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The Proof of a Smear Campaign organised by the New-York based "Anti-Defamation League" and the International Jewish Community against a British Author

A copy of this libellous secret report was furnished anonymously to Mr Irving a few days after its secret distribution world-wide. He at once wrote a stiff letter of protest to its American-Jewish author, Justin Finger.


823 United Nations Plaza
New York N Y 10017



ADL Regional Offices


Justin J. Finger


July 6, 1983


Special Backgrounder: David Irving


British author David Irving has been of concern to ADL, as well as to the Jewish community generally, since the 1977 publication of his book Hitler's War, in which he promoted the outrageous notion that Hitler was unaware of the existence of Nazi death camps and did not order the genocidal "Final Solution" carried out against European Jewry.[1]

Since that time Irving has become involved in activities sponsored by Gerhard Frey, publisher of the far-right West German newspaper National Zeitung (including a memorial meeting dedicated to Hans-Ulrich Rudel, "ace" pilot of Hitler's Luftwaffe), and by the Deutsche Volksunion (DVU), a group also headed by Frey that seeks to end all war-crimes trials.[2] Over the years, Irving's writings have sought to rehabilitate the image of Hitler and the Third Reich.

Now we have learned that Irving is scheduled to be a featured speaker at the upcoming Labor Day convention, in the Los Angeles area, of the Institute for Historical Review, the pseudo-academic propaganda outfit inspired by Liberty Lobby's Willis Carto and dedicated to denying the reality of the Holocaust.

The attached background report, prepared by Assistant Research Director Alan Schwartz, refutes Irving's distortions and sets the record straight with regard to historical fact by quoting from a wide range of renowned historians and experts on the Nazi period.

It is not yet clear whether Irving will make other public appearances. Should he surface in your region, please notify the Fact Finding Department and your Civil Rights Coordinator. In the meantime, this fact sheet can serve as an effective response to inquiries about Irving and his work.

We gratefully acknowledge the editorial guidance provided by Dr. Lucy Dawidowicz, the eminent historian of the Holocaust, during the preparation of this paper.



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British author David Irving, 44, has written several controversial books relating to the Nazi regime and other aspects of the Second World War.According to information from his publishers, David Irving was born in 1938, the son of a Royal Navy Commander, was educated at the Imperial College and the University of London, and spent a year working in a German steel mill, where he became fluent in the German language.

His many books on World War II include The Destruction of Dresden; The German Atomic Bomb; The Destruction of Convoy PQ 17; The Rise and Fall of the Luftwaffe, and The Trail of the Fox (a best-seller about Field Marshal Erwin Rommel).He has also published translations of the memoirs of two of Hitler's military leaders, Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel and General Reinhard Gehlen.

None of his other works, however, has been more controversial - or more patently flawed - than his 1977 book, Hitler's War (New York: Viking Press). Probably Irving's best-known work, Hitler's War runs to well over 900 pages of wartime narrative ostensibly told "through Hitler's eyes, and concludes that the Fuhrer was actually a weak leader, irresolute and vacillating, who took "ineffectual measures against his enemies inside Germany for too long." Irving's astonishing and insidious corollary "finding" - thoroughly refuted by responsible historians and by the very documents relied upon in Irving's distorted version of historical research - is that Hitler neither ordered nor even knew about the genocidal policy known as the "Final Solution" which resulted in the murder of six million European Jews. Even more disturbing is the recent evidence that Irving intends to support anti-Semitic activities aimed at denying the very fact that the Holocaust occurred. This matter is further detailed later in this report.

Irving's Theories

Irving's thesis in Hitler's War, questioning the origin and responsibility for the Nazi policy of exterminating the Jews, rests upon the following mistaken premises:

(a) No formal document signed by Hitler and ordering the implementation of the genocide has been found; and

(b) In a November 30, 1941 entry in his telephone log, SS Chief Heinrich Himmler recorded a directive he gave to Security Police Chief Reinhard Heydrich to the effect that "no liquidation" (keine Liquidierung) be carried out regarding a particular transport of Berlin Jews. This order, Irving alleges, came from Hitler. This, Irving extrapolates, indicates that Hitler actually opposed killing Jews.

As to the first of these premises, many professional historians and reviewers of Irving's books have noted that while it is technically true that no such single document exists, this fact is simply misleading; to claim on this basis that Hitler was ignorant of the extermination program reflects the confused thinking of an amateurish dabbler in history, rather than a serious and reliable analyst of historical events.

