Scott -- I asked you to prove that Hitler's murder order was legal. You responded: "You can't even show me "Hitler's murder order." At best it is postulated. If you can find it you'd better let David Irving know."
Well, that's interesting. Let's talk about the murder order. I think we can agree that Hitler either ordered the killing of Jews, gypsies, and Polish intellectuals (all non-combatant civilians), or he didn't. There is a convincing body of evidence (convincing to me, anyway) that he did issue such an order. Himmler said so, and everyone who passed the order on, from Himmler and Heydrich on down the line, said it was a Fuehrer order. Every participant whose testimony I've read said that they wouldn't have shot non-combatant civilians into pits if they didn't think it was commanded by a Fuehrer order.
Here is some of the evidence for Hitler issuing the order:
On March 3, 1941, Adolf Hitler dictated a memorandum to Generaloberst Alfred Jodl, the chief of the German armed forces operations staff, in preparation for the scheduled invasion of Russia. The memorandum, or general directive, noted: "The Bolshevist/Jewish intelligentsia must be eliminated as having been the 'oppressor' of the people up to now." This task of elimination was entrusted to Reichsfuehrer-SS Heinrich Himmler. (Hoehne 401)
In early June, 1941, SS-Gruppenfuehrer Bruno Streckenbach, head of RSHA Branch I (SS personnel office), gave a further explanation of the orders to exterminate the Jews to Einsatzgruppe officers assembled at Pretzsch, Germany. According to later testimony by SS-Brigadefuehrer Prof. Otto Ohlendorf, a supplementary special order was given verbally by SS-Gruppenfuehrer Heinrich Mueller, head of the Gestapo, and SS-Gruppenfuehrer Bruno Streckenbach to the Einsatzgruppe commanders and their principal subordinates. This order, issued by Reichsfuehrer-SS Heinrich Himmler and SS-Obergruppenfuehrer Reinhard Heydrich, the chief of the RSHA, Sipo and SD, read as follows: "That in addition to our general task the Security Police [Sipo] and SD, the Einsatzgruppen and the Einsatzkommandos had the mission to protect the rear of the troops by killing the Jews, gypsies, Communist functionaries, active Communists, and all persons who would endanger the security." Ohlendorf then went on to say:
"The immediate feeling with me and with the other men was one of general protest. SS-Gruppenfuehrer Streckenbach listened to this protest, and even gave us a few different points which we could not know, but at the same time he told us that even he himself had protested most strenuously against a similar order in the Polish campaign, but that Himmler had rebuked him just as severely by stating that this was a Fuehrer order, which must be carried out, in order to achieve the war aim of destroying communism for all times, therefore this order was to be accepted without hesitation. . . . I did not consider it justified because quite independently from the necessity of taking such measures, these measures would have moral and ethical consequences which would deteriorate the mind." (Trials of War Criminals 244-5)
In the summer of 1941, Reichsfuehrer-SS Heinrich Himmler summoned SS-Obersturmbannfuehrer Rudolf Hoess, who served in several Nazi concentration camps, to a private conference, when Himmler said that Adolf Hitler had ordered "the final solution of the Jewish question"; and consequently, "whatever Jews we can reach" were to be executed "without exception" throughout the war. Himmler went on to tell Hoess: "We, the SS, must carry out that order. If it is not carried out now, then the Jews will destroy the German people." Himmler then explained that Hoess was to wait for further instructions from Karl Adolf Eichmann. (Holo Levin 292; Fleming 47)
In August or September, 1941, SS-Obergruppenfuehrer Reinhard Heydrich, the head of the RSHA, Sipo and SD, summoned SS-Obersturmbannfuehrer Karl Adolf Eichmann to his Berlin offices and told Eichmann that Adolf Hitler had ordered the physical extermination of the Jews. Eichmann later described the scene and the order Heydrich gave him:
"The final solution depends . . . it's mixed up with . . . something that happened after the start of the German-Russian war.
