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[The Van Pelt Report]: Electronic Edition, by Robert Jan van PeltTable of Contents
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XI Irving Adrift (1993 -1998)
As the dust generated by the aborted Leuchter lecture began to settle, Irving became again an object of media attention. In the month that preceded the Leuchter lecture debacle, Irving had visited Buenos Aires. A year later, he recalled what had happened then.The pages were transcripts of a series of taped interviews of Eichmann with the Belgian Nazi Willem Sassen, who had also chosen exile in Argentina over justice in his homeland. The Sassen interviews were well known: some pieces of it had been published as early as 1960, while a more substantial part had been edited for publication by the former Nuremberg defense attorney Rudolf Aschenauer and published in 1980 under the title Ich, Adolf Eichmann. A set of transcripts had come into the hands of a former Flemish Waffen-SS volunteer Hugo Byttebier, and he in turn had seen it as his duty to hand them to Irving.
Well when I was in Argentina in October, a man came up to me at the end of the meeting, who had written to me vaguely a couple of years before, mentioning papers that he thought I ought to see. And the next day he came back and he gave me two thick brown paper parcels which turned out to contain the writings of Adolf Eichmann when he was in custody, not in custody, when he was in hiding in Argentina in the 1950s.1010
When phoned in January 1992 by a journalist for a comment on Yehuda Bauer's assessment of the number of victims of Auschwitz, Irving mentioned that he was reading Eichmann's papers. Whatever Irving said, or whatever the journalist heard, is not exactly clear, but within a few days major newspapers carried the story that on the basis of the Eichmann papers Irving had recanted his negationist position. The Times had this to say about it.The facts Gilbert referred to were the generally accepted account of the Holocaust. Yet he could also have referred to Irving's "discovery" of Eichmann's account of his conversation with Heydrich. After all, it is to be found on page 177 in the 1980 edition of the papers edited by Dr Rudolf Aschenauer: "Around the end of 1941 or the beginning of 1942 Heydrich. The Chef of the SIPO [Security Police] and SD [Security Service], told me in conversation that the Führer had ordered the physical destruction of the Jewish opponent."1012 On the next page, Eichmann mentioned that Heydrich talked about "an order for physical destruction," and quoted once more the Führer order.And on page 229 one can find Eichmann's second thoughts about this conversation, when he determines that it was not Heydrich's idea to kill the Jews, but Hitler's.In other words, Irving's "discovery" was not so much the result of having unearthed new material, but of not having paid attention to a source easily available since 1980.
The most interesting part of the memoirs, Mr Irving said, were these chilling words from late 1941. "Heydrich [Eichmann's superior] said to me: 'I have come from the Reichsführer [Himmler]. Now the Führer has ordered the physical destruction of the Jews.'" Mr Irving said: "That shows that Eichmann believed there was an order from Hitler, though it still does not prove there was one.
Eichmann's family did not want Mr Irving to see the memoirs because Eichmann admits total guilt for sending Jews to their death. In the light of this Mr Irving said his view that Hitler did not give the order will be "open to reassessment." Mr. Irving says that the memoirs are "very disorganised." He is using them, however, to write a biography of Eichmann. "I see him as a desiccated bureaucrat. He was an efficient transport officer rather than a mass murderer."
Martin Gilbert, author of The Holocaust: the Jewish Tragedy, said yesterday: "For many years Mr Irving had denied these facts about the Holocaust and now makes a virtue of finding them."1011
When Heydrich told me, "I come from the Reichsführer; the Führer has henceforth given the order for the phsyical destruction of the Jews," were these words that were so far-raching in their consequences, that one could not even remotely measure their significance at the moment that they were spoken.1013
I remember exactly the moment that he told me "The Führer has ordered the physical destruction." I heard that word for the first time in my life, and therefore it stayed with me: I may have forgotten much, but this moment I will never forget. Neither [Gestapo Chef] Müller nor [RSHA Chef] Heydrich nor Eichmann nor anyone else of the RSHA were responsible for this, but the decision was made by the Führer and the Reichsführer.1014
Faurisson immediately realized that Irving had stirred a tempest in a teacup. On Sunday, January 12-the very day that the Sunday Telegraph ran the story of Irving's conversion--Faurisson faxed an angry note to Irving.Irving responded that same day, and faxed Faurisson the two newspaper articles, accompanied by a note in which he not only tried to control the damage in his relation with Faurisson, but also give the whole thing a positive spin.In his response, Faurisson stated that he considered "the whole matter as terrible," and challenged Irving to make his reservations public.
As it happens that I know a little bit about the Eichmann topic, perhaps would you be interested to have my position on "Eichmann and the Gas Chambers" (Höttl, Sassen, Aschenauer and, especially, Servatius). I wrote something about that in my interview of Storia illustrata and in my Response to a Paper Historian. Eichmann had never seen a "Gas Chamber", and, as everyone, had not the slightest idea how it could look like. But, being rather naive and gullible, he would have been ready to believe more or less what Poliakov and Co. had written on the topic. If you need some details, please, tell me.1015
The suggestion that I have E's diaries has unleashed a furore. I have made plain they are only E's "unexpurgated" memoirs and recollections, which were given to me in Buenos Aires. I have also stressed that E's version of what Heydrich said: "ich komme vom Reichsführer; der Führer hat die physische Vernichtung der Juden angeordnet", is interesting but only Hörensagen, not zulässig in even an Amtsgericht as evidence. It shows what Eichmann believed, not what was necessarily true. Also, I have stressed that despite his many visits to Auschwitz he never saw a gas chamber, and that he refutes what Höß, Wisliceny, Höttl said as lies. I agree: he swallowed a lot that he read in Reitlinger, Poliakov, etc. But it is useful publicity, because it brings the whole controversy out into the open. Today, ten newspapers, three television stations, BBC radio etc. How else can we "purchase" such publicity for our real arguments?!1016
Have you sent any fax to those newspapers to say what you are telling me in your fax about Eichmann "only [hearsay]", "not permitted even in a court as evidence", "never saw a gas chamber", "refutes what Höss, Wisliceny, Höttl said as lies", "swallowed [...]"?1017
It was clear that the Faurisson's original doubts about Irving's reliability as a hard-core negationist had once more surfaced. Also other Holocaust deniers feared that Irving had changed sides. Tom Marcellus of the Institute of Historical Review and Irving had a telephone conversation on January 16, and in a follow-up letter Irving tried to make light of the whole situation as "an object lesson in the worldwide, global, influence of certain media networks." And he added:One day later the Jewish Chronicle ran front-page article about the issue.
My position remains unchanged: that there were certain My-Lai-type atrocities by troops in Russia; that the gas chambers and factories of death are Hollywood legends; that there is no wartime evidence of a Hitler Order; that what Eichmann says in these papers is "hearsay."1018
Holocaust revisionist David Irving this week strongly denied press reports that he has "recanted."
In an exclusive interview, he reiterated his claim that Hitler knew nothing about the Holocaust, called the gas chambers "a legend": and predicted a new, more powerful Germany, and the destruction of Israel within 10 years.
At his Mayfair flat, surrounded by framed newspapers from Nazi Germany, Mr Irving sat at an antique desk playing with a small swastika flag. Behind him, a figurine proclaimed him to be "the World Greatest Dad."
The Jews are very foolish not to abandon the gas chamber theory while they still have time," he said. He predicted a new wave of anti-Semitism within 18 months, because the Jews "have exploited people with the gas chamber legend."
He also foresaw the rise of "a greater Germany, including Austria and Slovenia with an economic hegemony over Eastern Europe." He added: "In 10 years, Israel will have ceased to exist and the Jews will have to return to Europe."
Mr Irving said that he had not visited the sites of the death camps in Europe, describing himself as a "field marshal" who would tour the "battlefield" only once the final victory had been achieved.1019
Yet many deniers felt uncomfortable, and in the January 30 issue of his own newsletter Power Zündel felt obliged to address the issue as many of his supporters had approached him about it. He recalled the personal problems he had with Irving in the past, and expressed his considerable unease with the way Irving had accepted the Eichmann papers as genuine. He should have known better.A week or so later, the Institute of Historical Review also expressed its confidence in Irving, claiming that "Irving remains steadfastly Revisionist," and blaming the media for routinely misrepresenting history and sensationally distorting what "prominent Revisionist scholars have to say about the historical record."1021
Irving also knew that the uncritical and gullible press would print just about anything, as long as it supported their version of history. He was right. They ate it up! Suddenly, the "outcast," or "Nazi-historian" or "Parlour-Fascist" as he has been called by the media since he "switched sides" in 1988, became quickly, once again, the darling of the media establishment.
What ever motivated Irving to launch this particular "torpedo", I don't know. Maybe he was lonely? Maybe he had not seen his name in the papers for a while? Maybe he was temporarily swayed by some arguments contained in those 100 pages? I don't know!
I work with David Irving, because I like his mind and his courage. Sometimes his gruff manner, which can be intolerant of associates, as well as his icy manner, which makes him seem arrogant, infuriate me, like it does others.
As far as David Irving is concerned, I will "keep the faith" with him, as long as I feel he serves the cause of truth about my own people, even though he might err sometimes, or disappoint me or my friends in some detail. He has courage, good looks, charisma, an ability to think on his feet and to string words together coherently, like few other people I know.
I am asking you, you who have been so very loyal and supportive of me, for so long, to trust my instincts.1020
Things calmed down, and slowly confidence between Irving and the North-American deniers returned. By mid-summer Irving and Mark Weber of the Institute for Historical Review agreed that Irving would talk about the Eichmann papers at the Eleventh International Revisionist Conference, to be held that Fall in California. Irving promised a talk that would show the potential of the Eichmann document to support and damage the negationist cause.The question remained open, for the time being.
Basically: they contain good and bad; gripping accounts of mass shootings he witnessed; a savage attack on the reliability of the Höß memoirs; data on his dealings with the Zionists--which are presumably the reason the published Eichmann were quietly suppressed by the media; descriptions of inspections tours of Auschwitz which describe everything--but omit any reference to the gas chamber; so why does he casually refer to Jews being "gassed"...?1022
More doubt must have arise about the wisdom of his 1988 conversion when, in the summer of 1992, Irving discovered in the Public Record Office the interrogations of Kurt Aumeier. On June 4, 1992 Irving faxed a letter to Tom Marcellus and Mark Weber of the negationist Institute for Historical Review. Irving reported that "working in the Public Record Office yesterday I came across the 200pp handwritten memoirs, very similar in sequence, to the Gerstein Report versions, of an SS officer Aumeier who was virtually Höß's deputy."Irving, of course, tried to suggest that the inflation in the death toll and the increasing lurid descriptions were the result of some coaching by his interrogators. And, clutching to the flimsiest arguments in the face of the new evidence he had found that supported the very understanding of the historical role of Auschwitz he had been fighting since 1988, Irving added, "Brute force by interrogators, perhaps."1024
He was held in a most brutal British prison camp, the London Cage (the notorious Lt. Colonel A. Scotland). These mss. are going to be a problem for the revisionists, and they need analyzing now, in advance of our enemies, and answering. I attach my transcript of a few pp., and you'll se why. He becomes more lurid with each subsequent version: first no gassings, then 50, then 15,000 (total).1023
The discovery of the Aumeier material brought Irving in a very difficult position. While publication of it would once more desomnstrate his ability to find interesting new archival, publication would discredit him as an analytical historian. Faced with this dilemma, Irving decided to do nothing. Suppressing his discovery, he buried a reference to it in a footnote of his book on Nuremberg.1025
In 1992 Irving was not willing to break ranks with the other negationists, and he chose to attend the eleventh revisionist conference organized by the Institute of Historical Review. At that occasion, bygones were bygones. In the subsequent chronicle of the event, Faurisson, Butz and Irving were grouped together in a section entitled "The End of the Auschwitz Story." It claimed that these men dealt directly with the "historiographical demise of the Auschwitz gas chamber imposture, and referred to the effort now underway to transform a pretended historical fact into a vague, non-historical myth of religious veneration. Faurisson "delivered a kind of funeral oration over the prostrate cadaver of the Holocaust-as-history," and Butz not only reviewed his own misinterpretation of the word Vergasungskeller--offering countless other suggestions--but also explained to the participants why the whole Holocaust edifice stood or fell with the issue of the Auschwitz gas chambers. Finally "headline-making" David Irving talked in a speech entitled "The Worldwide Anti-Irving Lobby and the Eichmann Memoir" about the way his opponents made his life miserable, how he had found in Moscow parts of the Goebbels diary, and came clean on the Eichmann Affair that had caused him so much trouble earlier that year by offering what the IHR Newsletter defined as "a controversial assessment of its importance in understanding Germany's wartime Jewish policy."1026
The controversy was certainly not about Irving's attempt to put a negationist spin on whatever would bear it. He explained that whenever Eichmann uses the noun "Endlösung" (Final Solution) he refers to the plan to deport all the Jews to Madagascar, and Irving added that, as far he was concerned "that would have been an ideal solution. The Madagascar solution." It earned him a long applause. Furthermore Irving noted that Eichmann is obsessed with the question "who is behind it, and what is behind it?"
What was behind the Holocaust? And he keeps coming back to the appalling thought "Did they manage to use us? Did they use us? Did the Zionists use us Nazis, in order to further their own ends? Was the Holocaust something that they themselves inflicted on their own body in order to bring about their Zionist cause in the long run?" This was Eichmann's theory at the end, at the end of his life effectively, because a year or two later he was kidnapped, and a year after that he was at the end of a rope in Israel. "Did they manage to use us?" And he keeps on coming back to it, and every time he comes back to it, it becomes more and more plausible to him. And perhaps this is a reason why the Eichmann papers were not supposed to see the light of day.1027
After having conjured the spectre of the Elders of Zion as those who managed to make the Germans do their bidding by killing some Jews to realize the Zionist ideal, he suggested that, after the war was over, the leader of the World Jewish Congress, through an intermediary, had approached Eichmann to have him confirm that Eichmann had overseen the murder of six million Jews. The Zionists needed this in their negotiations for reparation payments. Irving also recounted how Eichmann thought that, compared to the allied bombings of the German cities, the German treatment of the Jews was nothing. "Compared to what they were planning to do with us this was nothing." Irving quickly admitted that one crime does not justify another crime, "[b]ut this is in the memoirs." And then he gave an interpretation of Eichmann's interpretation of Höss's confessions.So if Leuchter had argued that it would have been "impossible" to gas more than 105,688 and incinerate more than 85,092 people in the crematoria in Auschwitz, Irving (with the help of Eichmann) now added to this the argument that it would have been "impossible" to transport more than a undetermined low number of people to the camp--a suggestion Irving makes whilst he attacks the "straw-man" of 2.5 million deportees to Auschwitz.
And round about 1958 he then gets hold of the Adolf--of the Rudolf Höss memoirs. The so-called memoirs of Rudolf Höss that were published by the Institute of History in Munich in 1958. Rudolf Höss wrote these memoirs while he was in Krakow in Polish captivity. They have always been a problem, let us be frank about it. They have been a problem to Revisionists, the Rudolf Höss memoirs.1028 Eichmann's comments on the Rudolf Höss memoirs are annihilating. At the stage where Rudolf Höss is saying that 2.5 million Jews have been liquidated in Auschwitz, the camp at which he was Commandant, Rudolf Höss comments--Adolf Eichmann comments: "Where does Rudolf Höss believe that he got these 2.5 million Jews from? Not from me. Because to have liquidated 2.5 million decrepit, elderly, unworkable Jews, I must have had to feed to him three, four, five, six or seven million Jews in that space of time. And from the transport point of view alone, this would have been totally impossible." You see the memoirs of Eichmann are very useful in this respect. He was the transport specialist, whose job it was to round up the Jews of Hungary, Slovakia, and ship them off to Germany for forced labour and for dissipation to the other labour camps. And he knew that shipping off millions of Jews to Germany was not something you do with a snap of your fingers. You had to have meetings and conferences with the railway officials, and the road officials, and with the guards, and the electricity, and everybody else who was going to be involved in all this. You had to provide the food for the transports that were going to be on the roads on the rails for four, or five, or six days. All this had to be prepared and planned with typical German bureaucracy and method and this took meetings and conferences. And Eichmann said if you are going to ship five or six million Jews across Europe at that time to Auschwitz--"Let me tell you how many trains that would have taken." And he worked out how many trains it would have taken because he knew. And he said, "But wait a minute, you are not only going to have trains going that way full of Jews, you are going to have to have empty trains coming back, and you are going to have to have a circulation time, a time where they are unloading at one end, a time where they are loading at another end. You are going to need so many millions of wagons of rolling stock." And he worked out exactly how much rolling stock would have been needed in his memoirs and he said: "This alone proves that Rudolf Höss is talking through his hat. These figures are totally fantastic and what the hell is Höss up to writing this kind of garbage?"1029
The question which must be raised at this point is if Irving provided a reliable account of Eichmann's comment on Höss's testimony. Having checked the published version of Eichmann's memoirs, published in 1980 by Rudolf Aschenauer, I was able to find Eichmann's reaction to Höss's one-time statement that 2.5 million Jews had been brought to Auschwitz. In Aschenauer's edition of the Eichmann memoirs, the passage is as follows:In a different context in the same memoirs, Eichmann did discuss the train-schedules when he challenged the common assumption that over 430,000 Jews had been deported to Auschwitz during the Hungarian Action.I must assume that Irving took these two parts of Eichmann's memoirs--one dealing with Eichmann's refusal to accept the 2.5 million figure and another made in order to lower the number of deported Hungarian Jews to Auschwitz from 430,000 to 300,000--cobbling them together into a completely fictive account to prove that "Höss is talking through his hat." It seems that, at least for Irving, anything goes to solve the "problem" of Höss's confessions!1032
Like the testimony of Hauptsturmführer Wisliceny, also Höss's Nuremberg testimony, that he killed 2.5 million Jews in Auschwitz, seems to have been made under pressure. I knew Höss as a decent comrade, a good family man, decorated in the First World War with the Iron Cross, a man who, because of his national socialist belief, served many years in prison before the Machstübernahme.
Höss told me once that the Reichsführer had inspected the whole process of destruction and that he had said that "the coming generations will not need to fight these battles"--a statement that inspired him to fulfil his difficult duty.
The number of 2.5 million Jews liquidated in Auschwitz I always considered to be beyond belief, because the camp did not have such a capacity. Besides which I have never brought so many Jews to Auschwitz. It is true that I was not the only one who deported [Jews to Auschwitz], but also other authorities like the Sipo (Security Police), but even when we add all up, 2.5 million could not have gone to Auschwitz and certainly not could not have been destroyed. After 1945 the so-called "Auschwitzer" emerged like mushrooms after the rain, and still today hundreds of thousands enjoy a good health, just because they were put to work.1030
It is completely impossible that between earliest the middle of May 1944 and July 8, the day that enemy sources call the date that the last railway transport left Hungary, that is in 50 days, it wold have been possible to transport 434,000 people (according to the same sources). This would imply that every day, including Saturday and Sunday, 10,000 and more people would have been transported. In addition to that the majority survived.
There was a rule that between 25 and 30 men accompanied every deportation train. I only had 250 men available. If the numbers from enemy sources would be right, I should have had a thousand men at my disposal. This is bloody nonsense! Even the commander of the Order Police in Hungary would have been delighted, if he had had a thousand men at his disposal for such a task. Also it would have been necessary to have many trains in reserve. Because while the first people went on their way, one would have been forced to load the next one. It took two days to go from Hungary to Auschwitz; so two days going and two days returning. I had to struggle constantly to get trains at all, especially in the for the war very important days of the early summer of 1944, when the invasion and the Soviet offensive made it impossible to obtain such a number of trains, even if one calculates that each train would have gone on its way with a maximum of 3,000 people. It is therefore nonsensical what post-war literature had written about the Hungarian evacuation numbers.1031
Irving also mentioned that Eichmann recalled that he visited Auschwitz several times--a point in his lecture where Irving began to conjure up the worst nightmares of Holocaust deniers in order to put them to rest again, with a less than convincing logic and without any attempt to review important corroborating evidence, such as Eichmann's account of his trip to Auschwitz given in Israel.1033Obviously it will be superfluous to note the manner in which Irving applies his unique hermenautical method to inconvenient evidence. Of course, everyone knows that changing one or two words in a sentence often produces a completely different meaning. Everyone knows, too, that it is the duty of a historian to interpret evidence as it is given, and only when there is no way that one could come a reasonable explanation of the words a they are transmitted, speculate about a possible change that occurred in the transmission. The meaning of the sentence, "The Führer has given the order for the phsyical destruction of the Jews" is straightforward, and is confirmed by the context. But that does not convince Irving.Of course, there is absolutely no evidence at all that Heydrich "actually" said anything different from what Eichmann reports. As I have noted above, Eichmann gave in at least three different places in his memoirs a virtually identical version of the content of Heydrich's message: "the Führer had ordered the physical destruction of the Jewish opponent;"1037 "the Führer has henceforth given the order for the physical destruction of the Jews;"1038 "[t]he Führer has ordered the physical destruction."1039 Given the fact that Irving has absolutely no evidence to support his point, and given the point that Eichmann seems to insist on the interpretation Irving so stubbornly rejects, there is at least in my mind no doubt that Irving violates the most basic rule of historical scholarship. It is clear that, whatever his claims to the contrary, he is not a historian.
And he describes several grisly scenes. He describes going past an open pit where bodies were being burned. And he says it was an infernal sight the likes of which he would never forget. He describes how the commandant Höss tells him they are doing these things on Himmler's orders and that it is a sacred task that has been imposed on the SS. He describes many things. But what he does not once mention during this vivid description of the visit to Auschwitz is gas chambers. He does not mention gas chambers.1034 He just mentions the disposal of bodies in open pits by fire, and the comments to him by the commandant, Rudolf Höss. I find that a very significant omission, because Eichmann, let us face it, when you read these papers, he is not exactly being modest about what he has seen. He describes how, in July 1941, if we piece together the actual month and the date, he describes how he is summoned to Berlin, he is summoned to Berlin to visit Reinhard Heydrich, the chief of the Reichssicherheitshauptamt. And Heydrich utters to him the fatal words, "Ich komme von Reichsführer SS"--"I come from the Reichsführer of the SS, Heinrich Himmler." "Der Führer hat den Befehl zur physischen Vernichtung der Juden gegeben"--"The Führer has given the order for the physical destruction of the Jews." And that of course, in quotation marks in the manuscript, is what gave me pause for thought. I have always said that Hitler was not involved,whatever happened. Hitler gave the orders; there is no proof of it. In fact here we have Eichmann writing something very specific. Indeed what is the explanation?
Well if I can digress here and look just at that sentence and say, you have only got to change one or two words and you get a completely different meaning. If it was not "the Führer has ordered the "physische Vernichtung," the physical destruction of the Jews, but the "Ausrottung des Judentums." You have only changed the words by a fraction and yet you have got a totally different meaning and you get something that is much more familiar to those who are familiar with Adolf Hitler's public utterances and speeches. "Ausrottung des Judentums," the destruction of Judaism, is something totally different. You do not do that by gas chambers and the machine gun, anymore than destroying Christianity or destroying usury would be done by the gas chamber and the bullet. It is a different concept. So why should Eichmann have written this and not that?1035
So why should Eichmann have written this, and not that?
Well by 1958 he is well aware that since Höss's memoirs have been published and Eichmann is mentioned on 20 or 30 pages of Rudolf Höss's memoirs, the hue and cry is up. They are out looking for him. He knows that his days may be numbered. And although I am sure that, given his German, decent, bureaucratic mind he is not doing this consciously, the mind has a wonderful synthetic and analytical function. And the mind has a habit of suppressing, and distorting, and embellishing, in a manner in which the owner of that mind would wish. And I am sure that Adolf Eichmann's mind is already lying awake at night, feverishly looking for extenuating circumstances. And what more extenuating circumstances would there be for an Adolf Eichmann than that the Führer has ordered the physical destruction of the Jews. So his mind may well have adapted the sentence that Rudolf Höss, that Reinhard Heydrich actually uttered to him.1036
Perhaps he realized this himself, because as quickly as he had conjured his alterbative interpretation, he went on to say that nothing what Eichmann would have said matters, that all evidence is really irrelevant.The one possible explanation that the Führer order was never committed to paper, and that it was perfectly possible to design a usable gas chamber without writing the word "Gaskammer" or, for that matter, "Vergasungskeller" in the blueprints of the crematoria was, of course, not admissible to Irving.
It is immaterial one way or the other, because we must never overlook one fact. This is a post-war document. And there is no overlooking the basic fact that any historian can now confirm, that nowhere in all the archives of the world has yet been found one wartime document referring to a Führer's order to destroy the Jews, or for that matter one wartime document referring to gas chambers, or gassings. All the documents that refer to Führer's orders and gas chambers are post-war documents. Statements by the people in the dock at Nuremberg, memoirs by commandants at Auschwitz, at Krakow in Poland, and the like. And you can not overlook this basic watershed between wartime and post-war, when you come to look for the documents. If there is no wartime document that says there was a Führer order, no wartime document talks of gas chambers, then there has to be some explanation for that.1040
At his introduction of Irving, Mark Weber had told the audience that "he has also promised to let us in on some of the new ways he has found to make liberal flesh creep." It is obvious that Irving could neither resist to make negationist flesh creep by mentioning that the Eichmann papers contain a vivid description of a shooting in Minsk which he saw from so close proximity that blood splashed on his coat.Many must have thought that, perhaps after all, the doubts that had been raised in January had not been without justification.
I do not know why he wrote it in his memoirs. It is in the conversations. It is an ugly piece of circumstantial evidence, what a writer calls verisimilitude, it lends credibility and authenticity to the description. It did not surprise me. He also describes, and I have to say this being an honest historian, going to another location a few weeks later and being driven around in a bus and then being told by the bus driver to look through a peep hole into the back of the bus, where he saw a number of prisoners being gassed by the exhaust fumes. So I accept that this kind of experiment was made on a very limited scale, but that it was rapidly abandoned as a totally inefficient way of killing people. What I do not accept is that the gas chambers existed and this is well known.1041
Following the conference, Irving was to make his annual Canadian lecture tour. The Canadian government had told him that he was not welcome, but Zündel (who had not been allowed into the United States to attend the Eleventh IHR Conference) had told Irving that while he was going to be arrested, it was worth it for the publicity.1042 In fact things worked out as predicted: Irving got arrested, and was thrown out of Canada with much publicity. But the indignity of deportation was more than Irving had expected. The long simmering tensions between Irving and Zündel blew up into a nasty row. Both men felt that they had done everything to accommodate the other, without getting much in return. Zündel sent Irving long letters itemizing all the expenses he had incurred on behalf of the historian, and Irving responded in kind. As far as he was concerned, his life had been perfect until he met Zündel, "on that historic day in October 1987."Yet the two men who had condemned each other continued in to remain each other's company. In the course of 1993, amicable relations were to be restored.