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On July 10, 1977, the London Times published an investigative report into Irving's thesis about Hitler's lack of awareness of the mass murders.[3] The result was a thorough and convincing refutation of Irving's position. In addition to illustrating facts and documentation ignored by Irving, the report quoted the very researcher employed by Irving to "search" for "evidence" of Hitler's involvement in the "Final Solution" as calling Irving's premise "ludicrous."[4] The report also quoted the surviving author of the "Korherr Statistical Report" - an official Nazi document dealing with actions taken against the Jews - who described Irving's thesis as "ridiculous." Moreover, Dr. Werner Koppen, identified as Hitler's adjutant, called Irving's position "absurd."

Finally, discussing the Nazis' use of indirect language with respect to the "Final Solution" (including even the term itself), the Times report criticized Irving for his "grave misunderstanding of the degree of secrecy required" for the program of genocide."The logic of euphemisms, like 'emigration,' 'expulsion,' and 're-settlement,'" the article noted, "was that they were palatable labels for the horror of what was going on.

Hitler's Psychopathic Anti-Semitism

An understanding of the genesis of the "Final Solution" must begin with Hitler's oft-stated promise to exterminate the Jews, to whom he frequently referred as "parasites," "bacilli," and "blood-suckers," the powerful corrupters and enemies of Germany, requiring elimination ("Entfernung, or "Beseitigung"). Throughout Mein Kampf, Hitler's thousand-page testament composed during his imprisonment in 1923-24 for his role in the unsuccessful Munich "Putsch," one finds not only frequent similar references, but open statements of his desire for the destruction of the Jews, reflecting his obsession with the subject.For example:

It is the inexorable Jew who struggles for his domination over nations. No nation can remove this hand from its throat except by the sword. Only the assembled and concentrated might of a national passion rearing up in its strength can defy the International enslavement of peoples. Such a process is and remains a bloody one.

And the following from the final chapter of Mein Kampf:

If at the beginning of the [First World] War and during the War, 12 or 15 thousand of these Hebrew corrupters of the people had been held under poison gas, as happened to hundreds of thousands of our very best German workers in the field, the sacrifice of the millions at the front would not have been in vain. 

Hitler's psychopathic hatred of the Jews was pervasive, starkly expressed, unyielding and undiluted throughout his public career. As Holocaust historian Dr. Lucy Dawidowicz noted in The War Against the Jews, 1933-1945 (New York Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1975), "Anti-Semitism was the core of Hitler's system of beliefs, and the central motivation for his policies." At the brink of world War II, on January 30, 1939, Hitler candidly declared his war against the Jews:



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In the course of my life I have very often been a prophet, and have usually been ridiculed for it. During the time of my struggle for power it was in the first instance the Jewish race which only received my prophecies with laughter when I said that I would one day take over the leadership of the State, and with it that of the whole nation, and that I would then ... settle the Jewish problem. Their laughter was uproarious, but then I think that for some time now they have been laughing on the other side of their face(s). Today I will once more be a prophet: If the international Jewish financiers in and outside Europe should suceed in plunging the nations once more into a world war, then the result will not be the bolshevization of the earth, and thus this victory of Jewry, but the annihilation of the Jewish race in Europe!*

In the middle of the war, in a speech of February 24, 1943, Hitler referred to the extermination (Ausrottung) of European Jewry.

At the end of the war, with most of the Jews murdered, his Reich in shambles, his own suicide imminent, Hitler could still dictate the following final statement of April 29, 1945: "Above all I charge the leaders of the nation and those under them to scrupulous observance of the laws of race and to merciless opposition to the universal poisoner of all peoples, International Jewry."

Hitler's Orders

According to testimony at the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials by Auschwitz Commandant Rudolf Hoess, among others, Himmler stated on several occasions that Hitler had given the order for the "Final Solution" and that the SS bore responsibility for executing this order.

It has been widely documented that Hitler's murderous instructions to the SS were carried out at the operational level by Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel in connection with "Operation Barbarossa," the Nazi code-word for the invasion of the Soviet Union.

In Section 1 of Anatomy of the SS State (New York: Walker and Co., 1968**), Dr. Helmut Krausnick, a leading German historian, quoting from the Nuremberg record, clearly identifies Hitler as the source of the genocide order:

On Hitler's orders, the official duties of the Einsatzgruppen were formally set out by Field Marshal Keitel, Chief of 0KW, in "Instructions on Special Matters attached to Directive No. 21 (Barbarossa)" of 13 March 1941, Paragraph 2(b), dictated by Hitler himself, read as follows:

* Quoted in Documents on the Holocaust (1981), published by Yad Vashem in cooperation with the Anti-Defamation League and KTAV Publishing House, Jerusalem.

** Originally published in West Germany by Walter Verlag A.G. (1965).


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"In order to prepare the political and administrative organization the Reichsführer-SS has been given by the Fuhrer certain special tasks within the operations zone of the army; these stem from the necessity finally to settle the conflict between two opposing political Systems. Within the framework of these tasks the Reichsfuhrer-SS will act independently and on his own responsibility. This is, however, without prejudice to the over-riding plenary power hereby accorded to the Commander-in-Chief, Army, and the authorities to whom it may be delegated by him. The Reichsführer-SS is responsible for seeing that military operations are not affected by any measures necessary to carry out his task. Details will be settled direct between OKH and the Reichsfuhrer-SS."

