David Irving and the Klessheim Conference

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chalutzim
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Post by chalutzim » 18 Mar 2003 12:58

michael mills wrote: (...) 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. (...)
I'm wondering what irving would think about this distinction: an academic versus a popular way of write History. I guess he wouldn't be quite happy...

But you have a very good point here: his writings don't mean to be taken seriously as a academic work do, since they can be read like a novel, or other kind of fiction. Their main purpose is to attract a large audience (not particularly critical), and rewrite History according with his own political agenda.

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Post by Scott Smith » 18 Mar 2003 15:21

chalutzim wrote:Their main purpose is to attract a large audience (not particularly critical), and rewrite History according with his own political agenda.
Academic writing does that too, if only more obscurantly. And Irving does source his material in notes.
:)

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chalutzim
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Post by chalutzim » 18 Mar 2003 15:37

Scott Smith wrote: (...) And Irving does source his material in notes.
:)
Yes, indeed. He does use notes:
(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.
http://www.holocaustdenialontrial.com/e ... 4.asp#4.3h

This is how he makes use of notes.

:?

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chalutzim
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Post by chalutzim » 18 Mar 2003 15:53

Scott Smith wrote:
chalutzim wrote:Their main purpose is to attract a large audience (not particularly critical), and rewrite History according with his own political agenda.
Academic writing does that too, if only more obscurantly. (...) :)
Does what? They try to attract a large audience or they misinterpret the historical record? Or both?

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Post by Scott Smith » 19 Mar 2003 01:02

chalutzim wrote:
Scott Smith wrote: (...) And Irving does source his material in notes.
Yes, indeed. He does use notes:
Evans wrote:[...]But everyone, of course, does not read footnotes, and placing it there allows Irving to marginalise it almost out of existence.
This is how he makes use of notes.
Crocodile tears.

If someone is too lazy to read the footnotes then that is his problem.

For that matter, if one disagrees and is too lazy to check the sources that is his problem as well. The fact is that most writing does not even contain footnotes. We assume that the author knows more about the subject than we do since we are the ones reading to learn more. If we are open-minded we do learn more, even--and perhaps especially--when we disagree. Then footnotes can really come in handy because nothing is gospel.

The fact is that Historians are not Popes. To ask them to be Vicars of the Truth is to ask them to be something that they cannot be, and to pretend, as some academics do, no doubt with big institutions behind them, is even more than absurd.

Evans simply would not get away with calling Irving a liar if Irving were an academic with an institution behind him. And Irving could have far more outrageous opinions besides, so long as they were politically-correct, which does not make them epistemologically correct by any means.

So far, the proponents of the Irving-is-a liar thesis on this forum have offered nothing more than a tempest in a teapot. But that is just my opinion. I admit that I could be wrong.
Scott Smith wrote:
chalutzim wrote:Their main purpose is to attract a large audience (not particularly critical), and rewrite History according with his own political agenda.
Academic writing does that too, if only more obscurantly. (...)
Does what?[/quote]
Academic writing also writes according to an agenda, whether that of the author or the sponsoring institution. It is never entirely value-neutral, just more skilled at concealing bias.
They try to attract a large audience
Publishers market to a large audience to sell books, which sometimes includes deleting the unremunerative footnotes. Holocaust™ literature (much of which is actually fiction disguised as memoirs) is rather notorious for that, especially in the United States where the competition for shelf-space in libraries and bookstores is fierce in that saturated genre. I was rather appalled when an Erst Klee book, Let The Good Times Roll, about Rabelaisian genocide, had almost zero notation, just a cheesy glossary with Orwellian Newspeak terminology and a rogues' gallery of Perpetrators and Bystanders. Other than that I found it useful.
or they misinterpret the historical record?
There is no such thing as a "historical record" in an absolute sense. At best there are discrete facts which are tentative to the best available evidence.

That is why prior to 1990 one could find references to 4 million being gassed at Auschwitz in standard-reference works. Now one never does simply because Communist Poland no longer makes that claim. There are many other examples, controversial and not. Some academics might pretend that there is an orthodox history--or should be--with some canon of facts, no doubt agreed to by some subterranean "Vatican" council, and molded like clay as political sea-change occurs--but that would be their problem.

