David Irving and the Klessheim Conference

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Post by David Thompson » 17 Mar 2003 04:21

Scott -- The fact that Irving was less than candid on the 1943 Klessheim conference with Horthy doesn't result in an endorsement of the subsequent acts of others -- our President, or Prof. Evans. Those are separate, different issues. If you think they could use more debate, I agree -- but not in a WWII forum.

Post-Script (after reading Scott's post below). Our policy towards Iraq is off-topic, but Prof. Evans is not. One who criticizes others must expect the same, so Prof. Evans' career is also fair game on this forum.
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Post by Scott Smith » 17 Mar 2003 04:31

Fine, but even Hitler's words cannot be properly assessed in a vacuum. Relying upon Evans' opinion is just as foolhardy as relying upon Irving's or anyone's.
:)

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Post by michael mills » 17 Mar 2003 04:49

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

I think great care needs to be exercised in using Horthy's post-war memoirs as a source. Remember that his main concern was to exonerate himself. Accordingly, he tried to present himself as the humanitarian friend of the Hungarian Jews, protecting them from Hitler.

However, you will notice that Horthy is rather coy in his own description of what was said at the Klessheim Conference. He does not come out and say that Hitler asked him to kill thne Hungarian Jews, and that he, Horthy refused; he instead makes vague references to "Hitler's real thoughts", and has recourse to a quotation from Goebbels that may or may not be relevant.

In fact, Horthy's own description of the Klessheim meeting suggests that Hitler did not openly and explicitly call for the killing of Hungary's Jews.

By the way, Horthy refers to separate German and Hungarian published versions of the meeting that were totally at variance. It would be interesting to get hold of the texts of those published version, to see what they say and how they differ. I think it would be a fair bet that the German published version did not fully mirror Schmidt's notes.

However, it is not correct to see Horthy's Hungary as the protector of Hungary's Jews, valiantly standing up to Hitler's bullying.

In August 1941, the Hungarian Army arrested some Jews in the areas annexed from Czechoslovakia, on the grounds that their Hungarian citizenship was not valid, and deported them to Kamenets-Podolsk, a town in Ukraine where the Hungarian Army was stationed. The German authorities asked the Hungarian Government to take the Jews back to Hungary, but was met with an adamant refusal. At the end of August, the German authorities, seeing no other solution, had the Jews killed en masse by the troops of the HSSPF Russland-Sued, Fritz Jeckeln.

On two later occasions, the Hungarian Government asked the German Government for permission to deport all Jews from the areas annexed by Hungary (and therefore not regarded as true "Magyar Jews") into German-occupied Poland. On both occasions, the German Government refused, on the gorunds that it did not what to add to the "Jewish problem" it already had in those areas. Hungary should solve its own Jewish problem.

Thus it is wrong to see Hungary as standing up to German pressure to destroy its Jews. In fact, Hungary was trying to exploit German anti-Jewish measures in Poland and the Soviet Union as a way of getting rid of the Jews it did not want, ie those in the annexed areas.

The Klessheim Conference of April 1943 was the first occasion on which Hitler asked Hungary to start restricting the freedom of its Jews by putting them in camps. On this occasion Horthy did resist, and did not, as in 1942, seize the chance to get rid of Hungary's Jews.

The reason for that resistance is that by 1943 the strategic situation was quite different; it now seemed inevitable that Germany would lose. Therefore, Horthy was trying to extract Hungary from its alliance with Germany (as Hitler well knew), and was also trying to present himself as a friend of the Jews, in contrast to Hungary's attitude in 1942.

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Post by David Thompson » 17 Mar 2003 06:24

Michael -- There is much to agree with in your post. I'm sure Miklos Horthy was not enthusiastic about the prosect that the allies might extradite him to Yugoslavia (which had requested his extradition on war crimes charges). In his treatment of the Jews, Horthy does not compare well with, say, the Finnish chief of state Rangel or the Czar of Bulgaria.

Consequently, when it comes to relying exclusively on Horthy's memoirs, I'm dubious as well. He is just one of several sources on the 1943 Klessheim conference, however, which largely corroborate each other. (Like you, I would enjoy seeing the separate German and Hungarian versions of the Hitler-Horthy chat).

Fortunately for Horthy, the Arrow Cross party which took over from him after the 1944 Klessheim conference was so servile to German demands for anti-Jewish measures that they made him look better, if only by comparison. (Like the Roman emperor Tiberius, who would have appeared much more monstrous if his successor hadn't been Caligula).

The main points I wanted to make were:

(1) Irving did put a dishonest "spin" on the 1943 Klessheim conference in his 1977 book "Hitler's War." In my opinion, Irving certainly should have known and probably did know that this was a dishonest treatment of the event; and

(2) as far as the 1943 Klessheim conference itself is concerned, it's pretty arrogant for a foreign power to pressure a ruler about how to deal with his own people, particularly when the foreign power is demanding severely oppressive measures, rather than calling for clemency or lenient treatment.

No matter how much honey there is to hide the bitter pill, that kind of behavior is not auspicious in an alliance of supposedly equal sovereign states. I don't know how much choice Horthy had by way of resisting the Nazi pressure, since even a philo-semite like Mussolini was having problems ignoring the deportation demands of the Reich. It goes to show just how far downhill things had gone by 1943 within the axis alliance.

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Post by michael mills » 17 Mar 2003 12:54

David Thompson wrote:
(1) Irving did put a dishonest "spin" on the 1943 Klessheim conference in his 1977 book "Hitler's War." In my opinion, Irving certainly should have known and probably did know that this was a dishonest treatment of the event;
David,

Where do you think the essence of the dishonesty lay? Do you, like Evans, think that it lay in the sequence of Irving's narrative, with Horthy's question, about what to do with the Jews, and Hitler's answer, that they should be put in camps, being placed AFTER Hitler's outburst about the treatment of the Jews in Poland, rather than before it, in order to correspond with the actual sequence of discussions?

I would agree that that was not best practice on Irving's part, and would be worthy of severe criticism in an academic historian, although less so in the case of a popular historian, which is what Irving really is.

However, I do not think that the sequence of Irving's narrative distorted the outcome of the meeting. The final outcome of the meeting in relation to the Jews of Hungary was that the German Government's bottom line was stated forcefully on the second day by Ribbentrop; if Horthy did not want to kill the Jews (as he said he did not), he should put them in concentration camps, there was no other alternative.

That bottom line did not differ in substance from what Hitler had said on the first day of the meeting, in reply to Horthy's protest that he could not kill the Jews; there was no need for killing, the Jews could be put into concentration camps, as in Slovakia.

The following outburst by Hitler served to reinforce Ribbentrop's words. Although Hitler stated that Polish Jews who could work but refused were shot, he did not ask Horthy to do the same in Hungary. The meeting ended with the German demand that the Jews of Hungary be put into concentration camps.

The only spin that I can see Irving put on the meeting was his presentation of what he considered to be the motivation for Hitler's demand for the imprisonment of the Hungarian Jews, in such a way that those demands appeared justified. If Irving thought that the German demands for the concentration of Hungary's Jews were reasonable in the circumstances, then I think he had the right to say so and give his reasons. It is for us as readers to decide whether such an opinion is justified by the evidence.

By the way, I too do not think that Germany had the moral right to impose its will on Hungary. However, powerful countries always have imposed their will on weaker ones, and do so even in our own day.

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Post by David Thompson » 17 Mar 2003 17:59

Michael -- You asked, in reference to Irving's passage on the 1943 Klessheim conference: "Where do you think the essence of the dishonesty lay?"
Here's what I think, starting with the passage and then the analysis:
Here's Irving's account of the Klessheim meeting, from page 509, 1977 Edition of Hitler's War:
"Hitler gave the Hungarian regent, Horthy, a far rougher ride a few days later when the admiral flatly denied that the Forschungsamt records could be true; he supported Prime Minister Kallay to the hilt and thrice denied that Hungary was in contact with the enemy. Hitler with good reason trusted neither Horthy nor Kallay. "We are all in the same boat," he said. "If anybody goes overboard now, he drowns."

Nor was the language Hitler and Ribbentrop used to prod the Hungarian regent into taking a sterner line over his Jewish citizens very delicate. The Nazis found it intolerable that eight hundred thousand Jews should still be moving freely around a country in the heart of Europe -- particularly just north of the sensitive Balkans. For many months Germany had applied pressure for the Hungarian Jews to be turned over to the appropriate German agencies for deportation to "reservations in the east." It was agreed that so long as they remained, they were potential rumormongers, purveyors of defeatism, saboteurs, agents of the enemy secret service, and contact men for an "international Jewry' now embattled against Germany.

