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

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(F) False attribution of conclusions to reliable sources: the Heydrich telex

1. Other evidence, too, points to Irving's claim about Hitler ordering a stop to the destruction of synagogues and Jewish shops being completely false. This becomes obvious if one investigates the orders given to the German police in the night of 9-10 November 1938. In his book Goebbels: Mastermind of the 'Third Reich', Irving claims that the Reichsführer-SS and Chief of the German Police, Heinrich Himmler, was 'totally unaware' of the pogrom until 1 a.m. on 10 November 1948. According to Irving, once his immediate subordinate Reinhard Heydrich, Head of the German Security Police (including the criminal and political police) heard that the Munich synagogue next to the Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten had been set ablaze, he 'hurried up to Himmler's room, then telexed instructions to all police authorities to restore law and order, protect Jews and Jewish property, and halt any ongoing incidents'.62 The only historical truth in this account is the assertion that Heydrich sent a telex to the German police authorities. Everything else is a blatant manipulation of the historical record.
2. On 10 November 1938, at 1.20 a.m., Heydrich transmitted orders given to him by Himmler further down the chain of command to the leading police officials and members of the SD (Sicherheitsdienst or Security Service) all over Germany instructing them not to prevent the destruction of Jewish property or get in the way of violent acts committed against German Jews. The telex told officials that 'demonstrations against the Jews are to be expected in the course of this night - 9th to 10th November 1938 - in the entire Reich....the demonstrations which occur are not to be hindered by the police'.
3. On Himmler's instruction, there were, to be sure, some restrictions placed on the action:  
a) Only such measures may be taken as do not involve any endangering of German life or property (e.g. synagogue fires only if there is no danger of the fire spreading to the surrounding buildings),
b) The shops and dwellings of Jews may only be destroyed, not looted. The police are instructed to supervise the implementation of this order and to arrest looters.
c) Care is to be taken that non-Jewish shops in shopping streets are unconditionally secured against damage.
d) Foreign nationals may not be assaulted, even if they are Jews.63
4. Thus the police were explicitly ordered not to intervene in the destruction except in these four very particular, exceptional circumstances. The telex, in other words, ordered the exact opposite to what Irving claimed it did. It would be hard to find a clearer example of the false attribution of a conclusion to a legitimate historical document in the interests of the manipulation of the historical truth.
5. But Irving's manipulations in this case go further than this falsification of the content of Heydrich's telex of 10 November 1938. Irving's account of the actions of Heydrich and Himmler on this particular night have to be seen in the overall context of his claim that Hitler was furiously angry about the pogrom and ordered it to be stopped as soon as he found out about it. There is strong evidence that Himmler and Hitler talked together about   the pogrom well before midnight on 9 November. This evidence suggests strongly that Hitler was not 'furious' about the pogrom and that he did not give any orders to bring it to a halt. For if Himmler had had contact with Hitler before Heydrich's telex relaying his (Himmler's) orders to the German police at 1.20 a.m. on 10 November 1938, and Hitler had indeed ordered a halt to the destruction of Jewish property, it is inconceivable that Himmler and Heydrich would have sent out instructions that the pogrom was 'not to be hindered by the police'.