The "special tasks" entrusted to the Einsatzgruppen ("Special-Action Group"] SS were to be clearly differentiated from specifically military activity. Such instructions were clearly reminiscent of and persuant to Hitler's genocidal racial policy, which he had frequently justified in terms pitting the Aryan way of life against the Jew in mortal struggle.

Nor was the March directive the only such order. On September 12, 1941, Keitel issued a directive regarding "Jews in the newly occupied eastern territories," in which he again noted that the "struggle against Bolshevism demands ruthless and energetic measures, above all against the Jews, the main carriers of Bolshevism."

As Professor Dawidowicz notes: "The Einsatzgruppen performed their special tasks with staggering competence. According to Nuremberg testimony, 2 million of the approximately 6 million Jewish victims of the Holocaust were killed by the Einsatzgruppen and other security forces."

Further Refutations

Irving's "Hitler didn't know" contention regarding the "Final Solution" is further refuted by many noted historians whose writings reflect the documented facts of the period, easily accessible to any informed observer.

Gordon A. Craig, professor emeritus of humanities at Stanford University, who is an award-winning historian of Germany, president of the American Historical Association and a member of the Berlin Historical Commission, has strongly criticized Irving's theories about Hitler.In The Germans (New York: New American Library, 1983), Craig notes that Irving's portrait of a "more human" Hitler was achieved "not by the presentation of new evidence but rather by means of the technique employed by the author" -- a technique that included ignoring statements by Hitler that did not fit Irving's thesis.

Craig adds, "Irving's generosity toward Hitler assumed its most excessive form in his treatment of the 'Final Solution'. . . . [Irving] argued that there was no proof of Hitler's having ordered the liquidation of the Jews, whereas, on the contrary, there was 'incontrovertible evidence' that he forbade it. Irving's 'incontrovertible evidence' of Hitler's guiltlessness was of the flimsiest kind."

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Craig goes on to criticize Irving for "disregarding the commonsense view that, given the enormity of the 'Final Solution' and the potential results of its revelation, it was not surprising that written evidence of Hitler's ordering the action did not exist, and brushing aside as lnconsequential the repeated instances of Hitler's Speaking publicly or Privately of his intention of exterminating the Jews."

Finally, Craig describes a 1978 meeting of historians in Germany, at which Irving was subjected to widespread criticism.As Craig puts it, "the Aschaffenburg conference, which included leading writers on the Hitler problem from all over Germany, was in accord when it came to rejecting Irving's views."

In an essay analyzing Irving's theories, entitled "Hitler and the Genesis of the 'Final Solution'" (Jerusalem: Yad Vashem, 1979; XIII in Yad Vashem Studies, Livia Rothkirchen, ed.), Prof. Martin Broszat, director of the Institut fur Zeitgeschichte (Institute for Contemporary History) in Munich, and author of many books on Nazi Germany, states:

In his book about Hitler, David Irving has not presented in any systematic way either the factual events of the "final solution" of Hitler's manifold utterances about the treatment of the Jews during the war.His revisionist theory is not derived from any incontrovertible historical conclusion; rather the arguments mustered in its support to which he constantly refers, often arbitrarily scattered in the text and footnotes, are in the main controversial, drawn from a dozen different sources... He marshals inconclusive arguments to which he authoritatively appends irrelevant and erroneous inferences, presenting them as foregone conclusions or to be assumed as such.Once the author had committed himself to this theory, no shred of seeming evidence was too shabby to support it.

In his biography of the Fuhrer, titled Adolf Hitler (Garden City, NY:

Doubleday & Co., 1976), historian John Toland noted that "there was no doubt that Hitler always took time to oversee the 'Final Solution.' In this matter he neither needed nor took advice.He made this clear in his message on the anniversary of the promulgation of the party program in late February [1941].'My prophecy,' he said, 'shall be fulfilled that this war will not destroy Aryan humanity but it will exterminate the Jew.Whatever the battle may bring in its course or however long it may last, that will be its final course.' The elimination of Jewry overrode victory itself."

Professor Dawidowicz, too, notes that Hitler's obsession with killing the Jews was paramount even to his imperial ambitions.Some people, she has written, "thought that Hitler's notions about the Jews were. . . no more than ideological window dressing" to camouflage his military and political ambitions."Yet precisely the reverse "as true," she continues."Hitler's ideas about the Jews were at the center'of his mental world.They shaped his world view and his political ambitions, forming. . . the ineradicable core of National Socialist doctrine."

