Battleship Auschwitz

Historical News and Comment
Published: 1990-12-01
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Remarks presented to the Tenth International Revisionist Conference

Ladies and gentlemen, we are very pleased and honored to once again welcome to this podium the distinguished British historian, Mr. David Irving. As many of those here this afternoon will recall, he also addressed the IHR conferences of 1983 and 1989.

David Irving was born in Essex, England in 1938, the son of a Royal Navy Commander. After education at London University, our next speaker spent a year working in a German steel mill to perfect his fluency in German. In the years since, he has firmly established himself as not only one of the most courageous historians of this or any age, but also as one of the most successful and widely read: several of his many books have been best-sellers.

His first work, The Destruction of Dresden, was published in 1963, when he was twenty-five years old. This was followed by many other books, including The Mare's Nest: The Secret Weapons of the Third Reich, published in 1964, The Rise and Fall of the Luftwaffe, The German Atomic Bomb, The War Between the Generals and The Trail of the Fox, a best-selling biography of Field Marshall Erwin Rommel. Several of his books have appeared in various languages, and several have been serialized in periodicals including the Sunday Express, the Sunday Telegraph and Der Spiegel.

Over the years our next speaker has contributed articles to some 60 British and foreign periodicals including the Daily Telegraph, the Sunday Express in London and Der Stern and Der Spiegel in Germany. You'd need a wheelbarrow to carry away all the newspaper and magazine clippings that have been written about him.

Mr. Irving has a track record of uncovering startling new facts about supposedly well-known episodes of history. Much of his effectiveness is due to his extensive reliance on original source materials, such as diaries, original documents and so forth, from both official and private sources. He is tenacious in his ceaseless digging in just about every important historical archive in the Western world. He has little respect for colleagues who are guilty of what he calls inter-historian incest, and who have thereby helped to keep alive myths and legends left over from Second World War propaganda. British historian Hugh Trevor-Roper once said of Irving: "He is one of the few guys I would entirely trust. Indefatigable in the pursuit of evidence, fearless in face of it, sound in judgment."

Well, Irving's reputation took a beating following the publication in 1977 of Hitler’s War, a monumental work that was hysterically criticized for its contention that Hitler did not order the extermination of Europe's Jews: the mass killings must have been carried out by Himmler and his cohorts behind Hitler's back, Irving concluded at that time. So enraged was the Zionist Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith by Irving's book that the shadowy organization promptly added his name to its ever-growing list of enemies.

As it turned out, though, the ADL's troubles with David Irving were only just beginning. The campaign against him became even more emotional and intense following the publication, in 1981, of Uprising, an unvarnished history of the 1956 anti-Communist revolt in Hungary. This book enraged the ADL crowd because it does not whitewash the significant Jewish role in the Hungarian Communist regime.

In 1987, the first volume of Irving's monumental biography of Winston Churchill, a work representing ten years of reasearch and writing, was published in Australia. And last year Irving's biography of Hermann Göring was published by William Morrow.

A startling climax in the second Holocaust trial in 1988 of Ernst Zündel was the testimony of our next speaker, who was the last of twenty-three defense witnesses. Irving stunned the completely packed Toronto courtroom by announcing that he had changed his mind about the Holocaust story. During his three days on the stand, he explained in detail why he now accepts the revisionist view of the extermination story.

As a kind of one-man IHR, David Irving has made highly successful speaking and promotional tours in West Germany, Canada, Australia, South Africa, the United States and other countries. German listeners delight in hearing an Englishman say out loud what many in that country believe in their souls, but have been intimidated to keep to themselves. In Germany Irving has become a kind of conscience for a people who have been all but robbed of their own.

