Number of Victims of the Holocaust - Reference Thread

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steve248
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Re: Number of Victims of the Holocaust - Reference Thread

Post by steve248 » 28 Mar 2020 12:40

Since you keep changing topics and now it's Wiesenthal I will agree with some of what you say about him.
I do think he exaggerated his role in "catching" war criminals. Anyone who has spent time going through thousands of files at the Zentral Stelle/Bundesarchiv Ludwigsburg over the years will be hard pressed to find any communications from Wiesenthal or his office.

The one thing you cannot take away from Wiesenthal is that he kept the world focussing on catching and prosecuting war criminals. He was probably a major figure influencing West Germany to extend its statute of limitation for war crimes.

I fail to understand the Wiesenthal Institute on holocaust denial; USHMM Washington allows David Irving in to research.

And frankly anyone going to Vienna to research would be better off at DOEW or the State Archives.

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Re: Number of Victims of the Holocaust - Reference Thread

Post by NickA » 28 Mar 2020 18:39

steve248 wrote:
28 Mar 2020 12:40
Since you keep changing topics and now it's Wiesenthal I will agree with some of what you say about him.
I'm not aware of changing topics - I came here to protest there were suddenly people denying that "Number of Victims of the Holocaust" was genuine. Maybe it wasn't 6 million - it was either 9 million or 12 million.
steve248 wrote:
28 Mar 2020 12:40
I do think he exaggerated his role in "catching" war criminals.
Wiesenthal is dead - 60 years of obfuscation and lies have clearly left us quite confused about what really happened.
steve248 wrote:
28 Mar 2020 12:40
The one thing you cannot take away from Wiesenthal is that he kept the world focussing on catching and prosecuting war criminals.
Did he? Kurt Becher, possible mastermind of the "Gold Train" escaped any censure and died a very wealthy man. Even an Israeli court was told that he was a war-criminal who, if he were to come and testify against Rudolf Kastner, he risked arrest as a war-criminal. (As he very, very patently was!)

Nor did Wiesenthal contribute to catching or prosecuting any other significant war-criminals. The only thing he (may have?) managed to do is to suppress prosecutions of ex-Nazis with friends in high places.
steve248 wrote:
28 Mar 2020 12:40
He was probably a major figure influencing West Germany to extend its statute of limitation for war crimes.
I'm sure he did - he was in 13 different camps during the war - thousands of Germans might testify what he was really doing and on whose behalf.
steve248 wrote:
28 Mar 2020 12:40
I fail to understand the Wiesenthal Institute on holocaust denial; USHMM Washington allows David Irving in to research.
Really?
Robert Kempner, American Prosecutorial Team, Nuremberg in 'Nazi Millionaires: The Allied Search for Hidden SS Gold' By Kenneth Alford, Theodore P. Savas, 2007 - https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=kHpGSYf27HgC Chapter 11, p.187 wrote:
"If in any shape or form, Dr. Kempner should be mentioned as a protector of [Kurt] Becher's, the author and publisher [Sie und Er] will have to bear the consequences."
So how did Kurt Becher, far and away the most guilty Nazi (at least, measured by direct linkage to the Holocaust) manage to escape prosecution?
steve248 wrote:
28 Mar 2020 12:40
And frankly anyone going to Vienna to research would be better off at DOEW or the State Archives.
I posted above on the terrible problems of accessing archives (at least according to Philip Weiss). Terrible problems in Israel as well - why are photographs of Deir Yassin some kind of national security issue?

And Stephen Wise's archives - where are the "hundreds of word-of-mouth reports, courageous letters - some mere scraps of paper smuggled out of Germany - argued forcibly for the truth. One eloquent message delivered to Rabbi Wise said simply, "Do not believe the denials. Nor the Jewish denials." from 1933?

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Re: Number of Victims of the Holocaust - Reference Thread

Post by Anonomot » 15 Dec 2020 07:28

Hi All,

I'm new here, having stumbled across this site after researching the book "Debating the Holocaust: A New Look at Both Sides" by Thomas Dalton, a well-known Holocaust denier. I started reading this thread in its entirety, and, having just read the rules and them being fresh in my mind, I'm a bit confused about NickA's comments and the point he's trying to make.
NickA wrote:
11 Mar 2020 18:11
nickterry wrote:
19 May 2006 12:56

Victims of the German 'Final Solution of the European Jewish Question'

Germany - 150,000 Austria - 48,767 Luxemburg - 720 Netherlands - 100,000 Belgium - 23,484 France - 76,134 Denmark - 116 Norway - 758 Finland - 8 German refugees handed over Italy - 6,513 Albania - 591 Greece - 59,185 Yugoslavia: - 65,000 Hungary - 410,000+ (1940 borders) Czech Republic - 77,297(1940 borders) Slovakia - 66,000 (1940 borders) Romania - 120,919 (1940 borders) Estonia - 1,000 Latvia - 77,000 Lithuania - 140,000 (1939 borders) USSR - 1,050,000 (1939 borders - Belorussian SSR - 250,000 (1939 borders) - Ukrainian SSR - 656,000 (1939 borders) - Russian SFSR - 144,000 Poland - 2,890,000 (1939 borders) - western Poland - 1,600,000 (German occupation from 1939) - eastern Poland - 1,210,000 - Wilno district - 80,000 Total - 5,364,492 as a minimum
I have almost no problem with those figures - but I'm disturbed to see a top scholar of the Holocaust Deborah Lipstadt (or possibly just her publisher?) put on the cover of her book "Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory" that Deniers are:
"those who insist that the death of six million Jews in Nazi concentration camps is nothing but a hoax perpetrated by a powerful Zionist conspiracy"
A statement I'd have said was seriously untrue - six million is not the number of deaths in the camps.

Total death in camps is at least 2,848,000. Auschwitz complex 1 million, Treblinka 2 925,000, Belzec: 434,508, Sobibor: at least 167,000, Chelmno: 156,000–172,000, other facilities that the Germans designated as concentration camps: at least 150,000. https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/ ... ersecution

I don't know who Anne Applebaum is other than "She has edited at The Economist and The Spectator, and was a member of the editorial board of The Washington Post (2002–06).[4] Applebaum won the Pulitzer Prize in April 2004 for Gulag: A History published the previous year.[5]" - Wiki - but she comments "The vast majority of Hitler’s victims, Jewish and otherwise, never saw a concentration camp". - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bloodlands

Elsewhere I've seen that bullets took around 2.5 million Jewish victims. And its claimed that gas vans took 2 million (though many of those were presumably in camps and included in Lipstadt's results)

Its not a very important falsehood from a top Holocaust scholar (maybe an accident?). But its quite a bizarre one.

And is widely quoted, 297 Google hits.
It seems to me that from your posts, you, Nick, are not challenging the fact that 6 million Jews perished at the hands of the Nazis during the Holocaust--you say it quite clearly--but you take exception to the promotional blurb on the back cover of Deborah Lipstadt's book, "Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory," that says that 6 million Jews died in Nazi concentration camps. It's not clear to me whether you've read the book or are just relying on the blurb to accurately relay the facts presented by Lipstadt in the 304 pages of her book.

