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Newsgroups: alt.revisionism
Subject: Holocaust Almanac: David Irving's Hitler, Essay I 
Summary: Eberhard Jaeckel's Essays on David Irving (English translation)
Followup-To: alt.revisionism
Reply-To: kmcvay@nizkor.org
Organization: The Nizkor Project, Vancouver Island, CANADA
Keywords: Irving

Archive/File: pub/people/i/irving.david/jackel/jt-1-1 (Part 1 of 6)
Last-modified: 1996/02/26

           Two Essays on David Irving's Holocaust Denial <1>
                      by Eberhard Ja"ckel <2>
                  Translated by H. David Kirk <3>

Jackel Essay 1:

Refutation of the absurd thesis that "Hitler Is innocent in
the murder of Europe's Jews"[21]

Preliminaries[22]

In  those [Nazi] times one could frequently hear people  say:
"Just  you wait till the Fuehrer gets wind of it!"  by  which
they   meant that if Hitler knew, he would certainly  rectify
not  only  certain unpleasant aspects of daily life but  also
the immense horrors of the regime. It helped people cope both
with  such     minor annoyances as train delays, bad weather,
or a Nazi boss's drunken antics, and with real injustices and
crimes. When used as a joke it was not, like many other ones,
directed  against  the  regime: even then  it  had  a  deeper
meaning. It removed the person of the Fuehrer, who after  all
couldn't be expected to concern himself with everything, from
the shortcomings and arbitrary acts of his subordinates.

From the start, this formula was applied to the murder of the
Jews.  Even  if  Himmler  and his  sinister  SS  and  Gestapo
executioners were thought capable of it, the Fuehrer was not.
Had he known of it, he would surely have interfered. Such was
the  rumor during the war and the open talk afterwards.  This
kind  of drivel has been and continues to be written by  neo-
Nazis who should really be called "stone-age" Nazis.

In  their  attempted  cleanup of the  Fuehrer's  person  such
people  are helped by the fact that in the case of  the  mass
murder  of  the  Jews  there exists  no  written,  personally
signed, order of Hitler's. For years historians searched  for
such  an  order and when none was found they turned to  other
issues.  Nevertheless, no serious scholar has concluded  that
this century's most horrible crime could have been undertaken
without Hitler's will or knowledge.

Now  someone  has come along, an Englishman yet,  who  in  an
otherwise  well-regarded  book  serves  up  the  same  absurd
thesis.  His book has the earmarks of scholarship:  it  cites
sources and has annotations, and its author is so certain  of
himself  that  he has offered to donate $1,000 (US)  to  some
charitable  fund  if anyone can identify a  wartime  document
that  shows Hitler, prior to October 1943, ordering  or  even
knowing  of the biological liquidation of the Jews of Western
Europe.

Quite  a  wager, wouldn't you say? But don't be  misled:  the
clever bettor was not entirely foolhardy; he made sure not to
give  the power of verification to some neutral body  like  a
university or a scientific organization. He insists that  he,
entirely  on his own, will be the judge of whether a document
is   genuine,  and  whether  his  thesis  has  in  fast  been
contradicted. Now that can hardly be called "fair  play";  it
is nothing less than a sleight of hand trick.

This  smart-alecky young man is David Irving and his book  is
Hitler's  War.  It raised a furor in the media.  Its  reviews
were  consistently negative. Oxford University's Hugh  Trevor
Roper,[23]  one  of the greatest authorities in  this  field,
called Irving's methodology defective.

Publication History of Hitler's War

The book has a strange prehistory story. It first appeared in
1975  in  German under the title Hitler and his Generals.[24]
Though  its  reception was critical, its source material  was
praised.  This version of the book did not provoke  anger  or
indignation,  and for a good reason: it did not  contain  the
disturbing thesis of Hitler's innocence. That part  had  been
carefully  eliminated. Irving has now distanced himself  from
this  version  of  his  book and has  forbidden  any  further
edition  of  it.  He  claims that it had  been  substantially
abbreviated and altered without his doing.

The  director  of the Ullstein Publishing House,  Wolf  Jobst
Siedler,  has  some  interesting  contrary  information.   On
May  7, 1974, a year prior to the book's publication, he  had
written  to  Irving  concerning Irving's  discussion  of  the
"liquidation  of  the  Jews." He had emphasized  that  "in  a
publishing house under my direction no book shall appear  for
which I cannot take political and historical responsibility."
He  added:  "Should you be of a different opinion,  we  would
have  to go our different ways." Irving had not left; he  had
stayed.

Since  Irving's  British and American  publishers  had  fewer
scruples  than Siedler, the offending thesis did, after  all,
make  its appearance there, and likewise in Germany where  it
was  eagerly  received in quite well-known  and  "interested"
[neo-Nazi]  circles. It is common knowledge that the  defense
attorneys  in the Duesseldorf lawsuit of Majdanek death  camp
operatives have made use of Irving's  assertion.  Now  it  is
time to take issue with it.

Irving  has  repeatedly complained that he is being  maligned
when  his  thesis about the murder of the Jews is   given  so
much  prominence, seeing that his book devotes only  a  small
section  of its 926 pages to it. Nor is that wrong. His  book
covers much else, and not all of it is shocking; in fact some
of  it  is worth reading and even enlightening. But only  his
thesis  [of  Hitler's innocence in the murder  of  the  Jews]
attracts  attention; Irving himself  has given it  prominence
by emphasizing it in the very first pages.

The Anatomy of Irving's Thesis

Thus  he  writes  that  the most persistent  of  many  Hitler
extermination of the Jews." His own inquiry has, he says, led
him  to  two firm conclusions: (1) that in war dictators  are
basically  weak  and not able to check on all  activities  of
administering  organizations, and  (2)  that  guilt  for  the
bloody  and mindless massacre of the Jews must be laid  to  a
large  number of Germans and not just Hitler. True, with  his
antisemitic  speeches Hitler stoked the fires of  Jew-hatred.
True,  he  and  Himmler had created the SS  and  set  up  the
concentration  camps.  But  Irving  also  claims   there   is
incontrovertible  evidence  that  Hitler,  on  the  30th   of
November  1941,  ordered that there be  "no  liquidation"  of
Jews.


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