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Judgement

Holocaust Denial on Trial, Trial Judgment: Electronic Edition, by Charles Gray

Table of Contents

The case for the Defendants

5.218The Defendants' case is that in his account Irving has again manipulated the historical record and misrepresented the effect of Hitler's intervention. According to Evans, Irving achieves this by, firstly, suppressing documents which demonstrate that the background to Hitler's intervention was a dispute whether (as Field Marsahll Kesselring was urging) the Jews should be kept in Rome on fortification work or whether (as Himmler had ordered) they should be sent to the Reich and liquidated. There was strong local feeling in Rome that the Jews should stay there. Evans agreed that the documents show that Hitler directed via Ribbentrop that the Roman Jews were to be taken to Mauthausen as hostages. But their   fate was then to be left in the hands of the SS, that is, effectively in the hands of Reichsfuhrer-SS Himmler. So, Evans contended, far from interceding on behalf of the Jews, the effect of Hitler's intervention was to place these Jews in the murderous hands of the SS. The dispute was thus resolved by Hitler against those like Kesselring who were trying in Rome to save the Jews and in favour of the SS who had already made clear that they intended to kill the Jews when they got their hands on them.
5.219The Roman Jews were transported northwards, not to Mauthausen, but to Auschwitz where they were in due course murdered. According to Evans, the claim that the Jews were to be held at Mauthausen "as hostages" was intended to disguise the fate which the SS had in mind for the Jews in the hope that it would appease the anxious officials in Rome. Hitler knew perfectly well what was going to happen to them. It was in reality no part of Hitler's intention that the Roman Jews should be kept alive. Mauthausen was a notorious concentration camp, where the inmates were systematically worked to death.
5.220Irving, say the Defendants, having unjustifiably praised Hitler for his intercession on behalf of the Jews, compounds the error by suppressing the fact that the Roman Jews were murdered.