Events in Poland were pointed to as providing an ugly precedent; there were reports of Jews roaming the country, committing acts of murder and sabotage. The eviction of the Jews ordered by Hitler had recently been intensified 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.'

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 favorite 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. "But just as in Slovakia, they ought to be isolated in remote camps where they could no longer infect the healthy body of the public; or they could be put to work in the mines, for example. He himself did not mind being temporarily excoriated for his Jewish policies, if they brought tranquility. Horthy left unconvinced."

Here are the problems I have with this passage:

(1) Irving's account understates the pressure exerted by Hitler and von Ribbentrop, by suggesting that they are just giving Horthy a little friendly advice and not an ultimatum. This misstates the tone of the meeting, of which von Ribbentrop said:

"At the time when Horthy visited the Fuehrer the Fuehrer emphasized the question to him in a very irritable manner, and I remember perfectly that subsequent to this discussion I talked the matter over with "Minister" Schmidt, saying that I, strictly speaking, had not quite understood the Fuehrer." (IMT Proceedings, vol. 10, p. 408).

and

"I consider it possible that such may have been the case, for we had, at that time, received an order that a concentration camp was to be installed near Budapest or else that the Jews should be centralized there, and the Fuehrer had instructed me a long time before to discuss with the Hungarians a possible solution of the Jewish question." (IMT Proceedings, vol. 10, p. 410).

and

"The way I should like to put it, Mr. President, is that when reading the document, it would appear from this document that I considered it possible or desirable to beat the Jews to death. That is perfectly untrue but what I did say here and what I emphasized later on could be understood to mean only that I wished something to be done in Hungary to solve the Jewish problem, so that other departments should not interfere in the matter. For the Fuehrer often spoke to me about it, very seriously indeed, saying that the Jewish problem in Hungary must be solved now ...." (IMT Proceedings, vol. 10, p. 410).

and

"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." (IMT Proceedings, vol. 10, p. 411).

(2) Irving's phrasing of the passage ("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.") suggests that there was a rational, security-related reason for rounding up Jews in Nazi-occupied Europe.

I have read and re-read the testimony of Schmidt and von Ribbentrop, Horthy's memoirs, and Schmidt's notes on the conference from "Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression" vol. 7, pp. 190-191, and could find no passage about "reports of Jews roaming the country, committing acts of murder and sabotage." The only passage I found on the security issue involved France, not Poland, and was directed to Mussolini, not Horthy:

"I can no longer say for certain, Mr. President; what I did say at the time, I know only, and gather, from this document, from these words, that the Jews were spreading news from British and American sources. I can remember that at that time a large espionage and sabotage organization was in existence, and that this organization was causing a great deal of trouble in France, and that the Fuehrer ordered me to discuss the matter with Mussolini since the Italians were opposing certain measures we had introduced in France." (IMT Proceedings, vol. 10, p. 407).

(3) There are quotations within the passage that I haven't seen in the primary sources, and Irving doesn't reference them, namely:

(a) "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.'"

(b) "Hitler reassured him: "There is no need for that. "But just as in Slovakia, they ought to be isolated in remote camps where they could no longer infect the healthy body of the public; or they could be put to work in the mines, for example. He himself did not mind being temporarily excoriated for his Jewish policies, if they brought tranquility."

(4) While the events described in (a), above, superficially suggest a rational reason for the Nazi demands, those events happened after the 1943 Klessheim conference, not before it. The use of the example is clearly anachronistic. Also, what is Irving talking about when he refers to: "weapons and ammunition evidently sold to them [the Jews of Warsaw] by Hitler's fleeing allies as they passed westward through the city." The time frame is April 1943, not the summer of 1944.

(5) Irving's segment quoted under (b), above, suggests that the Hungarian Jews were to be placed "in remote camps" in Hungary, while von Ribbentrop's testimony constantly refers to a centralized camp just outside of or in Budapest. Here's on of many passages on this point in von Ribbentrop's testimony:

"I had to confer several times with the Hungarian Government so as to persuade them to do something about the Jewish problem. The Fuehrer was extremely insistent on this point. I therefore discussed the question repeatedly with the Hungarian Ambassador and the question was primarily to centralize the Jews somehow or other in some part of Budapest, I think it was slightly outside Budapest or in -- as a matter of fact, I do not know Budapest very well -- in any case, it was somewhere in Budapest itself." (IMT Proceedings, vol. 10, p. 408).

(6) The passage mentions, but de-emphasizes the goal for the German demand, namely, to transport the Hungarian Jews for "resettlement" to the east.

(7) The placement of the quotations from Hitler and Horthy are out of chronological order. The correct order would be Horthy saying "What am I supposed to do, beat them to death?" von Ribbentrop saying "Yes, Beat them to death or put them in concentration camps. There is no other solution," followed by Hitler's "tuberculosis bacilli" diatribe, concluding with "Why preserve a bestial species whose ambition was to inflict bolshevism on us all?"

In other words, Horthy is saying, "What do you want me to do -- kill them?" and von Ribbentrop replies "That's just about the size of it," and Hitler adds a "here's why they should be killed"

In Irving's passage, the order of Horthy and Hitler's remarks are reversed, and von Ribbentrop's remark is relegated to a footnote. Thus, Irving's passage reads: "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 favorite 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. "But just as in Slovakia, they ought to be isolated in remote camps where they could no longer infect the healthy body of the public; or they could be put to work in the mines, for example. He himself did not mind being temporarily excoriated for his Jewish policies, if they brought tranquility."

Irving's order of presentation of these statements suggests that Hitler made his most extreme statement first, and when questioned by Horthy, backed off of the homicidal implications, ending the discussion on a conciliatory note. This placement, particularly when coupled with the omission of von Ribbentrop's "Yes, Beat them to death or put them in concentration camps. There is no other solution," gives the reader a distinctly false impression of the proceedings. It suggests that Hitler is far more reasonable than Horthy, von Ribbentrop and the conference minutes describe, and it also suggests that Hitler and von Ribbentrop were merely giving advice, not making a demand. Even von Ribbentrop said that Hitler's remarks shocked him: "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." (IMT Proceedings, vol. 10, p. 411).

If Irving thought that Hitler's demand to Horthy on Jews was reasonable, he can certainly say so, but his passage on the subject has been heavily rouged, by inserting an anachronistic reference to the Warsaw ghetto uprising, and through the use of quotations which don't appear in the record I have of the conference. There's nothing wrong with arguing the facts, but there is something wrong when an historian tampers with them or tries to change them. I don't think that's what history should be about. I'd be more understanding if I thought it was an honest mistake, but I don't think it was.

To summarize, I think Irving's version of the Klessheim conference of 1943 leaves the reader with a false impression. Irving achieved this effect by introducing an event (the Warsaw uprising) which hadn't happened yet into the conversation, by changing the chronological order of the statements of the participants, and by putting part of the conversation into a footnote to de-emphasize its significance. I think he did it deliberately, and I think Irving was aware that it would give the reader a false impression. I'll reserve judgment on the other quotations used by Irving, which I was unable to verify.

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Post by walterkaschner » 17 Mar 2003 18:13

Michael Mills wrote
I think great care needs to be exercised in using Horthy's post-war memoirs as a source. Remember that his main concern was to exonerate himself. Accordingly, he tried to present himself as the humanitarian friend of the Hungarian Jews, protecting them from Hitler.
I quite agree with Mr. Mills that care must be taken in using Horthy's memoirs as a source. In addition to an understandable desire to exculpate himself from a charge of anti-semitism, Horthy must have been in his mid 80s when he wrote his memoirs and as an exile (in Portugal?) he was probably lacking much of the documentary resources which could butress his memory. And as Mr. Mills also points out, Horthy's record in the treatment of non-Hungarian Jews was miserable, and even as to Hungarian Jews, as Horthy argued to Hitler, he had already taken away their economic livelihood.

But on the other hand, Horthy's account of the April 17 Klessheim meeting comports in large part with Schmidt's notes. Horthy does have Hitler rather than von Ribbentrop stating that the Jews must either be shot or placed in concentration camps, but Hitler's outburst at the end of the meeting is, most charitably viewed, to the same effect. Moreover, in his first footnote to page 580 of the 2001 edition of Hitler's War, Irving cites a sentence which Horthy included in a May 7, 1943 draft letter to Hitler but which was deleted from the final version: "Your Excellency further reproached me that my government does not proceed with stamping out Jewry with the same radicalism as is practiced in Germany." Although Irving here seems to be suggesting that the bluntness of Hitler's position as portrayed in Horthy's memoirs is questionable, the sentence seems to me to confirm the general accuracy of Horthy's portrayal.

