Newsgroups: alt.revisionism Reply-to: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Irving v. Penguin & Lipstadt: Judgment V-08 Organization: The Nizkor Project Keywords: David Irving libel action Deborah Lipstadt Archive/File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/judgment-05.08 Last-Modified: 2000/04/11 The Defendants' case 5.188 The Defendants' case is that this note, despite its camouflaged language, raises the strong suspicion that Himmler proposed to discuss with Hitler at their meeting the mass annihilation of Jews. The background to the note is that the killing of Jews had (on the Defendants' case) commenced in November 1941 at Chelmno and some months later at Belzec, Sobibor and Treblinka. During the summer of 1942 there was a wish to accelerate the extermination process but it met with resistance. Himmler, who was in overall charge of the programme, needed the support of Hitler. 5.189 Evans interpreted the agenda note made by Himmler as meaning that he intended to discuss with Hitler the extermination of Jews (for which auswanderung or "emigration" was a euphemism). Evans interpreted the note in the following way: "Globus" was the nickname of Globocnik, the Lublin Chief of Police to whom, according to the Defendants, was delegated the executive responsibility for both deportation and extermination in the General Government area. Two months earlier, just before the mass killings started at Treblinka, Globocnik had welcomed the order recently issued by Himmler saying that with it "all our most secret wishes are to be fulfilled". Evans interpreted Himmler's agenda note as contemplating the repopulation of Lublin with Lorrainers, Germans and Bessarabians. The Jews were to be deported to make way for them and then executed. That was Globocnik's "most secret wish". The significance of Himmler's note, so the Defendants contend, is that it implicates Hitler in the extermination policy. 5.190 The Defendants allege that Irving glosses over this significant note and perverts its true sense. Indeed at p467 of the 1991 edition of Hitler's War Irving uses it to support his thesis that Himmler did not enlighten Hitler about the true fate of the Jews. He prefaced his reference to Himmler's note of 17 September with these words: "Himmler meanwhile continued to pull the wool over Hitler's eyes". According to the Defendants, there is no evidence that Himmler did any such thing. Evans argued that the euphemistic reference in the note to "emigration of Jews" is not indicative of a wish to keep Hitler in the dark but rather a reflection of the common Nazi practice of camouflaging references to the policy of exterminating Jews. The Defendants contend that it is inconceivable that Himmler should have prepared an agenda for a discussion with Hitler about these matters in the knowledge that Hitler knew nothing about them and with the intention of concealing them from him. Irving's response 5.191 In his evidence Irving accepted that there was possibly something sinister under discussion between Himmler and Hitler. But he argued that there is no reason to suppose that Himmler went into any detail about it. Irving maintained that in Hitler's War he quoted what Himmler's note said and let the readers draw their own conclusions. 5.192 However, when cross-examining Evans, Irving advanced the contention that what Himmler was discussing with Hitler was the resettlement of Lublin with ethnic Germans and the removal of the Jews then in Lublin to make way for them. Irving claimed that resettlement of those Jews, rather than their extermination, was the topic under discussion. He contended that Evans's interpretation of the note is speculative and over-adventurous. He agreed that the note proposed the evacuation and repopulation of Lublin. But he maintained that there is no warrant for reading into it that any discussion was intended by Himmler to take place with Hitler about killing the displaced Jewish Lubliners. Indeed, he argued, it was the resettlement of Lublin which was Globocnik's "most secret wish". Evans responded that the deportation of the Lubliner Jews and their execution are so intimately connected that it is impossible to draw a distinction between them. 5.193 Irving defended the use of the phrase "pulling the wool over Hitler's eyes" by pointing out that there is no reference on the face of Himmler's the note to any of the sinister things which (as Irving agreed) were by then in train. (xi) Himmler's note for his meeting with Hitler on 10 December 1942 Introduction 5.194 In accordance with his usual practice, Himmler listed in manuscript the points which he proposed to raise with Hitler at their meeting on 10 December 1942. One of them reads: "Jews in France 600- 700,000". Alongside those words there appears a tick. Himmler has also added in manuscript the word "abschaffen". Longerich translated this as "to liquidate". After his meeting with Hitler, Himmler sent a note to Muller, the head of the Gestapo, to the effect that the French Jews should be arrested and deported to a special camp (Sonderlager). At the same time Himmler secured the agreement of Hitler that a camp should be set up for 10,000 well-to-do Jews from France, Hungary and Romania, in conditions "whereby they remain healthy and alive". Case for the Defendants 5.195 The significance of Himmler's agenda, according to the Defendants, when considered in the light of the note to Muller and the setting up of a camp for well-to-do Jews, is that it reveals him discussing with Hitler the liquidation or extermination of large number of French Jews. The contrast between the fate of the French Jews who are to kept healthy and alive and the remainder is obvious, say the Defendants. 