Newsgroups: alt.revisionism Reply-to: email@example.com Subject: Irving v. Penguin & Lipstadt: Judgment V-07 Organization: The Nizkor Project Keywords: David Irving libel action Deborah Lipstadt Archive/File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/judgment-05.07 Last-Modified: 2000/04/11 5.163 Regardless of its unsatisfactory features, Irving remained firm in his view that the Schlegelberger note is vital document which provides a clear indication of Hitler's wish expressed in the spring of 1942 to postpone a decision on the Jewish question generally until after the end of the war. During the evidence Irving made reference time and again to the memorandum, which he regards as the linchpin of his case for saying that Hitler sought to protect the Jews. 5.164 Irving dismissed the notion that the note dates back to 1941 as a "vanishingly small probability". In support of this conclusion Irving referred to a Staff Evidence Analysis sheet, apparently prepared by the prosecutors at Nuremberg who assembled the file which contained the memorandum. Irving points out that, with one exception, the documents in the file come from the period March to April 1942. So the 1942 date tallies with the dates of most of the documents in the file. 5.165 In support of his contention that Schlegelberger was referring to the Jewish question generally, Irving argued firstly that the discussion at the continuation of the Wannsee conference on 6 March 1942 was not confined to the mischlinge problem (although he agreed that the minute of the meeting suggests otherwise). Irving cited in support of this contention the post-war evidence of Ficker and Boley who were both present. (Evans dismissed their evidence as self-exculpatory). Irving went on to point out that the file in which the memorandum was contained is broadly entitled "Treatment of the Jews". Another document in the file is "Overall solution of the Jewish problem". Irving maintained that the immediately preceding document in the file supports his interpretation of the note that it is dealing with the question of Jews generally, not just mischlinge. In that document dated 12 March 1942 Schlegelberger referred to the meeting which had been held on 6 March as having been concerned with the treatment of Jews and mixed races. He expressed the wish that Lammers should consult Hitler about the decisions which would need to be taken which he considered to be completely impossible. Irving argues that this letter also indicates that both the Jews generally and the mixed race issue were under discussion. Following his receipt of that message, it appears that Lammers offered to meet Schlegelberger on the return of the former to Berlin at the end of March. As Evans agreed, the pair probably met in early April. Irving argued that this chronology suggests that the date of the memorandum would be early April by which time Lammers had spoken to Hitler. 5.166 Irving relied on the terms of the Schlegelberger memorandum itself. He pointed out that it refers conjunctively to Jews and mixed marriages as if both (separate) topics were under consideration. It is headed "The solution of the Jewish question", which suggests a broad not a narrow subject-matter. (Were it not so headed he would have considered Evans's interpretation a viable alternative theory). Irving argued that there is nothing in the terms of the memorandum itself to justify the narrow interpretation put on it by the Defendants. Irving argued that in the spring of 1942 Hitler was preoccupied with events on the Eastern front. In that situation his likely reaction, upon being asked about the Jewish question, was that it should be put off until the end of the war. Evans considered that this argument ignores Hitler's obsessive anti- semitism which continued to dominate Hitler's thinking, even at times of military crisis. 5.167 Irving produced what he described as an extract from the evidence which Lammers gave at his trial when he testified that Hitler had told him that he had given Himmler an order for the evacuation of the Jews and that he (Hitler) did not want to hear any more about the problem until the end of the war. Evans took the view that that Lammers was seeking to avoid incriminating himself when he claimed that Hitler wanted no more than the deportation of the Jews. 5.168 Irving defended his treatment of the note at p 464 of the 1991 edition of Hitler's War by pointing out that he did make mention of the problem of the mischlinge. He explained that pressure of space prevented him from making clear to the reader of the text of Goebbels that the 6 March 1942 conference was confined to the mischlinge issue. There was, he said, no question of his having distorted the evidence. 5.169 Irving maintained that the Defendants are trying to devalue what is a "high level diamond document" when they argue that it bears only on the problem of the mischlinge. (ix) Goebbels's diary entry for 27 March 1942 Introduction 5.170 After the successful Nazi invasion of Poland in 1939, part of the newly acquired territory was absorbed into the Reich. In order to make way for ethnic Germans from other parts of Eastern Europe, the Poles from that area were deported eastwards into central Poland, which constituted the western sector of the General Government. The Jews and gypsies were deported into the eastern sector of the General Government in the region of Lublin. 