It would indeed be of some interest to compare the text of the two German versus Hungarian published versions of the meeting. But I would bet, along with Mr. Mills, that Paul Schmidt's notes were not mirrored in the German (nor indeed in the Hungarian) published version. Published official statements of diplomatic meetings - at least the ones I've read - usually deal in the mildest of euphemisms, and characterize even the most acrimoneous meetings as "a candid exchange of views over a wide range of topics."

Regards, Kaschner

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Post by walterkaschner » 17 Mar 2003 22:17

David Thompson, thank you for your above post of 5:59 PM. It is to my mind logical, lucid and utterly compelling. I envy you your art of mustering your points in such a clear, compact and convincing manner.

I quite agree that Irving tortured the evidence intentionally; were this an isolated occurence I might accept Michael Mills' "sloppy writing" hypothesis, but it is one of many, all of the same tendency, i.e. to place Hitler in a more favorable light than a fair presentation of the evidence could possibly justify. Evans convincingly (at least to me) demonstrates that Irving's treatment of the Klessheim conference is only one link in a long chain of similar instances, all conceived for the same purpose.

Of course Evans may be legitimately subject to criticism himself, and this thread, or perhaps a new one, would be an appropriate vehicle for it. I am somewhat bemused by the fact that Evans is made a target by those who haven't even read his book; it's a briefer edition of his Report in the Irving v. Lipstadt trial and quite readable. If he, too, is guilty of torturing evidence I would like to know of it, as it is not evident on the face of his text - but then it usually isn't either in the case of David Irving. It may indeed be true, as Scott Smith would have it, that Evans has the reputation of being an insufferable pedant, but Scott offers no support for the accusation, and the fact is that I really can't hold that as such a grave fault for a historian. I myself, although by no means an historian, must confess to having been guilty of insufferable pedantry on more than one occasion. I'm one of those who believe the Devil is in the details.

Thanks again for your excellent post. Regards, Kaschner

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Post by David Thompson » 18 Mar 2003 00:26

Thanks, Walter!

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Post by Scott Smith » 18 Mar 2003 00:35

Walter wrote:Of course Evans may be legitimately subject to criticism himself, and this thread, or perhaps a new one, would be an appropriate vehicle for it. I am somewhat bemused by the fact that Evans is made a target by those who haven't even read his book;
Well, I did read his other book several years ago, In Defense of History. I think it is fair for me to say that Evans regards himself as as another one of those Guardians of Truth and History.
Walter wrote:...It may indeed be true, as Scott Smith would have it, that Evans has the reputation of being an insufferable pedant, but Scott offers no support for the accusation, and the fact is that I really can't hold that as such a grave fault for a historian.
And I did post part of the Dr. Diane Purkiss' rebuttal to the way that Evans' dealt with her work. She cannot be said to be a fellow-traveller with the likes of Irving.

I think more could be found but it seems to me that Evans merely went to work with his hatchet because Irving's popular writing has given him too favorable a reputation among academics, which may not set well with Ox-Bridge purists.

I haven't seen anything yet that is more than a tempest in a teapot regarding Irving's writing. But I will admit that I could be wrong. I don't have all the answers.
:)

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Post by michael mills » 18 Mar 2003 04:08

David,

Thank you for your detailed reply to my question.

Like Walter Kaschner, I found it logical and lucid, but not quite as compelling. The why I was not compelled is that I think some of your interpretations of the documented record go too far in one direction, and exclude other interpretations.

I would now like to comment on the various points you made, and show where I think some of them are open to criticism.

You wrote:
(1) Irving's account understates the pressure exerted by Hitler and von Ribbentrop, by suggesting that they are just giving Horthy a little friendly advice and not an ultimatum. This misstates the tone of the meeting, of which von Ribbentrop said:
You may have a valid point here. I would agree that Hitler and Ribbentrop were definitely trying to strong-arm Horthy at the Klessheim meeting. Their main concern was not the Jewish issue, however, but the well-founded suspicion that Hungary was attempting to desert Germany and make a separate peace.

In relation to that main issue, Irving used the words "Hitler gave the Hungarian regent, Horthy, a far rougher ride a few days later...". Perhaps that was too jocular expression to use in relation to what was, as you say, an ultimatum.

In relation to the Jewish issue, Irving used the words "Nor was the language Hitler and Ribbentrop used to prod the Hungarian regent into taking a sterner line over his Jewish citizens very delicate". Again, perhaps "[not] very delicate" was not strong enough to describe the tough-talking Hitler and Ribbentrop engaged in.

So, perhaps you are right. But I think that if Irving did not fully convey the pressure applied on Horthy, that is a minor point and not a dishonest distortion of what happened.

You wrote:
(2) Irving's phrasing of the passage ("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.") suggests that there was a rational, security-related reason for rounding up Jews in Nazi-occupied Europe.
Why is it dishonest to make that suggestion? Perhaps it is true that there was a rational, security-related reason for rounding up Jews in Nazi-occupied Europe. Or perhaps Irving honestly believes that such reasons existed.

At the very least, it is reasonable to suggest that Hitler and Ribbentrop themselves genuinely believed that such a reason existed. Careful reading of Irving's narrative shows that he was presenting at this point his interpretation of what was in the minds of Hitler and Ribbentrop, what was motivating them to give Horthy an ultimatum to intern the Jews of Hungary in concentration camps. This would only be dishonest if Irving knew that Hitler and Ribbentrop did not have such a security-related motivation in their minds, that their motivation was entirely different, and if Irving concealed that true motivation. But there is nothing to suggest that Irving acted dishonestly in that way.

[More to follow].

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GOEBBELS DIARIES: Response to Roberto

Post by VVVVV93 » 18 Mar 2003 04:27

Hi, Roberto and all ... have been busy recovering from dental work, but have since read Goebbels' 1942-1943 diaries in that time, and will now respond to Roberto's last comment to my post.

1. Hans Franks' alleged speeches: I am not familiar with these, other than the famous "We can't shoot or poison" the 3.5 million or so 'Jews' in Poland part. I don't have any source material on Frank other than spurious or unproven quotations. There exists, however, 60 VOLUMES OF HANS FRANK DIARIES that the IMT got to see but I have never come across ... I assume many answers are in there. Maybe you've seen some of these, I'm not so fortunate. I'm not discrediting the quotes attributed to Frank, simply saying that I am weary of them.

2. The Nuremberg Trials were a Stalinist show trial (though, oddly, "Uncle Joe" and Churchill just wanted to murder the accused, FDR is the one who demanded a Show Trial); they used torture, forgery, and every form of deceit and psychological warfare in the book on the accused, and as such, must be taken with as much salt as, say, Stalin's famous Show Trials. Diaries and original documents are a necessity to flesh out such sordid affairs as any testimony given at Nuremberg.

3. The Korherr report, from the translation you give, could mean all sorts of things, certainly it could be used against as well as for the 'Exterminationists' Thesis. It is a piece of evidence, and is duly noted. (I definitely appreciate your translations, Roberto, and will be asking for some help in this area later in this comment:-)

4. The Gerlach material is new to me. I will have to get his work from the library and make a further study of his thesis.

5. Now to the meat: The Goebbels Diaries. In these 1942-1943 Diaries are an assortment of astounding statements, some that would appear to vindicate the standard Holocaust arguments, others that seem to negate it. This may be due to erroneous translation, inconsistency in frankness by Goebbels, my own lack of understanding of Goebbels use of euphemism or poor humour, changes in Nazi policy (i.e. , with Hitler's approval), or changes in Goebbels' own (not necessarily Hitler's) policy wishes.

Sadly, I am missing Goebbels diary entries from July to December of 1941. So I will pick up with 1942, since you and Gerlach claim 12 December was the date that Hitler ordered the Holocaust.

(SOURCE: The Goebbels Diaries: 1942-1943; Louis Lochner Editor & Translator, 1948 edition)

{Note: Goebbels wrote his entries the day after, according to Lochner, so subtract a day from the enrty to see of which day's events he is referring to is a general rule; but not always, for which see below]:

1. [pg. 113] [March 6, 1942]

"Jews always remain the same. You must either stigmatize them with a yellow star, or put them in concentration camps, or shoot them, or else let them saturate all public life with corruption, especially during a war. There is no halfway measure."