5.196 The Defendants criticise Irving for his treatment of the note in Hitler's War (1977 edition) where Irving translates abschaffen as "to remove", which the Defendants allege misrepresents the true significance of the note. In the 1991 edition abschaffen is translated as "to extract" and the reference to setting up a camp for well-to-do French Jews has disappeared in order, claim the Defendants, to remove the highly significant contrast between their treatment and that awaiting the deported French Jews. Irving's response 5.197 Irving asserted that there were nowhere near 600,000 Jews in France. He argued that his translation of abschaffen is correct and is consistent with the word abtransportieren which is to be found in the typed version of the note. Irving did not accept the suggestion put to him that abtransportieren was euphemistic language adopted for the official record of the meeting. He argued that his interpretation of the note is borne out by what in the event happened to the French Jews: they were transported to camps in Germany, where large numbers of them were put to work in the armaments industry. 5.198 Irving claimed that his account in the 1977 edition of Hitler's War is accurate. He explained that the reference to the note was deleted from the 1991 edition because it was an abridged edition and part of the text had to be deleted. (xii) Hitler's meetings with Antonescu and Horthy in April 1943 Introduction 5.199 On 12/13 April 1943, Hitler met the military dictator of Romania, Antonescu in order to discuss Romania's position in the war. In the course of their discussion the question of the Jews in Romania was raised. 5.200 In 1943 there were in Hungary some 750,000 Jews if not more. The Hungarian government, under the leadership of Admiral Horthy, deported many non-Hungarian Jews over the border into Nazi-controlled territory where most of them were murdered. The Nazis brought pressure to bear on the Hungarians to identify and deport in a similar manner the very considerable number of Jews who remained in Hungary. But the Hungarians were reluctant to comply, preferring to solve their own Jewish question in their own way. A meeting was arranged between Hitler and Horthy: it took place on two separate days, namely16 and 17 April 1943, shortly after Hitler's meeting with Antonescu. The object was to resolve the impasse. 5.201 In the result the Hungarian refused to hand over Hungary's Jews. Hungary was subsequently invaded and occupied by the Nazis. Eichmann thereupon organised the forcible deportation of the Jews from Hungary to the General Government. According to the Defendants in June 1944 450,000 Hungarian Jews were murdered at Auschwitz. Irving alleges that the number killed is smaller. Case for the Defendants 5.202 In relation to Hitler's meeting with Antonescu, the Defendants reproach Irving for his omission to mention in either edition of Hitler's War the uncompromising and anti-semitic words used by Hitler on 13 April in reference to the Jews. The minutes record him as having said: "Therefore, in contrast to Marshal Antonescu, the Fuhrer took the view that one must proceed against the Jews, the more radically the better. He . would rather burn all his bridges behind him because the Jewish hatred is so enormously great anyway. In Germany, as a consequence of the clearing up of the Jewish question, one had a united people without opposition at one's disposal . however, once the way had been embarked on, there was no turning back". This, say the Defendants, evidences Hitler placing pressure on Antonescu to effect a radical "removal" of Romania's Jews. Yet Irving ignores it altogether in his account of the meeting. 5.203 As to the meeting which started three days later between Hitler and Horthy, the Defendants' contention is that the evidence indicates that at the first session, which took place on 16 April and which was attended by amongst others Hitler and Ribbentrop as well as Horthy, Hitler sought to persuade Horthy to agree to the expulsion of the Hungarian Jews. He reassured Horthy that there would be no need to kill them. But Horthy remained unpersuaded. 5.204 Accordingly, say the Defendants, at the next session on 17 April Hitler and Ribbentrop expressed themselves more explicitly. The Defendants contend that the language used by Hitler on the second day points unequivocally to Hitler's knowledge of the extermination of Jews in Poland, as does the language used by Ribbentrop in Hitler's presence on that occasion. Minutes of the meeting on 17 April were taken by Dr Paul-Otto Schmidt. They record Ribbentrop saying in the presence of Hitler: "On Horthy's retort, what should he do with the Jews then, after he had taken pretty well all means of living from them - he surely couldn't beat them to death - the Reich Foreign Minister replied that the Jews must either be annihilated or taken to concentration camps. There was no other way". Shortly afterwards Hitler himself is recorded as having said: "If the Jews [in Poland] didn't want to work, they were shot. If they couldn't work, they had to perish. They had to be treated like tuberculosis bacilli, from which a healthy body can be infected. That was not cruel; if one remembered that even innocent natural creatures like hares and