I had few enemies, my publishing basis was intact, my books were reviewed with respect tinged with admiration more usually than with malice. It is fortunate that I met you in private, because I at once realized that you had been grossly maligned by the media moguls, and that--like Hitler--your public persona was very different from the true persona. Accordingly, in April 1988 I unhesitatingly agreed to aid your defence as a witness in Toronto. I would not make the same mistake again. As a penalty for having defended you then, and for having continued to aid you since, my life has come under a gradually mounting attack: I find myself the worldwide victim of mass demonstrations, violence, vituperation, and persecution....1043
While Irving seemed to regret his 1988 "conversion," he was not yet ready to make any attempt to undertake the necessary action to reclaim some of his credibility as a historian and appease the people he had enraged. And the negationists did not want to let Irving go. The first issue of the newly formatted The Journal of Historical Review, which was published in January 1993, showed Irving on the cover. In Mark Weber's introduction to the new journal, one read that "[i]n recent years, no historian has provoked greater controversy, or has stimulated more people into reassessing stereotypical notions about contemporary history, than David Irving."
The best-selling British historian is also a good friend of the Institute who has delighted attendees at four IHR Conferences.
We are accordingly pleased to begin this premiere issue of the "new" Journal with an essay summarizing Irving's remarkable career and impact. The British historian himself then provides a fascinating and humurous report on the increasingly desperate and sometimes criminal international campaign to silence him and to suppress openness in history.1044
Irving proved himself worthy of the honour, and throughout 1993 he did not disappoint his friends as the Institute of Historical Review, and continued to preach the negationist gospel. When in March 1993 Mark Weber invited him for a revisionist news conference to be held on April 22 concurrent with the dedication of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Irving responded enthusiastically. "I am clearly interested, and you can state that 'David Irving has been invited.'" Yet all was to depend on the availability of a fee for his attendance. In return, Irving predicted that "my presence might break the conference into the real news media, given the worldwide attack on my International Campaign for Real History."1045 In the end Weber and Irving agreed on expenses, a fee of $1,000, and a free notice in The Journal of Historical Review appealing for financial contributions to Irving's "Legal Fighting Fund."1046 Sharing the stage with Robert Faurisson and Mar Weber, Irving performed as requested in the event entitled "Saying NO to the US Holocaust Museum."
In a lecture entitled "The Search for Truth in History Banned," Irving complained that the "traditional enemy" were using Nazi methods against him. As to the history of Auschwitz, he now claimed that probably 100,000 Jews had died in Auschwitz--"but not from gas chambers. They died from epidemics."Irving broke new ground in his interpretation of history when he dealt with the question why so many Germans believe, nay even witnessed, that Jews were being exterminated.As to the "real" fate of the Jews, Irving reached back to the theme that they had all been killed by allied bombs whilst being evacuated.
Even if we say that of those 100,000 people who died a fraction were murdered, hanged, or shot. Suppose we say a quarter were murdered. 25,000 people murdered in Auschwitz in the three years, if we take that generous figure, then I would say that 25,000 people murdered in Auschwitz in three years is still half the number of people that we murdered in Hamburg, burning them alive in one night in 1943. We are looking at crime and crime. They are both crimes. One crime gets all the publicity. One crime is the only one that is referred to in the media today and the other crime you put up a statue to commemorate the man who carried it out. There is something wrong about that.1047
There is hardly a German who has not been listening clandestinely to the BBC who has not heard talk about the gas chambers. And they begin mentioning it in rumors to each other. From one washerwoman to the next the rumor goes around Germany, until finally they have actually seen about it and their son is working in a unit and he has heard about it too. And that is how the legend gains credibility from the German side too.1048
Many concentration camps, as the Russians approached, were evacuated and set out on the long cold march through the European winter of December 44, January 1945 to the West. The concentration camp inmates arrived in Berlin or in Leipzig or in Dresden just in time for the RAF bombers to set fire to those cities. In Dresden a million-and-a-half people camping out in the streets on the night of February 13, 1945. Nobody knows who they were. Refugees, concentration camp prisoners, citizens of Dresden itself. After the bombers retired, 45 minutes later another wave came, and at then at noon on February 14 the American air force joined in. Over 130,000 people died in that particular air raid The same kind of raids took place on Leipzig, Berlin, Cottbus: refugee centers up and down the center of Germany. Nobody knows how many Jews died in those air raids, nobody knows how many Jews died on the roads of hunger or starvation or just sheer cold. Nobody knows how many Jews then survived World War II in the Displaced Persons Camps. And this is one of the most interesting aspects. It is possible to research it, I suppose, but to my knowledge none of the Holocaust historians have done so. The National Archives in Washington houses a report this thick of the Office of Strategic Services, the American secret service, in which are investigated the activities of the Hagana, the Jewish, Zionist underground organization, in those very Displaced Persons Camps in the first months after World War II. The Hagana went from DP camp to camp scouring them for all the Jews they could find who were still living in these camps, these wretched people, loading them onto trucks and shipping them then with United Nations funds and resources all the way across Europe, through the Middle East to Palestine. So Mr. Goldman, who is found in a camp somewhere in Bavaria, is put aboard a truck with his family, and shipped across the Middle East to Palestine where he is given a new life and a new identity. An Israeli identity with a Hebrew name. Mr. Goldman has vanished and the Hebrew gentleman in the Middle East then starts drawing compensation because Mr. Goldman has vanished. This is the irony, which a lot of the Germans are now beginning to worry about.1049
Irving did not only add new themes to his lecture offerings. He also looked for new publishing initiatives. Years earlier he had announced that he was to write a book on Auschwitz--his final one--but this project had never materialized. But in 1992 a book entitled Air Photo Evidence had appeared in Canada which formed, together with the Leuchter Report, the book-ends of revisionist obsession with the gas chambers. If Leuchter had tried to prove through the chemical analysis of some wall samples that no gassings had taken place, John C. Ball from Delta, British Columbia thought he could do the same through the study of air photos of Auschwitz and Birkenau taken by allied planes on April 4, May 31, June 26, August 25, September 13, 1944. Ball's reasoning was simple: "Nothing is hidden from air photos. Looking at the air photos will be just as if we went back in time to World War II to take a series of airplane flights over the different areas." His alleged aim was equally simple. "My objective was to analyze World War II German controlled detention camps in Poland for evidence to confirm the claims that mass murders, burials, and cremations had been conducted there"1050--a statement that, given the contents of the book, reminds one of Leuchter's often-repeated assertion that he went to Auschwitz to prove that the gas chambers had been efficient killing mass installations. Of course, like Leuchter, Ball came to the opposite conclusion. "[T]here is no evidence mass murders and cremations occurred at or near the Birkenau crematoriums, which were visible from both inside and outside the camp, or the Auschwitz I or Majdanek detention camps."1051 In fact, as a 16-page insert that accompanied the Ball book declared, the situation was quite opposite to what all witnesses had said: "Auschwitz inmates enjoyed a wide range of healthy activities."1052
Unlike the Leuchter Report, Ball's book, published by the author, had not much of an impact. Yet both Zündel and Irving believed that it had potential. It was exceedingly well illustrated with many seemingly informative air photos from the National Archives in Washington. The problem was the text, which was in fact nothing more than a series of captions to the photos. In 1993 Zündel bought the German rights for the book, but at the same time Irving found a right-wing German publisher who would distribute the book under Irving's "Focal Point" imprint. The deal was that Irving would write a foreword as he had done for the Leuchter Report and, as he explained to Zündel, make the book understandable.Therefore he suggested that he would edit the captions, "so that the reader is in no doubt at all what Ball is getting at on each page."
The problem with John Ball's book is, as others than I have also said, that the caption texts are too opaque. They needed a good editor to ask Ball questions, which he would then answer. Nobody looking at the book can fail to be impressed by the quality of the job and the layout; but everybody I know has put it down scratching his head and asking, "What was Ball getting at?"1053
Zündel predicted that Ball would not agree. "He is very proud of his work and not willing to merely be the supplier of the pictures,"1054 and therefore suggested that Irving would write a very long foreword, which would become in some way a replacement for the missing text. But a few days later Zündel informed Irving that Ball was not excited about the prospect of surrendering control to Irving, and beyond that there was of course the issue of Zündel's reward if he was to transfer the rights to Irving. In the end, it seems that the whole project collapsed. Ball was not to be another Leuchter, and Air Photo Evidence was not to be another Leuchter Report. As a publisher of path- breaking negationist pamphlets, Irving began to loose his touch.
Irving increasingly began to reap the bitter harvest of the carelessly phrased seeds sown in the years before. He always had taken pride in his prophetic gifts, and in 1991 he had announced that the Holocaust Hoax would have only another two years of life. But in 1994 he had to admit that his prophecy had not been realized, and that "our worldwide Traditional Enemy has pulled every dirty trick he can--short of doing a Tonya Harding to every single revisionist writer--to breathe a few more years of life into the rotting corpse of his profitable legend."1055 And then, of course, there was the publication of Deborah Lipstadt's Denying the Holocaust, which is the subject matter of this litigation.
Yet he was still welcome at the annual conference of the Institute of Historical Review. At the twelfth conference, held in September 1994, Irving discussed his forthcoming biography of Goebbels, concentrating on Goebbels involvement with the "Final Solution." A few months later he published an adapted version of his talk. In it he stated that "I've gone through the diary with a special interest in the Jewish issue, and particularly the 'final solution.'"Eighteen years after having absolved Hitler from all responsibility for what might have happened to the Jews, Irving presented Dr. Goebbels as his scapegoat, with Albert Speer as his sidekick (both men cooperated in pressing for the deportation of Jews from Berlin in the summer of 1941). There is no need to review Irving's reasonings as to why Goebbels had such a central role. It will suffice to state that by making Goebbels the central character in whatever happened to the Jews, Irving was able to ignore the whole machinery of destruction embodied by the death camps with their gas chambers and, in the case of Auschwitz and Maidanek, crematoria.
There's no question that whatever tragedy befell the Jews in Germany during the Third Reich, Dr. Goebbels himself was the prime moving force behind it. He wasn't just the person who created the atmosphere of hatred, he was also the one who pulled the levers and started the trains in motion. What happened at the other end is still a matter of debate, and this issue is one of the moving causes of revisionism at this moment.1056
Instead of considering Goebbels antisemitism as described by Irving, let us look at Irving's assessment of how it shaped the fate of the Jews. Irving described at one moment in the lecture the massacre of German Jews in Riga in order to introduce his theory, introduced in his Hitler's War, that Hitler explicitly forbid the killing of Jews, and then continued with his creed:One wonders why those eyewitness accounts may be trusted, and those that described the gassings not....
Here I want to mention something that I'm very adamant about. Although we revisionists say that gas chambers didn't exist, and that the "factories of death" didn't exist, there is no doubt in my mind that on the Eastern front large numbers of Jews were massacred by criminals with guns--SS men, Ukrainians, Lithuanians, whatever--to get rid of them. They were to line up next to pits or ditches, and then shot. The eyewitness accounts I've seen of this are genuine and reliable.1057
Whatever may be the case, Irving ended his talk with a consideration of one of the most damning pieces of evidence about the Holocaust in Goebbels' diaries: the entry of March 27, 1942.It is unclear to me why Goebbels' diary entry should not be taken literally, given massive corroborating evidence. He mentions not merely that deportation will probably result in many people dying, but that deportation is the pre-amble for the liquidation of those who can not work.Goebbels may have thought this, or not, but what is clear is that Goebbels referred in his diary entry to a systematic policy which has commenced in areas far from those targeted by the RAF, and there is absolutely no evidence at all to interpret the deportations from Poland "eastward" as a response to the air raids.
On March 27, 1942, Goebbels dictates a lengthy passage about another SS document that had been submitted to him, and which appears to have been much uglier in its content. "Beginning with Lublin," he states, "the Jews are now being deported eastward from the General Government (occupied Poland). The procedure is pretty barbaric and one that beggars description, and there's not much left of the Jews. Broadly speaking one can say that 60 percent of them will have to be liquidated, while only 40 percent can be put to work."
It's a very ugly passage, and it's easy to link this diary passage with everything we've sen in the movies and on television since then. He's describing "Schindler's List" here--or is he? I don't know. All he's actually saying here is that the Jews are having a pretty rigorous time. They're being deported, it's happening in a systematic way, and not many of them are going to survive it.1058
The conclusion I draw therefore is that, between them, Speer and Goebbels started a ruthless campaign in 1941 to drive out and deport the Jews from Berlin--Goebbels for political reasons, and out of sheer visceral hatred of the Jews, and Speer for the mundane reasons of real estate and ambition. They didn't really care what happened to the Jews.
Even so, we must put all this in the context of the brutal war being fought on the Eastern front at the time, in which neither side was giving the other any quarter. By this time (March 1942) we British had just begun bombing German towns on a ruthless scale. The devastating aerial bombardment of Lübeck, for example, came just two days after this diary entry. It's not difficult to imagine Dr. Goebbels' attitude: "So what if Jews are being machine-gunned into pits? They had it coming to them. They declared war on us, and this is no time for sympathy and sentiment." That's the way he may well have looked at it.1059
Before I will conclude my discussion of Irving's essay, I would like to make the following observation. While a historian has the responsibility to state clearly "I don't know..." when the evidence does not allow him to establish the facts, he also has the responsibility, when engaged in a historical investigation, to say clearly "This is so..." when the evidence clearly converges towards a (admittedly always provisional) conclusion about the facts. If , for whatever reason, the historian refuses to establish a historical fact when there is sufficient evidence to do so, and when he refuses to propose an (admittedly always provisional) interpretation of this fact in the context of other facts, he ceases to be a historian. In politics and poker, ambiguity has its use and justification. In history, it has not.
This brings us to the historian's obligation to provide, in the words of the Australian historian C. Behan McCullagh, a fair representation of the past. McCullagh introduced the useful distinction between "true descriptions" of a fact and "fair representations" through a simple example:Fair descriptions of a historical fact must therefore include the predominant feature(s) of that fact. If major features are ignored then a description ceases to be balanced and fair, and becomes misleading. It also ceased to be fair, when the description cease to operate at the same level of generality and with the same degree of detail. For example, in the case of the German attempt to come to a "Final Solution of the Jewish Question," whatever an important leader like Goebbels writes in his diary on March 27, 1942 probably belongs to the same level of generalization as evidence about a meeting of bureaucrats in a villa in Wannsee two months earlier, or the transformation in Birkenau of a peasant cottage into a gas chamber in mid March, or the negotiations held in Bratislava between German and Slovak officials about the deportation of Jews. But the fact that a piece of a press report is marked "secret" or that half of a report marked "secret" was torn off, or the possible thoughts of a stenographer about the sentences he jotted down belong to a different degree of generalization--one that may possibly provide an illustration of the appropriate generalization of one's attempt to reconstruct the facts concerning the German attempt to come to the "Final Solution," but which cannot provide a substitute for those generalizations.
If I say that my dog has an ear, an eye, a leg and a tail, that statement would be literally true. It has got all of those things. But the statement does not give a fair description of my dog, which has two ears, two eyes, four legs and one tail. As a description of the dog it may be literally true, but it is also misleading for anyone who reads it as providing a fair description of the dog. Normally people do intend their descriptive statements about the world to provide fair descriptions of it, though occasionally that is not their intent.1060
Let us return to the end of Irving's lecture. We left him with his speculation what Goebbels might have thought about the historical justice of deporting the Jews when Germany's cities were about to be bombed.Nothing Irving described in these last paragraphs is patently untrue, but as a whole, it does not add up to a fair description of the facts under consideration.
By this time, ugly rumors were already circulating abroad, fuelled by British propaganda. The London Daily Telegraph quoted Polish claims that seven thousand of Warsaw's Jews were being killed each day, often in what it called "Gas chambers." One of Goebbels' worried civil servants responded by telaxing a request for information to Hans Frank's press office in Krakow and to the propaganda field office in Warsaw. The reassuring reply spoke of the Jews being used to construct defences and roads. Be that as it may, in Goebbels' files the original press report, which had merely summarized the British newspaper item, was rubberstamped Geheime Reichssache "Secret Reich Matter."
How much did Goebbels know? Among his surviving files are papers suggesting a broad general knowledge of atrocities. One is from a large collection of original Goebbels' papers on file at the Jewish Yivo institute in New York.
Reporting to Goebbels on November 11, 1942, his legal expert, Dr. Hans Schmidt-Leonhardt, whom he had sent to inspect conditions in Hans Frank's Polish dominions, noted that the Warsaw police had deemed it too dangerous to visit the ghetto there; in the Krakow ghetto he had found all the Jews put to work; in Lublin the ghetto had already been cleared away, and there were now bloody disturbances. "As a Geheime Reichssache," reported the legal specialist, "Frank related to us the following characteristic recent instance:..." But whatever this was we cannot know, because a shocked member of Goebbels' staff cut off the rest of the page.
This is something that you have to look for, this "top secret" endorsement. By contrast, the Auschwitz documents found in the Moscow archives by French researcher Jean-Claude Pressac have no "secret" classification whatsoever. But this document, with its missing half page, tells me that Goebbels knew damn well that something ugly was probably happening on the Eastern front, and that he didn't want members of his staff asking awkward questions, so he had part of the page torn off and locked away in his safe.
I sometimes wonder what his stenographer, Richard Otte, must have thought about the man whose words he transcribed day by day for this diary.
So there are the facts about Dr. Goebbels and the "final solution." If we're looking for a culprit, if we're looking for a criminal behind the "final solution" or the "Holocaust," whatever it was, for the man who started it in motion, then it was undoubtedly Dr. Goebbels first and foremost. Not Julius Streicher, nor Adolf Hitler, nor any of the other Nazis. Goebbels was the moving force, and the brain behind it in every sense of the word. We still don't know if he knew what exactly happened at the other end, but then this isn't surprising, because we ourselves don't know either.1061
January 1995 brought the 50th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. In order to mark the occasion, the French magazine L'Express carried a section with articles about the camp. One of these, written by the journalist and historian Eric Conan, concerned the problems of historic preservation, restoration, and presentation.1062 Conan's article provided a solid account of problems the conservator Witold Smerk faced in controlling the decay of the remaining barracks, which had been erected as temporary structures more than 50 years earlier, and the degradation of the hair, shoes, and other exhibits in barracks not equipped with any climate control.1063 And then there was the great problem the museum authorities faced in removing from the presentation the overly communist interpretation of the murders that had taken place at the site--one that had inflated the number of victims, while simultaneously suppressing the Jewish identity of the vast majority of the those killed. Conan quoted a senior advisor to the museum and the Ministry of Culture who said that there was now a unanimous resolve "to make an end to the nationalist-communist discourse at the place, and find for the genocide of the Jews a central place in the memory of Auschwitz." In the five years since the fall of communism much had been achieved. "The biggest blunders have been rectified but the main discussions are never-ending and far from being settled. I may even say that the essential debates, distressing, and sometimes unexpected, are only beginning."1064
Conan described the ongoing discussions of the museum with people from all over the world of how to improve the presentation, including a short description of a conference that I attended in 1993. And then he turned to two "delicate" subjects: the issue of the hair, which many Jews would like to see removed from the exhibition and buried, and the problem of ill-considered restorations done shortly after the war.
In the 1950s and 1960s, various buildings that had either disappeared or had changed function were reconstructed with great errors, to be presented as authentic. Certain of those, too "new" have been closed to the public. And we do not have to mention the delousing gas chambers sometimes as homicidal gas chambers. These abberations have served the negationists well, who have drawn raw material from this for their fabrications. The example of crematorium 1, the only one in Auschwitz 1, illustrates the problem. The first gas chamber was installed in its morgue. It was in operation for some time, in the beginning of 1942. The gassings necessitated the isolation of the zone where it was taking place, and this disturbed the operation of the camp. Therefore it was decided, at the end of April 1942, to move the homicidal gassings to Birkenau, where they were undertaken on an almost industrial scale, with most of its victims being Jews. Crematorium 1 was then transformed into an air-raid shelter, with an operation room. In 1948, when the Museum was created, crematorium 1 was reconstructed in what one supposed to be its original state. Everything there is wrong: the dimensions of the gas chamber, the locations of the doors, the openings for pouring in Zyklon B, the ovens that were rebuilt according to the recollections of some survivors, the height of the chimney. At the end of the 70s, Robert Faurisson exploited those falsifications all the better because at that time the Museum officials refused to admit them. An American revisionist has just shot a video in the gas chamber (still presented as authentic): one may see him questioning the visitors with his "revelations" Jean-Claude Pressac, one of the first to reconstruct the exact history of this gas chamber and its modifications during and after the war, proposes to restore it to its state in 1942, using the German blueprints which he found in the Soviet archives. Others, like Théo Klein, prefer to leave it in its present state, explaining to the public the misrepresentation. "History is what it is: this is all that needs to be said, even when it is not simple, it is better than replace one artifice with another." Krystyna Oleksy, who works in the director's office that is housed in the old SS hospital directly opposite the crematorium, does not want to resolve it. "For the time being we are going to leave it in the present state, and not give any specifics to the visitors. It is too complicated. We will see later on."1065
Conan's observations about the problems of the restoration, conservation and presentation of crematorium 1 were perfectly justified. Yet the second part of the paragraph, which talked about the misrepresentations without the context that clearly established the historic functions and its attendant changes that had occurred in 1942 and 1943, would prove excellent raw material for the Holocaust deniers. Indeed: they immediately hailed Conan's article as a breakthrough.1066 Faurisson told anyone willing to hear that he had been right all along. "[A]lready in 1976 I demonstrated the falsehood of this entire story by questioning Museum official Jan Machalek, and by finding in the Auschwitz Museum files original plans clearly showing that, in fact, the alleged 'gas chamber' was, between October 7, 1941, and August 31, 1943, a room with a single entrance where dead bodies awaiting cremation were stored" And he challenged the museum officials to rebuild the room as it was during the war, which meant that they would have to close the back-entrance adjacent to the place where Höss was executed in 1947. This, Faurisson argued, would provide a problem as the museum officials would not be able anymore to explain how the victims had entered the gas chamber. "I do not think the officials would dare contend that the victims entered by way of the door of the ovens room." Of course, there would have been no need for that: as a plan preserved in the Osobyi archive clearly indicates, there were two doors that gave access to the gas chamber: one from the incineration room, and one from a small ante-room that was directly connected to the vestibule. The victims did not have to go along the ovens to reach the gas chambers.1067
Irving celebrated Conan's article in the May 1995 issue of his Action Report.Remaining silent about Conan's discussion of the war-time history of crematorium 1, Irving defined the "admission by L'Express that 'everything is fake' about the Auschwitz gas chamber" may be defined as "the fourth great triumph for the world-wide revisionist movement"--the other three were the admissions that "there were never homicidal gas chambers in Dachau," that "the soap story was a propaganda lie," and that not four million, but only between one and 1.5 million people had been murdered in Auschwitz. "Now the Auschwitz gas chamber legend is finally crumbling too. Just as the leading revisionists promised that it would."1069
L'Express: "Tout y est faux"--Everything About It Is Fake
Paris--Braving the risk of prosecution under France's draconic new Fabius-Gayssot Law, the mass circulation national weekly magazine L 'Express has admitted that the gas chamber shown to tourists at Auschwitz is a fake--built by the Polish Communists three years after the War.
This was the claim which British writer David Irving made in Munich in April 1990: a remark for which the German government fined him DM 30,000 ($22,000) and banned him from Germany in 1993.1068
As Irving had indicated in the beginning of his article, the issue had practical importance for him because a German court had fined him three years earlier him first DM 10,000 and later DM 30,000 for stating that the gas chambers shown in Auschwitz were fakes. Ignoring the fact that he had made a statement about all the gas chambers, and that Conan's article only concerned the gas chamber in crematorium 1--those of crematoria 2, 3, 4, and 5 were never reconstructed--Irving felt that the time had come to call for a revision of the case.
It is now essential for this revisionist triumph to be consolidated. David Irving has already written personal letters to the president and Federal Chancellor of Germany, as well as to the two judges who sentenced him after refusing to hear any evidence presented in his defence drawing, their attention to the L'Express article.
Action Report has launched a world-wide campaign to tell German diplomatic officials and journalists about the article and its findings. Our readers are mailing thousands of postcards and letters drawing attention to the sensational admissions by L'Express.1070
German officials did not seem to have been impressed. Probably they re-read the statements Irving had made in 1990, and the revisionist distortion of Conan's argument, and realized that Irving had no case.
It is possible that, despite his call to "consolidate this revisionist triumph," Irving also had doubts. Less than two months after he had published his article about the "breakthrough" Irving seemed to begin a retreat from the extremely offensive position he had adopted in 1988. When interviewed in July on Ron Casey's morning radio show in Australia, Irving was prepared to admit that there had been a Holocaust of the Jews through his remark that if Churchill had "taken a different turning in 1940 that the world would have been spared a lot of suffering and would also, incidentally, have been spared what is now called the Holocaust." When Casey pointed out to Irving that he had admitted the Holocaust, Irving tried first some evasive action. "I don't like talking about The Holocaust as though there was only one Holocaust, it's just that I get a bit unhappy about the fact that the Jewish community have tried to make a monopoly of their own suffering." Casey did not give up.Thus, by the middle of 1995, Irving seemed to abandon the extreme negationist position he had taken in the Tenth International Revisionist Conference, and in fact seemed to suggest that four million Jews had been killed in concentration camps, a number that actually exceeds Raul Hilberg's estimate that up to three million Jews had been killed in the camps.1072 (Of course, the great difference between the two assessments was that Hilberg's was based on careful study of the evidence, and Irving's was just another wild guess.) The only point where Irving's new position still related to the one he had adopted in Toronto in 1988 was the fact that he credited the causes of death to be "barbarity and typhus and epidemics," carefully avoiding mentioning the gas chambers.
Casey: "What is your estimate of the number of Jews who died at the hands of Hitler's regime in the war years? What number--and I don't like using this word--what number would you concede were killed in concentration camps?"
Irving: "I think, like any scientist, I'd have to give you a range of figures and I'd have to say a minimum of one million, which is a monstrous crime, and a maximum of about four million, depending on what you mean by killed. If putting people into a concentration camp where they die of barbarity and typhus and epidemics is killing then I would say the four million figure because, undoubtedly, huge numbers did die in the camps in the conditions that were very evident at the end of the war."
Casey: "I'm finding this interview more and more surprising as we go along, Mr. Irving."