The first rule of historiography is that historians don't agree.
:)

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Post by michael mills » 19 Mar 2003 03:15

David,

I would now like to comment on your conclusion. You wrote:
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.
What is the impression of the Klessheim conference, considered by you to be false, that a reader would be left with if that reader relied on Irving's version of it in the 1977 edition of "Hitler's War"?

Well, that reader might be left with the impression that Hitler's last word on the matter of what was to be done with the Hungarian Jews was his statement that there was no need to kill them, they could be imprisoned in concentration camps.

That impression would be misleading, but not entirely so. Hitler's last word on the general issue of the Jews was his outburst, in which he compared them to bacilli infecting a healthy body, and compared the shooting of recalcitrant Jews in Poland with the culling of innocent deer and hares in situations where they had become a danger.

However, in that outburst, Hitler did not impose any demand on Horthy for the killing of the Jews of Hungary. He did not issue any demand beyond what he had said on the previous day, that the Jews of Hungary should be interned in concentration camps. That demand had been repeated by Ribbentrop immediately before Hitler's outburst, reinforcing it by saying that internment of the Jews was the only alternative to the killing which Horthy had asked about. (Remember that it was Horthy who had raised the possibility of killing the Jews, not Hitler or Ribbentrop).

Hitler's outburst is to be seen as a reiteration, in very brutal terms, of the reasons why Germany wanted Hungary to intern its Jews. Allowing the Jews to move freely about the country would allow them to infect the population with subversion and defeatism, in the same way as bacilli infect a body (Hitler was using his favourite biological simile, as Irving points out).

The reference to the "beasts who wanted to bring us Bolshevism" was an image that would have had particular meaning for Horthy. In 1919, Hungary had been subjected to brief but bloody Bolshevik rule, in which Jews held almost all the commanding positions. Horthy had been instrumental in overthrowing that Bolshevik regime, led by Bela Kun, and restoring stability.

Accordingly, if the reader had been left with the impression that Hitler's bottom line had been the internment of Hungary's Jews, that impression would have been historically correct. Hitler's ultimatum to Horthy had been to put the Jews into concentration camps, and no more.

For that reason, I consider that Irving's version of the Klessheim conference did not distort its essence, despite his sloppy writing and failure to render the sequence of the conversation correctly.

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Post by Dan » 19 Mar 2003 03:35

Thanks to Mr. Kaschner, Michael Mills, and David Thompson. My next year's resolution is to go over this thread again.

It does seem that Mr. Irving could have been living on the edge when he carefully worded his statement about the danger of Jews running around loose, and using the example of Poland, and the Warsaw Uprising. I would have assumed that the uprising had taken place previously to the Hitler Horthy meeting if it hadn't been pointed out on this thread that it happened after the meeting. I notice Mr. Iriving likes the edge. In fact, he loves the edge.

Often it seem that he plans these things out in advance. Reading his work carefully on this subject, he does not lie, but he does, in my opinion guide his readers into certain paths, and he does this more that he should, IMHO. And it seems somewhat childish to guide people to believing things he wants even while carefully planning and "out". I have noticed this several times in his speeches and writings, and for what it's worth, the informed posters on this thread have given me better ballance about David Irving than I had before.

But still, with respect to all, this is "vragtag" small beer. I had honestly assumed something more sinister, and Debbie the Lip dirtied her face beyond recovering in her exaggerations.

But thanks to all, and I would hope that another 2 or 3 examples of his alleged dishonesty are discussed on this board.

Very best regards to all.

Daniel

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Post by David Thompson » 19 Mar 2003 05:03

Michael -- Thank you for the thought-provoking defense of Irving's account of the 1943 Klessheim conference. I can't say that I agreed with your conclusion, but you ably made the best possible case for it, and this would be a dull forum indeed if everyone was in agreement.

In making the case for Irving's account being more of an inadvertent than deliberate effort to misrepresent the 1943 Klessheim conference, you made a number of points. Almost all of them are worth further discussion, but I've listed the most salient ones below, with a rebuttal.

(1) My argument was: "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."

You took that argument, point by point, and asked (I hope that you will not find this recapitulation unfair): "is Irving's fault here dishonest, is it deliberate deception?" This is a legitimate question.