During this past year, in the wake of the collapse of the Soviet-Communist domination of Eastern Europe, Irving has made triumphal speaking visits in what was the East German Democratic Republic. Last February, he addressed a large audience in Dresden on the 45th anniversary of the Allied fire-bombing of that once beautiful, baroque city. Large posters with Irving's picture appeared throughout Dresden to announce his presentation. He was greeted with flowers by the city's cultural affairs director, and was interviewed on East German television. When he appeared on stage before the microphones, more than a thousand people gave him a standing ovation. Speaking in fluent German, he recounted Winston Churchill's campaign to obliterate German cities. Irving's appearance in Dresden on the anniversary of the fire-bombing was also noteworthy because his first book, the one that launched his career, was about this very event. Irving concluded his address in Dresden with these words: "Ladies and gentlemen, survivors and descendants of the holocaust of Dresden, the holocaust of Germans in Dresden really happened. That of the Jews in the gas chambers of Auschwitz is an invention. I am ashamed to be an Englishman."

As can be imagined, these final, provocative words resulted in a spirited discussion with journalists, which immediately followed his speech. During this exchange, Irving explained the significance of Fred Leuchter's investigations and findings, and he characterized the gas chamber stories as an invention of Allied war-time propaganda.

Last June, Irving returned for another speaking tour in what was still the German Democratic Republic. In spite of a ten-mark admission fee, large crowds came to hear him speak in Leipzig, Gera, and again in Dresden. Interestingly, his audiences were mostly younger Germans; middle-aged and elderly people were in the minority. By contrast Irving's treatment during the past year in West Germany and Austria has not always been as cordial.

In Austria, following the violent demonstration staged in Vienna by Jewish groups, a warrant was issued for his arrest.

Even though his speaking tour scheduled for November of 1989 had been approved by the Austrian Interior Ministry months earlier, he was not permitted to speak in that country. Irving has initiated legal proceedings to overturn this ban. In West Germany, police forbade him, at the last minute, from addressing a mass rally on March 10, of some 8,000 people in Passau, organized by the German People's Union. He was the only speaker who was so forbidden to speak. Irving is now also fighting this ban through the courts. One bright side to this affair is that Irving's forbidden speech was recorded elsewhere on videotape, and is now being widely sold.

Some weeks later, Irving was arrested after addressing a sell-out crowd in Munich's famed Lowenbráu beer-hall on April 21st This was followed by a spontaneous demonstration of some 250 supporters who carried posters of Irving, Faurisson and Zündel. After the crowd made its way past the historic Feldherrnhalle, police waded in and arrested about 10 of the demonstrators.

In June of 1989, David Irving published a British edition of the Leuchter Report. This handsome, illustrated edition, for which he wrote a foreword, was launched by him at a press conference in London. He told the journalists there that the infamous extermination gas chambers at Auschwitz and Majdanek did not exist, except perhaps, as the brain-child invention of Britain's war-time propaganda bureau, the Psychological Warfare Executive. More than 100 members of the British House of Commons, signed a statement condemning the Irving edition of the Report as "evil." Of course this statement made no effort to refute the Report's findings.

Earlier this year a new American edition of Irving's book Hitler's War was published in paperback by Avon books. It combines earlier editions of two books: The War Path and Hitler’s War. Taking into account his most recent research and insights, all references to so-called extermination camps were removed from this new revised edition.. And in his introduction, Irving blasts one historical legend after another. The very fact that this iconoclastic work was published by a major New York publisher, is itself a gratifying victory over the dark forces that have been working over time to silence him.

David Irving is currently at work on more books that promise to raise even more hackles. One of them will be entitled Roosevelt's War. He is also working on a biography of Hitler's propaganda chief, Dr. Joseph Goebbels.

Soviet Premier, Nikita Khrushchev, once warned: "… that historians are dangerous because they have the power to upset everything." Our next speaker is just such an historian. German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck once said that "the main thing is not to write history, but to make it." David Irving is a man who has been able to do some of both. He is also living proof that the life of an historian need not be dull.

Mark Weber

Well, ladies and gentlemen, I'm sure that in the first part of my talk this evening, nobody is going to accuse me of having any respect for taste! One or two things that Mark Weber didn't mention – that I'll bring out in some detail – is my criminal career over the last 12 months.

