International Campaign for Real History

In the High Court of Justice

Reply by David Irving to Lipstadt's Defence

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The picture below is of Alfred Rosenberg from David Irving's collection



Alfred Rosenberg(i) The Defendants falsely aver that on December 14, 1941 Alfred Rosenberg [picture] noted after a conversation with Hitler, 'Ich stand auf dem Standpunkt von der Ausrottung des Judentums nicht zu sprechen', which the Defendants falsely and speciously paraphrase as being Rosenberg recommending that nothing be said (in a forthcoming speech) about the extermination of the Jews.

(ii) The Defendants correctly state that the Plaintiff confined a summary of this conversation to a footnote at page 356, and translated the German sentence as: 'I said I took the view that I shouldn't mention the stamping out of Judaism.'

(iii) The Defendants point out that when the German noun Ausrottung is used in connection with the extermination of the Jews but not attributed to Hitler the Plaintiff translated it as 'extermination' (e.g. in HITLER'S WAR at pages 867 and the footnote at pages 575-76).

At page 867 of HITLER'S WAR the Plaintiff indeed quoted a news reports forwarded by Himmler's adjutant to Ernst Kaltenbrunner's office: 'On the instructions of the Reichsführer SS I am transmitting herewith to you a press dispatch on the accelerated extermination (Ausrottung) of the Jews in Occupied Europe.' The Plaintiff clearly inserted the German word in brackets because he was hesitant about using that translation of the word and wanted expert readers to know the German original.

In the note in HITLER'S WAR at page 576, there was no doubt as to the proper translation being 'extermination', as Himmler had himself defined what he meant by the word Ausrottung -- 'I did not consider myself justified in exterminating the menfolk -- that is to kill them or have them killed -- [...]' This passage indicates incidentally how ambiguous the word could be at that time: speaking to the Nazi gauleiters on October 4, 1943, even Himmler had to explain what he meant by ausrotten. (The whole passage has been promoted to the main text of the new edition, at page 590).

The plaintiff allows that there is probably no argument about what the word Ausrottung has come to mean in modern 1990s German usage. What it meant in Hitler's hands in the 1930s and 1940s is however what is germane to this issue. According to the standard Langenscheidt 1967 German dictionary, which suggests translations in descending order of likelihood, Judentum is translated only as: '(n.) Judaism,' while Ausrottung has the entry '(f.) uprooting; extirpation, eradication; extermination, pol. a. genocide.' Precisely because the verb ausrotten and the noun Ausrottung have so many different meanings, the plaintiff was careful not to translate it with only one given meaning, namely a meaning specifically preloaded with the meaning needed to support a special hypothesis.

When used by Hitler -- the subject of the book -- there is not one example known to the plaintiff where the word ausrotten has exclusively the meaning submitted by the Defendants, namely of liquidate.

On the contrary, when used by Hitler ausrotten has on several occasions demonstrably a meaning that can not be liquidate. Three examples:-

(a) In August 1936 he dictated to his young secretary Christa Schroeder the text of the famous memorandum on the Four Year Plan (printed with commentary by Professor Wilhelm Treue in Vierteljahrshefte für Zeitgeschichte, 1955, at pages 184 et seq.; quoted by the plaintiff in THE WAR PATH, at page 50). In this Hitler stated that Germany must be rendered capable of waging war against the Soviet Union because 'a victory by Bolshevism would lead not to a new Versailles treaty but to the final annihilation, indeed the Ausrottung, of the German nation'. Clearly Hitler is not saying that the Bolsheviks would liquidate one hundred million Germans: but that they would subsume the nation, take it over, emasculate it -- the Germans would cease to exist as a sovereign world power.