My answer is this: An innocent explanation can be made for each example of Irving's lapses in scholarship in the passage at issue. Everyone makes mistakes.

But a number of mistakes, which when taken individually and cumulatively all lead to the same result, is a different matter. In the relatively short passage quoted from the 1977 "Hitler's War," there are multiple lapses, each of which tend to create the same misleading impression in the reader's mind. At least one of the errors required the author to change the chronological order of events, which doesn't suggest inadvertence. The number of these errors, and the fact that they all have the same result -- minimizing Hitler's responsibility for the Nazi mass murder program -- are more characteristic of a deliberate pattern than random and inadvertent errors would be. For this reason, I think Irving's lapses are intentional.

(2) Irving wrote: "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." Of this passage, you said: "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."

The formulation "were pointed to" is vague -- the passive tense of the verb hides the actor. But reading this phrase in connection with a description of the 1943 Klessheim meeting, isn't it reasonable to take this phrase as meaning that Hitler and von Ribbentrop were making the point to Horthy -- something not born out by the primary sources -- and not just pointing it out to each other before their visit?

(3) You say, accurately in my opinion, "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."

My own thought is that Irving's treatment would mislead anyone who didn't go back to the primary sources for a comparison.

(4) You observed: "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."

Irving's passage reads: "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." Note that Irving nowhere specifies the nationality of "Hitler's fleeing allies" as Italian. In 1944, the German effort on the eastern front was still supported by Hungarian and Romanian troops, among others.

(5) You write: "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?"

You then go on to say: "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."

In addition to Irving's reference, which you believe to be mistaken, my deduction came from the testimony of von Ribbentrop at the onset of his description of the 1943 Klessheim conference:

"M. FAURE: Germany deported all the Jews from German territory and territories occupied by her to Eastern reservations. That is true, is it not?

VON RIBBENTROP: I do not know the contents of the document in detail. I do not know what I myself said in detail. But at any rate I knew that the Fuehrer had ordered that the Jews of the occupied territories in Europe were to be transported to reservations in the East and resettled there. That I did know. The carrying out of these measures, however, was not my task as Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Foreign Office, but I did know that it was the Fuehrer's wish. In this connection, I remember that I received an order from him to discuss the matter with the Italian Government so that they too would introduce corresponding measures regarding the Jewish problem. That applied to other countries as well, where we had to send telegrams quite frequently, so that these countries should solve the Jewish question." (IMT Proceedings vol. 10, p. 407)

(6) You wrote: "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."

This is true as far as it goes, but Hitler and von Ribbentrop gave Horthy an ultimatum -- the choice of killing the Jews of his country or rounding them up into a concentration camp. As von Ribbentrop put it: "There is no other solution." Hitler's thoughts on the subject are clear from his remark: "Why preserve a bestial species whose ambition was to inflict bolshevism on us all?"

Well, enough of the rebuttal. We can agree to disagree on this one, and I certainly enjoyed the challenge. There's no shortage of topics to discuss, either. Your approach in suggesting further discussion when I was about to close out the thread was excellent. Thanks!

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Post by walterkaschner » 19 Mar 2003 06:13

For my last comment on this thread, at the risk of boring the wits out of all, I would like to once again quote in its entirety the portion of Irving's treatment of the Klessheim I conference which I find perhaps the most egregious:
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."
Mr Mills would have it that the material in the second paragraph was included by Irving as an indication of what was in Hitler and Ribbentrop's minds rather than an indication of what was actually said at the meeting. But I challenge any fair minded reader to come to that conclusion upon reading the three paragraphs as a whole.

The first paragraph speaks in terms of "the language that Hitler and Ribbentrop used." The following sentences in that paragraph, with their utilization of direct quotes, were obviously intended to indicate to the reader what was actually said at the meeting.

The next paragraph continues with the same theme. Events in Poland "were pointed to" as providing an ugly precedent. "Pointed to " by WHOM? Well, by Hitler and by Ribbentrop obviously. No one else on the German side was in the meeting.

And by no stretch of the imagination can this wording be construed, as Mr. Mills would have it, as indicating that the "events in Poland" were simply reposing passively and unarticulated in Hitler's and Ribbentrop's minds.