5.171 Initially the Jews were concentrated in ghettoes where living conditions were atrocious. But, following the Nazi invasion of Russia in June 1941, there was a change of policy. As I will describe in greater detail hereafter, task forces called Einsatzgruppen set about the systematic killing of Soviet Jews. In about the autumn of 1941 the extermination policy was extended to Jews in the area of the General Government. The gassing of Jews commenced in December 1941 at an extermination centre called Chelmno in the Warthegau; the latter being an area containing territory incorporated into the Reich after the conquest of Poland. In November 1941 construction of another death camp started in the General Government at Belzec which is situated south-east of Lublin. Jews were murdered in gas chambers at this camp. Two further camps were established the following year at Sobibor and Treblinka. 5.172 So much is common ground between the parties. What is in issue is the manner in which Irving deals with the question of whether Hitler was aware of the policy of exterminating Jews. The case for the Defendants 5.173 In Hitler's War (1977 edition) Irving claims that Hitler was kept in the dark about the policy of exterminating Jews in the East. He wrote at p392: "The ghastly secrets of Auschwitz and Treblinka were well kept. Goebbels wrote a frank summary of them in his diary on March 27 1942, but evidently held his tongue when he met Hitler two days later, for he quotes only Hitler's remark: 'The Jews must get out of Europe. If need be, we must resort to the most brutal methods' ". Irving wrote in similar terms in the 1991 edition. After quoting the references in Goebbels's diary to the brutal methods being employed against the Jews, he continued: " 'The Jews have nothing to laugh about now', commented Goebbels. But he evidently never discussed these realities with Hitler. Thus this two-faced Minister dictated, after a further visit to Hitler on April 26, 'I have once again talked over the Jewish question with the Fuhrer. His position on this problem is merciless. He wants to force the Jews right out of Europe.' ". 5.174 The Defendants' case is that Irving's claim that Goebbels deceived Hitler when (according to Irving) they met on 29 March is wrong: they accuse Irving of manipulating the diary entry for 27 March and ignoring other documents and sources which demonstrate that Hitler was well aware what was happening to the Jews in the East. The full diary entry (quoted at p400 of Evans's report) included the following passages: "The Jews are now being pushed out of the General Government, beginning near Lublin, to the East. A pretty barbaric procedure is being applied here, and it is not to be described in any more detail, and not much is left of the Jews themselves. In general one may conclude that 60% of them must be liquidated, while only 40% can be put to work. The former Gauleiter of Vienna [Globocnik], who is carrying out this action, is doing it pretty prudently and with a procedure that doesn't work too conspicuously. The Jews are being punished barbarically, to be sure, but they have fully deserved it. The prophesy that the Fuhrer issued to them on the way, for the eventuality that they started a new world war, is beginning to realise itself in the most terrible manner. One must not allow any sentimentalities to rule in these matters. If we did not defend ourselves against them, the Jews would annihilate us. It is a struggle for life and death between the Aryan race and the Jewish bacillus. No other government and no other regime could muster the strength for a general solution of the question. Here too the Fuhrer is the persistent pioneer and spokesman of a radical solution, which is demanded by the way things are and thus appears to be unavoidable. Thank God during the war we have a whole lot of possibilities which were barred to us in peacetime. We must exploit them. The ghettos which are becoming available in the General Government are now being filled with the Jews who are being pushed out of the Reich, and after a certain time the process is then to renew itself here. Jewry has nothing to laugh about . ". 5.175 Evans argued that the references to Globocnik and to killings to the east of Lublin make clear that Goebbels was writing about Belzec and not about Auschwitz or Treblinka, as Irving claimed in his text. But the key omission in Hitler's War, according to Evans, is Goebbel's description of Hitler as "the persistent pioneer and spokesman of a radical solution". The radical solution cannot in the context be taken to refer to the policy of deporting Jews to the East. It must indicate that Hitler was aware what was going on in the extermination camps in the East. By deliberately omitting of that reference, Evans alleges that Irving perverts the true significance of the entry. There is absolutely no evidence that Goebbels "held his tongue". The overwhelming likelihood that the pair of them would have discussed enthusiastically what treatment was being meted out to the Jews in the General Government. 