Irving's remarks generated much anxiety in negationist circles, especially after it had been picked up by the anti-fascist monthly Searchlight, and published in their September issue. In response, Faurisson wrote Irving on September 29, 1995.And, without probably realizing the irony, Faurisson added plaintively the sentence "If it is not true, did you send them a denial?"
May I also take the opportunity of this fax to ask you whether it is true or not that, on July 27, on an Australian radio show you said to Ron Casey: "If putting people into a concentration camp where they die of barbarity and typhus and epidemics is killing, then I would say the four million [Jews] figure because, undoubtedly, huge numbers did die in the camps in the conditions that were very evident at the end of the war"? This I found in Searchlight, "The International Anti-Fascist Monthly" (September 1995, p. 2). The front page has your photograph and the words "David Irving's Holocaust Admission".1073
Irving did not respond--claiming later that he had not received the letter. He only engaged Faurisson's complaint when the latter published his letter in the newsletter of the negationist Adelaide Institute. In response, Irving wrote a letter to Faurisson in which suggested the possibility that the interview had been edited "to fake what I actually said," and repeated that while the number of victims could have been as high as four million, the causes of death would have been "air raids, forced marches, starvation, disease, epidemics, old age." And, to fully answer Faurisson's concern, Irving quoted his own diary record of the interview:Faurisson was not impressed. He waited for three days, and then responded curtly:
July 27, 1995 (Thursday)
00:25 a.m. 2GB interview (Ron Casey) with me; straightened him out that I am not a "denier", but challenge figures and facts. He was very reasonable, sounded amazed that I am not a "denier" as claimed. What a blessing live interviews are. He asked if I would undertake to debate with leading Jews on television about the Holocaust when I come; I said, "you have my word for it." (But not to bank on the other side accepting).1074
According to your November 28 letter, it appears that Searchlight said the truth when they reported your "admission" that the figure of Jews who might have died during WW II was about 4 million. They did not "edit" and they did not "fake" that.
Such an admission or statement is a very serious one. May I ask you what is your evidence for saying that perhaps 4 million Jews died in WW II? Why not 5,100,000 as Hilberg says? Or any other figure?
Quite another question. You insist on the fact that you are not a "denier". It happens that I, for one, always insist on the fact that revisionists are not "deniers" since Galileo Galilei did not deny anything but affirmed, after researches, that the sun was not revolving around the earth; the same for us: we affirm that there was no German policy of exterminating the Jews, especially with execution gas chambers. But I am afraid that what you mean by not being a "denier" is that Faurisson and Co. are "deniers" whereas you are definitely not a "denier". Am I wrong?1075
He was not. Irving had begun to shift ground to a new position which offered a more ambiguous and at times even apparent equivocatory stance on the issue of the death camps. Instead of the blatant depreciatory declarations of the early 1990s he now preferred to address the issue by the more cunning and in a fundamental sense disingenuous means of innuendo and insinuation, whilst at the same time putting some distance between himself and Faurisson. The gas chamber issue, which Irving had so enthusiastically embraced in 1988, had proved a hot potato. Unbendable as ever, Faurisson was very disappointed, and was prepared to share his feelings with the world. On July 7, 1996, he sent a letter to the Adelaide Institute, which published it as their lead-article in August. The gist of Faurisson's argument was simple: Irving was a spineless opportunist.Faurisson's comments did not cause a total break. The two men remained in correspondence, and on January 29, 1997, Irving sent Faurisson a letter wishing him a happy New Year, assuring Faurisson that "you have few greater admirers of your courage than me,", describing the action against Penguin and Lipstadt, and his continued enjoyment in the revisionist battle.The letter accompanied a personal gift.For the record, page 246 concludes the chapter on "The Final Solution." It follows the description of Höss's execution in April 1947.Irving failed to reveal his source for this remarkable allegation. Like so many of his statements, it can only be taken seriously when he will be able to provide evidence for the existence of the letter. Until now, he has not done so. Whatever may be the case, Faurisson did not seem very impressed with either the book, or the "political dynamite" contained in page 246. He politely thanked Irving for the book, but he never commented on its content--which then remains my own task.
Irving is good at historical research in the matter of World War II, but, like thousands of other historians, he had not even suspected the essential: the "Holocaust" which--like it or not0-has become the central feature of that war, was nothing but a hoax! (Let's say, in passing, that I agree with Arthur R. Butz that the proper word here is not "lie" or "myth" but "hoax".) The big problem for Irving is that most of his work on the Third Reich rests on the theory that there was a "Holocaust" (defined as the planned extermination of the Jews especially with execution gas chambers), but Hitler ignored it!
In 1983-4, I warned Irving that this resembled too much the story of the "half-pregnant woman". I developed my arguments in a long article entitled "A Challenge to David Irving", most of which appeared in The Journal of Historical Review (Winter 1984, pp.289-305). Unfortunately, Willis Carto, without warning me, had cut some parts of my text because he wanted to "spare D. Irving". After my protest, he published "Dr. Faurisson's Comments" (Spring 1985, p. 8 and...122) but the sorry fact is that my article was still partly cut. Perhaps with the total text, Irving would have better understood my warnings.
In April 1988, benefiting from the enormous work I had done for years and under the worst circumstances for my family and myself, and benefiting also from the fact I had won F. Leuchter to both E. Zündel's and my revisionist views, I saw Irving suddenly jump, as I said, onto the revisionist band-wagon in Toronto. He declared the Leuchter Report to be "shattering". His face was shining with optimism. The next day, on the witness stand in that city's Zündel trial, he began to have serious difficulties in answering the prosecutor's questions for whom it was child's play to quote what Irving himself had written in his books about the so-called planned extermination of the Jews which he had believed up to that time. We needed Irving and his prestige then. I, for one, did my best to support him against the criticism of several revisionists.
In March 1991, at the Leuchter Congress in Munich, I felt that something was wrong with Irving. He was afraid of being arrested. I remember telling him that we should calmly consider it "as normal" to be sent to jail, to be seriously wounded, to lose all of our status or money, and even, to be killed. I also told him, "You should know that a real revisionist must be ready for one lot of bad news each day, and one humiliation each week." He did not say a word.
Some time later, in Los Angeles, seeing that he was more and more worried, and especially about money and publicity matters, I repeated, "You should know ..." And explained to him why it could not be otherwise and, consequently, why we had to stick to our guns and appear as remaining steadfast in adversity. He kept silent. I could also add something about my stay at his house in London, and about the conference he organised for Leuchter and me (Leuchter, together with his wife, was arrested and sent back to Boston), but this will wait for another day.
In recent years I have watched Irving become more and more upset, and trying to distance himself from the revisionists. He began by saying strange things about German atrocities, about Eichmann, about Goebbels, about the different figures of Jewish deaths--now he has opted for four million, but, as I see it, in Peter Ellingsen's article, it could have been "some 3 million"! We are, in this way, getting back to the "half pregnant woman"!
Nearly every man or woman, especially when he/she is getting to their 60s, knows or has known personal dramas. That, tragically, is Irving's case. The question is how to resist. I have no answer. But when it comes to problems involving other people, I wonder if the solution is not simply to be clear. Clarity is what people expect from us.
Thanks to the efforts of real revisionists in propagating true, total and clear revisionism, especially through the Internet, I believe that perhaps some governments (but probably not the German or the Austrian ones) will realize that to forbid revisionism or revisionists in their country no longer makes sense. I hope the day will come soon enough for Irving so that he will again be permitted to access archives in those countries and to make anew a good living from his books. If he stops changing and shifting, if he decides to repeat clearly what he first said about the "shattering" Leuchter Report and the "sinking battleship, Auschwitz", without desperately trying to regain the favour of the "Establishment", he will be respected and feared by everybody, including his worst enemies: It is the best tactic.1076
Apart from the occasional sniping from you, Robert, the fight is very rewarding, in the spiritual sense: an intellectual crusade against powerful, wealthy, and evil forces trying to crush Real History.1077
I am happy to enclose my latest book on Nuremberg--I would very much have liked to use a colour photograph of Höss, but it appears that you are holding these close to your chest!--but you may be particularly interested in page 246; I am not all that bad!1078
Höss had attempted to smuggle out of Nuremberg prison a letter to his wife in which he apologised to her and his family for "confessing" to the atrocities in Auschwitz; he claimed that he had been tortured into making spurious admissions. Seized by prison officers and never delivered, the letter is still in private hands in the United States; the owner offered it in 1996 to Ben Swearingen, one of the country's foremost autograph experts. He refused to touch it, fearing that it was "political dynamite."1079
As we have seen, Zündel had been one Irving's supporters when he had decided to write a definitive revisionist account of the Nuremberg Trials. Zündel believed that , in discrediting the allied judges and prosecutors and the proceedings, the book would also discredit the evidence presented, levelling so to speak the playing field between "revisionists" and "exterminationists." Irving's Nuremberg: The Last Battle (1996) became indeed a highly partisan description of the trial. Remarkably enough, Irving went further than Zündel had originally suggested: he did not limit himself to the task of discrediting the trial as such, but even went as far to include a whole chapter on the way the alleged Holocaust of the Jews figured in the proceedings.
This chapter is one of the most remarkable examples of an academic smokescreen I have ever encountered. From the very outset, Irving tried to sow doubt and generate confusion, manipulating the evidence to the point of falsification. Ignoring a whole literature on the subject of the systematic and planned Nazi extermination of Jews, gypsies, and others, Irving flatly stated that "[t]he whole of the Nazi drive to liquidate their enemies had proceeded in such a ramshackle, haphazard, and disorganized manner that it is difficult even now to state with certainty precisely what happened and what did not."1080 It may be true that there is still work to be done, but the Holocaust is probably one of the most researched aspects of modern history, and the level of scholarship has been, in general, excellent.
Throughout the chapter, which claims to present an account of the way the Holocaust figured in the Nuremberg proceedings, Irving is engaged in misconstruction and misrepresentation. At no point does his account meet McCullagh's standard of fairness. Twisting his sources, remaining silent about important testimonies given at Nuremberg, and unwilling to maintain one level of generality and one degree of detail, his only interest seems to have been produce an extremely biased, partisan vindication of the accused. Like a lawyer for the defendants before the International Military Tribunal, Irving sees it as his major task not to create a fair representation of the trial, but to apply the old technique of "poisoning the wells" by discrediting the witnesses who testified about the death camps.
In fact, he had already begun this task earlier on, when he wrote about the preparations for the trial.The suggestion is clear: no eye-witness testimony about the Holocaust could be trusted.
Naturally there were many among the prosecution team who continued, or wanted, to believe the more far-fetched atrocity legends. One American lawyer on Kempner's team wrote home at this time from Nuremberg: "Imagine making dentists pull out all the gold dental work from the teeth of victims before they were killed and while still conscious! We have pictures of a soap factory where they hit victims, mostly Poles, with a blunt instrument, and the heads are cut off and boiled in one vat and the bodies in other vats. Three hundred heads were found in one vat at the time of discovery." All of this was fiction.
So was much else that was sworn at Nuremberg. The Polish member of the United Nations War Crimes Commission had sworn an affidavit that human beings had been killed by steam in the Treblinka and Belzec extermination camps. Three members of Jackson's own staff had provided a sworn affidavit testifying to the existence of lethal gas chambers at Dachau concentration camp--James B. Donovan, Lieutenant-Colonel Calvin A. Behle, of the judge-advocate general's department, and Lieutenant Hugh Daly, of the 32nd U.S. Rainbow Division. The Czech prisoner Dr. Franz Blaha had sworn to the same chamber's existence. (The German government has long since certified that no lethal gas chamber was ever operated at Dachau.1081
Indeed, throughout his description of the evidence of the Holocaust presented in Nuremberg, Irving chose to ignore the (for the defendants) embarrassing bulk of each witness' testimony. Irving chose to mention only the pieces of evidence which, for some reason or another, provides him with an occasion to sow doubt and confusion. His first victim was Dr. Wilhelm Höttl, who had worked in the Gestapo, and who had had in his home in Budapest in 1944 a conversation with Eichmann. As it had become clear that the Germans were going to lose the war, and Eichmann had told Höttl that he was doomed as he had been instrumental in the killing of millions of Jews. When Höttl had asked him if he could provide a more precise figure, Eichmann responded that Himmler had earlier asked him the same, and that he had drawn up a report for him. Eichmann had determined that four million had died in the camps, while another two million had been killed by the Einsatzgruppen and other mobile units. Irving dismissed Höttl's testimony. "It is necessary to see Höttl's testimony in the light of his attempt to secure an early release from American confinement. In this he was remarkably successful, despite his background in the murkier and more murderous reaches of the S.S, operations in the Balkans."1082 Irving concluded with the statement that Höttl was successful in getting released, and felt no need to offer any other comment. The suggestion that remains is, of course, that Höttl said whatever he said in order to please his captors.
Irving did not mention that, fifteen years later, on June 21, 1961, and a free man, Höttl repeated his account of that meeting with Eichmann under oath. Examined as a witness for the Eichmann trial in the Court of Instance at Bad Aussee, Austria, Höttl made the following statement:If, as Irving suggests, Höttl lied under oath in Nuremberg in order to obtain a release from captivity, why would he have lied again, in 1961, when he could have changed his story without any penalty whatsoever?
I was alone in the room with Eichmann and, as far as I know, there was no one from my or Eichmann's staff around. The conversation on which I testified in 1945 before the Nuremberg Tribunal developed as follows, as I remember it: Eichmann stood up and said farewell with the following words: "We shall probably never see each other again," or something similar. Then apparently he felt obliged to explain his pessimistic attitude and indicated that he was convinced that, with the German defeat, which was now to be expected, he stood no chance any more. When I asked him why he thought this, Eichmann said that, in view of his role in the programme to exterminate the Jews, he was considered by the Allies to be a top war criminal. When he made this comment, I immediately grasped the opportunity to say that I always wanted to hear reliable information about the extermination programme, and particularly about the number of Jews exterminated. To my surprise Eichmann responded to that, and said something along the following lines (in 1945, when I testified before the Nuremberg court, I obviously remembered the details more clearly than today, seventeen years later. I therefore apologize for any minor deviations):
He said that the number of murdered Jews was a very great Reich secret, but with the situation in which he, Eichmann, found himself today, he still could tell me something about it, particularly since I was a historian. Eichmann then told me that, according to his information, some 6,000,000 (six million) Jews had perished until then--4,000,000 (four million) in extermination camps and the remaining 2,000,000 (two million) through shooting by the Operation Units and other causes, such as disease, etc.
I presumably reacted in a very shocked fashion to this figure, because Eichmann immediately commented that Himmler believed that the figure of six million Jews killed could not be correct, and that the overall figure must be higher.
I do not remember Eichmann making any form of personal statement or excuse. Eichmann also did not say that he felt himself guilty of the deaths of these six million Jews; as I have said, he simply answered my question as to how many Jews had actually been exterminated.1083
Perhaps more importantly, Irving suppressed the fact that, during his interrogations by the Israeli Police Captain Avner Less, Eichmann did admit to having given an estimate that five million Jews had been killed. Less had asked Eichmann about the way he had kept track of the number of Jews deported, and he had answered that he did not."After the report had been completed, Himmler had asked Eichmann to keep him posted with the progress of the Final Solution on a monthly basis. Eichmann was only to send information about the number of Jews killed. Eichmann speculated that Himmler probably thought that the monthly reports had become too long.Less proceeded with reading Höttl's full statement, and while Eichmann had problems with some parts of it, he admitted, in the end that "I must have told him the contents of the statistician's report. I must have told him that. I think the comprehensive report ended with a total of five million. That's what I seem to remember."1086 Irving chose not to mention the fact that Eichmann confirmed the substance of Höttl's affidavit.
Less: "What figure did he arrive at?"
Eichmann: "He covered the whole extermination process in the East. It came roughly--taking account of emigration, and including the figure of natural diminution, as he called it--to 4.5 or 5 million. That figure stuck in my memory.
Thus--the report concluded--thus the Jewish problem in Europe was to all intents and purposes solved."1084
Less: "Then your reports had previously contained more?"
Eichmann: "Yes, they covered the whole situation, all the difficulties encountered in the various countries. An overall, how should I put it?--comprehensive work report, naturally in appropriate, hmm...Appropriate telegraphic style. But about how many were killed I had no figures. When the statistician was with me, a week or maybe two, in my office, day after day, making his inquiries, he sent telegrams et cetera all over the place...So I believe ... The following may be possible...Yes, now, it's plain to me, why the letter says "for purposes of camouflage." Most likely I supplied the statistician with the figures shipped, but not the figures killed."
Less: "Since when had you known Dr. Wilhelm Höttl?"
Eichmann: "I met Höttl in Berlin, I don't remember the circumstances, I believe he, too, was with the SD."
Less: "Was he with the SD the whole time? Was he in Hungary, too?"
Eichmann: "I can't say at the present moment whether Höttl was in Hungary. But if he was, I must have spoken with him there."
Less: "Did you tell Höttl that you supervised and organized the deportation of the Jews in Hungary to the death camps?"
Eichmann: "Supervise and organize--I would never have told Höttl anything like that."
Less: "What would you have told him?"
Eichmann: "I'd have told Höttl the truth, because at that time--I think--Höttl had long been a department head in Section VI of Reich Security Headquarters. He knew as much about the business as I did. Section VI was an intelligence outfit. So naturally they knew all about the activities of their--well, of their own organization."
Less: "Did you tell Höttl how many Jews had been exterminated?"
Irving also misrepresented the testimony of one of Eichmann's aides, Dieter Wisliceny. In his long testimony, given on January 3, 1946 Wisliceny provided substantial and detailed evidence about the deportation of the Slovak, Greek and Hungarian Jews to Auschwitz. I will give here some samples of Wisliceny's examination by deputy prosecutor Lieutenant Colonel Smith W. Brookhart.After some further questions about the transports, Brookhart asked Wisliceny about the fate of the Saloniki Jews.Earlier on in his testimony, Wisliceny had testified that Eichmann had shown him a letter signed by Himmler which stated that "The Führer had ordered the final solution of the Jewish question." Brookhart had questioned Wisliceny as to the meaning of the term "final solution."Wisliceny also testified that he had participated in the deportation of some 450,000 Jews from Hungary.
Lt. Col. Brookhart: "Altogether, how many Jews were collected and deported from Greece?"
Wisliceny: "There were over 50,000 Jews. I believe that about 54,000 were evacuated from Saloniki and Macedonia."
Q.: "What is the basis for your figure?"
A.: "I myself read a comprehensive report from Brunner to Eichmann on completion of the evacuation. Brunner left Saloniki at the end of May 1943. I personally was not in Saloniki from the beginning of April until the end of May, so that the action was carried out by Brunner alone."
Q.: "How many transports were used for shipping Jews from Saloniki?"
A.: "From 20 to 25 transport trains."
Q.: "And how many were shipped in each train?"
A.: "There were at least 2,000, and in many cases 2,500."1087
Q,: "What was the destination of these transports of Jews from Greece?"
A.: "In every case Auschwitz."
Q.: "And what was the ultimate disposition of the Jews sent to Auschwitz from Greece?"
A.: "They were without exception destined for the so-called final solution."1088
Q.: "Was any question asked by you as to the meaning of the words "final solution" as used in the order?"
A.: "Eichmann went on to explain to me what was meant by this. He said that the planned biological annihilation of the Jewish race in the Eastern territories was disguised by the concept and wording 'final solution.' In later discussions on this subject the same words 'final solution' appeared over and over again."1089
Q.: "What became of the Jews to whom you have already referred--approximately 450,000?"
Q.: "Do you mean they were killed?"
A.: "Yes, with the exception of perhaps 25 to 30 percent who were used for labor purposes. I here refer to a previously mentioned conversation on this matter between Hoess and Eichmann in Budapest."1090
Irving suppressed Wisliceny's examination. Instead he mentioned only one sentence--the last one of the following exchange.
Q.: "In connection with the Jews about who you have personal knowledge, how many were subjected to the final solution, that is, to being killed?"
A.: "The exact number is extremely hard for me to determine. I have only one basis for a possible estimate, that is a conversation between Eichmann and Hoess in Vienna, in which he said that only a very few of those sent from Greece to Auschwitz had been fit for work. Of the Slovakian and Hungarian Jews about 20 to 30 percent had been able to work. It is therefore very hard for me to give a reliable total."
Q.: "In your meetings with the other specialists on the Jewish problem and Eichmann did you gain any knowledge or information as to the total number of Jews killed under this program?"
A: "Eichmann personally always talked about at least 4 million Jews. Sometimes he even mentioned 5 million. According to my own estimate I should say that at least 4 million must have been destined for the so-called final solution. How many of those actually survived, I am not in a position to say."
Q.: "When did you last see Eichmann?"
A.: "I saw Eichmann towards the end of February 1945 in Berlin. At that time he said that if the war were lost he would commit suicide."
Q.: "Did he say anything at that time as to the number of Jews that had been killed?"
A.: "Yes, he expressed this in a particularly cynical manner. He said he would leap laughing into the grave because the feeling that he had 5 million people on his conscience would be for him a source of extraordinary satisfaction."1091
Irving quickly engaged in damage control, quoting Eichmann's initial response to Wisliceny's remark--"Blödsinn (rubbish)"--and Eichmann's subsequent admission that he probably had something of the sort, but that he had spoken of "enemies of the Reich" and not of "Jews."1092 Let us look at Eichmann's testimony given during his interrogation by Avner Less. Twice he referred to his exchange with Wisliceny, in which he had mentioned the figure of five million Jews. The first occasion for his remark was a question about his own relation to Auschwitz. Eichmann did acknowledge that Auschwitz was a major killing center, and that all those sent there for "Special Treatment" were murdered,1093 yet that his own responsibility only involved transport.
Less: "How many Jews were killed and gassed at Auschwitz?"
Eichmann: "Herr Hauptmann, I've read, and Höss is supposed to have said, that he killed four million Jews. Up to now, I've thought that figure exaggerated. But if we're going to talk about figures, whether it's one million or four million or a hundred amount to the same thing in principle. In these last fifteen years, I've done some figuring myself. At the end of the war, I spoke to my officers of five million. I saw that figure as a kind of cloud in my mind's eye. In that brief--hmmm, how shall I put it?--apocalyptic speech, or whatever you may choose to call it, I wasn't looking for exact figures. I don't remember whether the Jewish Year Book published at that time gave the figure of ten million Jews for Europe, or whether that figure covered the German-occupied Russian territories. In any case, I tried to work out a basis to figure on. I've read that a few months after the war the Allies reckoned that 2.4 million Jew were still in existence. I read that somewhere. Emigration from Austria, Germany, the U.S.S.R.--I said to myself, let' say that 1.2 million Jews emigrated. Then comes natural diminution. I am no statistician. I just figured that out for myself. So on that basis I said to myself: Yes, one way or another, about six million Jews must have been killed. Whether I was right or not, I don't know, Herr Hauptmann."1094
Later in the interrogations Less confronted Eichmann directly with Wisliceny's recollection.Reading the transcript, it is clear that Eichmann did admit twice of having mentioned a figure of four, even five million Jews. The particular element in Wisliceny's testimony that he found objectionable was the fact that he would have shown glee about that number of victims, or that he would have shown pride in having had a central role in the Final Solution. It is important to remember here that also Höttl remembered that, when Eichmann had mentioned the figure of six million murdered Jews, he was careful to state that he did not feel personal responsibility for this result. In the end Eichmann did state, in his interrogation, that: "Yes, I did mention that five million Jews were killed, but I did not joke about it in front of my subordinates, and furthermore I had no responsibility for the actual killings, since I merely ran the transportation department."1096 What is important is that Eichmann did confirm the one central issue in Wisliceny's recollection of that last meeting: the fact that, in his own estimate four to five million Jews had been killed.
Less: "Wisliceny was asked: 'How many Jews, concerning whose fate you personally are informed, were subjected to the final solution, that is, killed?' He replied: 'I am very badly placed to give you an exact figure. All I have to go by is a conversation between Eichmann and Höss in Vienna, in which he said that only a very few of the Jews who came to Auschwitz from Greece had been fit for labor. Twenty-five to thirty percent of the Jews from Slovakia and Hungary had been fit for labor. It is very hard for me to give a total. Eichmann himself always spoke of at least four million Jews; sometimes he went as high as five million. In my personal estimate, there must have been at least four million Jews.' Have you any comment?"
Eichmann: "I...I believe I did say that...In substance, Herr Hauptmann."
Less: "And it checks with what you said at an earlier date."
Eichmann: "Approximately. That must have been in February 1945; what I said in the presence of several of my subordinate officers. It must be true in the main. Except that I absolutely can't remember that conversation with Höss in Hungary or Vienna, or the percentages."
Less: "Wisliceny was further asked whether at the time you had said anything more about the number of Jews killed. He answered: "Eichmann put it in a particularly cynical way. He said that the knowledge of having five million Jews on his conscience gave him such extraordinary satisfaction that he would jump into his grave laughing."
Eichmann: "That is...theater, theater! That is...I can't think of anything else to call it but theater. All that is...it's...it's...This business here, Herr Hauptmann...this, this...this last passage...about suicide and so on...and so on...That was my...my, my, my last speech, my last speech to my men, as I've already told you. I may not have got the wording exactly right, but the meaning and substance, yes...exactly. Because that was my...my...Summation in the...in the...how shall I put it...in the apocalyptic situation...which, which for a few days threw me into a state of shock...not nervous shock, but...moral shock: the Reich is kaput, it's all been a waste, it's all been for nothing, the whole war has been for nothing. That's what I said, that's what I told you. But this is theater! I never said it, never said it, Herr Hauptmann. The grave, yes, that's the only part that's right. The grave is right, I did say that..."
Less: "Not in this context?"
Eichmann: "...but not in this context. No, it wasn't cynical at all. On the contrary. I was...I was in a state of mind that left no room at all for cynicism; I felt...all I felt was deep sorrow, because of the millions of victims on our side...And the millions in the enemy camp...and there again I mentioned the roughly five million...that's right, and I said it was...all for nothing...And then I...I said only one thing: For five years they had to batter the Reich. That was the one thing I said. But cynicism? Not a trace!"
Less: "On the one hand, when Wisliceny says here: 'The knowledge of having five million Jews on his conscience gave him such extraordinary satisfaction that..."
Eichmann: "No, no, Herr Hauptmann, that I must reject, that I must really reject. That sentence is not at all my style. And besides, it wouldn't have been true. My men would have taken me for a megalomaniac, because they knew I hadn't killed five million Jews. Wisliceny knew as well as I that killing wasn't in our department."
Less: "In all your statements you keep hiding behind 'That wasn't in my province, that wasn't my department, those were the orders I was given, the management of the German railways decided that,' and so on."