And what were those events that Irving reports were "pointed to" by no one other than Hitler and Ribbentrop? Jews roaming the countryside committing acts of murder and sabotage; 50,000 of them preparing a revolt in Warsaw with arms supplied by Germany's allies (?) retreating through the city, a situation so dangerous that Himmler had ordered the ghetto destroyed. Indeed, a situation so frought with danger that, as Irving has Hitler argue in the third paragraph, that it should be an object lesson to Horthy - and, as the implication suggests, to the entire world - that the measures to be taken against the Jews were justified. And Irving's clincher is with a direct quote "This is the kind of incident that shows how dangerous these Jews are." Where does he expect the reader to assume this comes from other than Hitler or Ribbentrop in the meeting itself? Yet there is absolutely no source whatever that any of this was actually said by anyone at the meeting! Irving simply manufactured it out of whole cloth for his own purposes.

Well, in the midst of composing this I was called away on another matter and upon my return I find that, as usual, David Thompson has done a far better job than I am capable of in closing the matter off.

And I certainly agree with his view that Mr. Mills does a splendid job, with grace, a keen mind and a fertile imagination, of mustering the best arguments possible for what is, IMHO, in final analysis a hopeless case. But the debate was, to my mind, inspired and thought provoking, and an example of the best of the possibilities that this forum has to offer. Thanks to all!

Regards, Kaschner

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Post by michael mills » 19 Mar 2003 10:42

Walter Kaschner wrote:
Mr Mills would have it that the material in the second paragraph was included by Irving as an indication of what was in Hitler and Ribbentrop's minds rather than an indication of what was actually said at the meeting. But I challenge any fair minded reader to come to that conclusion upon reading the three paragraphs as a whole.
I would agree that the way the three paragraphs are written would confuse the virgin reader about what was actually said at the meeting and what was in the minds of Hitler and Ribbentrop when they went to the meeting, and was the stimulus to the ultimatum they gave to Horthy.

When that confusion is something deliberately created by Irving for the purpose of deceiving his readers, or whether it is what I termed "sloppy writing", I do not know. Evans certainly interpreted at the former, but he is hardly an unbiassed observer.

My guess is that Irving was making a surmise about what the motivation of Hitler and Ribbentrop was. Of course it would have been better if he had written; "When Hitler and Ribbentrop met Horthy, they probably had in mind the danger of Jewish armed resistance, which had already occurred in Warsaw the previous March, and which would flare up again more strongly a few days after the meeting etc etc".

But historians often make surmises. For example, the German historian Christian Gerlach claims that Hitler gave the order for a Europe-wide extermination of the Jews on 12 December 1941. Of course, he does not actually have before him a written order from Hitler dated 12 December 1941, saying "Kill all the Jews". His surmise is based on the record that a meeting took place on that date, plus later statements by participants at the meeting, eg Goebbels, Frank, which can be interpreted in different ways.

In fact, I have come across many such surmises by historians, eg making the presumption that at a particular meeting, say between Himmler and Globocnik on a particular date, Himmler gave the order to exterminate the Jews of Poland, where the only document is a note in Himmler's diary recording a meeting with Globocnik on a that date.

I think it was quite reasonable for Irving to speculate what was on Hitler's mind at the meeting, and all the issues he enumerates were real concerns at that time. He could have composed his narrative more clearly.

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Post by chalutzim » 19 Mar 2003 16:15

michael mills wrote: (...) He could have composed his narrative more clearly.
A list of other occasions where he could be more clear:

a) Hitler trial 1924

b) Kristallnacht November 1938

c) Aftermath of Kristallnacht

d) Shooting of Jews in the East (including Bruns; Schulz-Dubois)

e) Hitler’s views on the Jewish question during the war (including Goebbels’ diary entries for 22 November 1941, 13 December 1941 and 30 May 1942; Hitler’s table talk of 25 October 1941; Hans Frank’s speech at Cracow 16 December 1941)

f) Expulsion of the Jews from Berlin in 1941

g) The ‘Schlegelberger note’

h) Goebbels’ diary entry for 27th March 1942

i) Himmler minute of 22nd September 1942

j) Himmler’s note for his meeting with Hitler on 10th December 1942

k) Hitler’s meeting with Antonescu in April 1943

l) Deportation and murder of the Jews in Rome in October 1943

m) Himmler’s speeches on the 4th and 6th October 1943, 5th and 24th May 1944

n) Hitler’s speech on 26th May 1944

o) Ribbentrop’s testimony and evidence from his cell at Nuremberg

p) Marie Vaillant-Couturier

q) Kurt Aumeier

r) Criminal statistics for 1932 (Daluege, etc)

s) PWE ‘invention’ (1942 and 1943)

