Newsgroups: alt.revisionism Subject: Holocaust Almanac: David Irving's Hitler (Translator's Introduction) Summary: Eberhard Jaeckel's Essays on David Irving (English translation) Reply-To: email@example.com Followup-To: alt.revisionism Organization: The Nizkor Project, Vancouver Island, CANADA Keywords: Irving Archive/File: people/i/irving.david/jackel/jackel.001 (Part 1 of 3) Last-modified: 1996/02/26 Note: The following essays, along with other related material, are now available in "David Irving's Hitler: A Faulty History Dissected," by Eberhard Ja"ckel. The translation, by H. David Kirk, along with a Foreward by Robert Fulford, has recently been published by Ben-Simon Publications, of Port Angeles, Washington and Brentwood Bay, British Columbia, Copyright 1993. It is published here with the permission of the translator, David Kirk, who provided me with the original translation. Printed copies of the entire work are available from Ben-Simon - see the end of the text for the addresses and other related data. knm. Translator's Introduction: The Nazi Stake in Faulty History Translator's Introduction: The Nazi Stake In Faulty History "I would say that Nazi propaganda is much too transparent to work, were it not for the fast that it often does work. I don't know why, unless it is because people are deceived by its obvious bluntness ... " Bella Fromm Berlin, August 9, 1933 This little book is about Nazi propaganda, six decades after Bella Fromm wrote the above in her Berlin diary. In 1933 Nazi propaganda was blunt and screamed its anti-Jewish themes without regard for historical niceties. When in 1945 Germany's war machine was for the second time in 27 years beaten to a standstill, it was not possible once again to use the early Nazi line that the defeat had come about because "the Jews and the socialists had stabbed Germany in the back." After all, socialists had been politically eliminated in 1933 and during the war Jewish populations had been systematically murdered. After the second defeat a more elegant explanation was needed. The neo-Nazi movement found it in the re-writing of history. One theme lies bluntly: "there was no Holocaust"; another, less blatant, says: "c'est la guerre, that's how it is in war." How to answer Holocaust deniers when younger people know little or nothing of that horrible history and can easily be misled by those who re-write it? It is a big question and cannot be tackled by one little book. But one little book can make a contribution to truth. David Irving's Hitler builds around two essays by the German historian Eberhard Jackel. The essays appeared in 1979 in Germany in a collection of articles commenting on the TV series "Holocaust." In Germany the television showings had led to nationwide outcries and hand wringing, producing numerous commentaries. Professor Jackel's essays dealt with Holocaust issues tangentially, in the context of Holocaust denial. He focused on a clever re-writer of history, the Englishman David Irving, in particular his book Hitler's War. Encountering Jackel's essays in 1991, I realized they were not only still timely but, if anything, becoming more so. He had put his finger on Irving's Achilles heel, the soft spots in Hitler's War, errors that have been made into the neo- Nazi lie about Hitler. Writing in English, David Irving makes an impact on English-speaking readers. That is why Jackel's essays had to be made available in English. But Jackel's German readers had mostly been exposed to the TV "Holocaust" series and to the uproar that had resulted from it. They were thus an unusually sensitized readership. A North American translation, fourteen years later, would have to provide more background. To do that is the task of this Introduction. Falsifying History In John Toland's 1976 two-volume popular biography, which "adds little to our knowledge or understanding of Hitler," there is nevertheless an important entry for our understanding of the world of the 1990s. Toland begins his Epilogue with this paragraph: To the surprise of the world, Hitler's death brought an abrupt, absolute end to National Socialism. Without its only leader, it burst like a bubble. There were no enclaves of fanatic followers bent on continuing Hitler's crusade; ... What had appeared to be the most powerful and fearsome political force of the twentieth century vanished overnight. No other leader's death since Napoleon had so completely obliterated a regime. Looking back from the early 1970s, Toland may have correctly assessed the two decades following the collapse of Hitler's Third Reich. But the two decades after Toland wrote have seen an appalling growth in efforts to revise Hitler's ideology and reputation. This movement has been accompanied by a swelling literature, justifying Hitler and vilifying Jews and the State of Israel. Aim and tool of the attempted rehabilitation of Nazism is Holocaust denial. Since the Nazi slate cannot be wiped clean -- tabula rasa is impossible --- the victims, survivors and their descendants, are called liars and exploiters. Nazi Germany's mass murder of millions -- principally of Jews -- being unthinkable, must therefore have been invented! Since the capitulation in May 1945 of Nazi Germany, the children of those who fought have now had their children. These new generations did not witness World War II nor what led up to it. Growing up in post-war times of relative quiet and even prosperity, they learned little about the deeds of Nazi Germany, primarily against