At that time [July 31, 1941] Reich Marshal Goering issued a document conferring a special title on the head of the Security Police and the SD [SS-Obergruppenfuehrer Reinhard Heydrich]. I'm trying to remember the wording. Was it "Deputy Charged with the Final Solution," or was it "with the Solution of the Jewish Question"?
We can only be sure that it relates to the period when emigration had ceased to be possible and the more radical solution was resorted to. The war with the Soviet Union began in June 1941, I think. And I believe it was two months later, or maybe three, that Heydrich sent for me. I reported. He said to me: 'The Fuehrer, well, emigration is . . .' He began with a little speech. And then: 'The Fuehrer has ordered physical extermination.' These were his words. And as though wanting to test their effect on me, he made a long pause, which was not at all his way. I can still remember that. In the first moment, I didn't grasp the implications, because he chose his words so carefully. But then I understood. I didn't say anything, what could I say? Because I'd never thought of a . . . of such a thing, of that sort of violent solution. And then he said to me: 'Eichmann, go and see [SS-Brigadefuehrer Odilo] Globocnik in Lublin.'" (Eichmann Interr 74-5)
According to Hoess: "In the summer of 1941, I cannot remember the exact date, I was suddenly summoned to the Reichsminister-SS, directly by his adjutant's office. Contrary to his usual custom, Himmler received me without his adjutant being present and said, in effect: 'The existing extermination centers in the east are not in a position to carry out the large actions that are anticipated. I have therefore designated Auschwitz for this purpose, both because of its good position as regards communications and because the area can easily be isolated and camouflaged.' We discussed the ways and means of effecting the extermination. This could only be done by gassing, since it would have been absolutely impossible to dispose by shooting of the large numbers of people that were expected, and it would have placed too heavy of a burden on the SS men who had to carry it out, especially because of the women and children among the victims." (Hoess 183-4)
In August of 1941, SS-Gruppenfuehrer Heinrich Mueller, head of the Gestapo, notified the four Einsatzgruppen commanders that, "The Fuehrer is to be kept informed continually from here about the work of the Einsatzgruppen in the East." (Fleming xxvi)
SS-Gruppenfuehrer Heinrich Mueller, the chief of the Gestapo, ordered SS-Obersturmbannfuehrer Karl Adolf Eichmann to visit the mass executions being staged at Minsk by SS-Obersturmbannfuehrer Dr. Otto Bradfisch's Einsatzkommando 8, operating under the authority of Einstazkommando B's commander SS-Obergruppenfuehrer Arthur Nebe. Eichmann later spoke of what he saw:
. . . Mueller said to me: 'In Minsk the Jews are being shot. I'd like a report on that.' So I went to Minsk. I had nothing at all to do there. I didn't know anybody. I went to the command post -- what was it called again! . . . Commander Security Police, or could it have been Action Team Security Police? -- and asked for the commanding officer. I still remember, he wasn't there. I spoke to someone else and told him I had orders to see what was going on. I spent the night in that town, and next day I went to the place, but I got there too late. The work for that morning was already done, almost done -- and I was very glad of that. When I got there, I was just in time to see some young riflemen, I believe they were riflemen, with the death's-head collar patch, shooting into a pit . . . maybe four or five times as big as this room. Maybe bigger, say six or seven times. I . . . I . . . my orientation in this case is unreliable, because I saw this thing without thinking, I didn't think anything at all. I just saw it, and that's all. They fired into the pit. I can still see a woman with her arms behind her back, and then her knees crumpled, and I cleared out . . .
