The International Campaign for Real History


Quick navigation

David Irving v Penguin Ltd and Prof Deborah Lipstadt


ON THE DAY of closing statements, March 15, 2000, Mr Justice Gray invited the Defendants to submit a supplementary note on certain matters of history (see transcript, Day 32). Mr Richard Rampton QC (right) submitted this unusual note, two days after the closing speeches had been made.


[Answered by: Mr Irving's Final Submission on March 21 to Judge Gray]

Supplementary Note by the Defendants: 17 March 2000

Prepared in accordance with the request of the Honourable Mr Justice Gray made on 15 March 2000.

THE purpose of this note is to demonstrate, by reference to key documents and events already referred to in the two chronologies contained m section 5(i)(e)(A) and 5(ii) (principally the latter) of the D[efendant']s main submission, that the proposition that Hitler did not know about or authorise the genesis and implementation of the mass extermination of the Jews by gassing is unsustainable.

2. Following Hitler's statement of 18 August 1941 that his prophecy of 30 January 1939 was coming true, on. 24 August 1941 Hitler called a halt to the euthanasia programme which he had initiated in October 1939. The gassing specialists of the euthanasia programme were then transferred to the East. In September 1941 an experimental gassing of Soviet POW's and others took place in Auschwitz (see page 1 of 5(ii)).

3. During October 1941 Hitler twice more referred to the importance of exterminating ('ausrotten') the Jewish plague (6 and 21 October 1941).

4. On 23 October 1941 Jewish emigration from the German sphere of influence was forbidden.

5. On 25 October 1941 Himmler met Globocnik in Mogilev, where an extermination camp was about to be built, to receive a report of a meeting between Globocnik and Frank, the General Governor. On the same day, Wetzel of the Ostministerium in Berlin met Brack of the Führer's Chancellery, who had been involved in the euthanasia programme; and then Eichmann, Heydrich's special adviser on Jewish policy, Wetzel then drafted a letter to be sent by his boss, Rosenberg, the Reichsminister for the Occupied Eastern Territories, to Lohse, the Reichskommissar for the Ostland. According to this letter, Brack was ready to help construct gassing apparatuses in Riga and there were no objections if Jews not fit for work were "removed" by these apparatuses. Then, on the evening of the same day, Himmler and Heydrich met Hitler.

6. At this meeting Hitler is recorded as having made yet further reference to the extermination ('ausrotten') of the Jews; which, of course, had already been under way, by means of shooting, for some time and was about to start by means of systematic, large-scale gassing.

7. In the early part of November 1941, there was the first testing of a gas van in Sachsenhausen, in which 30 prisoners were killed by exhaust fumes; and the construction of the extermination camp at Belzec commenced.

8. On the evening of 16 November 1941, at the Wolfsschanze, Himmler and Rosenberg met Hitler. Earlier that day, Goebbels' article in 'Das Reich' had appeared, in which he made reference back to Hitler's 1939 prophecy and noted that the prophecy was now being fulfilled.

9. On 17 November 1941, following the previous evening's meeting with Hitler, Himmler, now at his own headquarters in East Prussia, telephoned Heydrich in Berlin and spoke about his meeting with Rosenberg, the conditions in the General Government and the disposal or doing away with ('Beseitigung') of the Jews.

10. On the next day, 18 November 1941, Rosenberg himself, having returned to Berlin from his meeting with Hitler and Himmler at the Wolfsschanze, gave a confidential briefing to the German press in which he stated that the problem posed by the 6 million Jews still living in the East could only be solved by a biological eradication ('biologische Ausmerzung') of the whole of Jewry in Europe.

11. On 22 November 1941, Goebbels recorded in his diary that Hitler wanted an energetic policy against the Jews, but one which did not cause unnecessary difficulties. And on 1 December 1941, Hitler at is table talk again confirmed that the Jews were now in the process of being destroyed.

12. Thus it can be seen that throughout the autumn of 1941, Hitler was making increasingly blunt statements about the fate of the Jews, while at the same time the foundations of the programme to exterminate the Jews by gassing were being laid.

13. From this date (as the following paragraphs of this Note demonstrate), Hitler's expressions of his attitudes and intentions towards the Jews become even more frequent and radical. At the same time the development of the gassing programme can dearly be traced. The first stage in this further radicalisation of Hitler's expression of his thoughts and intentions begins with his speech to the Reichs- and Gauleiters on 12 December 1941 and continues through into the first part of January 1942. Then, after the Wannsee Conference on 20 January 1942, there occurs a whole series of statements beginning on 25 January and going on to the end of April 1942, which, in their frequency and their unrestrained language, are without parallel, up to this date, in the record of Hitler's statements about the fate of the Jews.

