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From: John Morris 
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Subject: What? No Libel Suit?
Organization: University of Alberta
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The Electronic Telegraph
Saturday 9 November 1996 

Book Review by Ann Tusa

Guilty of falsifying history
Ann Tusa puts the prosecution's case

_Nuremberg: the Last Battle_ by David Irving
Focal Point, £20

FOR YEARS David Irving has been criticised for erratic logic and
obnoxious conclusions, but credited with finding interesting,
previously unknown documents.  However, in this latest rewriting of
history, he fails even on that score.  Nuremberg is a sloppily
written, tendentious essay on the International Military Tribunal
which, from November 1945 to September 1946, tried 22 alleged Nazi
war criminals and finally sentenced 12 of them to hang, sent seven to
prison, and acquitted three--results which show the falsity of
Irving's thesis that this was a political rather than a judicial

Much of his "new material" consists of diaries and letters by the
accused and by witnesses, themselves later tried for war crimes, plus
complaints by defence counsel--all very self-pitying and
self-serving.  Its liberal use shows that Irving, like most of the
Nazis in the box, cannot distinguish between the short-term
discomfort and fear of the defendants and the destruction and anguish
they wrought on millions of others, or face up to the enormity of the
crimes they committed.

Furthermore, he cherry-picks from sources long available for those
who want an objective assessment of Nuremberg.  To back his claim
that the prisoners were ill-treated, he quotes Julius Streicher,
editor of the obscene newspaper Der Stürmer (what he said was an
obvious example of his sado-masochistic fantasies).  He does not
mention the gratitude of Hans Fritzsche, for the apology he received
on arrival at Nuremberg Jail for the kitchens being closed for the
night and the hunk of cake sent to his cell; nor some of the last
words from the scaffold of Hans Frank, the murderous Governor-General
of Poland: "I am grateful for the treatment I have received in

Irving is guilty of far greater abuse of sources, however, when he
mentions Auschwitz: "It was clear that tens of thousands had died in
the typhus epidemics since 1942."  What about the millions gassed,
worked to death, subjected to foul medical experiments?  (This last
horror being one of the answers to the author's revealing and
revolting question: "Why was a hospital needed at an 'extermination

Why not quote more fully from the evidence in court of Rudolf Hoess,
the commandant of Auschwitz, and show his pride in using quicker
killing methods than those at Treblinka? Irving alleges that Hoess
had a dodgy set of statistics.  He should mention the more meticulous
tallies of murder kept in other death camps, which were cited at the
trial.  He airily (breathtakingly) claims that the figure of six
million Jewish dead was simply picked out of a hat--and leaves it at
that.  Are we supposed to conclude that three million, for example,
would have been morally nugatory?

Worst of all, Irving deliberately chooses not to use the 22 printed
volumes of the proceedings of the Nuremberg Tribunal--just about
every word spoken in court (and backed by 20-odd more volumes of the
full documents from which extracts were read as evidence).  His
excuse is that this record is inaccurate and incomplete.

In fact, intentionally or not, he often confuses it with the daily
transcript distributed within 48 hours for quick reference by all in
court.  The published version was checked against the original
shorthand and wire recordings and corrected by defendants and
prosecution alike. 

This version, published so that the Nuremberg Trial could itself be
judged, presents the vast weight of the evidence against those on
trial and leaves no doubt whatsoever about their guilt.  Most of it
was in their own words and they offered no satisfactory rebuttal;
several of them were lucky to get off with light sentences.  No
wonder Irving ignores it.  He hammers on about the contentious nature
of some of the law on which defendants were charged.  They were not
hanged or imprisoned for conspiracy or waging aggressive war but for
murder.   That is a crime in anyone's book - except, seemingly, his.

- ---------

Ann Tusa is the author with John Tusa of _The Nuremberg Trial_
(London: Macmillan, 1983).

- -- 
 John Morris                                
 at University of Alberta  

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