As one who is familiar with publishing practices, I can tell you that authors rarely write their own blurbs, which are the purview of the publisher's marketing/promotions department, and are generally written towards generating excitement and especially sales. Indeed, based on the numbers you provided, you are correct that the statement is inaccurate, but without having read the entire book, I would be hardpressed to castigate an author's entire work on the basis of a blurb, most likely not even authored by her. Of course, not having read the book myself, (it's now at the top of my "to read" list), I don't know if Lipstadt continues to propagate this inaccuracy throughout the text of the book, the part she did write. My inclination, based on her scholarly reputation, is to believe that she covers the Jewish death toll with much greater accuracy and detail. But that's me.

What also confuses me is that you then go on to imply that Lipstadt is claiming that the number of Jewish murders is actually 9 million, a figure nowhere mentioned in the blurb, as quoted by Sid Guttridge (and also on bn.com), nor one I've ever personally encountered.
NickA wrote:
14 Mar 2020 16:08
Sid Guttridge wrote:
12 Mar 2020 12:11
Lipstadt ... argues that this chilling attack on the factual record not only threatens Jews but undermines the very tenets of objective scholarship that support our faith in historical knowledge. Thus the movement has an unsuspected power to dramatically alter the way that truth and meaning are transmitted from one generation to another.[/i]"
I think Lipstadt (or someone else on her behalf, she seems to be able to raise a team) needs to explain why she's now implying that maybe 9 million Jews died in the Holocaust, 6 million in the camps and 3 million in a hail of bullets (or was it 2.8 million I saw in a reference?). And some more in gas vans without necessarily spending any time in the camps.
You offer no citation for the "2.8 million I saw in a reference" deaths in a hail of bullets, that you seem to have added to the 6 million to come up with 9 million figure--that you say is actually implied by Lipstadt, although the reference to 2.8 million deaths in a hail of bullets is not in Lipstadt's blurb. I'd be interested to know where you read it, and whether your addition of these deaths to the 6 million, is a reasonable assumption to make, rather than them being a subset of the overall death count. Again, it's not clear to me how you've come to this figure of 9 million, unless, as before, it's offered in the text of the book, which would of course require some serious scholarship and evidence to support, presumably at length in the 304 pages. Certainly, it doesn't seem like one could derive these figures from Lispstadt's cover blurb alone.

You also bring up the reputation of Simon Wiesenthal, for reasons about which I'm not entirely clear, although it appears that you're trying to refute generally accepted Holocaust scholarship by relying on the discredited reputation of one person, who was not primarily a historian but rather a memoirist at best (as well as a self-acclaimed Nazi hunter, the veracity of which is not germane to this particular argument).
NickA wrote:
14 Mar 2020 16:08
Sid Guttridge wrote:
12 Mar 2020 12:11
... now, in the first full-scale history of Holocaust denial, Deborah Lipstadt shows how—despite tens of thousands of living witnesses and vast amounts of documentary evidence—this irrational idea not only has continued to gain adherents but has become an international movement, with organized chapters, “independent” research centers, and official publications that promote a “revisionist” view of recent history.
Some of the evidence seems never to have been examined. The reputation of Simon Wiesenthal (but only after he was safely dead) was entirely trashed. Almost nothing he said about himself during the war or after the war could be believed. The SWC very quickly started paying him off to be excluded from contributing to the history that Americans would learn. Elie Wiesel, friend of Presidents, acted rather like a High Priest. Other Holocaust survivors were very happy to show off - and have photographed - their tattoos. What problem did Wiesel have with it? (Note - other survivors, real or alleged, were chasing this for 30 years)
I would also like to note that the text that Sid Guttridge is quoting is still the promotional cover text from Lipstadt's book. Frankly, I'm not sure how Wiesenthal's questionable reputation casts doubt on the "tens of thousands of living witnesses and vast amounts of documentary evidence" that exist and which form the real basis of fact that challenges even the most "rational" sounding Holocaust denier.

So basically, it seems to me that you take offense to the inaccuracy of Lipstadt's cover blurb--rightly so. Seems like a bit of a quibble to me since you agree with the overall 6 million figure. But it also seems that you are trying to discredit the entirety of her book, without it being clear if you've actually read it, since no citations are provided, and ascribing to her facts not evidenced by the quoted text--that is this 9 million figure--again without providing any relevant reference to any text other than the cover blurb. This concerns me, and it makes me question the point you are trying to make, other than the cover blurb is flawed? And what does Simon Wiesenthal's reputation have to do with the vast amount of factual, documentary evidence available about the Nazi atrocities committed against the Jews? It almost sounds like you say you don't dispute the fact that 6 million Jews died but you are arguing that those facts are wrong, based on Weisenthal being untrustworthy and a vague reference to unexamined evidence.

And finally, this comment:
NickA wrote:
21 Mar 2020 22:11

It needs noting that of course, even though the "six million" figure is, to my mind, decently proven by the way that the passionate Raul Hilberg came to it, this same figure (in this exact context, the number of murdered Jews) had had a mystical significance since much earlier.

But I'll assume that everyone who has come this far knows what I'm referring to.
I actually don't know about this reference. What "mystical" significance does the number 6 million have? And to whom? Is this some veiled reference to the Kaballah and Gematria. Are you implying that the number 6 million is somehow a more desirable number to associate with the Jewish death toll, regardless of fact? And for what purpose? I'm looking forward to your answer.

~anonomot

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Re: Number of Victims of the Holocaust - Reference Thread

Post by mikegriffith1 » 06 Sep 2021 11:55

The earliest available primary sources put the number of Jews killed at Auschwitz at no less than 250,000 and up to 300,000. German documents indicate that about 2.3 million Jews were killed at Treblinka, Sobibor, and Belzec. That makes 2.5 million Jews murdered right there, and this does not include all the Jews murdered in other locations. That's a holocaust by any rational definition.

One can't help but question the motives and integrity of those revisionists who claim that "only" one, two, or three hundred thousand Jews were killed by the Germans.

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Re: Number of Victims of the Holocaust - Reference Thread

Post by Linkagain » 20 Sep 2021 15:07

Number of Jews from Netherlands died in Shoah 102,000 [75% of Community}
https://www.jta.org/2021/09/20/global/a ... 00-victims

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Re: Number of Victims of the Holocaust - Reference Thread

Post by mikegriffith1 » 20 Sep 2021 18:46

Anonomot wrote:
15 Dec 2020 07:28
Hi All,

I'm new here, having stumbled across this site after researching the book "Debating the Holocaust: A New Look at Both Sides" by Thomas Dalton, a well-known Holocaust denier. I started reading this thread in its entirety, and, having just read the rules and them being fresh in my mind, I'm a bit confused about NickA's comments and the point he's trying to make.
NickA wrote:
11 Mar 2020 18:11
nickterry wrote:
19 May 2006 12:56

Victims of the German 'Final Solution of the European Jewish Question'

Germany - 150,000 Austria - 48,767 Luxemburg - 720 Netherlands - 100,000 Belgium - 23,484 France - 76,134 Denmark - 116 Norway - 758 Finland - 8 German refugees handed over Italy - 6,513 Albania - 591 Greece - 59,185 Yugoslavia: - 65,000 Hungary - 410,000+ (1940 borders) Czech Republic - 77,297(1940 borders) Slovakia - 66,000 (1940 borders) Romania - 120,919 (1940 borders) Estonia - 1,000 Latvia - 77,000 Lithuania - 140,000 (1939 borders) USSR - 1,050,000 (1939 borders - Belorussian SSR - 250,000 (1939 borders) - Ukrainian SSR - 656,000 (1939 borders) - Russian SFSR - 144,000 Poland - 2,890,000 (1939 borders) - western Poland - 1,600,000 (German occupation from 1939) - eastern Poland - 1,210,000 - Wilno district - 80,000 Total - 5,364,492 as a minimum
I have almost no problem with those figures - but I'm disturbed to see a top scholar of the Holocaust Deborah Lipstadt (or possibly just her publisher?) put on the cover of her book "Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory" that Deniers are:
"those who insist that the death of six million Jews in Nazi concentration camps is nothing but a hoax perpetrated by a powerful Zionist conspiracy"
A statement I'd have said was seriously untrue - six million is not the number of deaths in the camps.