[Obviously, there is by now no "Kill them all" attitude evinced by Goebbels; it si rather "Kill those that refuse a yellwo star or being put in a concentration camp", especially during a war. Later that day Goebbels writes, pg. 114:]

"An SD report informed me about the situation in occupied Russia. It is, after all, more unstable than was generally assumed. The Partisan danger is increasing week by week. The Partisans are in command of large areas in occupied Russia and are conducting a regime of terror there. The national movements, too, have become more insolent than was at first imagined. That applies as well to the Baltic States as to the Ukraine. Everywhere the Jews are busy inciting and stirring up trouble. It is therefore understandable that many of them must pay with their lives for this. Anyway, I am of the opinion that the greater the number of Jews liquidated, the more consolidated will the situation in Europe be after this war. One must have no sentimentality about it. The Jews are Europe's misfortune. They must somehow be eliminated, otherwise we are in danger of being eliminated by them."

[Again, it is blatant that "many" but by no means all must be killed here; but Dr. Goebbels gives his own opinion that *he* prefferred *more* were killed. Remember, Goebbels would later (unsuccessfully) try to get Hitler to abandon the Geneva convention. He was clearly a radical and his methodology is as Bolshevik as one can get.]

[The next sentence mentions:]

"The food situation in the occupied eastern areas is exceptionally precarious. Thousands and tens of thousands of people are dying of hunger without anybody even raising a finger. We shall undoubtedly face exceptional difficulties and problems there for a number of years to come. ..."
[pg. 115]

[I cite this last one as context for the issue of starvation of Jews unable to work in Poland, indirectly important to our research here]

2. [pgs.115-116]: [March 7, 1942]

"I read a detailed report from the SD and police regarding a final solution of the Jewish question."

[i.e. , he has only now gotten wind of the "Wannsee Conference" report - over a month later!]

"Any final solution involves a tremendous number of new viewpoints. The Jewish question must be solved within a pan-European frame. There are 11,000,000 Jews still in Europe. They will have to be concentrated later, to begin with , in the East; possibly an island, such as Madagascar , can be assigned to them after the war. In any case there can be no peace in Europe until the last Jews are eliminated from the continent."

[Emphasis added by me. Far from "elimination" meaning extermination here, they are to be "eliminated" from Europe by being given a Jewish State in Madagascar, which is consistent with Hitler's own declarations, such as "Table Talk". This is FAR, FAR from the bogus "Wannsee Conference" that is peddled nowadays; and I have seen the "minutes" of that conference Roberto (there are more than one version) ... in light of such evidence as this diary entry I offer severe doubts that the "Wannsee" minutes so famous have not been tampered with here and there. I cannot prove that, but we are lookign at diaries for context and intellectually complete and honest assessment of all evidence. for instance, what is the German word that Lochner translates as "eliminated" here?]

"That, of course, raises a large number of exceedingly delicate questions. what is to be doen with the half-Jews? What with those related to Jews? In-laws of Jews? Persons married to Jews? Evidently we still have quite a lot to doand undoubtedly a multitude of personal tragedies will ensue within the framework of the solution of this problem. But that is unavoidable. The situation is now ripe for a final settlement of the Jewish question."

[What is the German word that Lochner translates as "settlement"? Why not "solution" again? Does "settlement" imply "to settle", i.e. in Madagascar, or is it just a subtlety of translation? I don't know, I onyl have the English version, and mein Deutsch ist sehr schlect! Anyway, the above paragraph continues:]

"Later generations will no longer have the will power or the instinctive alertness. That's why we are doing a good work in proceeding radically and consistently. The task we are assuming today will be an advantage and a boon to our descendants."

3. [pg. 126] [March 16, 1942]

"I read a report of the SD about the situation in the occupied East. The activity of Partisans has increased noticeably during recent weeks. they are conducting a well-organized guerrilla war. It is very difficult to get at them because they are using such terrorist methods in the areas occupied by us that the population is afraid of collaborating with us loyally any longer. The spearheads of this whole Partisan activity are the political commissars and especially the Jews. It has therefore proven necessary once again to shoot more Jews. There won't be any peace in these areas as long as any Jews are active there. Sentimentality is out of place here. Either we must renounce the lives of our own soldiers, or we must uncompromisingly prevent further propaganda by criminal and chaotic elements in the hinterland."

[Emphasis added by me. Shooting of Jews is a reactionary reponse to Partisan Warfare, not a planned policy. The modern Israeli Defence Forces operate via similar military reasoning.]

4. [pgs. 147-148] [March 27, 1942]

"Beginning with Lublin, the Jews in the General Government are now being evacuated eastward. The procedure is a pretty barbaric one and not to be described here more definitely. Not much will remain of the Jews. On the whole it can be said that about 60 percent of them will have to be liquidated whereas only 40 percent can be used for forced labor."

[The above, which you quoted, Roberto, is often misleadingly quoted out of context; i.e. , as applying to all Jews, but the context clearly shows that Goebbels is talkign about the Jews in the General Government, which, despite the food crisis already mentioned, conatined a Jewish population plagued by Typhus. Even still, the other 40 % are apparently not to be liquidated.]

"The former Gauleiter of Vienna, who is to carry this measure through, is doing it with considerable circumspection and according to a method that does not attract too much attention. A judgment is being visited upon the Jews that, while barbaric, is fully deserved by them. The prophecy which the Fuhrer made about them for having brought on a new world war is beginnign to come true in a most terrible manner. One must not be sentimental in these matters. If we did not fight the Jews, they would destroy us. It's a life-and-death struggle between the Aryan race and the Jewish bacillus. No other government and no other regime would have the strength for such a glbal solution of this question. Here, too, the Fuehrer is the undismayed champion of a radical solution necessitated by conditions and therefore inexorable. Fortunately a whole series of possibilities presents itself for us in wartime that would be denied us in peacetime. We shall have to profit by this. "

[Hitler had prophesied, on 30 January, 1939, the "annihilation of the Jewish race in Europe" if "international Jewish financiers" started another World War. So we find Hitler and Goebbels, over 2 years into the war, wanting to send the Jews to Madagascar after the war as a Jewish State. You will see that, later, Goebbels claims that 20,000,000 are supposed to be accommodated in the new Jewish State after the war ... hardly possible if the Nazis were trying to kill all 11,000 Jews under their rule.]

"The ghettos that will be emptied in the cities of the General Government will now be refilled with Jews thrown out of the Reich. This process is to be repeated from time to time. There is nothing funny in it for the Jews, and the fact that Jewry's representatives in England and America are today organizing and sponsoring the war against Germany must be paid for dearly by its representatives in Europe- and that's only right."

[Emphasis added by me. Recall, Goebbels has already said that the Jews are to be pushed further East, hence the emptying of the Ghettos. They are to be "left to their murderous fate" as is remarked elsewhere, but many millions are expected to survive and a Jewish State in Madagascar or somewhere - anywhere far from Europe - is to be found for them after the war. Nonetheless, both 'Exterminationists' and 'Revisionists' must deal with such entries as the above - in context of the entire Goebbels diaries.]

5. [pg. 177] [April 20, 1942]

"The most recent act of sabotage against ["in France" adds Lochner]
against a German military train which resulted in several deaths will be punished with severe reprisals. The number of people to be shot will be doubled, and over a thousand Communists and Jews will be put into freight cars and shipped East. There they will soon cease to see any fun in disturbing Germany's policies for order in Europe."

[Cited as an example of Nazi policy of killing Jews as reprisals against Terrorism. Curiously, Goebbels later says, in thsi entry, that the Fuehrer's birthday was celebrated in the lte afternoon ... which would mean that, unless they celebrated a day early, Goebbels wrote at least this entry on April 20 - i.e. , the same day that it is headed under in Lochner's version. I don't know of any other such instances, but this should make us be a little more careful in referncing the dates of Goebbels' entries.]

6. [pg. 178] [April 21, 1942]

"The military commander in Fance has adopted more stringent measures on account of the railway sabotage of the sixteenth instant. Thirty hostages (Jews and persons close to the perpetrators) are to be shot instead of the twenty originally intended. If the perpetrators are not caught within three days, an additional eighty are to be shot and a thousand Jews and Communists (instead of the five hundred originally intended) are to be deported eastward.

[Gives some context on Nazi policy on using Jews as hostages and Jews and Communists for forced labour as part of their anti-terrorism policies. Seems a bit redundant upon the previous day's entry. Nonetheless, the "severe" reprisals, while severe indeed, are perhaps much less than one may have been led to think, i.e. numbers shot, by the previous days' entry].

