David Irving, Hitler and Holocaust Denial: Electronic Edition, by Richard J. EvansTable of Contents
|< (i) Misstatement of circ...||(iii) False attribution ... >|
(ii) Misrepresentation of eyewitness testimony.
1. Irving's initial witness was taken from one of the first books on Dresden (minus the page number), describing the attack on the Tiergartenstrasse.13 Bergander approached the same witness who told him that he had been unconscious at the time and that those who related the details to him had been in a severe state of shock. He was hit by shrapnel, not by machine-gun fire. Most tellingly, as quoted by Seydewitz, the witness said that the attack to which he was victim, described by Irving as taking place during the following day, had taken place at night (i.e. the 13th). Irving transposed the story to substantiate his more believable allegation that the strafing of civilians took place during the day.14
2. Bergander added that in Und Deutschlands Städte starben nicht an eyewitness was cited by name who described how huge trees were torn out of the ground in the park [Große Garten] and thrown hundreds of metres into the eye of the fire storm. This passage was excised from Der Untergang Dresdens because the 'witness' complained that he had said no such thing to Irving and that the story had been put into his mouth.15 Nevertheless the story remained in 1966 and 1995, albeit minus a source.16 Here is another example of Irving's cavalier disregard for the truth.
13. Max Seydewitz, Zerstörung und Wiederaufbau von Dresden (East Berlin, 1955), pp. 105f. Seydewitz was Dresden's post-war mayor at the time of publication.
14. Corgi 1966, p. 278. The second witness is a prisoner of war, John Heard. In 1995 the one prisoner becomes, 'British prisoners ... were among those to suffer the discomfort of being strafed...', although John Heard remains Irving's only prisoner witness. The Seydewitz citation remains intact and a third witness is added, apparently an interview from 1961. See Focal Point edn., p. 200, fns. 4, 5, and 7.
15. Bergander, p. 221; Und Deutschlands Städte starben nicht, p. 370; letter from Dr. Recktenwald in the Sammlung Irving in the Bundesarchiv.
16. Corgi 1966, p. 175; Focal Point, p. 173.