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Subject: Holocaust Almanac: David Irving's Hitler (Translator's Introduction)
Summary: Eberhard Jaeckel's Essays on David Irving (English translation)
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Keywords: Irving

Archive/File: people/i/irving.david/jackel/jackel.001 (Part 1 of 3)
Last-modified: 1996/02/26

Note: The following essays, along with other related material, are now
available in "David Irving's Hitler: A Faulty History Dissected," by
Eberhard Ja"ckel. The translation, by H. David Kirk, along with a Foreward by
Robert Fulford, has recently been published by Ben-Simon Publications, of
Port Angeles, Washington and Brentwood Bay, British Columbia, Copyright
1993. It is published here with the permission of the translator, David
Kirk, who provided me with the original translation. Printed copies of the
entire work are available from Ben-Simon - see the end of the text for the
addresses and other related data. knm.

    Translator's Introduction: The Nazi Stake in Faulty History



          Translator's Introduction: The Nazi Stake
                      In Faulty History
                              

     "I  would  say that Nazi propaganda  is  much  too
     transparent to work, were it not for the fast that
     it   often does work. I don't  know why, unless it
     is  because  people are deceived  by  its  obvious
     bluntness ... "

                                                 Bella Fromm
                                      Berlin, August 9, 1933

This little book is about Nazi propaganda, six decades after
Bella  Fromm wrote the above in her  Berlin diary.  In  1933
Nazi  propaganda  was  blunt and  screamed  its  anti-Jewish
themes without regard for historical niceties. When in  1945
Germany's  war machine was for the second time in  27  years
beaten  to a standstill, it was not possible once  again  to
use  the  early  Nazi line that the defeat  had  come  about
because "the Jews and the socialists had stabbed Germany  in
the  back."  After  all,  socialists  had  been  politically
eliminated in 1933 and during the war Jewish populations had
been systematically murdered. After the second defeat a more
elegant explanation was needed.  The neo-Nazi movement found
it  in  the  re-writing of history. One theme lies  bluntly:
"there  was  no  Holocaust"; another,  less  blatant,  says:
"c'est la guerre, that's how it is in war."

How  to answer Holocaust deniers when younger people    know
little or nothing of that horrible history and can easily be
misled  by  those who re-write it? It is a big question  and
cannot  be  tackled by one little book. But one little  book
can  make  a  contribution to truth. David  Irving's  Hitler
builds  around  two essays by the German historian  Eberhard
Jackel.  The  essays  appeared  in  1979  in  Germany  in  a
collection  of  articles[4]  commenting  on  the  TV  series
"Holocaust." In Germany the television showings had  led  to
nationwide  outcries and hand wringing,  producing  numerous
commentaries. Professor Jackel's essays dealt with Holocaust
issues tangentially, in the context of Holocaust denial.  He
focused  on  a  clever re-writer of history, the  Englishman
David Irving, in particular his book Hitler's War.

Encountering Jackel's essays in 1991, I realized  they  were
not only still timely but, if anything, becoming more so. He
had put his finger on Irving's Achilles heel, the soft spots
in  Hitler's War, errors that have been made into  the  neo-
Nazi  lie  about  Hitler. Writing in English,  David  Irving
makes  an  impact on English-speaking readers. That  is  why
Jackel's  essays  had to be made available in  English.  But
Jackel's  German readers had mostly been exposed to  the  TV
"Holocaust" series and to the uproar that had resulted  from
it.  They  were  thus an unusually sensitized readership.  A
North  American  translation, fourteen years  later,   would
have  to provide more background. To do that is the task  of
this Introduction.

                     Falsifying History

In John Toland's 1976 two-volume popular biography,[5] which
"adds   little   to   our  knowledge  or  understanding   of
Hitler,"[6] there is nevertheless an important entry for our
understanding of the world of the 1990s. Toland  begins  his
Epilogue with this paragraph:

     To  the  surprise  of  the world,  Hitler's  death
     brought   an  abrupt,  absolute  end  to  National
     Socialism. Without its only leader, it burst  like
     a  bubble.  There  were  no  enclaves  of  fanatic
     followers bent on continuing Hitler's crusade; ...
     What  had  appeared  to be the most  powerful  and
     fearsome political force of the twentieth  century
     vanished overnight. No other leader's death  since
     Napoleon had so completely obliterated a regime.