6. This becomes clear in the light of the evidence of SS-Hauptsturmführer Luitpold Schallermeier to the Nuremberg war crimes trial and the witness statement of SS-Gruppenführer Karl Wolff now preserved in the files of the Munich Institute for Contemporary History. Of course, both these statements have to be examined critically in the light of the obvious interest in self-exculpation on the part of those who made them. For instance, in his desire to distance the SS from the pogrom and thus avoid possible prosecution by the German courts, Schallermeier untruthfully claimed that Himmler had ordered the SS in the early morning of 10 November to help protect Jewish persons from attack, a claim flatly disproved by Heydrich's telex of 1.20 a.m. quoted above.64
7. Schallermeier reported that when Heydrich received news of the pogrom, he sent Karl Wolff to Hitler's apartment. Wolff arrived there at about 11.30 p.m.. Himmler was already present in the apartment. After the swearing-in of SS troops on the Odeonsplatz at midnight by Hitler and Himmler, the latter returned to his hotel, where Heydrich was waiting for him. Himmler told Heydrich that Hitler had forbidden the SS and police to intervene in or stop the pogrom, and then gave Heydrich his orders to telex to police forces in the rest of Germany, which he did at 1.20 a.m.. Later on the same night,   Himmler dictated a short note to Schallermeier in which he blamed Goebbels as the main instigator of the pogrom.65
8. Schallermeier's account of these events is supported by Wolff's testimony, given in 1948:
Shortly before the swearing-in of the SS forces - roughly just before 23.20 hrs, - I heard about synagogue fires and excesses. I thereupon went straight away to Hitler's private apartment, where Himmler was present, and reported the events. Both had not yet been informed and were completely surprised. In my presence, Hitler gave Himmler the order that the SS itself must in all circumstances keep out of these events.66
9. These accounts can also help to interpret another key document which is completely ignored by Irving in his biography of Goebbels. On 9 November 1938, at five to midnight, almost an hour and a half before Heydrich's telex, SS-Obersturmbannführer Heinrich Müller had already sent a telex from Berlin to the German police officials with instructions about the pogrom. Müller was the head of Section II of the Security Police, dealing with internal political policing, and a direct subordinate of Heydrich.67 In this telex, Müller warned German police officials that
Actions against Jews, in particular against their synagogues, will very shortly take place across the whole of Germany. They are not to be interrupted. However, measures are to be taken in co-operation with the Ordnungspolizei for looting and other special excesses to be prevented...The   arrest of about 20-30,000 Jews in the Reich is to be prepared. Propertied Jews above all are to be chosen. More detailed instructions will be issued in the course of the present night.68
10.It is unthinkable that Müller, a Bavarian career policeman who had been employed in the German police administration since 1919,69 would have sent this telex without having been instructed to do so by his superior, either Heydrich or Himmler or both. Just as Hitler, according to Schallermeier and Wolff, had told Himmler to order the police not to intervene, so too did Müller. Thus it seems likely that the content of this telex was transmitted by Himmler or Heydrich to Müller in Berlin after the former's conversation with Hitler.
11. Müller's telex is the only document sent by a leading police official that states the number of Jews to be arrested, a number which tallies with the figure which Goebbels's diary notes was personally and directly ordered by Hitler himself. The coincidence of the two figures named by Müller and by Goebbels is another strong indication that Hitler and the police leadership had been in contact with one another before Müller sent out his telex. Irving, for his part, cites the Goebbels diary entry, only first to cast doubt on its validity as a source, then to falsify it by reporting on the basis of this reference, not that Hitler ordered the Jews arrested, but that he failed to prevent them being taken to concentration camps. In fact, Hitler's direct and personal responsibility for the mass   arrest of Jews which formed such a central part of the pogrom seems quite beyond dispute.70
12. The suggestion that Hitler met with Himmler on the night of 9 November 1938 before any orders were issued to the police is further confirmed by another important contemporary document. On 11 November 1938, the British Consul in Munich reported to the Foreign Office that
I learn from a reliable source that Dr. Goebbels at a meeting here of the "old Guard" on November 10th on hearing that vom Rath had died in Paris announced that Jews were now beyond the law and that the S.A. could do anything to them short of looting and plundering. The old Guard were prominent in attacks on Jewish shops which followed. Herr Hitler and Herr Himmler were in consultation on the same evening and the latter subsequently issued an order forbidding all Jews to carry arms under penalty of twenty years imprisonment.71
13. The information of the British diplomats in this case was remarkably accurate. Their summary of Goebbels's speech is broadly confirmed by other sources, such as the Nazis' own internal inquiry into the pogrom. Also, the circular sent out by Heinrich Müller on 9 November 1938 at 23.55 did indeed contain instructions for the police regarding armed Jews, just as the British diplomats had noted.72 Irving is familiar with   the report of the British Consul. He cites some parts of it in his account of 'Kristallnacht' and even comments on the reliability of the document.73 Yet, in his attempt to distance Hitler from the pogrom, he completely suppresses the information that Hitler and Himmler met on the evening of 9 November 1938.