(b) On November 10, 1938, addressing Nazi editors, he said: 'I have, I must add, often just one misgiving and that is the following: whenever I have a look at these intellectual classes of ours -- sadly, we need them; otherwise one might one day, uh, I dunno, ausrotten them or something' (German Federal Archives file NS.11/28, pages 30-46; and Dr Hildegard von Kotze and Professor Helmut Krausnick (ed.), Es Spricht der Führer, Gütersloh, 1966, at page 281; see too Vierteljahrshefte für Zeitgeschichte, 1958, at page 188). Here too, the plaintiff submits, the sense of the verb ausrotten is 'turf them out' because at that time the Nazi blood purges had not begun, apart from Hitler's one murderous fling against the Brownshirts in 1934.

(c) On July 4, 1942 he described over dinner a conversation he had had with the Czech president Emil Hácha about his threat to expel the Czechs from the occupied territories of Bohemia and Moravia. 'The Czech gentlemen had understood this so well,' he said, 'that they had thereafter attuned their future policies explicitly to the principle that all pro-Soviet Benes intrigues and Benes people had to be ausgerottet, and that in the struggle for the preservation of the Czech national characteristics there could no longer be any neutrals, but those who blew neither hot nor cold were also to be spat out.' (Text in Henry Picker, Hitlers Tischgespräche im Führerhauptquartier 1941-42 Stuttgart, 1963, at page 435). The context shows that ausgerottet is used by Hitler to denote physical removal and expulsion.

(d) Even Himmler used the word ausrotten on occasions to mean something other than murder. For example replying on February 21, 1944 to a report from Bormann on abuses in the Lublin concentration camp, Himmler wrote: 'The guilty commandant, SS-Sturmbannführer Florstedt, has been under arrest for two months already. The deplorable conditions are being severely ausgerottet and redressed in rigorous court-proceedings' (National Archives microfilm T-175, roll 53, at page 7290).

Return if wished to para.27 |||

(33)* The Defendants aver that the plaintiff failed to draw attention to one of Himm-ler's minutes (which they dated October 7, 1942) which contained the word 'Globus' as a subject for discussion with Hitler on that day.

It is admitted that the plaintiff did not draw attention to this minute, but it is denied that this is relevant. The plaintiff was the first to transcribe these hand-written agenda notes of Himmler. The name 'Globus' appears on National Archives mi-crofilm T-175, roll 94, at page 615,170, which is dated either September 17 or 22, 1942 (not October 7, 1942). The translated hand-written agenda page written in ink by Himmler (the 3 is green crayon) reads in full:

'iv. Nationality and Settlement

1. Emigration of Jews

how is to be further proceeded? [checkmark in green]

2. Settlement Lublin -- 'Conditions in Government-General' [i.e. occupied Poland]

  • Lorrainers
  • Germans from Bosnia         'Globus'
  • Bessarabia

3. Settlement of the Crimea

a.) climate and health
b.) Germanics and Gothics not yet suited for this, nor South Tyroleans either[.]'

The Defendants have failed to inform us of the minute's 'obvious significance', which escapes the Plaintiff, other than that 'Globus' was the pet name for SS-Brigadeführer and Generalmajor der Polizei Odilo Globocnik, the SS- and Polizeiführer of the Lublin district. Himmler's jotted agenda for his meetings with Hitler are crowded with names, pet and otherwise, and in the absence of collateral evidence it is imprudent in the extreme to spin fanciful theories around them.


(34)* The Plaintiff submits that the Goebbels Diaries are evidence in law against Goebbels, but denies that they are in all circumstances evidence against Hitler. While an historian or writer need not necessarily apply such stringent tests, it is a useful guide to bear in mind.

(35) The book in question is a biography of Dr Joseph Goebbels, not of Adolf Hitler.

Although the Defendants are careful not to identify the '1919' paper on which they rely, it is well known to the Plaintiff, an Intelligence report on the Jews written by Hitler on September 16, 1919 for the Bavarian army authorities. In this he wrote in German: 'And the upshot is this: Antisemitism for purely emotional reasons will find its ultimate expression in the form of pogroms. But a rational antisemitism must lead to a properly planned legislative attack on and elimination of the privileges which the Jews, as distinct from other aliens living amongst us, possess (the Aliens Legislation). Its ultimate goal must however be steadfast, the removal [Entfernung] of the Jews altogether. Only a government of national strength is capable of doing both, and never a government of national weakness.'(Werner Maser, Dokumente, at pages 223-226). The root of the word Entfernung is -fern meaning distance.