Total death in camps is at least 2,848,000. Auschwitz complex 1 million, Treblinka 2 925,000, Belzec: 434,508, Sobibor: at least 167,000, Chelmno: 156,000–172,000, other facilities that the Germans designated as concentration camps: at least 150,000. https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/ ... ersecution

I don't know who Anne Applebaum is other than "She has edited at The Economist and The Spectator, and was a member of the editorial board of The Washington Post (2002–06).[4] Applebaum won the Pulitzer Prize in April 2004 for Gulag: A History published the previous year.[5]" - Wiki - but she comments "The vast majority of Hitler’s victims, Jewish and otherwise, never saw a concentration camp". - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bloodlands

Elsewhere I've seen that bullets took around 2.5 million Jewish victims. And its claimed that gas vans took 2 million (though many of those were presumably in camps and included in Lipstadt's results)

Its not a very important falsehood from a top Holocaust scholar (maybe an accident?). But its quite a bizarre one.

And is widely quoted, 297 Google hits.
It seems to me that from your posts, you, Nick, are not challenging the fact that 6 million Jews perished at the hands of the Nazis during the Holocaust--you say it quite clearly--but you take exception to the promotional blurb on the back cover of Deborah Lipstadt's book, "Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory," that says that 6 million Jews died in Nazi concentration camps. It's not clear to me whether you've read the book or are just relying on the blurb to accurately relay the facts presented by Lipstadt in the 304 pages of her book.

As one who is familiar with publishing practices, I can tell you that authors rarely write their own blurbs, which are the purview of the publisher's marketing/promotions department, and are generally written towards generating excitement and especially sales. Indeed, based on the numbers you provided, you are correct that the statement is inaccurate, but without having read the entire book, I would be hardpressed to castigate an author's entire work on the basis of a blurb, most likely not even authored by her. Of course, not having read the book myself, (it's now at the top of my "to read" list), I don't know if Lipstadt continues to propagate this inaccuracy throughout the text of the book, the part she did write. My inclination, based on her scholarly reputation, is to believe that she covers the Jewish death toll with much greater accuracy and detail. But that's me.

What also confuses me is that you then go on to imply that Lipstadt is claiming that the number of Jewish murders is actually 9 million, a figure nowhere mentioned in the blurb, as quoted by Sid Guttridge (and also on bn.com), nor one I've ever personally encountered.
NickA wrote:
14 Mar 2020 16:08
Sid Guttridge wrote:
12 Mar 2020 12:11
Lipstadt ... argues that this chilling attack on the factual record not only threatens Jews but undermines the very tenets of objective scholarship that support our faith in historical knowledge. Thus the movement has an unsuspected power to dramatically alter the way that truth and meaning are transmitted from one generation to another.[/i]"
I think Lipstadt (or someone else on her behalf, she seems to be able to raise a team) needs to explain why she's now implying that maybe 9 million Jews died in the Holocaust, 6 million in the camps and 3 million in a hail of bullets (or was it 2.8 million I saw in a reference?). And some more in gas vans without necessarily spending any time in the camps.
You offer no citation for the "2.8 million I saw in a reference" deaths in a hail of bullets, that you seem to have added to the 6 million to come up with 9 million figure--that you say is actually implied by Lipstadt, although the reference to 2.8 million deaths in a hail of bullets is not in Lipstadt's blurb. I'd be interested to know where you read it, and whether your addition of these deaths to the 6 million, is a reasonable assumption to make, rather than them being a subset of the overall death count. Again, it's not clear to me how you've come to this figure of 9 million, unless, as before, it's offered in the text of the book, which would of course require some serious scholarship and evidence to support, presumably at length in the 304 pages. Certainly, it doesn't seem like one could derive these figures from Lispstadt's cover blurb alone.

You also bring up the reputation of Simon Wiesenthal, for reasons about which I'm not entirely clear, although it appears that you're trying to refute generally accepted Holocaust scholarship by relying on the discredited reputation of one person, who was not primarily a historian but rather a memoirist at best (as well as a self-acclaimed Nazi hunter, the veracity of which is not germane to this particular argument).
NickA wrote:
14 Mar 2020 16:08
Sid Guttridge wrote:
12 Mar 2020 12:11
... now, in the first full-scale history of Holocaust denial, Deborah Lipstadt shows how—despite tens of thousands of living witnesses and vast amounts of documentary evidence—this irrational idea not only has continued to gain adherents but has become an international movement, with organized chapters, “independent” research centers, and official publications that promote a “revisionist” view of recent history.
Some of the evidence seems never to have been examined. The reputation of Simon Wiesenthal (but only after he was safely dead) was entirely trashed. Almost nothing he said about himself during the war or after the war could be believed. The SWC very quickly started paying him off to be excluded from contributing to the history that Americans would learn. Elie Wiesel, friend of Presidents, acted rather like a High Priest. Other Holocaust survivors were very happy to show off - and have photographed - their tattoos. What problem did Wiesel have with it? (Note - other survivors, real or alleged, were chasing this for 30 years)
I would also like to note that the text that Sid Guttridge is quoting is still the promotional cover text from Lipstadt's book. Frankly, I'm not sure how Wiesenthal's questionable reputation casts doubt on the "tens of thousands of living witnesses and vast amounts of documentary evidence" that exist and which form the real basis of fact that challenges even the most "rational" sounding Holocaust denier.

So basically, it seems to me that you take offense to the inaccuracy of Lipstadt's cover blurb--rightly so. Seems like a bit of a quibble to me since you agree with the overall 6 million figure. But it also seems that you are trying to discredit the entirety of her book, without it being clear if you've actually read it, since no citations are provided, and ascribing to her facts not evidenced by the quoted text--that is this 9 million figure--again without providing any relevant reference to any text other than the cover blurb. This concerns me, and it makes me question the point you are trying to make, other than the cover blurb is flawed? And what does Simon Wiesenthal's reputation have to do with the vast amount of factual, documentary evidence available about the Nazi atrocities committed against the Jews? It almost sounds like you say you don't dispute the fact that 6 million Jews died but you are arguing that those facts are wrong, based on Weisenthal being untrustworthy and a vague reference to unexamined evidence.