14. So there is a very strong likelihood that Hitler met Himmler before midnight on 9 November 1938 and issued him with instructions for the police in connection with the pogrom. Hitler did not, as Irving claims, order a stop to the pogrom once he found out about it, otherwise such an order would have been passed on in the telexes sent out by Heydrich and Müller. Indeed some SA leaders were already informed late on 9 November 1938 that Hitler wished the police not to intervene against the pogrom. This is obvious in the order given from Munich by the leader of the SA-group Nordsee in the evening of 9 November 1938. He instructed the local SA to destroy all Jewish shops and businesses, and to burn down all synagogues. The SA Group leader added the statement, quoted above, that Hitler himself did not wish the police to interfere.74
15. In Goebbels: Mastermind of the 'Third Reich', Irving either ignores or dismisses the evidence contained in these various documents. As this Report has already noted, he suppresses the fact that the British diplomats reported that Himmler met with Hitler on 9 November 1938, before instructions were issued to the police.75 Irving also simply dismisses Wolff's testimony, claiming on the basis of no evidence at all that Wolff was   'evidently wrong...in placing Himmler in Hitler's apartment at this time.'76 Moreover, while Wolff states quite clearly that he had been in Hitler's apartment before midnight, Irving deliberately falsifies this testimony by implying that Wolff claimed to have been there at around 1 a.m.. Finally, Irving fails to mention that Wolff's testimony is supported by Schallermeier's; indeed he does not mention Schallermeier's evidence directly at all, he only uses the parts of it which fit into the story he is trying to construct, while actually disguising the fact that he is using Schallermeier as a source (because, obviously, the assiduous reader, in following up a footnote to Schallermeier's testimony, would immediately discover that it includes evidence which fatally undermines the account of these events given by Irving). Thus Irving fails to mention that Schallermeier reports Himmler as present in Hitler's apartment before midnight, but on the other hand he does cite the brief note which Himmler dictated to Schallermeier in the early hours of 10 November blaming Goebbels for having instigated the pogrom. Irving, of course, has extracted this note from Schallermeier's affidavit; but he disguises the fact by referring in the footnotes merely to a 'Himmler memorandum, cited by Raul Hilberg, The Destruction of the European Jews (New York, 1973). This mysterious 'Himmler memorandum', of course, when checked through Hilberg's source references (a lengthy business since Irving fails to provide a page reference, and Hilberg's book is very long indeed), turns out to be none other than Schallermeier's affidavit.77
16. Irving's persistently partial and manipulative use of such sources leads to increasing contradictions in his work. In The War Path, for instance, Irving writes that after the dinner at Munich's old Town Hall on 9 November, Hitler was in his private apartment   with Himmler, where both were informed before midnight by Karl Wolff of the start of pogroms. This clearly contradicts Irving's later claim that Hitler never met Himmler and only found out about the pogroms after 1 in the morning.78
17. In 1995, Irving also admitted that Hitler was with Himmler on the night of the pogrom, though in an account that otherwise consists of nothing but fantasy and invention:
Hitler was furious when he heard, during the night, about the anti-Jewish outbreaks. Throughout the night, telephone calls came in reporting synagogues blazing across Germany. Hitler sent for Himmler and asked: "What the hell is going on here, Reichsführer?" Himmler replied: "Send for Goebbels, he knows". Hitler summoned Goebbels and raked him over the coals.79
18. Irving nowhere supplies any evidence, not even tainted or manipulated evidence, to authenticate this alleged conversation between Hitler and Himmler and this supposed meeting between Hitler and Goebbels. In fact, of course, it never happened. The entire account is pure invention, plucked out of thin air to convey a completely distorted version of events. No new evidence has emerged by the time Irving changes his story in his Goebbels biography; all that has happened is that he has decided to suppress and manipulate evidence he earlier relied upon in order to skew his account of these events even further.


62. Irving, Goebbels, p. 276. The footnote refers mistakenly to Nuremberg Docment 3052-PS instead of 3051-PS.
63. 'Im Laufe der heutigen Nacht - 9. auf 10.11.1938 - im ganzen Reich Demonstrationen gegen die Juden zu erwarten... sind die stattfindenden Demonstrationen von der Polizei nicht zu verhindern - /a) Es dürfen nur solche Maßnahmen getroffen werden, die keine Gefährdung deutschen Lebens oder Eigentums mit sich bringen (z.B. Synagogenbrände nur, wenn keine Brandgefahr für die Umgebung vorhanden ist), /b) Geschäfte und Wohnungen von Juden dürfen nur zerstört, nicht geplündert werden. Die Polizei ist angewiesen, die Durchführung dieser Anordnung zu überwachen und Plünderer festzunehmen. /c) In Geschäftsstrassen ist besonders darauf zu achten, dass nicht jüdische Geschäfte unbedingt gegen Schäden gesichert werden. /d) Ausländische Staatsangehörige dürfen - auch wenn sic Juden sind - nicht belästigt werden.'. Both quotes in: Heydrich an alle Staatspolizeileit- und Staatspolizeistellen, an alle SD-Oberabschnitte und SD-Unterabschnitte, 10.11.1938, 1 Uhr 20; in Der Prozess gegen die Hauptkriegsverbrecher vor dem Internationalen Militärgerichtshof Vol. XXXI, ND 3051-PS.
