International Campaign for Real History

In the High Court of Justice

Deborah Lipstadt's Defence (continued)

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Meaning (i)-(iii)(v): "Hitler's War"
(unattributed page references are to "Hitler's War")

(16) In 1977, the English edition of the Plaintiff's book, "Hitler's War" was published. The purpose of Hitler's War, informing its massive documentary presentation, was to present a revised picture of Hitler by transferring both the political and military errors and the crimes ascribed to him to others: the errors to his generals, the crimes to his political associates. reply

(17) As in the case of the death of Sikorski (see (49) below), the Plaintiff had one vital document, which he declared (p.xiv) was "incontrovertible evidence" that Hitler was not responsible for the extermination of the Jews - indeed knew nothing about it (until October 1943) it was carried out behind his back by Himmler. This "incontrovertible evidence" is an entry in Himmler's telephone log-book recording a call on 20 November 1941 made by Himmler, then at the Führer's Headquarters in East Prussia, to his deputy, Reinhard Heydrich, head of the Reich Security Main Office, then in Prague. reply

(18) The Plaintiff claimed (at p.xiv):

"Many people, particularly in Germany and Austria, had an interest in propagating the accepted version that the order of one madman [Hitler] originated the entire massacre [of the Jews]. Precisely when the order was given and in what form has, admittedly, never been established. In 1939? - but the secret extermination camps did not begin operating until December 1941. At the January 1942 "Wannsee Conference"? - but the incontrovertible evidence is that Hitler ordered on November 30, 1941, that there was to be "no liquidation" of the Jews (without much difficulty I found in Himmler's private files his own handwritten note on this)." reply

(19) This claimed the Plaintiff, (e.g at pp.332, 393 and 504) proved that Hitler positively forbade the murder of the Jews (of which somewhat inconsistently, he was declared by the Plaintiff to be unaware). Thus, the Plaintiff could conclude, the Final Solution, and extermination of Jews in the Gas Chambers were the unauthorised policy of Himmler alone. reply

(20) In fact, the said note proved no such thing. The Himmler note actually read (in translation):

"Transport of Jews from Berlin. No liquidation".

It is quite clear that the order (even if it was Hitler's) applied (as the Plaintiff must have been aware, since he read it) to a particular transport (i.e. train load) of Jews only: it was an exception. A particular liquidation would not have been forbidden unless it would otherwise have happened. reply

(21) Further, the said document, like any document, has to be seen in its context, from which the Plaintiff detached it. Although the full diary page entry was reproduced in facsimile in a plate in the book, the plate was not transcribed apart from the two sentences set out in (20) above. The lay reader would not have been able to understand Himmler's handwriting (in German) from the plate or the significance of the rest of the diary entry. Additionally, the transportation of Jews from Berlin and their semi-public murder in Riga was causing unrest both in Berlin and among the occupying troops in Riga; and so the order was given that this train-load was not to be liquidated (although in fact it was liquidated since the particular exception arrived too late). reply

(22) The Plaintiff, in the context to add credibility to his argument that Hitler (unlike Himmler and Goebbels) did not know of the Final Solution, manipulated and distorted the effect of an entry in Goebbels' diary on 27 March 1942; and further, then placed a remark on Hitler out of context and out of chronological order:

(i) The Plaintiff wrote:

"The ghastly secrets of Treblinka and Auschwitz were well kept [from Hitler]. Goebbels wrote a frank summary of them in his diary on March 27, 1942, but evidently held his tongue when he met Hitler two days later, for he quotes only Hitler's remark: "The Jews must get out of Europe. If need be, we must resort to the most brutal methods ..." (p.392)

(ii) In fact Goebbels did not meet Hitler "2 days later". The remark the Plaintiff attributes to Hitler was actually made 20 March 1942;

(iii) The relevant part of Goebbels' diary entry on 27 March 1942 read as follows:

"Beginning with Lublin, the Jews under the General Government are now being evacuated eastward. The procedure is pretty barbaric and is not to be described here more definitely. Not much will remain of the Jews. About 60 per cent of them will have to be liquidated; only about 40 per cent of them can be used for forced labour.

