David Irving and the Klessheim Conference

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Tarpon27
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Evans Report

Post by Tarpon27 » 07 Mar 2003 16:59

(h) The Antonescu/Horthy Meetings with Hitler in April 1943

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(i) Background

1. The next link in the chain is provided by documentation on Germany’s relations with Hungary in 1943. During the Second World War, Hungary was ruled by a strongly authoritarian, right-wing regime, which had come to power in a bloody counter-revolution at the end of the First World War. Led by Admiral Horthy, whose title derived from the defunct Habsburg Empire and who functioned as Regent for the absent Habsburg Emperor, the Hungarian regime allied itself to Nazi Germany from early on, principally in order to recover territory from small neighbouring countries which it considered belonged to Hungary by the historic right of the Habsburg tradition.

2. In 1938-39 it joined Germany in the dismemberment of Czechoslovakia. In return for German backing in obtaining territory from Romania in August 1940 and Yugoslavia in April 1941, the Hungarian government sent troops to participate in the German invasion of Russia in June 1941. Having achieved its principal goals in annexing territory from its small neighbouring states, Hungary now tried to pull out of the war on the Eastern front, and withdrew substantial numbers of troops. Following the defeat of the German armies at Stalingrad, Hitler began to put pressure on Admiral Horthy to reverse this policy, and summoned him to a meeting on 16 and 17 April 1943, at which the German Foreign Minister, Ribbentrop, was also present. Hitler and Ribbentrop also used this opportunity to discuss with Horthy the question of Hungary's Jewish population.

3. A substantial number of Jews lived in Hungary; a figure of around three-quarters of a million in 1943-44 is widely accepted by historians. These people were already subjected to massive legal discrimination by the strongly antisemitic Horthy regime, which denied them basic rights such as entering the professions and enforced on them restrictions comparable to those obtaining in Germany under the Nazis before 1939. The Hungarian fascist party, the Arrow Cross, was putting pressure on the Horthy government to introduce harsh new policies against the Jews. These measures, enacted from 1938 onwards, had been partly designed to appease it.

4. The subject of Hungary's Jews had already been the cause of friction between the two regimes of Hitler and Horthy. After the invasion of Russia, on learning of the Nazis’ intentions of deporting Jews to Russia, the Horthy regime began deporting 'alien Jews' (including Jewish refugees from Austria, Slovakia, Poland and Germany) to Körösmezo, close to the border with the General Government. From here, they were forcibly transported over the border into German-controlled territory. By late August 1941, when the operation was completed, 16,000-18,000 Jews had been transferred. The great majority of the Jews pushed out of Hungary in this way were exterminated by SS units in Kamenets-Podolsk (Ukraine), in a massacre on 27-28 August 1941. Only about 2,000 Jews who had arrived from Hungary initially survived.

5. In the following year, the ‘Third Reich’ stepped up its efforts to include the remaining Jews in Hungary in the 'Final Solution'. On 15 August 1942, the Hungarian representative in Berlin, Döme Szt"jay, reported to his government that

the Germans are determined to rid Europe of the Jewish elements without further delay and intend...to deport them to the occupied territories in the East, where they will be settled in ghettos or labour camps and made to work. The authorities have been instructed to complete these deportations while the war is still on. According to absolutely reliable information, Reichsleiter Himmler has informed a meeting of SS leaders that it is the wish of the German Government to complete these deportations within a year.

6. Two months later, the Germans officially approached the Hungarian government in this matter. On 14 October 1942, the senior Foreign Office official Martin Luther instructed the German embassy in Budapest to inform the Hungarian government of the reasons ‘which are moving us according to the will of the Führer to attempt a complete solution of the Jewish question in Europe soon, and to ask the Hungarian government to drive forward on its part the measures which are necessary for this purpose.’ These measures included the 'immediate labelling of all Jews’ as well as the preparation for 'deportation and transport off to the East'. These demands were passed on by the German representative in Budapest on 17 October 1942 to the Hungarian government.

7. However, the Hungarians comprehensively rejected the demands. In its reply on 2 December 1942, the Hungarian government made clear that it was extremely jealous of its sovereign rights and insisted that any 'solution' of the Hungarian dimension of the 'Jewish question' would have to take the specific circumstances in Hungary into account. It rejected the special marking of Jews and informed the Germans that as far as the ‘deportation of Jewry out of Hungary’ was concerned, ‘the Hungarian government possesses today neither the possibilities nor the technical means of lending governmental measures practical validity in this matter.’

8. The German government was clearly unhappy with this response from its military ally, and increased its pressure on Hungary to give in to its demands. On 15 January 1943, Luther reminded the Hungarian representative in Berlin, Döme Szt"jay,

that the Führer is resolved under all circumstances to remove all Jews from Europe already during the war, because these, as he (Szt"jay), to be sure, knows exactly, constitute an element of subversion, and in most cases carry the guilt for acts of sabotage which occur, and otherwise also occupy themselves mainly with espionage for the enemy. It fills us with very great concern that just one country in the middle of Europe that is friendly to us harbours about 1 million Jews. We cannot look on this danger in the long run without taking action.


However, in the following months the Hungarian government did not change its stance on the matter.

The meeting between Hitler and Horthy on 16 and 17 April 1943 was in part designed to escalate the pressure which the German government had already put on Horthy to 'solve' the 'Jewish question' in Hungary once and for all and to persuade Horthy to remove the obstacles which he had so far put in the way of the forcible deportation of all of Hungary’s Jews to territory controlled by the Nazi regime.
(ii) The meeting between Hitler and Horthy on 16 and 17 April 1943.

1. The meeting between Hitler and Horthy on 16 and 17 April 1943 has generally been regarded by historians as one of the few occasions on which Hitler openly admitted the extermination of the Jews in Poland. The minutes of the meeting were taken by Dr. Paul Otto Schmidt, who confirmed them and added his own recollections at the Nuremberg trials. There is no doubt about their authenticity. The minutes for the meeting on 17 April 1943 record a statement by Ribbentrop, in Hitler's presence, to a point made by Horthy:

On Horthy's retort, what should he do with the Jews then, after he had pretty well taken all means of living from them - he surely couldn't beat them to death - The Reich Foreign Minister replied that the Jews must either be annihilated or taken to concentration camps. There was no other way.