Eichmann: "But you see, Herr Hauptmann, I have to say these things, because as head of Bureau IV B 4 I really wasn't responsible for everything, only for a rather narrowly circumscribed field. And that narrowly circumscribed field can be checked at any time. I wasn't free to do as I pleased.1095
Irving's presentation of the testimony given on January 28, 1946 by Marie-Claude Vaillant Couturier, a gentile inmate of the women's camp in Birkenau, seems at first sight to do a little more justice to the evidence. Irving begins with paraphrasing in a few lines some of the elements of her statement about the impossible conditions of life in Birkenau. Yet, he never quotes her testimony directly. Perversely, he chooses to present her testimony through the tendentious perspective of Judge Francis Biddle's notes--a gross violation of the principle that any historical account that claims to offer a fair representation of the past should offer a constant level of generality and a constant degree of detail. The result is a rather surrealistic interpretation of conditions in Birkenau. This is how Irving presents the evidence.Reading Irving's transcript of Biddle's notes, one starts indeed to doubt the veracity of Vaillant-Couturier's testimony: gas trucks, in which the Germans loaded Jews to be gassed by exhaust fumes, were never used in Auschwitz. Hence Irving happily interjects his sic! in Biddle's account. Yet let us look at the official transcript of Vaillant-Couturier's testimony. It concerns the after-effects of a particularly violent selection that took place on February 5, 1943, when the women were sent at 3.30 A.M. into the fields, and forced to run back to the barracks. Those who could not run were brought to Block 25, the "waiting block" for the gas chamber.Reading the transcript, the compressed surrealism of Biddle's account dissolves to reveal a clear narrative that allows us to understand cause and effect. It also shows that Biddle wrongly interpreted the testimony when he understood the truck or lorry taking the women from Block 25 to the gas chambers as a gas truck --a mistake Irving was all to happy to exploit for his own purposes.
She described vividly how they had been forced to stand for a roll call throughout one freezing day in February, and then struck to make them run. "Those who could not were taken to Block 25, the ante-room of the gas chamber, where they were killed. Corpses in the courtyard," noted Biddle, "a hand or head would now and then stir in the corpses, seeking to free itself." The moaning, in all languages, continued from morning to night: "Water! Water!" They "sang Marseillaise when the gas truck [sic] started to move."1097
When all the internees were back in the camp, a party to which I belonged was organised to go and pick the bodies of the dead which were scattered over the plain as on a battlefield. We carried to the yard of Block 25 the dead and the dying without distinction, and they remained there stacked up in a pile.
This Block 25, which was the anteroom of the gas chamber, if one may express it so, is well known to me because at that time we had been transferred to Block 26 and our windows opened on the yard of Block 25. One saw stacks of corpses piled up in the courtyard, and from time to time a hand or a head would stir among the bodies, trying to free itself. It was a dying woman attempting to get free and live. The rate of mortality in that block was even more terrible than elsewhere because, having been condemned to death, they received food or drink only if there was something left in the cans in the kitchen; which means that very often they went for several days without a drop of water.
One of our companions, Annette Êpaux, a fine young woman of 30, passing the block one day, was overcome with pity for those women who moaned from morning till night in all languages, "Drink, Drink. Water!" She came back to our block to get a little herbal tea, but as she was passing it through the bars of the window she was seen by the Aufseherin, who took her by the neck and threw her into Block 25. All my life I will remember Annette Êpaux. Two days later I saw her on the truck which was taking the internees to the gas chamber. She had her arms around another French woman, old Line Porcher, and when the truck started moving she cried, "Think of my little boy, if you ever get back to France." Then they started singing "The Marseillaise."1098
Let's continue with Irving's account.Irving uses here Biddle's notes to insinuate that the testimony should have been examined more closely because there is a logical inconsistency between the presence of a hospital--the word Vaillant-Couturier used was "Revier," which means more properly sick--ward, and not hospital--and the function of Birkenau as an extermination camp. He implies that either Birkenau had a hospital, or it was an extermination camp, but it could not be an extermination camp with a hospital, and as Vaillant-Couturier testified that there was a hospital, Birkenau could not have been an extermination camp. As we have seen in the first part of this report, Irving falls here in the fallacy of composition, in assuming that conditions all over Birkenau were the same, and in the fallacy of bifurcation, in which he sets up a contrast between "hospital" (healing) and "extermination camp" (killing), ignoring the middle ground in which part of an extermination camp was a slave labour pool where sick-wards were useful within the context of keeping those inmates suffering from relatively minor ailments in proper working condition.
As the judges jotted this all down their minds became too numbed by the horror of it all to ask pertinent questions or to analyse: "The sick would often die of exposure in front of the hospital." (Why was a hospital needed at an "extermination camp"? Neither Biddle nor his colleagues made any comment.) "The women often preferred to die at work."1099
Irving continues to present the evidence from the perspective of Judge Biddle. Irving presents Biddle's notes on Vaillant-Couturier's testimony on the gassings in a paragraph that begins with the words "Some of her story was evidently based on hearsay," and immediately after having noted that "[o]nce, finally articulating his feelings about this woman's testimony, Biddle noted his own scepticism, and wrote: 'This I doubt,' but he continued to write down what the witness told the court." Having cleverly insinuated (by the use of the adverb "finally" and the conjunction "but") that Biddle did not trust any of the following testimony, Irving proceeds to give Biddle's account of what Vaillant-Couturier had to say about the selections.Again, in the compressed form of Biddle's notes, Vaillant-Couturier's account becomes surreal, and unbelievable. Yet when reading the transcript of the statement as a whole; with all its pertinent details, the logic is restored, and a profound sense of veracity achieved.
Selected, out of convoys of Jewish women, the old and sick and children, who were gassed at once, not even taken to the camp. Orchestra with internee personnel played cheerful tunes like the "Merry Widow" when they arrived to be gassed, so they would not know their fate. Went to red brick building, undressed, given towel, gassed. Died in agony. Gold teeth extracted from ashes of burned bodies. One night there was not enough gas and the children were hurled alive into the furnaces.1100
[Deputy Prosecutor Charles] Dubost: "What do you know about the convoy of Jews which arrived from Romainville about the same time as yourself?"
Vaillant-Couturier: "When we left Romainville the Jewesses who were there at the same time as ourselves were left behind. They were sent to Drancy and subsequently arrived at Auschwitz, where we found them again 3 weeks later, 3 weeks after our arrival. Of the original 3,000 only 125 actually came to the camp; the others were immediately sent to the gas chambers. Of these 125 not one was left alive at the end of 1 month.
The transports operated as follows:
When we first arrived, whenever a convoy of Jews came, a selection was made; first the old men and women, then the mothers and the children were put into the trucks together with the sick or those whose constitution appeared to be delicate. They took in only the young women and girls as well as the young men who were sent to the men's camp.
Generally speaking, of a convoy of about 1,000 to 1,500, seldom more than 250--and this figure really was the maximum--actually reached the camp. The rest were immediately sent to the gas chamber.
At this selection also, they picked out women in good health between the ages of 20 and 30, who were sent to the experimental block; and young girls and slightly older women, or those who had not been selected for that purpose, were sent to the camp where, like ourselves, they were tattooed and shaved.
There was also, in the spring of 1944, a special block for twins. It was during the time when large convoys of Hungarian Jews--about 700,000--arrived. Dr. Mengele, who was carrying out the experiments, kept back from each convoy twin children and twins in general, regardless of their age, so long as both were present. So we had both babies and adults on the floor at that block. Apart from blood tests and measuring I do not know what was done to them."
Q.: "Were you an eye witness of the selections on the arrival of the convoys?"
A.: "Yes, because when we worked at the sewing block in 1944, the block where we lived directly faced the stopping place of the trains. The system had been improved. Instead of making the selection at the place where they arrived, a side line now took the train practically right up to the gas chamber; and the stopping place, about 100 meters from the gas chamber, was right opposite our block though, of course, separated from us by two rows of barbed wire. Consequently, we saw the unsealing of the cars and the soldiers letting men, women, and children out of them. We then witnessed heart-rending scenes; old couples forced to part from each other, mothers made to abandon their young daughters, since the latter were sent to the camp, whereas mothers and children were sent to the gas chambers. All these people were unaware of the fate awaiting them. They were merely upset at being separated, but they did not know that they were going to their death. To render their welcome more pleasant at this time--June-July 1944--an orchestra composed of internees, all young and pretty girls dressed in little white blouses and navy blue skirts, played during the selection, at the arrival of the trains, gay tunes such as "The Merry Widow," the "Barcarolle" from "The Tales of Hoffman," and so forth. They were then informed that this was a labor camp and since they were not brought into the camp they saw only the small platform surrounded by flowering plants. Naturally, they could not realize what was in store for them. Those selected for the gas chamber, that is, the old people, mothers, and children, were escorted to a red-brick building."
Q.: "These were not given an identification number?"
Q.: "They were not tattooed?"
A.: "No. They were not even counted."
Q.: "You were tattooed?"
A.: "Yes, look. [The witness showed her arm.] They were taken to a red brick building, which bore the letters 'Baden,' that is to say 'Baths.' There, to begin with, they were made to undress and given a towel before they went into the so-called shower room. Later on, at the time of the large convoys from Hungary, they had no more time left to play-act or pretend; they were brutally undressed, and I know these details as I knew a little Jewess from France who lived with her family at the 'Republique' district."
Q.: "In Paris?"
A.: "In Paris. She was called 'little Marie' and was the only one, the sole survivor of a family of nine. Her mother and her seven brothers and sisters had been gassed on arrival. When I met her she was employed to undress the babies before they were taken into the gas chamber. Once the people were undressed they took them into a room which was somewhat like a shower room, and gas capsules were thrown through an opening in the ceiling. An SS man would watch the effect produced through a porthole. At the end of 5 or 7 minutes, when the gas had completed its work, he gave the signal to open the doors; and men with gas masks --they were too internees--went into the room and removed the corpses. They told us that the internees must have suffered before dying, because they were closely clinging to one another and it was very difficult to separate them.
After that a special squad would come to pull out gold teeth and dentures; and again, when the bodies had been reduced to ashes, they would sift them in an attempt to recover the gold...."1101
Irving ends his discussion of Biddle's understanding of Vaillant-Couturier's testimony as follows:Let us look again at the official transcript. First Irving's remark about the reasons for Vaillant-Couturier's arrest.Neither Vaillant-Couturier, nor Streicher's lawyer Dr. Hanns Marx, nor anyone else mentioned the word communist during her testimony. Marx tried to undermine her credibility as an witness by suggesting, in asking the loaded question why she had been able to survive Auschwitz as well as she did, that she had been a privileged inmate functionary. Irving quotes the insinuating question, but does not give the utterly convincing rebuttal, except through once more Biddle's perspective.All in all, Irving shows himself to be an unscrupulous falsifier of evidence. Largely suppressing and otherwise skewing genuine evidence given under oath in court, he chooses to manipulate a private diary until he has achieved an utter misrepresentation of the event.
Cross-examined, this female witness admitted "curtly (in German!)" as Biddle noted with surprise, that she had been arrested for resistance activity, as a communist.
Streicher's defence attorney Marx asked her: "How do you explain you came through so well?"
Says she's been out a year." Judge Biddle jotted down, recording her answer. "Most of her statements based on personal experience," noted Biddle in quotation mark--which implied that he assessed that quite a lot were not.1102
Dr. Marx: "For what reason were you arrested?"
Mme. Vaillant-Couturier: "Resistance. I belonged to the resistance movement."1103
Dr. Marx: "How do your explain that you yourself came through these experiences so well and are now in such a good state of health?"
Mme. Vaillant-Couturier: "First of all, I was liberated a year ago; and in a year one has time to recover. Secondly, I was 10 months in quarantine for typhus and I had the great luck not to die of exanthematic typhus, although I had it and was ill for 3 1 /2 months. Also, in the last months at Ravensbrück, as I knew German, I worked on the Revier roll call, which explains why I did not have to work quite so hard or to suffer from the inclemencies of the weather. On the other hand, out of 230 of us only 49 from my convoy returned alive; and we were only 52 at the end of 4 months. I had the great fortune to return."
Dr, Marx: "Yes. Does your statement contain what you yourself observed or is it concerned with information from other sources as well?"
Mme. Vaillant-Couturier: "Whenever such was the case I mentioned it in my declaration. I have never quoted anything which has not previously been verified at the sources and by several persons, but the major part of my evidence is based on personal experience."1104
After having finished with Vaillant-Couturier,Irving continues to apply his method of discrediting prosecution witnesses in his description of the testimony of another Auschwitz inmate, Dr. Severina Shmaglevskaya.So far Judge Biddle's notes. Irving uses them to sow, once again, doubt about the witness, who would have claimed that there was a 1940 order to burn children alive.
On February 27 Biddle paraphrased in his notebooks the evidence of a Polish woman who had been at Auschwitz. "Selection for death made by doctors and S.S.," recorded Biddle. "Youngest and strongest entered camp. Women with small children were sent to the crematory where the children were separated and taken separately into the gas chamber. In 1940 it was ordered that the children should be thrown living into the furnace without being first gassed." (Neither the Auschwitz camp not its Birkenau offshoot existed in 1940.) "You could often hear the cries. Whether this was to save gas or because there was no space n the gas chamber is hard to say....Often they worked in the gas chamber 'from dawn to dusk.'"1105
But what if Biddle's notes were wrong? Let's look at the official transcript of Soviet deputy prosecutor L.N. Smirnov's examination of Dr. Severina Shmaglevskaya.It is clear that Biddle wrongly noted down that the decision to burn the children alive had been taken in 1940. The official transcript records that Shmaglevskaya said that the decision was taken "at that time, when the greatest number of Jews were exterminated in the gas chambers." That time, is commonly known, was the late spring of 1944, during the height of the Hungarian action.
Mr. Counsellor Smirnov: "Tell me, Witness, did you yourself see the children being taken to gas chambers?"
Shmaglevskaya: "I worked very close to the railway which led to the crematory. Sometimes in the morning I passed near the building the Germans used as a latrine, and from there I could secretly watch the transport. I saw many children among the Jews brought to the concentration camp. Sometimes a family had several children. The Tribunal is probably aware of the fact that in front of the crematory they were all sorted out."
Mr. Counsellor Smirnov: "Selection was made by the doctors?"
Shmaglevskaya: "Not always by doctors: sometimes by SS men."
Mr. Counsellor Smirnov: "And doctors with them?"
Shmaglevskaya: "Yes, sometimes, by doctors too. During such a sorting, the youngest and healthiest Jewish women in very small numbers entered the camp. Women carrying children in their arms or in carriages, or those who had larger children, were sent into the crematory with their children. The children were separated from their parents in front of the crematory and were led separately into gas chambers.
At that time, when the greatest number of Jews were exterminated in the gas chambers, an order was issued that the children were to be thrown into the crematory ovens or the crematory ditches without previous asphyxiation with gas."
Mr. Counsellor Smirnov: ""How should we understand that? Were they thrown into the ovens alive or were they killed by other means before they were burned?"
Shmaglevskaya: "The children were thrown in alive. Their cries could be heard all over the camp. It is hard to say how many they were."
Mr. Counsellor Smirnov: "Nevertheless, there was some reason why this was done. Was it because the gas chambers were overworked?"
Shmaglevskaya: "It is very difficult to answer this question. We don't know whether they wanted to economize on the gas or whether there was no room in the gas chambers. I should also add that it is impossible to determine the number of these children--like that of the Jews--because they were driven directly to the crematory, were not registered, were not tattooed, and very often were not even counted. We, the internees, often tried to ascertain the number of people who perished in gas chambers; but our estimates of the number of children executed could only be based on the number of children's prams which were brought to the storerooms. Sometimes there were hundreds of these carriages, but sometimes they sent thousands."
Mr. Counsellor Smirnov: "In one day?"
Shmaglevskaya: "Not always the same. There were days when the gas chambers worked from early morning until late at night."1106
It is clear that, as a historical account of the way evidence of the Holocaust was presented in Nuremberg, Irving's chapter "Final Solution" is quite worthless at best, and completely distorted at worst. To make matters worse, he completely suppresses in his account the proceedings of the afternoon session of February 27, 1946, when Samuel Rajzman testified. Rajzman was a survivor from the Treblinka extermination camp, where he was interned from August 1942 to August 1943. His testimony about the operation of Treblinka as an extermination camp occupies five pages in the official transcript. I will quote just one, very small part of it.At the end of Rajzman's testimony there was general silence. Even Hanns Marx did not find the courage to challenge the witness. Yet the silence in the court after the testimony does not mean that Irving represents the proceedings justly by burying the evidence about Treblinka in silence.
Mr. Counsellor Smirnov: "I beg you to describe this camp to the Tribunal."
Rajzman: "Transports arrived there every day; their number depended on the number of trains arriving; sometimes three, four, or five trains filled exclusively with Jews--from Czechoslovakia, Germany, Greece, and Poland. Immediately after their arrival, the people had to leave the trains in 5 minutes and line up on the platform. All those who were driven from the cars were divided into groups--men, children, and women, all separate. They were all forced to strip immediately, and this procedure continued under the lashes of the Germans guards' whips. Workers who were employed in this operation immediately picked up all the clothes and carried them away to the barracks. Then the people were obliged to walk naked through the street to the gas chambers."
Q.: "I would like you to tell the Tribunal what the Germans called the street to the gas chambers."
A.: "It was called Himmelfahrt Street."1107
We have now dealt with the first half of Irving's chapter "Final Solution." It is clear that it does not stand up to close and critical scrutiny. The second half is not much better. It has only one single purpose: to scrupulously destroy the credibility of the testimony given by Auschwitz Kommandant Rudolf Höss. In hiding since the end of the war, the British had arrested him on March 11, 1946. By his own account the British treated Höss roughly. During his later trial in Poland, Höss recalled these interrogations as follows.Irving makes a lot about the fact that Höss first confession was given in a situation of duress.Irving is right in that Höss's first confession was obtained when the witness was denied sleep for three days, but he does not mention that while this confession was submitted to the Tribunal, it was never used in court. Instead, the Tribunal heard on April 15, 1946 extracts from the affidavit which he signed on April 5, 1946, after a few days of in this case civilised interrogation in the witness wing of the Nuremberg prison. The interrogation took place with the help of an interpreter. During this interrogation Höss was asked if he could confirm that Jews started to arrive in great numbers in 1942. Höss did, and then gave a detailed list of the numbers: 250,000 from Poland, 65,000 from Greece, 100,000 from Germany, 90,000 from Holland, 110,000 from France, 90,000 from Slovakia, 20,000 from Belgium and 400,000 from Hungary. The conversation continued as follows:
When I was interrogated for the first time in the British Zone, those examining me said to me, all the time, that five--six--seven million people must have died in the gas chambers; all the time they bombarded me with huge numbers such as these, and I was obliged to provide some data, in order to establish how many were put to death in the gas chambers, and the interrogators told me that there must have been at least three million. Under the suggestive influence of these large figures,I arrived at a total of three million. But I was relying on the fact that I could not mention any other number--I always said this--namely that I was unable to mention any other than the one which I have now arrived at, and that is two and a half.1108
This confession, which subsequently came to be submitted to the Nuremberg tribunal as document NO-1210, had taken three days of torture, as his captor, Sergeant Bernard Clarke himself would describe, to obtain. It contained numerous perhaps deliberate errors, for instance the identification by Höss of an extermination camp at "Wolzek near Lublin," in addition to those at "Belzek" and "Tublinka," all spelt thus. Wolzek has never existed, and the two other camps, Belzec and Treblinka, were not in existence at the time that Höss testified to.1109
Q.: "Now you just told us that you had facilities for 130,000. If you add all those figures they amount to a much greater number than 130,000. How could you accommodate all those people?"
A.: "They were not supposed to be employed in work there, but they were supposed to be exterminated."1110
On 5 April Höss was given an English language version of the affidavit, which he read through. A few days later he received the German version, which he corrected and ultimately signed. In the affidavit, which was to be partially read in court on April 15, 1946, Höss admitted that he was appointed commandant of Auschwitz on May 1, 1940.On Monday, 15 April Höss was called to the witness stand. There he confirmed, during crossexamination by American prosecutor Colonel John Harlan Amen, that the affidavit was true.Amen read then the most salient passages of Höss' affidavit in court, and asked Höss three times: "Is that all true and correct, Witness?" Each times Höss answered "Yes." Finally, at the end of the affidavit Amen read Höss' final declaration, in which Höss declared that he understood "English as it is written above," that "the above statements are true," and that "this declaration is made by me voluntarily and without compulsion." After having read this, Amen turned one last time to Höss.
I commanded Auschwitz until 1 December, 1943, and estimate that at least 2,500,000 victims were executed and exterminated there by gassing and burning, and at least another half million succumbed to starvation and disease, making a total dead of about 3,000,000....
4. Mass executions by gassing commenced during the summer 1941 and continued until fall 1944. I personally supervised executions at Auschwitz until the first of december 1943 and know by reason of my continued duties in the Inspectorate of Concentration Camps WVHA that these mass executions continued as stated above....
6. The "final solution" of the Jewish question meant the complete extermination of all Jews in Europe. I was ordered to establish extermination facilities at Auschwitz in June 1941. At that time there were already in the general government three other extermination camps; BELZEK, TREBLINKA and WOLZEK. These camps were under the Einsatzkommando of the Security Police and SD. I visited Treblinka to find out how they carried out their exterminations. The Camp Commandant at Treblinka told me that he had liquidated 80,000 in the course of one-half year. He was principally concerned with liquidating all the Jews from the Warsaw Ghetto. He used monoxide gas and I did not think his method were very efficient. So when I set up the extermination building at Auschwitz I, I used Cyclon B, which was crystallized Prussic Acid we dropped into the death chamber from a small opening. It took from 3 to 15 minutes to kill the people in the death chamber depending upon climatic conditions. We knew when the people were dead because their screaming stopped. We usually waited about one-half hour before we opened the doors and removed the bodies. After the bodies were removed our special commandos took off the rings and extracted the gold from the teeth of the corpses.
7. Another improvement we made over Treblinka was that we built our gas chambers to accommodate 2,000 people at one time, whereas at Treblinka their 10 gas chambers only accommodated 200 people each. The way we selected our victims was as follows: we had two SS doctors on duty at Auschwitz to examine the incoming transport of prisoners. The prisoners would be marched by one of the doctors who would make spot decisions as they walked by. Those who were fit for work were sent into the Camp. Others were sent immediately to the extermination plants. Children of tender years were invariably exterminated since by reason of their youth they were unable to work. Still another improvement we made over Treblinka was that at Treblinka the victims almost always knew that they were to be exterminated and at Auschwitz we endeavoured to fool the victims into thinking that they were to go through a delousing process. Of course, frequently they realized our true intentions and we sometimes had riots and difficulties due to that fact. Very frequently women would hide their children under the clothes but of course when we found them we would send the children in to be exterminated. We were required to carry out these exterminations in secrecy but of course the foul and nauseating stench from the continuous burning of bodies permeated the entire area and all of the people living in the surrounding communities knew that exterminations were going on at Auschwitz.1111
Col. Amen: "I ask that the witness be shown Document 3868-PS, which will become Exhibit USA-819."
[The document was submitted to the witness.]
Q.: "You signed that affidavit voluntarily, Witness?"
Q.: "And the affidavit is true in all respects?"
Col. Amen: "Now I ask you, Witness, is everything which I have read to you true to your own knowledge?"
Irving chose not to quote this affidavit, which was probably the most important piece of evidence about the Holocaust to be presented during the Nuremberg proceedings, and which was publically confirmed by Höss in court, but spent much energy to discredit it.The fundamental premise that guides Irving's attack on the credibility of the affidavit is the assumption that Höss could not read English. He also uses this argument when he writes, a little further, that Höss confirmed in court the passages of his affidavit that had been read in English. Yet Höss did know English. In his autobiography, written a year later in a Polish jail, Höss recalled how he learned English during his imprisonment in the 1920s for his participation in Parchimer Vehme murder.If Irving had been right on the issue of Höss's lack of foreign language abilities, one could have made the case that there were real problems with the affidavit he endorsed in court. Now all that remains are a few small quibbles about the lack of initials to confirm some insertions--objections that are of no significance in the context of the repeated willingness of Höss to confirm the affidavit as his own.
On April 5 the Americans placed before him a three-page affidavit, which they themselves had drafted and typed, for his signature. Written in English throughout, it contained the admission by Höss that he had "gassed" 2.5 million people in Auschwitz in addition to the half million who had died there of diseases.
"We have prepared an affidavit written in English--," they began by informing their prisoner; whereupon, according to the verbatim transcript, the witness (Höss) "read through" the statement that followed and replied that he had read it and understood it.
"Yes," continues the transcript, "I understand everything that I read."
In reality Höss could not understand English. It merits passing comment that this English affidavit by Höss was not in fact signed at any point by him, although the Nuremberg interrogating officers and interpreter all pre-signed the document as witnesses to his "signature."
Not for three days was Höss shown a German translation of the English affidavit ("which you signed"); the transcript of this new conversation on April 8 shows Höss belatedly insisting on changes to the text. An anonymous hand interpolated entire lines, while other lines were deleted by a stroke of the pen; there are no initials in the margin to endorse such changes, but Höss signed this entire German document in its new form on each page ("after reading over the statement".) It included the following curiously worded statement typed in English at its foot: "I understand English as it is written above. The above statements are true; this declaration is made by me voluntarily and without compulsion."1114
After this low, this breakdown, my life in prison passed without particular incident. I became more and more calm and clear-thinking. In my free time I eagerly studied English. I even had textbooks sent to me. Later I had them regularly send me books and magazines in English, so that in about a year I learned this language without anyone helping me. This was a terrific discipline for my mind.1115
Irving, who was throughout this chapter so ready to quote Biddle's notes when it suited him, and who invokes the diary of Dr Gustave Gilbert, the Nuremberg prison psychologist, whenever it suits his exculpatory cause, found no reason to quote Gilbert's record of his conversations with Höss. This diary is a historically important and reliable source, a fact that was well established during the Eichmann Trial, when the court questioned Gilbert on the manner by which he had compiled the diary. The reason for Gilbert's appearance in Jerusalem was that Höss had made a number of observations on Eichmann's role in the Final Solution, and as he could not be cross-examined having been executed fourteen years earlier, Gilbert's account of Höss's testimony became quite important. On 29 and 30 May, 1961, in the 55th and 57th sessions of that trial, Gilbert testified. He was asked when and how he made his notes.The next day, in cross examination by Eichmann's lawyer Robert Servatius, the issue was revisited.