The Plaintiff deals more than adequately with the history of Hitler's rabid antisemitism at pages xi to xiii of his pre-1933 volume of the Hitler biography, the 1978 book THE WAR PATH. In addition he published a most unusual new document dating back to December 21, 1922, a conversation between Hitler and a Bavarian financier, in his newsletter Focal Point on May 31, 1983, pages 5-6 (which can most usefully now be inspected in the book Roger Griffin (ed.), Fascism (Oxford University Press, 1995, pages 338-9 ); in this Hitler's animus toward the Jews is quite evident. Mein Kampf is a less certain source, since it is known to have had more than one author (Hitler and Rudolf Hess were among those who contributed); a better source is Hitler's Zweites Buch, Hitler's Second Book (Stuttgart, 1961), which he is known to have drafted alone. The Plaintiff's contention has always been that Hitler used his antisemitism as a political platform from which to seize power in 1933, but that after that he lost interest in it except for occasional flights of public oratory; while Dr Goebbels and other lesser Nazis continued to ride that horse to the hounds, to the mounting irritation of their Führer Adolf Hitler, who no longer needed antisemitism.

(36) We now turn to the 'Kristallnacht', the Night of Broken Glass (November 9-10, 1938). Here the Plaintiff has not contorted and manipulated anything, as is falsely alleged by the Defendants, but applied himself to unravelling the various accounts of those days and nights with the degree of scrupulous diligence for which he had already earned a justifiable reputation. At a late stage in the writing of the book, namely after these chapters had already been written, the Goebbels Diary became available in Moscow, which to the Plaintiff's pleasure broadly confirmed (a) the sequence of events; (b) the central role played by Goebbels' speech in Munich on the night of November 9-10, 1938; (c) his subsequent discomfiture on learning that Hitler was anything but pleased by what he had done. The complete original text can be most readily examined in the Goebbels 1938 diary which the Plaintiff transcribed from the handwritten originals for Arnoldo Mondadori Editore, (see Joseph Goebbels Diario 1938, Milan 1993), and which were first published in German under the Plaintiff's own imprint as Der unbekannte Dr Goebbels, Die geheimen Tagebücher 1938, London, 1995, at pages 408-411.

(i) The serious rioting and outrages against the Jews had in fact already begun before Goebbels made his speech, e.g. in the province of Hessen, in Kassel and in Dessau.

(ii) It is admitted that it was Goebbels' usual practice to record the events of each day on the following morning, introducing such entries invariably with the word 'gestern:' ('yesterday:') There were occasions -- on which the Plaintiff remarked in the biography -- when he abandoned this practice because of the pressure of events (e.g. on July 22, 1944); then he would write up two or three days at a time in one retrospective entry. The unusual lack of the word gestern to introduce the entry for November 9, 1938 indicates, the Plaintiff submits, that he wrote up this day's entry one or two days later, which introduced a risk of error for which the researcher must properly be on guard. Thus the November 9 entry refers to 'the Führer's speech at Weimar', which was on November 6, at the gau convention of the Thüringian Nazi party; the text was printed in the Völkischer Beobachter (VB) the next day, November 7. Goebbels diary (still 'November 9') continues: 'Churchill gives a wholly stupid and unsubstantiated reply.' That however was on November 7, when Churchill replied in the House of Commons. Then comes (still 'November 9'), 'In Paris a Polish Jew Grynspan has shot at the German diplomat vom Rath in the embassy and seriously injured him.' This shooting was also on November 7. In the same paragraph Goebbels continues, 'But now the entire German press makes itself heard. And now we're using plain talk. Major antisemitic demonstrations in Hesse. The synagogues are burned down.'