It began almost exactly a year ago, October the 3rd, in Berlin. I was invited to go to Berlin by Sender Freies Berlin, the biggest government television station in Berlin, to take part in a round table discussion with Germany's leading historians on some historical matter (I forget what the exact detail was), on a television program called Berliner Salon. The producer of the program had telephoned me in London and said: "Mr. Irving, I attach very great importance in your coming to take part in this program, I've always been a huge admirer of your works and I've been wanting for years to have you as a participant in our round table weekly discussion program." And I said, "who else is going to be present?" And he said: "Oh, Eberhard Jäckel of the University of Stuttgart and Professor Arno Mayer of the University of Princeton…," and he reeled off a list of names and I had to say to him: Excuse me, but do these gentlemen know that I am invited too?" "No problem," he said, "no problem!"

"Well," he said, "you're going to be staying in the Hotel Kempinski and we want you to fly down to Berlin on such and such a flight with British Airways, and you can stay there a couple of days. We have everything laid on." So I made the bookings, and made the reservation for the Hotel Kempinski, and a week later, shortly before the program was due to go on, I got an embarrassed phone call from Sender Freies Berlin saying: "I'm sorry, Mr. Irving, I'm going to have to un-invite you, because all the German historians invited have refused to sit at the same table with you."

This is, of course, not a new phenomenon. They know they can't debate. They can debate with each other because they're all on the same wave-length. They all speak the same lies. But they are not prepared to debate with somebody who comes from outside their particular mafia. So I said to Sender Freies Berlin: "Well, I'm very sorry for my part, because I have bought the airline ticket already, and I made the booking to the Hotel Kempinski, and I'm going to be there!" He said: "No, no, Herr Irving, you don't understand, we are not inviting you on to the program!" So I said: That's all right, you don't have to worry about that, I won't be in the studio." And he said: "Where will you be then?" and I said: Outside the studio, with my friends."

And so I staged a demonstration in Berlin's Masurenallee outside the headquarters of Sender Freies Berlin with a few of my friends. Mr. Ernst Zündel had a major part in providing these friends, whom I didn't know previously, for me, and we paraded up and down for an hour outside the television headquarters with all the press watching. We were carrying banners and placards which read, in English and in German: "German Historians – Liars and Cowards!" in English and German, so that even the thickest German journalists could understand what the message was.

I only mention this fact to legitimize myself as some kind of prophet. Because that day was October the third ‐ not this year, not the famous historical October the third, 1990, but October the third, 1989. On that morning, in order to rub salt in the wounds of the German historical profession, I had arranged a press conference in the Hotel Kempinski in Berlin, with all the German press invited: the television, the radio, and the print media and thirty or forty journalists did turn up.

So with them all sitting in front of me around a table at the Hotel Kempinski, (I don't know what came over me, I wanted to make them feel really awkward), I said: "You know, you're not going to believe what I'm about to tell you, but twelve months from now, Germany will be re-united."

I thought, I know these journalists, there's no thought that they would loathe more than the idea of Germany being united and great once again. So I said to them, October the third last year: "Twelve months from now, Germany will be united," and by jove, I got it right down to the last pound, shilling and penny!

A few weeks later I was making a speaking tour around Austria, and our last couple of speaking events were going to be in Salzburg, and, I think, Innsbruck. By that time the Austrian police were hot on my trail: there were police down at the reception desk of the hotel looking for me, so I managed to get out through the restaurant in the back. We re-arranged the meeting, not in Salzburg, but over the border in Freilassing. But hardly anybody turned up!

This really baffled me. But the reason was that that evening was November the ninth last year, and everybody was at home glued to the TV set because the Berlin Wall had come down. A couple of weeks after that, the Daily Telegraph in London reported for the first time what I had said on October the third at the press conference, printing in a gossip column that Mr. Irving was the only person who said, at a press conference on October the third, that Germany would probably be re-united within twelve months.