2. This blunt statement by Ribbentrop contributed to the conclusion of the judges at the Nuremberg trials in October 1946, that Ribbentrop had played an important part in the 'final solution' and was guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

3. On 17 April 1943, Hitler almost immediately confirmed Ribbentrop's explicitly murderous statement at some length:

Where the Jews were left to themselves, as for example in Poland, gruesome poverty and degeneracy had ruled. They were just pure parasites. One had fundamentally cleared up this state of affairs in Poland. If the Jews there didn't want to work, they were shot. If they couldn't work, they had to perish. They had to be treated like tuberculosis bacilli, from which a healthy body could be infected. That was not cruel, if one remembered that even innocent natural creatures like hares and deer had to be killed so that no harm was caused. Why should one spare the beasts who wanted to bring us Bolshevism more? Nations who did not rid themselves of Jews perished.

4. Despite this open language, Horthy was clearly not convinced about the need to murder large numbers of Jews, much to Hitler's annoyance.

5. Some three weeks after Hitler's meeting with Horthy, on 8 May 1942, Propaganda Minister Goebbels noted down in his diary the following statement by Hitler:

The Jewish question is solved worst of all by Hungary. The Hungarian state is completely permeated by Jews, and the Führer met with no success during his discussion with Horthy in convincing him of the necessity for harsher measures. To be sure, Horthy is himself, together with his family, extraordinarily strongly interwoven with Jews and will also in future struggle with all his might against getting a really active grip on the Jew-problem. Here he is bringing forward thoroughly humanitarian counter-arguments, which naturally possess absolutely no importance in this connection. There can be no talk of humanity towards Jewry. Jewry must be thrown to the ground. The Führer has been at great pains to convince Horthy of this point of view, but he has only succeeded to a very small extent.

6. Thus it is clear that the statements by Ribbentrop (in Hitler's presence) and of Hitler himself on 17 April 1943 pose an insurmountable problem for anyone who wishes to argue, as Irving does, that Hitler neither knew nor approved of the extermination of the Jews. Whilst Irving never openly challenges the authenticity of the minutes of Hitler's meeting with Horthy, he attempts in various ways to minimise their significance, as we shall now see.

(iii) Irving's account of the meeting between Hitler and Horthy: Bending reliable sources to fit preconceived ideas, invention and fabrication

(A) Hiding key statements in footnotes

1. In the 1977 edition of Hitler's War, Irving starts off by hiding away in a footnote Ribbentrop's statement that all Jews had to be either 'annihilated or taken to concentration camps'. Irving resorts to the same tactic in his 1991 edition of Hitler's War. One might think, of course, that putting this statement in a footnote is no great crime against honest scholarship in itself - after all, it is still there in the book for everyone to read. But everyone, of course, does not read footnotes, and placing it there allows Irving to marginalise it almost out of existence.

(B) Citing other documents to discredit the minutes of the meeting.

1. Irving has referred repeatedly to other documents, which, he claims, indicate that Hitler, in fact, did not mention the extermination of the Jews during his meeting with Horthy. These arguments by Irving are utterly pointless, as the authenticity of the original minutes is beyond doubt, and never directly challenged by Irving. Not surprisingly, the documents used by Irving indirectly to undermine the official minutes fail to support his case and once more illustrate his flawed methodology.

2. First, in his footnote, Irving casts doubt on the reliability of the official minute by claiming that

Secret Hungarian records do not echo the wording in such bluntness. In a draft letter to Hitler on May 7, Horthy included a sentence - later deleted - "Your Excellency further reproached me that my government does not proceed with stamping out Jewry with the same radicalism as is practised in Germany."

3. This is pure invention by Irving. It is based on the fact that the draft letter by Horthy (disclosed by Irving to the court) uses the term Ausrottung, which Irving insists on translating as 'stamping out'. However, its true and generally agreed meaning is 'extermination', which is of course no less blunt than the term 'annihilated' used by Ribbentrop in the minutes. The complete passage in Horthy's draft letter should thus be translated as follows: ‘Your Excellency further reproached me that my government did not proceed in the extermination of Jewry with the same radicalism with which this is being carried out in Germany and there is also regarded as desired for other countries too.’ Clearly, this draft letter comprehensively fails to support the claim which Irving attaches to it.

4. Secondly, in his plea to the court, Irving cites a report submitted by the Hungarian representative in Berlin, Szt"jay, to Prime Minister Kallay in Budapest. According to Irving, the report summarised 'the talks between Hitler and Horthy and Ribbentrop' and did not say that the Hungarian Jews 'were to be liquidated, only interned'. In fact, the document is concerned with a separate conversation between Szt"jay and Ribbentrop. Only a very brief passage of the document deals with the Hitler-Horthy meeting. In this brief passage, Szt"jay reports that Hitler 'personally drew the attention of His Highness the Regent [Horthy] to the necessity of settling in a more thorough and penetrating manner the Jewish question in Hungary. No doubt His Highness the Regent has informed Your Excellency [Kallay] of this'.

5. Clearly, Irving completely misrepresents this source. As is plain to see, Szt"jay in his reference to the Hitler-Horthy talks does not mention that Hungarian Jews were 'only' to be interned. Also, it is no surprise that Szt"jay speaks merely of 'more thorough and penetrating' measures, and does not directly mention killing. Possibly, Szt"jay was not aware of the explicit statements made by Ribbentrop and Hitler on 17 April 1943. After all, Szt"jay himself had not been present during the meeting. More likely, though, Szt"jay was well aware of Nazi extermination policy, and merely cloaked the murderous programme in more neutral, euphemistic language. This was common practice. For instance, Horthy himself in his letter of 7 May 1943 to Hitler (see above) deleted the sentence which spoke of the 'extermination' of the Jews. The remaining letter made no direct reference to the fate of the Jews.

6. Thus neither Horthy's draft letter to Hitler on 7 May 1943, nor Szt"jay's report of April 1943 can cast any doubt on the remarks made by Hitler and Ribbentrop at the meeting on 17 April 1943. Irving's claims are totally irrelevant and simply designed - not very effectively - to undermine a reliable source, namely the minutes drawn up by Schmidt of the meeting.

(C) Invention, fabrication and falsification: placing Hitler's remarks at the meeting with Horthy on 17 April 1943 into a false context, in order to bend a reliable source.

1. As has been described above, Ribbentrop's comments to Horthy at the meeting on 17 April 1943 were almost immediately followed by a murderously antisemitic outburst on the part of Hitler. However, by removing Ribbentrop's preceding remark to a footnote, Irving places Hitler's subsequent statement addressed to Horthy on 17 April 1943 in an entirely different context:

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... In Warsaw, the fifty thousand Jews surviving in the ghetto were on the point of staging an armed uprising - with weapons and ammunition 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. "This is just the kind of incident that shows how dangerous these Jews are".

