The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

David Irving's Hitler
A Faulty History Dissected
Two Essays by Eberhard Jäckel
Translation & Comments by H. David Kirk


Who Really Gave the Order?

No one, neither Hitler nor Goebbels,[29] to whom Irving ascribes the main culpability, ever made statements such as Hitler did. But Irving claims that they, the most loyal of the loyal, committed the dirty deed behind the Führer's back!

There is considerable evidence that Hitler made all important decisions by himself, often to the consternation of his closest associates, and that he especially during the war insisted on a complete overview of all the events. He paid attention to innumerable details, the movement of divisions and regiments, the numbers of hostages to be shot, the design and development of decorations. It is therefore quite unthinkable that he would miss even a day of the Holocaust, the mass murder of Jewry, that enormous undertaking with thousands of participants, quite apart from the victims. Bormann at least, the all-knowing secretary, would have promptly informed him of it. But it wasn't necessary to inform Hitler. He knew well what was happening.

He even announced his intentions openly, on the 30th of January 1939, before the Parliament of Greater Germany,[30] Here are his words, the meanings of which would only later on become clear:

I shall once again be your prophet: if international Jewry with its financial power in and outside of Europe should manage once more to draw the peoples of the world into a world war, then the result will not be the Bolshevization of the world and thus the victory of Jewry but rather the total destruction of the Jewish race in Europe.

Ever since Mein Kampf, this was one of Hitler's two major war aims. The other was the conquest of territory for "living space"[31] in the East. That is why for him the war only started with the attack on the Soviet Union. Previous military undertakings had been mere campaigns, intended to open the path to Russia. After the collapse of France in the summer of 1940 the road was clear. Immediately thereafter he began with his preparations.

In that connection an unlikely information source has come to the fore. After the war Himmler's masseur and confidant, Felix Kersten, reported that his patient had once told him the following: immediately after the campaign against France, Himmler was called to the Führer's headquarters. There Hitler is said to have revealed that he, Himmler, would have to carry out the destruction of the European Jews. Himmler is said to have raised objections, to have spoken for the plan to resettle the Jews on the African island of Madagascar, but that the Führer insisted on his order.

Granted, this is not a very sound source, especially since Kersten tells the story differently in different editions of his book. But the story is nonetheless believable: at that very time Hitler also revealed his plan of conquests to his generals. The fact that territorial conquest and destruction of the Jews were closely interrelated, even interdependent, provides still deeper insight into Hitler's world view.

Actually it is quite believable that Himmler raised objections.[32] In the territories occupied by Germany there lived four million Jews and a similar number would be found in the parts of Russia slated for conquest. Approximately half of these were women and children. Hi 1 was supposed to collect and then murder all of them. Aside from the incredible problems of transport and organization he would be needing hundreds if not thousands of soldiers or police, prepared to kill defenseless men, women and children. It is understandable that Hi 1 would have seen this as an impossible task, that he would have even regarded it with pure horror.

An echo of these sentiments can be heard in his [Himmler's] later record of his secret discussions [33] On October 6, 1943 he said the Jewish question had for him become "the most difficult question of my life ' and then he continued:

Gentlemen: that short sentence 'The Jews are to be destroyed" is easily spoken. But for him who must carry it out, it requires the hardest and most difficult tasks possible. [...] We had to face the question: How is it with the women and children? I have decided also in this to find a clear solution. I could not see my way clear to destroy the men -- let's say it clearly: murder or have them murdered-and then to let the children grow up to avenge themselves on our sons and grandchildren. A most difficult decision had to be made to make this people completely disappear from the earth.

On May 5,1944:

At the beginning or before the war, the Führer warned the Jews: "Should you once again incite the European peoples to war, it will not lead to the destruction of the German people but to the destruction of the Jews." ... Perhaps you can feel with me how difficult it was to follow this soldierly order that had been given me and which I have fulfilled in obedience and good faith.

On May 24, 1944:

Yet another question vital for the inner security of the Reich and for Europe was the Jewish question. It was solved as ordered, rationally and without compromise.

And on June 21, 1944

It was the most terrible problem and the most terrible task that could have been given to any organization, the task of solving the Jewish question.

Who, besides Hitler, could have ordered that terrible task, that "soldierly order"? Between the two men stood no intermediary.


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