And finally, this comment:
NickA wrote:
21 Mar 2020 22:11

It needs noting that of course, even though the "six million" figure is, to my mind, decently proven by the way that the passionate Raul Hilberg came to it, this same figure (in this exact context, the number of murdered Jews) had had a mystical significance since much earlier.

But I'll assume that everyone who has come this far knows what I'm referring to.
I actually don't know about this reference. What "mystical" significance does the number 6 million have? And to whom? Is this some veiled reference to the Kaballah and Gematria. Are you implying that the number 6 million is somehow a more desirable number to associate with the Jewish death toll, regardless of fact? And for what purpose? I'm looking forward to your answer.

~anonomot
I agree with 96% of Lipstadt's book. Really my only problem with her book is that I think she treats David Irving unfairly. Irving has done many things--from expressing racist views to mocking many Holocaust survivors to suggesting that Jews have repeatedly brought persecution on themselves by their conduct--but he has always maintained that millions of Jews were killed in the Holocaust and that the 6 million figure is "in the ballpark." Irving has also criticized, on video, genuine Holocaust deniers/extreme revisionists for claiming that "only" a few hundred thousand Jews, or fewer, were killed.

A big part of Irving's problem is that he is his own worst PR nightmare. He comes across as anti-Semitic, although he denies it. He seems to have no idea how bad he looks when he mocks and ridicules Holocaust survivors. Even on video, he has expressed views that can only be described as racist and chauvinistic. He has expressed views about Israel that could have been written by Hamas or Hezbollah.

This is a shame, because Irving has done some extremely important historical research. He has uncovered a vast trove of previously unused/unknown sources on Nazi Germany, Winston Churchill, Hitler, Rudolph Hess, Himmler, Goebbels, etc., sources that shed new light on several key aspects of WW II.

But few if any scholars will openly use his work because he has discredited himself in the eyes of most people with his offensive, intemperate statements about Jews, other minorities, women, and the state of Israel.

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Re: Number of Victims of the Holocaust - Reference Thread

Post by Sid Guttridge » 20 Sep 2021 20:48

Hi mikegriffith1,

If all that Irving was guilty of was being ".....offensive, intemperate statements about Jews, other minorities, women, and the state of Israel", then you might have a point.

However, you might care to read the Judge's findings in the court case: https://www.hdot.org/judge/

In particular, I would refer you to his, "Assessment of Irving as an historian" between Sections 13.136 and 13.163.

Cheers,

Sid

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Re: Number of Victims of the Holocaust - Reference Thread

Post by mikegriffith1 » 20 Sep 2021 23:50

Sid Guttridge wrote:
20 Sep 2021 20:48
Hi mikegriffith1,

If all that Irving was guilty of was being ".....offensive, intemperate statements about Jews, other minorities, women, and the state of Israel", then you might have a point.

However, you might care to read the Judge's findings in the court case: https://www.hdot.org/judge/

In particular, I would refer you to his, "Assessment of Irving as an historian" between Sections 13.136 and 13.163.

Cheers,

Sid
I've read the judge's decision, and I think the judge simply ignored much of the evidence presented at the trial. On most issues, Irving got the better of the arguments during the trial. He ran circles around many of the defense's experts. He clearly proved that a number of Lipstadt's claims about him were demonstrably false--and even the judge acknowledged a few of the falsehoods.

Yes, interested readers should read the judge's decision in the Irving-Lipstadt libel trial, but then they must also read the trial transcripts and the closing statements. When you read all of those sources, you will see how deeply flawed and biased the judge's decision was. In order to find Irving guilty of Holocaust denial, the judge used a vastly expanded definition of Holocaust denial that amounted to a drastic moving of the goalposts, a definition that contained numerous elements that had nothing to do with the Holocaust itself.

Irving made an enormous mistake by opting for a judge trial instead of a jury trial. He should have realized that it was extremely unlikely that any judge would have the nerve to rule in his favor, no matter what the facts showed. Any judge who ruled in Irving's favor would have been crucified by the press and would have had to retire in disgrace.

As for Irving's competence as a historian, he was very highly regarded in academic circles until he published Hitler's War. Until then, his books received high praise from numerous eminent historians and scholarly journals.

But once Irving came under attack for Hitler's War, he became his own worst enemy. He made numerous offensive statements about Jews, other minorities, Holocaust survivors, and the state of Israel. He also made a number of racist comments. He testified in defense of neo-Nazi and Holocaust denier Ernst Zundel in Zundel's trial in Canada, a move that Irving later admitted was a terrible mistake. He spoke at some rallies that were heavily attended by neo-Nazis waving Nazi flags, although it should be noted that he told those crowds that it was a mistake to question that millions of Jews were killed by the Germans. And, he made offensive statements about women on a few occasions.

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Re: Number of Victims of the Holocaust - Reference Thread

Post by Sid Guttridge » 21 Sep 2021 09:12

Hi mikegriffith1,

You post, "I've read the judge's decision, and I think the judge simply ignored much of the evidence presented at the trial. On most issues, Irving got the better of the arguments during the trial. He ran circles around many of the defense's experts. He clearly proved that a number of Lipstadt's claims about him were demonstrably false--and even the judge acknowledged a few of the falsehoods."

And yet Irving lost the case on the balance of the evidence.

I think it might be productive to put up what the judge said: "I have found that most of the Defendants' historiographical criticisms of Irving set out in section V of this judgement are justified." and ".....it appears to me that the correct and inevitable inference must be that for the most part the falsification of the historical record was deliberate and that Irving was motivated by a desire to present events in a manner consistent with his own ideological beliefs even if that involved distortion and manipulation of historical evidence."

Assessment of Irving as an historian

The issue as to Irving's motivation
13.136 After that brief digression to Moscow, I return to the central issue of Irving's historiography. As I have already held, the passages in Denying the Holocaust of which Irving complains include as an important part of their defamatory sting the meaning that he has deliberately falsified and distorted the historical evidence because he is an apologist for and a partisan of Hitler and on that account is intent on exonerating him.

13.137 Irving considers, rightly, that this is a grave imputation because it reflects on his integrity as an historian. It is an imputation which the Defendants have sought to justify. Because of the seriousness of the charge, the standard of proof required is, in accordance with the approach which I have outlined in paragraph 4.10 above, commensurately higher. It goes without saying that it is an issue which requires anxious consideration.

13.138 It is necessary to define clearly what is the issue which must be decided. In the earlier parts of this section of the judgement, I have made findings adverse to Irving in relation to his historiography and in relation to his account of Hitler's attitude towards the Jews including in particular Hitler's complicity in the policy of exterminating them. I have further made findings, also adverse to Irving, in relation to his claims about Auschwitz and in relation to his account of the bombing of Dresden. Irving sought to defend what he has written and said as being a fair and accurate account of the historical evidence available to him. In the respects already set out in detail in this judgement, I have in the main found against him. But the Defendants must, as they accept, go further if they are to succeed in their plea of justification: they must establish that the misrepresentation by Irving of the historical record was deliberate in the sense that Irving was motivated by a desire borne of his own ideological beliefs to present Hitler in a favourable light. Irving's case is that, if (which he denied but which I have found) he has misrepresented the evidence, such misrepresentation was innocent in the sense that it arose through simple mistake or misapprehension. He denied the charge of deliberate falsification or perversion of the evidence.The issue which I must decide is whether the Defendants have proved that denial to be false.

