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Did Hitler Order the Holocaust?
This speech was transcribed and passed by the Polish resistance to the British Foreign Office in May 1943. The speech was just recently discovered in the British Public Record Office in London by Solomon Littmann, a Simon Wiesenthal Center researcher. The speech was read by the entire British Foreign Office hierarchy, including Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden, but it was not made public nor was it shared with Jewish leaders in Britain or the U.S. Irving’s post hoc rationalization on this quote was as follows (1994):
It is a very dubious document which needed a lot more digesting before it was put out to the startling and marveling world the way that it was put out a few weeks ago. The speech was actually on English paper typed on an English typewriter in the English archives. A lot of work had to be done on it–I found the actual Polish origins of it, and the people who have provided it, the Polish Intelligence Service. I think it is a second-hand report, not a direct verbatim transcript in any sense.
That is indeed correct and thanks to my colleague, Alex Grobman, I have a copy of the document myself. The author makes it clear that he is “reproducing his [Goebbels] remarks impartially, just as I heard them, from my shorthand notes, which make no claim to textual exactitude.” He adds: “I ask you to read Dr. Goebbels’ speech very carefully, for in the opinion of all of us this was the most important internal speech that we had heard since the beginning of the war.” The speech is four pages long (single-spaced typed) and Jews are only mentioned in the three sentences above. Goebbels is most concerned about the ability of the German people to endure a protracted war and the role of the press in helping to sustain optimism in the face of military uncertainties. If the transcriber was going to fabricate damning quotes, why only three sentences worth?
Is it possible the document was forged, or the transcriber badly misjudged what Goebbels said or meant? It is possible, but not likely. This is the problem with the snapshot fallacy. We must always examine the context in which something is said, such as Goebbels other speeches and diary entries, and the fact that the speech came just eight months after the Wannsee Conference and the stepping up of the Final Solution. But then, remarkably, Irving made this confession: “We have much better sources than that on Goebbels and his role in this particular crime. Goebbels’ true diaries leave no doubt at all that he knew perfectly well what was going on” (1994). What crime? What was going on? The answer? The Holocaust!
Himmler’s speeches are no less potent as evidence to prove the Holocaust. He too talks about the ausrotten of the Jews, and revisionists once again return to their semantic game of arguing that he meant deportation. But two quotes negate that argument (Padfield, 1990, pp. 188, 334):
(1) In a lecture on the history of Christianity, in January, 1937, Himmler told his Gruppenfuehrers:
I have the conviction that the Roman emperors, who exterminated [ausrotteten] the first Christians, did precisely what we are doing with the communists. These Christians were at that time the vilest scum, which the city accommodated, the vilest Jewish people, the vilest Bolsheviks there were.
(2) In June, 1941, Himmler told Rudolf Hoess, the commandant of Auschwitz (not to be confused with Rudolf Hess, Hitler’s deputy) that Hitler had ordered the Endloesung, or Final Solution of the Jewish question, and that Hoess would play a major role at Auschwitz:
It is a hard, tough task which demands the commitment of the whole person without regard to any difficulties that may arise. You will be given details by Sturmbannfuehrer Eichmann of the RSHA who will come to see you in the near future. The department taking part will be informed at the appropriate time. You have to maintain the strictest silence about this order, even to your superiors. The Jews are the eternal enemies of the German people and must be exterminated. All Jews we can reach now, during the war, are to be exterminated without exception. If we do not succeed in destroying the biological basis of Jewry, some day the Jews will annihilate the German Volk.
Similar speeches from Himmler are no less damning. One of the most notorious is the October 4, 1943, speech to the SS-Gruppenfuehrer in Poznan, which was recorded on a red oxide tape. Himmler was lecturing from notes, and early in the talk he stopped the tape recorder to make sure it was working. He then continued, knowing he was being recorded, speaking for three hours, 10 minutes on a range of subjects, including the military and political situation, the Slavic peoples and racial blends, German racial superiority that would help them win the war, and the like. Two hours into the speech Himmler began to talk about “the extermination of the Jewish people.” He compared this action with the June 30, 1934 blood purges against perceived traitors within the Nazi party, then talked about how difficult it is to endure seeing 100, 500, or 1,000 bodies lying dead, and insisted that this will be an unwritten part of history. The original German document and the National Archives translation, reproduced on the previous page, speaks for itself (PS Series 1919, pp. 64-67).