[The pit was full of corpses] It was full. I went to my car, I got in and drove away. I drove to Lemberg. I had no orders to go to Lemberg, I remember now. Somehow I went to Lemberg and found the man in charge of the Gestapo command post and I said to him: 'It's horrible what they're doing there. They're training young men to be sadists.' I told Mueller the exact same thing. I told Guenther [SS-Sturmbannfuehrer Adolf Guenther, Eichmann's deputy], too. I told everybody. I told them all. And I said to that SS officer in Lemberg: 'How can they stand there firing at a woman and children? How is it possible? . . . It's just not . . . Those men will either go mad or they'll turn into sadists . . . our own men.' He said to me: 'They're doing the same thing right here, shooting. Want to see?' 'No,' I said. 'I don't want to see anything.' 'We're driving past there anyway,' he said. There had been a pit there, it was already filled in, and blood was gushing out of it . . . how shall I say? . . . like a geyser. I've never seen anything like it. I'd had enough of that mission. I went back to Berlin and reported what I'd seen to Gruppenfuehrer Mueller. I said to him: 'This is no solution to the Jewish question. And besides, we're training our men to be sadists. We shouldn't be surprised if they all turn out to be criminals, all criminals.' I still remember Mueller looking at me with an expression that said: Eichmann, you're right, that's no solution. But there was nothing he could do about it. Mueller definitely couldn't do a thing. Not a thing. Not a thing. Who gave the orders for those actions? The orders, the orders. Obviously, the orders were given by the head of the Security Police and the SD, namely, Heydrich. But he must also have had his instructions from the Reichsfuehrer-SS, namely, Himmler; on his own hook he can't . . . he could never have done such things on his own hook. And Himmler must have had express orders from Hitler. If he hadn't had orders from Hitler, he'd have been out on his ear before he knew what hit him. (Eichmann Interr 79-80)
According to Eichmann, these experiences shook his nerves badly, and he requested that SS-Gruppenfuehrer Heinrich Mueller give him some other duty. Eichmann also asked for written authority for the order to exterminate the Jews, as he described:
I never saw a written order . . . All I know is that Heydrich said to me: 'The Fuehrer has ordered the physical extermination of the Jews.' He said that as clearly and surely as I'm repeating it now. And those were the first, the first results . . . small-scale results . . . that I'm telling you about now. I implored the Gruppenfuehrer [Heinrich Mueller]: Please, don't send me there. Send someone else. Someone with stronger nerves. They never let me go to the front. I was never a soldier. There are plenty of other men who can bear to see such things, who won't keel over, I can't stand it. I can't sleep at night, I have nightmares. I can't stand it, Gruppenfuehrer.' But it didn't get me anywhere." (Tyranny on Trial 81)
In August or September of 1941, Reichsfuehrer-SS Heinrich Himmler witnessed a mass execution of 100-150 Jews outside Minsk, Belorussia, which was later described by SS-Oberst-Gruppenfuehrer Karl Wolff, then Himmler's liaison office with Adolf Hitler's headquarters:
"An open grave had been dug and they had to jump into this and lie face downwards. And sometimes when one or two rows had already been shot, they had to lie on top of the people who had already been shot and then they were shot from the edge of the grave. And Himmler had never seen dead people before and in his curiosity he stood right up at the edge of this open grave -- a sort of triangular hole -- and was looking in.
While he was looking in, Himmler had the deserved bad luck that from one or other of the people who had been shot in the head he got a splash of brains on his coat, and I think it also splashed into his face, and he went very green and pale; he wasn't actually sick, but he was heaving and turned round and swayed and then I had to jump forward and hold him steady and then I led him away from the grave.
After the shooting was over, Himmler gathered the shooting squad in a semi-circle around him and, standing up in his car, so that he would be a little higher and be able to see the whole unit, he made a speech. He had seen for himself how hard the task which they had to fulfil for Germany in the occupied areas was, but however terrible it all might be, even for him as a mere spectator, and how much worse it must be for them, the people who had to carry it out, he could not see any way round it.
