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

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(v) The real TB 47.

1. In 1977 TB 47, which had long been strongly suspected as a forgery, was conclusively proven to be so, and a last stone in the mosaic fell into place. A copy of the original document was discovered by Bergander. Bergander had found a reservist, Werner Ehlich, who reliably   reported that not only that he had had the original in his hands, but, as a then member of the Dresden police force, had also made one typed and one hand-written copy of it. The copy was still in Ehlich's possession It started 'In order to be able to counter wild rumours....', and proceeded to list all the details listed in the version of TB 47 used by Irving: with one crucial difference.
2. In this new, authentic Ehrlich copy the death figure was put at 20,204, the expected dead at 25,000, and the number cremated at 6,865. What had clearly happened was that someone had crudely doctored the document by simply adding an '0' to the end of each number it contained. What Irving had claimed as authentic documentary evidence was a crude forgery.178
3. In neither England or Germany had Irving made an effort to revise his book in light of the mounting documentation and had thus ignored new evidence that not merely contradicted, but invalidated his findings. It was not until 1977 in Germany that Irving finally described TB 47 as a Nazi fake, as Seydewitz had argued all along, although he still reprinted it as an appendix, and published the 'Final Report' as an appendix alongside it.179 And it was not until 1995 that Irving was at last willing to come clean with his English-language readers and make Seydewitz's explanation his own again, that TB 47 was in fact a product of the Propaganda Ministry's 'machinations'.180 Without expanding on the information given by Weidauer, Irving wrote imperiously to the Dresden City Museum:
We have recently re-published my work about the massive Allied attack on Dresden, which will be well known to you.... In this volume...I have revised the number of losses, and independently from the   research named by you, I come also to the conclusion that the so-called Tagesbefehl 47 is a forgery of the Ministry of Propaganda.181
4. How or on what grounds Irving's conclusions were arrived at 'independently' he did not make clear. In fact, of course, this was pure bluster, and there was nothing independent about his change of mind at all. The truth seems to be in fact that he felt unable to persist with his allegiance to TB 47 in the light of the overwhelming weight of evidence, dating back twenty years, indicating that it was a forgery.
5. Despite having been finally forced to disown TB 47 Irving has continually kept the legend of a higher death roll alive and sown the seeds of doubt amongst the unwary and the ill-informed. How has he been able to continue to maintain that the death roll in Dresden was anywhere between 60,000 and 150,000 despite such strong documentary evidence that the number was around 30,000?


178. Bergander, p. 261.
179. Heyne edn..1985 (and therefore 1977), p. 223.
180. Focal Point, edn., p. 239-240.
181. Doc. 1833, Irving to the Dresden City Museum, 10.3.97.
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accessed 12 March 2013