14. When the chronology of these statements, with their increasingly uncompromising language, is set against the evidence of:

i) what Himmler was actually in the process of putting into effect;

ii) the close relationship between Hitler and Himmler and the frequency and timing of their meetings; and

iii) what (as is common ground) even Goebbels had learned from Himmler about what was happening to the Jews in the East, the inescapable conclusion is that Hitler had full knowledge at every stage of what Himmler was doing, with the necessary consequence that it was being done with Hitler's full authority and approval.

15. What, of course, Himmler was in fact doing, from October 1941 onwards, was to organise a gigantic homicidal gassing programme; first, of the Jews of the Warthegau and Poland, and, then, from the late spring of 1942, of the Jews from the rest of Europe, at camps specially designed and built for that purpose.

16. There is, of course, no explicit evidence that Hitler and Himmler discussed the extermination of the Jews by gassing. However, since

i) as Himmler's note of 18 December 1941 and Report no 51 of 29 December 1942. show, the two men were evidently quite open with each other about the mass-murder of the Russian and Baltic Jews by shooting;

ii) it is apparent that, by late 1941, gassing had become the preferred option for killing the rest of Europe's Jews; and

iii) it is clear that the detailed discussions between Hitler and Goebbels recorded in his diary for 27 March and 27 April 1942 almost certainly covered not only the/act of the mass-murders in the General Government, but also the method (gassing) by which they were being carried out (there is no record of any mass-shooting of Jews in the General Government),

it is inconceivable that Himmler did not also discuss this in detail with Hitler. On the contrary, any other conclusion would be, as a matter of historiography, wholly perverse.

17. This is confirmed by the fact that when, in March and July 1942, there were significant escalations in the gassing programme, Himmler paid a two or three day visit to the General Government. On each occasion, his visit was immediately preceded by a meeting or meetings with Hitler and immediately followed on his return by a further meeting or meetings. The obvious inference to be drawn from. this pattern is that Himmler briefed Hitler and/or was briefed by Hitler as to what orders needed to be given to, and what information obtained from, the General Government before he went and, on his return, duly reported to Hitler what had been achieved and still needed to be achieved.

18. On 8 December 1941, the mass murder of Jews in gas vans at Chelmno began.

19. 9 December 1941 was the date originally scheduled for the Wannsee Conference.

20. On 12 December 1941, Hitler made his speech to the top echelons of the Nazi party in which, once again, he confirmed the fulfilment of his 1939 prophecy by particular reference to the escalation of the war into a World War, in consequence of his previous day's declaration of war against the United States. This stance was reflected in Rosenberg's diary entry for 14 December 1941.

21. Hans Frank, the Governor General, was one of those who attended Hitler's speech on 12 December 1941. On 16 December, upon his return to the General Government, Frank reported that he had been told in Berlin that the General Government must liquidate its own Jews. He stated that, while he did not yet know precisely how this enormous task was to be achieved, he was certain that some kind of action would be taken which would lead to a successful destruction ("Vernichtungserfolg") of the Jews in the General Government.

22. In his New Year's address in January 1942, Hitler again confirmed that it would be the Jews, rather than the Aryan peoples of Europe, who would be exterminated ("ausrotten").

23. The Wannsee Conference, postponed from 9 December 1941, took place on 20 January 1942. At this Conference, Bühler, State Secretary in the General Government, urged that the Final Solution should begin in the General Government because there were no transport problems there and most of the Jews were anyway incapable of work. Moreover, although the protocol of the Conference does not contain any explicit references to means of mass extermination, Eichmann later testified (1961) that in fact the talk was all of killing and liquidation, disguised in the protocol by euphemisms'.

24. In his table talk of 25 January 1942, and again in a widely transmitted speech in the Reichstag on 30 January 1942, Hitler once more spoke of the need for the total extermination ("Ausrottung") of the Jews in Europe.

25. The following day, 31 January 1942, Eichmann sent an express letter ("Schnellbrief") to head and subsidiary offices of the Gestapo, announcing that the recent evacuations of Jews from individual areas to the East constituted the beginning of the Final Solution of the Jewish Question in the Ostmark (Austria) and the Protektorat of Bohemia and Moravia (Czechoslovakia).