[Witness Gilbert]: "I made very extensive notes after every conversation--but not in their presence. I recorded the summary of our conversations with extensive verbatim quotations, and compiled this in my own diary; and the defendants were unaware of this until the end of the trial."1116
Dr. Servatius: "The value of a diary assuredly depends on whether the entries were recorded immediately or at a later time. Were these entries recorded the same days as the date they bear?"
Witness Gilbert: [replies in German] "They were always taken down on the same day and then dictated to my secretary."
Q.: "Did you supplement or revise them later, or has everything remained as it was originally recorded?"
A.: "I would rather carry on in English." Presiding Judge: "Please do."
Witness Gilbert: [in English] "In dictating the notes to my secretary, I took advantage of the trial manuscripts and any additional facts that I recalled in the meantime. But this dictation usually took place the next day. There was no long time between the conversation and the actual dictation of notes for the diary."
Dr. Servatius: "Do you want your diary to be regarded as an authorative and scientific account?"
Witness Gilbert: "The diary comprises the original raw data for later scientific evaluation. So, to answer your question about expert evaluation, that really takes place in the second book, in which I evaluate all of the factual data which I collected, and on that basis make my expert evaluation of the Nazi system and its leaders,including Hitler."
Q.: "For evaluating material, it is assuredly important whether a report has been written sine ira et studio (without wrath and excessive eagerness)--the concept will surely be known to you--in other words, without preconceptions, without bias. Was that how this diary was written?"
A.: "Yes, I had the advantage of American ignorance of the Nazi system, except for a little briefing as a military intelligence officer; I also had the advantage of being completely uninformed and incredulous about the events that we are discussing today, and I had to be convinced, more and more, about what actually took place. It took me a year to get the whole picture."1117
The Israeli court accepted the evidentiary value of the Gilbert diary--the same diary that Irving was happy to quote whenever it suited him. Irving found no use for the following extraordinary account of Gilbert's conversation with Höss on April 9, 1946.
He readily confirmed that approximately 2 1/2 million Jews has been exterminated under his direction. The exterminations began in the summer of 1941. In compliance with Goering's scepticism, I asked Hoes how it was technically possible to exterminate 2 1/2 million people. "Technically?" he asked. "That wasn't so hard--it would not have been hard to exterminate even greater numbers." In answer to my rather naive questions as to how many people could be done away with in an hour, etc., he explained that one must figure it on a daily 24-hour basis, and it was possible to exterminate up to 10,000 in one 24-hour period. He explained that there were actually 6 extermination chambers. The 2 big ones could accommodate as many as 2,000 in each and the 4 smaller ones up to 1500, making a total capacity of 10,000 a day. I tried to figure out how this was done, but he corrected me. "No, you don't figure it right. The killing itself took the least time. You could dispose of 2,000 in a half hour, but it was the burning that took all the time. The killing was easy; you didn't even need guards to drive them into the chambers; they just went in expecting to take showers and, instead of water, we turned on poison gas. The whole thing went very quickly." He related all of this in a quiet, apathetic, matter-of-fact tone of voice.1118
Another important piece of evidence, which Irving chose to ignore when he wrote his Nuremberg, was the autobiographical essay Höss wrote on request of Gilbert in the Nuremberg jail. In Jerusalem, Gilbert told the court that throughout his Nuremberg tenure he had sought to substantiate his conversations by getting additional documentary evidence--"first, for psychological evidence, and secondly, because some of it was so incredible that I felt I had to have a record of these people, because my colleagues would never believe me."Gilbert told the court that he also asked Höss for such an autobiographical essay. This was a different document than the autobiography he later wrote in Polish captivity.
Presiding Judge: "What was the material that you recorded?"
Witness Gilbert: "There were essays written by the defendants in their own handwriting which further substantiated what we talked about."
Attorney General: "These essays are still in your possession to this day and have not been published--is that correct?"
Witness Gilbert: "That is right. These essays are in my possession, and most of it has not been published--hardly any of it, in fact."1119
Q.: "You have kept it in your possession until now, and it has not been published so far?"
A.: "That's right--that is one of the original written documents I had to confirm my conversations, and it hasn't been published except for excerpts which I used in analyzing the case of Rudolf Höss in my second book, The Psychology of Dictatorship."
Q.: "Did Höss write it before he wrote his autobiography in Poland?"
A.: "Oh,yes--definitely; he had not yet been brought to Poland to stand trial, and I was the first one, I believe, to ask him for his case history."
Q.: "I notice there is a date at the top--10 April 1946. And Höss ended it on 12 April. It took him two days to write--would that be correct?"
A.: "Yes, that would be about right."1120
Gilbert explained that Höss also wrote another piece for him, in response to a very specific challenge. After Höss had testified, most of the defendants had shown various guilt reactions when Gilbert engaged them in conversation. Göring, however, reacted differently.Asked by Gilbert to provide more detail, Höss wrote later that month a short memorandum which Gilbert presented to the Jerusalem court. It gave a detailed description of the arrival, selection and killing of the deportees.
A.: "Well, in connection with getting these guilt reactions, I would have to present the reaction of Göring, which leads to the next document which I received from Colonel Höss. Göring's reaction was to try to brush it all aside, to tell everybody that this was all exaggerated propaganda. 'Oh they are a bunch of SS Schweinehunde doing some dirty things, but it is all exaggerated, it's all propaganda.' So, I would engage Göring in conversation in front of the others and say: 'Well, now,you can't just brush off the murder of two and a half million people. The German people themselves will demand to know how this did happen. The conscience of the world demands to know how this did happen. Do you want to go down in history as a man who just laughed it off?...' And we would argue along this line.
You see, the only way of appealing to Göring was not through conscience, but through his egotistical role in history. And I knew that he was trying to brush aside the crimes, so that he would not lose his chance to get his picture in the German history books, because he knew that even the German people would be horrified by it, particularly because women and children had been murdered. The killing of the men would not damage his picture in the German history books, he told me.
Now then, realizing that he was determined to try to blot out the memory of this horrible crime from history, I felt that, psychologically, historically and humanly, it was absolutely necessary to see to it that this was properly documented--both from the historical and the psychological point of view."
Q.: "And then, what did you do?"
A.: "I therefore told him...I'm sorry. No, the next step was his clinching argument, namely, that it was technically impossible to exterminate two and a half million people inside of the three or three and a half years that Colonel Höss was Commandant of Auschwitz, This seemed to be very convincing to some of the other Nazi leaders."
Q.: "What did you do, then?"
A.: "I told him that there was an expert in the witness wing, and I could get the details from him. I was, of course, referring to Colonel Höss."1121
The freight trains with the Jews destined for extermination moved along a special railroad installation which had been laid down especially for this purpose right up to the extermination installations. Notification of these trains was given in advance by Obersturmbannführer Eichmann of the RSHA, and they were allocated consecutive numbers, together with letters of the alphabet, in order to prevent a mix-up with transports of other prisoners. Each cable relating to these transports bore the reference: "In accordance with the specified directives, and are to be subjected to special treatment." These trains consisted of closed freight cars and contained, on the average, about 2,000 persons. When the trains arrived at the aforementioned ramp, the accompanying railway personnel and the accompanying guard--members of the Security or Order Police--had to leave the area. Only the transport commander who had delivered it remained until it had been completely handed over, and the numbers checked, to the duty officer of the camp. After the trains were off-loaded and the numbers determined (lists by names were not drawn up), all the people had to file past two SS duty doctors, and in the course of this, those who were fit for work were separated from those who were unfit. On the average about twenty-five per cent were found to be fit for work. These were marched off immediately into the camp, in order to change their clothes and be received there. All the luggage remained on the ramp and, after those unfit for work had also been sent off, it was brought to the store of personal effects, to be sorted out. Those unfit for work were classified according to sex--men, women, and children--and marched off to the nearest available extermination installation. Those unable to walk and women with small children were transported there on trucks. When they arrived, all of them had to strip naked in rooms which gave the impression of being delousing installations. The permanent labour unit of prisoners who worked in these installations--and who were also housed there and did not come into contact with other inmates of the camp--helped with the undressing and coaxed the hesitant to hurry up, so that the others would not have to wait so long.
They were also told to take note where they put away their clothes, so that they would be able to find them again immediately after taking their bath. All this was done on purpose, in order to dispel any fears which might arise. After they had taken off their clothes, they were taken into a nearby room--the gas chamber itself. It had been prepared to look like a washroom--that is to say, showers and pipes were installed throughout, water drainage channels, etc. The moment the entire transport had entered the chamber, the door was closed, and simultaneously the gas was forced in from above through a special aperture. It was Zyklon "B" gas, cyanide acid in the form of crystals, which vaporized immediately, that is to say, it took effect immediately upon coming into contact with oxygen. The people were dazed already on taking their first breath, and the process of killing took from thirteen to fifteen minutes, depending upon the weather conditions and the number of people locked up within. Thereafter, nothing moved any more. Thirty minutes after the gas had been released and had entered the chambers, they would be opened, and the transfer of the bodies to the crematoria would commence. Throughout all these years, I never came across a single case of a person coming out of the gas chambers while still alive. While the bodies were taken out, the women's hair was cut, and gold teeth and rings removed by prisoner dentists who were employed in this unit.
In Birkenau there were five installations--two large crematoria, each of which had a capacity for receiving 2,000 persons in the course of 24 hours. That is to say, it was possible in one gas chamber to put to death up to 2,500 persons; in five double ovens heated with coke, it was possible to burn at most 2,000 bodies within 24 hours; two smaller installations could eliminate about 1,500 people, with four bigger double ovens to each of them. Furthermore, there was also an open-air installation--that is, an old farmhouse was sealed and turned into a gas chamber, which could also contain 1,500 persons at one and the same time. The incineration was carried out there in an open pit on wood, and this was practically limitless. In my estimation, it was possible to burn there, in 24 hours, up to 8,000 persons in this way. Hence it was possible to exterminate and eliminate up to 10,000 people within 24 hours in the installations described above. As far as I am aware, this number was attained only once in 1944, when delays occurred in the arrival of trains, and consequently five transports arrived together on one day. The ashes of the burnt bodies were ground into dust, which was poured into the Vistula in remote places and swept away with the current.
On the basis of the figure of 2.5 million, which is the number of people who--according to Eichmann--were brought to Auschwitz for extermination, it may be said that on average, two transports arrived daily, with a combined total of 4,000 persons, of whom twenty-five per cent were fit for work, the balance of 3,000 were to be exterminated. The intervals in the various operations can be computed together at nine months. Thus there remain 27 months, with 90,000 people each month--a total of 2,430,000 people. This is a calculation of the technical potential. I have to keep to the figure mentioned by Eichmann, for he was the only SS officer who was allowed to keep records concerning these liquidation operations, according to the orders of the Reichsführer-SS. All other units which took part in any way had to destroy all records immediately. Eichmann mentioned this number in my presence when he was called upon, in April 1945, to present a report to the Reichsführer-SS. I had no records whatsoever. But, to the best of my knowledge, this number appears to me much to high. If I calculate the total of the mass operations which I still remember, and still make allowance for a certain percentage of error, I arrive, in my calculation, at a total of 1.5 million at the most for the period from the beginning of 1941 to the end of 1944. But these are my computations which I cannot verify. Nuremberg, 24 April 1946 (Signed) Rudolf Höss (At the bottom of the document) :Hungary - 400,000; Slovakia - 90,000; Greece - 65,000; Holland - 90,000; France - 110,000; Belgium - 20,000; the region of the Generalgouvernement and Upper Silesia - 250,000; Germany and Terezin - 100,000. Total - 1,125,000.1122
Already in Nuremberg Gilbert asked the question if Höss's statements could be trusted. In his diary he noted that, during one of his visits to Höss, the latter remarked that, as a psychologist Gilbert, undoubtedly would want to know if he was normal. Höss declared that he was normal. "Even while I was doing this extermination work, I led a normal family life, and so on." When Gilbert asked him if the Jews who were killed deserved such a fate, Hoess replied that this was an unrealistic question as it showed a great ignorance of the world of the SS. "Don't you see, we SS men were not supposed to think about these things; it never even occurred to us.--And besides, it was something already taken for granted that the Jews were to blame for everything."1123 Höss admitted that the work was unpleasant. "But Himmler had ordered it and had even explained the necessity and I really never gave much thought to whether it was wrong. It just seemed a necessity."
In all of the discussions Hoess is quite matter-of-fact and apathetic, shows some belated interest in the enormity of his crime, but gives the impression that it never would have occurred to him if somebody hadn't asked him. There is too much apathy to leave any suggestion of remorse and even the prospect of hanging does not unduly distress him. One gets the general impression of a man who is intellectually normal but with schizoid apathy, insensitivity and lack of empathy that could hardly be more extreme in a frank psychotic.1124
In Jerusalem the court revisited the issue because, having admitted Höss's statement that indicted Eichmann as evidence, Attorney-General Gideon Hausner could not examine and Eichmann's lawyer Robert Servatius could not cross-examine him. Remarkably the latter, who had served in Nuremberg as counsel to Fritz Sauckel, did confirm that the accused willingly and without coercion cooperated with Gilbert. He noted also that "subsequently the accused men held conversations amongst themselves, in which they made sarcastic references to their discussions with the witness, and they even voiced a kind of mocking comment on the 'soul examiner.'"1125 Servatius therefore accepted that the documents could be accepted in evidence, but that Gilbert should limit his comments to those. The court agreed, and therefore it asked Gilbert to comment on Höss's mental state when he gave his public and private testimony.
Q.: "I take it that,as a psychologist, your certainly understand that sometimes there is a state of mind of the accused which tends to drag down other people, as it were, and to incriminate them?"
A.: "Yes, I certainly understand that. It's one of the common guilt defences."
Q.: "Would you say that Rudolf Höss was in that particular state of mind when you were speaking to him?"
A.: "No, definitely not. As I said before, he was a man who was just automatically telling the facts as he knew them. It apparently meant nothing to him that he had murdered millions of people, he had no hesitation in describing everything in detail, and without any attempt to share blame, or to prepare a defence or anything, quite spontaneously--certainly not with any urging on my part--the name of Eichmann came into his statements again and again and again, and finally I realized that this man was a key figure in the extermination programme. May I amplify a little further? By contrast, I saw that Kaltenbrunner was a liar. When he tried to disclaim knowledge of the atrocities and shove the blame onto someone else, I could see--and got corroboration from actual statements from the others--that this was outright perjury, false testimony, outright lies. So I was aware at all times that it is possible that any of these men might be lying, but Höss definitely was not."1126
Considering Irving's description of the way the Holocaust in general, and Auschwitz in particular figured in the Nuremberg Trial, it is clear that it has no value. A historian would have considered all the evidence at hand, Irving only chose to (mis)quote whatever suited his preconceived notions.
Nuremberg: The Last Battle offers Irving's last more or less "comprehensive"; statement on the Holocaust in general and Auschwitz in particular. It shows that, perhaps under the pressure of events, he has chosen to distance himself from the explicit negationist rhetoric he adopted in the wake of the Second Zündel Trial, but beyond the ambiguous smokescreen one still discerns a negationist agenda. Using the more cunning and in a fundamental sense disingenuous means of innuendo and insinuation, Irving has abandoned the depreciatory declarations of the early 1990 to adopt the posture of an experienced trial lawyer, who tries to undermine the credibility of the most important witnesses. And it was so recognized by The Journal of Historical Review. A lengthy review of the book that appeared in early 1998 ended with the conclusion that "[r]eading this book, one can dismiss fears that Irving has somehow 'given up.'"1127
To understand the origin of Irving's latest venture into Holocaust denial, it is necessary to consider the way he rewrote certain parts of his Hitler's War after his 1988 conversion. The original edition included references to the use of Auschwitz as an extermination camp, and these Irving suppressed and reworked for the 1991 edition. Using a technique he was to perfect in his book on Nuremberg, Irving described Himmler's July 1942 visit to Auschwitz selectively using Höss's memoirs whenever it suited him, neutralizing the more damaging parts of Höss's account--which mention Himmler witnessing a gassing, and the latter's conversation with Höss about the expansion of the role of Auschwitz in the Holocaust--and introducing the exculpatory, skewed perspective of one his aides, Albert Hoffmann. The latter had stated after the war that he "totally disbelieves the accounts of atrocities as published in the press." Hoffmann's skepticism gave Irving the opportunity to add that, "[b]y late 1945 the world's newspapers were full of unsubstantiated, lurid rumors about 'Factories of death' complete with lethal 'gas chambers.'"1128
Having redefined historical facts as lurid rumors, Irving introduced a new version of the idea that the reports about the extermination camps were versions of the atrocity propaganda. By defining these reports as "rumors," Irving did suggest that they were untrue, but did not imply that these "rumors" were necessarily concocted by some allied secret--service officials. The sentence allowed for the possibility that the "rumors" about Auschwitz had arisen spontaneously. This then, seems to be Irving's current position. It is reflected in the contents of his internet website, htt:/www.cpp.co.uk/ Auschwitz/ Auschw.html--most particularly in the argument of a seemingly scholarly piece written by a person who identifies him/herself by the nom-de-plume of "Samuel Crowell."1129 Entitled "The Gas Chamber of Sherlock Holmes: An Attempt at a Literary Analysis of the Holocaust Gassing Claim," Crowell's article encompasses, in printed form, 71 pages of text annotated with 449 endnotes.
As the (electronic) publisher of "The Gas Chamber of Sherlock Holmes," Irving seems to repeat his 1989 attempt to join the avant-garde of Holocaust denial. Then he jumped on the Faurisson-Leuchter bandwagon, now he sponsors a new approach that seeks "to deliberately review the gassing claim, with the object, not to prove that gassings did or did not take place, but rather investigate whether a plausible basis for revisionist doubt exists."1130 Nothing could be more reasonable, at least not to the uninformed visitor of htt:/www.tpp.co.uk/Auschwitz/Auschw.html. And indeed, at first sight, even the academically trained visitor is surprised to find not the obviously insane rants of the Holocaust deniers of the old school (Rassinier, Butz, Faurisson), but what seems some interesting literary analysis. Crowell's model is Elaine Showalter's study Hystories: Hysterical Epidemics and Modern Media (1997), which explains claims of alien abduction, chronic fatigue syndrome, recovered memory, the Gulf War syndrome, and multiple personality disorder as psychogenic epidemics in which the narrative similarity between independent accounts of, for example, instances of alien abduction, does not mean that these actually took place.
Literary critics...realize that similarities between two stories do not mean that they mirror a common reality, or even that the writers have read each other's texts. Like all narratives, hystories have their own conventions, stereotypes, and structures. Writers inherit common themes, structures, characters, and images; critics call these common elements intertextuality. We need not assume that patients are either describing an organic disorder or else lying when they present similar narratives of symptoms. Instead, patients learn about diseases from the media, uunconsciously develop the symptoms, and then attract media attention in an endless cycle. The human imagination is not infinite, and we are all bombarded by these plot lines every day. Inevitably, we all live out the social stories of our time.1131
In one of his notes Crowell referred to this paragraph as his source of inspiration--but only to the first half of it. It is clear that the second half, in which Showalter stresses the importance of the media in the process of intertextuality, effectively challenges any attempt to apply the thesis about the origin and growth of hystories to the war-time situation in 1940s Europe, when people were starved of information, and when the media that were still operating were not only completely silent on the issue, but also unavailable to those very eastern European Jews whom Crowell credits with having created the hystory of mass extermination through gassing.
Be that as it may, let us forget for the moment the fundamental inappropriateness of Showalter's understanding of the nature of "hystories" as an explanation of any story--true or not--that developed during the Second World War in occupied Europe, and follow Crowell's seemingly open-minded approach to the history of the Holocaust.Identifying the story elements of "the gassing claim story," and revealing their "textual links" to other texts, Crowell argues that this allows us to explain how the gassing claim would have arisen spontaneously without having to resort to the well-worn conspiracy theory, embraced by Holocaust deniers until recently, that the Holocaust with its attendant claims was a deliberately created hoax made up in some secret service headquarters or some hidden council of Jewish elders. The gassing claim, Crowell asserts, comprised elements of specific concern to East European Jews since the early 19th Century.
[W]hile sceptical of the gassing claim, we are not setting as our primary objective to prove either that gassings did, or did not, take place. Rather what we want to do is simply narrate the emergence of the gassings claims, from the Spring of 1942 through the end of the Nuremberg and Auschwitz Trials in 1947. We call the analysis "literary" because what we will be concerned with above all are the themes, motifs, tropes, or story elements that comprise the gassing claims. To put it another way, we want to take the gassing claims and view them as narratives or as "texts", arrange them in order, and analyze them separately and in combination.1132
We will also find that the traditional extermination scenario, featuring a shower-gasburning sequence, is rooted in profound European and American concerns over disease and disease prevention, the use of poison gas and other mysterious weapons of mass destruction, and finally anxiety and fear over the recent reappearance of cremation as a means of disposal of the dead. In short, we will find that the generation of a delusion of mass gas extermination did not require a conspiracy, or a hoax, nor much conscious effort at all, but only a social and cultural climate that would facilitate the generation of such rumors, at a time of war, hatred, and social anomie. We will find that such rumors, facilitated here and there by a little solicitous fraud, and above all a willingness to believe the worst about one's enemies, would allow them to be stated as fact and to become themselves part of that social and cultural landscape of which we are only half-consciously aware.1133
Crowell reports on various reports on gassings that emerged in 1942, and notes some claims that, in the end, were not substantiated. The main motif is what Crowell calls the shower-gas-burning sequence, "[t]he idea that victims would be led into a bathing facility of some kind, and then be executed (the claimed method focussing on gas more and more as time went by), and then burned so that no trace would remain."1134 These claims, Crowell notes, all originated in Poland. This legitimate observation does not lead him to the obvious, that is an investigation of the specifics of German occupation policies in Poland, but to the in the whole constellation of events rather peripheral issue of eastern Jewish anxieties about delousing procedures. Ironically, Crowell's point of departure is a text Debrah Dwork and I introduced in our Auschwitz: 1270 to the Present (1996). It describes the procedures the Germans used at the end of the nineteenth century to delouse lice-ridden east European immigrants at their borders as witnessed by Maryashe Antin, a young girl from Polotzk. Antin recorded that the train stopped, and that the passengers were told to get out. They were led into a large yard where many men and women dressed in white awaited them.The deloused transmigrants were herded back to the railway cars, and sent straight to the ports.
This was...a scene of bewildering confusion, parents losing their children, and little ones crying; baggage being thrown together in one corner of the yard, heedless of contents, which suffered in consequence; those white-clad Germans shouting commands, always accompanied with 'Quick!Quick!'--the confused passengers obeying all orders like meek children, only questioning now and then what was going to be done with them....Our things were taken away, our friends separated from us; a man came to inspect us, as if to ascertain our full value; strange-looking people driving us about like dumb animals, helpless and unresisting; children we could not see crying in a way that suggested terrible things; ourselves driven into a little room where a great kettle was boiling on a little stove; our clothes taken off, our bodies rubbed with a slippery substance that might be any bad thing; a shower of warm water let down on us without warning; again driven to another room where we sit, wrapped in woollen blankets till large, coarse bags are brought in, their contents turned out, and we see only a cloud of steam, and hear the women's orders to dress ourselves--'Quick! Quick!' or else we'll miss--something we cannot hear. We are forced to pick up our clothes from among all the others, with the steam blinding us; we choke, cough, entreat the women to give us time; they persist, 'Quick! Quick!--or we'll miss the train!'--Oh, so we really won't be murdered! They are only making us ready for the continuing of our journey, cleaning us of all suspicions of dangerous sickness. Thank God!1135
Taking this text as his point of departure, Crowell asserts that eastern European Jews must have faced a culture shock when faced with such delousing procedures. During the Second World War Germans simply continued earlier practices: they "aggressively pursued the containment of disease using all these methods." Crowell attaches special significance to the fact that the initiation procedures in the concentration camps, in which people were stripped, shaved, and showered, also served a hygienic purpose. "There seems little reason to doubt," he observes, "that the level of disorientation and fear had changed little since the time of Mary Antin 50 years before."1136 On this basis, Crowell has little difficulty explaining that the stories about gassings in Sobibor and Treblinka, which were circulating in Europe by the end of 1942, were merely a reflection of the profound psychological impact of "the application of delousing measures on the populations of Eastern Europe,and particularly on Jewish people who were being resettled to the east or dragooned into the Labor Service."1137
Having neutralized the claim that the Operation Reinhard camps had been the centers of extermination, Crowell turned to the tougher assignment to explain the war-time rumors about gassings in Auschwitz as the result of Jewish anxiety about delousing procedures. One of the problems he faces is that, in the summer of 1944, two escapees from Auschwitz, Rudi Vrba and Alfred Wetzlar, wrote a report that described the gassings in great detail. "[T]he witnesses who wrote the report were repeating rumor, and, even if the witnesses believed it, the existence of a rumor is certainly not proof of the facts which the rumor alleges," Crowell writes. And he adds that "[t]he only thing the report really shows is that gassing rumors were current in Auschwitz at the time."1138 Yet, according to Crowell, even Vrba and Wetzlar had made no attempt at fabricate a hoax. In the confused and confusing reality of war-time Auschwitz, rumors continued to arise spontaneously, until they were backed up by partly fabricated official reports, creating a kind of mutually reinforcing, infernal information feedback loop.
Positive fabrication of evidence began, Crowell asserts, only with the Soviet liberation of Maidanek. Until then rumors had just arisen spontaneously.Crowell offered a very simple explanation for the gas tight door with peephole: the Vrba-Wetzlar Report included a statement that visiting Germans were present at the first gassing in crematorium 2, and that "the special peephole fitted into the door of the gas chamber was in constant use."1140 The conclusion was obvious: it had to come from the Majdanek report. The problem of Crowell's assertion is, of course, the fact that at the time of publication of the Maidanek Report the Vrba-Wetzlar Report had not yet been published, and that there is no evidence of any kind that the Soviets were in possession of the unpublished manuscript. Crowell certainly does not provide any evidence to support his suggestion.
The reverberations of the Majdanek Special Commission were extremely broad, many of the symbols of the Holocaust have their beginning here. Among these one may note the huge piles of clothes, shoes, and hair, which were taken as prima facie evidence of exterminations of a million and a half human beings, although we now know that these piles of belongings indicate no such thing, and the current evaluation holds that less than 100,000 perished at Majdanek. But the most notorious element of the Majdanek report was the gas tight door with peephole, whereby the Germans supposedly witnessed the death throes of their victims.1139
According to Crowell, in the three weeks that separated the liberation of Bergen-Belsen (April 15, 1945) and the publication of the Soviet Report on Auschwitz (May 6, 1945) the "Canonical Holocaust" came into being. The awful scenes that confronted the English and American soldiers seemed to provide proof of the gassing clams. Crowell did not consider the detailed eye-witness accounts that were recorded in those weeks. The Soviet Report was, as Crowell was concerned, a worthless document.Crowell ignored the detailed statements made in April and May 1945 by Jankowski, Dragon and Tauber, or the forensic investigations done by Dawidowski. While in fact a mass of evidence had become available in the spring and summer of 1945, Crowell mainatins that there was nothing but the "slim and insubstantial brochure" published by the Soviets.