The former Gauleiter of Vienna [Globocnik] who is to carry out this measure, is doing it with considerable circumspection and in a way that does not attract too much attention. Though the judgment now being visited upon the Jews is barbaric, they fully deserve it. The prophecy which the Führer made about them for having brought on a new world war, is beginning 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-death struggle between the Aryan race and the Jewish bacillus. No other government and no other regime would have the strength for such a global solution as this. Here, once again, the Führer is the undismayed champion of a radical solution, which is made necessary by existing conditions and is therefore inexorable. Fortunately a whole series of possibilities presents itself to us in wartime which would be denied us in peace. We shall have to profit by this. The ghettos that will be emptied in the cities of the General Government will now be refilled with Jews thrown out of the Reich ..."

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(iv) By not quoting this most significant diary entry, and thereby avoiding the explicit and significant reference to the Führer in that entry, the Plaintiff could (and did) misuse the part of the entry in which Goebbels wrote a "frank summary" of the fate of the Jews, in order to demonstrate that Goebbels (whilst aware himself of what was happening) was one of those who hid from Hitler that new acts of murder had begun on the largest possible scale. In fact, the entry showed the opposite. reply

(23) In support of his argument that Hitler was not responsible and did not know of the extermination of the Jews, the Plaintiff misleadingly claimed (at p 327) that "Hitler's surviving adjutants, secretaries and staff stenographers have all uniformly testified that never once was the extermination of either Russian or European Jews mentioned - even confidentially - at Hitler's headquarters." The said former members of Hitler's circle all stated that whilst it was true that Hitler never spoke in their presence of the extermination of the Jews, they could not imagine that Hitler had not known about it. reply

(24) The Plaintiff (in the context, to add credibility to his argument that Hitler did not know) claimed as fact that "Even SS General Karl Woolf, Himmler's Chief of Staff and liaison officer to Hitler, was at this time [summer 1942] ignorant of the [extermination] programme that now got under way" (p 327). The Plaintiff omitted to inform his readers:

(i) that Wolff's claim to that effect in the Munich District Court in 1964, when charged with complicity in the killings, was rejected by the Court which "could not accept the claim of the defendant [Wolff] since it is not in accordance with the truth."; and

(ii) that Wolff has received a letter dated 11 April 1942 from SS Gruppenführer Dr. Herald Turner, the SS Military Administrator of Serbia, which read:

"Already months ago I had all Jews we could catch in this country shot, and concentrated all Jewish women and children in one camp. With the help of the SD [security police] we have obtained a "delousing-car" [gassing car] thanks to which we will clear this camp within 14 days to four weeks. The moment is coming however, when the Jewish officers now under the protection of the Geneva Convention in prison camps will discover, whether we like it or not, that their families no longer exist, and this could easily lead to complications when these individuals are released. They like their "racial mates", [Rassengenossen] will not be around for long and thus this whole matter will be finally concluded". reply

(25) The Plaintiff, whilst uncritically accepting statements which supported his exculpation of Hitler (for example, by Wolff, and Hitler's valet, Krause), ignored those which did not (such as those of the former SD officer, Wilhelm Höttl, and the commander of Auschwitz, Rudolf Höss) or distorted such statements. reply

(26) The Plaintiff manipulated Hitler's discussions at a conference at Klessheim in April 1943 with the Romanian head of state, Marshall Antonescu and with the Hungarian Regent Admiral Horthy, in order to obscure evidence of Hitler's increased intervention in the Final Solution after Stalingrad:

(i) In April 1943, Hitler attempted to persuade both heads of state to adopt similar radical measures towards the Jews of their countries to those adopted against the remaining few thousand Jews of the Reich: in particular, Hitler was dissatisfied that Hungary's 800,000 Jews could still move about the country with relative freedom. On 16 April 1943, Horthy answered the reproaches, and, clearly alluding to reports known to him about the liquidation of the Jews stated that he had done everything that could be decently done against the Jews, but it was after all impossible to murder them or otherwise eliminate them. Hitler then declared that ... there is no need for that; Hungary could put the Jews into concentration camps just as had been done in Slovakia ... When there was talk of murdering the Jews, he [the Führer] had to state that there was only one murderer namely the Jew who had provoked this war ... [see minutes of Hitler's conference with Antonescu and Horthy according to Hillgruber, Stattsmanner und Diplomaten bei Hitler, Vol. II (1970)];
(ii) On the following day, 17 April, Hitler and Ribbentrop (the Foreign Minister) brought the subject up again, and according to the record (op.cit): "In reply to Horthy's question, what should be done with the Jews after he had already deprived them of almost any means of existence - he after all could not beat them to death - the Foreign Minister answered that the Jews must either be annihilated or sent to concentration camps - there is no other way." Hitler then stated:

