(v)       Use of unreliable sources

1.         Until now, we have only examined Irving's misrepresentation of Hofmann's testimony. But the basic question still has to be answered: is Irving right to use Hofmann's testimony as an example for Hitler intervening to protect Jewish property? To answer this question, we have to examine the reliability of Hofmann as a witness.  Matthäus Hofmann was a low-ranking official working in the aliens registration office of the Munich police. He apparently left the force on 1 January 1924. Hofmann was an open supporter of the Nazi Party, and had joined the party in 1921. As a Nazi supporter in the police service, he organised a fast-track system for issuing visas to foreign Nazi sympathisers. Hofmann was also active within the Nazi party organisation. Hitler made him head of the political section of the NSDAP's intelligence unit. It appears that in this capacity Hofmann actually  participated in the putsch of 8 and 9 November. There are strong indications that it was he who received the telephone message in the Löwenbräukeller announcing that the revolution had broken out. According to his own testimony, he accompanied Hitler for the rest of that night.[1] Hofmann also seems to have visited Hitler in prison while he  was awaiting trial.[2]

2.         Hofmann's testimony at Hitler's trial thus has little, if any, credibility. He was a long-standing Nazi supporter and party official, who tried hard to present Hitler in a favourable light as a law-abiding citizen. This tactic was even recognised by the lenient court. After Hofmann's testimony on Hitler's supposed opposition to violence (including Hitler's alleged sacking of the Nazi activist), which Hofmann had volunteered without any prompting from the court, the presiding judge commented: ‘It’s a nice testimony to you that you are speaking out on behalf of your leader.’[3]

3.         The reason that other historians have not relied on the testimony of Hofmann is not because of their 'obsessive' views, as Irving alleges, but because the source has no historical value. It is Irving's obsessive views which make him rely on a witness who could not be more biased in favour of Hitler, and it is Irving’s dishonesty which leads him to conceal the salient facts about this witness from his readers. Irving obviously knows that the witness was a Nazi Party member, and he has clearly deliberately concealed this fact and made it more difficult for others to discover his deception by failing to provide a proper footnote reference to the document in which it is revealed.

(vi)      Skewing reliable sources

1.         Irving claims that Hitler acted to protect Jewish property during the putsch in November 1923. In reality, the exact opposite happened. On Hitler's orders, a squad of SA men forced their way into the printing and publishing house of the Jewish brothers Parcus on Promenadenstraße early on 9 November, and under the threat of violence stole a large sum of money, which was later distributed as 'payment' amongst the members of the SA.[4] Hitler openly admitted this at his trial. When asked whether he ordered this particular raid, he replied in the affirmative: ‘I did it in memory of the Revolution, which confiscated hundreds of billions in gold from the German people. I felt I had the right to do it.’[5]

2.         Irving mentions this incident in his book on Göring.  His account of the raid on the Jewish printers is as follows: ‘Hitler…sent armed men into the city to requisition funds; they took 14,605,000 billion Reichsmarks from the Jewish bank-note printers Parvus and Company, and gave a Nazi receipt in exchange, Meanwhile, Hitler acted to maintain order.’[6] There then follows the story of the attack on the Jewish delicatessen.


[1]Gruchmann and Weber (eds.), Der Hitler-Prozeß 1924, Vol. 2, pp. 540-542. Hofmann's NSDAP membership is mentioned in G. Franz-Willing, Putsch und Verbotszeit der Hitlerbewegung (Preußisch Olendorf, 1977), 173. The reference he gives is: 'Untersuchungsausschuß des Landtages, 12. Sitzung; ferner Mitgliederliste der NSDAP, Orginal, Privatbesitz'.

[2]Die Polizeidirektion München an Generalstaatskommissar Kahr, 4.12.1923; reprinted in E. Deuerlein (ed.), Der Hitler Putsch. Bayrische Dokumente zum 8./9. November 1923 (Stuttgart 1962), 465.

[3]Gruchmann and Weber (eds.), Der Hitler-Prozeß 1924, Vol. 2, p. 546: ’'Es ist ein schönes Zeichen von Ihnen, wenn Sie zu Gunsten Ihres Führers aussagen'

[4]Gruchmann and Weber (eds.), Der Hitler-Prozeß 1924., Vol. 1, p. 323; W. Maser, Der Sturm auf die Republik. Die Frühgeschichte der NSDAP (Frankfurt am Main, 1980), 451; H. Frank, Im Angesicht des Galgens (Neuhaus, 1955), 55.

[5]Gruchmann and Weber (eds.), Der Hitler-Prozeß 1924., Vol. 1 (Munich, 1997), 62: 'Ich habe das getan in Erinnerung an die Revolution, die dem deutschen Volk Hunderte von Milliarden an Gold beschlagnahmt hat. Ich habe mich dazu berechtigt gefühlt...' The seemingly huge sum involved was not worth a great deal; the raid took  place at the height of the German hyperinflation.

[6]Irving, Goring, p. 59. Irving misspells the name of the printers as Parvus instead of Parcus. ‘Parvus’ was the pseudonym of a well-known international revolutionary during the First World War, Alexander Helphand.