Himmler Heinrich, Breitman on posen

“Korherr’s job was complicated by the fact that, even in a report designed
for Himmler, he was not supposed to spell out the facts in black and white.
It was easier to state how many Jews were still alive than what had
happened to the others. To be sure, Korherr could state that that through
various means the Jewish population in the Reich and the Government General
had diminished by 3.1 million between 1933 and 1942. In spite of his
generous use of the term ‘evacuation,’ however, which Himmler seconded. to
mislead those who would read the document in later years. Himmler had to
correct Korherr’s wording in one place. Where Korherr had written of the
‘special treatment’ of the Jews, Himmler insisted on either the
‘transportation of the Jews from the Eastern provinces to the Russian East’
or the ‘sifting of the Jews through the camps.’ These were among the
officially approved terms to camouflage the realities of the Final
Solution. (49)

“On at least one occasion Himmler violated his own rule. In October 1943
Himmler delivered a long speech at a meeting of the SS-Gruppenfuehrer at
Posen. As usual, he spoke from notes, but he had begun the practice of
recording some of his talks on a red oxide tape wider than what is used
today. Early in the speech Himmler stopped and played the tape back to see
if the recorder was picking up his voice properly. (50) He unquestionably
knew that he was being recorded, but he was speaking to a very select
audience, and he didn’t think that there was any danger of the recording
falling into the wrong hands. Even in the fall of 1943 Himmler was
convinced that Nazi Germany would eventually win the war — it was a law of
nature, he said. (51)

“His voice was of middle range — neither deep nor high-pitched. He spoke
clearly, deliberately, and emphatically, but for the most part
dispassionately, much like a schoolmaster reviewing a long and somewhat
complicated lesson for his pupils. At one point he actually talked about
giving out a grade if he had to judge a certain performance. (52)

“Himmler reviewed the military situation and the political situation on each
front, but, as always, his analysis was colored and rendered useless by his
racial judgments. In spite of Russia’s successes, Slavs were incapable of
constructing anything themselves, he claimed. Every few centuries the blend
of races in Asia produced a great leader — an Attila, a Genghis Khan, a
Tamerlaine, a Lenin, or a Stalin — who could make something out of the
Slavs. These leaders possessed traces of German blood, which gave them
their ability, but good leadership was not enough. In the end German racial
superiority would help Germany to overcome the more numerous but inferior
Slav masses.

“About two hours into the three-hour-and-ten-minute speech, Himmler decided
to raise a weighty matter about which the SS could never speak publicly —
‘the evacuation of the Jews, the extermination of the Jewish people.’ It
was necessary to speak about this once, Himmler said. It was one thing to
put the phrase ‘exclusion of the Jews’ or ‘extermination of the Jews’ in
the Nazi program and quite another to carry it out. In principle, Germans
supported persecution, Himmler noted with some sarcasm, but then each of
them tried to save the one good Jew that he knew. These people had no sense
of what it was like to see one hundred or five hundred or a thousand bodies
lying there. Himmler boasted that the SS had maintained this program, and
apart from some exceptions brought about by human weakness, had remained
respectable. It was ‘an unwritten and never to be written page of glory in
our history.’ And as he spoke, the reel of tape continued to turn and to

“If the Jews had not been dealt with, Himmler continued, Germany would then
be in the situation of 1916 or 1917, where Jews had infected the German
body politic. ‘We had the moral right, we had the duty with regard to our
people, to kill the race that wanted to kill us.’ It was the future Himmler
had sketched out in 1938, the day before Kristallnacht, with much the same
audience and much the same justification; now the prediction was partially
fulfilled. Then his voice rising to an angry snarl, Himmler continued: ‘We
do _not_ have the right to enrich ourselves even just with a fur or a watch
or a Mark or with a cigarette!’ It was the most strident and most emotional
moment in the whole speech. The architect of mass murder remained in his
own eyes a moralist to the end.”


49. Korherr’s reports in NA RG 238, NO-5193 and 5194, cover letter,
NO-5195. Himmler’s correction of working in Brandt to Korherr, 20 April
1943. NA RG 238, NO-5196/ Raul Hilberg, _The Destruction of the European
Jews_ (Chicago, 1`961), 2nd expanded ed., 3 vols. (New York 1985), I
322-23, reviews the whole range of Nazi terms that veiled the realities.

50. The ‘official’ version of the speech, published in IMT 29, 110-73,
1919-PS, does not contain this section, or a number of others, because,
after recording his speeches, Himmler would have an exact transcript made,
then edit it. One has to go to the recording to get the exact speech that
Himmler gave. The recording is available in the National Archives, Motion
Picture, Sound, and Video Branch.

51. IMT 29, 115, 119-PS.

52. Again, this is not in the printed text. See n. 50.

**********END QUOTE***********

_The Architect of Genocide: Himmler and the Final Solution_, Richard
Breitman, Alfred A. Knopf, NY 1991
ISBN 0-394-56841-9