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Shofar FTP Archive File: people/i/irving.david//jackel/postscript-kirk-1

Newsgroups: alt.revisionism
Subject: Holocaust Almanac: David Irving's Hitler: Postscript
Summary: H. David Kirk's commentary on Irving's work and the Jaeckel
Followup-To: alt.revisionism
Organization: The Nizkor Project, Vancouver Island, CANADA
Keywords: Kirk,Irving,Jaeckel

Archive/File: pub/people/i/irving.david/jackel/postscript-kirk-1
Last-Modified: 1996/02/27

After reading H. David Kirk's translation of the Jaeckel essays, I
discovered his post-script, and found it interesting enough to add to
the archives, and to publish here. I trust those interested in Mr.
Irving's work will find Kirk's comments enlightening:

[Reprinted with the permission of the translator, H. David Kirk.]

   "Translator's Postscript: To Tell the Truth ...  

   'During the Aschaffenburg Hitler Congress held on 1 and 2
   July 1978, the writer David Irving asked Professor
   Eberhard Jaeckel, 'When, in your view, did Hitler become
   an antisemite?' '

                            --Gerald Fleming, 
                            Hitler and the Final Solution <48> 

   Does it matter whether it was in 1920 that Hitler became an
   antisemite or in the days of his youth in Vienna?  For those who
   remember the travesties of Hitler's regime, and even more for those
   murdered by it, the beginnings hardly matter.  Today, what matters is
   the evident continuation and expansion of the lies that became the
   Nazi justification for mass murder.  Fourteen years have passed since
   Eberhard Jaeckel's essays appeared in a German symposium on the TV
   series 'Holocaust.' It is disconcerting to realize that their focus
   has become even more necessary for understanding the movement that
   calls itself 'historical revisionism.' By exposing facets of Irving's
   'historical method,' his twisting of facts, his misrepresentations,
   Jaeckel undermines a central theme dear to the so-called
   'revisionists,' namely that Hitler is not to blame for the physical
   destruction of the Jewish people of Europe.  From that assertion it
   is only a short jump to the claim that the Holocaust is a fraud, and
   another to the assertion that it is a fraud manufactured by Jews to
   defraud Germany.  

   In preparing this translation, several of Irving's books besides
   Hitler's War, and commentaries on it, helped to shed light on
   Irving's 'historical method.' It is now possible to amplify, and in
   one instance to clarify, Professor Jaeckel's dissection of Irving's
   Hitler-cleansing thesis.  

           Irving's Non Sequitur Reasonings and Omissions 

   As previously noted, the German historian, Martin Broszat, also
   wrote<49> about Irving's 'Fuehrer-cleansing' thesis found in Hitler's
   War.  Here is one of many passages demonstrating the technique of

      Some two-thirds of the 800 pages deal with Hitler's direction of
      the war, and with military events and problems....  His
      Hitler-book shows clearly the suggestive power of attraction that
      the struggles of the German armies under the command of Hitler has
      for this author.  What is being told here 'between the lines' is
      the gripping story of the better leader and commander-in-chief,
      and the better army, who, after enormous war exertions, finally
      succumb to the power and the material surfeit of the less good
      opponents....  What the author writes is a war novel.  An example
      is the following from his description of the Poland campaign:
      'Hitler's positive enjoyment of the battle scenes was undeniable.
      He visited the front whenever he could, heedless of the risk to
      himself and his escort....' 

      A frequently varied theme to which Irving gives strong verbal
      emphasis is the [Fuehrer's] bravery and steadiness in crises.  Thus
      he introduces the description of the threat of catastrophe during
      the Russian war winter of 1941-42 with these sentences (p.  355):
      'In the dark months of that winter Hitler showed his iron
      determination and hypnotic powers of leadership.  We shall see how
      these qualities and the German soldier's legendary capacity for
      enduring hardships spared the eastern army from cruel defeat that
      winter.' ...  

      The 'strategy' of de-demonizing Hitler, running through the book,
      is based on the fact that here ideological and political
      considerations are being pushed into the background in favor of
      the more important, and supposedly value-free, account of military
      events.  That is especially noticeable in the story of Hitler's
      secret euthanasia-order ['mercy- killings' by gas of the mentally
      ill] after the beginning of war, an order which is frequently
      (falsely) linked to and justified by military necessity.

   There follows this explanatory footnote: 

      Irving introduces the section dealing with that event (page 20)
      with the following observation: 'The ostensible occasion for this
      formal decision was related to war needs.  About a quarter of a
      million hospital beds were required for Germany's mental
      institutions ...  They occupied bed space and the attention of
      skilled medical personnel which Hitler now urgently needed for the
      treatment of the casualties in his coming campaigns.' 

   Broszat adds: 'In none of the relevant documents can that
   explanation for the euthanasia-actions be found.' In other words,
   Irving does not hesitate to interpret what he thinks is needed for,
   or to omit what runs counter to, a cleansing of Hitler's demon image.

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