The relevant considerations
13.139 Issues as to a person's motivation have to be decided by reference not only to the direct evidence of the person concerned (in this case Irving) but also by reference to the surrounding circumstances from which inferences as to his motivation may be drawn. In the present case such circumstances include the nature and extent of the misrepresentations of the evidence together with Irving's explanation or excuse for them. But in my judgment it is relevant to take into account also such matters as Irving's conduct and attitudes outwith the immediate context of his work as a professional historian, including the evidence of his political or ideological beliefs as derived from his speeches, his diaries and his associates. I also consider that it is material to have regard to the manner in which he has conducted these proceedings. These are all matters from which inferences may legitimately be drawn as to Irving's motivation.

The convergence of the historiographical misrepresentations
13.140 Historians are human: they make mistakes, misread and misconstrue documents and overlook material evidence. I have found that, in numerous respects, Irving has misstated historical evidence; adopted positions which run counter to the weight of the evidence; given credence to unreliable evidence and disregarded or dismissed credible evidence. It appears to me that an analysis of those instances may shed light on the question whether Irving's misrepresentation of the historical evidence was deliberate.

13.141 I have found that most of the Defendants' historiographical criticisms of Irving set out in section V of this judgement are justified. In the vast majority of those instances the effect of what Irving has written has been to portray Hitler in a favourable light and to divert blame from him onto others. I have held that this is unjustified by the evidence. Examples include Irving's portrayal of Hitler's conduct and attitude towards the events of Kristallnacht and the importance attached by Irving to Hitler's attitude towards the Jewish question as he claims is evidenced by the Schlegelberger note. I have seen no instance where Irving has misinterpreted the evidence or misstated the facts in a manner which is detrimental to Hitler. Irving appears to take every opportunity to exculpate Hitler. The same is true of the broader criticism made by the Defendants' of Irving's unwarrantedly favourable depiction of Hitler in regard to his attitude towards the Jews, which criticism I have found in section VI above to be justified. Irving sought in his writings to distance Hitler from the programme of shooting Jews in the East and from the later genocide in the death camps in a manner which the evidence did not warrant. Irving has argued, unjustifiably as I have found, that the evidence indicates that Hitler was unaware of any programme for the extermination of Jews at Auschwitz. In his account of the bombing of Dresden Irving (as I have found in section X1 above) persistently exaggerates the number of casualties, so enabling him to make comparisons between the number of civilians killed in Allied bombing raids with the number of Jews killed in the camps.

13.142 In my opinion there is force in the opinion expressed by Evans that all Irving's historiographical "errors" converge, in the sense that they all tend to exonerate Hitler and to reflect Irving's partisanship for the Nazi leader. If indeed they were genuine errors or mistakes, one would not expect to find this consistency. I accept the Defendants' contention that this convergence is a cogent reason for supposing that the evidence has been deliberately slanted by Irving.

The nature of some of Irving's errors
13.143 As I have already indicated it is material to take account of the nature or quality of what Irving claims to have been mistakes or misapprehensions on his part. Certain of Irving's misrepresentations of the historical evidence might appear to be simple mistakes on his part, for instance the misreading of haben as Juden in Himmler's telephone log for 1 December 1941. But there are other occasions where Irving's treatment of the historical evidence is so perverse and egregious that it is difficult to accept that it is inadvertence on his part. Examples include Irving's rejection of the evidence for the existence of gas chambers at Auschwitz; his claim that Hitler lost interest in anti-semitism on coming to power; his account of Hitler's meeting with Horthy in April 1943; his wholesale dismissal of the testimony of Marie Vaillant-Couturier and his continued reliance on the forged Tagesbefehl No. 47 which purportedly gave the number of casualties in Dresden. I have referred in the course of this judgment to other instances where Irving's account flies in the face of the available evidence.

13.144 Mistakes and misconceptions such as these appear to me by their nature unlikely to have been innocent. They are more consistent with a willingness on Irving's part knowingly to misrepresent or manipulate or put a "spin" on the evidence so as to make it conform with his own preconceptions. In my judgment the nature of these misstatements and misjudgments by Irving is a further pointer towards the conclusion that he has deliberately skewed the evidence to bring it into line with his political beliefs.

Irving's explanations for his errors
13.145 In the course of his cross-examination Irving was asked on numerous occasions to provide explanations for what he had written or said. Thus he was asked why he had omitted to make reference to apparently significant events; why he had relied on sources whose reliability there was good reason to doubt; what was the source of evidence for particular assertions. It seems to me that one way of testing whether Irving's errors were the product of innocent mistakes on his part is to look at his explanations.

13.146 In his answers Irving offered various explanations for his omission of apparently significant evidence. He gave as the reason why he did not refer to the evidence of Hofmann when dealing with the trial of Hitler in 1924 that it was too long to be included. But the records of Hofmann's testimony ran to no more than five pages. He sought to excuse his omission to include in his account of the shooting of Berlin Jews in Riga the claim made by Bruns that there had been a Hitler order by saying that it "would bore the pants off an audience". Asked to explain why he omitted to refer in the 1991 edition of Hitler's War to the sinister fate awaiting the 600,000 French Jews who were not well-to-do and so not to kept healthy and alive, Irving answered that the 1991 edition was an abridged version and the omission had to be made for editorial reasons. His explanation for not informing his readers of the reasons for supposing that the Schlegelberger note may have been concerned with the problem of the mischlinge was that he was writing a book which had to be kept within the confines of a single volume. Irving gave a similar explanation for his suppression (as the Defendants claim that it was) of material parts of Goebbels's diary entry of 27 March2942. Irving excused his inability to answers certain questions about Auschwitz (for example about cremations there and his reason for not having visited Auschwitz) by saying that he is not an expert on Auschwitz. Irving balmed his editor for the retention of his mistranslation of haben zu bleiben as "Jews are to stay" after he had been informed of his error. When he was asked to identify the eye-witness who told him about the telephone box-cum-gas chamber story, Irving replied that he could not recall but that he read about it or seen it some ten years ago. Earlier in this judgment I have cited other examples of Irving's explanations for his lapses.

13.147 I recognise that it is not always easy for Irving to cast his mind back over the years so as to explain why and how his mistakes were made. In my view, however, in many instances, including those set out in the preceding paragraph, the explanations which he offered were unconvincing. The absence of credible explanations lends further support to the Defendants' argument that Irving's misrepresentation of the historical record was not inadvertent.

Irving's readiness to challenge the authenticity of inconvenient documents and the credibility of apparently credible witnesses
13.148 I accept that it is necessary for historians, not least historians of the Nazi era, to be on their guard against documents which are forged or otherwise unauthentic. But it appeared to me that in the course of these proceedings Irving challenged the authenticity of certain documents, not because there was any substantial reason for doubting their genuineness but because they did not fit in with his thesis.