deer had to be killed so that no harm was caused. Why should one spare the beasts who wanted to bring us bolshevism? Nations who did not rid themselves of Jews perished". The Defendants' case is that these passages are significant in that they afford powerful evidence that Hitler knew of and approved the extermination of Jews. The flavour of Hitler's remarks points towards an intention to exterminate the Hungarian Jews. It is difficult, say the Defendants, to visualise any other reason why the Nazis were so insistent to get their hands on the Hungarian Jews. 5.205 The Defendants contend that Irving in Hitler's War uses a variety of discreditable devices to obscure the significance of the minutes and to twist their meaning. They allege that the passage at p509-10 of the 1977 edition of Hitler's War is a "shocking manipulation" of Schmidt's note of the meeting. In the first place, Irving gives as the pretext for the pressure being brought to bear on Horthy by Hitler and Ribbentrop the Warsaw ghetto uprising. But there is no mention of that uprising in the note of the meeting, which, say the Defendants, is unsurprising because it did not take place until three days later (19 April). Irving marginalises the significance of Ribbentrop's remarks in the presence of Hitler by tucking away what he said in a footnote (where Irving seeks to cast doubt on the accuracy of Schmidt's note by quoting Horthy's later draft letter to Hitler of May 7 which refers to the "stamping out" (Ausrottung) of Jewry). Further Irving depicts Hitler as having used the devastation wreaked by Allied bombing to justify a harsher policy towards the Jews, whereas the contemporaneous evidence shows that Hitler regarded the bombing as "irritating but wholly trivial". 5.206 But the major criticism directed by the Defendants at Irving's account arises out of the transposition by Irving to the 17 April of a remark made by Hitler in the course of the meeting on 16 April. The Defendants allege that in a similar manner Irving minimises the significance of what Hitler said. After quoting the statement made by Hitler on 17 April which is set out above, Irving adds the following words: "But they can hardly be murdered or otherwise eliminated", [Horthy] protested. Hitler reassured him: "There is no need for that". Hitler had indeed used those words but not on 17 April. He spoke those words at the earlier session on 16 April. By the following day the Nazi attitude had hardened. By transposing to 17 April remarks which Hitler had in fact made on 16 April, so the Defendants say, Irving diluted the uncompromising and brutal language Hitler used on 17 April when exhorting Horthy to kill all Hungary's Jews. Irving was, as he accepted, warned in 1977 that he had made an error about the date when Hitler made this remark. But took no action to correct the error in the 1991 edition. 5.207 The Defendants are further critical of Irving for watering down what Hitler did say on 17 April when it came to the 1991 edition of Hitler's War. Irving omitted Hitler statement about having to kill hares and deer; he omitted the question why the "beasts" (ie the Jews) should be spared and he omitted his reference to nations who did not get rid of the Jews perishing. According to the Defendants Irving was guilty of atrocious manipulation of what Hitler said. Irving's reponse 5.208 Irving agreed that in his account in Hitler's War of the meeting which took place between Hitler and Antonescu, he omitted to refer to Hitler's anti-semitic outburst which included the remark that "one must proceed against the Jews, the more radically the better". Irving justified the omission by saying that it adds not one iota to what is already known. 5.209 In this connection Irving, in order to rebut the claim that Hitler displayed a vindictive attitude towards the Jews on this (or any other) occasion, drew attention to the willingness of Hitler on occasion to approve some merciful disposal for individual Jews or groups of Jews. Irving instanced the permission given by Hitler for 70,000 Jewish children to leave Romania and travel to Palestine. Longerich agreed that there were times when Hitler exempted certain Jews from deportation or extermination. 5.210 In regard to the meeting between Hitler and Horthy, Irving in his response laid stress on what Hitler said at the first session on 16 April, namely that the Jews would not need to be killed. He argued that it was throughout Hitler's position that there was no need to murder the Hungarian Jews, since they could be accommodated in concentration camps as had happened in the case of the Slovakian Jews. Irving argued that, when Hitler is recorded in the minutes of the meeting taken by Hilgruber as having referred to Jews having "vanished" to the East, he was referring to their deportation. Evans's answer to this was that on 16 April Hitler was setting up a smoke-screen and seeking to conceal from Horthy what his true intentions were. Longerich concurred, adding that Hitler's reference to the Slovakian Jews is significant because (as Hitler must by this time have known) they had been put to death in extermination camps. 5.211 Irving did not in his evidence dispute the accuracy of the record made by Schmidt of the meeting on 17 April. Irving argued that the reason why Ribbentrop said what he did is that the Hungarian Jews were posing a security threat: what Ribbentrop was proposing was that, on that account, they should be sent to concentration camps; if they refused (but not otherwise) they would be shot. Evans replied that Irving is perverting and distorting the clear sense of what Ribbentrop said. Irving persisted in his claim that the use of the term "Ausrottung" in Horthy's draft letter to Hitler of 7 May is significant because it contemplates the Jews being forcibly deported rather than killed. 