British historian Gerald Reitlinger notes in The Final Solution (New York:

A.S. Barnes & Co., 1961), "The part of the Fuehrer Order concerning the execution of Jews was. . . never put on paper and even those to whom it was passed were not all informed at the same time."



Illustrating this point, and further noting Hitler's direct control over the "Final Solution," Toland writes: "Only that March [1941] did Goebbels himself learn the exact meaning of the 'Final Solution.' Then Hitler told him flatly that Europe must be cleansed of all Jews, 'if necessary by applying the most brutal methods.The Fuhrer was so explicit that Goebbels could now write in his diary:

'. . A judgement is being visited upon the Jews that, while barbaric, is fully deserved. . .One must not be sentimental in these matters.If we did not fight the Jew, they would destroy us.It's a life-and-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 of this question.'

"By that Spring," Toland notes, six "killing centers" had been set up in Poland, including Treblinka and Auschwitz

In Harvest of Hate, The Nazi Program for the Destruction of the Jews of Europe (New York: Holocaust Library, 1979), Leon Poliakov, a noted historian of anti-Semitism, quotes another interesting diary entry - this one by Dr. Felix Kersten, Himmler's personal physician.In this version of events Himmler tells his doctor of Goebbels' involvement in promoting Hitler's policy of genocide. Kersten quotes Himmler: "In the Summer of 1940, the Fuehrer ordered that the Jews be exterminated by degrees.He gave this task to the 55 and to we.That was the one and only time I contradicted the Fuehrer. . . I told him, 'the 55 is ready to fight and die from myself down to the last man, but don't give us a mission like this.' The Fuehrer became furious and said, 'Himmler, you are being disobedient! What is the meaning of this? This is an order; I take the responsibility for it.'

Personal Account of Auschwitz Commandant

The killing role of the SS referred to by in these passages represented one- half of the two-fold mechanism of the "Final Solution," the other being the establishment of the death camps.With regard to the latter point, the following excerpt from Commandant of Auschwitz, The Autobiography of Rudolf Hoess (Cleveland: The World Publishing Co., 1959), Appendix 1, provides expert corroboration of Hitler's order:

In the summer of 1941, I cannot remember the exact date, I was suddenly summoned to the Reichsfuhrer 55, directly by his adjutant's office.Contrary to his usual Custom, Himmler received me without him adjutant being present and said in effect:

'The Fuhrer has ordered that the Jewish question be solved once and for all and that we, the SS, are to implement that order.

'The existing extermination centers in the East are not in a position to carry Out the large actions which are anticipated.I have therefore earmarked Auschwitz for this purpose. . .You will learn further details from


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Sturmbannfuhrer Eichmann of the Reich Security head Office

who will call on you in the immediate future.

'. . You will treat this order as absolutely secret, even from your superiors.

'The Jews are the sworn enemies of the German people and must be eradicated.Every Jew that we can lay our hands on is to be destroyed now during the war, without exception. If we cannot now obliterate the biological basis of Jewry, the Jews will one day destroy the German people.'

The murderous process described here by Hoess was the subject of the infamous Wannsee Conference in January, 1942.As noted by Professor Raul Hilberg in his exhaustive 1961 study, The Destruction of the European Jews (Chicago: Quadrangle Press), this conference (the invitation to which chillingly indicated that it would be "followed by luncheon") brought together high 55 officials and other Nazi figures to coordinate and implement organizational and bureaucratic details of the "Final Solution." Hilberg states:

After the meeting was concluded, thirty copies of the conference record were circulated in the ministries and SS main offices.Gradually, the news of the "final solution" seeped into the ranks of the bureaucracy.The knowledge did not come to all officials all at once.How much a man knew depended on his proximity to the destructive operations and on his insight into the nature of the destruction process

On the very highest level the full burden of knowledge revealed itself in the written word. Hitler, Goring, Himmler, and Goebbels had a complete view of the destruction process; they knew the details of the mobile killing operations in Russia, and they saw the whole scheme of the deportations in the rest of Europe.

The Nuremberg record is replete with statements attesting to the fact that the extermination orders came directly from Hitler.These include statements by Keitel, Hoess, Security Chief Ernst Kaltenbrunner, Reich Chancellery chief Hans Heinrich Lammers, and others.

David Irving's historical research on the Nazi regime is obviously so questionable that it simply cannot be relied upon by anyone seriously interested in the history of the Third Reich.

On Hitler's "Opposition" to Genocide

In The Holocaust and the Historians, a work exploring the "mystery of why the Holocaust was belittled or overlooked in the history books," Dr. Lucy Dawidovicz, the noted historian of the Holocaust, described Hitler's War as "the nadir in Hitlerology" and David Irving as "an amateur historian, whose reputation as a German apologist and as a writer without regard for accuracy or truth won him a measure of notoriety."