They must be hard and stand firm. He could not relieve them of this duty; he could not spare them. In the interests of the Reich, in this hopefully Thousand Year Reich, in its first decisive great war after the take-over of power, they must do their duty however hard it may seem. He appealed to their sense of patriotism and their readiness to make sacrifices. Well, yes -- and then he drove off. And he left this -- this police unit to sort out the future for themselves, to see if and how far they could come to terms with this -- within themselves, because for some it was a shock which lasted their whole lives." (Gilbert Holo 191)
After Himmler's experience, SS-Obersturmbannfuehrer Dr. Otto Bradfisch, head of Einsatzkommando 8 of Einsatzgruppe B, operating in the Minsk area, asked Reichsfuehrer-SS Heinrich Himmler who was taking the responsibility for the mass extermination of the Jews. Himmler told Bradfisch, "These orders . . . come from Hitler as the supreme Fuehrer of the German government and . . . they [have] the force of law." Himmler later said the same thing in a speech to Einsatzkommando 8 and some security police. One of Reichsfuehrer-SS Heinrich Himmler's command staff, Higher SS and Police Judge Horst Bender, also asked Himmler who was responsible for the "final solution" order. According to Bender, "Himmler categorically stated that this measure had been personally ordered by Hitler, out of political and military considerations, and it therefore stood above all jurisdiction, including SS and police jurisdiction." (Fleming xxiv 51; Fleming 51)
In September of 1941, SS-Gruppenfuehrer Bruno Streckenbach, chief of personnel for the RSHA, whose job included selecting Einsatzgruppen personnel, brought up the subject of mass exterminations with Reichsfuehrer-SS Heinrich Himmler and RSHA chief SS-Obergruppenfuehrer Reinhard Heydrich. Heydrich told Streckenbach "that it was pointless to criticize this operation or to oppose it. This was strictly a matter of a Fuehrer-order; for in connection with this war, which represented the final, violent clash of two irreconcilably opposed world views, the Fuehrer had expressed his resolve to find simultaneously a solution to the Jewish problem." (Fleming 52)
In October of 1941, When confronted with complaints from officers in the Army Quartermaster General's Department of War Administration about the "deportation of Jews," Adolf Hitler said, "The Jewish question takes priority over all other matters." (Fleming 31)
On October 4-5, 1941, during a visit of Reichsfuehrer-SS Heinrich Himmler to Nikolaev, Ukraine, U.S.S.R., he visited the headquarters of Einsatzgruppe D. SS-Brigadefuehrer Prof. Otto Ohlendorf, the commander of Einsatzgruppe D, described Himmler's inspection tour:
When the Reichsfuehrer-SS arrived at my headquarters, I had assembled all available commanders of my Einsatzgruppe. The Reichsfuehrer addressed these men and repeated the strict order to kill all those groups [Jews, gypsies, communist functionaries and communist activists] which I have designated. He added that he alone would carry the responsibility, as far as accounting to the Fuehrer was concerned. None of the men would bear any responsibility, but he demanded the execution of this order, even though he knew how harsh these measures were.
Nevertheless, after supper, I spoke to the Reichsfuehrer and I pointed out the inhuman burden which was being imposed on the men in killing all these civilians. I didn't even get an answer." (Trials of War Criminals IV, 251)
On October 17, 1941, in an evening conversation with his intimates, staff, Reich Minister for Armaments and Munitions Dr. Fritz Todt and Gauleiter Fritz Sauckel, Adolf Hitler spoke of his plans to colonize the Ukraine with Germans. Then he went on: "As for the natives, we'll have to screen them carefully. The Jew, that destroyer, we shall drive out." (Hitler's Secret Conversations 92)
Under these circumstances, it is interesting to note Hitler's table talk on October 25, 1941.
