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

Table of Contents
(H) Falsification of sta... >>

(A) Misattribution of authorship and responsibility.

1. Irving's first line of confirmation was Funfack's alleged connection to TB 47. On 6 December 1964 he had written to the Provost of Coventry [the underlining is Irving's]: 'I am myself in no doubt as to the authenticity of the document in view of having obtained it indirectly from the Dresden Deputy Chief Medical Officer responsible for disposing of the victims....'75 Likewise in December 1964 Irving and his German publisher, Sigbert Mohn, set about marketing TB 47 as authentic to the English and West-German public. A reader's letter from Irving's publisher, Dr. Dieter Struss, to a West-German newspaper on 10 December read:
...Mr. Irving has found a new document a copy of which I enclose to you. The document has been examined and has been established as authentic. The figures originate with the then deputy Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Max Funfack. Therefore the dead of Dresden need in future no longer be guessed. They are precisely counted and they were 202,040 in all. The truth is therefore much worse than one had previously imagined.76
2. On 18 December the German edition of The Destruction of Dresden was reviewed in the right-wing Deutschen Nationalzeitung und Soldatenzeitung again naming Funfack as the author of the new figures.77
3. It remains a mystery where Irving first gleaned this information from, but it had appeared in his account of his visit to Walter Hahn in November 1964, albeit with a question mark in   ellipses.78 On 19 January 1965, after six weeks of frantic marketing, Irving received a letter from Funfack:
Why I should now, after twenty years, be put in the spotlight with the mention of my name in the West German papers and be named as a witness to the number of dead is a complete mystery to me. Exactly like every one else effected I have only ever heard the numbers third-hand: from city commandants with whom I was friends, from the civilian air-raid protection etc. But the numbers always differed greatly. I myself was only once present at a cremation on the Altmarkt, but otherwise completely uninvolved. Likewise I was never Dresden's Chief Medical Officer or even deputy Chief Medical Officer; rather I was always worked as a specialist urologist in a hospital. How one comes to such suppositions, is incomprehensible to me. I did not have the slightest to do with rendering any such services. The photos of the cremations on the Altmarkt as well as the "Order of the Day 47" were also given to me by acquaintances. Therefore I can give no firm [verbindliche] information about the figure of the dead but only repeat what was reported to me.79
5. From his reply on 28 February 1965 to Funfack's letter it is clear that Irving had in fact made no effort whatsoever to contact Funfack. He had made no attempt to establish the provenance of Hahn's copy, no attempt to check Funfack's for stamps or signatures if it were an original, and no attempt to confirm Funfack's alleged hand in TB 47 before going to press. Irving apologised for his delay in replying to Funfack's letter in that had only reached him a few weeks earlier. In a mixture of German and English he excused himself in that he was currently still travelling:
I am afraid that I am partly to blame for the naming Ihres Namens im Bundesrepublik ['your name in the Federal Republic']. I obtained a copy of the Tagesbefehl, and was told that you had a copy, and I mentioned this to my publishers in Gütersloh [.] [T]hey misunderstood me, and thought that you had   signed (unterschrieben) the Tagesbefehl, and told Die Welt and other West German newspapers about that. Please accept my humble apologies for this mistake. I have explained this to Sigbert Mohn Verlag and they are very sorry too.80