7. [pg. 179] [April 22, 1942]

During the night a new and fatal attempt was made on the life of a German soldier in Paris. The reprisals are very severe. Ten hostages are shot, five hundred Communists, DeGaullists and Jews are shipped to an eastern labor camp , the curfew hour is set much earlier, and theaters, places of amusement, and movie houses are closed altogether. I am insistent that at last we publish in advance the names of all hostages who are to be shot [Lochner, apparently, adds: "( die schussreif sind )" ]. By doing so we will at least ensure that the relatives and friends who usually stem from the same circles as the perpetrators get busy and try at least to find the perpetrator. The military commander in Paris is quite ready to adopt my suggestion. For the present, however, he has no hostages, and will first have to look around for some."

[Emphasis mine, save for the italicized 3 German words; the boldfaced sections will gain some context in a later citation].

8. [pg. 183] [April 24, 1942]

"I have received statistics about the number of Jews in the American radio, movies, and press. The percentage is truly terrifying. The Jews are 100 percent in control of the film, and 90 to 95 per cent of the press and radio.

That fact explains the confused spiritual conduct of the war by the enemy. The Jews aren't always so clever as they would like themselves to believe. Whenever they are in danger they prove to be the stupidest devils."

[This gives an idea of what Goebbels believed - he might have either gotten ahold of an intercept of a Joe Kennedy, Sr. , conversation, or may have had a similar source. Also, Theodore Kaufman's "Germany Must Perish!", a Jewish genocidist out to kill the Germans even more robustly than Morgenthau, Jr. and Stalin, which I believe appeared before the U.S.A. entered the War, was known by Goebbels and must be kept in mind to understand his fanatical, murderous approach to the Jews.]

9. [pgs. 184-185] [April 25, 1942]

"I had a long talk with Governor General Dr. Frank. He desribed conditions in the General Government. These are extremely complicated. Dr. Frank and his collaborators have succeeded absolutely in balancing the budget of the General Government. He is already squeezing all sorts of money out of there. The food situation, too, has been brought into equilibrium. ... Frank is convinced that much more could be got out of the General Government. Unfortunately we lack man power everywhere for carrying out tasks like these. He must get along with a minimum of help."

[Emphasis is mine. Interesting in describing how Frank was - ambitiously at this point, apparently - handling the General Government, and that even the food crisis was thought to have been solved. But starvation would cripple the General Government not long after this entry. Roberto's citations of Franks' alleged remarks are extremely important historical material, and it is imperative that his 60 odd volumes of diaries be released to the general public for easy access, critical examination, etc. I think I saw one volume for sale for around $600 or so once, and could nto afford it.]

10. [pgs. 190-191] [April 27, 1942]

"I talked to the Fuhrer once more in detail about the Jewish question. His attitude is unrelenting. He wants, under all circmstances, to push the Jews out of Europe. That is right. The Jews have brought so much misery to our continent that the severest punishment mteed out to them is still too mild. ... "

[Emphasis mine; the "..." is apparently Goebbels'.]

11. [pg. 203] [May 3, 1942]

"There have been two more attempts to kill German soldiers in France; also a large-scale attempt on a railway train which resulted in almost twenty dead among the soldiers who were in the leave train. Severe reprisals were taken. But again our military commander didn't have the initiative to publish the names of Communists, Jews, and DeGaullists to be shot. That means that our countermeasure is again rather meaningless and purposeless. I am now going to appeal personally to the Fuehrer to insist upon my viewpoint."

[Emphasis mine. Helps round out an understanding of Goebbels' views on hostages and reprisals.]

12. [pg. 214] [May 15 1942]

"A report from Paris informs me that a number of those who staged the last acts of terror have been found. About 99 per cent of them are eastern Jews. [Lochner give sthe German, " Ostjuden "] A more rigorous regime is now to be applied to these Jews. As far as I am concerned, it would be best if we either evacuated or liquidated all eastern Jews still remaining in Paris. By nature and race they will always be our natural enemies anyway."</b>

[Emphasis mine, save for Lochner's italics. Very intersting entry, in that Goebbels clearly makes a distinction between "Ostjuden" and Westernized Jews. The former he wants either killed or kicked out of Paris and into the Eastern territories. He does not say "Jews", or "all Jews" in Paris, but only the "Ostjuden". There exist long-standing, deep divisions and animosities between Western and Eastern Jews. Heydrich was a part Western "Jew", and though Hans Frank and Alfred Rosenburg may have had Eastern "Jewish" blood, they were classed as Westernized due to their personalities and dispositions. This is a very tangled can of worms, and I mention it only for the most general of backgrounds. Anyway, this is only "As far as I am concerned", says Goebbels - i.e. , there is as yet no Reich policy, even after he's seen the Wannsee report, known to Goebbels for liquidating even the "Ostjuden" in Paris. Lochner's note says, "By eastern Jews ( Ostjuden are chiefly meant the Jews from Galicia and Poland.]

13. [pg. 241] [December 13, 1942]

"The question of Jewish persecution in Europe is being given top news priority by the English and the Americans. ... At bottom, however, I believe both the English and the Americans are happy that <b>we are exterminating the Jewish riff-raff.</b> But the Jews will go on and on and turn the heat on the British-American press. We won't even discuss this theme publicly, but instead I gave orders to start an atrocity campaign against the English on their treatment of Colonials."

[Emphasis mine. Proof of the conventional Holocaust claims? Possibly. What is the German that is here translated as "exterminating the Jewish riff-raff." Does Goebbels mean the Ostjuden? That Americans and British (allegedly controlled by Jews like Morgenthau, Jr. , Frankfurter, Warburgs, Baruch, Rothschilds, etc.) are glad to see the Ostjuden killed in a fratricidal Westernized-Jewish hatred of the 'backward' Eastern, heavily Hassidic Jews? Or does Goebbels mean the Americans and British general public, and/or powerless political puppets, that in Goebbels' mind wanted the Jews killed? The German for this passage is absolutely crucial. If nothing later contradicts this, then the 'Exterminationists' may be right after all.]

14. [pgs. 243-244] [December 14, 1942]

"Jewish rabbis in London have held a great protest meeting. The theme was "England, Awake." It is just too funny for words that the Jews are now compelled, after fifteen years, to steal our slogans and to call upon teh pro-Semitic world to fight us, using the same battle-cry with which we once called upon the anti-Semitic world to <b>fight Jewry</b>. But all this won't avail the Jews anything. The Jewish race has prepared this war; it is the spiritual originator of the whole misfortune that has overtaken humanity. Jewry must pay for its crime just as our Fuehrer prophesied in his speech in the Reichstag; namely, by the wiping out of the Jewish race in Europe and possibly in the entire world."

[Emphasis mine. Roberto, or anyone, a German original of this passage would be most helpful: one question is: what is the word that Lochner has translated as "Jewry", and what words are translated as "Jews" and "Jewish race". I trust Lochner's German better than mine, of course, but still would like the original. Anyway, in teh above, Goebbels points out - correctly - that Judaism invented 'Christianity' and 'Communism' (Remember, the first 'Communists' were the Jewish Christians in Roman times), as well as Capitalism. All those frauds rest on the Old Testament and Jewish plots of subversion - at least in Goebbels' Weltaangschaaung.

The "Fuhrer's prophecy" mentioned is translated evrywherre I have seen it as the "annihilation of the Jewish race in Europe" should International Jewry provoke another World War. That was in 1939 , January 30 I believe. Now - and thsi is key - what are the German words that Lochner translates as "wiping out" in teh above passage? As it stands, the passage could easily imply the 'Exterminationists' are correct. Yet, apart from the translation questions, Hitler claimed in "Table Talk" that the secret of what was happenign to the Jews was that peoples long enslaved and tortured by the Jews were now taking their revenge, that the Jews would be chased out of Europe and not want to return for hundreds of years; i.e. , that the Nazis weren't systematically killing all Jews, they were killing many and leavign the rest to an often murderous fate that nonetheless enough would survive for the Nazi's to need to polan for 20 million (!) Jews to go to Madagascar or some other Jewish state after the War.

Or - the passage coudl be a flat out admission that Jews were being systematically killed. I will assume that 'wiping out' and 'exterminating' in these past 2 passages were different German words - what are they?
If Lochner's translations are correct, then the Revisionists' will need to re-evaluate their work. If they are not correct, everyone else will.]