Even at that time, in November of 1989, nobody was talking about re-unification of Germany. The Daily Telegraph asked me: "Mr. Irving, why didn't any of the German newspapers report, at the time, what you had said?" And I said: "Journalists everywhere have the same unifying feature, they all have all the horizon of a lavatory lid. They can't see that far. They can't see the way that historians can." And I mentioned this fact to the head of the West German Military Archives, Manfred Kehrig – remember that name, Major Manfred Kehrig ‐ head of the Military Archives in Freiburg. One of Germany's leading military historians, he wrote the standard history of Stalingrad – a first-rate German historian. I saw him at the beginning of September of this year, and he said: "Well, Irving, I came to the same conclusion that you did, about six months before you. I was in Potsdam too, at the East German Military Archives, and I saw the way the East German soldiers were behaving." They actually stayed out all night just drinking beer in the local park – the first signs of total breakdown of the system. Major Kehrig also predicted that German unity was ahead, but he didn't put an exact time limit on it.

I think that this shows what I have always maintained, that if you keep your nose glued to the archives – if you keep your nose glued to the documents ‐ then you are going to be that much closer to getting things right.

Just picture me seven years ago, in 1983. I'm at the press conference of the West German magazine Der Stern, in Hamburg. I'd been smuggled in disguised as a reporter for Bild-Zeitung, which is the opposition newspaper group in Germany. I was very familiar with the Hitler case: I'd spent twenty years of my life studying the story of Adolf Hitler. I'd built up a personal card index on his life ‐ about 30,000 index cards ‐ and when they told me that they were about to publish the Hitler diaries, I knew it was phony! So Bild-Zeitung said: "will you come along disguised as our press correspondent and attend this damned press conference and blow it up for them?" So I went along. I was the first one at the microphone, and I was the first one to have the chance to ask the people at Der Stem certain questions. I said right out: "The diaries are fake – the Adolf Hitler diaries are fake!" They’d spent nine million deutschmarks on them! And all the German historians had said they were genuine. Eberhard Jäckel had said they were genuine, so they must be genuine – but they weren't.

I got the same kind of feeling about the Holocaust. (I'm going to come to Rommel further on.) But it's the same story, because when we come to look at the story of Field Marshall Rommel, and the legend that he was a member of the anti-Hitler resistance movement, that he was a hero of the twentieth of July, 1944, a story that has come down for forty years, since World War Two – we find that nobody has bothered to go back and look at the actual records. They all believed what everybody else had written about him. And it isn't until you go back and look at the records that you realize that the truth is somewhere else.

This is how it was when I was in Toronto a couple of years ago. I was called as an expert witness as a historian to give evidence at the Ernst Zündel case, where Zündel's researchers showed me the Leuchter Report, the laboratory tests on the crematoria and the gas chambers. As a person who, at University in London, studied chemistry and physics and the exact sciences, I knew that this was an exact result There was no way around it. And suddenly all that I'd read in the archives clicked into place. You have to accept that, if there is no evidence anywhere in the archives that there were any gassings going on; that if there's not one single German document that refers to the gassings of human beings – not one wartime German document; and if there is no reference anywhere in the German archives to anybody giving orders for the gassings of people, and if, on the other hand, the forensic tests of the laboratories, of the crematoria, and the gas chambers and Auschwitz and so on, show that there is no trace, no significant residue whatsoever of a cyanide compound, then this can all only mean one thing.

So how do we explain the fact that for forty-five years since the end of World War Two, we have all, internationally, globally, been beset by a common guilt: the idea that the human race was responsible for liquidating six million human beings in gas chambers? Well, the answer is: we have been subjected to the biggest propaganda offensive that the human race has ever known. It's been conducted with such finesse, with such refinement, with such financial clout, that we have not been able to recognize it as a propaganda offensive ‐ from start to finish. And yet there are these weapons cruising past us on the horizon – in all their ugliness – and the biggest weapon, of course, of all in this propaganda campaign against the truth since 1945 has been the great battleship Auschwitz! And we have now, at last, the historical profession – above all, the Revisionist historical profession – have found as our own task, the major task: "Sink the Auschwitz!"

I warned you I was going to show no respect for taste in the first part of this talk. Sink the Auschwitz! But we haven't had to sink the Auschwitz, because the crew of the Auschwitz, Beate Klarsfeld, the Wiesenthals, Eli Wiesel and the rest of them, have been struggling on the bridge and battling with each other – boxing and engaging in fisticuffs – and the Auschwitz has been steering amongst the icebergs, and finally it has begun to scuttle itself. They’ve begun to haul down the flag of the battleship Auschwitz. Theyrve taken down the placard, they've taken down the memorial to the four million, and they’ve replaced it with a rather smaller memorial to one million.