@ http://www.holocaustdenialontrial.com/evidence/i.asp#01

But I don't think that clearness is the right word. I would prefer honesty.

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Post by Tarpon27 » 20 Mar 2003 03:13

Michael Mills wrote on 3/7/03:
[...]
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.

My analysis of the record of the meeting on 17 April made by Schmidt, shows that Hitler did not reveal the extermination of the Jews of Poland. He revealed that the Jews who could not work had been left to "waste away"; he was not specific about the Jews who could work, except to say that those who refused to work were shot, obviously as an example to the rest. But he said nothing about active mass-killing.

Furthermore, neither Hitler nor Ribbentrop revealed an intention to exterminate the Jews of Hungary. What they were urging Horthy to do was to confine the Hungarian Jews to concentration camps; they said nothing about deporting them. When Ribbentrop referred to "annihilating" the Jews, it is clear that he meant that there was no alternative to confining them in concentration camps.
[...]
Several points here:

1. It is not, in my opinion, Evans attempting to disprove Irving's thesis that "Hitler did not order a general extermination of the Jews"; it is Evans attempting to disprove Irving's thesis, per his (Irving's) defense in his libel case that his "chain of documents" shows that Hitler was the "best friend" the Jews had in the Third Reich. Evans does not argue that there is a written order, by Hitler, authorizing the extermination of the Jews; he does, however, state that this meeting is considered by historians an event where Hitler expresses his murderous intentions per the Jews.

Irving was charged as being a Hitler apologist and of attempting to historically redefine the image of Hitler as one who, according to Irving, was not involved with the extermination of the Jews. In fact, his Goebbels book is an attempt to make Goebbels the author of Jewish extermination.

It is the issue of Hitler's cupability that is the issue per Evans, not the validity of historical proof of a Hitler order to kill the Jews.

2. If we are going to use the standard of interpreting literally what Hitler says, per those who could not work were shot, then the Jews of Hungary could be shot. Horthy has already stated that like Nazi Germany, he has taken the ability to make a living from the Jews. If the Jews cannot work as slave laborers in armaments (as security risks), denied employment, removed from their shops and farms, removed from small industries (as they were in Poland, for example), then all Jews are going to be unable to work, and therefore qualify to be shot.

The Jewish councils in the ghettos tried to get some type of production and work for the Jews in order to keep them alive, under the belief that if Jews produced some type of goods required for either the war effort or for the general populace's needs, they would have access to money, food, clothing, and the basics needed for survival.

3. This final paragraph was why I posted a reply earlier on perhaps misunderstanding this post originally. Here Ribbentrop, in the presence of Hitler, says that either Hungary's Jews are annihilated (which Horthy was unwilling to do, himself) or be placed in concentration camps. Camps that they would be exterminated in.

Ribbentrop, the Foreign Minister, has openly stated to exterminate the Jews and one assumes that Hitler heard him. It now becomes the defensive position that the Foreign Minister knows something his Fuhrer doesn't...that it is acceptable to pressure Horthy for the extermination of Jews. If Hitler is the "best friend" of the Jews in the Reich, or that he has no knowledge of what was happening to the Jews, his Foreign Minister has just stated a scenario that I assume the supreme leader and commander of the German nation would wish to find out more about if he was really interested in saving the Jews. Ribbentrop, as Foreign Minister, also has to be the public voice of Germany to the world, disputing Allied propaganda or disputing news reports in the foreign press. Here, he openly advocates killing Hungary's Jews or shipping them to "concentration camps" which are, in reality, the death camps in the east.

The argument that the camps were to be in Hungary comes from where? If one is to argue that there is no direct inference that the "concentration camps" were outside of Hungary, let alone the extermination camps in the east, how does one argue that Ribbentrop is arguing that Horthy set up his own camps in Hungary when the intention of the Nazis was to remove all the Jews of Europe?