15. [pgs. 249-250] {December 18, 1942}

"The Jewish question is receiving a big play both in the enemy and in the neutral news services. The Swedes protest hypocritically against our treatment of the Polish Jews, but are by no means willing to receive them in their country. The leading newspapers of Stockholm warn emphatically against having the Ghetto Jews from Warsaw forced upon them. It would probably be a good thing if the Swedes were to admit several thousand such Jews into their country. That would give them a practical lesson on the Jewish question. In all likelihood they would understand our measures much better than appears to be the case today.

The Jews of Jerusalem have held noisy demonstartions of protest against us. They had a day of fasting. At the Wailing Wall they invoked the Old Testament Jewish curse against the Fuehrer, Goering, Himmler, and me. Until now I haven't noticed any effect on me. One must know these Jews to be able to handle them right. They are now trying to stir up the entire world merely to incite public opinion against the National Socialist Reich and its anti-Semitic convictions. There's only one answer to this, viz., to continue as at present, rigorously and without compromise. You're sunk if you give the slightest indication of weakness."

16. [pgs. 334-335] [April 18, 1943] [Note: <b>KLESSHEIM CONFERENCE ENTRY HERE!</b>]

"It was an exceptionally good idea that we raised the Jewish problem again on orders of the Fuehrer. Anti-Semitism is growing rapidly even in the enemy states. Reports to that effect reach us, especially from England. If we continue to high-pressure the anti-Semitic question, the Jews, in the long run, will be much discredited. All one needs to do is to be tough and determined, for the Jewish problem has now been frozen so tight that it will be difficult to thaw it out again.

[...]

Horthy's visit on the Obersalzberg has come to an end. On teh first day it was conducted in a very heated atmosphere. The Fuehrer minced no words and especially pointed out to Horthy how wrong were his policies both in general and especially with reference to the conduct of the war and teh question of the Jews. The Fuehrer was very outspoken. He charged the Hungarians with having tried to contact the enemy via Spain and Portugal. Horthy denied this but that did not help him very much.

On the second day the conversations were more normal. A communique was drafted similar to the one on Antonescu's visit. On the insistence of the Hungarians, however, the passage about our fight against the Western plutocracies was eliminated. I suppose the Hungarians believe that in teh hosue of a man who has been hanged one should not talk about rope!

I gave orders to investigate all Jews still left in Berlin. I don't want to see Jews with the Star of David running about in the capital. <b>Either the Star must be taken from them and they be classed as priveleged, or they must be evacuated altogether from the capital of the Reich.</b> I believe I shall have completed one of the greatest political achievements of my career once Berlin is free of Jews. When I consider how Berling looke din 1926 when I came here, and how it looks now in 1943 when the Jews are being evacuated completely, I get a feeling of what has been achieved in this sector."

[Emphasis mine. Some points:

1. The KLESSHEIM CONFERENCE, if this entry be taken as authentic, was indeed a 2 day affair, btu interstingly Goebbels says that the second day was "more normal"! Supposedly, Hitler and Ribbentrop got rougher on the second day? Remember, Goebbels wasn't there, but this is essential information to weigh against the others' recollections of Klessheim.

2. Why would Goebbels want any Jews to have the Star of David removed, and have them classifeid as privileged, and not "evacuated altogether" from the Reich? Were "Westernized " Jews not being systematically "evacuated", only "Ostjuden"? A "privileged Jew" who can walk freely about Berlin in the Middle of the War is one thing and "Jewish riff-raff" that must be "evacuated" immediately is another category. And what is the German original in Goebbels' handwriting that is here translated as "evacuated"?

It might be a mroe or less sinister word, or perhaps just the right one. Hopefully someone will tell us.]

17. [pgs. 343-344] [April 25, 1943: WARSAW GHETTO]

"From a report from the occupied areas I gather that a truly grotesque situation obtains in Waraw. The Jews tried to leave the Ghetto by subterranean passages. Thereupon these underground passages were flooded. The Ghetto is now under artillery fire. When such conditions prevail in an occupied city, it certainly can't be said to be pacified. It is high time that we evacuate the Jews just as quickly as possible from the General Government."

[Again, the Jews are being "evacuated" ... why would Goebbels sometimes confide "exterminated" and otehr "evacuated" to his diary? Maybe out of normal turns of mood or phrase - maybe out of sloppy translation from Herr Lochner? Note that, late rin thsi day's entry, Lochner appears to consider a "Pape", whom the Goebbels' entry says this man wrote Goebbles to intervene on behalf of Roman Catholics in Berlin and Goebbels' immeidately obliged him - as someone he (Lochner) could not find any mention of anywhere else. Perhaps it was simpy "Papen", and Goebbels had left the "n" off of the name? Perhaps not, but Lochner desont' seem to consider the possibility.]

18. [pg. 357] [May 8, 1943] [HORTHY and JEWS OF HUNGARY]

"The Jewish problem is being solved least satisfactorily by the Hungrians. The Hungarian state is permeated with Jews, and the Fuehrer did not succeed durign his talk with Horthy in convincing the latter of the necessity of more stringent measures. Horthy himself, of course, is badly tangled up with the Jews through his family, and will continue to resist every effort to tackle the Jewish problem aggressively. <b>He gave a number of humanitarian counterarguments which of course don't apply at all to this situation. You just cannot talk humanitarianism when dealign with Jews. Jews must be defeated.</b> The Fuerher made every effort to win Horthy over to his standpoint but succeeded only partially.

From all this the Fuehrer deduced that all <b>the rubbish of small nations</b> [Lochner adds "Kleinstaaten-Geruempel"] <b>still existing in Europe must be liquidated as fast as possible.</b> The aim of our struggle must be to create a unified Europe. The German alone can really organize Europe. There is practically no other leading power left."

[Emphasis mine. Lochner translates "Jews must be defeated", whereas someone else posted "Jews must be fought". What word is used for "Jews", as distinct from "Jewry", and which for "defeated" here? The latter part is ambiguous. Does Goebbels' mean that Hitler insisted on killing all "rubbish" within each small nation - such as Ostjuden among Jews, Communists among Hungarians, etc. ? Surely he wasn;'t saying to kill all people from small nations. How does this tie in (and we have Goebbels' German here for 'rubbish of small nations') with Goebbels' German for "riff-raff"?]

19. [pg. 359] [May 8, 1943]

"If it be true today that the Bolshevism of the East is mainly under Jewish leadership and that the Jews are also the dominant influence in the Western plutocracies, then our anti-Semitic propaganda must begin at this point. <b>The Jews must therefore be thrown out of Europe. ... </b>"

[Emphasis mine. After all of the talk of exterminating in a couple of earlier entries, mixed sometimes with "evacuation", we now get the Jews must be "thrown out of Europe". What is the German for the translation here? Is it Goebbels' beign inconsistent, or Lochner?]

20. [pg. 377] [May 13, 1943]

"At noon I mentioned this to the Fuehrer. He believed the <i>Protocols</i> were absolutely genuine. ... The Jewish question, in the Fueher's opinion, will play a decisive role in England. ... In all the world, he said, the Jews are alike. Whetehr they live in a ghetto of the East or in the bankers' palaces of the City or Wall Street, they will always pursue the same aims and without previous agreement even use the same means. One might well ask why are there any Jews in the world order? That would be exactly like asking why are there potato bugs? Nature is dominated by the law of struggle. There will always be parasites who will spur this struggle on and intensify the process of selection between the strong and the weak. The principle of struggle dominates also in human life. One must merely know the laws of this struggle to be able to face it. The intellectual does not have the natural means of resisting the Jewish peril because his instincts have been badly blunted. Because of this fact the nations with a high standard of civilization are exposed to this peril first and foremost. In nature life always takes measures against parasites; in the life of nations that is not always the case. From this fact the Jewish peril actually stems. <b>There is therefore no other recourse left for modern nations except to exterminate the Jew. ...

There is no hope of leading the Jews back into the fold of civilized humanity by exceptional punishments. They will forever remain Jews, just as we are forever members of the Aryan race.</b>

The Jew was also the first to introduce the lie into politics as a weapon. Aboriginal man, the Fuehrer believes, did not know the lie. ... The higher the human being developed intellectually, the mor ehe acquired the ability of hiding his innermost thoughts and and giving expression ot something different from what he really felt. The Jew as an absolutely intellectual creature was the first to learn this art. He can therefore be regarded not only as the carrier but even the inventor of teh lie among human beings. Because of their thoroughly materialistic attitude, the English act very much like the Jews. In fact, they are the Aryans who have acquired most of the Jewish characteristics. ... The nations that have been the first to see through the Jew and have been the first to fight him are going to take his place in the domination of the world. "

[Emphasis mine, save for "Protocols" is italicized in Lochner's translation. This is another key passage. What are the German words that Lochner translates as "exterminate the Jew"?