Poland should have been an object lesson to Horthy, Hitler argued. He related how Jews who refused to work there were shot; those who could not work just wasted away. Jews must be treated like tuberculosis bacilli, he said, using his favourite analogy. Was that so cruel when one considered that even innocent creatures like hares and deer had to be put down to prevent their doing damage? Why preserve a bestial species whose ambition was to inflict bolshevism on us all? Horthy apologetically noted that he had done all he decently could against the Jews: "But they can hardly be murdered or otherwise eliminated", he protested. Hitler reassured him: "There is no need for that."

2. Thus, Irving implies, Jews were violent and disruptive in Eastern Europe and posed a threat. They had to be dealt with and 'combed out' like lice. But despite all this, Hitler did not want them killed.

3. This is pure invention on Irving's part. Whoever said "This is just the kind of incident that shows how dangerous these Jews are", Adolf Hitler certainly did not say it to Admiral Horthy at their meeting on 16-17 April 1943. Hitler did not mention the Warsaw ghetto uprising at all, which is not surprising, since it did not even begin until two days later. Nor did the uprising involve 50,000 armed Jews, as Irving implies, but at most a few thousand of them. Nor did Hitler mention Jewish partisan activity or Jewish violence, but simply poverty and degeneracy, something quite different. Irving also waters down the expression used by Hitler to describe the fate of those Polish Jews who could not work - verkommen - by translating it as 'wasted away', as if they had no assistance towards this fate by Nazi authorities who deliberately starved them of food.

4. Most seriously of all, however, the exchange reported at the end of Irving's account, beginning 'Horthy apologetically noted', did not occur on 17 April, as Irving clearly portrays by placing it immediately after his summary of Hitler's speech, but on the previous day, and in another context, namely during the first of the two men's meetings. On 16 April, namely, Horthy stated: 'He had done everything which one could decently undertake against the Jews, but one could surely not murder them or kill them in some other way. The Führer replied that this was also not necessary. Hungary could accommodate the Jews in concentration camps just like Slovakia did.' At this point in the meeting, Hitler and Ribbentrop were not being as open as they became on 17th. It was because he was not satisfied with Hitler's response, and was aware that he had still not satisfied the Nazi leaders with his, that Horthy repeated his question on 17th ('he surely couldn't beat them to death'), eliciting this time far more explicit statements of what they expected him to do, both from Ribbentrop and from Hitler, namely that they were to be put in camps if they could work, and killed if they could not.

5. One might add here that the majority of the Slovakian Jews were by no means 'only' put into concentration camps, as Hitler claimed on 16 April 1943. In fact, they were killed. According to SS statistics, 57,545 Slovakian Jews had been transported to Nazi-occupied Polish territory between 26 March 1942 and 31 March 1943 (only about 25,000 Jews were still left behind in Slovakia). The transports went to Auschwitz, Sobibor and Lublin. At the end of the war, only 284 survivors of these transports could be registered. The rest were dead.

6. What Irving does, therefore, is to bend this reliable source to suit his argument, misprepresenting the historical data and skewing the documents on which he relies, by placing quotations in a false context, removing part of the record to a footnote, and mixing up two different conversations in the text so that it looks as if Hitler is telling Horthy that the Jews should not be killed, only interned in camps. Irving increases the force of Hitler's statement by putting it into direct speech instead of the indirect, reported speech in which it appears in the original minutes.

7. In fact, the real sequence of statements on 17 April is perfectly clear: Horthy, unclear as to why the Nazi leaders were still putting pressure on him after all the measures he had already taken against the Hungarian Jews, repeated his question to Hitler and Ribbentrop: surely you can't want me to kill them? Ribbentrop replied yes, that is exactly what they wanted, kill them or put them in camps, and Hitler immediately followed by saying he should do as had been done in Poland, namely shoot those who refused to work in the camps, and ensure that those who were unable to work perished. Just to make it absolutely clear, Hitler used the analogy of a healthy human body ridding itself of tuberculosis bacilli. His meaning could hardly have been clearer.

8. In the 1991 edition of Hitler's War, Irving omits all reference to the Warsaw uprising in this disussion of the meeting. Instead, he offers two different accounts of Hitler's words:

In Hitler's warning to Horthy that the "Jewish Bolsheviks" would liquidate all Europe's intelligentsia, we can identify the influence of the Katyn episode - a propaganda windfall about which Goebbels had just telephoned him...Hitler warmly approved Goebbels’s suggestion that Katyn should be linked in the public's mind with the Jewish question. But the most persuasive argument used to reconcile Hitler with the harsher treatment of the Jews was the bombing war: From documents and target maps found in crashed bombers he knew that the British aircrews were instructed to aim only at the residential areas. Only one race murdered, he lectured the quailing Horthy, and that was the Jews. It was they who had provoked this war and given it its present character against civilians, women, and children.

9. Irving provides no factual evidence for these two claims in his footnotes. The word 'Katyn' does not even occur a single time in Horthy's conversations with Hitler.

10. To be sure, Hitler did know about the massacre, since Goebbels had recorded Hitler’s decision that it should be used for propaganda in his diary on 14 April 1943. But all of Hitler's statements in his conversations with Horthy were couched in general terms and differed little from his previous warnings about 'Jewish-Bolshevism':

It would surely be madness to believe that if the German army should not be in a position to stop the Russians, a Turkish-Bulgarian-Hungarian combination would be capable of it. It would be swept aside, and the Bolshevist Jews in Moscow would annihilate the intelligentsia and exterminate the masses by unimaginable means.

11. Katyn thus had nothing to do with it, and there is no evidence that knowledge of it made Hitler more antisemitic than he had been previously. The reference is pure invention on Irving's part.

12. Similarly with Allied bombing raids. Irving's claims that these lay behind Hitler's antisemitic outbursts in his conversations with Horthy rest on Hitler's statement to Horthy on 16 April 1943 that there was no need to be soft towards the Jews because

they were also responsible for the present war and the form which it has taken, in particular for the bombardment of the civil population and the numerous victims among women and children...Only one murdered, namely the Jew, who sparked wars and through his influence given them their present character directed against civilians, women and children.

13. And on the following day, Hitler told Horthy at the beginning of their conversation that the Germans had found detailed plans which showed that during a recent raid on Frankfurt the British bombers were not specifically instructed to destroy industrial targets but had been told they could also bomb residential areas (not quite the same as Irving's claim that they were told to aim only at residential areas). Also, there is no mention of Jews in this passage.