In an evening conversation with his intimates and staff, Reichsfuehrer-SS Heinrich Himmler and SS-Obergruppenfuehrer Reinhard Heydrich, Adolf Hitler said:
"From the rostrum of the Reichstag I prophesized to Jewry that, in the event of war's proving inevitable, the Jew would disappear from Europe. That race of criminals has on its conscience the two million dead of the first World War, and now already hundreds of thousands more. Let nobody tell me that all the same we can't park them in the marshy parts of Russia! Who's worrying about our troops? It's not a bad idea, by the way, that public rumor attributes to us a plan to exterminate the Jews. Terror is a salutary thing." (Hitler's Secret Conversations 108-9)
Later on in the conversation Hitler added:
"I have numerous accounts to settle, about which I cannot think today. But that doesn't mean I forget them. I write them down. The time will come to bring out the big book! Even with regard to the Jews, I've found myself remaining inactive." (Hitler's Secret Conversations 111)
I wonder what Himmler and Heydrich must have thought about Hitler's comments.
On November 5, 1941, in an evening conversation with his intimates and staff, Adolf Hitler said: "The end of the war will see the final ruin of the Jew. And their egotism goes so far that they're not even capable of risking their lives for the defense of their most vital interests." (Hitler's Secret Conversations 135)
On November 10-11, 1941, SS-Obergruppenfuehrer Friedrich Jeckeln, the newly-named Higher SS and Police Leader for the Ostland (Nazi-occupied Byelorussia and the Baltic states), conferred with Reichsfuehrer-SS Heinrich Himmler on his assignment. Jeckeln described his part in the "Final Solution" for Soviet authorities, prior to his execution in 1946 for war crimes:
On 10th or 11th of November 1941, I was summoned by Himmler to the Gestapo building in the Prinz-Albrecht-Strasse in Berlin to discuss my appointment as Higher SS and Police Leader. Himmler told me that I would have to carry out all his orders and advised me to make use of the police organs already in existence in the Ostland, which consisted of Latvians, Lithuanians and Estonians. Himmler also said that I should discuss all official matters affecting the SS and police with Reich Commissioner [Hinrich] Lohse. In the course of this meeting, Himmler delegated very wide powers to me and ordered me to act in his name and to intervene in the event that his, i.e. Himmler's orders were not being carried out.
Himmler told me that I must organize my work in the Ostland in such a way as to ensure that absolute peace and order reigned throughout the whole territory of the Ostland and White Russia and that all the Jews in the Ostland must be exterminated right down to the very last one . . . .
Himmler told me that the Jewish question in the Ostland had been solved. Only in Riga had a ghetto survived which had not been liquidated and I should carry out this liquidation. Himmler said that my predecessor, SS-Obergruppenfuehrer Hans Adolf Prutzmann . . . had said that Lohse was opposed to the liquidation of this ghetto. Himmler said I should discuss this with Lohse and, even if he were opposed, the Riga ghetto should still be liquidated. 'Tell Lohse that these are my orders which also correspond to the Fuehrer's wish'.
A few days after my arrival in Riga, I visited Reich Commissioner Lohse and told him that Himmler had demanded that the ghetto in Riga be liquidated. 'Are you agreeable to that?' Lohse replied that he had nothing against it and I could regard his agreement as an order. After a little time, I gave the order to liquidate all the Jews from the Riga ghetto . . . .
On my arrival in Riga in November 1941 there were 20-25,000 Jews in the Riga ghetto. Apart from Jews from the Ostland, there were also Jews here who had arrived with transports from the Reich . . . .
All the Jews from the Riga ghetto were shot at the end of November or the beginning of December in the course of one week. They were shot in a little wood three kilometres outside Riga on the left hand side of the road between the road and the railway line . . . .
I reported to Himmler by telephone that the Riga ghetto had been liquidated and when I visited Himmler in December 1941 in Lotzen (East Prussia), I also reported to him directly. Himmler was content and said that further Jewish transports would arrive in the Ostland which I must also exterminate . . . .
At the end of January 1942, I visited Himmler in Lotzen to discuss matters to do with the organisation of the Latvian SS legion. There Himmler told me that further transports would arrive in the Salaspils concentration camp from the Reich and other countries. Himmler said that he had not yet decided how they were to be exterminated, whether to shoot them in Salaspils or to chase them off into the marshes somewhere . . . .
I pointed out that from my point of view shooting would be a simpler and quicker form of death. Himmler said he would think about it and give me orders later via Heydrich . . . .
