Who is David
This pamphlet is too small to list all the lies
and distortions David Irving has told about the
Holocaust. Instead, it presents some analysis of a
few of them.
Holocaust-denial is not a field of history.
Irving has written many popular books, but is not a
trained historian and his view of history is very
For more information on these subjects, see the
world wide web URLs given inside.
This pamphlet was written to be handed out at a
speech Irving is giving on April 13, 1998, at
Washington State University.
If the people I spoke with at the Jewish Student
Organization are any indication, it seems there are
many at WSU who believe that his lies are best
countered with facts, not censorship. In the
interest of informing his audience, I wrote a
trifold pamphlet suitable for handing out.
But here on the web, I'm not limited to one
sheet of paper, and so will provide more detail
about the items mentioned. This webpage is a
companion to the brochure.
Regarding Irving's training as a historian, it
is worse than nonexistent.
failed elementary history, according to his
testimony in 1988: "I have no academic
The reader is also urged to visit Nizkor's
information on Irving, which is quite extensive
and referenced many times below.
Holocaust History Project
April 12, 1998
In a speech in 1993, Irving quotes Adolf
talking about how the Holocaust was ordered.
Eichmann meets Reinhard Heydrich, and, according to
Heydrich utters to him the fateful
words, "I've come from the Reichsführer SS
[Himmler]. The Führer
[Hitler] has given the order for the
physical destruction of the Jews."
Irving admits here that Hitler ordered the
physical extermination of the Jews. But for the
past 20 years he's become famous for arguing that
Hitler never did this!
This is taken from the website of the
Holocaust-denial group CODOH.
It is part of Irving's speech The
Suppressed Eichmann and Goebbels Papers. I've
omitted the German to make it fit. The full text of
what Irving said is:
Heydrich utters to him the fateful words,
"Ich komme vom Reichsführer SS. Der
Führer hat den Befehl zur physischen
Vernichtung der Juden gegeben." ("I've come from
the Reichsführer SS [Himmler]. The
Führer has given the order for the physical
destruction of the Jews.")
That, of course -- given in quotation marks
in the manuscript -- is what gave me pause for
thought. I've always said, "Hitler wasn't involved,
whatever happened -- Hitler gave no orders, there's
no proof of it." Here we have Eichmann writing
something very specific indeed. What is the
He has to find a way out, so he says:
Well, if you look just at that
sentence, we can say that you've only got to
change one or two words and
you get a completely different meaning. If it
wasn't "The Führer has ordered the PHYSICAL
DESTRUCTION of the Jews," but rather "the
extirpation of Judaism," you've only changed the
words by a fraction and yet you've got a totally
Historians shouldn't change words if
their documents contradict their claims.
Well, if we look just at that sentence, we
can say that you've only got to change one or two
words and you get a completely different meaning.
If it wasn't "The Führer has ordered the
physische Vernichtung [physical
destruction], of the Jews," but rather "die
Ausrottung des Judentums," you've only changed the
words by a fraction and yet you've got a totally
different meaning. You get something which is much
more similar to Adolf Hitler's public utterances
and speeches. Ausrottung des Judentums, the
destruction of Judaism, is something totally
different. You don't do that by gas chambers and
the machine gun, any more than destroying
Christianity or destroying usury can be done by the
gas chamber and the bullet. They're different
In fact that is not more similar to
Hitler's public speeches. Hitler occasionally spoke
of the Ausrottung des Judentums, yes, but he
also spoke at least three times of the
extermination of the Jewish people, das
jüdische Volk, not "Judaism."
Immediately afterward, Eichmann said that
ditches were being dug to carry out Hitler's order.
How would the Nazis have buried "Judaism" in a
ditch? Irving doesn't say.
Irving continues, just six paragraphs later:
What else is there in the Eichmann papers?
Well, he describes how, after Heydrich called him
to Berlin and uttered this fateful sentence about
the Führer having given the order, Heydrich
said that Himmler has ordered Odilo Globocnik to
carry out this task, and that Himmler had actually
ordered that the Russian anti-tank ditches were to
be used for disposing of the bodies.
I wrote Irving a
letter on this subject in 1996, noting no fewer
than five places where Eichmann used
exactly the words "physical extermination"
-- the same words that Irving would have us change
"by a fraction."
Irving's reply was to send a draft from his
upcoming book, in German
WHICH SEE THIS
that did not address this very specific question.
He then suggested
that I "find something better to do with my
Irving Tells Outright
Goebbels' diary talks about the Jews:
...the greater the number of Jews
liquidated, the more
consolidated will the situation in Europe be
after this war.
March 6, 1942
The procedure is a pretty barbaric one and
not to be described here more definitely. Not
much will remain of the Jews. On the whole it
can be said that about 60 per cent of
them will have to be liquidated
whereas only about 40 per cent can be used for
March 27, 1942
Short shrift is made of the Jews in all
eastern occupied areas. Tens of
thousands of them are liquidated.
April 29, 1942
Irving talks about Goebbels' diary:
There is no explicit
reference either implicit in these
documents or legible in these documents
to liquidation of Jews.