14. Immediately after this statement, Hitler added that ''the attacks themselves had been irritating but wholly trivial.' In view of the fact that he dismissed them as unimportant, it is highly unlikely that these bombing raids roused Hitler to an unprecedented antisemitic fury which he then expressed to Horthy. The antisemitic outbursts in his conversations with the Hungarian leader in fact only need explaining in Irving's scheme of things by such inventions and fabrications because Irving denies the normal antisemitic virulence of Hitler's views at other times. In fact, of course, there is massive evidence for the extreme nature of Hitler's antisemitism at other times, stretching back over several decades.

15. This boundless antisemitism is also evident throughout Hitler’s talks with Horthy. Hitler had mentioned among other things during these conversations that (in his view) the Jews were to blame for the 1918 revolution, the First World War and the Second World War, that they had had a very destructive impact on morals, on the currency and on the economy, that they were parasites, that they ran the black market in wartime, and that any country or city that did not get rid of them would go under.

16. In another passage not quoted or referred to by Irving, Hitler told Horthy that

one did not need to fight shy of pursuing the struggle against the Jews energetically on his part either. There must be no deviation in this, and anyone who believed in compromises in this question was fundamentally deceiving himself. Why should the Jews be treated with kid gloves?...They were also responsible for the present war and the form which it had taken on, and for the numerous victims among women and children.

Later, he added that 'the Jews had indeed started the war, and one need have no sympathy for them if the war now brought serious consequences for them with it.'

17. In view of all this, it seems very unlikely that a bombing raid which Hitler described as 'trivial' and which he did not link directly to the Jews, would have counted for very much in his mind. Hitler pursued his murderous policies against the Jews not because of the alleged criminality of Jews in Poland, the impending Warsaw uprising, or the bombing campaign of the Allies, but because of his all-consuming hatred of the Jews, whom he saw as responsible for almost every problem that faced Germany and the world. Finally, Irving's manipulation of the context of Hitler's remarks on 17 April 1943 cannot distract from the simple fact that Hitler openly admitted and justified the murder of the Jews in these conversations with the Hungarian leader.

(iv) Further suppression of evidence of Hitler’s radical antisemitism.

1. Hitler's antisemitic remarks to a meeting held with the Romanian military dictator Ion Antonescu, another of his allies whom he accused of disloyalty to Germany, on 13 April 1943, shortly before he met Horthy, are also suppressed by Irving. To be sure, on page 508 of the 1977 edition of Hitler's War, Irving does mention the fact that the two men met on 12 April to discuss Romania's position in the war. But he omits to mention altogether the fact that the official meeting went on for a second day, 13 April, during which, according to the minutes, Hitler harangued Antonescu in uncompromising terms about the 'Jewish Question':

The Führer then described the measures which had been taken in Germany in this area. The moment the Jews had been removed, the economy, cultural life and other areas had blossomed. In other countries, where the Jew-question had not been so energetically cleaned-up, as e.g. in Hungary, the circumstances were very difficult. The Jews were the natural allies of Bolshevism and the candidates for the positions occupied by the present intelligentsia who were to be murdered during Bolshevization. Therefore, in contrast to Marshal Antonescu, the Führer took the view that one must proceed against the Jews, the more radically the better. He (the Führer)...would rather burn all his bridges behind him, because the Jewish hatred is so enormously great anyway. In Germany, as a consequence of the clearing-up of the Jewish question, one had a united people without opposition at one's disposal...however, once the way had been embarked upon, there was no going back.

2. Once again, since the meetings of 12 and 13 April between Hitler and Antonescu are recorded in the same documentary collection, a collection with which Irving is fully familiar, the failure to mention the second day's discussion in a book, Hitler's War, which devotes considerable attention to Hitler's attitude towards the Jews, can only be the result of deliberate suppression.

(v) Conclusion

1. The significance of the meeting between Hitler and Horthy on 16-17 April 1943 only really becomes clear when we recall what happened subseqently. In May 1943 the Hungarian Prime Minister Kállay publicly rejected the idea of 'resettlement' of Hungary's Jews in the East until he received a satisfactory answer from the Germans as to how and where the resettlement was to take place. But the Nazi government did not abandon its designs for the extermination of the Hungarian Jews. In March 1944, Horthy was again summoned to meet Hitler. According to Horthy, at the meeting on 18 March 1944 Hitler complained that ‘Hungary did nothing in the matter of the Jewish problem, and was not prepared to settle accounts with the large Jewish population in Hungary’. Meanwhile, German troops marched into Hungary and took the country over. Szt"jay was appointed Prime Minister on 22 March 1944 of a puppet government. Already on 19 March 1944, the Eichmann Sonderkommando was in Budapest to organise the deportation of the Hungarian Jews. By July 1944, over 430,000 Jews had been deported to Auschwitz. After a brief halt called by Horthy, who still retained some influence, the Germans staged another coup in October 1944 and installed the Hungarian fascist leader Szalasi as Prime Minister. Although plans were laid to deport more Jews and thousands were marched to Austria under terrible conditions, many of them dying en route, Auschwitz was now being wound up in the face of the Russian advance and there was no more major extermination, although thousands of Jews died in what had become a virtual ghetto in Budapest in the winter of 1944-45. All of this demonstrated clearly the paramount importance the extermination of Hungary's Jews had for Hitler.

2. Irving is at pains to obscure this in his account of the German leader's meeting with Admiral Horthy on 16-17 April 1943. Through bending reliable sources to fit his argument, misrepresenting and skewing historical data, misinterpreting sources and deliberately suppressing relevant information, he conveys the impression in his book Hitler's War that Hitler was actually opposed to the extermination of the Hungarian Jews, demanding merely their confinement in internment camps, a measure for which, Irving falsely insinuates, events in Poland (including the Warsaw ghetto uprising, which as we have seen had not actually taken place at the time of the meeting between Hitler and Horthy) provided a reasonable justification. This argument is untenable on historical grounds, and rests on a deliberate falsification of the historical record.
http://www.holocaustdenialontrial.com/e ... 4.asp#4.3h


Regards,


Mark

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Hans
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Post by Hans » 07 Mar 2003 17:26

Roberto wrote:
I appreciate your ongoing valiant efforts to defend your old friend Irving.

