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

© Copyright H. David Kirk


Irving's Use of Ambiguity

In that same biography one finds undisguised antisemitic passages, but it is left ambiguous whether they refer to Goring's or to Irving's outlook. A story is told there of a 'benefactor' who lets Goring's parents and their son live with him in his sumptuous castle. But the man's generosity is deceptive: he keeps a suite of his own right next to rooms assigned to Goring's mother. Surprise, surprise: the interloper is a Jew! And added to the sexual stereotype there is a financial one: the later Nazi chieftain's pomposity and greed are explained by Irving as having arisen from Goring's erstwhile closeness to this Jewish 'stepfather'!

Similarly, in Hitler's War the chapter 'Clutching at Straws' has Hitler and his Foreign Minister Ribbentrop arm-twisting Hungary's Regent Horthy to gain compliance with the policy of extermination:

The Nazis found it intolerable that eight hundred thousand Jews should still be moving freely around a country im the heart of Europe--particularly just north of the sensitive Balkans. For many months Germany had applied pressure for the Hungarian Jews to be turned over to the appropriate German agencies [!]<54> for deportation to 'reservations in the east.' It was argued that so long as they remained, they were potential rumor mongers, purveyors of defeatism, saboteurs, agents of the enemy secret service, and contact men for an 'international Jewry' now embattled against Germany.

By creating an ambiguity of voices--who speaks here, Hitler, Ribbentrop or Irving? --the impression is given that Hungary's Jews were in fact nothing less than saboteurs and enemy agents. If only they had had the opportunity to be saboteurs! If only that imaginary power of 'international Jewry' had been able to shield them against Hungarian Fascist gangs hunting them for Eichmann's 'resettlement' machine! If only they had not needed the Swedish diplomat Wallenberg, with his brave and ingenious stratagems, to hide those he could, and even to pull some of them off Auschwitz-bound cattle cars!

Irving's Use of Innuendo

The same chapter continues, with the Führer and his chieftains developing their crazed visions of Jewish evil incarnate:

Events in Poland were pointed to as providing an ugly precedent: there were reports of Jews roaming the country, committing acts of murder and sabotage. The eviction of the Jews ordered by Hitler had recently been intensified in Himmler's order that even those Jews left working for armament concems ... were to be housed collectively in camps and eventually to be got rid of as well. In Warsaw, the fifty thousand Jews surviving in the ghetto were on the point of staging an armed uprising with weapons and ammunition<55> evidently sold to them by Hitler's fleeing allies as they passed westward through the city. Himmler ordered the ghetto destroyed and its ruins combed out for Jews, saying 'This is just the kind of incident that shows how dangerous these Jews are.'

Where is Irving's evidence for 'weapons and amrnunition evidently sold to them by Hitler's fleeing allies'? There was in fact no such sale nor could there have been. Jews planning the uprising were penned down in the ghetto and faced enormous obstacles trying to obtain any weapons at all, even light ones, even from the Polish underground armies. This kind of innuendo runs through much of Irving's history.

Irving Alters the Sequence of Events

In the Goring chapter 'Sunshine Girl and Crystal Night' there is a scandalous inversion of the actual events, making it seem as if the murder of vom Rath had been in response to Poland's closing its doors against Polish Jews, rather than in response to Nazi Germany's having expelled to Poland thousands of former Polish Jews. Here is Irving's version of the events:

Nobody wanted Europe's Jews. When Jews who had emigrated from Poland began to flood back there in alarm, their own Warsaw government passed a law designed to keep them out. A furious Polish Jew stormed the German embassy in Paris and pumped bullets into the ambassador's deputy, an impulsive action that was the beginning of the Jews' long journey into darkness, because a vengeful speech by Goebbels triggered a pogrom throughout Germany and Austria--a dusk of agonizing screams, of arson, and of shattered shop windows that would go down in history as 'Crystal Night.'

The New York Times reported these events as follows:

the violence was unleashed after the assassination of Ernst vom Rath, Third Secretary of the German Embassy in Paris. The killer was a teenaged Polish Jew, Herschel Grynszpan. He said that he was avenging the treatment of his parents in Germany. 'Being a Jew is not a crime,' Grynszpan told police in Paris. 'I am not a dog. I have a right to live and the Jewish people have a right to exist on this earth. Wherever I have been, I have been chased like an animal.

Those terrible words--Nazi Germany did hold that being a Jew was a crime in itself--are not reflected in Irving's statement. Herschel Grynszpan's elderly parents were among the thousands who were dumped, without food or shelter, in beginning winter weather in no-man's-land between Germany and Poland.

Germany deported thousands of Polish Jews to Poland on October 28. Vom Rath was shot on November 7. The nation- wide ' Kristallnacht' pogrom was unleashed on German and Austrian Jews November 9-10,1938.

Irving omits the fact that the expulsion of Polish-born Jews, resident in Germany, had preceded Poland's closing of her border. Beginning his paragraph with 'Nobody wanted Europe's Jews' he implicitly justifies not only Nazi Germany's dastardly act, but simultaneously also Poland's.<56>

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