13.149 The prime example of this is Irving's dismissal of Muller's letter of 28 June 1943 dealing with the incineration capacity of the ovens at Auschwitz (to which I have referred at paragraph 7.106 and 7.120).As already stated at paragraph 13.76 I agree with the assessment of van Pelt that there is little reason to doubt the authenticity of this document. Yet Irving argued strenuously that it should be dismissed as a forgery. In my judgment he did so because it does not conform to his ideological agenda. Similarly Irving devoted much time to challenging the authenticity of Muller's instruction to furnish Hitler with reports of the shooting. I believe that he did so because this was for him an inconvenient document and not because there were real doubts about it genuineness. (Irving ultimately accepted its bona fides). There were other occasions when Irving sought to cast doubt on the authenticity of documents relied on by the Defendants (for example the Anne Frank diaries and the report of the gassing of 97,000 Jews at Chelmno referred to at paragraph 6.71 above). In neither case did Irving's doubts appear to me to have any real substance. His attitude to these documents was in stark contrast to his treatment of other documents which were more obviously open to question. One example is Irving's unquestioning acceptance of the Schlegelberger memorandum despite the uncertainty of its provenance. Another is his reliance on Tagesbefehl No. 47 in the teeth of mounting evidence that it was a forgery. In my judgment there is force in the Defendants' contention that Irving on occasion applies double standards to the documentary evidence, accepting documents which fit in with his thesis and rejecting those which do not.

13.150 As I have already observed in the course of dealing with the historiographical criticism of Irving, there is a comparable lack of even-handedness when it comes to Irving's treatment of eye-witnesses. He takes a highly sceptical approach towards the evidence of the survivors and camp officials at Auschwitz and elsewhere who confirm the genocidal operation of gas chambers at the camp (Tauber, Olere, Wisliceny, Hoss and Miller). But in relation to other witnesses (such as Hitler's adjutants, Christa Schroder and Voigt), where there is greater reason for caution about their testimony, Irving appears to adopt it uncritically. I accept that Irving had interviewed personally many of the witnesses in the latter category and so could form his own assessment. Even so, the contrast in approach is remarkable.

13.151 The double standards which Irving adopts to some of the documents and to some of the witnesses appears to me to be further evidence that Irving is seeking to manipulate the evidence rather than approaching it as a dispassionate, if sometimes mistaken, historian.

Irving's concessions
13.152 It was a striking feature of the case that in the course of it Irving made, or appeared to make, concessions about major issues. In doing so he resiled from the stance adopted by him in relation to those issues before trial. Such concessions were made by Irving in relation to the shooting of Jews in the East; the use of gas vans at Chelmno and in Yugoslavia; the gassing of Jews at the Action Reinhard camps; the existence and genocidal use of gas chambers at Auschwitz and the Leuchter report.

13.153 Thus the Defendants contend that, having previously asserted that the shooting of Jews in the East was generally unauthorised and carried out by small bands of criminals with Hitler's partial knowledge but without any order from him, Irving accepted at trial that perhaps as many as 1.5 million Jews were killed on the authority of Heydrich and on a systematic basis. He conceded also that Hitler not only knew of the shooting of the Jews in the East but also sanctioned their murder. He agreed that Hitler had taken the initiative in ridding the Altreich of Jews. Irving's concessions on these issues were in stark contrast to his case as it stood before trial.

13.154 At a later stage in the trial, however, Irving retracted, as least in part, the concessions he had made. He partially withdrew his acceptance of Hitler's responsibility for the shooting. In a written submission Irving argued that the treatment of deported Jews suggested a lack of system and co-ordination and that there was no clear and unambiguous evidence of Hitler's awareness of the mass murder in the East of European Jews. Irving claimed that he had adopted the position before trial that the killing of the Jews in the East had been largely systematic and much of it had been carried out under orders. He claimed that there was no significant shift of position on his part. But it appears to me that Irving did shift his ground in a significant way in the course of the trial, especially in regard to Hitler's authorisation of the killing.

13.155 In regard to the use of gas vans, Irving was prepared before trial to accept no more than that there had been an "alleged liquidation" of 152,000 Jews at Chelmno and that gas vans had been used on an experimental basis and on very limited scale. At trial he accepted that there had been a systematic use of gas vans at the camp; that in one relatively short period 97,000 Jews had been murdered there and that he had been wrong to say that the use of the vans was experimental. He also accepted that the Nazis used gas vans to kill Jews in Yugoslavia instead of shooting them. Irving's explanation for these changes in his case was that he was making admissions in order to deal with the issues expeditiously.

13.156 In relation to the Reinhard camps, having claimed before the trial that there were no gas chambers at Treblinka, Sobibor or Belzec, Irving accepted at trial that he could not challenge the accepted figures for the numbers of Jews killed at those camps which were 700-950,000,200,000 and 550,000 respectively. He again later explained his concessions as having been made "formally" in order to speed the trial along, adding later that he had seen no documentary evidence to support the figures for those killed. I have already given my reaction to that response.

13.157 I have earlier summarised the manner in which Irving altered his position in relation to the number of Jews killed there by gas but also to the existence of homicidal gas chambers at Auschwitz. On both these issues there was in my view a radical shift of ground. Irving says that he has always accepted that many Jews were killed at Auschwitz. So he has, but not by gassing.

13.158 I have also described Irving's concessions in relation to the Leuchter report: see paragraph 7.89. Irving had previously expressed the view that the conclusions of the report were irrefutable. At trial, as has been seen, he agreed without any great protest that the vast majority of Leuchter's findings were wrong and the report was fundamentally flawed.

13.159 What is the significance of these alterations in Irving's in realtion to the issue with which I am at present concerned with, namely Irving's motivation? It seems to me that the Defendants are justified in their contention that Irving's readiness to resile from positions he had adopted in what he has written and said about important aspects of the Holocaust demonstrates his willingness to make assertions about the Nazi era which, as he must appreciate, are irreconcilable with the available evidence. I also consider that there is force in the Defendants' contention that Irving's retraction of some of his concessions, made when he was confronted with the evidence relied on by the Defendants, manifests a determination to adhere to his preferred version of history, even if the evidence does not support it.

Extraneous circumstances: Irving's denials of the Holocaust, his racism, anti-semitism and association with right-wing extremists
13.160 I pointed out in paragraph 13.139 above that there may be circumstances extraneous to Irving's practice of his profession as an historian from which it may be the legitimate to draw inferences as to whether his misrepresentation of the historical evidence has been deliberate. If the evidence supports the view that Irving is a dispassionate objective student and chronicler of the Nazi era, that would militate powerfully against the conclusion that he is working to agenda of his own. Conversely, if the extraneous evidence indicates that Irving holds views which are pro-Nazi and anti-semitic and that he is an active protagonist and supporter of extreme right-wing policies, that would support the inference that he perverts the historical evidence so as to make it conform with his ideological beliefs.

13.161 I have already set out in section VIII above my conclusion that Irving displays all the characteristics of a Holocaust denier. He repeatedly makes assertions about the Holocaust which are offensive to Jews in their terms and unsupported by or contrary to the historical record. I have also given at section IX above the reasons for my findings that Irving is an anti-semite and a racist. As I have found in section X above, Irving associates regularly with extremist and neo-Nazi organisations and individuals. The conclusion which I draw from the evidence is that Irving is sympathetic towards and on occasion promotes the views held by those individuals and organisations.