(An interesting link for the newcomers:

http://www.fpp.co.uk/docs/trial/Forward100300.html )
From there:

"A times, Mr. Irving seems to have strayed from Mr. Mills's briefing on Mr. Longerich. For example, where Mr. Mills suggests that Mr. Irving ask Mr. Longerich to say whether he fund the phrase Vernichtung durch Arbeit, or extermination through work, in a particular communication of Himmler's. Mr. Irving in court repeatedly asks Mr. Longerich to admit that the phrase was invented after the war. Mr. Longerich replies repeatedly that it was a phrase used during the war."

The phrase Vernichtung durch Arbeit was used by Goebbels during the war (in 1942) according to a document quoted in the book SS im Einsatz in the chapter "Vernichtung durch Arbeit". I remember that Michael Mills once cited the book. Curious why he hasn't called this to Irving's attention. I guess he has just missed the chapter.

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Post by michael mills » 09 Mar 2003 13:03

Hans wrote:
The phrase Vernichtung durch Arbeit was used by Goebbels during the war (in 1942) according to a document quoted in the book SS im Einsatz in the chapter "Vernichtung durch Arbeit". I remember that Michael Mills once cited the book. Curious why he hasn't called this to Irving's attention. I guess he has just missed the chapter.
Hans,

This sort of snide insinuation is not worthy of you.

As part of the comments on Longerich's Expert Opinion which I supplied to Irving, I addressed Longerich's claim that "Vernichtung durch Arbeit" was a German Government policy applied to concentration camp prisoners in general, in particular Jews, and that the purpose of labour in the camps was essentially to kill those who had been selected for labour.

My comments addressed whether German wartime documents in which the phrase "Vernichtung durch Arbeit" was used actually supported Longerich's interpretation.

I showed that the term appeared in documents relating to an agreement between Himmler and the Minister for Justice, Thierack, whereby certain classes of convicts, ie persons convicted in a court and currently in prison, could be sent to concentration camps for "Vernichtung durch Arbeit". The agreement applied to convicts of all "races", ie not only Jews but also to Germans; however it was more severe in the case of Jews, in that all Jewish convicts could be sent to concentration camps, whereas only Germans serving sentences above a certain length could be subjected to "Vernichtung durch Arbeit".

Thus it was apparent from the documentary evidence that "Vernichtung durch Arbeit" only applied to a particular category of concentration camp prisoner, those who had been sentenced in a court and were handed over to the SS.

Goebbels' reference to "Vernichtung durch Arbeit" was simply an entry in his diary recording the Himmler-Thierack agreement.

The above represented the comment I made to Irving on this matter. I am of course not responsible for the use he made of it in court. Perhaps he did not fully understand the point.

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Post by michael mills » 09 Mar 2003 13:39

Tarpon wrote:
I am obviously confused. It appears that Ribbentrop directly suggests two alternatives.
Perhaps you are confused, Mark.

Ribbentrop is not suggesting that Horthy must annihilate the Hungarian Jews. Rather, he is saying that they must be confined in concentration camps, since the only alternative would be to kill them, since they cannot be allowed to remain free.

Ribbentrop's words are analogous to the command "surrender or die". The aim is to obtain surrender of an opponent through the threat of death. Ribbentrop and Hitler were trying to pressure Horthy into concentrating and imprisoning the Jewish population of Hungary, which in 1943 still enjoyed freedom of movement.

On 16 April, Hitler and Ribbentrop had tried to influence Horthy to do something about the Jews in Hungary. When Horthy asked what he should do with them, since he could not kill them, Hitler and Ribbentrop suggested that he put them in concentration camps, as had been done in Slovakia.

On 17 April, Horthy repeated his question, and Ribbentrop gave the same answer, only in a more forceful way; if you do not put them into concentration camps you will have to kill them, there is no other alternative (implying, therefore put them into concentration camps).

The essential issue is that neither Ribbentrop nor Hitler say anything about deporting the Hungarian Jews to death-camps or anywhere else. They do not reveal a policy of exterminating all Jews, nor do they reveal an intention to kill Hungarian Jews. The only admission of the active killing of Jews refers to those Polish Jews who refused to work, and that was obviously a terroristic rather than exterminatory measure. Hitler's revelation of what had happened to the Jews of Poland reflects the policy adopted in 1942 of shutting up the non-working Jews in the ghettos and allowing them to waste away, not one of deportation and mass-killing; he does not say what happened to the Jews who could work and were willing to do so, but the implication is that they were not killed.

Hence, there is nothing in what Hitler and Ribbentrop said to Horthy on 16-17 April 1943 that unequivocally revealed a mass-extermination policy in relation to Jews. Hence there is nothing that contradicts Irving's thesis that Hitler did not order a general extermination of Jews, and was not fully informed of what was being done on the ground. Indeed, Hitler's reference to the non-working Jews "wasting away" reflects an earlier policy, and could mean that he was not aware that the non-working Jews had not been left in the Polish ghettos but rather herded to extermination camps and killed there (or else he was concealing that fact from Horthy).

In any case, Irving, in his 1977 edition, does not specifically cite Hitler's words as evidence that Hitler was not aware of what had been done to the Jews. That is, he does not refer to his thesis in his depiction of the Klessheim meeting; rather, he portrays Hitler and Ribbentrop as pressurising Horthy to confine the Hungarian Jews to camps, which is accurate. And Irving cites the essence of Hitler's words about the treatment of Polish Jews without watering them down or putting his own interpretation on them. It is for that reason that I consider that Evans' criticism of Irving on this passage of "Hitler's War" was exaggerated and tendentious, although I agree that the passage feel short of historiographical best practice in that it rolled two separate conversations into one.

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Post by Hans » 09 Mar 2003 13:54

michael mills wrote: The above represented the comment I made to Irving on this matter. I am of course not responsible for the use he made of it in court. Perhaps he did not fully understand the point.
Apparently. Or he did understand the point very well and was dishonest. You informed him about the use of the phrase in war-time documents and he nevertheless asked "Mr. Longerich to admit that the phrase was invented after the war".
This sort of snide insinuation is not worthy of you.
Well, I assumed that Irving has understand your note, that he was honest about it in court and that you were honest. So what was left to explain the situation? That you missed the document.

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Post by walterkaschner » 12 Mar 2003 06:06

Sorry, submitted in error.

