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

Table of Contents

Defendants' case

5.225The Defendants contend that in all three speeches Himmler is speaking in brutal terms of the murder of the Jews. Irving did not dissent from this. But for present purposes, the primary significance of this trilogy of speeches is that they shed light on the question whether Hitler knew of the killing. As to the first of these speeches the Defendants say that Himmler would not have spoken in such explicit terms if Hitler was unaware of the killings. Himmler would have realised that members of his audience would or might raise the matter with Hitler. In relation to the speech on 5 May 1944 the Defendants contend that the reference to a "soldierly order" must signify that Himmler had taken his order as to the solution to the Jewish problem from Hitler since he is only person in a position to give orders to Himmler. Similarly, in relation to the speech of 24 May, the Defendants assert that the "orders" must connote orders from Hitler. Read together, the Defendants maintain that the terminology of the speeches by Himmler in May 1944 demonstrate Hitler's knowledge of and responsibility for the murders of Jews including women and children.
5.227The Defendants direct particular criticism at Irving for the way in which he deals at p630 of Hitler's War (1977 edition) with the speech of 5 May. He there paraphrases what Himmler in such a way as to conceal the uncompromisingly brutal language used by Himmler. After the reference to Himmler's speech, Irving adds:
"Never before, and never after, did Himmler hint at a Fuhrer order, but there is reason to doubt that he showed this passage to his Fuhrer".
The Defendants reply that it is pure surmise on Irving's part that the relevant passage was not shown to Hitler but it is presented by him to the reader as established fact. They point out that in the 1991 edition the reference to Himmler's speech of 5 May has been omitted altogether. The Defendants maintain that it is an important part of the narrative because it casts light on Hitler's role in the extermination of the Jews. The inescapable inference is that Irving was determined to avoid compromising Hitler.
5.228The reader is directed to a footnote in which Irving claims that the page containing the key sentence referring to a military order was "manifestly" retyped and inserted in the transcript at a later date. Irving suggested that this indicates that the version of the speech which was shown to Hitler was sanitised so as to exclude any reference to Himmler having been ordered by Hitler to carry out a bloody solution to the Jewish problem. It is Irving's argument that Himmler did this because he knew very well that Hitler had given him no such order.