26. In February 1942, the German and Slovakian Governments reached agreement that Slovak Jews fit for work would be deported to Auschwitz. The agreement also provided that the Slovaks would pay the 55 also to deport the old, the sick and the unfit to Auschwitz at a cost of 500 Reichsmarks per Jew. The implementation of this agreement was announced by the Slovak Prime Minister on 3 March 1942. He told the Slovak State Council that the Nazis had arranged to take Slovakia's remaining 70,000 Jews, who would remain permanently in the Eastern territories, never to return.

27. On 14, 22 and 24 February 1942, Hitler once again made unequivocal statements about the necessity of exterminating the Jewish bacillus, the Jewish parasites. To describe this process, he variously used the terms, "vernichten", "eliminieren", and "ausrotten".

28. In the middle of March 1942, Himmler made the first of the two visits to the General Government which are mentioned above (para 17):

i) On 10 March 1942, Himmler had dinner with Hitler.

ii) On 11 March 1942, Himmler spoke on the telephone with Heydrich, when they discussed the Judenfrage.

iii) On 13 March 1942, Himmler travelled to Cracow, where he met Frank and Krüger.

iv) On 14 March 1942. Himmler went from Cracow to Lublin, where he met Krüger and Globocnik, returning to Berlin on 15 March 1942.

v) On 17 March 1942, he travelled to the Wolfsschanze, where he had lunch and dinner with Hitler.

29. Meanwhile, on 16 March 1942, as clearing of the Lublin ghetto began. On the same day, there was a meeting between Höfle, of Globocnik's staff, and Türk, of the Lublin district department of population and welfare, at which it was decided that the Jews arriving on transports at Lublin should be divided into those who were capable and those who were not capable of work and that those who were not capable of work should all go to Belzec.

30. On 17 March 1942 the first Jews of the General Government transported to Belzec were gassed. From that date onwards, transports of vast numbers of Jews arrived at Belzec and were gassed.

31. In the same month (March 1942), the construction of Sobibor began and bunker 1 at Auschwitz was put into operation as a gaschamber.

32. On 19 March 1942, as Goebbels' diary entry for 20 M2rch 1942 records, he and Hitler spoke about the Jewish Question. Goebbels records that Hitler remained merciless ("unerbittlich") and that he stated that "the Jews must get out of Europe, if necessary, by the application of the most brutal methods".

33. In his diary entry for 27 March 1942, Goebbels records what was evidently a long discussion between himself and Hitler about what was happening to the Jews in the General Government, that is, that they were being gassed in vast numbers (see para 16(iii) above).

34. On 10 April 1942, the Slovakian Prime Minister, Tuka, met Heydrich. Heydrich explained that the deportation of Slovakian Jews (to Auschwitz) was only part of a programme of resettlement of half a million Jews out of Europe to the East. It is not plausible that Heydrich could have made so large a statement to a foreign Prime Minister without the authority of Hitler.

35. On 11 April 1942, Harald Turner wrote from Serbia to Karl Wolff, reporting on the proposed gassing of Serbian Jewish women and children. The significance of this is that the letter was sent not directly to Heydrich or Himmler, but to Wolff, who was Himmler's liaison officer, permanently attached to Hitler's headquarters.

36. On 26 April 1942, as Goebbels records, he and Hitler once again had a very detailed ("ausführliche") discussion about the Jewish Question. It was noted that Himmler was "at this moment carrying on the greatest resettlement of Jews from the German cities to the Eastern ghettos". This was, of course, only possible because the Jews already herded into the Eastern ghettos had been, and were being, evacuated to the gassing camps.

37. At the end of April or beginning of May 1942, the first gassings of Jews from the ghettos in the General Government took place at Sobibor'. Meanwhile, at about this time, the construction of the last of the Reinhard extermination camps, Treblinka, began.

38. Meanwhile, during the first five or six months of 1942, the gassing facility at Chelmno had succeeded in fulfilling the promise made on 1 May 1942 by the Reichsstatthalter of the Warthegau (Greiser) to Himmler that some 100,000 Jews in his territory would be killed by the middle of the year.

39. Throughout May and June 1942, vast numbers of Jews in the Warthegau and in the General Government were killed by gassing. During the same period, gassings at Auschwitz were taking place on a considerable scale in bunker 1, and bunker 2 was put into operation in July 1942, while on 4 July 1942 the first transports of Jews from Slovakia were submitted to selection at Auschwitz.