The Soviet Special Commission on Auschwitz is probably the most important document ever issued on the gas extermination claim. Indeed, it is somewhat shocking to see the extent to which the claim is traced back to this slim and insubstantial brochure. But at the time it established not only the fact of the gas extermination claim but also the implementation of that alleged policy at the largest of all the concentration camps. On the other hand, the report offers no proof of the claims which it makes, only two documents in circumstantial support, and assertion of the number of victims based merely on arbitrary multiplication of cremation rates, and is buttressed only with large amounts of eyewitness testimony that fail to even come close to providing details of the gassing procedures.1141
This then leads him to engage the evidence he could not ignore, as it was and remained widely known in the West: the confessions by Kramer and others in the Lüneburg Trial. In his attempt to neutralize these independent corroberations of the eye-witness testimony of survivors, Crowell made most of the fact that the Soviets had come to the conclusion that four million people had been killed in Auschwitz.If the central issue at stake had been if four million people had died in Auschwitz, and if Kramer and his colleagues had all maintained that the victim total had been indeed four million, then Crowell would have had a point. But in the Lüneburg Trial the issue of the number of victims never arose. As we have seen, the essential elements of both the eyewitness testimonies of Bimko and others, and the confessions of Kramer and others,concerned the fact that gassings took place, and its attendant procedures. In other words, the Lüneburg Trial generated new evidence that went into the greatest possible detail about events that the Soviet report did not touch upon.
The fact that the eyewitness testimonies and confessions in the postwar period correspond to the Soviet Special Commission could be taken as simple corroboration of the Soviet report, except that it has now been recognized that the Soviet report was wrong, in particular on its totally arbitrary calculation of four million victims (current estimates hold one million or less.) That figure derived from the Soviet calculation of cremation capacities. It did not derive from testimony. On the other hand, we have several testimonies and confessions which support it. But since the figure is wrong, it follows that the testimonies and confessions which support the calculation were influenced by the report.
If a witness or a confessor makes statements that corroborate statements in an official and widely publicized report, that witness may be viewed as independently verifying the truth, although the absence of material and documentary support would still leave the matter in doubt. But when the witness or confessor corroborates statements and the statements are false, then one can presume that the witness and confessor statements were simple derivative of the reports. To put it another way, several testimonies may converge on a truth, but several testimonies cannot converge on a falsehood: in such a case one is dealing either with statements derived from a common erroneous source or a kind of mass hysteria determined by the authority of an erroneous source.
Such is the problem with all witness testimonies and confessions for the gas extermination claim, particularly for this initial period, but even more subsequently. The allegations of mass gassings had been widely disseminated since 1942, and had assumed official status by the Fall of 1944. Under these circumstances it would have been impossible to obtain "blind" testimony or an untainted confession. Only statements that provided high levels of corroborative detail would be really probative, yet that is precisely what was never offered. Eyewitness testimonies and confessions made the gravest errors, whenever they strayed into details....1142
In order to make plausible that a text, and not a historic event, was the cause for all the "gas chamber stories," Crowell was forced to assign to the Soviet report a weight it never had. It had authority, he claimed, because it had been issued by the Soviet Government. Therefore it became a point of departure for all, serving witnesses as a means to refresh their memory, and interrogators to determine if captured Auschwitz personnel spoke the truth.It is an interesting theory, but sadly for Crowell, there is absolutely no evidence, even not a scrap of it, that the Soviet Report played any part in the Lüneburg proceedings.
As soon as a witness or confessor made statements corroborating the Soviet Special Commission, then those statements themselves acquired the Soviet report's weight of authority because they matched its claims. Over time the proof of the mass gas exterminations at Auschwitz would not be traced in the popular mind back to the Soviet Auschwitz report itself, but rather to testimonies and confessions that were clearly produced under its influence. Thus a version of the gassing claim, what we would call the Canonical Holocaust, evolved almost entirely through oral testimonies that built upon the basis of a report that had no substance. Meanwhile, the damning newsreels of Belsen would be manipulated and juxtaposed from camp to camp according to the whim of the prevailing culture, and provide the unanswerable ground to the claim.1143
In his account of the Nuremberg Trials, Crowell first makes the erroneous claim that the presentation for the mass gassing and extermination claims was conducted by the Soviets, who drowned the courtroom in a "hysterical atmosphere of endlessly ramifying atrocity."1144 He ignored the fact that the major presentation of the Auschwitz testimonies was done by the French prosecutors, who did not quote the Soviet Report, but allowed witnesses to speak for themselves. Yet, without engaging the contents of these testimonies and affidavits, Crowell dismisses them out of hand. While he admitted that the Höss affidavit seems "impressive and authorative," Crowell judges that it "contributes absolutely nothing to what was already known as a 'fact of common knowledge' at the time." After flagging each of the possible sources for each of the statements, Crowell concludes that "[i]t is ultimately an extension and confirmation of the Canonical Holocaust as represented by the Soviet report." And therefore "it is practically valueless from a historiographical point of view."1145 By why, one would ask, would Höss so emphatically have rejected the Soviet claim that four million people had been killed in Auschwitz? As to the very extensive notes Höss made in Poland, Crowell limited himself to a short paragraph in which he remarked that there is no documentary support for the claims he makes, and that it is also a "model of incoherence and contradiction."1146 In fact, the situation is exactly the opposite. There is ample evidence that corroborates Höss's detailed descriptions of the camp and its operations.
Engaging Dr. Kremer's diary, Crowell repeats, without attribution, Faurisson's shoddy hermeneutical analysis.1147
Crowell thus asserted as fact that,by the Spring of 1946, the myth of the crematoria with its gas chambers had been fully formed.Yet he faced a problem: why was the myth of the gas chambers with their dummy showers, which had according to him originated in response to delousing procedures, so insistent on the fact that the gas chambers were located in crematoria? Crowell had a simple explanation. While the Ostjuden had feared delousing, Germans did not trust cremation. In 1934 the German government had introduced legislation to support cremation, and this was the cause of great anxiety.Thus the institution of a crematorium, which made it so much more difficult to detect foul play, came to suggest the presence of foul play. A rational procedure of corpse disposal became of necessity the terminus of a sinister chain of events. Crowell does not, however, offer any evidence of such a wide-spread anxiety about incineration.
So far we have seen that through the Spring of 1946 the gassing claim continued to develop, acquiring weight from authorative reports and the judicial notice of the court,and acquiring immediacy and broad acceptance through the medium of popular paperbacks and graphic photos and newsreel footage. After two years, the claim has fastened on the new-familiar shower-gas-burning sequence, and beginning in the Summer of 1944 that claim was imposed upon the physical facts of the camps. By the Summer of 1946, the mass gassing claim, as a "fact of common knowledge" had been saturating popular consciousness for four years, even though up to this point, as we have seen, no direct material or documentary evidence had been offered in its support.1148
Probably as a result of these anxieties about cremation, the procedure became the focus of a number of strange ideas. One of these was that cremation was suspicious, because, by burning a body a post mortem on the cause of death would be next to impossible to carry out. Under such conditions, all manner of murder, poisoning, and other activities could be carried out secretly.1149
The Germans did not merely fear cremation. They also suffered from a deep anxiety about poison gas--a direct result of the gas attacks of the First World War and the Italian use of gas in the Abyssinian War. After giving a couple of literary references, Crowell concluded that "the culture was primed for accusations of poison gas usage."1150 In response,the Germans "invested hundreds of millions of dollars in the preparation of air raid shelters."
From the beginning, all German air raid shelters were designed to protect against poison gas as well as against bombs. As a result, special air raid shelter doors were developed, usually made of steel. The doors would feature a round peephole covered with a perforated steel plate to prevent breakage, the peephole meant to facilitate visual inspection without having to break the gas-tight seal by opening the door.1151
Crowell assumed that these civil defense measures were also applied to concentration camps:In a footnote to this section, Crowell refers to one of his earlier postings on the web and the internet articles of Arthur Butz. He also offers the following observation.
[E]ach of the Birkenau crematoria was equipped with a gas-tight bomb shelter, and that these shelters also included decontamination facilities in the form of showers and baths. In this respect it is important to note that the Crematorium at the base camp was known to have been used as an air raid shelter, although its poison gas protection features have rarely been commented on.
We should emphasize that all of the material and documentary evidence, when placed in a larger context, points to gas tight air raid and anti-gas shelters, although it is likely that at least two of the traces--the gas detectors, and possibly the term "Vergasungskeller"--are rooted in other benign procedures, including disinfection. There is no material or documentary support for the claim that these spaces were designed, let alone used, as extermination gas chambers.1152
Both Dr. Butz and myself have construed "Vergasungskeller" in a civil defense context; however, if anything "vergasen" type words are even more firmly rooted in disinfection and delousing procedures. While convinced that we are correct in identifying several civil defense and gas protection features to Leichenkeller 1 of Krematorium II (i.e., the "Vergasungskeller") it is conceivable that part of it was intended for the disinfecting or delousing of clothing of the dead or the corpse handlers, but in that case it is doubtful that the entire Keller would have been set aside for that purpose: then the use of the word would be an example of metonymy, and the facility itself could well have been used for a variety of purposes: disinfecting corpse handlers, ad hoc disinfection and delousing of camp arrivals, and decontamination. Such multi-purpose use harmonizes with German civil defense procedures in the cities.1153
Crowell's argument, made both in the main body of his text and in the footnote, does not make any sense. As we have seen above, the architectural lay-out of the basement of crematoria 2 and 3 do not follow the strict division between an unclean and clean side characteristic of delousing facilities, and there is absolutely no indication anywhere in either the plans of these spaces nor in the correspondence that these spaces were designed to support "disinfecting corpse handlers, ad hoc disinfection and delousing of camp arrivals, and decontamination." Of course, in theory anything is possible, but only few things are probable, and historians take the probable and not the possible as the point of departure of their musings. Furthermore the design of the two morgues does not support the claim that these were meant as air-raid shelters. As we have seen in our discussion of Wilhelm Stäglich's claim that these spaces had been air-raid shelters, when the Germans designated crematorium 1 as a shelter for those working and recovering in the SS hospital in Auschwitz I, they subdivided the space in small inter-connected cells, separated by sturdy walls that gave extra support to the roof. There is absolutely no evidence that such a structural modification was ever contemplated or executed for the basement spaces of crematoria 2 and 3. Furthermore the location of the alleged air-raid shelters in the crematoria, at more than a mile distance from the SS camp, does not make any sense. Finally: sufficient mutually corroborating evidence of different origin converges on the conclusion that the morgue 1 of both crematorium 2 and 3 were used as gas chambers.
It is important to observe that even if Crowell would have been able to make a plausible case that the basement spaces of crematoria 2 and 3 would have been used as air-raid shelters, he would still have faced the problem of explaining the above ground gas chambers of crematoria 4 and 5. Both the plans, elevations and sections of these spaces have been preserved, and none shows any indication that these spaces could have offered any protection during an air-raid. Apart from that, these spaces in no way follow the standard lay-out for delousing facilities.
Finally Crowell ventured in a contorted argument in which he argued that because all the "non intentional" evidence of gas chambers in Auschwitz can be explained in terms of civil air defense and disinfection literature, one may safely infer that "there is no longer any documentary or material evidence that mass gassings took place at all." This argument is an obvious example of a non sequitur, as is Crowell's assertion that because Dawidowski and Sehn misinterpreted these documents that attested to the presence of air-raid shelters in the crematoria as proof for the use of the crematoria as killing installations, one may infer that "there was never any merit to the extermination gassing claim in the first place."In the footnote to this passage, Crowell once more refers to another of his articles, and adds the following thought.The problem, of course,with Crowell's theorizing is that the "establishment historians" in Poland had no reason to consider the possibility that the gas-tight features pointed at air raid shelters because there was no reason to do so. Information derived from many different sources--both intentional and non-intentional evidence--pointed clearly at the use of Leichenkeller 1 in crematoria 2 and 3 as gas chambers, and before Stäglich raised the possibility in the late 1970s, not one source suggested that these spaces would have been used as air raid shelters. Crowell may continue to accuse Auschwitz scholars of suppressing (non-existent) evidence relevant to the understanding of the gas chambers, but his own argument will easily stand as one of the most remarkable cases of special pleading I have ever encountered.
In other words, civil air defense literature, along with disinfection literature, does more than explain all of the alleged documentary and material for mass gas exterminations. Shown in their proper context, these documents, now clearly see as having been misused, bring us face to face with the possibility of a deliberate Polish and Soviet communist fraud.1154
This conclusion is, we believe,inescapable. At the beginning of our research we explored the possibility that the Soviets and other communists misconstrued the air raid shelter evidence, and it is certainly at least possible that many individuals did, and probably most Westerners. However, at no point in the historical record, or in the elaboration of these materials since then, has there ever been a recognition of the air-raid shelter origins of these gas-tight features. It is beyond belief that the association never occurred to an establishment historian on this subject, particularly in Eastern Europe, where the only extant "gas chamber" facilities are located. Therefore we are forced to conclude that establishment historians in Poland and the Soviet Union failed to point out the implications to their thesis, namely that the Germans had constructed air raid shelters but had used them for exterminations. This failure can only be understood as a desire to suppress the issue of air raid shelters per se, because otherwise it most certainly would have been (and would be!) a valuable addition to our knowledge of the Holocaust. Hence we conclude that the air raid shelter origin of gas-tight features was suppressed because of the questions it would raise, namely, the questions it would raise about the validity of the extermination hypothesis overall.1155
In his conclusion Crowell responds to the observation that many eyewitness accounts could not be lying. This he calls a worthless "sally" because, due to the fact that the shower-gas-burning model was widely disseminated during the war--a claim he does not support--anyone could have devised the story. Crowell compared it to the claims of many who claim to have been abducted by UFO's, and quoted Elaine Showalter to prove that narrative similarity does not mean much.This, then, led Crowell to treat the gassing claim as a story that arose out of intertextuality to become a massive "hystorie."
Literary critics, however, realize that similarities between two stories do not mean that they mirror a common reality, or even that the writers have read each other's texts. Like all narratives, hystories have their own conventions, stereotypes, and structures. Writers inherit common themes, structures, characters, and images; critics call these common elements intertextuality.1156
The gassing claim of the Holocaust derives from a complex of delusion and censorship. We are now in a position to encapsulate how both tendencies reinforced each the other. The gassing legend seemed to have been endemic in Europe for several years before the outbreak of World War Two. At that time, and in conjunction with the National Socialist euthanasia program, conducted in secret, the rumor of gassing developed more widely. Once the Germans began large-scale deportations in the Spring of 1942, the typical disinfection rumors arose, as they had in previous decades, but this time they tended to focus on the gassing claim. These rumors passed through the BBC, which gave the rumors authority, and in turn created the feedback loop for their further development. In this respect the growth of the gassing rumors should be distinguished from such phenomena as the War of the Worlds panic, because in the latter case official denunciation of the claim was immediate. But in this case there were no official pronouncements about the extermination rumors at all, but simply the repetition of these claims.
The combination of frightful epidemic scenes in the Western camps combined with a series of Soviet Special Commissions, including the Auschwitz report, set the seal on the story, providing the canonical Holocaust, which, in its function was scarcely distinguishable from one of the manuals of interrogation from the days of the great witch hunts or the Inquisition. The evolution of the Canon continued at the postwar trials, where the presentation on the alleged mass gassings and exterminations was in the hands of a state which had already demonstrated its schizophrenic tendencies in its approach to handling various internal crises while following a path of rapid and forced industrialization and modernization in the previous two decades. The residue of such rapid change is furthermore well understood to be anomie, disorientation, and other social pathologies, and these also profoundly affected the Jews of eastern Europe, who were themselves not only subject to almost continuous persecution during this time but also to the disorientation and social disintegration characteristic of grand socio-economic transformations.
This is the context in which the claim of mass gassing and extermination arose and found its fulfilment.1157
Crowell's attempt to explain the origin and development of "the gassing claim" could have claimed some importance because it could have begun to redress what has been, until now, the single largest liability of the Holocaust deniers: their inability to produce, in forty years of effort, a plausible counter-narrative to the inherited history of the Holocaust or, more particularly, the history of Auschwitz. The negationists claim to be revisionist historians, but they have yet to produce a history that offers a credible, "revised" explanation of the events in question. Until Crowell's piece appeared, Rassinier and his disciples have had an exclusively nihilist agenda. They have attacked the inherited account on the unproven assumption of some general conspiracy, but they have not been able, or willing, to even begin writing a single piece of investigative journalism--let be it produce one product of serious revisionist historiography--that gives us the origin and development of this conspiracy, the reason why and how it seized on, of all places, those very "ordinary" Auschwitz concentration camps as the fulcrum of its effort to hoodwink both gentiles and Jews, to leverage the international community in general, and defraud the Germans and the Arabs in particular. Crowell's article attempts to create a plausible narrative could have begun, at least superficially, to engage with issues of relevancy and causation, and to apply judgement. This having been said, one cannot but judge Crowell's attempt an utter failure. As a hypothesis, the air-raid-shelter origin of the "myth" of the gas chambers does not stand up to serious criticism. Not only do his claims make little sense, but his hypothesis is without any value because he did not submit it to the essential test: if Auschwitz would have been equipped with substantial gas-tight civil defence measures within its crematoria, than one ought to expect that one could deduce as its entailed consequent either the fact that also other concentration camps would have been equipped with such installations, or the fact that, if those camps did not show similar installations, one could establish very clear reasons why Auschwitz would have been equipped with substantial gas-tight air raid shelters within the crematoria, and the other camps not. Crowell did not test his hypothesis, and therefore it cannot be verified. He has not offered a single scrap of evidence that confirms the entailed consequent of the hypothesis. Hence, for all his effort, his hypothesis that the gas chambers can be explained as substantial gas-tight civil defence measures is without any value.
Irving does not seem to be bothered by all of this. Not only does he continue to offer his website to Crowell's essay, but recently also increased Crowell's offering, accompanied by the following introduction.The three letters that Crowell obtained from Moscow with the help of an anonymous donor indeed concern the creation of air-raid shelters. Two of the documents date from late 1943, and concern problems in the production and delivery of 176 pre-fabricated concrete arches that were installed over small, one-and two-person trenches that were created at regular intervals around the perimeter of Birkenau in order to provide, in case of an air raid, shelter for the SS men guarding the camp. These small shelters, which are still to be seen all around the perimeter of the camp, were not gas-tight, but completely open towards the prisoner compound, so that the guards could continue to cover the part of the perimeter assigned to them with their machine guns. Both the letters of October 25 and November 5, 1943 clearly refer to these small, open shelters, and neither letter contains any reference to a gas-tight shelter.
New Documents on Air Raid Shelters at Auschwitz Camp
AMERICAN WRITER "Samuel Crowell" [pseudonym], author of Technique and Operation of German Anti-Gas Shelters in WW2, published in German translation in Germar Rudolf's journal Vierteljahreshefte für freie Geschichtsforschung [VffG/VHO@aol.com] submitted three documents recently obtained from the archives of the former Soviet special state archives (the "trophy") archives. [For Crowell's other writings see http:/ www.codoh.com/inconshr123.html]. These bear on his thesis that the gas-tight doors found at the Auschwitz site (a facsimile of which is displayed at the Holocaust Memorial Museum at Washington DC) were nothing more sinister than the remains of air-raid shelters; all such shelters were fitted with gas-tight doors, in anticipation of Allied poison-gas attacks. What the documents do not state explicitly, in our opinion, is whether the shelters were for prisoners, the camp guards, or both.Focal Point Publications.1158
The third letter dates from November 16, 1944. By the late fall of 1944, allied air raids on the Auschwitz area had become commonplace, and the Soviet army had advanced within sixty miles of Auschwitz. The Central Construction Office was now ordered to create a few larger shelters for a maximum of 50 men each, and a smaller shelter with room for 20 persons and an emergency operation room. These were to accommodate SS personnel, and were to be built in the large SS compound at Birkenau--primarily in the eastern section of the SS camp to service the SS hospital. The design for the shelter for 50 men, which survives in the archive of the Central Construction Office, consisted of a C-shaped trench covered with 66 of the same kind of pre=fabricated concrete arches as had been used for the small, one-to two-person shelters designed a year earlier. Only now these were interconnected to make four interconnected bombproof corridors, each 1.50 metres wide. Each corridors was designed to accommodate in theory 15 men, but as the letter indicates, the Berlin headquarters indicated the need to lower the maximum accommodation from 60 to 50 people. The blueprints show attached to the four corridors that make up the main shelter four small toilet spaces, and four entrances. At each of the four entrances the architects projected a small vestibule identified as "Gasschleuße" (gas-lock). The second design shows a trench shelter reinforced with masonry walls, covered with a concrete roof. Like the other design, it is equipped with a gas lock. These air-raid shelters were thus indeed gas-tight. It is, however, interesting to note that the architects achieved their aim to produce a gastight shelter by means of a lock that was designated as a gas-lock in the drawings.1159 None of the blueprints of the crematoria show a space identified as a "Gasschleuße"--another indication that Crowell's hypothesis does not hold. None of the designs for morgue 1 of crematoria 2 and 3 show the required emergency exit--every air raid shelter was required to have such an alternative exit. None of these designs show the required strength of the walls and roofs, or the required 80 centimeter thick earth covering.1160 The designs for the two air-raid shelters designed for the SS compound in Birkenau follow the norms published in Neufert's 1944 edition of his Bau-Entwurfslehre--a fact that should not surprise as this book was owned by the SS Central Construction Office in Auschwitz.
In his comments on the letter, which took the form of nine points, Crowell assumed that the letters of late 1943 and the letter of November 1944 referred to exactly the same kind of shelter.The blueprint BW 14 makes it clear that the shelter was to accommodate SS men, and there the suggestion that there would have been 176 of such shelters is simply absurd. The shelter BW 14 uses 66 of the pre-fabricated concrete arches, and the letter of October 25, 1943 mentions the delivery of only 176 pieces, that is barely enough to make only three of these shelters. But, as we have seen, in 1943 the issue was not to create large shelters, but many small ones serving the SS men guarding the periphery of the camp.
#3 The three documents give us some idea of scope and cost. We know we are talking about trench shelters, because these usually hold about 50 people (letter of November 11, 1944) and are built for the prisoners ("Defending", Part 2). We must be discussing at least 176 such shelters, so as I interpret the "Bogenstücke"....1161
In points 5 to 7 Crowell presents a remarkable example of false analogy.While it is true that the German civil defence system was based on the principle that in principle all citizens were to have equal access to air-raid shelters, one cannot argue that this philosophy also applied to the concentration camps, and certainly not to Jewish inmates imprisoned in those camps. Primo Levi recorded shortly after his return from Auschwitz-Monowitz that, when in August 1944 the bombings began of the IG Farben Buna plant, the inmates were not allowed to seek shelter.Thus the presence of a few shelters for SS men does not imply the presence of shelters for the inmates. And certainly it does not lead to the conclusion that the crematoria would have been equipped with shelters. After all: if the narrow, uncomfortable concrete-reinforced trenches would have been good enough for the SS, why would the inmates have deserved better? Crowell assumed that "fixed structures were also equipped with air raid shelters." It is up to him to show evidence for this. The only "fixed structure" in Auschwitz that was retro-actively fitted with an air raid shelter was crematorium 1. Located next to the SS hospital of Auschwitz I, it was to serve sick SS men. No other buildings were so equipped. This can be easily determined by means of an even cursory glance at the blueprints preserved in the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum in Oswiecim, or by visiting the remaining "fixed structures." So therefore the reasoning that
#5 The German civil defense philosophy was that Luftschutzkreisen were designed to be fully integrated; in other words, you did not build just a few shelters for a few people, you endeavored to build shelters for everyone ("Defending," Part 1). The presence of these trench shelters, in other words, strongly implies that fixed structures were also equipped with air raid shelters.
#6 To put it another way, the presence of these trench shelters strongly argues that the crematoria were also equipped with their own air raid/gas shelters, because that accords with German LS policy.
#7 Since #6 is the argument of "Technique", we can safely argue that each crematorium had such air raid/gas shelters. But in that case, where were the gas chambers?1162
Entry to the reinforced shelters was forbidden to us. When the earth began to tremble, we dragged ourselves, stunned and limping, through the corrosive fumes of the smoke bombs to the vast waste areas, sordid and sterile, closed within the boundary of the Buna: there we lay inert, piled up on top of each other like dead men, but still aware of the momentary pleasure of our bodies resting. We looked with indifferent eyes att he smoke and flames breaking out around us: in moments of quiet, full of the distant menacing roar that every European knows, we picked from the ground the stunted chicory leaves and dandelions, trampled on a hundred times, and chewed them slowly in silence.
When the alarm was over, we returned from all parts to our posts, a silent innumerable flock, accustomed to the anger of men and things; and continued that work of ours, as hated as ever, now even more obviously useless and restless.1163
- 1. there are trench shelters in Auschwitz therefore
- 2. the "fixed structures" in Auschwitz are equipped with shelters therefore
- 3. the crematoria are equipped with shelters therefore
- 4. the crematoria did not contain gas chambers
For the record, I will provide the last two points Crowell made after having "proved" on the basis of the existence of trench air raid shelters that the gas chambers did not exist.I presume that, as one undoubtedly considered by Crowell as a "establishment Holocaust historian," I stand accused for having so misinterpreted the kindness of the SS to the Jews, and for having so misunderstood the significance of all those gas tight doors. Yet as a scholar willing to change his mind whenever the evidence proves me wrong, I will just pose Crowell this one, simple question:I only know of a very few references, and strangely enough those all seem to refer to doors and shutters used for spaces usually identified as homicidal gas chambers....
#8 It is also noteworthy that the SS would go to so much time, expense and trouble, to build gas-tight air raid shelters for people who were supposed to be condemned to extermination.
#9 It is furthermore noteworthy that neither Pressac, nor any establishment Holocaust historian, has ever bothered to even notice the importance of these civil defense measures. After all, if you have hundreds of air raid shelters, that's a lot of gas tight doors.1164
If there were so many hundreds of gas-tight air raid shelters, with so many hundreds of gas-tight doors, where are all those hundreds of gas-tight doors? Or if they were destroyed at the end of the war, where are in the archives references to all those hundreds of gas-tight doors? Where are the work-orders, where are the bills?
