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Judgement

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

Table of Contents

The case for the Defendants

6.4Longerich examined in his report the genealogy of Hitler's role in the persecution of the Jews. He began with the emergence of Hitler's anti-Semitism after the First World War. In correspondence in 1919 Hitler outlined the differences between what he called emotional and rational forms of anti-semitism. The latter form ultimately led Hitler to call for the removal of the Jews altogether. By 1920 he was already using terms such as extirpation, annihilation and extermination in relation to the Jews. He referred to the Jews as a plague, an epidemic, germ carriers, a harmful bacillus, a cancer and as maggots. In his writings and speeches Hitler blamed the situation of Germany at the end of the First World War on an international Jewish conspiracy. His basic wish throughout had been by one means or another to remove the Jews from German soil. As is evident from   the Goebbels diaries, Hitler and Goebbels devoted much time to the prosecution of anti-semitic policy.
6.5 In Mein Kampf, which was published in 1926, Hitler developed his anti-semitism by placing his desire to remove the Jews in the context of a wider theory of the struggle between races for living space. In Hitler's view the Jews, lacking a state of their own, were parasites trying to destroy those states which had been established by superior races. This idea was developed in his 'Second Book' which was written in 1927 although not published in his lifetime. In his speeches in the late 1920's Hitler stated that Jews were not able to work productively because they lacked a proper relationship with the soil. As a consequence they were parasites and spongers. This did not prevent Hitler from claiming that the Jews had achieved economic dominance and the ability to control and manipulate the media to their own advantage. He spoke of the need to eliminate the economic ascendancy of the Jews, if necessary by means of their physical removal. Longerich asserted that anti-semitism was an integral part of Hitler's Weltanshauung.
6.6 According to Longerich, when the Nazi party began to attract mass support in the early 1930s, the anti-semitic element was played down for political reasons. Even so, Hitler continued to refer to the Germans as being poisoned by another people. From 1935 onwards Hitler's attitude towards the Jews was reflected in the anti-semitic policies pursued by the Nazi government. Longerich cited, by way of illustration of these policies, Hitler's role in organising the boycott of Jewish businesses on 1st April 1933 and the enactment between 1935 and 1937 of various discriminatory laws. Jews were excluded from holding public office and the practice of law. Quotas for Jewish pupils and students were brought in. Longerich notes that after coming to power in 1933 there are examples of Hitler exercising a moderate influence on Jewish policy but in his view this was dictated by tactical considerations.
6.7 Hitler's anti-semitism is evident in his public statements in the 1930s. In his speech to the Reich Party Congress in 1937 Hitler talked of Jewish-Bolshevist subversion. The pogrom of 9th November 1938, Reichskristallnacht, marks the first occasion when Jews and their property were subjected to serious and widespread violence and destruction. I have already set out in section V(iii) and (iv) above the reasons why the Defendants contend that Hitler approved and promoted the pogrom. Hitler   addressed the Reichstag on 30th January 1939 on the topic of the Jewish question. He said:
"In my life I have often been a prophet and was generally laughed at. During my struggle for power it was mostly the Jewish people who laughed at my prophecies that I would some day assume the leadership of the state and thereby of the entire Volk and them, among many other things, achieve a solution of the Jewish problem. I believe that in the meantime the then resounding laughter of Jewry in Germany is now choking in their throats.
Today I will be a prophet again; if international Jewry within Europe and abroad should succeed once more in plunging the peoples into a world war, then the consequence will be not the Bolshevisation of the world and therewith a victory of Jewry, but on the contrary, the annihilation of the Jewish race in Europe".
On the Defendants' case, this was a theme to which Hitler reverted on numerous occasions during the war as the Nazi line against the Jews hardened. I have already referred in section 5(viii) to Hitler's pronouncements on the Jewish question and I will not repeat them here.