It's still not quite sure if this was an opinion of Goebbels as impressed upon him by his talk with Hitler, a private opinion of Goebbels not necessarily held so radicallly by Hitler, a justification for genocide instituted by Hitler, or a misleading translation. Again, anyone with the German text of Goebbels' 1942-1943 diaries, your help here would be of great value to all concerned.]

I am much more skeptical now, after having read Lochner's translation of the Goebbels diaries, concerning some of the Revisionists' central claims concerning the Holocaust of Jews under Hitler. Nonetheless, "Table Talk" shows Hitler absolutely NOT having initiated the systematic killing of all Jews in the 23 January, 1942 minutes - 3 days after "Wannsee". After Goebbels got the Wannsee report, he seems also to not at least knwo of any extermination of all Jews program. But by December of 1942, Goebbels' diaries contain various entries that, if Lochner's translations stand, show that systematic extermination of the Jews was very possibly occuring in practice, and not just in Goebbels' wishes. I have tried to add boldface to both pro and con arguments, and will await the German original words and seek tranlsations by my own and through others research until makign a final opinion on this matter. I am pretty much skeptical of everyone by this point. Thansk for the intelligent discourse.

Marc Cohen
































michael mills
Member
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Joined: 11 Mar 2002 12:42
Location: Sydney, Australia

Post by michael mills » 18 Mar 2003 06:49

David,

Further to your point (2):

you write:
I have read and re-read the testimony of Schmidt and von Ribbentrop, Horthy's memoirs, and Schmidt's notes on the conference from "Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression" vol. 7, pp. 190-191, and could find no passage about "reports of Jews roaming the country, committing acts of murder and sabotage." The only passage I found on the security issue involved France, not Poland, and was directed to Mussolini, not Horthy:

I think the reason for that is that the quoted phrase occurs in a section where Irving is drawing a picture of the context in which the Klessheim meeting occurred, and which provided the motovation for the German demand that Hungary intern all its Jews in concentration camps.

My reading of the passage in the 1977 edition of "Hitler's War", as posted by you, is that the whole section from the second sentence in the second paragraph ("The Nazis found it intolerable....) to the last sentence in the third paragraph (" "This is just the kind of incident....." ") represents Irving's presentation of the security problem posed by Jews as it was at April 1943. The words "The Nazis found it intolerable..." indicates that this is what was in the minds of Hitler and Ribbentrop when they went to their meeting with Horthy.

Irving's presentation of what was actually said at the meeting in relation to the "Jewish Problem" in Hungary begins at the fourth paragraph, with the sentence " Poland should have been an object lesson to Horthy...".

I have said that Irving's presentation is very sloppy at this point. He begins the second paragraph with an allusion to the conference itself ("..the language Hitler and Ribbentrop used...."), and then launches into a description of the situation at the time, which he presumes was in the minds of Hitler and Ribbentrop ("The Nazis found it intolerable...."), which occupies the rest of that paragraph and the second paragraph. Only in the fourth paragraph does he return to what was said at the meeting itself.

Irving's fault here is that he does not adequately distinguish what was said at the meeting from his description of what was in the mind of Hitler and Ribbentrop, the "Nazis" referred to in the first sentence of the second paragraph. That failure to separate those two different elements might well confuse a reader without adequate background knowledge.

However, is Irving's fault here dishonest, is it deliberate deception? That would depend on what he was trying to achieve. I think it was quite legitimate to describe the factors that motivated Hitler and Ribbentrop to try to pressure Horthy into interning the Jews of Hungary. Furthermore, all the factors listed by Irving are entirely accurate; none is fictitious. And I think Irving was correct in seeing those factors as what lay behind the stand taken by Hitler at the Klessheim meeting in relation to the Hungarian Jews, even if they were not specifically enunciated there.

In my opinion, even though Irving's narrative is confusing at this point, it does not distort the outcome of the Klessheim meeting. The German demand was that the Hungarian Jews should be put into concentration camps, so that they could not move freely about the country and hence be a security risk (at least in German eyes). Hitler reinforced that demand with some violent language about the tough measures taken in Poland, all of which Irving reproduces in his narrative, without omitting anything. However, nothing in the record indicates that Hitler asked Horthy to exterminate the Hungarian Jews, using Poland as a model; the only group of Jews that Hitler reveals were actively killed were those who were fit to work but refused to, presumably a small group that was punished in order to terrorise the remainder into submission.

On that basis, I conclude that the second and third paragraphs of Irving's narrative do not dishonestly or deceptively distort the essence of the Klessheim meeting. I do not think there is a deliberate attempt to lead the reader astray, such that the reader would gain an impression of the course and outcome of the Klessheim meeting that was substantially at variance with the facts.

You further wrote:
(3) There are quotations within the passage that I haven't seen in the primary sources, and Irving doesn't reference them, namely:

(a) "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.'"
The reason why you did not find the above quotation in the primary sources (I presume that here you are referring to the record of the meeting and the post-war testimony by Schmidt and Ribbentrop) is that they are not part of Irving's account of the meeting itself, but rather his exposition of the background, as I have shown above. I do not blame you for being confused, since Irving's narrative is sloppy at this point, and does not make it perfectly clear that it is referring to the surrouinding security.

You are however justified in criticising Irving for not providing a reference for the sentence in quotation marks. It is however clear from the context that it was Himmler who spoke those words; they are connected with the statement that Himmler had ordered the destruction of the Warsaw Ghetto, which was issued in January 1943, after the first armed Jewish resistance in that month to the initial German attempt to relocate the Jewish workers to Lublin. I presume that the quoted words formed part of the order by Himmler referred to. If I get time, I will try to find a copy of Himmler's destruction order of January 1943, to see whether my presumption is correct.

Again, I do not think that this part of Irving's narrative is deliberately dishonest. I think it shows sloppy writing, and a bit of laziness in not identifying the quoted words properly.

The second quotation you referred to was:
(b) "Hitler reassured him: "There is no need for that. "But just as in Slovakia, they ought to be isolated in remote camps where they could no longer infect the healthy body of the public; or they could be put to work in the mines, for example. He himself did not mind being temporarily excoriated for his Jewish policies, if they brought tranquility."
I would agree that Irving has exercised a bit of licence here with the actual record by Schmidt, which reads (as quoted by Evans in his Expert Opinion):
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 Fuehrer replied that this was also not necessary. Hungary could accommodate the Jews in concentration camps as Slovakia did.
Irving has here taken the sentence "The Fuehrer replied that this was also not necessary" and turned into direct speech by Hitler. That in itself is a form of dramatisation, and not in itself dishonest or deceptive.

He has also taken the sentence "Hungary could accommodate the Jews in concentration camps as Slovakia did", and taken the liberty of presuming a location for those camps ("remote") and reasons for isolating the Jews there (so they could not infect the healthy body of the public; so they could work in mines). Those elements are not stated in the text of Schmidt's record, and represent interpolations by Irving, giving his own interpretation of the reasons for the internment of the Jews as demanded by Germany. However, those are not false reasons, and can be deduced from other things that were said at Klessheim, and the historical record of what happened to Jews, eg many Jews were actually used for slave labour in mines. Therefore, I do not think Irving's interpolations are dishonest; they are explanatory rather than deceptive.

Irving's real malfeasance at this point was, as was pointed out by Evans, his placing of what Hitler genuinely said on the first day of the meeting immediately after something he said on the second day. That was certainly wrong, and it is that particular element which leads me to feel that this particular example was the worst and most reprehensible error by Irving that Evans found. However, I do not consider that this wrong sequence of what was said fatally distorts the essence of the Hitler-Horthy exchange.

[More to follow].

michael mills
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Post by michael mills » 18 Mar 2003 07:31

David,

You also wrote:
(4) While the events described in (a), above, superficially suggest a rational reason for the Nazi demands, those events happened after the 1943 Klessheim conference, not before it. The use of the example is clearly anachronistic. Also, what is Irving talking about when he refers to: "weapons and ammunition evidently sold to them [the Jews of Warsaw] by Hitler's fleeing allies as they passed westward through the city." The time frame is April 1943, not the summer of 1944.
I do not think that the argument about anachronism, initially made by Evans, really holds water. What Irving actually wrote was (as quoted by you):
In Warsaw, the fifty thousand Jews surviving in the ghetto were on the point [my emphasis] 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.
Thus, Irving is not saying that the main Jewish uprising in the Warsaw Ghetto had already broken out at the time of the Klessheim meeting; he is saying that it was about to break out. That is entirely correct; it occurred a few days later.