Jews, but also against Gypsies and Slavic peoples. Ignorant of the history of their grandparents' generation, such people make ideal targets for renewed Nazi propaganda. Concocted by so-called "historical revisionists," the old hate-mongers in pseudo- scholarly garb shout that the Holocaust is a fraud. They claim it was invented by Jews to extract from war-weary Germany compensation for imaginary losses. Such blatant lies are evidently meant to clear the perpetrators. They vilify the dead and surviving victims of Nazi horrors. The danger they pose is this: reiterated again and again, momentous lies become "commonplace," "matter-of fact," and, as time passes, "believed." Historical falsifiers deny what Allied soldiers, who during the last days of the war, coming upon the Nazi death camps, saw with their own eyes. Now members of that critically important generation are dying out: many of the soldier- witnesses and even more so the victim-witnesses are now gone. Their place has been taken by new generations for whom such deeds are unthinkable. To sheltered generations kept in ignorance, falsified history can more readily be told with ' impunity. Besides, the true story is so horrible that no one wants to believe it; until recently even many a victim has been unable to speak about it. Falsified history peddled under neo-Nazi auspices is in direct line of descent from the brazen lies of Hitler's propaganda machine. A recent article' gives a pointed example: It is now 50 years since the mounting evidence of the unbelievable, almost unimaginable Nazi crimes was acknowledged by the United Nations coalition. On 17 December 1942, a solemn declaration simultaneously published in Washington, London and Moscow, denounced the German authorities who, "not content with denying to persons of Jewish race ... the most elementary human rights, are now carrying into effect Hitler's oft-repeated intentions to exterminate the Jewish people of Europe." The declaration came at the end of a year which had begun with the Wannsee conference of 20 January 1942 where organizational details of the crime were discussed-even while wholesale murders had already begun. A few days earlier, on 9 January, a directive from the ministry of propaganda ordered the oldest slogan "the Jews are to blame" to be taken up by the press "until no doubt remains that each and every Jew, whatever they may do or wherever they may be, is guilty of the calamity they have brought upon the world." More than half a century later, Nazi-style propaganda employs the same demonic ploy: "blaming the victim." Enter Irving Neo-Nazi demand for "revised" history has given rise to a "revisionism" industry. Its "craftsmen" surface at international meetings and trials as "expert witnesses." An example: Robert Faurisson, a former professor of French literature at the University of Lyons, whom the defense brought from France to testify at the 1985 trial in Toronto of Ernst Zundel. Publisher and distributor of Holocaust- denial and other antisemitic material, Zundel was charged with willfully publishing false information likely to cause racial or religious intolerance. One of his publications, by Verrall, and entitled "Did Six Million Really Die?" represented one of the counts against him. Faurisson testified that on the basis of his extensive study since 1960 he had concluded there had been no genocide; "It is an accusation against the German people, which is not proved at all," he said. He also asserted that the "Six Million" pamphlet is substantially correct in its denial that European Jews were exterminated. Propaganda emanating from such sources is disseminated at neo Nazi meetings and sent through the mails anonymously. It appeals mainly to people already blinded by anti-democratic and anti-Jewish phobias. But there are also more subtle and sophisticated "revisionist historians" and among them is the focus of this booklet: David Irving. In Hitler's War,' as in some of his previous books, Irving produced a remarkable mix of truth and fantasy, gripping and misleading. If these "popular histories" were meant as entertainment and not as instruction about "what really happened," they would not warrant serious rejoinders. But many of Irving's books, Hitler's War in particular, have clear cut and not at all hidden agendas. They set out to paint the Allies with the same brush of brutality as the Nazi side and this "even-handed" juggling act is bound to raise in uninitiated minds the question whether the Second World War, with its terrible sacrifices, was necessary. Because Irving manages to insinuate that the Jews of Europe posed real dangers to the Nazi war machine, there is in his work an undercurrent of justification for the Holocaust, the facts of which he does not totally deny. No wonder that Jackel refers to Irving's revisionism as "more subtle and cunning than a revisionism that denies everything." By equally distributing the brutality of Nazis and anti-Nazis, blameworthiness becomes diluted until it disappears. In Hitler's War, Irving builds an even more insidiously untrue scaffold to hold up the rotten hull of the Nazi ship of state: Hitler's innocence in the mass murder of Europe's Jewish people. Thereby the guilt for the greatest crime of the century is neatly unloaded on secondary Nazi chieftains: notably Goebbels, Himmler, and powerful underlings like Heydrich who oversaw the mass-killing operations. Though Jackel's essays show that Irving manufactured much of his "Hitler cleansing" evidence, some