Only two paragraphs later does Goebbels begin clearly referring to events of November 8 (still in his entry of 'November 9'): 'Midday continued dealing for long time with my people, and worked [. . .] In the evening, at the Bürgerbräu [beerhall]. The old ceremonial. Christian Weber speaks [. . . etc.] The Führer speaks.' This was Hitler's major annual speech, held on November 8, 1938; printed on November 10 in the VB.

(iii) Most of the diary entry for November 10 clearly refers to events on November 9, and only from the phrase 'in the early morning hours come the first reports' ['morgen früh kommen die ersten Berichte'] onward does it refer to the morning of November 10, 1938, as the Defendants aver. The diary entry dated November 10 begins with the word gestern, 'yesterday', which was missing from the previous day's entry.

It is denied that there is any token of 'with approval', as the Defendants wrongly allege. Goebbels merely registers in his Diary, 'Major anti Jewish demonstrations in Kassel and Dessau, synagogues set on fire and shops demolished. In the afternoon the death of the German diplomat vom Rath is reported.' ['In Kassel und Dessau große Demonstration gegen die Juden, Synagogen in Brand gesteckt und Geschäfte demoliert. Nachmittags wird der Tod des deutschen Diplomaten vom Rath gemeldet.'] Vom Rath died on November 9 at 4:30 p.m. (French time); the official press agency released the news at five p.m.

There then follows Goebbels' description of the events in the Old Town Hall, which was again on the evening of November 9.

(iv)* The Defendants correctly state that Goebbels Diary continues on November 10, 1938, while still referring to the evening of November 9 however. It reads here, 'Ich trage dem Führer die Angelegenheit vor. Er bestimmt: Demonstrationen weiterlaufen lassen. Polizei zurückziehen. Die Juden sollen einmal den Volkszorn zu verspüren bekommen. Das ist richtig.' The Defendants translate this passage as, 'I brief the Führer on the affair. He determines: demonstrations to continue. Withdraw the police. The Jews must for once be made to feel the fury of the people.'

(v) The Plaintiff translated this diary entry in GOEBBELS. MASTERMIND OF THE THIRD REICH at page 274 (virtually identically) as: 'I brief the Führer on the affair. He decides: Allow the demonstrations to continue. Hold back the police. The Jews must be given a taste of the public anger for a change.' It is denied that this is a wilful mistranslation by the Plaintiff.

It is further denied that the Plaintiff placed the mistranslated diary entry out of context in his book, namely immediately after stating that as Hitler and Goebbels set out to attend this reception at the Old City Hall, they learned that the police were intervening against anti-Jewish demonstrators in Munich. The Plaintiff gives the source for this statement (source note 23, at page 612) correctly as, not the Diary, but the testimony of SS Obergruppenführer Max Jüttner, in the files of the IfZ.

In the Diary's proper context, 'the affair' on which Goebbels briefs Hitler is clearly not the demonstrations either in Munich or elsewhere, but the death of Vom Rath. This news upset Hitler (he had flown his own personal surgeon to Paris in a vain attempt to save the diplomat's life). The two immediately preceding sentences in the Diary, not mentioned by the Defendants are, 'In the afternoon the death of the German diplomat vom Rath is reported. Enough is enough.'

(vi) It is denied that the proper context of the passage from the Diary entry quoted (from November 10) was what the Defendants without offering evidence call the 'pogroms' in Kassel and Dessau, and not the demonstrations in Munich, which only began much later that night of November 9 (and of which there was no mention). As set out above, the Plaintiff relied on collateral evidence besides the Diary.

(vii) In the premises, it is denied that there was 'manipulation' by the Plaintiff, as is falsely averred by the Defendants.

(viii) to (x) The Defendants again overlook that the Plaintiff already had collected substantial collateral evidence relating to the events of that night from other sources, including British consular reports, those staff members directly at Hitler's side, etc., all of which indicate Hitler's fury as the news of the rioting and arson in Munich reached him and the steps which he personally undertook to intervene. Hesse, Kassel, and Dessau were not mentioned. He then sent for Dr Goebbels, and tore strips off him. This collateral evidence made quite plain how the self-serving Diary entries by Goebbels were to be interpreted correctly. The Plaintiff's tape recordings and transcripts of these interviews will be available at the trial of this action.