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Post by chalutzim » 13 Mar 2003 17:24

herr mills wrote: (...) It is apparent that Irving has considerably revised his account of the Klessheim meeting in his 2001 edition, taking account of the criticisms levelled by Evans. That is of course what a competent an honest historian should do when his original account has been shown to be in error.
Yes, for sure. A competent and honest historian, but this is not the case of mr. irving, for he ONLY corrected the error because prof. Richard Evans got him. If it was not the case, his book would be even more flawed, with one more piece of voluntary misinterpretation.
It also demonstrates that statements to the effect that nothing that Irving wrote can be trusted, are extreme and false. An account that has been revised to remove demonstrated inaccuracies is surely as trustworthy as the average historical writing.
Unless the account was not written with bad faith in mind, intending to whitewash hitler's sad memory.

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Post by walterkaschner » 16 Mar 2003 07:09

I have by now sufficiently overcome my embarrassment at having confused the two Hitler-Horthy meetings at Klessheim to return to this thread, albeit with a still encrimsoned visage.

Michael Mills wrote:
Roberto has misunderstood the issue in this thread.

It is not what was actually happening to the Jews in April 1943.

It is whether Hitler revealed to Horthy on 17 April 1943, at their Klessheim meeting, his intention to exterminate the Jews of Hungary, in the same way as the Jews of Poland had been exterminated.

Evans claims that Hitler did reveal such an exterminatory intention. He also claims that Irving dishonestly concealed that revealtion by distorting the record of the meeting. He implies that Irving did so in order to preserve his thesis that Hitler did not order a general extermination of Jews, and that there is no written evidence that he did so.
Actually, I had thought that the issue in this thread was whether or not David Irving's treatment of the 16th-17th Hitler-Horthy Klessheim conference demonstrated his lack of credibility and integrity as a historian.

In and of themselves, I do not believe that the records available to me (and I do not have available Paul Schmidt's notes of the meeting on the 16th) conclusively prove, beyond the shadow of doubt, Hitler's intention to exterminate all the Jews of Europe. But it seems to me this is a side issue to the one directly at hand. In his book "Lying About Hitler" Evans does not specifically claim (although he implies it strongly) that Hitler revealed such an extermination intent, as Mr. Mills states. Evans does claim that Irving tortured the evidence of that meeting to support his thesis that Hitler neither ordered nor was aware of a program for the extermination of the Jews of Europe. He cites this as one of a lengthy chain of passages in "Hitler's War" where Irving tortured the evidence to support this thesis.

As an aside, in fairness and in the interest of full disclosure, I must say that I find the proposition absolutely unbelievable that Hitler did not approve, or at least have knowledge of, a program of such magnitude, of such potential moral and political implication, both locally and internationally, requiring such enormous diversions of logistics, materiel and manpower from the German war effort. That notion is simply incredible, and it just boggles my mind to imagine how any thinking person could indulge it. So I confess to a built in prejudice, but again, I did not believe that was the issue in this thread, but rather Irving's qualities as a historian.

Further, we should keep in mind that humans can be "exterminated" in a variety of ways. By shooting, by gassing, by starvation, by working them to death, etc.

That having been said, let's look at Evan's basic allegations:

1. In the 1977 and 1991 edition of "Hitler's War" Irving "hid" in a footnote Ribbentrop's statement at the April 17 meeting "that the Jews must either be annihilated or taken to concentration camps". I think there is some force to Evan's criticism that the superficial reader pays little attention to footnotes, although I personally like to read them, not only to verify the source but also because they often contain juicy details which, although not essential to the main text, add leaven to its loaf. But were it not for more serious faults in Irving's account, I would personally consider this one of little weight.

2. In both the 1977 and 1991 editions, Irving reported that Hitler argued to Horthy that his treatment of the Hungarian Jews should bear in mind the outrages attempted by the Jews in Poland - roaming the country inacts of sabotage and murder; 50,000 in the Warsaw ghetto starting an armed uprising with weapons sold to them by the fleeing Russians, resulting in Himmler's order to destroy the Ghetto, and directly quotes Hitler as saying "This is just the kind of incident that shows how dangerous these Jews are." But in fact, Schmidt's notes contain no reference whatsoever to the Polish Jews, nor to the quote Irving attributes to Hitler. Indeed , the Warsaw uprising took place some days later, and could hardly have been referred to by Hitler in this context. Nor did it involve anything like 50,000 Jews -only a few thousand at most. This strikes me a an extremely serious violation of a historian's duty. Irving simply manufactured evidence to make it appear that Hitler had some rational basis for demanding that Horthy take drastic action against the Hungarian Jews.

3. Irving capsulated Hitler's statements in the two meetings so as to make it appear that when Horthy stated that he could not simply murder the Jews, Hitler replied, as his last words on the matter, that "There is no need for that; the Hungarian Jews could be accommodated in concentration camps just like the Jews in Slovakia." [Evans states that, although Irving makes no mention of it, even this statement was disingenuous; by this time some 58,000 Slovakian Jews had been transported to extermination camps.] But in fact, as Schmidt's notes show, Hitler's final words to Horthy on the 17th were of a quite different implication:
Where the Jews were left to themselves, as for example in Poland, gruesome poverty and degeneracy had ruled. They were just pure parasites. One had fundamentally cleared up this state of affairs in Poland. If the Jews there didn't want to work, they were shot. If they couldn't work, they had to perish. They had to be treated like tuberculosis bacilli, from which a healthy body could be infected. That was not cruel, if one remembered that even innocent natural creatures like hares and deer had to be killed so that no harm was caused. Why should one spare the beasts who wanted to bring us Bolshevism more? Nations who did not rid themselves of Jews perished.
Ribbentrop himself testified at the Nuremberg trial:


VON RIBBENTROP: Mr., President, I should like to add that I myself was very grieved by these words of the Fuehrer, and I did not quite understand them. But perhaps this attitude can be understood only if we remember that the Fuehrer believed that the Jews had caused this war, and that he had gradually developed a very fanatical hatred for them.
I remember too that later on, after this conference, I discussed with the interpreter Sdimidt and the two gentlemen the fact that this was the first time the Fuehrer had used expressions in connection with the Jewish problem which I could no longer understand. These words were certainly not invented by Schmidt. The Fuehrer did express himself in some such way at that time. That is true.
It does seem to me that Irving's treatment of this meeting demonstrates something more than a mere pecadillo of historical error. The sources were all available to Irving at the time of his writing. To me they demonstrate a torturing of the available evidence to prove an otherwise unsustainable theory, and the fact that Irving revised certain portions of his treatment in the 2001 edition of "Hitler's War" [although still not completely accurate] does not indicate to me, as Tonyh suggests, that this is what any competent historian would do. Irving was not confronted with newly discovered facts; he was caught with his pants at half mast!