5.212 Irving agreed that he wrongly reported Hitler as saying on 17 April what he had in fact said on 16 April. He also agreed that his error had been pointed out to him as long ago as 1977 by the historian Martin Broszat. But he contended that his error as to the date is a matter of no consequence. That, he claimed, is why he did not correct the reference in the 1991 edition of Hitler's War. There was no deliberate misrepresentation or deliberate suppression. Irving asserted that he included in the 1977 edition the substance of what Hitler said about the Jews on 17 April. His explanation for the removal in the 1991 edition of part of what Hitler said is that it was an abridged edition. In any case he considered that the omitted words do not add much. 5.213 As regards Hitler's language, Irving drew attention to the fact that the internal record of the meeting kept by the Hungarians (as opposed to the official Nazi minute) made no mention of the deported Hungarian Jews being killed. There would have been no reason for the Hungarians to conceal the fact that they were to be killed, if that had indeed been stated at the meeting to be the intention. If Hitler had said that the Nazis were proposing to kill the Hungarian Jews, one would expect, suggested Irving, the Hungarians' internal record to include a protest at such barbarism. 5.214 Irving explained that Hitler was distressed and angry about recent the Allied bombing raids of cities in Germany. That was the reason for Hitler's outburst to Horthy. Evans pointed out that in the 1977 edition of Hitler's War Irving gave a different explanation for Hitler's menacing words, namely the Warsaw uprising. Another explanation offered by Irving for the words used by Hitler is that he was full of resentment about the massacre at Katyn. All these explanations and excuses are bogus, according to Evans. (xiii) The deportation and murder of the Roman Jews in October 1943 Introduction 5.215 Although this episode is one of those deployed by Evans in his report to substantiate the attack upon Irving's historiography, I will take it shortly because the Defendants did at one stage indicate that they were not intending to rely on it. Irving nevertheless chose to cross-examine Evans about it. 5.216 The position in Italy in October 1943 was that Mussolini had been overthrown three months earlier to be replaced by a new Italian government which promptly surrendered to the Allies. The Nazis thereupon invaded Italy. Rome fell to the advancing Nazis. The country in general and Rome is particular were in a state of some administrative confusion. The position in the north of Italy was unstable. 5.217 Both the 1977 and 1991 editions of Hitler's War recount how on 6 October 1943 the SS chief in Rome received an order to transfer 12,000 Roman Jews to northern Italy where they would be liquidated. According to Irving's account, the matter was then referred to Hitler's headquarters and the order came back that these Jews were to be taken to a concentration camp in upper Italy named Mauthausen to be held there as hostages, rather than be liquidated as had been ordered by Himmler. Irving argued that this episode reveals Hitler again showing concern for the Jews and striving to ensure that they would be kept alive. The case for the Defendants 5.218 The Defendants' case is that in his account Irving has again manipulated the historical record and misrepresented the effect of Hitler's intervention. According to Evans, Irving achieves this by, firstly, suppressing documents which demonstrate that the background to Hitler's intervention was a dispute whether (as Field Marsahll Kesselring was urging) the Jews should be kept in Rome on fortification work or whether (as Himmler had ordered) they should be sent to the Reich and liquidated. There was strong local feeling in Rome that the Jews should stay there. Evans agreed that the documents show that Hitler directed via Ribbentrop that the Roman Jews were to be taken to Mauthausen as hostages. But their fate was then to be left in the hands of the SS, that is, effectively in the hands of Reichsfuhrer-SS Himmler. So, Evans contended, far from interceding on behalf of the Jews, the effect of Hitler's intervention was to place these Jews in the murderous hands of the SS. The dispute was thus resolved by Hitler against those like Kesselring who were trying in Rome to save the Jews and in favour of the SS who had already made clear that they intended to kill the Jews when they got their hands on them. 5.219 The Roman Jews were transported northwards, not to Mauthausen, but to Auschwitz where they were in due course murdered. According to Evans, the claim that the Jews were to be held at Mauthausen "as hostages" was intended to disguise the fate which the SS had in mind for the Jews in the hope that it would appease the anxious officials in Rome. Hitler knew perfectly well what was going to happen to them. It was in reality no part of Hitler's intention that the Roman Jews should be kept alive. Mauthausen was a notorious concentration camp, where the inmates were systematically worked to death.
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