"They [the Jews] are just parasites. This state of affairs had not been tolerated in Poland; if the Jews there refused to work, they were shot. Those who could not work just wasted away, they had to be treated as tuberculosis bacilli which could infect a healthy organism. This was by no means cruel when one considered that even innocent creatures like deer and hares had to be put down to prevent damage. Why should the beasts that had brought Bolshevism down on us, command more pity."

(iii) The Plaintiff, when dealing with Hitler's said statements (at p.509) attempted to modify their obvious significance by the following means:

Ribbentrop's aforesaid statement in the presence of Hitler (that the Jews must either be annihilated or sent to concentration camps) was consigned to a footnote to the appendix to "Hitler's War";

Hitler's remarks (only part of which were quoted) were introduced by the Plaintiff with a reference to the warsaw Ghetto Revolt (which had not even been mentioned in the conference with Horthy), thus falsely making them appear to refer only to an action that was limited in scope and carried out for a specific reason;

after quoting part of what Hitler said on 17 April (see (ii) above), the Plaintiff presented the discussion between Horthy and Hitler as terminating with Horthy's question and Hitler's remark of the previous day, namely when in reply to Horthy's direct question if he should murder the Jews, Hitler said "there is no need for that"; thus grossly distorting the significance of what Hitler had said on 17 April. reply

(27) The Plaintiff claimed (at page 12) that "it is harder to establish a documentary link between him [Hitler] and the murderous activities of SS "task forces"." The Plaintiff omitted to draw the reader's attention to a document of 9 September 1939 in which Admiral Canaris tells Field Marshall Keitel that his understanding was that there was an order from Hitler for "grosse Füsillierungen" (large shootings) in Poland. reply

(28) The Plaintiff relied on the absence of any written order for the extermination of the Jews bearing Hitler's signature, ignoring a basic feature of Hitler's dictatorship, namely his frequent preference for oral instructions, over written directives, especially in secret matters. reply

(29) At p.331, in order to suggest that (at the material time) Hitler did not know of or favour a massacre of the Jews, and was not pursuing any active policy against them, the Plaintiff falsified and took out of context remarks recorded as having been made by Hitler on 25 October 1941 (in Hitler's table talk). The Plaintiff was thereby able to draw a false analogy between Hitler's attitude to the Jews, on the one hand, and his attitude to Bishop Galen (an opponent of the Euthanasia Programme) and the Vatican on the other:

(i) The Plaintiff wrote:
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"No documentary evidence exists that Hitler was aware that the Jews were being massacred upon their arrival. His remarks, noted by Bormann's adjutant Heinrich Heim late on October 25 1941, indicate that he did not favour it: "... By the way - it is not a bad thing that public rumour attributes to us a plan to exterminate the Jews. Terror is a salutary thing." Hitler added that just as he was sidestepping an open clash with the Vatican by postponing the final reckoning with Bishop von Galen until later, "with the Jews too I have found myself remaining inactive. There's no point in adding to one's difficulties at a time like this."" (p.331)

(ii) In respect of two of Hitler's sentences used by the Plaintiff as set out above, Henrich Heim in fact recorded Hitler's words as follows:

"It is a good thing (is useful) if we (our arrival is) are preceded by terror-reports that we are exterminating Jewry ... About the Jews too, I had to remain inactive for a long time."