Regards, and again with apologies for previous goof! Kaschner

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Post by michael mills » 16 Mar 2003 12:47

Walter Kaschner has used the imagery of Irving torturing the evidence.

The vital issue is whether Irving tortured the evidence to the extent that he made it say the opposite of what it was really saying, to force it to make a "false confession", so to speak.

That would only be the case if the record of the meeting clearly showed that Hitler revealed a knowledge that the Jews of Europe were being systematically exterminated, and revealed to Horthy that he wanted the Jews of Hungary to be exterminated also, and if Irving distorted the record to the extent that Hitler's knowledge and exterminatory desire were concealed.

But that is not the case. Evans claims that there was a difference between what was said on the first day and what was said on the second; according to him, on the first day Hitler and Ribbentrop concealed their knowledge of "The Holocaust" by referring only to the impriosnment of Jews in concentration camps, whereas on the second they revealed a murderous intention. According to Evans, the climax in the revelation on the second day was Hitler's "murderously antisemitic outburst", in which he revealed what had happened to the Jews of Poland, implying that the same should happen in Poland.

BUt the fact is that Irving does not conceal Hitler's "antisemitic outburst". He gives its sense in full, including the comparison of the Jews to bacilli and the metaphor of culling (not exterminating) innocent animals that are causing problems. Irving says that the comparison of Jews to bacilli was one of Hitler's favourite sayings, and indeed it was; I do not see how that would serve to lessen the force of Hitler's words.

Evans' basic charge is that Irving, by not distinguishing between what was said on day one and what was said on day two, conceals the increasing murderousness and radicalism of Hitler's demands, changing from incarceration in concentration camps on day one to killing on day two. That is the main wrongdoing he ascribes to Irving in relation to the latter's presentation of the Klessheim conference.

However, it is questionable whether there really was such a quantum leap between Hitler's demands on day one and what he demanded on day two. On day one, in response to Horthy's question about what he should do with the Jews of Hungary, given that he could not kill them, the answer from Hitler and Ribbentrop was that there was no need for killing, since the Jews could be put in concentration camps, as had been done in Slovakia. On day two, Horthy repeated his question, and was given the same answer; Ribbentrop again stated that the Jews should be put in concentration camps, reinforcing his demand by saying that otherwise the Jews would have to be killed. There was no statement that killing was the preferred solution.

So in fact, there was no retreat from Hitler's statement of day one that the answer to the question what to do with Hungary's Jews was to put them in concentration camps. On day two, the answer was still the same.

Irving was very sloppy in his handling of the Klessheim conference, and he did not treat it with the level of clarity that should be expected. It is for that reason that I felt that this was Irving's worst lapse from the best standards of scholarship. Nevertheless, he did not conceal Hitler's most "murderous" words in any way. And he did not conceal that those words by Hitler signalled an abandonment of the proposed solution of putting the Hungarian Jews in concentration camps
, since the record shows that that solution had not been definitvely abandoned. Therefore, I do not think that this lapse by Irving had the cosmic significance that Evans attributes to it.

Nor do I think that Irving's references to the Warsaw Ghetto uprising had quite the significance that Evans attributed to them. If one reads the account in the 1977 edition carefully, it is apparent that Irving is enumerating the reasons why Hitler would have wanted Horthy to crack down on the Hungarian Jews and remove their freedom of movement. One of those reasons was a fear of uprisings by Jews; the first armed resistance by the Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto (there were 50,000 "legal" Jews employed in the factories, mostly young and capable of bearing arms; there was also an unknown number of "illegals").

The main criticism of Irving's text at this point is that is does not make it sufficiently clear that the issues listed by him were not matters specifically discussed at the Klessheim conference, but rather underlying factors that induced Hitler to bring pressure on Horthy to imprison the Jews of Hungary. And those factors were real ones.

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Post by michael mills » 16 Mar 2003 13:18

Further to my previous message, here is the context of Irving's reference to the Warsaw Ghetto in his 1977 edition of "Hitler's War", as previously posted on this thread:
Events in Poland were pointed to as providing an ugly precedent;there were reports of Jews roaming the country,comitting acts of murder and sabotage.The eviction of the Jews ordered by Hitler had recently been intensified by Himmler's order that even those Jews left working for armaments concerns in the Generalgouvernement were to be housed collectively in camps and eventually to be 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 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."This is just the kind of incident that shows how dangerous these Jews are.'
Careful reading shows that the sentences after the first are Irving giving background information on German policy toward the Jews of Poland in 1943, which was the context for Hitler's demands on Horthy at Klessheim; they are not meant to represent what was actually said there.

I think this is an example of sloppy writing by Irving rather than fabrication.

The second sentence refers to Himmler's "recent" (in relation to the Klessheim conference in April 1943) order that Jews working in armaments industries (eg in the Warsaw Ghetto) should be moved to concentration camps. That order was issued by Himmler in January 1943; the idea was that the armaments industries should also be relocated into the camps, where the Jews would continue working in them, only under closer guard. Himmler felt that the Jews in the armaments plants were a security risk, and also that the owners of the plants, eg Toebbens, were profiteering.

As a result of that order, German police entered the Warsaw Ghetto in January in order to close it down and remove the Jewish workers to the Lublin concentration-camp complex. However, there was armed resistance, and the German police were forced out with some casualties. Thereupon, Himmler ordered an attack in force on the ghetto, for the purpose of capturing the Jewish workers and removing them, as Irving relates in the fourth sentence in the passage quoted above (" Himmler ordered the ghetto destroyed and its ruins combed out for Jews"). The attack ordered by Himmler was not carried out immediately, but was delayed for a number of months until April; when it was launched, it encountered the mass armed resistance that has become known as the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.

The above passage ends with the sentence in quotation marks that so puzzled Evans. My educated guess is that it was said by Himmler, in the context of his order to attack and reduce the ghetto, and referred to the armed resistance encountered in January, when the German Police made their first attempt to round up the Jews. That is something that would need to be checked.

All in all, what Irving wrote was historically correct. It was however very sloppy writing, in that it mixed up statements about the background to Hitler's approach to Horthy with statments about what was said at the Klessheim Conference itself. But it is not fabrication.

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Post by walterkaschner » 17 Mar 2003 01:41

Michael Mills wrote:
Walter Kaschner has used the imagery of Irving torturing the evidence.

The vital issue is whether Irving tortured the evidence to the extent that he made it say the opposite of what it was really saying, to force it to make a "false confession", so to speak.