April 22, 1988
(in sworn testimony!)
from the Goebbels diary, and many more in the
same vein, can be found on the Nizkor site.
The Irving quote is from his sworn
testimony as quoted on the "revisionist"
Zundelsite. Irving said:
"I am very familiar with the Goebbels diaries
insofar as they have been publicly
Did those sources - the Posen speech, the
Goebbels diary, the Wannsee Conference and the
letter of July 31, 1941 - indicate any plan to
exterminate European Jews?, asked Christie.
"No," said Irving. "There is no explicit
reference either implicit in these documents or
legible in these documents to liquidation of Jews.
They are all equally applicable to any other
solution. Of course, relocation of the Jews in the
middle of a war was a radical solution but it is
not what is described as the 'Holocaust.'"
Obviously the Goebbels diary makes explicit
reference to liquidation and extermination. I
quoted it here because it makes the contrast most
clear, using the same word "liquidation" as Irving
The Wannsee conference
WHICH SEE THIS
the July 31 letter referencing it use cloaked
language to refer to extermination, so the contrast
would not be striking without making use of later
testimony about Wannsee from, say, Eichmann:
The discussion covered killing, elimination,
Eichmann was present at Wannsee. Irving was not.
Whom should we believe? (Fleming, Hitler and
the Final Solution, 1984, p. 92.)
I could also have used the
I am talking about the evacuation of the
Jews, the extermination of the Jewish people. It is
one of those things that is easily said. "The
Jewish people is being exterminated," every Party
member will tell you, "perfectly clear, it's part
of our plans, we're eliminating the Jews,
exterminating them, a small matter".
We have the moral right, we had the duty to
our people to do it, to kill this people who would
kill us. We however do not have the right to enrich
ourselves with even one fur, with one Mark, with
one cigarette, with one watch, with anything. That
we do not have. Because we don't want, at the end
of all this, to get sick and die from the same
bacillus that we have exterminated.
Regarding the March 27 entry of Goebbels diary,
where he says that "60 per cent of them will have
to be liquidated," Irving has commented
All he's actually saying here is that the
Jews are having a pretty rigorous time. They're
being deported, it's happening in a systematic way,
and not many of them are going to survive
I cannot improve on Dr.
Michael Shermer's reply:
Say what?? A "rigorous time?" "Deported?"
This has to be the most conservative interpretation
of the word "liquidate" I have ever read.
Irving Tries to
Between 1,000,000 and 1,500,000 people, mostly
Jews, were killed at Auschwitz. Almost all of them
were cremated in ovens fueled by coke.
Irving said in a radio interview, on November 8,
...what happened to those one million people?
Were they cremated? The answer is you couldn't have
cremated them, there wasn't sufficient crematorium
capacity, there wasn't enough
coke. It would have taken forty thousand
tons of coke...
He claims it takes 80 pounds of coke to cremate
each body, thus, very few people could have been
killed at Auschwitz.
But this whole idea is purely imaginary.
Just as meat burns on a barbeque when the fire
gets hot enough, the fuel for cremating a corpse
can be the corpse itself. Burning a pound of flesh
gives off 1,000 BTU of heat. Once the oven is
heated enough with coke, it stays hot, and many
corpses can be burned in a row.
The Nazis' own operating instructions for the
Auschwitz ovens read:
After each incineration, the
temperature rises in the furnace. For this
reason, care must be taken that the internal
temperature does not rise above 1100°C
There is an enormous wealth of information on
the Auschwitz ovens and on cremation in general,
all of which the deniers would prefer we
We know the ovens operate as described, because
- captured documents showing the plans for the
- instructions for their use;
- documents which show the evolution of
progressively-more-efficient ovens starting in
- testimony from the people who ran the ovens
that no coke was needed for the second corpse in
a row and very little for the third;
- a 1950 patent application based on a similar
- and, of course, the ovens themselves.
The interested reader should consult Gutman et
al., Eds., Anatomy of the Auschwitz Death
Camp, essays 6, 7, and 8. In particular, the
section on pp. 185ff. shows the progression of the
oven design. We see that even in 1937:
Müller claimed that there was a direct
relation between increased use and increased
economy. If the cold furnace required 175 kilograms
(kg) of coke to start up a new incineration, it
needed only 100 kg if it had been used the day
before; a second and third incineration on the same
day would not require any extra fuel, thanks to the
compressed air; and those that followed would call
for only small amounts of extra energy.
4. Archive of the Memorial Place
Dachau, files 943 and 2111.
The source for the 1,000 BTU figure is an
with the president of a crematory oven
manufacturing company (it's unrelated to the
According to B&L President Steve Looker,
who designed the Phoenix II, the average body gives
off a modest 1,000 BTU per pound of meat (burning
wood, by comparison, gives off 6,000 Btu). But an
extremely obese corpse ... can run to 17,000 Btu.
"That's like burning kerosene," says
Human and animal remains, consisting of
carcasses [...] These waste consist of up
to 85% moisture and 5% incombustible solids with a
heating value of 1000 BTUs per pound as
The effect of increasing temperature is
described in the Internet
Cremation Society FAQ:
...in the retort we operate, the first
cremation of the day takes about two hours and the
second takes about an hour. That is because the
retort already has a high internal temperature at
the beginning of the second cremation.