Of course thars not the end of the story. I'm convinced that it's just the "interim memorial." I think it's on cardboard, if you have a close look, because why waste money on an expensive memorial when you're only going to have to change it again in a few months time! They’re going to have to change it because it's quite obvious. I'm not going to say only a million – I'm not going to say only any figure died in Auschwitz. We don't know the exact figures of how many people died in Auschwitz.

The Russians have helped us: the Russians released in September last year, September 21, the Auschwitz death books. That was an ugly blow for the battleship Auschwitz and its crew. Because the Russians, by releasing the forty-six death books of Auschwitz – which cover the years 1942 completely, 1943 almost completely, and 1944 incompletely – the Russians have revealed that the set of Auschwitz death books, which they have released, now shows, a total of 74,000 deaths. 74,000 deaths by all causes.

Now the Jewish professor, Arno Mayer, whom I greatly respect, who is one of those who managed to get through to the Sender Freies Berlin television program – who wasn't un-invited so he must be okay – Arno Mayer, of Princeton University, tells us in his book Why Did the Heavens Not Darken? that of those who died in Auschwitz and other concentration camps, probably far more than half died of natural causes – whatever you can call natural causes in wartime. Of course the very phrase is suspect. But that means – whatever it does mean ‐ that less than half was killed. Which means less than half of 74,000 people were killed in Auschwitz. Let’s be generous and say 40,000 may have been killed in Auschwitz over the three years – that’s a bad figure! That’s a grave crime, if s almost as many people as we British killed in Hamburg in one night.

This is cutting things down to size. When the Germans use that dreaded word, relativieren, meaning you are trying to compare things, you are trying to belittle things, the answer is: "Yes, I'm trying to cut legends down to size because that is the job of the historian." Winston Churchill himself said the job of the historian is to find out what happened and why. The German historians haven't even begun to take the first step on the bottom rung of the ladder. They haven't really found out what happened. There they were, all believing the four million figure, until somebody down in Israel said: "Oh no, not four million, there's only one million." Oh yes, one million! The Institut für Zeitgeschichte in Munich: "One million! Wir sind immer davon ausgegangen! (We always assumed it was one million.)" That was what they told the press, they always assumed it was one million. They just forgot to tell their own government. And, of course, they didn't tell the German people. And now, of course, the German people say yes, but what about the six million! Oh, the six million… and that figure stays.

Now if you go to a grocer's shop and you buy six kilos of potatoes, and all you get is two kilos left in the bag and the grocer still charges you for the six… Which is what happened to the Germans: they’ve had to pay 150 billion deutschmarks, in compensation. So the grocer says: "You're still going to have to pay for the six kilos," then you're entitled to call that a bit of a rap! You buy six liters of milk and you find that the jug's only got 2 liters in it and the milkman says: "I'm sorry, madam, you're still going to have to pay for the six, and that’s the way it is." That, too, is a swindle.

That's what's happening in Germany now. They’re still sticking to the six million figure. And they’re still being told that they were gassed. Although all the evidence runs the other way. To me, Auschwitz is unimportant – I'm happy that the ship is scuttling itself. It's vanishing. It's going to be left like the battleship Arizona at Pearl – if you ever go to Hawaii and have a look at it – with just its mast sticking out of the water to mark where once a great legend stood. And when people go there a hundred years from now and say: "Down there is the most incredible legend that people believed for fifty years: it's the great battleship Auschwitz, it was scuttled by its crew!"

Why don't we have to believe it? Well, you know about the Leuchter Report. Let me give you a few other reasons why you don't have to believe it. There's a British official government historian, Professor F.H. Hinsley. Now Professor F.H. Hinsley, a professor of history at the University of Cambridge, was in our intelligence service during World War Two at the code breaking establishment, GCHQ (Government Communications Headquarters). You might wonder what that's got to do with Auschwitz. Well, it answers one problem. People will come along from now until eternity, particularly the Holocaust historians, and they'll say: "How do we know the Germans haven't destroyed all the records of their gassings?"