[For the sake of clarity, the evidently wrongly numbered paras. (v) to (viii) on pages 32-3 of the Defence are addressed hereinbelow as (x) to (xiii)]

(x) In confidential unpublished typescript memoirs which Major Nicholas von Below, Hitler's Luftwaffe adjutant, wrote shortly after the war and which he made exclusively available to the Plaintiff in 1967, he described at page 83 that he was with Hitler that night in the latter's private residence in Munich. A phone call from the Four Seasons Hotel came in to Hitler's residence, to the effect that the adjacent synagogue was on fire; a further call from a private person spoke of window-smashing in a Jewish department store. These messages were reported to Hitler. 'He immediately had a call put through to the Police Chief [SS Obergruppenführer Freiherr] von Eberstein, and ordered that this madness, as he termed it, was to cease forthwith. [. . .] When meanwhile the same reports came from Berlin, Hitler gave Himmler and Goebbels the order to stop the destruction of Jewish businesses and synagogues immediately.' In a taperecorded interview with the late Nicholas von Below on May 18, 1968 he confirmed this to the Plaintiff.

(xi) The closing lines of the Diary entry dated November 10, 1938 (concerning the moments before Goebbels sat down to write his diary that morning): read in German, 'Den ganzen Morgen regnet es neue Meldungen. Ich überlege mit dem Führer unsere nunmehrige Maßnahmen. Weiterschlagen lassen oder abstoppen? Das ist nun die Frage.' The Defendants offer their translation as, 'All morning new reports rain in. I ponder with the Führer our next moves. Shall we let them go on beating them [the Jews] up or stop it. That is now the question. . ..' (The ellipsis is the Defendants' insertion).

The Plaintiff submits that since this is a key passage it deserves the most meticulous translation. For this we have a useful tool, because it is clear from the next day's entry ('November 11') covering the same meeting with Hitler, in the Osteria restaurant, that Goebbels went there having already prepared the Verordnung (ordinance) that Hitler had ordered him to draft during the night, halting the violence. Hitler approved this with minor corrections. That is Goebbels' second version of the same meeting. His first version, quoted above, has been inadequately translated by the Defendants in one respect: Ich überlege mit dem Führer unsere nunmehrige Maßnahmen is translated by the Defendants as 'I ponder with the Führer our next moves' Their translation, 'next' (which would have been in German nächste), misses the flavour of the actual adjective used, nunmehrige, based on nunmehr which is the word now with added emphasis, as in 'What now?' The Plaintiff sought to capture this with the paraphrase, 'what to do next,' and added the -- clearly speculative -- rider about the apprehension in that phrase.

(xi) to (xiii) From the collateral sources which were available to the Plaintiff but not evidently to the Defendants, but to which the Plaintiff explicitly referred in his works on Hitler and Goebbels, it is plain that Hitler was totally unaware of what had been done, namely orders which Goebbels had orally and by telex issued which resulted in the widespread destruction of property and lives. Early on the morning of November 10, 1938, Rudolf Hess, the Deputy Führer, who was with Hitler, issued an order reading in translation: 'To all Gau headquarters for immediate action. Directive No. 174/38. (Repeating Telex of November 10, 1938). On the express order of the highest level of all, arson attacks on Jewish businesses or suchlike are not to occur at any event and under no circumstances whatsoever.'

(37)* The Plaintiff draws attention to his earlier remarks about the Goebbels diary entry of March 27, 1942 (para. 22 [iii] above.) As stated therein, the Goebbels Diaries contain a total of some fourteen million words from 1923 to 1945. Clearly the Plaintiff could not always give 'complete diary entries'. It is submitted that the omission of the reference to 'government' and 'regime' is of no significance given the gravity of the passages already quoted. The interpolation was by no means an irrelevance: the Plaintiff determined that it was very necessary to remind the reader that this startling text was not furtively scribbled by Goebbels in a handwritten diary kept under lock and key, but dictated to a male stenographer, Dr Richard Otte, who then had the pages typed in triplicate and handed them to other staff members for indexing and microfilming.