(iii) The Plaintiff by changing the tense of the sentence, "About the Jews too ...", falsely made it appear that Hitler was not at that time, pursuing an active policy against the Jews, when the sentence, as properly translated made it clear that the contrary was true;

(iv) Further, by adding the words "plan" and "public rumour", the Plaintiff completely distorted the meaning of the sentence "It is a good thing (is useful) if our actions are preceded by terror-reports that we are exterminating Jewry". Hitler did not say that the extermination was a rumour, let alone an incorrect rumour as the Plaintiff implied; nor did Hitler speak of a plan, but of the fact that Jews were being exterminated (by that time at least half a million Jews had been shot and buried in the Baltics and Byelorussia);

(v) Moreover, the sentence, "There's no point in adding to one's difficulties at a time like this", in its context, plainly referred to Hitler's decision to postpone his "settling of accounts" with Bishop Galen and the Vatican, not (as the Plaintiff falsely suggested), to any postponement by Hitler of an active policy against the Jews. reply


(i) As further evidence of Hitler's innocence, the Plaintiff maintained (at p.851), that Ribbentrop, writing about Hitler from his cell in Nuremberg, exonerated Hitler of any responsibility for the extermination of the Jews. The Plaintiff quoted Ribbentrop as follows: "How things came to the destruction of the Jews, I just don't know ... But that he [Hitler] ordered it, I refuse to believe, because such an act would be wholly incompatible with the picture I always had of him".

The Plaintiff however, omitted the second part of Ribbentrop's text which read: "On the other hand, judging from Hitler's last will, one must suppose that he at least knew about it, if, in his fanaticism against the Jews, he didn't also order it."

(ii) After the publication of "Hitler's War", when challenged about that omission, the Plaintiff said it was "irrelevant" to the logic of his argument, and that he did not "want to confuse the reader". reply

(31) The Plaintiff (to give weight to his argument that the killing of the Jews was of an ad hoc nature), gave a misleading account of the Wannsee Conference of January 1942, on the Final Solution to the Jewish Question. The Plaintiff treated the Conference as a routine meeting in which Heydrich briefed the leading government officials in Berlin to the effect that "the Führer had sanctioned the evacuation of all Jews to the eastern territories .. where they would build roads until they dropped" (p.391). In fact, it was decided at that conference that, by agreement with Hitler, the emigration of the Jews would be replaced by "evacuation to the East", a euphemism for liquidation, and that of the 11 million Jews eventually involved in this "evacuation", the operation should begin with "the 2.5 million Jews of the General Government, the majority of whom were unfit for work". reply


(i) In order, again to exculpate Hitler of responsibility for the fate of the European Jews, the Plaintiff mistranslated and misrepresented the meaning of Nazi terminology used for their destruction. Alfred Rosenberg, the Reich Minister for the Eastern Occupied Territories, wrote a summary of a conversation with Hitler on 14 December 1941. In that summary Rosenberg noted that he had recommended that he (Rosenberg) say nothing in a forthcoming speech about the extermination of the Jews: "Ich stand auf Standpunkt von der Austrottung des Judentums nicht zu sprechen". The Führer, Rosenberg noted, agreed;

(ii) The Plaintiff (at p.356) confined the summary of that conversation to a footnote, and translated Rosenberg's note as follows: "I said I took the view that I shouldn't mention the stamping out of Judaism".

(iii) However, when the verb "ausrotten", or the noun "Ausrottung" was used in connection with the extermination of the Jews but were not attributed to, or used in the presence of Hitler, the Plaintiff translated them as "extermination" (for example at p.867 and pp.575-76n). reply


(i) In "Hitler's War", the Plaintiff failed to draw attention to one of Himmler's minutes (dated 7 October 1942), and in the Plaintiff's possession, which contained the word "Globus" as a subject for discussion with Hitler on that day. "Globus" was Himmler's pet name for Odilo Globocnik, the head of the Einstaz Reinhard (see (2)(vi) above and (22) above);

(ii) After the publication of "Hitler's War", when the Second Defendant drew the Plaintiff's attention to that minute, and asked him what he thought Himmler could have been discussing with Hitler on 7 October 1942 in connection with Glonocnik other than the murder of the Jews, the Plaintiff refused to acknowledge the minute's obvious significance (since it failed to accord with his theory that Hitler did not then know of the murder of the Jews); and said the Second Defendant and her colleague would have to look at Globocnik's personnel file in the Berlin archives to see whether he got a promotion that day. reply

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