(The time of one hour is for a commercial
crematory, and includes the time to fully
incinerate even the largest bones. The Auschwitz
ovens operated faster.)
The source for the Auschwitz oven operating
instructions is Auschwitz: Technique and
Operation of the Gas Chambers, Jean-Claude
Pressac, 1989, p. 136, as quoted
by Mark Van Alstine.
Irving Speaks to
On September 20, 1996, David Irving was the
featured speaker at a meeting of the National
The National Alliance is "the largest neo-Nazi
group in America," according to Klanwatch. It
gained notoriety when its leader's book The
Turner Diaries, which is a battle plan for
race war, was Exhibit A in Timothy McVeigh's trial.
Its membership handbook talks about using National
Socialism (Nazism) to recruit:
The recruiter who is working with the
right sort of member ... can use the National
Socialist idea ... for opening the mind of his
prospect to the Alliance message.
In an Australian radio interview just two months
later, Irving said "I don't give speeches to
Irving has threatened a lawsuit to keep a
recording of this speech off the internet.
Irving's speech to the National Alliance is
described -- but not transcribed, under threat of
lawsuit -- by Annie
Alpert, who attended with her tape
"Largest neo-Nazi group in America": Peggy
O'Crowley, staff writer, Bergen Record, September
18, 1996, quoting
Richard Baudouin of Klanwatch.
Membership handbook: not published openly, but
on a white-supremacist mailing list in February
with Julie Posetti of 2BL Radio in Sydney,
Australia, November 8, 1996.
Irving threatened a lawsuit in his letter
to Annie Alpert of September 23, 1996:
...all my remarks at the private lecture
which you attended on September 20 are what is
known in law as "intellectual property", and that
any unlawful dissemination of either the tape
recording which you were observed to make or of any
unauthorised transcript thereof will constitute an
infringment of my Copyright and will be treated
accordingly, and damages will be sought for breach
Questions to ask
He said in 1996 that about 600,000 Jews died in
the Holocaust; but in 1995 he said it was four
million. If he claims to know what he's talking
about, why the huge difference?
The 600,000 figure was also mentioned in 1994,
in an interview
with Michael Shermer:
Irving (1994) believes that the number of
Jews killed "is wrong by an order of magnitude. In
other words, 500,000 to 600,000 instead of five to
The 600,000 figure, as quoted on August
I think the figures have been magnified by an
Order of Magnitude.
The four million figure was erroneously
attributed in the printed brochure to the year
1996. It was actually from a July 1995 interview
with Ron Casey in Australia:
Casey: What is your estimate of
the number of Jews who died at the hands of
Hitler's regime in the war years? What number - and
I don't like using this word - what number would
you concede were killed in concentration
Irving: I think, like any
scientist, I'd have to give you a range of figures
and I'd have to say a minimum of one million, which
is a monstrous crime, and a maximum of about four
million, depending on what you mean by killed. If
putting people into a concentration camps where
they die of barbarity and typhus and epidemics is
killing then I would say the four million figure
[...] If you include everybody who died by
whatever means, then you could probably go as
high as four million...
He returns to the low figure in an interview
in November 1996, also with Ron Casey:
Casey: ...you did say to me
that the figures of the victims of the Holocaust
was higher than you had previously
Irving: I think the real
figures probably are about a million or
Is he a Holocaust "revisionist"? If not, can he
name anyone other than a revisionist who agrees
with his views?
There are several well-known writers and
historians who agree that Irving is a thorough
researcher and prolific writer -- but to my
knowledge, no one except Holocaust-deniers
expresses agreement with his views.
Is he an antisemite? His usual answer is "not
yet" -- what does that mean?
Irving's Action Report Update #10:
Meanwhile the bigots have the wit to taunt
him, "Mr Irving, are you antisemitic?" His reply is
thought-provoking: "Not yet."
If he believes in free speech, why is he suing
Americans for libel in England? (England has the
strictest libel laws in the world.)
Irving's Action Report #13:
David Irving is also suing Deborah Lipstadt,
a professor of religion at Emory College, Atlanta,
The National Alliance is one of the nation's
leading neo-Nazi hate groups. Why did he speak at a
National Alliance meeting on Sept. 20, 1996?
Why did he then say, on Nov. 8, 1996, "I don't
give speeches to neo-Nazis"?
He has not addressed this contradiction, to my
If he believes in free speech, why did he
threaten to sue if the unedited tape of that speech
Will he allow the release of an unedited tape of
(It is not known if the WSU speech will be
Has he done any more research into the
(From Irving's May 1995 Newsletter: "there's
currently a black and white newsreel-type Listerine
commercial showing on American television with a
sinister man intoning the message, 'They're Germs
-- show no mercy!' and slurring the G-word so it
sounds like something else. Watch for it. And
One wonders if Irving has discovered any new
anti-German catchphrases hidden
in Listerine advertisements, such as:
"Kills the Germans that cause bad breath!"
is a registered trademark of Warner-Lambert.