For all its idiocy, Crowell's piece is without doubt the most substantial piece concerning Auschwitz to be found on Irving's website. For the rest, Irving seems to use this medium as an electronic flee-market where he makes all his old ideas about Auschwitz available to the public. For example, he provides a full transcript of his 1988 testimony in the Zündel Trial as provided in Barbara Kulaszka's partisan digest of the case entitled Did Six Million Really Die? With a foreword written by Robert Faurisson, Kulaszka's 564-page long digest, which included the condensed version of The Leuchter Report (pages 469 to 502) was published by Zündel's publishing venture Samisdat Publishers Ltd. in 1992.1165 Or one can inspect at Irving's site one of his trumpcards: the passage from Professor Hinsley's book British Intelligence in the Second World War that notes that "[t]he returns from Auschwitz, the largest of the camps with 20,000 prisoners, mentioned illness as the main cause of death but included references to shootings and hangings. There were no references in the decrypts to gassing."1166
Many of the items Irving posts on his website aim at "poisoning the well." For example, one article entitled "On a Lecture to German Schoolchildren by Kasimierz Smolen, former director of the Auschwitz site," posts a picture of Smolen lecturing a group of adolescents.At every point the article tries to discredit Smolen, or use him to discredit the testimony of other eyewitnesses. For example, Smolen is identified as "a clerk in the camp's Political Section, and from Aug. 1942 he was, he admitted, one of the hated 'Kapos.'" Irving's designation of Smolen as "one of the hated Kapos" is simply slanderous: Smolen remained employed as a clerk in the registry department throughout his stay in Auschwitz. What Irving does not mention is that Smolen was active in the camp resistance, Together with Ludwik Rajewski, Tadeusz Szymanski, Tadeusz Wasowicz and Jan Trebaczewski, Smolen collected evidence of the crimes the SS committed in Auschwitz by keeping at the risk of his own life a private record of the transports brought to the camp and the number of deportees admitted to the camp after selection. Yet Irving proves capable of turning Smolen's resistance activity to challenge the historical record concerning the selections. Smolen "claimed to have copied out a twenty-eight page summary of the arriving transports: the first rosta showed prisoner No.1 arriving on June 20, 1940...."Contrary to Irving's suggestion, the two lists of male and female prisoners, made upon their registration into the camp, does not contain any information about the way these inmates had arrived in Auschwitz. They contain no information if the transports were all male, or all female, or mixed. Irving's comment in the parentheses either shows his ignorance of the nature of the lists, or his partisan view of Smolen. It certainly does not testify to his ability as a historian.
A news item in the Westfalische Nachrichten Mar. 10, 1997 shows one Kasimierz Smolen, 76, identified as a former director of the Auschwitz museum 1955 to 1991, lecturing to two hundred innocent teenaged school boys and girls in an indoctrination class at the Friedensschule (Peace School) in Münster, Germany.1167
There were tenwty-six pages of Frauentransporte (women's transports)--No. 1 arrived on Mar. 23, 1942 and No. 75, 697 on Feb. 26, 1944 (Smolen thus seemingly discounts the heart-rending stories of separations of man from wife as they stepped off the train onto the dreaded "Ramp" at Auschwitz.1168
After the decision to go for the final solution, taken, Smolen assured the teenagers, at the (Jan. 1942) Wannsee conference, a death machine without parallel had been installed at his camp, with between seventy and ninety percent of arriving Jews taken direct from the railroad ramp to the gas chambers as they were unfit for work. (Anne Frank's family evidently escaped this drama: all three members survived at the camp from 1944 until her father fell ill; he was being cared for in the S.S. hospital, when he was liberated in Jan. 1945; and her sister died of typhus, to which plague the wretched Anne herself, like hundreds of thousands of others, also succumbed after being evacuated from the camp in 1945 to Bergen-Belsen.)1169
One must admit to a certain sense of awe when confronted with Irving's attempt to suggest that the history of the Frank family casts doubt on the alleged role of Auschwitz as an extermination camp. A quick consideration of the facts of the case, however,makes clear that once more his challenge has no other base than a combination of (at best) ignorance and the fallacy of composition, added to which is (likely) a good dose of special pleading and a tendency to discredit in advance any evidence contrary to Irving's position on Auschwitz. On August 4, 1944 the Franks were found and arrested. The 55-year old Otto Heinrich Frank, the 44-year old Edith Frank-Holländer, the 18-year old Margot Betty Frank and the 15-year old Annelies Marie Frank had been relatively well fed and were in good health. After a four-week stay in the transit camp at Westerbork, where their condition did not deteriorate, the Franks were deported to Auschwitz on September 2, 1944--their train was the last transport from Holland to Auschwitz. One September 5 the train arrived in Auschwitz-Birkenau, and the 1,019 deportees were subjected to selection. In total 258 men and 212 women were admitted to the camp, the rest were killed in the crematoria. Both because of their age and their health, all the Franks fitted the category of those deemed "fit for work." Otto was brought in Auschwitz I, Edith, Margot and Anne in the women's camp in Birkenau. In the end of October the SS began the evacuation of the camp, and on October 28 Margot and Edith were put on transport to Bergen-Belsen. Edith remained behind, and given her deteriorating health probably would have been killed in the gas chambers if not for Himmler's order to dismantle the killing installations. Edith was brought to the inmate infirmary in the women's camp, and died there on January 6, 1945. Otto survived because, through the intervention of a Dutch doctor, he was admitted to the infirmary in Auschwitz 1, where he was liberated by the Russians on January 27, 1945. While he received no treatment in the infirmary, he was spared the beatings he had received before. The more than six-feet tall Otto weighed 114 pounds when the Russians arrived. Margot and Anne, fatally weakened by the journey from Auschwitz to Bergen-Belsen, succumbed to the typhus epidemic that killed 17,000 inmates in March, 1945.1170
Like the hiding experience of the Franks between 1942 and 1944, their sojourn in Auschwitz was not typical. When they arrived in the camp the killing of those considered to be on arrival as "unfit for work" was still going on on a daily basis but, owing to the increasing scarcity of labour and the increasingly important role of concentration camps as pools of forced labour, the SS had decided to lengthen the average lifespan of the inmates destined for ultimate elimination. Therefore the camp routine which had been absolutely murderous two years earlier had been made somewhat more bearable for the inmates, and the killings at the whim of individual Kapos and SS guards had stopped. As a result, the decline of health of the Franks was slower than it would have been under "normal" Auschwitz conditions. By the time that their health had deteriorated to such a point that, under the normal camp regime as it had existed between 1942 and 1944, they would have been selected for the gas chambers in one of the regularly occurring selections within the women's and men's camps, the machinery of death was already in a state of dissolution: the last selection for the gas chambers to which the Frank women could have been subjected, which occurred in the infirmary in the women's camp, happened on October 20, 1944--that is eight weeks after their arrival.1171 By the time Otto Frank was taken in the infirmary, selections of male inmates had come to an end.
In conclusion: any attempt to take the exceptional experience of the Franks--none of them was gassed in Auschwitz--as a basis for a universal conclusion--therefore no gassings took place in Auschwitz--is a classic example of the fallacy of converse accident, or tabloid thinking. This form of argument has been a favourite device of propagandists, and has no place in historical discourse.
The rest of the article on Kasimierz Smolen's lecture continued to present speculative arguments, misinformation, and non sequiturs.For the record: Mr. Smolen survived "Hitler's Final Solution" because he was a gentile, and not a Jew. And Smolen did encourage Dr. Piper's path-breaking research into the number of victims, and endorsed his conclusions during the internal review in 1986. Still under his directorship, the Auschwitz museum moved in 1990 to change the official assessment of the number of victims from the range of 2.5 million to 4 million to a range between 1 and 1.5 million victims. As director Smolen endorsed this change, yet privately he did state that while he believed that while Piper's minimum numbers were solid, he did not rule out the small possibility that the real number of victims would have been higher. Asked about the 4 million number, he stated that "while in my opinion no-one can deny with absolute certainty the number of 4 million, it must however be considered to be unlikely."1173 Given the great emotional issues attached to the change in the official victim count of Auschwitz, I easily can understand why Smolen preferred to make the statement the way he did. I cannot understand, however, how Irving could see Smolen's general endorsement of Piper's calculations as a rigid defence of the Soviet figure.
The German newspaper reports alas little of the subsequent discussion: no doubt some of the brighter children will have asked Smolen--who miraculously survived Hitler's Final Solution although languishing five years within Auschwitz as a Pole, a Jew, a resistance fighter, and a communist--about his different evidence at the Nuremberg Trials, about the fake ("reconstructed")gas chamber and crematorium chimney erected at the Auschwitz museum site in 1948, and about why he continued to pass this building off as genuine for thirty-five years; and about that tablet of stone erected under his stewardship commemorating "over four million" liquidated at the camp, a figure which the communist Smolen defended rigidly until his enforced resignation in July 1990.1172
Let us continue towards the end of Irving's discussion of Smolen's Münster lecture.Given the enthusiastic support of the staff of the museum and the International Council that oversees the museum, I do not see any reason for the adverb "grudgingly." Furthermore there is no justification for the clause "and the true figure is coming down with each week that passes." Neither the museum nor legitimate historians working in the field have proposed a major revision of Piper's number of victims.
The figure on the stone tablet was erased immediately, and replaced some years later, grudgingly, with one alleging the deaths of one million. There is no doubt that large numbers of Jews and other innocents died at Auschwitz. The circumstances are however very much in dispute, and the true figure is coming down with each week that passes.1174
The article ended with another speculative argument followed by some misinformation, which has no bearing on Smolen's Münster lecture, but offers once more insight in Irving's current position concerning the war-time history of Auschwitz.It is unlikely that these "children"--I presume Irving calls these high school students "children" as it allows him to invoke the fairy tale of the Emperor's New Clothes--would have asked about Leuchter, Rudolf, and the late Professor Markiewicz. But if they did, then it is possible, yes even probable, that Smolen would have told them about the final conclusion of the report that came from the Jan Sehn Institute in Cracow:All-in-all, Irving's account of Smolen's lecture offers little except negationist propaganda.
Some children may even have asked about the forensic tests conducted by Fred Leuchter, by Germar Rudolf, by the Jan Sehn institute of Kraków and by other bodies, all of which show no trace of cyanide-compound residues in the alleged homicidal structures.1175
The present study shows that in spite of the passage of a considerable period of time (over 45 years) in the walls of the facilities which once were in contact with hydrogen cyanide the vestigial amounts of the combinations of this constituent of Zyklon B had been preserved. This is also true of the ruins of the former gas chambers. The cyanide compounds occur in the building materials only locally, in the places where the conditions arose for their formation and persistence for such a long time.1176
One can go on, and subject every offering at Irving's website to similar kinds of criticism. The overriding aim of the various items presenting eye-witness-testimony is to discredit them. For example, Irving presents under the general heading of "Liars and other eye-witnesses" an article that appeared under the headline "Book 'An Artistic Picture': Survivor never saw actual gassing deaths" in the Toronto Star on January 24, 1985. It reported on Christie's bullying cross-examination of Vrba during the Zündel Trial.One wonders, of course, how Vrba's observation of an SS man pouring Zyklon B into the underground space can be discredited by his admission that he never was in that underground space. But Irving has no difficulty in quickly condemning Vrba as a "liar," throwing in an editorial aside even doubt on Vrba's 1944 escape from Auschwitz, adding to this the suggestion of a widespread conspiracy concocted by Slovak Jews and the American Jew Henry Morgenthau....
Defence attorney Doug Christie, of Victoria, challenged Vrba's earlier testimony that he saw a Nazi SS soldier in a gas mask pouring poison gas into a lower bunker connected to a Birkenau crematorium. Vrba yesterday admitted he was never inside that particular bunker, after Christie suggested it was the roof of a mortuary Vrba had seen, not a gas chamber.1177
IT IS WORTH COMMENTING that Rudolf Vrba, alias Walter Rosenberg, is not just any survivor: he and a certain Wetzler claimed to have escaped the camp in the spring of 1944, and it was their horrific eye-witness account, edited by the Slovakian Jewish community leaders, which was released in November 1944 by the War Refugee Board in Washington (in fact by Henry Morgenthau acting behind the back of, and against the wishes of, the two other Board members Henry Stimson and Cordell Hull).1178
For the record, here an excerpt from the 1985 proceedings of the first Zündel Trial. Vrba had told the court that he had escaped Auschwitz in April 1944 in order to warn the Jewish community in Hungary that the crematoria were prepared for them. Then he told the court that, soon after the Hungarian action had begun, the Auschwitz crematoria became overloaded, and the Sonderkommando began to incinerate bodies in large incineration pits. During cross-examination, Christie wasted no time to use this statement to discredit the testimony of Vrba.
[Mr. Christie]: "Did you see one body being taken out of the crematorium and hauled to a pit?"
[Mr. Vrba]: "This happened in May and June and July 1944. And I escaped in April. In other words--"
Q.: "The answer is no."
A.: "In other words, I have not [been] present during the mass murder of the Hungarian Jews. Indeed, my job was to escape from Auschwitz before this mass murder started and to warn them."
Q.: "In spite of the fact that you weren't a witness to such a thing, you have told us these things were fact. Right?"
A.: "These things can be considered as a fact. Also, I haven't been on the moon. I consider it a fact that somebody landed on the moon, and that the picture was not made in the Star Trek atelier because there are certain informations that a person doesn't doubt. If I used your logic, you can come to me and say that the earth is flat. Everybody can see it, and I can't prove otherwise, and the astronauts who went to the moon, they were filmed with an atelier together with Star Trek, and all of this was invented. How can I object against this argument?"1179
Vrba's anguished outburst may not have measured up to the decorum of judicial proceedings. But for anyone who has been forced to deal for months on end with the dismal sophistries of men like Christie, and the relentless ability of the people on whose behalf he acted to interminably offer new suggestions to deny the obvious, Vrba's sense of utter exhaustion and despondency with the whole affair rings only all-too-true. And so I use him to bring my report to closure--despite the fact that in this day and age of chameleonesque media, which allow for a continuous changing and updating of information, endings have become almost impossible to achieve. One knows that in such a world one can only repeat Samuel Beckett's Clov: "Let's stop playing."With a bang . . . .
Hamm: "Never!" (Pause) "Put me in my coffin."
Clov: "There are no more coffins."
Hamm: "Then let it end!....With a bang!"1180
As I wrote at the beginning of this report, Resnais' and Cayrol's 1955 movie Night and Fog provided my entrance into the world of the camps. As I have come to the end the descriptive part of this report, I will leave you with the haunting words which, at some time in the early 1970s, sent me on my way to become a student of the history of Auschwitz--a history that included and continues to include, as we have seen, its own negation and as such refuses to be imprisoned in the past--a history which, unless studied, understood, properly (re)presented, and taught, could generate a new and awful present.
Night and Fog ends with an evocation how, at the end of the war, the concentration camp universe collapsed under its own weight, to leave mountains of unburied corpses, dazed "survivors," and the people who designed and operated the camps.
A Kapo, a Junker, and then an earnest, pleasant-looking young man testify in court.
"I am not responsible," says the Kapo.
"I am not responsible," says the officer.
"I am not responsible."
A final look at a mountain of naked, mutilated corpses.
"Then who is responsible?"
(Into color): Moving over a rich field with flowers; the twigs and rocks on the ground are reminiscent of the human bones.
"At the moment I speak to you, the icy water of the ponds and ruins is filling up the hollows of the charnel house. A water as cold and murky as our own bad memories. war is napping, but with one eye always open.'
Moving along the sunny landscape, flowers swaying in the breeze; the camps are in the background.
"The faithful grass has come up again on the Appelplatz, around the cell blocks. An abandoned village, but still full of peril."
Still moving: crematorium ruins; twisted wires; broken watchtowers; crumbled chambers; slabs of cracked concrete; abstract figures in stone.
"The crematorium is no longer in use. The devices of the Nazis are out of date. Nine million dead haunt this landscape. Who is on the lookout from this strange tower to warn us of the coming of new executioners? Are their faces really different from our own? Somewhere among us, there are lucky Kapos, reinstated officers, and unknown informers. There are those who refused to believe this, or believed it only from time to time. And there are those of us who sincerely look upon the ruins today, as if the old concentration camp monster were dead and buried beneath them. Those who pretend to take hope again as the image fades, as though there were a cure for the plague of these camps. Those of us who pretend to believe that all this happened only once, at a certain time and in a certain place, and those who refuse to see, who do not hear the cry to the end of time."1181
1010. Tape 114, David Irving, "The Worldwide Anti-Irving Lobby and the Eichmann Memoir," Speech given at the 11th International Revisionist Conference, Irvine, October 10-12, 1992, Irving's Further Discovery.
1011. Nicholas Watt, "Nazi papers were gift to historian," The Times (January 13, 1992).
1012. "Etwa um die Jahreswende 1941/42 teilte mir der Chef der Sipo un des SD, Heydrich, mündlich mit, daß der Führer die physische Vernichtung des jüdischen Gegners befohlen habe." Rudolf Aschenauer (ed.), Ich, Adolf Eichmann: Ein historischer Zeugenbericht (Leoni am Starberger See: Druffel, 1980), 177.
1013. "Physisichen Vernichtungsbefehl." and "Als Heydrich mir sagte,'Ich komme vom Reichsführer; der Führer hat nunmehr die physische Vernichtung der Juden angeordnet,"' waren das Worte, die so inhaltsschwer waren, daß man sie im Augenblick des Sprechens nicht einmahl annähernd ermessen kann." Ibid., 178.
1014. "Ich erinnere mich noch genau des Augenblicks, als er mir sagte: 'Der Führer hat die physische Vernichting befohlen.' I hörte das Wort zum erstenmal im Leben, und so is es mir haftengeblieben; ich habe wohl viel vergessen, aber diesen Augenblick werde ich nie vergessen. Weder Müller noch Heydrich noch Eichmann noch sonst irgendjemand vom RSHA waren damit befaßt, sondern der Entschluß wurde vom Führer und vom Reichsführer direkt gefaßt." Ibid, 229.
1015. Faxed letter Faurisson to Irving, January 12, 1992, Irving's Further Discovery.
1016. Faxed Letter Irving to Faurisson, January 12, 1992, Irving's Further Discovery.
1019. Julian Kossoff, "Hitler Innocent, says Irving, despite 'discovery' of Eichmann documents," Jewish Chronicle (January 17, 1992), 1.
1020. Ernst Zündel, "The David Irving/Eichmann Memoirs Controversy!" Power (January 30, 1992), 2f.
1021. "Has Irving 'Recanted' His Revisionist Stand?" IHR Newsletter, no. 85 (February 1982), 3.
1022. Letter David Irving to Mark Weber, May 20, 1992, Irving's Further Discovery.
1023. Letter Irving to Tom Marcellus and Mark Weber, June 4, 1992, Irving's Further Discovery
1025. David Irving, Nuremberg: The Last Battle (London: Focal Point, 1996), 353f.
1026. "Eleventh IHR Conference: A Rousing Success," IHR Newsletter no. 90 (November 1992),2.
1027. Tape 114, David Irving, "The Worldwide Anti-Irving Lobby and the Eichmann Memoir" at the 11th International Revisionist Conference, Irvine, October 10-12 1992, Irving's Further Discovery. A cleaned up version of the speech, entitled "the Suppressed Eichmann and Goebbels Papers," can be found in The Journal of Historical Review, vol. 13 (March / April 1993), 14ff..
1028. The only reason that the Höss memoirs are "a problem" is, of course, the fact that they do not support the negationist thesis that no gassings took place in Auschwitz. The solution to "the problem" is to assert that Höss made his statement under duress.
1029. Tape 114, David Irving, "The Worldwide Anti-Irving Lobby and the Eichmann Memoir" at the 11th International Revisionist Conference, Irvine, October 10-12 1992, Irving's Further Discovery.
1030. Aschenauer ed., Ich, Adolf Eichmann, 496.
1031. Ibid., 407.
1032. It is, of course, very difficult if not impossible to prove that something does no exist. Therefore I accept the at least theoretical possibility that Irving had at his disposal a page of Eichmann's memoirs which does contain the alleged calculations. Given the fact that these calculations do not appear in the published version of Eichmann's memoirs, and given the contents of the two quotations which I believe the inspiration of Irving's fabulation, I believe that it is up to Irving to produce evidence for his account of Eichmann's attack on Höss.
1033. For the record, here are Eichmann's remarks about his visit to Auschwitz made during his interrogation in Israeli captivity: "I kept getting orders to visit Auschwitz. Müller told me they were expanding the plant, and he wanted me to take a look and report back to him. Herr Hauptmann, those fellows were very cruel, describing those things as gruesomely as possible to a man accustomed to desk work, putting it to him as abruptly as possible. Naturally, they laughed their heads off when my nerves broke down and I couldn't keep up my military dignity--that's what they called it--the way they did. Höss told me Himmler had been there and taken a good look at everything. He told me the Reichsführer himself had gone all weak in the knees. He meant that, meant that, in a disparaging sense, because Höss himself was thoroughly hardened. That was the day when Himmler, after seeing that--undoubtedly to screw up his own courage and hide his weakness from his concentration-camp men--told Höss that those were battles the coming generation wouldn't have to fight. When I visited the installation, Höss sent for an all-terrain car. We drove to a certain place--I don't know my way around Auschwitz. I never got any further than the command post at the main entrance. Had no desire to. As we were driving, I saw big buildings. Almost like factories. Enormous chimneys. Höss said to me: "Working to capacity! Ten Thousand!" A job was under way. They were separating the able bodied from the ones who were supposedly unfit for work. I didn't watch the gassing. I couldn't. I'd have probably keeled over. And I thought: Whew, I've got it over with again. But then he drives me to a big trench. It was very big. I can't say exactly how big, maybe a hundred meters long, maybe a hundred and fifty or hundred and eighty. And there was an enormous grating, and iron grating. And.corpses were burning on it. Then I got sick to my stomach. Sick to my stomach." Jochen von Lang, ed. Eichmann Interrogated: Transcripts from the Archives of the Israeli Police, Transl. Ralph Manheim (New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1983), 83f..
1034. For the record: Eichmann mentioned in his statement made in Israel that he saw "big buildings. Almost like factories. Enormous chimneys. Höss said to me: 'Working to capacity! Ten Thousand!' A job was under way."
1035. Tape 114, David Irving, "The Worldwide Anti-Irving Lobby and the Eichmann Memoir" at the 11th International Revisionist Conference, Irvine, October 10-12 1992, Irving's Further Discovery.
1037. "Etwa um die Jahreswende 1941/42 teilte mir der Chef der Sipo un des SD, Heydrich, mündlich mit, daß der Führer die physische Vernichtung des jüdischen Gegners befohlen habe." Aschenauer (ed.), Ich, Adolf Eichmann, 177.
1038. "Als Heydrich mir sagte, 'Ich komme vom Reichsführer; der Führer hat nunmehr die physische Vernichtung der Juden angeordnet,"' waren das Worte, die so inhaltsschwer waren, daß man sie im Augenblick des Sprechens nicht einmahl annähernd ermessen kann." Ibid., 178.
1039. "Ich erinnere mich noch genau des Augenblicks, als er mir sagte:'Der Führer hat die physische Vernichting befohlen.' I hörte das Wort zum erstenmal im Leben, und so is es mir haftengeblieben; ich habe wohl viel vergessen, aber diesen Augenblick werde ich nie vergessen. Weder Müller noch Heydrich noch Eichmann noch sonst irgendjemand vom RSHA waren damit befaßt, sondern der Entschluß wurde vom Führer und vom Reichsführer direkt gefaßt." Ibid, 229.
1040. Tape 114, Irving, "The Worldwide Anti-Irving Lobby and the Eichmann Memoir" at the 11th International Revisionist Conference, Irvine, October 10-12 1992, Irving's Further Discovery.
1042. Letter David Irving to Ernst Zündel, January 27, 1993, Irving's Further Discovery.
1044. Mark Weber, "A New Journal and a New Era," The Journal of Historical Review, vol. 13 (January / February 1993), 3.
1045. Letter David Irving to Mark Weber, March 4, 1993, Irving's Further Discovery.
1046. Letter Mark Weber to David Irving, March 4, 1993 and letter David Irving to Mark Weber, March 7, 1993, Irving's Further Discovery.
1047. Tape 200, David Irving, "The Search for Truth in History Banned," 1993, Irving's Further Discovery.
1050. John C. Ball, Air Photo Evidence (Delta B.C.: Ball Resource Services Limited, 1992), 1.
1051. Ibid., 113.
1052. "The Ball Report," insert in Ball, Air Photo Evidence, 1.
1053. Letter David Irving to Ernst Zündel, December 15, 1993, Irving's Further Discovery.
1054. Letter Ernst Zündel to David Irving, December 15, 1993, Irving's Further Discovery
1055. David Irving, "Opinion," Action Report (September 1994).
1056. David Irving, "Revelations from Goebbels' Diary," The Journal of Historical Review, vol. 15 (January /February 1995), 5.
1057. Ibid., 15f.
1058. Ibid., 16f.
1059. Ibid., 17.
1060. C. Behan McCullagh, The Truth of History (London and New York: Routledge, 1998), 58.
1061. Irving, "Revelations from Goebbels' Diary," 17.
1062. Eric Conan, "Auschwitz: La mémoire du mal" (January 19, 1995) 54ff.
1063. Ibid., 57
1064. Ibid., 60.
1065. Ibid., 68.
1066. The negationists obviously missed a piece that appeared a year earlier, and that stated more or less the same about crematorium 1. "There have been additions to the camp the Russians found in 1945 as well as deletions, and the suppression of the prisoner reception site is matched by the reconstruction of Crematory I just outside the north-east perimeter of the present museum camp. With its chimney and gas chamber, the crematory (KL/BW11 and KL/BW14) functions as the solemn conclusion for tours through the camp. Visitors are not told that what they see is a post-war reconstruction; its homicidal gas chamber had been abandoned in 1942, and at the end of 1943 the three furnaces were dismantled. Modified further in the fall of 1944, the building became an air-raid shelter with an emergency operating room. / When Auschwitz was transformed into a museum after the war, the decision was taken to concentrate the history of the whole complex in one of its component parts. The infamous crematories where the mass murders had taken place were ruins in Birkenau, a few kilometres distant. The committee felt that a crematory was required at the end of the memorial journey, and Crematory I was reconstructed to speak for the history of the four crematoria at Birkenau. This program of usurpation was rather detailed. A chimney, the ultimate symbol of Birkenau, was recreated; four hatched openings in the roof, as if for pouring Zyklon-B into the gas chamber below, were installed, and two of the three furnaces were remodelled. There are no signs to explain these restitutions, they were not marked at the time, and the guides remain silent about it when they take visitors through this "palpably intact" building that is presumed by the tourist to be the place where it happened." Debrah Dwork and Robert Jan van Pelt,. "Reclaiming Auschwitz," in Geoffrey Hartman ed., Shapes of Memory (London: Blackwell, 1993), 239.