This was a disingenuous excuse for a number of reasons.
6. Firstly, Irving had already found time on 27 January to follow up Funfack's suggestion that he contact the International Red Cross, on 10 February to write a second letter to the Red Cross, and on 20 February to write to the former leader of the Red Cross delegation in Dresden.81 Why had he delayed a month in writing to Funfack?
7. Secondly, Struss had not claimed that the report was signed by Funfack, but that Funfack was the person who had collated the figures, repeating faithfully exactly what Irving had informed him in November 1964. Irving had written: 'This information [the 202,040 dead] is naturally sensational, and because it comes from the then deputy Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Max Funfack, there is no doubt as to authenticity of the document.'82
8. Thirdly, Irving used Funfack's rebuttal as further proof of TB 47's authenticity. On 27 January he enclosed a copy of Funfack's letter to an editor of the German Der Stern magazine. Funfack's suggestion that the Red Cross, unlike Funfack himself, might be in a position to provide reliable information as to the number of dead reported at the time, was manipulated to read that Funfack's suggestion 'shows that his information [sic] is 100% reliable' because   Irving had learned from other sources that a Red Cross delegation had indeed been in Dresden at the time.83
9. Fourthly, and more insidiously, both Irving and his German publisher wrote further letters defending TB 47 in the West-German press, Irving in full knowledge that Funfack explicitly denied being the author of TB 47. On 12 February 1965 Dr. Dieter Struss wrote to Die Welt, 'besides Mr. Irving found the doctor who had calculated the figures and reached the conclusion that the figure of 202,040 dead was not propaganda, but is authentic.' Struss then announced the intention to give TB 47 full prominence in a new edition of the book.84 In an accompanying letter Irving defended his rejection of Seydewitz's conclusion that TB 47 was a fake and pompously held forth, 'One learns from this that one should not accept everything one reads in books as facts. Two thirds of an historian's efforts lie not in getting hold of exact facts, but in verifying the authenticity and reliability of his sources and documents [sic].' Irving piously rounded off his defence of TB 47 with the words 'God knows, I as an Englishman have the least grounds to exaggerate the effects of the air raid on Dresden.'85
10. As evinced from his letter to the Red Cross, Irving had received Funfack's complaint on 27 January at the very latest, yet he had made no attempt to disabuse either his publisher or his public.86 Moreover in a draft article written in February for the Sunday Telegraph propagating   the new source, Irving continued to insinuate that Funfack had an official connection to TB 47 [the underlining is Irving's]:
The document's pedigree is certainly impressive. It came out subsequently that my host [Walter Hahn] had obtained a copy of it some years before from one Doctor Max Funfack, who still lives in and practices in Dresden. Funfack, during the war a senior medical officer (Oberstabsartzt) in the German army, was in 1945 Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Dresden District; as such he was responsible for supervising the disposal and cremation of all the city's air-raid victims during the three months following the attack.
According to Funfack, the report had reached him during the war through the normal official channels.87
11. As late as May 1965 Irving triumphantly sent a copy of TB 47 to the RAF historian Dr Noble Frankland informing him that he had 'obtained' it 'from the doctor (still in Dresden) who during the war was Deputy Chief Medical Officer of the city.'88 Funfack had explicitly denied holding any such position and Irving had not obtained the document from him. Evidently nothing was going to stand in the way of Irving's eagerness to capitalise on his new found belief in TB 47.89


75. DJ 12, Irving to the Provost of Coventry, 6 December 1964.
76. DJ 35, Die Welt der Literatur, 10 December 1964.
77. DJ 12, Walter Lange to Irving, 2 February 1965.
78. DJ 10, New information on death roll in Allied air raids on Dresden, 1945, introduction, dated November 1964, p. 8.
79. DJ 35, Max Funfack to Irving, 19 January 1965. Partially reproduced as a plate in Weidauer, pp. 126-7.
80. DJ 35, Irving to Max Funfack, 28 February 1965.
81. DJ 35, Max Funfack to Irving, 19 January 1965; doc. 160, Irving to Croix-Rouge, Comite International, Geneva, 27 January 1965; DJ 35, P. Verbert (International Committee of the Red Cross) to Irving, 4 February 1965; P. Verbert (International Committee of the Red Cross) to Irving, 17 February 1965, refering to Irving's second letter of 10 February; Irving to Walter Kleiner, 20 February 1965.
82. Doc. 155, Irving to Struss, 28 November 1964.
83. Doc. 159, Irving to Shuller of Der Stern, 27 January 1965.
84. DJ 35, Dr. Dieter Struss, 'Umstrittiner Tagesbefehl,' reader's letter in Die Welt, 12 February 1965, p. 10. The first German edition had appeared on 10 September 1964 under Sigbert Mohn's imprint, too early to include details of TB 47. See DJ 12, 'Schlimmer als Hiroshima' in Rheinische Post, 9 September 1964.
85. DJ 35, Irving 'Die Totenziffern von Dresden,' reader's letter to Die Welt, 12 February 1965, p. 10.
86. Irving also wrote to Walter Hahn on the same day, mentioning Funfack's letter, but omitting his [Funfack's] complaint. DJ 12, Irving to Walter Hahn, 27 January 1965.
87. DJ 12, Draft, 'Two Questions on Dresden' for the Sunday Telegraph, February 1965, 15 pp., p. 9.
88. Doc. 167, Irving to Dr Noble Frankland, 28 May 1965.
89. Irving continued to market TB 47 in England in March, albeit without naming Funfack as collaborating evidence. See DJ 12 Draft, 'Bombing Dresden' for The Observer, 7 March 1965; Reader's letter from Irving, 'Death roll in Dresden,' The Observer, 14 March 1965.
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(H) Falsification of sta... >>

accessed 12 March 2013