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Professor Dawidowicz went on to demolish the second part of Irving's thesis -- i.e., that Hitler expressly opposed killing the Jews -- in the following excerpt, quoted from The Holocaust and the Historians:*

Irving's thesis, which denies Hitler's responsibility for the murder of the Jews, is too preposterous to require refutation and argument, but one example will suffice to show his "scholarly" method.As seemingly irrefutable proof for his case, Mr. Irving offered an entry in Himmler's handwritten telephone log.On November 30, 1941, at 1:30 P.M., Himmler, then in Hitler's military headquarters bunker "Wolf's Lair," telephoned SS Obergruppenfuhrer Heydrich, then in Prague.The gist of the telephone message was entered in four short lines in the log, though Mr. Irving cited only the last two lines:

Judentransport aus Berlin keine Liquidierung.

That is: "Transport of Jews from Berlin. No liquidation."

From this Mr. Irving concluded that Hitler had somehow learned what Himmler was up to and had ordered him to stop.An obedient Nazi, Himmler had called Heydrich in Prague to transmit Hitler's order.But in view of everything we know about the destruction of the Jews, Irving's construction of events makes no sense. . .Irving's conclusion fails to provide a satisfactory explanation of those two lines in view of what actually happened, though it serves to support his perversely fanciful interpretation of Hitler's character.

To understand those two lines it is necessary to read also the first two lines of the telephone conversation.Here is the full German text:

Verhaftung Dr. Jekelius [name not fully decipherable]
Angebl [ich] Sohn Molotovs.
Judentransport aus Berlin.
keine Liquidierung.

That is: Arrest Dr. Jekelius. Transport of Jews from Berlin. No liquidation.

The last two lines now make sense. Himmler called Heydrich to instruct him that a certain Dr.Jekelius' presumes to be the the Soviet Foreign Minister's son, was to be taken in


* Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1981, pp 36-38

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custody by the security police. Jekelius could be located in the transport of Jews from Berlin arriving in Prague and, unlike the rest of the transport, was not to be liquidated.(Perhaps the Germans intended to exchange Jekelius for one of their officers captured by the Russians.)


Irving, wittingly or unwittingly, has in fact disproved his own theory.For if Hitler was indeed responsible for Himmler's call (there is no evidence that he was), then Irving has shown that Hitler did in fact know all about the murder of the Jews.And indeed, how else could it have been? The murder of the Jews was Hitler's most consistent policy, in whose execution he persisted relentlessly, and obsessiveness with the Jews may even have cost him his war for the Thousand Year Reich.

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The November 30, 1941 entry in Himmler's telephone log relied upon by Irving as the basis for his contention that Hitler opposed the killing of the Jews.Line 4 of the indicated paragraph contains the "no liquidation" reference.

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Reviewers Expose Weaknesses of Hitler's War

The 1977 publication of Hitler's War, asserting Irving's fantastic Hitler didn't know" theory about the "Final Solution, generated widespread criticism from many eminent reviewers.

Professor Walter Laqueur of Georgetown University's Center for Strategic and International Studies, writing in the New York Times Book Review of April 3, 1977, stated: "The reasons for this book's shortcomings lie deep.Mr. Irving may have outgrown the eccentric political views of his earlier years, . . . when he criticized his native country for lining up with the Bolsheviks in a fight against the first great unifying force (meaning Nazi Germany) Europe had known in 600 years.'.But, Dr. Laqueur goes on, Hitler's War "reads like the plea of an advocate who knows from the very beginning what he intends to prove and who marshals his evidence to his end relentlessly and' with an enthusiasm worthy of a better cause.The result is a book of value to a few dozen military historians capable of separating new facts from old fiction, of differentiating between fresh, documentary material and unsupported claims, distortions and sheer fantasies.

Reviewing Hitler's War in The New York Review of Books on May 26, 1977, noted British historian Alan Bullock says of Irving's theory of Hitler as a weak" leader that "there is so great a volume of evidence against such a view that it is astonishing anyone can seriously suggest it."

Commenting on the lack of an actual "Final Solution" document signed by Hitler, Professor Bullock notes:

This is hardly surprising considering the monstrosity of the crimes being committed, the massacre of several million people. Elaborate precautions were taken to confine knowledge of the facts to as small a circle as possible, denials were issued which Mr. Irving himself characterizes as "the purest humbug," and the ghastly reality was camouflaged by a series of euphemisms (such as the "Final Solution") which were employed even between those who knew what was taking place.

Finally, rejecting Irving's contentions, Professor Bullock observes that Irving "asks us to believe that the man who claimed as his greatest discovery the identification of the Jew as the bacillus causing all decay in society, the man who from beginning to end of his career made the cleansing of Germany of its Jewish population a main plank of his program and spoke openly of his intentions, had no knowledge of or interest in what happened to the Jews when they got to the East.