Looking back from the early 1970s, Toland may have correctly
assessed  the two decades following the collapse of Hitler's
Third  Reich.  But the two decades after Toland  wrote  have
seen  an  appalling  growth in efforts  to  revise  Hitler's
ideology  and reputation. This movement has been accompanied
by  a  swelling literature, justifying Hitler and  vilifying
Jews  and the State of Israel. Aim and tool of the attempted
rehabilitation of Nazism is Holocaust denial. Since the Nazi
slate cannot be wiped clean -- tabula rasa is impossible ---
the  victims,  survivors and their descendants,  are  called
liars and exploiters. Nazi Germany's mass murder of millions
--  principally of Jews -- being unthinkable, must therefore
have been invented!

Since  the  capitulation in May 1945 of  Nazi  Germany,  the
children  of  those who fought have now had their  children.
These new generations did not witness World War II nor  what
led up to it. Growing up in post-war times of relative quiet
and even prosperity, they learned little about the deeds  of
Nazi  Germany,   primarily against Jews,  but  also  against
Gypsies  and  Slavic peoples.  Ignorant of  the  history  of
their  grandparents'  generation,  such  people  make  ideal
targets  for renewed Nazi propaganda. Concocted by so-called
"historical revisionists," the old hate-mongers  in  pseudo-
scholarly  garb shout that the Holocaust is  a  fraud.  They
claim  it  was  invented by Jews to extract  from  war-weary
Germany compensation for imaginary losses. Such blatant lies
are  evidently meant to clear the perpetrators. They  vilify
the  dead and surviving victims of Nazi horrors. The  danger
they  pose  is  this: reiterated again and again,  momentous
lies  become "commonplace," "matter-of fact," and,  as  time
passes, "believed."

Historical falsifiers deny what Allied soldiers, who  during
the  last days of the war, coming upon the Nazi death camps,
saw  with  their  own eyes. Now members of  that  critically
important  generation are dying out: many  of  the  soldier-
witnesses  and  even  more so the victim-witnesses  are  now
gone. Their place has been taken by new generations for whom
such deeds are unthinkable. To sheltered generations kept in
ignorance, falsified history can more readily be told with '
impunity. Besides, the true story is so horrible that no one
wants  to believe it; until recently even many a victim  has
been unable to speak about it.

Falsified  history  peddled under neo-Nazi  auspices  is  in
direct  line  of  descent from the brazen lies  of  Hitler's
propaganda  machine.  A  recent  article'  gives  a  pointed
example:

     It  is now 50 years since the mounting evidence of
     the  unbelievable, almost unimaginable Nazi crimes
     was acknowledged by the United Nations coalition.
     
     On   17   December  1942,  a  solemn   declaration
     simultaneously published in Washington, London and
     Moscow, denounced the German authorities who, "not
     content with denying to persons of Jewish race ...
     the most elementary human rights, are now carrying
     into  effect  Hitler's oft-repeated intentions  to
     exterminate the Jewish people of Europe."
     
     The  declaration came at the end of a  year  which
     had  begun  with  the  Wannsee  conference  of  20
     January 1942 where organizational details  of  the
     crime  were discussed-even while wholesale murders
     had  already  begun.  A few  days  earlier,  on  9
     January,   a   directive  from  the  ministry   of
     propaganda ordered the oldest slogan "the Jews are
     to  blame"  to be taken up by the press "until  no
     doubt  remains  that each and every Jew,  whatever
     they may do or wherever they may be, is guilty  of
     the calamity they have brought upon the world."

More  than  half  a  century  later,  Nazi-style  propaganda
employs the same demonic ploy: "blaming the victim."

                        Enter Irving

Neo-Nazi  demand for "revised" history has given rise  to  a
"revisionism"   industry.   Its   "craftsmen"   surface   at
international meetings and trials as "expert witnesses."  An
example:  Robert  Faurisson, a former  professor  of  French
literature  at  the University of Lyons,  whom  the  defense
brought  from France to testify at the 1985 trial in Toronto
of  Ernst  Zundel. Publisher and distributor  of  Holocaust-
denial  and other antisemitic material,  Zundel was  charged
with  willfully publishing false information likely to cause
racial or religious intolerance. One of his publications, by
Verrall,   and  entitled  "Did  Six  Million  Really   Die?"
represented  one  of  the  counts  against  him.   Faurisson
testified  that  on the basis of his extensive  study  since
1960 he had concluded there had been no genocide; "It is  an
accusation against the German people, which is not proved at
all,"  he  said.  He  also asserted that the  "Six  Million"
pamphlet  is  substantially  correct  in  its  denial   that
European Jews were exterminated.

Propaganda  emanating from such sources is  disseminated  at
neo Nazi meetings and sent through the mails anonymously. It
appeals  mainly to people already blinded by anti-democratic
and  anti-Jewish phobias. But there are also more subtle and
sophisticated "revisionist historians" and among them is the
focus of this booklet: David Irving.