I assume that Ribbentrop refers to the camps in the General Government because that is where the Hungarian Jews ended up in.

Mills wrote, 3/7/03:
The upshot of the above is that there is nothing in the record of the Klessheim meeting of 16-17 April that makes it explicit that Hitler had issued an extermination order. Therefore, there is nothing in the record that disproves Irving's thesis that Hitler did not issue such an order.
Again, that is not the argument, per Evans and the Evans Report. And, again, there is Hitler sitting next to Ribbentrop who is issuing two alternatives per Hungary's Jews, the first being extermination, the second deportation to the camps.

Maybe I am missing something, but it appears to me that for all the analysis of these documents, it is clear that Germany's Foreign Minister with the Fuhrer by his side, states to Horthy that his if he (Horthy) will not annihilate the Hungarian Jews, they will have to be sent to concentration camps. I doubt that either Ribbentrop or Hitler would openly state that these camps were the death camps in the east, and if neither man knows about those camps, then the Foreign Minister is suggesting a new policy of extermination...a construct I find impossible to believe.

Mark

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Post by walterkaschner » 20 Mar 2003 04:58

Tarpon 27 asked:
The argument that the camps were to be in Hungary comes from where? If one is to argue that there is no direct inference that the "concentration camps" were outside of Hungary, let alone the extermination camps in the east, how does one argue that Ribbentrop is arguing that Horthy set up his own camps in Hungary when the intention of the Nazis was to remove all the Jews of Europe?
As far as I can tell the argument is based on Ribbentrop's testimony at the Nuremberg trials, quoted somewhere above:
M. FAURE: Now, you also spoke about this question with Horthy, did you not?

VON RIBBENTROP: Yes. 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. That was the first point. And the second point dealt with the removal of the Jews from influential Government posts, since it had been proved that Jewish influence in these departments was sufficiently authoritative to bring Hungary to a separate peace.
Again, from Ribbentrop's further testimony:
THE PRESIDENT: Well, Defendant, the Tribunal would like to know whether you did, say to the Regent Horthy that Jews ought to be taken to concentration camps.

VON RIBBENTROP: 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. This solution should consist of two points. One was the removal of the Jews from important government positions and two, since there were so many Jews in Budapest, to centralize the Jews in certain quarters of Budapest.
As a lawyer, I can say that having a client like Ribbentrop is a heavy cross to bear. His testimony is so obviously defensive and self serving as to shatter his credibility, and moreover in his testimony he gets tangled up in his own underwear. The implication he would wish the Tribunal to draw is that by placing the Hungarian Jews in a concentration camp near Budapest they would continue to be under the relatively "benign" control
of the Horthy government. But his preceeding testimony before the Tribunal was clearly that the ultimate plan was to transfer the Hungarian Jews to the Eastern (ie, primarily extermination) camps. Thus:
M. FAURE: Germany deported all the Jews from German territory and territories occupied by her to Eastern reservations. That is true, is it not?

VON RIBBENTROP: I do not know the contents of the document in detail. I do not know what I myself said in detail. But at any rate I knew that the Fuehrer had ordered that the Jews of the occupied territories in Europe were to be transported to reservations in the East and resettled there. That I did know. The carrying out of these measures, however, was not my task as Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Foreign Office, but I did know that it was the Fuehrer's wish. In this connection, I remember that I received an order from him to discuss the matter with the Italian Government so that they too would introduce corresponding measures regarding the Jewish problem. That applied to other countries as well, where we had to send telegrams quite frequently, so that these countries should solve the Jewish question.
Ribbentrop here is squirming like an insect formulated by a pin. I don't know if there ever was a concentration camp established near Budapest, but I do understand that a few weeks after the Germans marched into Hungary in March, 1944 and established a puppet government, well over 400,000 Hungarian Jews were rounded up and deported to Auschwitz.

Regards, Kaschner

michael mills
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Post by michael mills » 20 Mar 2003 05:10

Chalutzim ( = "Pioneers" in Hebrew; a quintessentially Socialist Zionist nom de plume, no doubt proclaiming ideological adherence) wrote:
A list of other occasions where he could be more clear:
Why not post what yopu object to in Irving's handling of the issues on those occasions. We could then discuss the matter.