Historian John Lukacs in the August 19, 1977 National Review described Hitler's War as "appalling," containing "hundreds of errors: wrong names, wrong dates, and, what is worse, statements about events, including battles, that did not really take place.These errors, however, are not the result of inadequate research; they are not technical mistakes or oversights.They are the result of the dominant tendency of the author's mind."


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Comments on Irving's Other Work

The very fact that the Holocaust did occur--that it was carried out with systematic precision by a regime ruled absolutely by Hitler and notable for its strict adherence to rules and lines of authority, should render any doubt as to Hitler's authorization of genocide astonishingly simple-minded, capricious and absurd.These facts may have forced Irving to develop another facet of his writing about the Nazi regime in order to put into question Hitler's authority and control.Thus, Irving's effort to "humanize" Hitler, to portray him as weak rather than ruthless, the victim of scheming, uncooperative staffers and adversaries rather than as the cold-blooded, all-controlling dictator.

Several reviewers of his books have pointed out that one of the clearest implications in Irving's work is this apparent effort to "rehabilitate" the reputations of Hitler and his regime, as well as to disparage and ridicule the Allied leaders.

Reviewing Irving's 1977 book The Trail of the Fox, a biography of German General Erwin Rommel whose nickname was "The Desert Fox," David Pryce-Jones wrote in the New York Times Book Review of November 20, 1977: "Like all Irving's work, this goes beyond revisionism: Hitler, his lieutenants and his creed are to be pure and shining, cleansed of the crimes committed in their name by tainted degenerates whom Irving keeps in the shadows out of sight.Goebbels's Ministry of Propaganda might have hoped for a postwar line like this."

In a much earlier work - Accident: The Death of General Sikorski (1967) --Irving propounded another speculative and untenable theory, concerning the assassination" in 1942 of the Polish Prime Minister-in-exile, General Sikorski, allegedly carried Out on the orders of Winston Churchill.Writing in the London Sunday Times Weekly Review on June 12, 1977, British historian Hugh Trevor-Roper observed:

It is well known that some years ago Mr. Irving convinced himself that General Sikorski, who died in an air crash at Gibraltar, was "assassinated" by Winston Churchill, to whom in fact his death was a political calamity.Not a shred of evidence or probability has ever been produced in support of this theory and when it was tested in the courts, Mr. Irving's only "evidence" was shown to be a clumsy misreading of a manuscript diary (I have myself seen the diary and feel justified in using the word "clumsy").

In more recent years,reviewers of Irving's later books have continued to observe these tendencies in his work.Another review by John Lukacs (himself the author of two highly regarded books on World War II history) reviewing Irving's 1981 work, The War Between the Generals in the New York Times Book Review of March B, described Irving as "one of the worst contemporary historians" whose "factual errors are beyond belief." Lukacs continues: "Mr. Irving's methods are not merely bad; they are abominable.In this book as in certain of his earlier books, one of his purposes is to rehabilitate Hitler. . .He not only tells his readers that Hitler was an able man (which, alas, in many ways he was), but tries to convince them that he was a man morally superior to his Opponents." Irving does this, Lukacs notes, by continually denigrating Hitler's Opponents.


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In his review of The War Between the Generals in the New York Times of April 16, 1981, Drew Middleton, the Times' renowned military commentator, stated that in this book, Irving "has reduced the greatest campaign of World War II to the level of latrine gossip."

"Moreover," Middleton continues, "you get the feeling that when Mr. Irving finds a particularly gamy quotation, he rushes it into print without considering the reliability of its source." Middleton also notes: "Frequently Mr. Irving is in error," and that "Mr. Irving seems to take a juvenile delight" in depicting the personal flaws and foibles of Allied leaders, such as Eisenhower, Churchill and Patton.

In a similar vein, Newsday editor W. Sylvester McTernan, reviewing The War Between the Generals in that Long Island newspaper on April 2, 1981, wrote that the book "would appear to be part of a continuing effort to rehabilitate National Socialism." McTernan adds, "Outrageous assertions, properly documented, are legitimate history, but Irving does not allow himself to become too bent under the burden of proof.The danger, then, is that as shallow a historian as Irving is, he writes well.The casual reader is likely to swallow the book whole.

Support for Anti-Semitism

In a May 7, 1981 letter to Newsday, responding to McTernan's review, Irving defended his views as simply "unfashionable." More interesting and revealing, however, was his reference in this letter to what he called "my infuriating offer of $1,000 for evidence that Hitler knew of Auschwitz." That bizarre offer is highly reminiscent of the cynical $50,000 "reward" offer for "proof" that the Nazis perpetrated the mass murder of Jews in death camp gas chambers - an offer issued by the so-called Institute for Historical Review (IHR).The IHR is a California-based pseudo-academic organization dedicated to promoting propaganda denying the reality of the Holocaust and is closely associated with long time anti-Semite Willis A. Carto and his Liberty Lobby, probably the most important anti-Semitic group in the United States.