additional facts may be helpful. The beginning of the Holocaust is reckoned as of November 9, 1938. On that date Nazi state machinery unleashed a nation wide pogrom euphemistically known as "Kristallnacht," "the night of broken glass," i.e., broken windows. Over a hundred synagogues were burned and their sacred scrolls trodden in the dirt. Thousands of Jewish men were whipped, spat on, and sent to concentration camps. Families were terrorized. It was indeed the beginning of the end for Germany's and Europe's Jews. Who in Germany could have ordered so uniform an onslaught on a defenseless, already cowed and systematically pauperized people? In his biography of Goering, Irving lays the blame for this pogrom on Goebbels, thereby clearing Hitler. But other voices point directly at Hitler. Among these is that of his former press chief, Otto Dietrich. In his memoirs,' written after Germany's surrender and while he was a prisoner of British military authorities, he writes: Early in November 1938 there took place ... the burning of synagogues and the smashing of Jewish shops These demonstrations were supposed to have been spontaneous; as I learned the following day, they were staged. The inspiration for them was attributed to Goebbels. In reality they had been instigated by Hitler himself Hitler ordered Goebbels to carry out the action, and Go passed the instructions on to the SA (Brownshirts) .... That Hitler was in fact the mastermind of the master pogrom would not have been much of a revelation to his contemporaries, but it is revealing how Irving deals with it. In 1992 he announced his latest "discovery" in Moscow archives of previously unknown pages of Goebbels' diary, and that he had exclusive use of them. The Sunday Times of London is said to have agreed to pay Irving $170,000 to "read, authenticate and transcribe" them." Irving triumphantly announced that the author of the 1938 pogrom had been Hitler. But he failed to say that three years earlier the same Irving had laid the blame for it just as firmly on Goebbels. Why Clean up Hitler? While Professor Jackel's essays addressed Irving's fantasy about Hitler's guiltlessness in the murder of Europe's Jews, he did not raise the question of what Irving's attempt to disinfect Hitler, if successful, would do for the neo-Nazi movement. A clue to the potential utility of such a cleanup appeared in an article by Martin Broszat  He said that a majority of the German people had enthusiastically identified themselves not with men like Himrnler, Bormann and Heydrich, nor with the Nazi party, but with Hitler. Thus it was the "Fuehrer" on whose posthumous stature the neo- Nazi movement could bank for a possible political come-back. But the demon in Hitler's reputation would have to be exorcized if the figure of the Fuehrer were to serve a new political purpose. That is what Irving seems to have been doing. Revisionist Incest That people who keep regular company would also share outlook and ideas is hardly surprising. But in the case of "revisionist" history and neo-Nazi ideology, that affinity calls for special attention. If Irving's cleanup of Hitler is useful to the neo-Nazi movement's political ambitions, in what sense is the neo-Nazi movement useful to Irving? One need only inspect the range of the man's books to find a possible clue. In his 1960s books, such as The Destruction of Dresden and The Virus House, Irving judged "e n-handedly" Allied and Nazi war guilt, equating the two combatants as "war criminals." It was a very attractive message for the likes of Zundel, Butz and Faurisson. Their world-wide distribution networks enabled Irving to gain attention far beyond what his publishers alone have been able to do for him. Having become a valued client, Irving shaped his later books, such as Hitler's War and Goering with even more partisan messages. He now feels free to back charlatans like the self-styled "gas chamber expert" Leuchter, who denies that at Auschwitz Jews were gassed with p sic acid (Cyclon B). Thus Irving has put himself squarely in the neo- Nazi camp. Whatever Irving may once have been, and whatever he may once have wanted his books to say, he has now become the willing darling of neo-Nazi interests. And as his deal with The Sunday Times of London has shown, even that unvarnished bias does not seem to militate against Irving's drawing considerable profit from it. Attack as Defense From a recent article on "revisionists" in Britain: Irving makes no bones about his antisemitism (except when he denies it). He thinks the Jews are "very foolish not to abandon the gas chamber theory while they still have time." Still have time? Yes, he indulges in "prophesy" which could be self-fulfilling. He "foresees" (much like Hitler) "a new wave of antisemitism" (which he helps to create), because "the Jews have exploited people with the gas chamber legend."' The motto "attack as defense" has its pedigree in Hitler's Propaganda Minister Goebbels. Now what was the Nazis' reaction when the crimes were for the first time officially denounced...? Dr. Goebbels had already an inkling that "British propaganda is taken up so much with the alleged and-Jewish atrocities in the East" that he "believes the time had come to do something about this propaganda campaign." It was, he confessed at a secret departmental conference on 12 December 1942, a "rather delicate subject," especially "'the maltreatment of the Jews in Poland" which "had better not be touched on at all." Generally, the line to