(38)* It is denied that the Plaintiff figured Albert Speer on only twenty-two pages of the revised (1991) edition of HITLER'S WAR published by his imprint Focal Point. In fact Speer figures, sometimes several times, on pages 8, 9, 102, 108, 112, 113, 157, 158, 169, 173, 284, 295, 399, 435, 472, 476, 479, 483, 489, 518, 519, 520, 526, 540, 548, 557, 560, 573, 583, 584, 586, 599, 603, 604, 605, 622, 623, 640, 642, 650, 671, 672, 678, 685, 725, 748, 749, 756, 768, 769, 770, 773, 778, 789, 820, 836, 840.

SpeerThe Plaintiff recalls that in a newspaper interview with The Daily Mail in 1977 Speer stated that in his opinion Hitler was not ignorant of the Final Solution. However since Speer went on to state that he of course never discussed the matter with Hitler, having known nothing of it himself, logic alone destroys whatever evidentiary value his first remark might have held.

Professor Matthias Schmidt, the Berlin historian who wrote in Albert Speer, The End of a Myth (Berlin, 1982) the best analysis of Speer's memoirs and his complicity in sanitising his own diaries, wrote at page 21 (SMP edition, New York, 1984): 'Although the deletions from the original Journal do not expressly say that he knew about the extermination of the Jews these passages do make it clear that during his term of office as Inspector General of Buildings for Berlin, he was fully responsible for at least one aspect of the treatment of the Jews.' If (para. 24) the Plaintiff is excoriated for being, which is denied, antisemitic because he stated truly both the real and the alias-names of personalities, it seems quixotic for the Defendants to aver that a Nazi war criminal who admits expelling 75,000 Jews from 23,765 Jewish homes in Berlin in deep mid-winter, with no regard for their eventual fate, was not antisemitic.

(i) After Albert Speer was released from Spandau he corresponded at length with the Plaintiff and granted him interviews. As is plain from the Matthias Schmidt book, Albert Speer, The End of a Myth, Speer's former associate Rudolf Wolters had sanitised Speer's wartime ministerial Office Chronik (official diaries) in 1964, removing criminally-damaging evidence from their pages before having them retyped. Although aware of this falsification, Speer deposited the sanitised texts in the German Federal Archives in 1969. After the Cabinet Office Historical Section in London gave the Plaintiff access to its copy of the original 1943 Speer Chronik he asked Mr Speer whether he knew the location of the other original Chronik volumes. Speer untruthfully replied that he did not. He however furnished to the Plaintiff an unsolicited retyped set of his wartime ministerial Office Chronik (diary). The Plaintiff was the first to observe discrepancies between the genuine 1943 volume provided to him at the Cabinet Office Historical Section and the sanitised text furnished to him by Speer. The Plaintiff therefore challenged him in a letter to explain these discrepancies. Upon receiving this letter from the Plaintiff, Speer wrote secretly to Wolters on March 1, 1970: 'Now we're in for it.' (Letter quoted by Matthias at page 17).

(ii) The Plaintiff sees no purpose in quibbling about where the evicted Jews were rehoused. The fact remains that it was the Hauptamt Aussiedlung (Main Resettlement Office) in Speer's department as General Buildings Inspector for the Reich Capital Berlin which evicted the Jews and seized their homes to provide housing for bombed-out Berliners and for working-class Berliners dislodged by his slum-clearance schemes; that Dr Goebbels' Diary shows that Speer did this hand in hand with him as the Nazi gauleiter of Berlin; and that these trainloads of Jews -- some fifty thousand people -- thus evicted and dislodged were transported forthwith through Central Europe's cruellest winter months mostly to their deaths at Riga and Auschwitz.

(iii) In the premises the Plaintiff's words 'cold-blooded, 'infamous' and 'booted' seem rather understated.

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