5.176 The Defendants claim that, when Hitler is recorded as having spoken at this time of the annihilation (vernichtung) or extirpation (ausrottung) of the Jews he was indeed using the terms in a genocidal sense. Moreover the stance attributed to Hitler by Goebbels accords with sentiments previously expressed by Hitler, notably in his speech to the Gauleiter on 12 December 1941 (to which I have already referred) when Hitler spoke of the Jews "experiencing their own annihilation" if they should once more bring about a world war. It also accords with two of Goebbels's diary entries from this period. The entry for 20 March 1942 records Hitler as having remarked: "We speak in conclusion about the Jewish question. Here the Fuhrer remains now as before unrelenting. The Jews must get out of Europe, if necessary, with the application of the most brutal means". The entry for 30 March 1942 includes the following passage: "Thus I plead once again for a more radical Jewish policy, whereby I am just pushing at an open door with the Fuhrer". 5.177 In both editions of Hitler's War, Irving asserts that Hitler was speaking of deporting the Jews from Europe and so must be taken to have been ignorant of the programme of extermination. But Evans, having analysed the quotations given by Irving together with other reports of statements made by Hitler on the topic, concluded that they show that, when Hitler talked of pushing the Jews out of Europe to the East, he was well aware of the genocidal fate which awaited them. Evans expressed the opinion that this was the radical solution which Hitler was advocating, in full knowledge of what it entailed. Hitler knew that Jews were being systematically killed in the East. Hitler spoke frequently of the murderous fate awaiting the Jews, using such terms as "annihilation" and "extermination" although he took care not to go into the detail of the programmes. Irving, so it is alleged, was at pains to suppress this body of evidence. 5.178 Evans on behalf of the Defendants concluded that Irving's treatment of Goebbels's diary entry for 27 March 1942 wholly misrepresents Hitler's state of knowledge. Irving's response 5.179 Irving suggested (and Evans agreed) that it is apparent from Goebbels's diary entry for 27 March 1942 that he is there summarising information which has been provided to him. There is no evidence that Hitler was provided with that information. Irving advanced the somewhat technical argument that Goebbels's diary entry might be evidence against him as to his state of knowledge but could not be evidence of the state of knowledge of Hitler because as against him it is hearsay. As Evans pointed out, historians, including Irving, perforce use hearsay evidence all the time. But Irving persisted in his assertion that the entry is at worst evidence of Goebbels's knowledge of the gassing and does not touch upon the question of Hitler's knowledge. Irving claimed that Hitler and Goebbels did not see each other in private more than about ten times in 1942. 5.180 Moreover, according to Irving, the entry does not establish that even Goebbels knew what was happening in the death camps: he is just speculating when he writes that 60% of the Jews must be liquidated. Evans pointed out that this contention is difficult to reconcile with Irving's claim that on 27 March 1942 Goebbels was summarising in his diary "the ghastly secrets of Auschwitz and Treblinka". Irving criticised Evans's translation of "Im grossen kann man wohl feststellen." as "In general one may conclude that ." because it omits the word wohl which is indicative of the speculative nature of this part of the diary entry. 5.181 A further argument advanced by Irving is that, in several of the diary entries relied on by the Defendants, Goebbels falsely claims to be acting with the knowledge and authority of Hitler so as to provide himself with an alibi or excuse in case of later blame or criticism. 5.182 Irving claimed that there are many other contemporaneous documents which show Hitler displaying an attitude towards the Jews which is anything but homicidal. One example which Irving cites is Goebbels's diary entry for 30 May 1942 on which Evans also placed reliance. Irving drew particular attention to the following; "Therefore the Fuhrer does also not wish at all for the Jews to be evacuated to Siberia. There, under the harshest living conditions, they would undoubtedly for an element of vitality once more. His preferred solution would be to settle them in central Africa. There they live in a climate which would surely not render them strong and capable of resistance. In any case it is the Fuhrer's wish to make west Europe completely Jew-free. Here they will not be allowed to have any home anymore". Irving argued