Jews were brought to the Salaspils camp from Germany, France, Belgium, Holland, Czechoslovakia and other occupied countries. It is difficult to give an exact figure for the Jews who were in Salaspils, but all the Jews in this camp were exterminated . . . .
I can give you a rough estimate. The first Jewish transports arrived in Salaspils already in November 1941. In the first half of 1942 the transports came in regular succession. I think no more than three transports arrived in November 1941 but during the next seven months, from December 1941 to June 1942, 8-12 transports arrived each month. If one reckons on 1,000 persons for each transport, then 55-87,000 Jews were exterminated who had come to Salaspils from the Reich and other countries . . . . (Nazism 2, #842)
On November 11, 1941, Felix Kersten, former physician to the Dutch royal family and the masseur of Reichsfuehrer Heinrich Himmler, wrote in his diary: "To-day Himmler is very depressed. He has just come from the Fuehrer's Chancellery. I gave him treatment. After much pressure and questions as to what was the matter with him, he told me that the destruction of the Jews is being planned." (Hoehne 367)
On November 16, 1941, Felix Kersten, former physician to the Dutch royal family and the masseur of Reichsfuehrer-SS Heinrich Himmler, wrote in his diary: "In these last few days with Himmler I have constantly been trying to return to the fate of the Jews. Contrary to all his habits he only listens to me in silence." (Hoehne 367)
There is more of this kind of stuff, but hopefully these accounts make the point.
I remarked that Hitler's murder order, by contrast to the bombing of Cambodia, Operation Phoenix and Operation Gommorah, was not directed against a military target, but against non-combatant civilians. There was no authorization for it under the German constitution, it was not voted on by the Reichstag, and it was not authorized by any expression of the German popular will. It was illegal under international law. It comes as no surprise, then, that the order was verbal and secret. It cannot be said, therefore, to be the act of a "sovereign nation."
To that observation, you responded: "Your logic is strained. So, it must have been verbal because it doesn't exist in documentary form. Perhaps it was by telepathy, or what Hilberg calls "an extraordinary meeting ot the minds." In any case, there are many reasons for secrecy. I think you are putting too much faith in the mythic German resistance in saying NO to what Goldhagen thinks that every German lusted for when drinking to his Wagnerian Gods."
I don't think it strains logic to believe that if someone gives you an order to shoot non-combatant civilian men, women and children into a pit, and won't give you the order in writing, and says to keep it secret, there's something seriously wrong. The inescapable suggestion is that the person giving the order doesn't want to take responsibility for it, and doesn't want to be held accountable for it
Nor do I think that it strains logic to believe that if Hitler were unwilling to take personal responsibility for the order, it cannot be said to be the act of a "sovereign nation. The murder order is not the act of a nation, it is not the act of a "sovereign nation," and it is not even the act of a sovereign. What can you say when even the sovereign is trying to avoid responsibility for the murder order?
You add: "So, it [the murder order] must have been verbal because it doesn't exist in documentary form. Perhaps it was by telepathy, or what Hilberg calls "an extraordinary meeting of the minds."
Your suggestion that the murder order may have been transmitted telepathically is peculiar. Was it meant to be humorous? Human beings have been able to communicate through speech for some time now. In fact, all of the accounts above suggest voice communication, not telepathy, as the means of transmitting the murder order.
You conclude: "I think you are putting too much faith in the mythic German resistance in saying NO to what Goldhagen thinks that every German lusted for when drinking to his Wagnerian Gods."
This remark is as strange as the one above. I don't think I ever mentioned either the "mythic German resistance" or Goldhagen. In any event, let's stick to the subject. I asked you to prove the murder order was legal. You responded that I couldn't even show you the murder order. So what are you trying to say -- Not only wasn't there such an order, it was legal? If Hitler didn't authorize this practice, why bother to argue that it was the legal act of a sovereign state? You can't have both for the same price.