Irving was quite right on at least one of the issues, the aftermath of the shooting at Rumbula on 30 December 1941 of the first transport of Jews that had arrived in Latvia from Berlin.

His position was that an order had been sent from Himmler that the Jews being deported from Germany were not to be shot like the Soviet Jews, but that the order had arrived too late, and that the first transport of German Jews were killed along with the Jews from the Riga Ghetto.

All the evidence suggests that Irving was right on that point. The inclusion of the Jews in the Rumbula massacre seems to have been an excess of zeal by HSSPF Russland-Nord Jeckeln, for which he was reprimanded by Himmler a couple of days later (as shown by a Bletchley Park decode found more recently by Irving in the Public Records Office). Thereafter, the transports of German Jews arriving in Riga (some 20,000 arrived) were all taken into the Riga Ghetto and housed there, or else into the Jungfernhof Camp).

Even Peter Longerich, one of the Defence's expert witnesses at the court action, seems to have adopted the same position on this point as Irving (although without admitting it). In his book "Politik der Vernichtung", he comes to the conclusion that as of the end of 1941 there was no order to exterminate the German Jews deported to the East, even though Soviet Jews were already being killed en masse.

walterkaschner
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Post by walterkaschner » 20 Mar 2003 05:41

Michael Mills wrote:
Walter Kaschner wrote:

Quote:

Mr Mills would have it that the material in the second paragraph was included by Irving as an indication of what was in Hitler and Ribbentrop's minds rather than an indication of what was actually said at the meeting. But I challenge any fair minded reader to come to that conclusion upon reading the three paragraphs as a whole.




I would agree that the way the three paragraphs are written would confuse the virgin reader about what was actually said at the meeting and what was in the minds of Hitler and Ribbentrop when they went to the meeting, and was the stimulus to the ultimatum they gave to Horthy.

When that confusion is something deliberately created by Irving for the purpose of deceiving his readers, or whether it is what I termed "sloppy writing", I do not know. Evans certainly interpreted at the former, but he is hardly an unbiassed observer.
And I confess that I myself am also hardly an unbiased observer.

Mr. Mills also wrote:
My guess is that Irving was making a surmise about what the motivation of Hitler and Ribbentrop was. Of course it would have been better if he had written; "When Hitler and Ribbentrop met Horthy, they probably had in mind the danger of Jewish armed resistance, which had already occurred in Warsaw the previous March, and which would flare up again more strongly a few days after the meeting etc etc".

But historians often make surmises. For example, the German historian Christian Gerlach claims that Hitler gave the order for a Europe-wide extermination of the Jews on 12 December 1941. Of course, he does not actually have before him a written order from Hitler dated 12 December 1941, saying "Kill all the Jews". His surmise is based on the record that a meeting took place on that date, plus later statements by participants at the meeting, eg Goebbels, Frank, which can be interpreted in different ways.
I am not familiar with the claim by Christian Gerlach to which Mr. Mills refers, but I certainly agree that historians do, and indeed often must, make surmises on the evidence available to them. But I think the mark of a true pick and shovel historian (which Irving purports to be), as opposed to a charlatan, is to make it abundantly clear to the reader that his conclusion is indeed only a surmise and that the evidence could be subject to a different interpretation.

Now having said that, I must acknowledge that I am on dangerous ground, because I relish many historians who are far from the pick and shovel variety and are quick to lay one surmise upon another so as to create an astonishing and powerful (albei highly questionable) historical edifice. Gibbon, Vico, Friedell, Spengler, Toynbee all come readily to mind.

But David Irving is in another category altogether. He ostensibly prides himself on sifting through the primary sources so as to establish what really happened - not what one might surmise had happened - and yet subtely twists and tortures the evidence to conform to his preconceived notions, which, I admit , are far different than my own. I was much taken by his Dresden book when it appeared in the mid-1960s, and for several reasons - some personal - was severally upset to find that much of it was simply bogus.

Richard Evans may well have his faults as an historian, but I have yet to know of any as egregious as those David Irving is guilty of.

Regards to all, Kaschner

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