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Defense Documents

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

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(D) The deliberate omission of evidence: Goebbels's diary entry of 22 November 1941

1. Irving manipulates a Goebbels diary entry describing a meeting with Hitler on 21 November 1941, the first time Goebbels had met Hitler since the publication of the article in Das Reich. Goebbels noted in his diary:
The Führer also completely agrees with my views with reference to the Jewish question. He wants an energetic policy against the Jews, which, however, does not cause us unnecessary difficulties. Evacuation of the Jews is to be undertaken city by city. So it is still uncertain when it is Berlin's turn; but when it is, the evacuation is then to be completed as quickly as possible. With reference to Jewish mixed marriages, the Führer recommended to me a somewhat more reserved procedure, above all in artistic circles, because he is of the opinion that these marriages will in any case gradually die out, and one should not allow any grey hair to grow on one's head over it.48
 
2. In his Goebbels biography, Irving does quote this diary entry, but he omits the crucial first sentence and the first half of the second sentence from the text ('He wants an energetic policy against the Jews') because it shows once more that Hitler thought about the 'Jewish Question' in the same way as Goebbels. Irving only prints the first sentence hidden in the endnotes, directly followed by his comment that Hitler was 'clearly' not in agreement with Goebbels.49 In his Pleadings, he argues that Goebbels inserted the line concerning Hitler's approval as an alibi 'for his own wrongdoing'.50
3. But what was the 'wrongdoing' in this case? Irving does not say. Certainly not Goebbels's article in Das Reich, which explicitly referred to Hitler's own prediction of 1939. Also, if Goebbels was so keen falsely to present Hitler as more radical an antisemite than he was, why then did he note down that Hitler wanted him to go easier on mixed marriages (the background here was the suicide of a well-known German actor, Joachim Gottschalk, who was married to a German Jew)?
4. As well as manipulating this diary entry by transposing a key point of it to an endnote, Irving also mistranslates. According to Goebbels's diary, Hitler, as we have seen, explained that he wanted to avoid causing 'us unnecessary difficulties' in pursuing an 'energetic policy against the Jews'. What he meant by 'unnecessary difficulties' was   probably both the removal of Jews working in industries which were important for the war effort, and the printing of hostile reports about the evacuations in the foreign press.51 However, Irving omits the word 'energetic', and mistranslates 'unnecessary difficulties' as 'endless difficulties' thus removing the specific context and broadening the significance of what Hitler was saying beyond what the diary entry actually implies.

Notes

47. Irving, Goebbels, 383.
48. 'Auch bezüglich der Judenfrage stimmt der Führer völlig mit meinen Ansichten überein. Er will eine energische Politik gegen die Juden, die uns allerdings nicht unnötige Schwierigkeiten verursacht. Evakuierung der Juden soll stadtweise vorgenommen werden. Es ist also noch unbestimmt, wann Berlin an die Reihe kommt; aber wenn es an die Reihe kommt, dann soll die Evakuierung auch möglichst schnell zu Ende geführt werden. Bezüglich der jüdischen Mischehen, vor allem in Künstlerkreisen empfiehlt der Führer mir etwas reserviertes Vorgehen, da er der Meinung ist, daß diese Ehen sowieso nach und nach aussterben, und man sich darüber keine grauen Haare wachsen lassen soll'; cited in E. Fröhlich (ed.), Die Tagebücher von Joseph Goebbels, Teil II, Vol. 2 (Munich, 1996), pp. 340-341, diary entry for 22.11.1941.
49. Irving, Goebbels, 379 and 645, endnote 39.
50. Pleadings, IV, p. 37.
51. E. Fröhlich (ed.), Die Tagebücher von Joseph Goebbels, Teil II, Vol. 1 2 (Munich, 1996), pp. 169, 309, diary entries for 24.10.1941, 18.11.1941.
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