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Secret Report by the Washington DC office of the Anti-Defamation League of the B'nai Brith

to an unidentified agency in the United Kingdom, probably the Board of Deputies of British Jews

The Washington DC Office of the Anti-Defamation League can be contacted via e-mail or by telephone at (202) 452 8310

For the ADL's role nearly twenty years later in pressuring St Martin's Press to halt production of David Irving's Goebbels. Mastermind of the Third Reich see also main Irving Index.


April 17, 1977


Hitler's War

IN APRIL 1977 The Viking Press Inc. published David Irving's widely acclaimed biography of Adolf Hitler, Hitler's War. Learning that the publishers had arranged for the author to tour broadcasting and televisions stations in the USA, the enemies of Free Speech resorted to concealed methods designed to deny him a hearing or to neutralise his appearances.

This is a standard method used by the ADL to gag writers with views they dislike. The anonymous memorandum transcribed below is a genuine internal ADL document. Although robbed of its header and signature, it bears the pencil annotation "ADL" and the date 4/17/77 at the top.

On April 18, 1977, David Irving was booked at appear on WTTG TV's programe Panorama, recorded at 5151 Wisconsin Avenue, Washington. An ADL agent was in attendance ... and he reported this:-

Irving's publication[1] is a German revisionist historiography expunging Hitler's responsibility for directing the Holocaust. Irving was invited on April 18 [1977] to make a presentation and be interviewed on Washington, D.C.'s Channel 5 television show "Panorama", a two-hour daily show, being Washington's most important live telecast and which, because of its location in the Nation's Capital, carries important regional and national implications. As a consequence, I arranged with the show's producer to place on the same show in a debate posture my associate, Randy Koch, which airing took place on April 18, 1:00 to 1:30 p.m. A cassette of the show is being sent to you under separate cover for your advice and analysis. In my view Koch and our arguments seemed to me to carry more impact than did Irving's presentation.

The following information is provided to you so that in addition to the cassette you may better appraise Irving's knowledgability and toughness as an adversary in conjunction with ADL's problems with him.

David Irving is the nom de plume of John Cawdell, a revisionist historiographer of Adolf Hitler, particularly regarding Hitler's role in and knowledge of the mass extermination of European Jewry.[2] His major premise is that Hitler was largely oblivious to the large-scale killing of Jews in the death camps. He alleges and underscores the lack of historical evidence in documentation form that will show any orders from Hitler to Himmler, Heydrich or others. Irving further maintains that no direct documentation exists of Hitler giving orders to liquidate Jews.

The book is a massive work of over 900 pages including 100 pages of footnotes. It would appear from the quantity of research and time that Irving put into the work that the author appears knowledgable and expert in subject area.

1 The reference is to Hitler's War, The Viking Press (New York, 1977).
2 David Irving has never used a nom de plume, nor claimed any identity other than the one he was born with (full name: David John Cawdell Irving.
He has spent some 20 years of research and writing around the German experience in WW II. His first work was "The Destruction of Dresden" (1963) and he has since then written prolifically as a journalist rather than a scholarly academician. Much of his shorter writing appears in both German and English periodicals such as the Daily Telegraph, Sunday Express, Der Stern and Der Spiegel.

My monitoring of the aforementioned telecast leads me to conclude that Irving comes through as an extremely knowledgable and tough adversary although he is extremely defensive in debating his latest work. When Koch attacked him with cogent argumentation that the centrality of anti-Semitism in Hitler's personality was central to the Third Reich itself, and that Irving's entire case is based upon lack of evidence rather than the existence of same, Irving resorted to ad hominems and attacked eminent writers critical of him like John Toland, Prof. Robert L.G. Waite, etc., which struck me as weakening his presentation before the camera. Being forced into a defensive position also damaged his demeanour and image.

I see no problem in our joining in debate situations with him provided our proponent does sufficient homework.

His most significant weakness is his tendency to exaggerate. For example in the April 18th show when discussing Irving's statement "that Hitler ordered the Jews not be liquidated", the author in his telecast debate turned this into a multiplication of orders by Hitler against the liquidation of Jews - which made it much easier to discredit on the basis of using his same argument that there is a lack of documentation anent these many orders.

Irving is an ardent German-phile. In "Contemporary Authors" (1975) he is described as a rightwing conservative. He has further been described to me as an upper-class Britisher. He frequently uses the phrase "The British Nation", a non-popular expression.

I have a member of my board, James Jacobs (Office: (202) 634-1406, Home: (301) 263-2775, Home address: 3133 Starboard Drive, Annapolis Md. 1403) who is an executive at NASA serving as Technical Secretary of the Advisory Committee on Reactor Standards. Jacobs is quite friendly with Irving having spent a considerably period of time (virtually around the clock) some years ago when Irving sought him out in furtherance of Irving's research on the book he wrote concerning the German atom bomb project. Jacobs states that Irving is definitely not anti-Semitic, that he is an excessive German-phile, evidencing his compulsion to read and speak almost entirely in German, that most of his works have been written on the subject, that his motivation is "a Britisher view that there is a lot of money to be made in being German-phile." According

to Jacobs, Irving is extremely thorough in his research and cites in this connection an inordinate amount of time spent by him in the United States going over the German archives reports and time spent in discussions with eniment authorities in the field covering associate matter concerning Irving's writings.

Jacob's appraisal concurs with mine that as a consequence of the foregoing, Irving does make a tough adversary.

Jacobs will cooperate with you in any way he can to further assist you in your appraisal.

©Focal Point 1998  e-mail:  write to David Irving