13.162 It is not difficult to discern a pattern to the activities and attitudes to which I have alluded in the preceding paragraph. Over the past fifteen years or so, Irving appears to have become more active politically than was previously the case. He speaks regularly at political or quasi-political meetings in Germany, the United States, Canada and the New World. The content of his speeches and interviews often displays a distinctly pro-Nazi and anti-Jewish bias. He makes surprising and often unfounded assertions about the Nazi regime which tend to exonerate the Nazis for the appalling atrocities which they inflicted on the Jews. He is content to mix with neo-fascists and appears to share many of their racist and anti-semitic prejudices. The picture of Irving which emerges from the evidence of his extra-curricular activities reveals him to be a right-wing pro-Nazi polemicist. In my view the Defendants have established that Irving has a political agenda. It is one which, it is legitimate to infer, disposes him, where he deems it necessary, to manipulate the historical record in order to make it conform with his political beliefs.

Finding as to Irving's motivation
13.163 Having reviewed what appear to me to be the relevant considerations, I return to the issue which I defined in paragraph 13.138 above. I find myself unable to accept Irving's contention that his falsification of the historical record is the product of innocent error or misinterpretation or incompetence on his part. When account is taken of all the considerations set out in paragraphs 13.140 to 13.161 above, it appears to me that the correct and inevitable inference must be that for the most part the falsification of the historical record was deliberate and that Irving was motivated by a desire to present events in a manner consistent with his own ideological beliefs even if that involved distortion and manipulation of historical evidence.

So the problem with Irving as a historian is much more fundamental than that he was a walking, self-inflicted, PR disaster who was merely ".....offensive, (made) intemperate statements about Jews, other minorities, women, and the state of Israel."

Cheers,

Sid

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Re: Number of Victims of the Holocaust - Reference Thread

Post by mikegriffith1 » 22 Sep 2021 11:27

Sid Guttridge wrote:
21 Sep 2021 09:12
Hi mikegriffith1,

You post, "I've read the judge's decision, and I think the judge simply ignored much of the evidence presented at the trial. On most issues, Irving got the better of the arguments during the trial. He ran circles around many of the defense's experts. He clearly proved that a number of Lipstadt's claims about him were demonstrably false--and even the judge acknowledged a few of the falsehoods."

And yet Irving lost the case on the balance of the evidence.
I think anyone who reads the trial transcripts with an open mind will agree that Irving did not lose the case on the balance of the evidence but that the judge ignored the balance of the evidence.
I think it might be productive to put up what the judge said: [SNIP]
It's not very productive if you don't read the trial transcripts and Irving's point-by-point reply to the defense's attacks in his closing statement.
So the problem with Irving as a historian is much more fundamental than that he was a walking, self-inflicted, PR disaster who was merely ".....offensive, (made) intemperate statements about Jews, other minorities, women, and the state of Israel." Cheers, Sid
You're merely repeating your earlier argument after quoting from the judge's decision, but you have not addressed any of Irving's responses to the judge's claims. The judge basically paraphrased the defense's attacks, but Irving offered very solid, convincing responses to those attacks, and the judge chose to dismiss Irving's responses, even though they were firmly grounded in fact, and even though Irving proved to any objective observer that the vast majority of the defense's attacks were baseless, if not slanderous in some cases.

I would never use the word "merely" to describe making racist comments and making offensive comments about Jews, Holocaust survivors, women, and the state of Israel. Such offensive statements are a very big deal. They are not minor or trivial.

As just one small part of the mountain of evidence that Irving acknowledges that several million Jews were killed in the Holocaust, allow me to quote from the transcript of one of his lectures to a group that included people who were clearly skeptical about the Holocaust--and I've included the link to the video if anyone wants to see and hear Irving's statements for themselves:
Video title: Himmler by Historian David Irving
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=10SCEE2wT_o&t=6178s

Time: 59:41

Phase 2, what I call the police operations, was pretty ugly, and probably accounted for about a million people in those pits behind the advancing German armies, with the full consent, and agreement, and approval of the German military commanders, the army group commanders, because it looked after their backs.

Time: 1:07:19

[After discussing the evidence that proves the Hoeffler document is genuine, Irving says the following:]

Irving: I will say that if this document [the Hoeffler document] is genuine, it’s a terrible black eye for the extreme revisionists, who said that nothing at all happened to the Jews. . . . The short answer is that it’s genuine. . . . I tell people like this: Please listen to this, because it’ll stop you from shooting your mouth off and over-reaching. There’s a lot in the Holocaust story that is fake. A lot of the numbers are fake, like the one I told you about in Riga, where you do the math. But a lot of the ugly part of the story is true.

Time: 1:27:46

Irving: That is disturbing: 33,000 children killed by the SS in seven months. . . . I suggest to you that the numbers, the ballpark figures, are about right. Up to a million killed in the police operations, I think, in the shooting-in-the-pit operations up to Barbarossa and after Barbarossa. Operation Reinhardt, 1.25 million in 1942 and the same number in 1943. That’s 3.5 million straight away, and we’re not even talking about Auschwitz. . . .

Time: 1:39:10

Audience: So there very well could have been 6 million Jews that were “processed” [liquidated] by the Nazis?

Irving: Well, we’re in the ballpark. That’s why I think the revisionists make a mistake questioning those numbers, and I can understand the Jews being deeply aggrieved that these horrible numbers are being questioned by revisionists. . . .

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Re: Number of Victims of the Holocaust - Reference Thread

Post by Sid Guttridge » 22 Sep 2021 14:54

Hi mikregriffith21,

A judge was employed precisely because his profession is trained to take a detached, balanced and forensic view of the evidence. You, on the other hand, are almost certainly not. If it is going to be a toss up between a judge's thought through opinion and yours then my default position would be to go with the judge's opinion rather than yours.

It is his trial loss before a judge that makes the outcome of this case so devastating to Irving's reputation as a historian.

Must go prematurely,

Sid.

.

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Re: Number of Victims of the Holocaust - Reference Thread

Post by mikegriffith1 » 22 Sep 2021 18:26

Sid Guttridge wrote:
22 Sep 2021 14:54
Hi mikregriffith21,

A judge was employed precisely because his profession is trained to take a detached, balanced and forensic view of the evidence.
Actually, a judge was employed because Irving made the horrendous mistake of agreeing with the defense's suggestion that the trial be a judge trial instead of a jury trial.

And, again, if you read the trial transcripts and then compare them with the judge's decision, I think you will see that the judge was neither balanced nor detached but rather ignored most of the evidence presented during the trial.
You, on the other hand, are almost certainly not. If it is going to be a toss up between a judge's thought through opinion and yours then my default position would be to go with the judge's opinion rather than yours.
I'm not saying that you must choose between my opinion and the judge's opinion. I'm saying that you and anyone else who's interested in this case should go read the trial transcripts and Irving's closing statement and make up your own mind.
It is his trial loss before a judge that makes the outcome of this case so devastating to Irving's reputation as a historian. Must go prematurely, Sid.
I disagree. It's only "devastating" if you rely on the media's grossly distorted portrayal of the trial and/or if you only read the judge's decision and ignore the evidence presented during the trial. Irving shredded many of the defense's experts and on most issues more than held his own against defense counsel under cross-examination. Even the judge felt compelled to acknowledge that some of Lipstadt's claims about Irving were false. The judge also found that the majority of the defense's examples of allegedly deliberate errors/misrepresentations in Irving's books either did not appear to have been deliberate or were not in fact in error.