1067. Blueprint crematorium 1, 1942, Osobyi Moscow, ms. 502/1--312. See van Pelt and Dwork, Auschwitz: 1270 to the Present, plate 3.
1068. "French Make a Clean Breast: Admit Firty-Seven Year Auschwitz 'Gas-Chamber' Fraud," David Irving's Action Report, no. 9 (May 1995), 1.
1069. Ibid., 4.
1070. David Irving's Action Report, no. 9 (May 1995), 4.
1071. Interview Ron Casey with David Irving, July 27, 1995, Station 2GB, Media Monitors (Sydney, Melbourne etc.): Broadcast Transcript S36962003
1072. Hilberg, The Destruction of the European Jews, rev. and def. ed., vol. 3, 1219.
1073. Faxed Letter Faurisson to Irving, September 29, 1995, Irving's Further Discovery.
1074. Letter Irving to Faurisson, November 28, 1995, Irving's Further Discovery.
1075. Faxed Letter Faurisson to Irving, December 1, 1995, Irving's Further Discovery.
1076. Robert Faurisson, "On David Irving," in Adelaide Institute, no. 43 (August 1996), 1.
1077. Letter Irving to Faurisson, January 29, 1997, Irving's Further Discovery.
1079. David Irving, Nuremberg: The Last Battle (London: Focal Point, 1996), 246.
1080. Ibid., 236.
1081. Ibid., 131.
1082. Ibid.., 237.
1083. State of Israel, Ministry of Justice, The Trial of Adolf Eichmann: Record of Proceedings in the District Curt of Jerusalem, 5 vols. (Jerusalem: The Trust for the Publication of the Eichmann Trial, 1992), vol. 5, 1892.
1084. Jochen von Lang, ed. Eichmann Interrogated: Transcripts from the Archives of the Israeli Police, Transl. Ralph Manheim (New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1983), 112. The original German is as follows: Less: "Zu welchen Resultaten kam er?" Eichmann: "Er hat die ganzen Vernichtungssachen im Osten erfaßt. Ungefähr war es damals, das allerdings mit Auswanderung, mit der Zahl der natürlichen Verminderung, wie er das nannte, glaube ich, 4,5 oder 5 Millionen. Diese Zahl is mit in Erinnerung geblieben. Und damit--so hieß es in dieem Bericht--damit sei das Judenproblem in Europa im wesentlichen abgeschlossen." Jochen von Lang, ed., Das Eichmann-Protokoll: Tonbandaufzeichnungen der israelische Verhöre (Berlin: Severin und Siedler, 1982), 103.
1085. Von Lang, ed. Eichmann Interrogated, 115f. The German original reads as follows: Less: "Denn hat Ihr Bericht vorher mehr enthalten?" Eichmann: "Ja, er hat die gesamte Situation enthalten, die gesamten Schwierigkeiten in den Ländern. Ein gesamter, wie soll ich sagen, umfassender Arbeitsbericht, natürlich in entsprechender, in entsprechender telegrammäßiger Kürze. Aber was getötet worden ist, darüber habe ich keine Zahlen gehabt. Als der Statistiker bei mir gewesen ist, acht Tage oder vierzehn Tage, auf meiner Dienststelle, Tag für tag, um seine Nachforschungen zu betreiben, hat er hier Fernschreiben aufgegeben und alles mögliche and all möglichen Stellen...Nun glaube ich...Jetzt wäre folgendes möglich...Ja, das ist jetzt, jetzt ist es mit völlig klar, dieser Brief, warum heißt 'aus Tarnungsgründen'. Der Statistiker wird von mir ledeglich die gefahrenen Summen bekommen haben und nicht die getöteten." Less: "Seit wann kannten Sie Dr. Wilhelm Höttl?" Eichmann: "den Höttl habe ich in 1938 irgendwie in Wien kennengelernt. Er war damals auch beim SD, glaube ich." Less: "War er die ganzen Jahre beim SD? War er auch in Ungarn?" Eichmann: "Es ist mir jetzt nich wissentlich, daß Höttl in Ungarn war, aber wenn er dort gewesen ist, habe ich ihn sicherlich auch dort gesprochen." Less: "Erzählten Sie Höttl, daß Sie in Ungarn den Abtransport der Juden in das Vernichtungslager Auschwitz überwachen und organisieren?" Eichmann: "Überwachen und organisieren--das hätte ich dem Höttl nie gesagt." Less: "Sondern?" Eichmann: "Dem Höttl hätte ich--hätte ich die Sache wahrheitsgemäß gesagt, denn Höttl ist ja um jene Zeit--glaube ich-- längst schon Abteilungsleiter im Amt VI des Reichssicherheitshauptamtes gewesen, er hat die Sache ebensogut gewußt wie ich. Das Amt VI, das hat sich ja mit Nachrichtenangelegenheiten befaßt. Warum sollten die nicht über das Tun und Treiben der eigenen--möchten man mal sagen--Behörden interrichtet gewesen sein." Less: "Sagten Sie Höttl, wieviele Juden vernichtet wurden?" Eichmann: "Wieviel ich schätze? Wenn er mich gefragt hat, ist das schon möglich, daß ich ihm da eine Zahl geschätzt habe--jawohl." Von Lang, ed., Das Eichmann-Protokoll, 105f.
1086. Von Lang, ed. Eichmann Interrogated, 117ff.. The German original reads as follows: "Ich werde ihm sicherlich damals den Inhalt des Bericht des Statistikers gesagt haben. Das wrde ich ihm gesagt haben. Ich glaube, daß dieser Gesamtbericht schließt mit einer Gesamtsumme von fünf Millionen. So entsinne ich mich noch." Von Lang, ed., Das Eichmann-Protokoll, 108.
1087. International Military Tribunal, Trial of the Major War Criminals, 41 vols. (Nuremberg: Secretariat of the Tribunal, 1947-49), vol. 4, 364f.
1088. Ibid., 365.
1089. Ibid., 359.
1090. Ibid., 369.
1091. Ibid., 370f.
1092. Irving, Nuremberg, 238.
1093. For the record, here Eichmann's explanation of the meaning of the term "Sonderbehandlung" or "Special Treatment": Less: "What does 'special treatment' and who was subjected to it?" / Eichmann: "Special treatment is...Hmmm, who thought up that term, I wonder?" / Less: "And what does it mean?" / Eichmann: "Special treatment was killing. Who thought up the term--I don't know. Must have been Himmler, who else could it have been--but then, I have no proof, maybe Heydrich thought of it after Göring gave him his authorization. But I really don't know. I'm just trying to puzzle it out." / Less: "But you knew special treatment meant killing?" / Eichmann: "Everybody knew that, yes, Herr Hauptmann, everybody knew. When a shipment was marked 'for special treatment,' they decided at the point of arrival who was fit for labour and who wasn't." / Less: "In other words, special treatment was given to those who were declared unfit for labor?" / Eichmann: "By the doctor, yes. But there were also certain groups that Himmler put down for 'priority accomodation.'" / Less: "Who drew up the lists of Jews to be sent to Auschwitz and given special treatment?" / Eichmann: "That must have been the evacuating authority. That's my guess. Because IVB4 didn't evacuate, it only transported." Jochen von Lang, ed. Eichmann Interrogated: Transcripts from the Archives of the Israeli Police, Transl. Ralph Manheim (New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1983), 108f.
1094. Von Lang, ed. Eichmann Interrogated, 109f. The German original reads as follows: Less: "Wieviel Juden wurden in Auschwitz vergast und getötet?" Eichmann: "Herr Hauptmann, ich habe gelesen, daß Höß gesagt haben soll, er habe vier Millionen Juden getöttet. Ich hielt diese Zahl bisher für übertrieben hoch. Aber wenn wir jetzt von Zahlen überhaupt sprechen wollten: ob das eine Million ist oder ob das vier Millionen sind, ob das hundert sind, das ist im Prinzip ja egal. Nun habe ich mir ja selbst manchmal Überlegungen gemacht in all den 15 Jahren. Bei Kriegsende sprach ich vor meinem Offizieren von fünf Millionen--eine Zahl, die mir so ungefähr nebulos vorschwebte. In dieser kurzen--na, wie soll ich sagen--Weltuntergangsansprache oder wie man das nennen will, kam es mir auf genaue Zahlen gar nicht an. Ich weiß heute nicht mehr, ob das damalige jüdische Jahrbuch für Europa zehn Millionen Juden auswies, auch nicht, ob in dieser Zahl die von deutschen Truppen besetzten russischen Gebiete mit enthalten waren oder nicht. Jedenfalls habe ich versucht, mir eine Basis mal zurechtzumachen. Ich habe gelesen, daß die Allierten ein paar Monate nach Kriegsende noch 2,4 Millionen Juden vorfanden. Das habe ich gelesen. Auswanderung aus Üsterreich, Deutschland, CSSR--da habe ich mir gesagt, na gut, 1,2 Millionen werden ausgewandert sein. Dazu kommt die natürliche Verminderung. Ich bin kein Statistiker, ich hab' mir das mal so zurechtgelegt. So daß ich mir sagte: Ja, da müssen irgendwie um die sechs Millionen Juden getötet worden sein; so dachte ich in meinem Sinn. Ob ich damit Recht hatte, Herr Hauptmann, weiß ich nicht." Von Lang, Das Eichmann-Protokoll, 100f.
1095. Von Lang, ed. Eichmann Interrogated, 163ff. The German original reads as follows: Less: "Wisliceny wurde gefragt: 'Wieviele Juden, über deren Schicksal Sie persönlich Bescheid wissen, wurden der Endlösung, also der Tötung unterworfen?' Er antwortete: 'Die genaue Zahl läßt sich für mich außerordentlich schlecht feststellen. Ich habe nur einen Anhaltspunkt, und das ist das Gespräch zwischen Eichmann und Höß in Wien, in dem er sagte, daß von den Juden, die aus Griechenland nach Auschwitz gekommen waren, nur sehr weinige Arbeitskräftige dabeigewesen wären. Die Juden aus der Slowakei und aus Ungarn waren etwa 25 Prozent bis 30 Prozent arbeitsfähig. Es ist für mich sehr schwer, eine Totalsumme genau anzugeben. Eichmann persönlich sprach immer von mindestens vier Millionen Juden, manchmal nannte er sogar die Zahl von fünf Millionen. Nach meiner persönlichen Schätzung müssen es mindestens vier Millionen Juden gewesen sein." Haben Sie hierzu irgendeinen Kommentar?" / Eichmann: "Das habe--glaube ich--habe ich--glaube ich--im wesentlichen gesagt, Herr Hauptmann." / Less: "Und es stimmt mit dem überein, was Sie schon gesagt haben?" / Eichmann: "Ungefähr. Das wird also im Februar 1945 gewesen sein, was ich vor mehreren meiner damals unterstellten Offiziere geäußert habe. Es dürfte im wesentlichen stimmen. Nur auf dieses Gespräch mit Höß in Ungarn oder Wien kann ich mich daran absolutamente nicht entsinnen. Auch nicht an die Prozentzahlen." / Less: "Wisliceny wurde noch gefragt, ob Sie damals etwas über die Zahl der getöteten Juden zusätzlich gesagt hätten. Er antwortete: 'Eichmann drückte das in einer besonders zynischen Weise aus, er sagte, er würde lachend in die Grube springen, denn das Gefühl, daß er fünf millionen Menschen auf dem Gewissen habe, wäre für ihn außerordentlich befriedigend.'" / Eichmann: "Das ist...Theater, Theater! Alles das ist...das ist ..diese sache hier, ja, Herr Hauptmann...diese, diese...der letzte Passus ...vorher Selbstmord und so weiter, und so weiter...Das ist die...die, die die letzte Ansprache gewesen, die ich an meine Leute hielt, wie ich schon gesagt habe. Was ich da gesagt habe, das muß nicht wörtlich stimmen, aber sinngemäß stimmt's ganz genau. Denn das ist meine...meine...das ist meine, meine Resümee gewesen damals in der...in der...wie soll ich Sagen?...in der Weltuntergangsstimmung, in der ich lebte--die dann einige Tage einen Schock in mir--ah--also nicht einen, einen Nervenschock, sondern einen...moralischen Schock hervorrief: Das Reich ist kaputt, es hat alles nichts genutzt, es ist alles, es ist alles umsonst, umsonst der ganze Krieg. Das habe ich da gesagt, was ich angegeben habe. Aber das ist Theater! Nie gesagt, nie gesagt, Herr Hauptmann, die Grube, das ist das einzige, was stimmt! Die Grube, das stimmt, das habe ich gesagt..." / Less: "Nich in diesem Zusammenhang?" / Eichmann: "...Aber nich in diesem Zusammenhang. Nein, das war überhaupt nicht zynisch, im Gegenteil. Ich habe...ich habe...ich war in einer Stimmung gewesen, die Zynismus überhaupt nich mehr aufkommen ließ, die nur noch...die nur nuch ein tiefes Weh hatte, weil die Millionen Opfer auf unserer Seite...auch die Millionen auf der feindlichen Seite...Und da erwähnte ich auch die rund fünf Millionen--das stimmt. Die Zahl der fünf Millionen habe ich gesagt, und da ich die erwähnte...alles umsonst...Ich habe mich nur auf ...eines habe ich gesagt: Aber fünf Jahre haben sie gegen das Reich anrennen müssen. Das war das einzige. Aber von wegen Zynismus." / Less: "Einerseits, wenn Wisliceny hier sagt: Er würde lachend in die Grube springen, denn das Gefühl, daß er fünf Millionen Menschen auf dem Gewissen habe..." / Eichmann: "Nein, nein, nein, Herr Hauptmann, das muß ich ablehnen, das muß ich wirklich gar nicht. Und außerdem wäre er ja unrichtig gewesen. Meine Leute hätten mich ja als größenwahnsinnig verschreien müssen, denn sie haben ja genau gewußt, daß ich nicht derjenige bin, der fünf Millionen Juden getötet hat. Wisliceny hat mindestens genausogut wie ich gewußt, daß wir für die Tötung nich zuständig sind." /Less: "In allen Ihren Erklärungen verstcken Sie sich immer wieder hinter 'Das war nicht mein Ressort, das war nicht mein Gebiet, das waren Vorschriften, die ich bekam, das gehörte zur Reichsbahnverwaltung' und so weiter." / Eichmann: "Ja, das muß ich ja machen, Herr hauptmann, denn als Dezernent von IV B 4, bin ich ja nun witklich nicht für alles zuständig gewesen, sondern eben nur für mein relativ eng umrissenes Aufgabengebiet, das ist jederzeit feststellbar. Ich konnte ja nicht machen, was ich wollte." Von Lang, Das Eichmann-Protokoll, 149ff.
1096. Von Lang, ed. Eichmann Interrogated,**. The German original is as follows:****** Von Lang, Das Eichmann-Protokoll,**.
1097. Irving, Nuremberg, 239.
1098. International Military Tribunal, Trial of the Major War Criminals, 41 vols. (Nuremberg: Secretariat of the Tribunal, 1947-49), vol. 6, 208.
1099. Irving, Nuremberg, 239.
1100. Ibid., 239f.
1101. International Military Tribunal, Trial of the Major War Criminals, vol. 6, 214ff.
1102. Irving, Nuremberg, 240.
1103. International Military Tribunal, Trial of the Major War Criminals, vol. 6, 228.
1104. Ibid., 229.
1105. Irving, Nuremberg, 240.
1106. International Military Tribunal, Trial of the Major War Criminals, vol. 8, 319f.
1107. International Military Tribunal, Trial of the Major War Criminals, vol. 8, 325.
1108. Höss Trial, p. 122, as quoted in State of Israel, Ministry of Justice, The Trial of Adolf Eichmann: Record of Proceedings in the District Curt of Jerusalem, 5 vols. (Jerusalem: The Trust for the Publication of the Eichmann Trial, 1992), vol. 3, 1310.
1109. Irving, Nuremberg, 241.
1110. "Testimony of Rudolf Hoess Taken at Nurnberg, on 1 April 1946, 1430 to 1730," in The Holocaust: Selected Documents in Eighteen Volumes, eds. John Mendelsohn and Donald S. Detwiler, 18 vols. (New York and London: Garland, 982), vol. 12, 72.
1111. Document 3868-PS, "Affidavit of Rudolf Franz Ferdinand Hoess," in International Military Tribunal, Trial of the Major War Criminals, vol. 33, 275ff.
1112. International Military Tribunal, Trial of the Major War Criminals, vol. 11, 414 .
1113. Ibid., 418.
1114. Irving, Nuremberg, 244.
1115. Rudolf Höss, Death dealer: The Memoirs of the SS Kommandant at Auschwitz, ed. Steven Paskuly, transl. Andrew Pollinger (Buffalo NY: Prometheus Books, 1992), 74.
1116. State of Israel, Ministry of Justice, The Trial of Adolf Eichmann: Record of Proceedings in the District Curt of Jerusalem, 5 vols. (Jerusalem: The Trust for the Publication of the Eichmann Trial, 1992), vol. 3, 1001
1117. State of Israel, Ministry of Justice, The Trial of Adolf Eichmann: Record of Proceedings in the District Curt of Jerusalem, 5 vols. (Jerusalem: The Trust for the Publication of the Eichmann Trial, 1992), vol. 3, 1026.
1118. Gustave M. Gilbert, Nuremberg Diary, (New York: Farrar, Straus, 1947), 249f.
1119. State of Israel, Ministry of Justice, The Trial of Adolf Eichmann: Record of Proceedings in the District Curt of Jerusalem, 5 vols. (Jerusalem: The Trust for the Publication of the Eichmann Trial, 1992), vol. 3, 1001
1120. Ibid., 1004.
1121. State of Israel, Ministry of Justice, The Trial of Adolf Eichmann: Record of Proceedings in the District Curt of Jerusalem, 5 vols. (Jerusalem: The Trust for the Publication of the Eichmann Trial, 1992), vol. 3, 1005.
1122. State of Israel, Ministry of Justice, The Trial of Adolf Eichmann: Record of Proceedings in the District Curt of Jerusalem, 5 vols. (Jerusalem: The Trust for the Publication of the Eichmann Trial, 1992), vol. 3, 1005f.
1123. Gilbert, Nuremberg Diary, 258f.
1124. Ibid., 260.
1125. State of Israel, Ministry of Justice, The Trial of Adolf Eichmann: Record of Proceedings in the District Curt of Jerusalem, 5 vols. (Jerusalem: The Trust for the Publication of the Eichmann Trial, 1992), vol. 3, 1008.
1126. Ibid., 1008f.
1127. Daniel W. Michaels, "Nuremberg: woe to the vanquished," The Journal of Historical Review (January /February 1998), 46.
1128. David Irving, Hitler's War (New York: Avon Books, 1990)),**.
1129. I do not know who goes behind the name "Samuel Crowell," and for the purposes of this report it is not important to establish his or her identity. If, however, asked to make a list of potential candidates, I would put Mark Weber somewhere at the top. In his testimony during the 1988 Zündel Trial he developed a thesis that shows a great affinity with that proposed by "Crowell." See Mark Weber, "My role in the Zuendel Trial," The Journal of Historical Review, vol. 9 (Winter 1989-90), 397ff.
1130. Crowell, "The Gas Chamber of Sherlock Holmes," section 1, at htt:/www.tpp.co.uk/Auschwitz/ Auschw.html.
1131. Elaine Showalter, Hystories (New York: Columbia University Press, 1997), 6.
1134. Crowell, "The Gas Chamber of Sherlock Holmes," section 2, at htt:/www.tpp.co.uk/Auschwitz/ Auschw.html..
1135. Van Pelt and Dwork, Auschwitz: 1270 to the Present, 53f.
1136. Crowell, "The Gas Chamber of Sherlock Holmes," section 3, at htt:/www.tpp.co.uk/Auschwitz/ Auschw.html.
1138. Crowell, "The Gas Chamber of Sherlock Holmes," section 4, at htt:/www.tpp.co.uk/Auschwitz/ Auschw.html.
1139. Crowell, "The Gas Chamber of Sherlock Holmes," section 4, at htt:/www.tpp.co.uk/Auschwitz/ Auschw.html.
1141. Crowell, "The Gas Chamber of Sherlock Holmes," section 6, at htt:/www.tpp.co.uk/Auschwitz/ Auschw.html.
1142. Crowell, "The Gas Chamber of Sherlock Holmes," section 6, at htt:/ www.tpp.co.uk/Auschwitz/ Auschw.html..
1143. Crowell, "The Gas Chamber of Sherlock Holmes," section 6, at htt:/www.tpp.co.uk/Auschwitz/ Auschw.html.
1144. Crowell, "The Gas Chamber of Sherlock Holmes," section 7, at htt:/www.tpp.co.uk/Auschwitz/ Auschw.html.
1145. Crowell, "The Gas Chamber of Sherlock Holmes," section 8, at htt:/www.tpp.co.uk/Auschwitz/ Auschw.html.
1146. Crowell, "The Gas Chamber of Sherlock Holmes," section 8, at htt:/www.tpp.co.uk/Auschwitz/ Auschw.html.
1147. Crowell, "The Gas Chamber of Sherlock Holmes," section 9, at htt:/www.tpp.co.uk/Auschwitz/ Auschw.html..
1148. Crowell, "The Gas Chamber of Sherlock Holmes," section 10, at htt:/www.tpp.co.uk/Auschwitz/ Auschw.html.
1149. Crowell, "The Gas Chamber of Sherlock Holmes," section 11, at htt:/www.tpp.co.uk/Auschwitz/ Auschw.html.
1151. Crowell, "The Gas Chamber of Sherlock Holmes," section 12, at htt:/www.tpp.co.uk/Auschwitz/ Auschw.html.
1152. Crowell, "The Gas Chamber of Sherlock Holmes," section 14, at htt:/www.tpp.co.uk/Auschwitz/ Auschw.html.
1153. Crowell's article seems to be regularly updated. I picked up this particular footnote as footnote 408 in the version of --"The Gas Chamber of Sherlock Holmes" published on http::/www.codoh.com/incon/ inconshrnotes.html--a site that is linked by means to a hyperlink to Irving's website..
1154. Crowell, "The Gas Chamber of Sherlock Holmes," section 14, at htt:/www.tpp.co.uk/Auschwitz/ Auschw.html.
1155. As noted above, Crowell's article seems to be regularly updated. Like before, I picked up this particular footnote as footnote 409 in the version of "The Gas Chamber of Sherlock Holmes" published on http:/www.codoh.com/incon/inconshrnotes.html.
1156. Elaine Showalter, Hystories (New York: Columbia University Press, 1997), 6.
1157. Crowell, "The Gas Chamber of Sherlock Holmes," section 16, at htt:/www.tpp.co.uk/Auschwitz/ Auschw.html.
1158. "Documents on Auschwitz," http:://www.fpp.co.uk/Auschwitz/documents/LSKeller/ MoscowDocs.html
1159. "Luftschutzdeckungsgrabe für des SS-Truppenlazaret--Infektionsabteilung," and "Luftschutzbunker für cca 20 Pers, mit Operationsalnage, Truppenlazarett im K.L.II," Archive of the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum in Oswiecim, mss. BW 14/1-2.
1160. For the regulations concerning air-raid shelter design see Ernst Neufert, Bau-Entwurfslehre: Handbuch für den Baufachmann, Bauherrn, Lehrenden und Lernended (Berlin: Bauwelt-Verlag, 1944), 255ff.
1161. "Edited comments of Author 'Samuel Crowell' (February 19, 1998) attached to "Documents on Auschwitz," http:://www.fpp.co.uk/Auschwitz/documents/LSKeller/MoscowDocs.html
1163. Primo Levi, Survival in Auschwitz, trans.Stuart Woolf (New York: Collier/Macmillan, 1993), 118f.
1164. "Edited comments of Author 'Samuel Crowell' (February 19, 1998) attached to "Documents on Auschwitz," http:://www.fpp.co.uk/Auschwitz/documents/LSKeller/MoscowDocs.html
1165. See http:/www.fpp.co.uk/Auschwitz/ZundelTrial.html. The original text was published in Barbara Kulaszka ed., Did Six Million Really Die? Report of the Evidence in the Camadian "False News" Trial of Ernst Zuundel--1988, foreword by Dr. Robert Faurisson (Toronto: Samisdat, 1992).
1166. See http:/www.fpp.co.uk/Auschwitz/documents/HinsleyVol2.html
1167. "On a Lecture to German Schoolchildren by Kasimierz Smolen, former director of the Auschwitz site," http::/www.tpp.co.uk/Auschwitz/documents/Smolen.html
1170. See Melissa Müller, Anne Frank: the biography, transl. Rita and Robert Kimber (New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1998), 231ff.
1171. There are two more selections after this date for the gas chambers: one on October 21 and one on October 29. These apply, however, to the women in the transit camp (BIIc) and the men's quarantine camp BIIb. See Czech, Auschwitz Chronicle, 736f.,742.
1172. "On a Lecture to German Schoolchildren by Kasimierz Smolen, former director of the Auschwitz site," http::/www.tpp.co.uk/Auschwitz/documents/Smolen.html
1173. As quoted in Piper, Die Zahl der Opfer von Auschwitz, 16.
1174. "On a Lecture to German Schoolchildren by Kasimierz Smolen, former director of the Auschwitz site," http::/www.tpp.co.uk/Auschwitz/documents/Smolen.html
1176. Jan Markiewicz, Wojciech Gubala, Jerzy Labedz,"A Study of the Cyanide Compounds Content in the Walls of the Gas Chambers in the Former Auschwitz and Birkenau Concentration Camps," Z Zagadnien Nauk Sadowych / Problems of Forensic Science, vol. 30 (1994), 27.
1177. See http://www.fpp.co.uk/Auschwitz/documents/controversies/liars/Vrba/Vrba240185.html
1179. Vrba Testimony, 1st Zündel Trial, Transcript of Her Majesty the Queen vs. Ernst Zündel, District Court of Ontario, 1985, 1557f.
1180. Samuel Beckett, Endgame: A Play in One Act (New York: Grove Press, 1958), 77.
1181. Jean Cayrol, "Night and Fog," in Robert Hughes ed., Film: Book 2--Films of Peace and War (New York: Grove Press, 1962), 254f.
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