that this passage demonstrates that Hitler was still thinking in terms of deportation and resettlement. Hitler was "talking tough" about the loss of life which the Jews might suffer in the course of deportation but he was not contemplating genocide. Irving argued that, when Hitler uses such terms as ausrotten in relation to the Jews, he is talking of them being uprooted and transported elsewhere not of their being liquidated. Irving cited other instances where Hitler is recorded as having used at about this time such terms as Auswanderung and Evakuierung. Hitler talked also of resettling the Jews in Siberia of Lapland or even Madagascar. Evans rejected that argument. Hitler's references to resettlement of the Jews at this time are euphemistic. It would have been impractical, Evans suggested, to carry out a programme of extermination by the use of coded language. Hitler's reference to deporting the Jews to Madgascar must be camouflage because Hitler himself had earlier in the year called a halt to that plan and ordered that the Jews be sent to the East. 5.183 As to the entry in Goebbels's diary for 30 March 1942, it is, according to Evans, clear from the earlier section that, in his confidential meeting with Goebbels, Hitler told him he favoured a radical solution of the Jewish problem. The latter part of the entry, relied on by Irving, corresponds very closely with Hitler's Table Talk on 29 May 1942. Evans considered that Goebbels in the latter part of the entry was recording in his diary what he had heard Hitler say in the course of a general discussion on 29 May rather than continuing with his account of their private meeting. That, according to Evans, explains why camouflage language is to be found in the latter part of the diary entry. Evans contended that Hitler habitually resorted to camouflage when others were present. According to Picker (one of those who recorded Hitler's Table Talk) Hitler never spoke over the table of the concentration camps. Evans concluded that the reference in the diary entry to sending the Jews to central Africa is therefore not to be taken seriously. 5.184 Similarly the record of Hitler's reference on 24 July 1942 to the emigration of Jews to Madagascar cannot, according to the Defendants, sensibly be taken at face value: the "Madagascar plan" had, on Hitler's own orders, been abandoned long since. Hitler was pretending to be ignorant about the killing of Jews. 5.185 Another reason relied on by Irving for his contention that Hitler was unaware of deliberate extermination of Jews being carried out on a massive scale in 1942 is that none of his adjutants or stenographers recalls any mention being made by Hitler of anything of the kind. Irving described the time and trouble he has devoted to tracking down and interviewing those who remain alive and to obtain the papers of those who have not survived. Irving claimed that none of them had any recollection of Hitler discussing concentration camps either generally or individually. The Holocaust was not mentioned. 5.186 Evans does not accept that the evidence of the adjutants and secretaries is of any real value. In the first place, Hitler when in company deliberately refrained from talking of the concentration camps and used euphemistic language when talking of the Jews. Moreover Hitler's personal staff had good reason to be cautious in making public statements about what Hitler said in their presence. Moreover, claimed Evans, several of them expressed the view that Hitler was aware of the genocide which was being perpetrated. He named Major (later Lieutenant General) Engel, who recorded in his diaries that Himmler reported to Hitler about the shooting of Jews in Riga and Minsk; von Puttkamer, who impliedly suggested that Hitler kept from his press spokesman the fact that Jews were being exterminated; von Bruckner, who suggested that discussion about the extermination of the Jews was kept by Hitler within a limited circle; Krieger, one of Hitler's stenographers, who was undecided whether Hitler issued orders to exterminate the Jews or gave general orders to others to that effect and Buchholz, who considered that it was possible Hitler had issued such an order and was convinced that the matter was discussed between Himmler and Hitler. Others mentioned by Evans as coming within this category were Linge; rautigam; Sonnleithner and Schroeder. Evans readily accepted that many of these former Hitler aides are unreliable for one reason or another. The point he sought to make was that, whatever weight is to be attached to the evidence of the adjutants and stenographers, they do not support Irving's claim that Hitler was ignorant of the extermination programme. (x) Himmler minute of 22 September 1942 Introduction 5.187 Himmler prepared a handwritten agenda for a meeting he was to have with Hitler on 22 September 1942. Its format and wording were as follows: 1.Emigration of Jews How to proceed further 2. Settlement Lublin Circumstances Lorrainers Gen Gouv. Germans from Bosnia Globus Bessarabia
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