That would only be the case if the record of the meeting clearly showed that Hitler revealed a knowledge that the Jews of Europe were being systematically exterminated, and revealed to Horthy that he wanted the Jews of Hungary to be exterminated also, and if Irving distorted the record to the extent that Hitler's knowledge and exterminatory desire were concealed.


I don't read Evans as going as far in his indictment of Irving's description of Hitler's conference with Horthy at Klessheim as Mr. Mills suggests. Nor do I believe that the bounds of evidence torturing by a "historian" are reached only when, as Mr. Mills would have it, the historian makes the evidence "say the opposite of what it was really saying." Torturing of evidence can be, and in Irving's case often is, much more subtle than that.

Clearly Irving could not have hoped to maintain any reputation at all as a credible historian had he tried to twist the evidence of the Klessheim conference into demonstating what he elsewhere claimed - i.e. that Hitler was the Jews best friend in Europe! But he could and did, in a way that he and his apologists could later claim was no more than "sloppy writing", put a slant on the evidence designed to paliate the full horror of Hitler's and Ribbentrop's state of mind.

Hitler did not end the conference by saying that there was no need to kill the Jews. He ended it by saying that Horthy should emulate what had been done in Poland. [And even here Irving inserted a lengthy recitation which he implied was by Hitler but which did not and could not have taken place, attempting to justify the Germans outrageous treatment of the Polish Jews.] As Hitler held out to Horthy at the end of the meeting, the Polish Jews who would not work were shot; those who could not work starved. They should be dealt with like tuberculosis bacilli - [and how is that except by elimination?]. Even innocent creatures like hares and deer had to be killed [not "culled", as Mr. Mills would have it, which is done to protect their own species, but "killed", presumably to protect the farmers from devastation to their crops.] "Why should one spare the beasts who wanted to bring us Bolshevism?" THOSE were Hitler's last words to Horthy on the subject!

Michael Mills also wrote:
Evans' basic charge is that Irving, by not distinguishing between what was said on day one and what was said on day two, conceals the increasing murderousness and radicalism of Hitler's demands, changing from incarceration in concentration camps on day one to killing on day two. That is the main wrongdoing he ascribes to Irving in relation to the latter's presentation of the Klessheim conference.

However, it is questionable whether there really was such a quantum leap between Hitler's demands on day one and what he demanded on day two. On day one, in response to Horthy's question about what he should do with the Jews of Hungary, given that he could not kill them, the answer from Hitler and Ribbentrop was that there was no need for killing, since the Jews could be put in concentration camps, as had been done in Slovakia. On day two, Horthy repeated his question, and was given the same answer; Ribbentrop again stated that the Jews should be put in concentration camps, reinforcing his demand by saying that otherwise the Jews would have to be killed. There was no statement that killing was the preferred solution.
Well, this is a good example of the kind of subtle torturing of evidence that I have in mind. [Put aside the fact that even Irving suggested at one point that Ribbentrop was not was not present on the occasion of the first meeting on April 16, citing both Schmidt and Horthy to the effect that that meeting was private and "unter vier Augen".] Schmidt's notes indicate that in response to Horthy's question on the 17th as to what he should do with the Jews, "he could not kill them off", Ribbentrop replied that he either had to kill them or put them in concentration camps - there was no other way. The inference I derive from that is just the opposite of Mr. Mills' - if you you are not willing to kill them off [first choice] then you have to put them in concentration camps [second choice]. But I admit to certain ambiguity in the statement.

Mr. Mills also wrote:
Irving was very sloppy in his handling of the Klessheim conference, and he did not treat it with the level of clarity that should be expected. It is for that reason that I felt that this was Irving's worst lapse from the best standards of scholarship.
Evans maintains that Irving's treatment of the Klessheim conference was only one link of many in a chain of obvious slanting and torturing of evidence designed to support Irving's thesis that Hitler was really not as bad as he has been held out to be. I personally believe it was not, by far, the most egregious and may, if i can find the time, start a new thread dealing with Irving's treatment of Kristalnacht, which, if not [apart from Dresden] the worst example of Irving's cavalier treatment of evidence, must surely be one of the top contenders for that crown.

Regards, Kaschner

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Post by David Thompson » 17 Mar 2003 02:19

I agree with walterkaschner. Horthy didn't have any problem understanding what Hitler and Ribbentrop were talking about:

"We parted with no trace of friendliness. Subsequently no joint communiqué was issued. The versions that were published in Berlin and in Budapest were utterly at variance. As to Hitler's real thoughts, we must again turn to Goebbels as the most reliable witness, for, after a statement concerning my "humanitarian attitude" in the matter of the Jewish question, he wrote in his diary, "From all this, the Fuehrer deduced that all the rubbish of small nations still existing in Europe must be liquidated as fast as possible." And that was to be done by the Germans, who could consider themselves fortunate that "in the future organization of Europe" they would have to fear "no serious competitors" in the Italians. No one was ever so explicit to my face, nor to any other Hungarian. Nor was it necessary, what Hitler meant was clear enough."

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Post by Scott Smith » 17 Mar 2003 03:41

Treating them like vermin is not the same as planning and trying to kill them all. Another smoking-gun is less than convincing.
:)

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Post by David Thompson » 17 Mar 2003 04:05

Scott - You may have already thought about this aspect of it, but imagine the President of Mexico or Canada asking for a summit conference (and the US President has to go to the other country for the meeting), in which the US President gets told that his policy on Jewish-Americans is too lenient, and he should kill them or round them up and put them in a camp. Doesn't that kind of approach sound . . . well, a little presumptuous? Who is Hitler to tell the ruler of some other country how to treat their Jewish citizens?

Irving tries to minimize it as a "little friendly advice" from Adolf, but how credible is that? Horthy was clearly exasperated, so he asked "What do you want me to do -- beat them to death?" It's not hard to connect the dots here. Horthy knew it, Schmidt knew it, and Ribbentrop knew it too.

Irving got this one wrong, and it looks deliberate to me, given the evidence available to him. At least he cleaned his narrative up the second time around. If you don't see this as a smoking gun, that's fine, but I think most folks would disagree with you.

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Post by Scott Smith » 17 Mar 2003 04:13

Doesn't George Bush pull the same crap when he says "you're either with us or you're against us." But I guess there is a difference between Freedom Fries and dealing with Terrorists. Why did we invade Afghanistan, again? Our anti-Soviet friends, the Taliban were too lenient with bin Laden or something.

All Irving did was deflate another smoking-gun. I agree that he overstated his case, but Evans is out of line as well. Peer Review and character-assassination are two different things. And Evans has a reputation for being an insufferable pedantic.
:)

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