David Irving, Hitler and Holocaust Denial: Electronic Edition, by Richard J. Evans

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<< (G) Manipulation and Sup...

(H) Manipulation of statistics: the number of Jews killed in Riga

1. As has already been demonstrated in other briefings, Irving often manipulates numbers and statistics. He does so again in the case of the Jews killed in Riga. As we have seen, Irving claims that on 30 November 1941, one thousand Jews from Berlin and 'four thousand of Riga's unwanted Jews were...machine-gunned into two or three pits'. Irving's assertion here, which he states with absolute certainty, relies on a report of Einsatzgruppe A.69 However, subsequent reports by the Nazi killing squads and post-war legal investigations indicate that the real number of Jews exterminated was significantly higher. For instance, a report compiled by the Reich Security Main Office (RSHA) detailed that a total of 10,600 Jews were shot in Riga on 30 November 1941.70 After a detailed post-war investigation, the jury court in Hamburg accepted in 1973 that the real number was even higher: between 13,000 and 15,000 Jews were killed on 30 November 1941 in the massacre near Riga.71 Faced with this evidence, Irving offers a further argument in support of his significantly lower figure. Drawing on the testimony of Bruns, who had described that the victims were gunned down into three ditches (24 metres long, about 3 metres wide), Irving claims that each ditch 'would have held one or two thousand victims'.72 It is entirely unclear how Irving arrives at this bizarre   conclusion, for Bruns in his testimony makes no reference at all to the depth of the ditches.
2. Furthermore, Irving in his main narrative in Goebbels: Mastermind of the 'Third Reich', fails to enlighten his readers about a second massacre of the Riga Jews which took place on 8 December 1941. Only in his footnotes does he acknowledge that Einsatzgruppe A reported that in early December 1941 a total of 27,800 Jews were executed in Riga. However, Irving immediately casts doubt on these figures, claiming that they are 'possibly an exaggeration'.73 Yet, Irving's doubts are not confirmed by other sources. The court in Hamburg in 1973 established that 12,000-15,000 Jews were killed on 8 December 1941, bringing the total number of Jews murdered by the Nazis in Riga between 30 November 1941 and 8 December 1941 to 25,000-30,000.74 Using various methods of calculating the victims in Riga, the historian Andrew Ezergailis has also arrived at figures of certainly almost 25,000 Jews killed.75

Notes

69. Irving, Goebbels, p. 645, note 42, referring to ND NO-3257. See The Chief of the Security Police and Security Service, Operational Situation Report USSR No. 151, 5.1.1942; reprinted in Y. Arad, S. Krakowski, S. Spector (eds.), The Einsatzgruppenreports (New York, 1989), 268-269.
70. The Chief of the Security Police and Security Service, Operational Situation Report USSR No. 156, 16.1.1942; reprinted in Y. Arad, S. Krakowski, S. Spector (eds.), The Einsatzgruppenreports (New York, 1989), pp. 279-283.
71. IfZ, Gh 02.47/3, Urteil des Schwurgerichts Hamburg in der Strafsache gegen J. und andere, (50) 9/72, vom 23.2.1973.
72. Irving, Goebbels, p. 645, note 43.
73. Irving, Goebbels, p. 645, note 42.
74. IfZ, Gh 02.47/3, Urteil des Schwurgerichts Hamburg in der Strafsache gegen J. und andere, (50) 9/72, vom 23.2.1973.
75. A. Ezergailis, The Holocaust in Latvia 1941-1944 (Riga, 1996), p. 261.
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