The similarity between these two "reward offers" would be, perhaps, only incidental where it not for the fact that David Irving is listed as a featured speaker at the fifth annual "convention" of the Institute for Historical Review to be held in the Los Angeles area over the 1983 Labor Day weekend.Irving has thus come' to the point not only of questioning Hitler's authority for the "Final Solution" and of seeking to rehabilitate Hitler's reputation, but now is also openly participating in the activities of blatant anti-Semites who seek not simply to downplay Hitler's crimes, but - in the guise of historical "revisionism" - to deny them altogether.

Rehabilitating the Reich

An example of Irving's effort to "humanize" Hitler and at the same time to denigrate the Allied leaders, can be seen in the introduction to Hitler's War. "In an age," Irving writes, "in which the governments of the.democracies, both during World War II and in later years, unhesitatingly attempted, engineered, or condoned the assassination of the inconvenient. . . we learn that Hitler, the unscrupulous dictator, not only never resorted to the assassination of foreign opponents, but flatly forbade the Abwehr [Intelligence Agency] to attempt it






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Most of all, Irving states, he wants to "de-demonize the Nazi leaders."Confronted by the phenomenon of Hitler himself, (historians] cannot grasp that he was an ordinary, walking, talking human weighing some 155 pounds, with graying hair, largely false teeth, and chronic digestive ailments."

Irving has consistently expressed such views over a period of years.On a 1977 BBC program, for example, when asked whether he thought Hitler was "evil," Irving replied, "I will go further.He was as evil as Churchill as evil as Roosevelt, as evil as Truman." More recently, a November 23, 1982 United Press International story datelined Cologne, West Germany, referred to a statement made by Irving during a television discussion following the broadcast of the American series, "Holocaust." According to this report, David Irving said Adolf Hitler had not ordered the extermination of Jews and he compared the extermination of Jews to the Anglo-American bombing of Dresden."

As Professor Walter Laqueur noted in his review of Hitler's War in the April 3, 1977 New York Times Book Review, "There is no shred of evidence" for this notion about a benign Hitler and other remarkable contentions by Irving.Professor Laqueur pointed out that Hitler was a relentless worker," who "in the early years of the war showed far more military genius than his field marshals," and who "showed iron determination and hypnotic powers of leadership" as well as "a phenomenal memory."

Furthermore, in this review, Professor Laqueur described a significant legal development which also sheds light on Irving's questionable credibility:

The affair of his Convoy PQ 17 book has made Mr. Irving a little more cautious.That volume blamed a captain of the Royal Navy for a "scatter" order to merchantmen in a Russia-bound convoy in July, 1942, as a result of which two-thirds of the ships were destroyed by German U-boats.The court found the captain a brave man who had done his duty; what it had to say about Mr. Irving was much less flattering, and there were heavy damages for libel.

Irving's Latest Work

A recent further illustration of this perverse thinking by Irving appeared in the April ii, 1983 issue of New York Magazine, in an item about Irving's newest book, The Secret Diaries of Hitler's Doctor.The book publishes the records of Dr. Theodor Morell, Hitler's war-time physician.

Continuing his two major themes - namely, "humanizing" Hitler and claiming that he did not know about the mass murder of the Jews - Irving is quoted as saying, I don't think the Jewish people will like" his new book, because "they regard Hitler as a vampire-like figure.He was a very normal person with an obsessive preoccupation with his medical well-being."

Moreover, Irving added, "I was nervous that I would come across an entry where Morell noted that Hitler wasn't able to sleep because of the Jewish killings, which would have disagreed with my findings (i.e., that Hitler was unaware of the genocide).I was relieved not to see one.


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Here, Irving not only maintains the notion of Hitler as the "ordinary" man, but singles out the Jewish community as the source of the "demonizing" process he is trying to reverse.Furthermore, one sees at work here Irving's untenable intellectual method: first, he develops a controversial,even groundless,' premise; second, he "examines" the historical record and third, finding nothing to contradict his theory, proclaims a discovery, and the vindication of his guesswork.

