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Defense Documents

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

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(iii) Irving and the Himmler note

1. In his reply to the defence, David Irving concedes that he has neglected the Himmler note in question. On his decision to omit any discussion of the note, Irving writes:
It is admitted that the plaintiff did not draw attention to this minute, but it is denied that this is relevant...The Defendants have failed to inform us of the minute's 'obvious significance', which escapes the Plaintiff...Himmler's jotted agenda for his meetings with Hitler are crowded with names, pet or otherwise, and in the absence of collateral evidence it is imprudent in the extreme to spin fanciful theories around them.21
2. Indeed, the minute does seem significant. It is not a fanciful theory to suggest that the note gives a strong indication that Hitler was updated by Himmler on the mass murder of Jews in the East, or that the two men decided on the next steps in the 'final solution'. There is no doubt that at this time important decisions by the Nazi leaders were being taken. During a conference between 20 and 22 September 1942, in view of the extreme shortage of labour, Hitler apparently agreed to the proposal of Sauckel, the official responsible for the work-force in the war economy, to continue to employ skilled Jewish workers in the General Governement.22 As a consequence, Himmler ordered on 9 October 1942 that Jewish workers employed in the war economy in the General Government were to be gathered in a few concentration camp factories: 'However, the Jews there too will disappear one day, in correspondence with the wish of the Führer.23
3. Some historians have not used the note. However, both the defence and Irving are in fact wrong in claiming that Irving has not used the note by Himmler in his work. Irving, who knows well what he has written and what not, once more twists the truth. In the 1991 edition of Hitler's War, Irving uses the minute to support his claim that in his   meetings with Hitler, Himmler did not enlighten Hitler about the true fate of the Jews in the East. This is part of Irving's argument that it was not Hitler, but other leading Nazis, like Himmler and Goebbels, who were behind the extermination of the Jews. Hitler, he argues, was left in the dark by his officials:
Himmler meanwhile continued to pull the wool over Hitler's eyes. On September 17 (recte: September 22) he calmly jotted in his notes for that day's Führer conference: "1. Jewish emigration - how is to be handled in future? 2. Settlement of Lublin," and noted next to these points: "Conditions in Generalgouvernement," and "Globus" (Globocnik's nickname).25
4. Irving's claim lacks all factual foundation. First, there is no indication at all that Himmler took down the notes of the meeting 'calmly' or kept Hitler in the dark about the mass annihilation of the Jews. Second, the fact that the mass murder of the Jews is not mentioned openly in Himmler's notes, which Irving seems to take as proof for Himmler's having mislead Hitler, should come as no surprise. As stated above, the Nazis generally used camouflage terms like 'evacuation', 'resettlement', 'wandered off', 'disappeared', when noting down details of the extermination of the Jews. There was a great difference between what the Nazi officials wrote down on paper, and what they actually discussed verbally. For instance, as has already been pointed out in this Report, while the participants at the Wannsee conference on 20 January 1942 openly talked about 'killing, elimination, and annihilation',26 the minutes drawn up by Adolf Eichmann refers only to the 'evacuation of the Jews to the East' and the 'final solution of the European Jewish Question'.27 Irving is well aware of this, and his interpretation   is a blatant misrepresentation of the Himmler minute, quite apart from the gratuitous addition of his characterisation of Himmler as having 'calmly' taken down the notes. ? It is clear, therefore, that if anyone has spun fanciful theories around this document, it is Irving himself.


21. Pleadings, IV, p. 28.
22. P. Longerich, Politik der Vernichtung (Munich, Zurich, 1998), p. 510
23. There is no mention o fthe note, for instance, in R. Hilberg'ss The Destruction of the European Jews (New York, 1983); P. Longerich (ed.), Die Ermordung der europäischen Juden (Munich, 1989); or L. Dawidowizc, The War against the Jews 1933-1945 (London, 1977).
25. Irving, Hitler's War (London, 1991), 467.
26. Eichmann trial, 24.7.1961; cited in G. Fleming, Hitler and the Final Solution (London, 1984), p. 92.
27. P. Longerich (ed.), Die Ermordung der europäischen Juden (Munich, Zurich, 1989), pp. 85-87.
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