be followed was "not to engage in polemics but instead give particular prominence to British atrocities in India, Iran and Egypt," because "our best weapon is an offensive" designed to ensure that the anti-British "atrocity stories really do make an impact."' To reinforce what has been said about the "revisionists" equating Allied and Nazi atrocities, there is this further insight into the Goebbels technique: At another secret conference on December 16 (1942) Goebbels believes "a general hullabaloo about atrocities is our best chance of getting away from the embarrassing topic of the Jews. Things must be so arranged that each party accuses every other of committing atrocities." This general hullabaloo would "eventually result in this subject disappearing from the agenda." Goebbels' recipe for "even-handed" propaganda is evidently being put to "good" use by other "revisionist" craftsmen besides Irving. A 1989 book called Other Losses  by James Bacque: Bacque accused General Dwight Eisenhower, when he was commanding officer of the Allied Forces stationed in Europe, of having willfully caused the death of approximately one million German prisoners of war. That revisionist thesis was given serious reviews in major Canadian newspapers, suggesting that here was suppressed dirt from our own side in World War II. Educated readers, particularly Jewish ones, might have been expected to be wary. One who fell for the hoax wrote a letter to the editor of a Canadian Jewish paper." He referred to Bacque's "careful research," "ample evidence," and "obviously willful murder." Another correspondent, commenting on the misconceptions of the previous letter writer and on Bacque's thesis, wrote: ... the German historian Bert Engelmann, (has) shown Bacque's story of German prisoners being willfully starved to death to be false.... Eisenhower declared time and again that he did not have the men or the means to take care of the surrender of a full-sized army and finally closed the American lines and refued to accept surrendering German forces. My German source confirms that the situation in the American sector (Kreuznach and Freudenstadt) was very bad, worse than in the British and French sector But I am asking: what is behind this obviously strange publication coming 45 years after the end of the war? As you see, already in 1942 Goebbels had created the perfect recipe for Holocaust denial. Summing Up Now we turn to Jackel's dissection of Irving's thesis in Hitler's War. Let us keep in mind what these essays imply. They shout that the emperor has no clothes. The emperor, here Adolf Hitler, appears in Irving's portrait of him as a willful child but without guile. Jackel's essays warn that the deception, if widely believed, can lead to dire consequences, reminiscent of this aphorism: The attempt to justify an evil deed has perhaps more pernicious consequences than the evil deed itself. The justification of a past crime is the planting and cultivation of future crimes. Indeed, the repetition of a crime is sometimes part of a device of justification: we do it again and again to convince ourselves and others that it is a common thing and not an enormity. Footnotes 3 Bella Fromm, Blood and Banquets - A Berlin Social Diary, New York and London, Harper & Brothers Publishers, 1942. 4. The collection in which Eberhard Jackel's essays appeared was called "Im Kreuzfeuer: Der Fernsehfilm `Holocaust' - Eine Nation ist Betroffen," edited by Peter Martesheimer and Ivo Frevel, with the collaboration of Hellmut Auerbach and Walter H. Pehle, Frankfurt, Fishcher Taschenbuch Verlag, 1979. 5. John Toland, "Adolf Hitler," Garden City, N.Y., Doubleday, 1979. 6. Lucy S. Dawidowicz, The Holocaust and the Historians, Cambridge, MA, and London, England, Harvard University Press, 1981, p. 35. 7. C.C. Aronsfeld, "The Bestial Policy of Cold-Blooded Extermination," Midstream, April 1993, pp. 10-11 . 8. David Irving, Hitler's War, Toronto, London, Sydney, Auckland, Hodder and Stoughton, 1977. This book is peddled at neo-Nazi meetings; Professor JackeI's essays were written in response to it. 9. Goering, a Biography, New York, William Morrow and Company, 1989 10. Otto Dietrich, Hitler, translated by Richard and Clara Winston, Chicago, Henry Regnery Company, 1955, p. 41. I am indebted to Mr. John Weitz for directing my attention to this important primary source. 11. Quoted from Andrew Cohen, "Before we banish the past we must learn to accept it," The Canadian Jewish News, 13 August 1992. A more recent piece of information from a London correspondent suggests that Irving was not paid that sum and that he bitterly complained, publicly, about this breach of contract. 12. Martin Broszat, "Hitler und die Genesis der 'Endloesung'," Vierteljahrhefte fuer Zeitgeschichte, Nr. 4, October 1977, p. 745. 13. Author of "The Hoax of the Twentieth Century." 14 C.C. Aronsfeld, "Holocaust 'Revisionists' are Busy in Britain," Midstream, January 1993, p. 29. 15 C.C. Aronsfeld, "The Bestial Policy of Cold-Blooded Extermination," op. cit., p. 11. 16. C.C. AronfeId, op. cit. p. 11. 17. James Bacque, Other Losses, Toronto, Stoddard Publishing Co. 1989. 18. Letter by a Dr. Herrmann, Professor of Political Science at Concordia University, appearing in The Canadian Jewish News, 8 March 1990. 19. Julius Pfeiffer, CA, The Canadian Jewish News, 19 April 1990, p. 10. 20. Eric Hoffer, The Passonate State of Mind, New York, Harper Brothers, 1954.
Site Map ·
What's New? ·
Home · Site Map · What's New? · Search Nizkor