Irving is implying that Hitler and Ribbentrop knew that there would be armed resistance by the Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto. That implication is entirely reasonable and in accordance with the facts. As I have already pointed out, the first Jewish resistance in the Warsaw Ghetto occurred January 1943, when German forces entered the ghetto to close down the factories and transfer the 50,000 Jewish workers to Lublin.

That resistance showed that any attempt to remove the Jews from the ghetto would be met by armed force. Therefore, Himmler ordered that the ghetto be reduced by superior force, and the surviving Jews be removed with the machines to Lublin. However, it was not until early April that a sufficient force could be cobbled together (it included the Warsaw fire brigade!) to deal with the expected Jewish resistance.

At the time of the Klessheim Conference, Hitler and Ribbentrop would have known about the armed Jewish resistance that had occurred in January of that year. They would have known that an assault on the Warsaw Ghetto was about to take place, and that there would be further armed resistance. Therefore, Irving was not dishonest in referring to the impending fighting in the Warsaw Ghetto, or in presuming that the Jewish resistance that had occurred and was about to occur was a factor that greatly exercised the minds of Hitler and Ribbentrop, and was a stimulus to their demand that Hungary intern its Jews.

Further, the reference to weapons being sold to the Jews by Germany's allies in not anachronistic, although Irving has got the details wrong. Italian troops did pass in numbers through Warsaw, both on their way to the Russian front and in the opposite direction when units were being replaced or going on leave. Furthermore, I have read accounts of Italian troops surreptitiously selling their arms to the resistance, both Polish and Jewish; that was certainly the case with the uprising in the Lwow Ghetto, which occurred a few months later, and may well have occurred at Warsaw also.

Irving is being a little hyperbolic in referring to Germany's allies "fleeing". The Italian forces had fled in retreat at the beginning of 1943 from Stalingrad, but obviously not all the way to Warsaw. As I recall, Italian troops were withdrawn from the Russian Front and Poland in about the middle of 1943, or perhaps earlier, in order to meet the looming Allied invasion of Italy. Therefore, it is possible that by April 1943 the Italian expeditionary force, or its remnants, was moving westward through Warsaw, but hardly fleeing in disorder as Irving somewhat ungenerously implies.

When you say "The timeframe is April 1943, not the summer of 1944", you have yourself got it wrong. By 1944, there were no longer any Italian troops in Poland; when Italy surrendered in September 1943, any Italians still in the area were interned, some in concentration camps.

You further write:
6) The passage mentions, but de-emphasizes the goal for the German demand, namely, to transport the Hungarian Jews for "resettlement" to the east.
David, from what do you deduce that the "goal for the German demand" was to transport the Jews for "resettlement" in the East? Can you point to any part of the contemporary record of the Klessheim meeting, either German or Hungarian, where reference to deportation is made?

In fact, there is no such mention. On both days, the German demand was that the Hungarian Government confine all the Jews of Hungary in concentration camps; the implication is that the camps would be in Hungary itself. There is no mention or implication of deportation to the East.

As I have made clear in previous messages, the reference to German demands for deportation is an interpolation by Irving that is historically incorrect (yes, Irving quite often gets his facts wrong). Far from there being German demands for deportation of Jews from Hungary, it was the Hungarian Government that was trying to get German permission to dpeort its unwanted Jews into German-occupied territory, and Germany that was adamantly refusing. In fact, it was not until the Klessheim meeting, in April 1943, that Germany even demanded the internment of Hungarian Jews.

Since the German demands for deportation, supposedly made prior to the Klessheim meeting, did not exist, Irving can hardly have downplayed them. In fact, the very opposite; he played up something non-existant.

[More to follow].

michael mills
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Post by michael mills » 18 Mar 2003 08:16

David,

Your final point was:
(7) The placement of the quotations from Hitler and Horthy are out of chronological order. The correct order would be Horthy saying "What am I supposed to do, beat them to death?" von Ribbentrop saying "Yes, Beat them to death or put them in concentration camps. There is no other solution," followed by Hitler's "tuberculosis bacilli" diatribe, concluding with "Why preserve a bestial species whose ambition was to inflict bolshevism on us all?"

In other words, Horthy is saying, "What do you want me to do -- kill them?" and von Ribbentrop replies "That's just about the size of it," and Hitler adds a "here's why they should be killed" .
I agree with you about Irving's chronological misplacement of the quotations from Hitler and Horthy. As I have said repeatedly, that was the point at which Irving sinned most against good historiography.

However, with respect, I suggest that you yourself have engaged in a moderate amount of torture of the evidence here, a little gnetle pressure on the testicles, one might say.

Where do you derive the words you attribute to Ribbentrop, and which you suggest Irving should have written: "Yes, Beat them to death or put them in concentration camps. There is no other solution"?

You imply that killing was Ribbentrop's preferred solution, and that he answered "yes" to Horthy's question whether he should kill the Jews. You make that implication clear when you impute the meaning of "that's just about the size of it" to Ribbentrop's words.

But what does the record say?

Evans gives the following version of the exchange on 17 April:
On Horthy's retort, what should he do with the Jews then, after ha had taken pretty well all means of living from them - he surely could not beat them to death - the Reich Foreign Minister replied that the Jews must either be annihiliated or taken to concentration camps. There was no other way.
The version in NCA (as quoted previously by you) reads:
To Horthy's counter-question as to what he should do with the Jews now that he had deprived them of almost all possibilities of livelihood, he could not kill them off - the Reich Foreign Minister declared that the Jews must either be exterminated or taken to concentration camps. There was no other possibility.
Thus, in the official record there is no reference to Ribbentrop saying "Yes, kill them", ie affirming Horthy's implication that they would have to be killed, and expressing support for that action as the preferred option. Ribbentrop is portrayed as giving two options; the Jews must either be exterminated, referring back to what Horthy had hinted at, or be put in concentration camps, referring back to the solution offered by Hitler on the previous day. Given that internment had been previously suggested, the most reasonable interpretation of Ribbentrop's words is that internment in concentration camps was still the preferred German sokution, with the threat of resorting to killing if Horthy tried to avoid taking the step of interning the Jews (which he quite was trying to avoid, since by April 1943 he was trying to curry favour with the Allies).

The official record may be contrasted with Schmidt's IMT testimony (as quoted by you):
During this conference there had been a certain difficulty, when Hitler insisted that Horthy should proceed more energetically in the Jewish question, but Horthy answered with some heat, "But what am I supposed to do? Shall I perhaps beat the Jews to death?" - Whereupon there was rather a lull and the Foreign Minister then turned to Horthy and said "Yes, there are only two possibilities - either that, or to intern the Jews". Afterward, he said to me - and this was rather exceptional - that Hitler's demands in thos connection might have gone a bit too far.
Here we have the origin of Ribbentrop saying "yes", as per your version of his answer. But this was not in a document, but in Schmidt's recollection of what Ribbentrop had said, and although it is likely that his memory of the pause in conversation was correct, we cannot be sure that he remembered Ribbentrop's exact words correctly.

Even if Ribbentrop did say the exact words Schmidt attributed to him in his testimony (ie varying from what Schmidt put in his official record), the context does not show that Ribbentrop said "yes" to Horthy's question "Shall I perhaps beat the Jews to death?" In this version, Ribbentrop said, after thinking about what to say, "Yes, there are only two possibilities". The "yes" seems to be a strengthening of the ultimatum made by Ribbentrop, namely that there were only two possibilities. Then Ribbentrop names the possibilities; according to Schmidt, he does not explicitly say "kill", but rather "either that" (referring back to Horthy's question) "or to intern the Jews".

But, as with any ultimatum, Ribbentrop's ultimatum contained two elements; the aim he desired to achieve, and a threat of what would happen if the aim were not achieved. The whole context suggests that the desired aim was to intern the Jews, and that the reference back to Horthy's question was a threat of what he would be forced to do if he declined the internment option.

Accordingly, I consider that to interpret Ribbentrop's reply to Horthy, which he had obviously considered, as "Yes, that is precisely what we want you to do, we want you to kill the Jews", is reading too much into the record, and reaching a conclusion based on preconceived notions that all-embracing mass extermination was the German Government's firmly decided policy.

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