40. It was during July 1942 that Himmler made his second visit to the General Government (see para 17 above). During this trip, he also visited Auschwitz, which was a part of the territory of the Reich and fell directly under the jurisdiction of Himmler himself (rather than the jurisdiction of Globocnik and the General Government). The significance of this is that those in charge of the extermination process at Auschwitz took their orders directly from Himmler.

41. The relevant events in this context are:

i) On 8 July 1942, Himmler had dinner with Hitler;

ii) On 14 July 1942, Himmler had lunch with Hitler;

iii) On 16 July 1942, Wolff, on behalf of Himmler, spoke to Ganzenmüller, a senior official in the Ministry of Transport, about the difficulties being experienced by rail-transports to the extermination camps, in particular, Sobibor.

iv) On 17 July, Himmler went to Auschwitz from his headquarters in East Prussia and met, amongst others, the Commandant of Auschwitz, Höss.

v) Himmler was at Auschwitz again the next day, 18 July 1942, whence he travelled to Lublin in the afternoon, and met Krüger, Globocnik and Pohl.

vi) Himmler remained in Lublin on 19 July 1942, and, on the same day, gave written orders to Krüger that the extermination of the entire Jewish population of the General Government was to be completed by the end of the year. The only exceptions were to be Jews employed for the Nazi war economy in ghettos such as Warsaw .

vii) On 20 July 1942, Himmler returned to Berlin.

viii) On 22 July 1942, massive deportations began from Warsaw to Treblinka and from Przemysl to Belzec. There were also deportations from the northern Lublin district, Radom and Bialystok to Treblinka (see letter Ganzenmüller to Wolff of 28 July 1942).

ix) On the same day, 22 July 1942, Globocnik wrote to Wolff, expressing gratitude that all the new work which Himmler had ordered would result in the fulfilment of the most secret wishes of all concerned and promising that the project would be completed in the shortest time. By this, of course, he meant the completion, by the end of the year, of the extermination, by gassing, of the Jews in the General Government which Himmler had ordered on 19 July 1942.

x) On 23 July 1942, the killings, by gassing, began at Treblinka.

xi) On 24 July 1942, Himmler travelled from Berlin to his own new headquarters near Zhitomir in the Ukraine; and, on 25 July 1942, from there to Hitler's headquarters in the Ukraine ("Wehrwolf"), where he had lunch with Hitler.

xii) On 27 July 1942, Himmler again travelled to the Wehrwolf and had lunch with

42. On 13 August 1942, Wolff replied to Ganzenmüller's letter of 28 July 1942, thanking him for his efforts and noting "with particular joy the assurance that for two weeks now a train has been carrying, every day, 5,000 members of the chosen people ("auserwählten Volk") to Treblinka" .

43. On 19 August 1942, there was meeting at Auschwitz, chaired by the architect Fritz Ertl, and attended by members of the Central Construction Office at Auschwitz and Kurt Prüfer of Topf & Sons, at which the construction of the four new crematoria at Birkenau was discussed. The note of the meeting made reference to "bathhouses

for special actions" ("Badeanstalten für Sonderaktionen")'. This is the first document of those which survive which records the transformation of Auschwitz-Birkenau into a facility for mass-extermination by means of hydrogen cyanide gas.

44. Thus, the preparations for the full extent of the programme for mass extermination by gassing were now in place.

45. In the light of the scale of the programme, the fact that it was overseen and orchestrated by Himmler, the nature of Himmler's relationship with Hitler and of the record, set out above, of Hitler's own thoughts and statements during the period of the programme's genesis and implementation, there can be no doubt of Hitler's knowledge of and authority for the full extent of what was done.

Richard Rampton QC
17 March 2000

Comments by David Irving:


45: They have not produced one instance of a phone call from Himmler to Hitler or vice versa; so the contact was not as close as it was with e.g. Heydrich. Hitler's own thoughts as recorded by third parties go exclusively to a geographical solution (Madagascar, Siberia, Africa, the East, White Russia) and not to killing. It is from Hitler's HQ that the orders go out to reduce, limit, postpone, halt the Final Solution, the mass shootings, the killings of the Roiman Jews, etc. A rhetorical claim by learned Counsel , no matter how eminent, that there can be no doubt of somebody's knowledge, is &emdash; after 55 years of turning over the archives for hard proof &emdash; a pretty poor substitute for evidence of a quality comparable with the proof that exists in abundance for Hitler's other crimes (euthanasia), and the shootings of the Russian jews (Commissar order, Jurisdiction order).

© Focal Point 2000 write to David Irving