Jewish Telegraph Agency, New York, Monday,
March 28, 2005
BEHIND THE HEADLINES
answers question: Yes, Hitler knew about
BERLIN, March 28 (JTA) -- Hitler
knew in detail about the attempted extermination of
the Jews. That's according to "Das Buch Hitler" --
"The Hitler Book" -- a newly published German
translation of a work written in Russian for the
Soviet dictator Josef Stalin in
Though few have really doubted that Hitler knew
about the genocide of European Jewry, the book
seeks to make clear that SS chief Heinrich
Himmler conferred with Hitler about the details
of the mass murder, according to historian
Matthias Uhl of the Institute for
Contemporary History [Institut für
Zeitgeschichte] in Berlin.
time I read that fresh "concrete evidence"
of Adolf Hitler's involvement in the
massacre of the Jews has been found, I
wait for the inevitable follow up: such
evidence has "not been found before." --
It comes along as sure as night follows
"concrete discovery" thus discredits and
invalidates the previous one, and this one
too will eventually be discredited, -- not
least because we are not shown the
original German text of the statements by
Günsche and Linge.
But it all goes down
very well with the corrupt media world,
with you-know-whom, and with the present
German regime. No real risk is incurred by
any modern German historian in saying
these things. And so they get said. Ad
nauseam. Ad infinitum. And we get no
When I first received in
the 1960s -- from my friend Lev
Bezymenski in Moscow -- parts of the
Russian text of this Stalin Hitler-book I
put them in writing (translated back into
German) to both Linge and Günsche; I
also interviewed Günsche closely on
Hitler's knowledge of the massacres.
His statements to me
were negative -- Hitler had known nothing,
had not been involved, there had never
been any discussion of this sort of thing
at Hitler's headquarters. But then of
course I did not beat and torture him, I
merely questioned him as any real
I am surprised and sorry
that Matthias Uhl, who is a
conformist historian at the Institut
für Zeitgeschichte, does not concede,
however grudgingly, that I first used this
Russian manuscript in the 1960s. My
correspondence with Günsche and Linge
about its content is in the Sammlung
Irving in the IfZ archives. Surely he
An English-language edition of "The Hitler Book"
is due out in November.
"The most remarkable thing about the book is the
direct connection between Hitler and the
Holocaust," Uhl said. "This is the first
information showing that Hitler got real
information from Himmler on the gas chambers, and
that Himmler showed him the sketches of the project
of the gas chambers.
"This is the first time that we have this
information that Hitler was so involved in the
Not all historians agree that the book offers an
important contribution. It's one of several new
books focusing on Hitler and the Third Reich,
including "Hitler's Bomb," by Berlin historian
Rainer Karlsch, about Nazi testing of atomic
weapons; and "Hitler's Ethnic State: Robbery,
Racial War and National Socialism," by journalist
and Hitler expert Goetz Aly.
"I think it's completely insignificant how much
Hitler knew of the details of the genocide," said
Wolfgang Benz, director of the Center for
Research on Anti-Semitism at the Technical
University in Berlin.
"It's clear that Hitler
knew. And whether he knew about the methods in
detail, or if he just told Himmler to get rid of
the Jews, it's all the same."
"I consider such books dumb, even if I haven't
yet read them," Benz added, because "they keep on
adding importance to this figure of Hitler."
"If you take the international scene, I would
agree that most historians do know that of course
Hitler knew," said rabbi and
historian Andreas Nachama, director
of the "Topography of Terror" archive and
documentation on the history of the Gestapo.
"But German historians are in a class by
themselves. They say, 'We haven't seen any proof
for that.' So for a German historian that might be
of importance," said Nachama, "even though for me
personally I never had any doubt that anything
important that happened in the Third Reich was
basically known to Hitler."
Nachama said he would read the new book with
"But the interrogations
were probably done by KGB intelligence
personnel, and you have to be in a way cautious
with these kinds of sources," he said.
The book, which had been stashed in a Soviet
archive for decades, was based on interviews with
two of Hitler's aides -- his butler, Heinz
Linge, and SS adjutant Otto
Günsche, below, who worked as
Hitler's assistant for 10 years.
Soviet authorities arrested Linge and Guensche
in Berlin on May 2, 1945. The two had been present
when Hitler's body was burned in his bunker.
The interviews were conducted while the two men
were in Soviet prisons;
interviewers got them to talk
by beating them, Uhl said.
The resulting text, which Uhl described as
"entertainment for Stalin," was completed in
"It's a description of how Hitler ruled between
1933 and 1945, Uhl said. "It's a history of
Now that it has been made available to the
public, the text can help
disprove the arguments of some Holocaust
revisionists who say Hitler was unaware of the
attempted genocide or did not approve of it,
"It's good evidence showing that Hitler was
involved in the Holocaust and it is a really good
source to stop" the efforts of Irving and others
like him," Uhl said.
According to the text, Hitler was personally
interested in the development of gas chambers in
extermination camps, and Himmler showed him the
plans. Hitler even ordered support for engineers
building the gas chambers.
In a segment of the book's text cited by
Reuters, "Hitler told Himmler to use more trucks
with mobile gas chambers so that munitions needed
for the troops wouldn't be wasted on shooting
"Himmler reported that the mobile gas chambers
were working. He laughed cynically when he said
that this method of murder is 'more considerate'
and 'quieter' than shooting them," the excerpt
According to the Reuters report, Linge and
Günsche said Hitler was not worried when the
United States declared war in December 1941, and
made jokes about it. Hitler is quoted as saying
that American "cars never win races, American
planes look sharp but their engines are worthless
Uhl uncovered the book by chance in 2003 while
researching Soviet military security policy in the
1960s, when the Berlin Wall was built.
"I found it in a file of the Soviet Central
Committee of the Communist Party," he said. He
recognized it as a text that had been cited decades
It was known that the document existed, Uhl
said, adding that Guensche and Linge had talked
about it when they were released from prison and
sent back to Germany. But the text apparently had
been seen by few people
David Irving] until now.
"Until the collapse of the Soviet Union, for
most historians it was impossible to work in
Russian archives," Uhl said. "There is one copy of
this book in the archive of the president of the
Russian Republic, where only Russian historians can
work. The other copy was in a file that was not
interesting for historians who deal with the Third
Reich and the Holocaust. It was in an area dealing
with the 1960s."
Uhl received permission to publish the text from
the Russian Archive of Contemporary History, and
worked with University of Halle historian Henrik
Eberle, who specializes in National Socialist
The two historians acknowledge that
the information in the report
was extracted through torture.
"Of course, the circumstances in the Soviet
prison were not very good," Uhl said. "We have
information from the document, and from Linge and
Günsche, that their Soviet interrogators beat
them, and if they talked they got more food and
medical help. So it was like the carrot and the
Linge and Günsche were sent back to Germany
in 1955. Linge died in 1980, and Guensche died in
2003, shortly before Uhl rediscovered the
"Hitler Book" discovered
- yet again
Irving, A Radical's Diary: I used it in the late
1960s, writing Hitler's
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