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Posted Saturday, January 12, 2008

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THERE IS in fact zero debate now among real historians about the 1933 Reichstag Fire

Saturday, January 12, 2008


Germany Overturns Nazi-Era Conviction


BERLIN (AP) -- Prosecutors said Thursday they have formally overturned the conviction of a Dutch communist who was executed after the Nazis accused him of torching the Reichstag parliament building in 1933.

Marinus van der Lubbe, a bricklayer, was convicted of arson and high treason in December 1933 and executed on Jan. 10, 1934.
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David Irving comments:

I ONCE wrote, "To historians and lawyers is allowed what even the Gods are denied - to change what has already happened."
   There is in fact zero debate now among real historians about the Reichstag Fire --- ever since June 1992, when I brought back from the KGB archives in Moscow the entry in the Joseph Goebbels diary relating to that 1933 night, which confirmed other people's accounts that both he and Adolf Hitler (who was with him) were taken by surprise by the conflagration and rushed downtown to see it: see the excerpt from my book "Goebbels. Mastermind of the Third Reich" below.

The federal prosecutor's office said it formally "declared that the verdict ... is overturned" on Dec. 6.

It said that it made the move after being alerted to the case by a Berlin lawyer, whom it did not identify, and that the conviction was overturned automatically under a 1998 law allowing for the rehabilitation of people convicted of crimes under the Nazis.

Historians still debate whether van der Lubbe actually set the Feb. 27, 1933, fire, which came just a month after Adolf Hitler's rise to power and was followed by the suspension of civil liberties.

Some believe the Nazis set it themselves to give Hitler an excuse for his crackdown against what he termed a "communist conspiracy."

Van der Lubbe was the only defendant convicted of arson at the subsequent trial. Four other communists charged with him were acquitted.

Federal prosecutors said his conviction was overturned because the death sentence resulted from measures introduced under the Nazis "that were created to implement the National Socialist regime and enabled breaches of basic conceptions of justice."


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From "Goebbels. Mastermind of the Third Reich" (London, 1996)


HIS year, 1933, was however the year of the Big Lie. On Monday evening February 27 occurred one of the most controversial episodes of the whole era. Hitler had come to dine with the Goebbels family. Shortly, Goebbels was called away to take a phone call from Hitler's friend Ernst 'Putzi' Hanfstaengl, a well-known prankster. Hanfstaengl shouted excitedy that the Reichstag building was on fire. Since Goebbels had twitted him with a phone call only days before, he ignored the call. Hanfstaengl phoned again, this time to report that he could see flames leaping out of the Reichstag's cupola.

Hitler and Goebbels tried to phone the Reichstag; nobody answered-- small wonder, because a phone call to the Brandenburg Gate police station confirmed that the Reichstag was on fire. They drove off at top speed down the Charlottenburg Chaussee.

Afterwards the world's press clamoured that the Nazis themselves had started the blaze. With this author's discovery of the missing Goebbels Diary entries in Moscow, that version is finally laid to rest. He, Hitler, and Göring were equally stunned by the news.

Hitler summons me to the Kaiserhof [the unpublished entry begins]. He's enthusiastic about my [radio] commentaries. Says Munich and Nuremberg were really great... Hitler fabulous as always... Back home to work. Much to do. At nine P.M. Hitler and Auwi [Prince August-Wilhelm] come over. Music and gossip. Then Hanfstaengl phones: says the Reichstag's burning. What an imagination! But turns out to be true. Race straight down there with Hitler. The entire building a mass of flames. [We] go in. Göring follows. Papen, whose acquaintance I thus make, is also there. Thirty arson sites. Fires set by the communists. Göring rampant, Hitler raging, Papen clear-headed. The main assembly chamber a picture of devastation. So take action now! ... To work! Hitler consults with Papen. We meet back at the Kaiserhof. Everybody beaming. This was the last straw. Now we're well away. Culprit caught, a twenty-four year old Dutch communist.

'He's being interrogated now,' Göring told them. 'We decided straight away,' Goebbels related at the subsequent trial, 'to ban the communist press and later the social democrat press too, and to take the top communist officials into custody.'

Göring ordered the S.A. to stand by in case of an all-out communist uprising. At midnight Hitler and Goebbels hurried over to the Völkischer Beobachter's Berlin office. It took half an hour even to get into the sleeping building, and more time was wasted while printworkers, compositors and a surly sub-editor were found. There was no sign of Rosenberg himself, the editor. Devouring the proofs of the next day's edition, Hitler finally found the sensational news tucked away in the Berlin in Brief column ('Fire damage to the Reichstag'). 'Man, are you mad,' he shouted at the subeditor. 'This is an event on a colossal scale!'

We drove over to the VB [Goebbels' diary continues]. It is really badly laid out. Hitler sets to work there straight away. I dictate a new gau poster and a fabulous article ... During the night all communist party officials are arrested. Entire communist and social democrat press banned. Good work done... Over to Hitler at Kaiserhof. He's delighted with my article. It is half-past five in the morning... Two S.A. men shot in Berlin. To sleep at seven. Three hours. Then straight back to work !

The fire was a Godsend to the Nazi radicals. Goebbels was already disquieted by the speed with which Hitler and even Göring were succumbing to Hindenburg's bourgeois spell. This lone communist fire-raiser had rescued the revolution. During the night he sent for the journalist Alfred-Ingemar Berndt to take down a fiery press release. Goebbels' press release announced the sweeping arrests, and described the Reichstag fire as a communist beacon, a signal for a marxist insurrection. This was as much a lie as the claim by Jewish and communist agencies worldwide that the Nazis had staged the fire. Even the authoritative Manchester Guardian published a dispatch from an anonymous special correspondent alleging that Hitler, Göring, and Goebbels had foregathered in Berlin that evening 'awaiting their fire.'

The world's press readily copied this Big Lie, and historians in time adopted it from them.

The above item is reproduced without editing other than typographical

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