I have neglected to mention that another major reason for the decline in Irving's reputation has been his highly publicized--and misguided--claims about Auschwitz. To be fair, Irving has somewhat moderated his claims on Auschwitz as new evidence has come to light. After the Leuchter Report was published, Irving began claiming that few if any Jews were killed at Auschwitz, although he quickly clarified and specified that he believed that around 300,000 Jews died there, and he continued to acknowledge that several million Jews were killed by the Germans.

Irving did enormous damage to his reputation when made his infamous statement, long before the libel trial, that more people died in the backseat of Ted Kennedy's car than died in the crematorium now on display for tours at Auschwitz. He was actually absolutely correct because that particular crematorium (Krema I) was not built until after the war, but that detail was rarely reported in the media coverage of his statement, so Irving was falsely portrayed as saying that no Jews were gassed at Auschwitz. But Irving never should have made such a crude, insensitive statement in the first place.

Auschwitz was the one major issue on which I think the defense bested Irving at the trial. Irving had no good answers for the wartime reports and early post-war evidence of mass killings at Auschwitz. He scored some technical points about the logistical issues relating to gassing large numbers of people at Auschwitz. He also scored some points in documenting the fact that experts have been forced to reduce the number of deaths at Auschwitz from upwards of 4 million down to between 700,000 and around 1 million. But, he markedly failed to explain the evidence that his revised figure of 300,000 was simply untenably low.

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Re: Number of Victims of the Holocaust - Reference Thread

Post by mikegriffith1 » 24 Sep 2021 12:12

Incidentally, regarding David Irving's competence as a historian, none other than Stephen Ambrose, one of the deans of American historians, said the following about Irving's book Hitler's War and Peter Hoffmann's book History of the German Resistance (he reviewed them in the same review):
There will be many surprises in these volumes for American readers; it is the great strength of both books that they are based on diligent scholarship in new source materials.
(https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/ ... edb2935a8/)
I am all about fairness. I don't like to see anyone get attacked unfairly, even if some of their views offend me. As a proud and ardent supporter of Israel, and as a lover of all things Jewish, I vehemently disagree with Irving's criticisms of Jews and of Israel. I find his attacks on Holocaust survivors to be rude and offensive.

But, I would never accuse him of denying the Holocaust when in fact he has repeatedly acknowledged that at least 3.5 million Jews were killed by the Germans, and when he has called out genuine Holocaust deniers for denying that millions of Jews were killed. Nor would I accuse him of being a Hitler or Nazi apologist, when his books are literally loaded with blunt criticisms and negative portrayals of Hitler and other leading Nazis.

And I would never claim that he has no credibility as a historian, when in fact he has uncovered a great deal of important new information and sources on Hitler, the Nazis, Churchill, and World War II in general, and when many recognized historians praised his scholarship for years, and when even a historian such as Stephen Ambrose was willing to admit that Irving's book on Hitler contains important information from previously unused/unknown sources. Yes, Irving has made some mistakes, but so have many professional historians. The valid and important information in his books far outweighs the relatively few errors his books contain.

So I say let us criticize Irving only when he actually deserves it and be willing to admit when he has made important contributions to our knowledge of history.

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Re: Number of Victims of the Holocaust - Reference Thread

Post by Sid Guttridge » 25 Sep 2021 16:04

Hi mikegriffith1,

You post, "Actually, a judge was employed because Irving made the horrendous mistake of agreeing with the defense's suggestion that the trial be a judge trial instead of a jury trial." Presumably Irving did so for the reasons I stated - "A judge was employed precisely because his profession is trained to take a detached, balanced and forensic view of the evidence."

You say, ".....if you read the trial transcripts and then compare them with the judge's decision, I think you will see that the judge was neither balanced nor detached but rather ignored most of the evidence presented during the trial." I would suggest that the judge would have a better idea of what was presented at the trial than either you or me and therefore be better qualified to view the evidence accurately.

You say, "It's only "devastating" if you rely on the media's grossly distorted portrayal of the trial and/or if you only read the judge's decision and ignore the evidence presented during the trial." It is devastating because of the judge's findings, some of which I relayed here a few posts ago. As the judge presided over the case, I think it reasonable to assume that he was probably more informed about the evidence presented at the trial than anyone else. The media simply followed on from there.

I once (about 25 years ago) wrote to David Irving having noted that Himmler appeared to have sponsored almost simultaneous coup attempts by local Fascists in Romania (by the Iron Guard) and Slovakia (by the Hlinka Guard) in January 1941 and asked if he was aware of this and whether this was part of a co-ordinated attempt by Himmler to ideologically cleanse Germany's allies before the attack on the USSR. He did me the courtesy of sending me a half page reply in which he said that he had not previously noted the coincidence and was unable at that stage to answer my question. (I will be interested to see if he addresses it in the second volume of his Himmler book.) I therefore have no personal animus against him.

But the fact remains that he brought the court case, he agreed to a trial before a judge and he lost so badly as to seriously damage his reputation as a historian. I still have his books on my shelves and still consult them, but I now have to view them through a different lens to take into account the judge's findings.

Cheers,

Sid.

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Re: Number of Victims of the Holocaust - Reference Thread

Post by steve248 » 25 Sep 2021 17:25

I am not a fan of David Irving and not for a minute do I believe he ran rings around the defence experts. Those defence experts who dissected all of Irving's works and found in all his books he marginalized sources that did not fit with his story line, relied on tittle tattle for some sources, misquoted and short quoted others.
His libel case was a major ill judgement on his part. The poster above can claim all he likes about what he considers the partiality of the judge but Irving was completely trumped by the defence and their evidence could hardly be overturned by Irving. Showing he was not the historian that he believed of himself. And still does.
I just googled Stephen Ambrose who I had never heard of. He died in 2002. His major interests and books were American politics and WW2 military history. He possibly saw Irving from the military side but one review of Irving's works does not make him an Irving fan.
I also have trouble finding anyone who has actually quoted Irving in their books. Military history is not my thing as my own posts demonstrate and military historians may well have in the past. Not now.
When my colleague and I were writing "Himmler's Diary 1945" a couple of years ago we did not want to quote any of Irving's works and we had great difficulty finding the sources he used (Irving is not very good at quoting archival references). One entry only we had to quote Irving as a source.
It is 15 years or so since I last bumped into him at UK National Archives. We always had friendly conversations when we met at UK NA. He asked if I would do research for him and I thought I responded with a friendly "no". Later reported on his website that it was an "acidly no" despite me telling him to use glucosamine for his gamey leg (he was walking with a stick at the time).
Unlike Sid I have got rid of all Irving's book to a charity shop; but I have kept his translation of Keitel's memoirs for another year or two being used (but not quoted) in another project and at the end will find a resting place on abebooks.

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