The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: people/i/irving.david/jackel/postscript-kirk-2


Newsgroups: alt.revisionism
Subject: Holocaust Almanac: David Irving's Hitler: Postscript
Summary: H. David Kirk's commentary on Irving's work and the Ja"ckel
         Essays
Followup-To: alt.revisionism
Reply-To: kmcvay@nizkor.org
Organization: The Nizkor Project, Vancouver Island, CANADA
Keywords: Kirk,Irving,Ja"ckel

Archive/File: pub/people/i/irving.david/jackel/postscript-kirk-2
Last-Modified: 1996/02/27

                    Irving's Misuse of Informants 

   In his first essay Ja"ckel shows that Irving confidently draws on the
   testimony of Hitler's long-term personal servants as witnesses to
   Hitler's ignorance of the murder of the Jews.  

   Martin Broszat, has commented<50> on that testimony in detail: 

      It is ...  simply incorrect when Irving, on page 327 of his book
      (Hitler's War) claims that 'all surviving adjutants, secretaries
      and official stenographers had uniformly declared' that in
      Hitler's headquarters no word was ever spoken about the
      extermination of the Jews....

      The real value of such 'crown-witnesses' in support of Irving's
      thesis was shown by an English reporter, Gitta Sereny.  In The
      Sunday Times Weekly of July 10, 1977 she told of her search for
      the employees Irving had questioned.  She managed to locate and
      interview five of them.  All of them declared--as was to be
      expected--that in their presence Hitler had not spoken of the
      extermination of the Jews, but that they could not irnagine that
      he did not know about it.

   According to Broszat,<51> Irving's truncated use of such informants
   seems to go beyond naivete.  Thus Irving based his claim about the
   servant-informants on the record of the Munich State Court<52> in its
   1964 case against Obergruppenfuehrer (SS Colonel) Karl Wolff,
   Himmler's liaison at Hitler's headquarters.  Accused of
   co-responsibility in arrangements for the extermination of the Jews,
   Wolff asserted his ignorance of the policy of extermination.  Broszat
   continues: 

      It is utterly fantastic that Irving (on p.  327) claims not only
      Hitler's secretaries and stenographers, but that Wolff, with whom
      Himmler had visited Auschwitz,...  had known, even in the summer
      of 1942, nothing of the extermination of the Jews.  

      The court 'refused to believe this, since it runs counter to the
      truth.' Irving accepts Wolff's version as if it were a proven fact
      and nowhere does he mentions the contrary view of the court,
      though he knows it.  

              Irving Avoids Ugly Facts and Invents Nicer Ones 

   Broszat also shows<53> that Irving presents facts about Hitler in a
   light that makes them look less formidably evil: 

      Irving pays scant attention to, or belittles, postwar confessions
      of those who had been privy to secret information about the
      extermination of the Jews.  Thus certain statements by Walter
      Blume and Otto Ohlendorf, former leaders of special killing squads
      [Einsatzgruppen], agree that oral directives to commando leaders
      in 1941 concerning the extermination of the Jews, stemmed
      specifically from Hitler.  lrving mentions it but distorts it in
      the telling.  

   Then Broszat's footnote: 

      Ohlendorf, in 1941/42 chief of Einsatzgruppe D, declared on
      January 3, 1946 before the Nuremberg Tribunal: 'In late summer
      1941 Himmler was in Nikolaev.  He ordered the leaders and troops
      of the Einsatzkommando [killing-commando] to fall in, and there
      and then he repeated the established 'liquidation- order ...
      [saying] that it was given on his responsibility together with the
      Fuehrer's [Hitler's].' Irving cites this last sentence on page 326
      [of Hitler's War], but does it in this way: 'that he [Himmler]
      alone, in association with Hitler, was responsible.' That word
      'alone' is pure Irving invention.  Then he proceeds to minimize
      things further: 'Himmler's formulation was perhaps purposefully
      vague.' 

                   Irving's Linguistic Cover-ups 

   Nazi propaganda and administration developed a high degree of Iying
   by coded language.  Thus 'resettlement' became a cover for
   expropriation and shipping to ghettos and death camps; 'Arbeit macht
   frei' (work makes you free) was the motto over the gates of slave and
   death camps; 'Kristallnacht' was the ingenious euphemism for the
   nation-wide pogrom, with its burning of synagogues, with its smashing
   of people and shops.  The German noun Kristall means both plate glass
   and fancy tableware, thus an allusion to 'Kristallnacht' is not only
   to broken glass or windows, but to a night of chandeliers and wine
   glasses.  'Final Solution of the Jewish Question' was the Nazi
   euphemism for 'extermination.'

   Like the Nazi machine in his books, Irving has developed his own
   linguistic obfuscation technique.  Chapter 19 of his Goring has a
   particularly intriguing title: 'Sunshine Girl and Crystal Night.' For
   the uninitiated it would not be far-fetched to assume that this
   refers to a fairy tale: princess and star-lit night.  But 'Crystal
   Night' stands for the 1938 pogrom, and the 'sunshine girl' is Edda,
   the Gorings' little daughter whom the doting parents called
   'Sunshine.' By combining her charmed nickname with the already gilded
   term for pogrom, our clever biographer has further obfuscated what it
   was all about: -- the beginning of the end of the Jewish people of
   Europe.  


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