More Holocaust "Denial"

Yet Irving has not allowed the actual existence of documentation contrary to his theories to stand in the way of his preconceived notions, as has been previously noted in this report.In a more sensational instance of questioning documentation relating to the Holocaust, Irving has questioned the authenticity of Anne Frank's diary.The London Jewish Chronicle of December 7, 1979 reported: "Mr. Irving said that he was neutral in the matter, but in view of the doubts expressed by some Right-wing circles about the authenticity of the diary, he felt that an independent investigation was called for." The article also stated that the introduction to the West German edition of Hitler's War contained a statement to the effect that the Diary of Anne Frank was among "many forgeries" relating to the record of the Nazi regime.It is interesting to note that one of the primary and most frequently advanced propaganda assertions promoted by the Institute for Historical Review is the claim that Anne Frank's diary is a forgery.IHR literature promotes a book called Anne Frank's Diary - A Hoax by Ditlieb Felderer, a long time anti-Semitic activist and publisher in Sweden who was recently sentenced to 10 months in prison for disseminating hate material in that country.Felderer is one of many anti-Semites listed as members of the Editorial Advisory Committee of the Journal of Historical Review, the quarterly publication of the IHR.

Links to Other Extremists

On the European scene, Irving has lent his name and his presence to activities sponsored by Gerhard Frey, publisher of the far-right West German newspaper National Zeitung, who is also president of the Deutsche Volksunion (DVU), or German People's Union, a group which is sympathetic to the Nazi regime and which strives to end all war crimes trials.The National Zeitung of May 6, 1983 carried Frey's "invitation" to readers to attend a series of lectures by Irving, identified as "the world-renowned historian," on the now discredited "Hitler diaries." Earlier, on January 21, 1983 the National Zeitung carried a picture of the guests at a memorial meeting in tribute to Hans-Ulrich Rudel, the most highly decorated fighter pilot in Hitler's Luftwaffe, who died in 1982.This photo and its caption identified Irving as occupying a prominent place on the dais at this meeting.On May 9, 1983, at a meeting of the DVU, Irving was awarded the National Zeitung's "European Freedom Prize," worth 10,000 German marks.

Irving's Early Thinking

Irving has apparently held an admiring view of the Nazi regime for many years.In May, 1959, a campus publication called Carnival Times, published in London, and listing David Irving of Imperial College as Editor, carried an editorial titled "Battle for Europe," which at one point referred favorably to British neo-fascist Oswald Mosley.In the Course of making a case for the formation of a "European Union," the editor criticized the United States for opposing such a


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plan allegedly because this union would mean "the collapse of their lucrative NATO set-up." The editorial then stated:

The organs of the National Press owned by Jews are acting in the same way.The formation of a European Union is interpreted as an attempt at building a group of superior peoples, and the Jews have always viewed with suspicion the emergence of any "master race" (other than their own, of course).

Moreover, the editorial defended the concept of the "European Union" as a means of opposing the Soviet Union.To bolster this argument, the editorial list stated: "Why, little Germany, by herself, under the direction of Herr Hitler, nearly succeeded in subjugating the combined might of the Bolshevik Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.Perhaps If,, at the same time, he was not being attacked by the whole of the rest of the world, he might have succeeded."



It is clear that David Irving's bizarre historical theories, particularly regarding the Nazi regime, must be viewed skeptically by people seriously interested in facts, rather than sensationalism.Many renowned historians and knowledgeable commentators have repudiated his work, observing that Irving's books are far heavier on gossip and guesswork than on scholarship.Even more important, his work is simply unreliable as history, and transparently reveals a disquieting desire to whitewash the image of Hitler and his Reich.

Apparently, David Irving's careless "research" and lack of credibility have thus far not dimmed his notoriety nor damaged his marketability.Therefore, his involvement in such blatantly anti-Semitic activities as those of the Institute for Historical Review, his questioning of the authenticity of Anne Frank's diary, and his other disturbing views and activities must raise concern about the extent of Irving's ability to influence the uninformed, and his potential for providing respectability to bigots.


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Notes on the above document

1. In 1977 the ADL undertook serious attempts to sabotage the sale and promotion by The Viking Press of David Irving's best-selling biography Hitler's War.

2: Before agreeing to lecture to audiences of the DVU (the German People's Union), a democratic German organisation run by Munich publisher Dr Gerhard Frey, Mr Irving asked the German embassy for advice, which responded in writing that the DVU was a properly constituted and legal German organisation. It in no way fits the description given in the ADL document. [Return]

3: The Sunday Times (not The Times which was owned by a different corporation) published on July 10, 1997 an article by journalists Gitta Sereny (now Mrs Don Honeyman) and Lewis Chester. Sereny is a defendant in the 1996 libel action brought by David Irving, in the course of which evidence has come to light suggesting links existing in 1977 between her and the ADL. [Return]

4: The reference is to Dr Elke Fröhlich, Munich researcher and discoverer of the whereabouts of the long-lost Goebbels diaries in the Moscow archives. Dr Fröhlich was a close friend and sometime assistant of Mr Irving since 1963. Gitta Sereny had to publish in The Sunday Times two weeks later a letter retracting and apologising for this alleged quotation from her.[Return]

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© Focal Point 1998 write to David Irving