Irving’s response to this quote was surprising because he seemed to gainsay all of his previous rationalizations with this one exchange, though leaving himself one final out:
Irving: I have a later speech he made on January 26, 1944, in which he is speaking to the same audience rather more bluntly about the ausrotten of Germany’s Jews, when he announced that they had totally solved the Jewish problem. Most of the listeners sprang to their feet and applauded. “We were all there in Poznan,” recalled a Rear Admiral, when that man [Himmler] told us how he’d killed off the Jews. I can still recall precisely how he told us. “If people ask me,” said Himmler, “why did you have to kill the children too, then I can only say I am not such a coward that I leave for my children something I can do myself.” Quite interesting–this is an Admiral afterwards recording this in British captivity without realizing he was being tape recorded, which is a very good summary of what Himmler actually said.
Shermer: That sounds to me like he means to kill Jews, not just transport them out of the Reich.
Irving: I agree, Himmler said that. He actually said “We’re wiping out the Jews. We’re murdering them. We’re killing them.”
Shermer: What does that mean other than what it sounds like?
Irving: I agree, Himmler is admitting what I said happened to the 600,000. But, and this is the important point, nowhere does Himmler say “we are killing millions.” Nowhere does he even say we are killing hundreds of thousands. He is talking about solving the Jewish problem, about having to kill off women and children too.
This is general fallacy #2 from above, where one focuses on what is not known and ignores what is known–Himmler never exactly said millions, therefore he really meant thousands. But, please note, Himmler never said thousands either. Irving is inferring what he wants to infer. The actual numbers come from other sources which, in conjunction with Himmler’s speeches (and many other pieces of evidence), converge on the conclusion that he meant millions.
And, finally, there are the words of the Fuehrer himself. In Hitler’s speech of January 30, 1939, he said:
Today I want to be a prophet once more: If international finance Jewry inside and outside of Europe should succeed once more in plunging nations into another world war, the consequence will not be the Bolshevization of the earth and thereby the victory of Jewry, but the annihilation of the Jewish race in Europe.
In September, 1942, Hitler recalled:
In my Reichstag speech of September 1, 1939 [above, wrong date here], I have spoken of two things: first, that now that the war has been forced upon us, no array of weapons and no passage of time will bring us to defeat, and second, that if Jewry should plot another world war in order to exterminate the Aryan peoples in Europe, it would not be the Aryan peoples which would be exterminated but Jewry. . . .
At a public speech in Munich, November 8, 1942, Hitler told his audience (see Jaeckel, 1989 for this and above Hitler quotes):
You will recall the session of the Reichstag during which I declared: If Jewry should imagine that it could bring about an international world war to exterminate the European races, the result will not be the extermination of the European races, but the extermination of Jewry in Europe. People always laughed about me as a prophet. Of those who laughed then, countless numbers no longer laugh today, and those who still laugh now will perhaps no longer laugh a short time from now. This realization will spread beyond Europe throughout the entire world. International Jewry will be recognized in its full demonic peril; we National Socialists will see to that.
From his earliest political ramblings to the final Goetterdammerung, Hitler had it in for the Jews. On April 12, 1922, in a Munich speech later published in the Voelkischer Beobachter, he told his audience (Snyder, 1981, p. 29):
The Jew is the ferment of the decomposition of people. This means that it is in the nature of the Jew to destroy, and he must destroy, because he lacks altogether any idea of working for the common good. He possesses certain characteristics given to him by nature and he never can rid himself of those characteristics. The Jew is harmful to us.
Thirty-three [sic: twenty-three] years later, on April 29, 1945, at 4:00 A.M., just one day before his suicide, Hitler commanded his successors in his political testament to carry on the fight: “Above all I charge the leaders of the nation and those under them to scrupulous observance of the laws of race and to merciless opposition to the universal poisoner of all peoples, International Jewry” (Snyder, p. 521). How many more quotes do we need to prove the Holocaust–100, 1,000, 10,000? The convergence of evidence is overwhelming.
Shermer, Michael. “Proving the Holocaust: The Refutation of Revisionism & the Restoration of History,” Skeptic, Vol. 2, No. 4, Altadena, California, June, 1994. Published by the Skeptics Society, 2761 N. Marengo Ave., Altadena, CA 91001, (818) 794-3119.