In  Hitler's War,' as in some of his previous books,  Irving
produced a remarkable mix of truth and fantasy, gripping and
misleading.  If  these  "popular histories"  were  meant  as
entertainment  and  not as instruction  about  "what  really
happened,"  they  would not warrant serious rejoinders.  But
many  of  Irving's  books, Hitler's War in particular,  have
clear  cut  and not at all hidden agendas. They set  out  to
paint  the  Allies with the same brush of brutality  as  the
Nazi  side and this "even-handed" juggling act is  bound  to
raise  in uninitiated minds the question whether the  Second
World War, with its terrible sacrifices, was necessary.

Because Irving manages to insinuate that the Jews of  Europe
posed real dangers to the Nazi war machine, there is in  his
work an undercurrent of justification for the Holocaust, the
facts  of  which  he does not totally deny. No  wonder  that
Jackel  refers to Irving's revisionism as "more  subtle  and
cunning  than  a  revisionism that  denies  everything."  By
equally  distributing the brutality of Nazis and anti-Nazis,
blameworthiness becomes diluted until it disappears.

In  Hitler's  War,  Irving builds an even  more  insidiously
untrue scaffold to hold up the rotten hull of the Nazi  ship
of  state: Hitler's innocence in the mass murder of Europe's
Jewish    people.
Thereby  the guilt for the greatest crime of the century  is
neatly   unloaded  on  secondary  Nazi  chieftains:  notably
Goebbels,  Himmler,  and powerful underlings  like  Heydrich
who  oversaw  the  mass-killing operations. Though  Jackel's
essays  show  that Irving manufactured much of  his  "Hitler
cleansing" evidence, some additional facts may be helpful.

The  beginning of the Holocaust is reckoned as  of  November
9,  1938.  On  that  date Nazi state machinery  unleashed  a
nation wide pogrom euphemistically known as "Kristallnacht,"
"the  night of broken glass," i.e., broken windows.  Over  a
hundred  synagogues  were burned and  their  sacred  scrolls
trodden  in the dirt. Thousands of Jewish men were  whipped,
spat  on,  and  sent to concentration camps.  Families  were
terrorized.  It  was indeed the beginning  of  the  end  for
Germany's and Europe's Jews.

Who in Germany could have ordered so uniform an onslaught on
a  defenseless, already cowed and systematically  pauperized
people?  In  his  biography of Goering,[9] Irving  lays  the
blame  for this pogrom on Goebbels, thereby clearing Hitler.
But  other voices point directly at Hitler. Among  these  is
that  of  his  former  press chief, Otto  Dietrich.  In  his
memoirs,' written after Germany's surrender and while he was
a prisoner of British military authorities, he writes:

     Early  in November 1938 there took place  ...  the
     burning  of synagogues and the smashing of  Jewish
     shops      These  demonstrations were supposed  to
     have  been spontaneous; as I learned the following
     day,  they were staged. The inspiration  for  them
     was  attributed to Goebbels. In reality  they  had
     been  instigated  by Hitler       himself   Hitler
     ordered Goebbels to carry out the action,  and  Go
     passed the instructions on to the SA (Brownshirts)
     ....

That  Hitler was in fact the mastermind of the master pogrom
would   not   have  been  much  of  a  revelation   to   his
contemporaries,  but it is revealing how Irving  deals  with
it.  In  1992 he announced his latest "discovery" in  Moscow
archives of previously unknown pages of Goebbels' diary, and
that  he  had  exclusive use of them. The  Sunday  Times  of
London  is  said  to have agreed to pay Irving  $170,000  to
"read,    authenticate   and   transcribe"   them."   Irving
triumphantly  announced that the author of the  1938  pogrom
had  been  Hitler.  But he failed to say  that  three  years
earlier  the same Irving had laid the blame for it  just  as
firmly on Goebbels.

                    Why Clean up Hitler?
                              
While  Professor Jackel's essays addressed Irving's  fantasy
about Hitler's guiltlessness in the murder of Europe's Jews,
he  did  not raise the question of what Irving's attempt  to
disinfect  Hitler, if successful, would do for the  neo-Nazi
movement. A clue to the potential utility of such a  cleanup
appeared in an article by Martin Broszat [12] He said that a
majority   of   the   German  people  had   enthusiastically
identified  themselves not with men like  Himrnler,  Bormann
and Heydrich, nor with the Nazi party, but with Hitler. Thus
it  was  the "Fuehrer" on whose posthumous stature the  neo-
Nazi movement could bank for a possible political come-back.
But  the  demon  in  Hitler's reputation would  have  to  be
exorcized if the figure of the Fuehrer were to serve  a  new
political  purpose. That is what Irving seems to  have  been
doing.