64. Obst, 'Reichskristallnacht', pp. 87-88.
65. See Der Prozess gegen die Hauptkriegsverbrecher, Vol. XLII, pp. 510-512; ibid., Vol. XXI, p. 392; IfZ Zs 526: Vernehmung des Luitpold Schallermeyer, 23. 6. 1947.
66. 'Kurz vor der Vereidigung der SS-Verfügungstruppe - etwa gegen 23.20 Uhr -erfuhr ich von Synagogenbränden und Ausschreitungen. Ich bin darauthin sofort zur Privatwohnung Hitlers, in der sich auch Himmler befand, gefahren und habe die Ereignisse gemeldet. Beide waren noch nicht informiert und völlig überrascht .... In meinem Beisein hat Hitler Himmler den Befehl erteilt, dass die SS sich unter allen Umständen aus diesen Ereignissen herauszuhalten habe: IfZ, Zs 317/II: Karl Wolff, 22. 3. 1948.
67. J.Tuchel, 'Gestapa und Reichssicherheitshauptamt', in G. Paul and K.-M. Mallmann (eds.), Die Gestapo. Mythos und Realität (Darmstadt, 1995), pp. 95-96.
68. 'Es werden in kürzester Frist in ganz Deutschland Aktionen gegen Juden insbesonders gegen deren Synagogen stattfinden. Sic sind nicht zu stören. Jedoch ist im Benehmen mit der Ordnungspolizei sicherzustellen, dass Plünderungen und sonstige besondere Ausschreitungen unterbunden werden können... Es ist vorzubereiten die Festnahme von etwa 20-30.000 Juden im Reiche. Es sind auszuwählen vor allem vermogende Juden. Nähere Anordnungen ergehen noch im Laufe dieser Nacht': Müller an alle Stapostellen und Stapoleitstellen, 9. 11. 1938, in Der Prozess gegen die Hauptkriegsverbrecher, Vol. XXV, pp. 377-38, ND 374-PS.
69. A. Seeger, 'Vom bayrischen "Systembeamten" zum Chef der Gestapo', in Paul and Mallmann (eds.), Die Gestapo, pp. 255-68.
70. 'Der Führer hat angeordnet, daß 2(5)-30.000 Juden sofort zu verhaften sind': Goebbels diary entry for 10 November 1938, in B. Fröhlich (ed.), Die Tagebücher von Joseph Goebbels, Vol. 116 (Munich, 1998), p. 181. Other editions of the diary, however, interpret the missing digit not as a five, but as a zero: 'Der Führer hat angeordnet, daß 20-30 000 Juden sofort zxu verhaften sind', Der Spiegel, 29 (1992), p. 128.
71. PRO, FO 371/21637, Telegram from G. Ogilvie Forbes, 11.11.1938, No. 673, transmitting telegram No. 38, 11.11.1938, from the Consular officers in Munich.
72. 'Sollten bei den kommenden Aktionen Juden im Besitz von Waffen angetroffen werden, so sind die schärfsten Massnahmen durchzuführen'; Müller an alle Stapostellen und Stapoleitstellen, 9.11.1938, in De rProzess gegen die Hauptkriegsverbrecher,Vol. XXV, pp. 377-8, ND 374-PS.
73. Irving, Goebbels, pp. 274, 276.
74. Telephonisch aus München erteilter Befehl des Führers der SA-Gruppe Nordsee vom 9. November 1938; reprinted in K. Pätzold, I. Runge, 'Kristallnacht'. Zum Pogrom 1938 (Cologne, 1988), pp. 112-3.
75. Irving, Goebbels, p. 612, note 30.
76. Irving, Goebbels, p. 613.
77. Ibid., p. 614, note 73.
78. lrving, The War Path, p. 279.
79. Irving, 'Revelations from the Goebbels Diary', The Journal of Historical Review, Vol. 15 (1995)
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