazi
24leader's demands. "But they" (the Jews) "can hardly be
25murdered or otherwise eliminated", he said. Hitler's
26response was palliative: "There is no need for that", he

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 1said, and added that they could be sent to remote work
 2camps or down the mines."
 3     The next day, 17th April 1943, Hitler's and
 4Ribbentrop's demands became a good deal cruder. Horthy
 5again protested that he "surely couldn't beat the Jews to
 6death". Ribbentrop replied that they "must either be
 7annihilated or taken to concentration camps. There is no
 8other way". Hitler then followed up with this:
 9     "Where the Jews are were left to themselves, as
10for example in Poland, gruesome poverty and degeneracy had
11ruled. There were just pure parasites. One had
12fundamentally cleared up this state of affairs in Poland.
13If the Jews there didn't want to work, they were shot. If
14they couldn't work, they had to perish. They had to be
15treated like tuberculosis bacilli, from which a healthy
16body could be infected. That was not cruel", said Hitler,
17"if one remembered that even innocent natural creatures
18like hares and deer had to be killed so that no harm was
19caused. Why should one spare the beasts who wanted to
20bring us Bolshevism once more? Nations who did not rid
21themselves of Jews perished".
22     Mr Irving's account of this exchange in his 1977
23edition of "Hitler's War" (at page 509) is extraordinary.
24First, as an invented pretext for Hitler's remarks, he
25introduces the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, which did not in
26fact begin until two days later. Then, immediately

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 1following Hitler's brutal assertion of the need to kill
 2the Jewish "beasts", Mr Irving adds this:
 3     "Horthy apologetically noted that he had done
 4all he decently could against the Jews: 'But they can
 5hardly be murdered or otherwise eliminated', he
 6protested. Hitler reassured him: 'There is no need for
 7that'. But just as in Slovakia, they ought to be isolated
 8in remote camps where they could no longer affect the
 9healthy body of the public; or they could be put to work
10in the mines, for example. He himself did not mind being
11temporarily excoriated for his Jewish policies, if they
12brought him tranquillity. Horthy left unconvinced."
13     As, my Lord, will immediately be apparent, this
14was a quite brazen piece of manipulation: as Mr Irving
15knew perfectly well, because he was familiar with
16Schmidt's notes, this exchange had, in fact, occurred on
17the previous day (16th April), not 17th. It is apparent,
18therefore, that Mr Irving quite deliberately transferred
19it to 17th April in order to mitigate the chilling impact
20of Hitler's stark observation about the need to kill the
21Jewish "beasts".
22     The account given in the 1991 edition of
23"Hitler's War" (at pages 541 to 542) is no better. True,
24the spurious reference to the Warsaw uprising has been
25removed. But so, too, has Hitler's repellant analogy
26between the need to kill animals which cause damage and

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