                     Revisionist Incest
                              
That  people  who  keep  regular company  would  also  share
outlook  and ideas is hardly surprising. But in the case  of
"revisionist"  history and neo-Nazi ideology, that  affinity
calls  for special attention. If Irving's cleanup of  Hitler
is  useful to   the neo-Nazi movement's political ambitions,
in what sense is the neo-Nazi movement useful to Irving? One
need  only  inspect the range of the man's books to  find  a
possible clue.

In  his 1960s books, such as The Destruction of Dresden  and
The  Virus  House, Irving judged "e n-handedly"  Allied  and
Nazi   war  guilt,  equating  the  two  combatants  as  "war
criminals." It was a very attractive message for  the  likes
of   Zundel,   Butz[13]  and  Faurisson.  Their   world-wide
distribution  networks enabled Irving to gain attention  far
beyond  what his     publishers alone have been able  to  do
for him.

Having  become  a  valued client, Irving  shaped  his  later
books,  such  as  Hitler's War and Goering  with  even  more
partisan    messages. He now feels free to  back  charlatans
like  the  self-styled  "gas chamber expert"  Leuchter,  who
denies  that at Auschwitz Jews were gassed with p  sic  acid
(Cyclon B). Thus Irving has put himself squarely in the neo-
Nazi  camp. Whatever Irving may once have been, and whatever
he  may once have wanted his books to say, he has now become
the  willing darling of neo-Nazi interests. And as his  deal
with  The  Sunday  Times  of London  has  shown,  even  that
unvarnished bias does not seem to militate against  Irving's
drawing considerable profit from it.

                        Attack as Defense
                              
From a recent article on "revisionists" in Britain:

     Irving  makes  no  bones  about  his  antisemitism
     (except when he denies it). He thinks the Jews are
     "very  foolish  not  to abandon  the  gas  chamber
     theory  while  they still have time."  Still  have
     time?  Yes, he indulges in "prophesy" which  could
     be   self-fulfilling.  He  "foresees"  (much  like
     Hitler)  "a  new wave of antisemitism"  (which  he
     helps to create), because "the Jews have exploited
     people with the gas chamber legend."'[14]

The  motto "attack as defense" has its pedigree in  Hitler's
Propaganda Minister Goebbels.

     Now  what was the Nazis' reaction when the  crimes
     were  for  the first time officially denounced...?
     Dr.  Goebbels had already an inkling that "British
     propaganda  is taken up so much with  the  alleged
     and-Jewish  atrocities  in  the  East"   that   he
     "believes the time had  come to do something about
     this propaganda campaign." It was, he confessed at
     a  secret  departmental conference on 12  December
     1942,  a  "rather  delicate  subject,"  especially
     "'the  maltreatment of the Jews in  Poland"  which
     "had  better not be touched on at all." Generally,
     the  line  to  be followed was "not to  engage  in
     polemics but instead give particular prominence to
     British  atrocities  in India,  Iran  and  Egypt,"
     because "our best weapon is an offensive" designed
     to  ensure that the anti-British "atrocity stories
     really do make an impact."'[15]
     
To  reinforce  what  has been said about the  "revisionists"
equating  Allied and Nazi atrocities, there is this  further
insight into the Goebbels technique:

     At another secret conference on December 16 (1942)
     Goebbels  believes  "a  general  hullabaloo  about
     atrocities is our best chance of getting away from
     the embarrassing topic of the Jews. Things must be
     so arranged that each party accuses every other of
     committing  atrocities." This  general  hullabaloo
     would   "eventually   result   in   this   subject
     disappearing from the agenda."[16]
     
Goebbels'  recipe for "even-handed" propaganda is  evidently
being  put  to  "good" use by other "revisionist"  craftsmen
besides  Irving.  A 1989 book called Other  Losses  [17]  by
James Bacque: Bacque accused General Dwight Eisenhower, when
he  was commanding officer of the Allied Forces stationed in
Europe,   of   having   willfully  caused   the   death   of
approximately  one  million German prisoners  of  war.  That
revisionist  thesis  was  given  serious  reviews  in  major
Canadian  newspapers, suggesting that  here  was  suppressed
dirt  from  our own side in World War II. Educated  readers,
particularly  Jewish ones, might have been  expected  to  be
wary. One who fell for the hoax wrote a letter to the editor
of  a  Canadian  Jewish  paper."  He  referred  to  Bacque's
"careful research," "ample evidence," and "obviously willful
murder."

Another  correspondent,[19] commenting on the misconceptions
of the previous letter writer and on Bacque's thesis, wrote:

     ...  the  German  historian Bert Engelmann,  (has)
     shown  Bacque's  story of German  prisoners  being
     willfully   starved  to  death  to  be   false....
     Eisenhower declared time and again that he did not
     have  the  men or the means to take  care  of  the
     surrender of a full-sized army and finally  closed
     the   American   lines  and   refued   to   accept
     surrendering  German  forces.  My  German   source
     confirms that the situation in the American sector
     (Kreuznach  and Freudenstadt) was very bad,  worse
     than in the British and French sector   But  I  am
     asking:  what  is  behind this  obviously  strange
     publication coming 45 years after the end  of  the
     war?

As you see, already in 1942 Goebbels had created the perfect
recipe for Holocaust denial.

                         Summing Up

Now  we  turn to Jackel's dissection of Irving's  thesis  in
Hitler's  War. Let us keep in mind what these essays  imply.
They  shout  that the emperor has no clothes.  The  emperor,
here Adolf Hitler, appears in Irving's portrait of him as  a
willful  child but without guile. Jackel's essays warn  that
the   deception,  if  widely  believed,  can  lead  to  dire
consequences, reminiscent of this aphorism:

     The  attempt  to justify an evil deed has  perhaps
     more  pernicious consequences than the  evil  deed
     itself. The justification of a past crime  is  the
     planting and cultivation of future crimes. Indeed,
     the  repetition of a crime is sometimes part of  a
     device of justification: we do it again and  again
     to  convince  ourselves and others that  it  is  a
     common thing and not an enormity.[20]
     
Footnotes

3  Bella Fromm, Blood and Banquets - A Berlin Social  Diary,
New York and London, Harper & Brothers Publishers, 1942.

4. The collection in which Eberhard Jackel's essays appeared
was  called  "Im Kreuzfeuer: Der Fernsehfilm  `Holocaust'  -
Eine Nation ist Betroffen," edited by Peter Martesheimer and
Ivo  Frevel, with the collaboration of Hellmut Auerbach  and
Walter  H.  Pehle,  Frankfurt, Fishcher Taschenbuch  Verlag,
1979.

5.   John   Toland,  "Adolf  Hitler,"  Garden  City,   N.Y.,
Doubleday, 1979.

6.  Lucy  S.  Dawidowicz, The Holocaust and the  Historians,
Cambridge,  MA,  and  London,  England,  Harvard  University
Press, 1981, p. 35.

7.  C.C.  Aronsfeld,  "The Bestial  Policy  of  Cold-Blooded
Extermination," Midstream, April 1993, pp. 10-11 .

8.  David  Irving,  Hitler's War, Toronto,  London,  Sydney,
Auckland,  Hodder and Stoughton, 1977. This book is  peddled
at neo-Nazi meetings; Professor JackeI's essays were written
in response to it.

9.  Goering,  a  Biography,  New York,  William  Morrow  and
Company, 1989

10.  Otto Dietrich, Hitler, translated by Richard and  Clara
Winston, Chicago, Henry Regnery Company, 1955, p. 41.  I  am
indebted  to   Mr. John Weitz for directing my attention  to
this important primary source.

11. Quoted from Andrew Cohen, "Before we banish the past  we
must  learn  to  accept it," The Canadian  Jewish  News,  13
August  1992.  A  more recent piece of  information  from  a
London correspondent suggests that Irving was not paid  that
sum  and  that he bitterly complained, publicly, about  this
breach of contract.

12.   Martin   Broszat,   "Hitler  und   die   Genesis   der
'Endloesung'," Vierteljahrhefte fuer Zeitgeschichte, Nr.  4,
October 1977, p. 745.

13. Author of "The Hoax of the Twentieth Century."

14  C.C.  Aronsfeld, "Holocaust 'Revisionists' are  Busy  in
Britain," Midstream, January 1993, p. 29.

15  C.C.  Aronsfeld,  "The Bestial  Policy  of  Cold-Blooded
Extermination," op. cit., p. 11.

16. C.C. AronfeId, op. cit. p. 11.

17. James Bacque, Other Losses, Toronto, Stoddard Publishing
Co. 1989.

18. Letter by a Dr. Herrmann, Professor of Political Science
at  Concordia  University, appearing in The Canadian  Jewish
News, 8 March 1990.

19.  Julius Pfeiffer, CA, The Canadian Jewish News, 19 April
1990, p. 10.

20.  Eric  Hoffer, The Passonate State of  Mind,  New  York,
Harper Brothers, 1954.

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