Suppose they did – and believe me that isn't easy. Go down the road to Pennsylvania Avenue to the National Archives, have a look at the existing German records there: 30, 50, 100 thousand pounds of records – you can't destroy all the records.

Even if you destroy the top copy, there are half-a-dozen carbon copies – there are half-a-dozen teleprinter print-outs that have gone all down through the chain of command. There are people who have kept private diaries. There are the private letters that people have written home. That's why for twenty years I've been saying: "I'll give a thousand pounds to anyone who can find one single war-time document showing that Adolf Hitler even knew about Auschwitz, or whatever was going on, whatever it was!" And I repeated that challenge all the way around the world on television programs. I used to take the trouble of actually taking the thousand pounds out of my inside pocket and show it on the screen – they can't find any evidence!

But then people would say: "But suppose the Germans did destroy it all?"

All right, how about this: suppose we British were reading all the German signals. Suppose we British had an organization called GCHQ with 3,000 code-breakers taking every single German teleprinter message – everything that was sent by radio. And we did. Suppose we were managing, from 1942 to the end of 1943, to read the entire radio coded traffic between Auschwitz, Dachau, Buchenwald, Bergen-Belsen and the other concentration camps, on the one hand, and the headquarters in Berlin, Wirtschafts und Verwaltungs hauptamt, Oswald Pohl's unit, on the other hand.

We were doing it, ladies and gentlemen. We British were breaking and reading the codes of the SS, reading the daily reports between the commandant of Auschwitz and the headquarters in Berlin and all the other concentration camps! And we knew exactly what he was reporting to Berlin about what was going on.

The German texts of these decoded telegrams are in the British secret service archives now. I'll tell you what they say in sum; I don't exactly know what they say verbatim because the British government, for reasons we in this room could only surmise, is refusing to release the exact text of the telegrams. But they’ve been good enough, in an appendix to Volume II of the British official history, the government history of the British secret service, to tell us what we can learn from these telegrams.

Each day the daily telegrams reported back to Berlin: the number of prisoners who had arrived that morning at each camp; the number of prisoners who left that day from each camp; the number of prisoners left in each camp at the end of the day. In addition, under a fourth heading was a category described, oddly enough, as Other losses" – Abgänge alter Art. And the British secret service deduced that "other losses" were mostly losses caused by deaths. According to the British official history, "in the case of Auschwitz, most of these other losses turned out to have been due to illness. The remainder were partly accounted for by executions, which are described as having been executions by hanging and executions by shooting. There are no references to any gassings in Auschwitz."

But on the other hand, the great big battleship Auschwitz, this lie that's been cruising around for the last 45 years, has told us that that's what Auschwitz was about! That Auschwitz was there purely as a kind of Endstation, or terminus. That the trains arrived in Auschwitz, and disgorged their masses of helpless, pitiful humanity, all of whom were Jews, of course, in the present perception. And they were then kind of channeled through the extermination procedure, where they were gassed. Not a single word of this is in the messages that the British government was decoding throughout the years 1942 and 1943. And have you seen any reference to this British government finding anywhere in the newspapers? No.

I think it's courageous enough of Professor Hinsley that he's allowed himself that one dangerous sentence. He could quite easily have gotten away without putting it in at all. "There are no references to any gassings in Auschwitz." A brave man. That, unfortunately, is the situation. We who venture much further out along that particular gangplank, we know that at any time we're liable to be prodded off into the crocodile – infested seas, where the crocodiles swimming around all look remarkably like Simon Wiesenthal.

But what about the eye-witnesses? The eye-witness who saw it all happening? Well, we account for them ‐ we've got equal amounts of eye-witnesses who saw gas chambers in Dachau, happening. Well, we know there weren't any gas chambers operating there.

What about the photographs? Well, I know that there are a number of Germans here in the audience tonight, so I would like to tell you one particular episode that has caused me great pleasure in the last fews days.

It is this: you were subjected to a series of films in Germany, I think there were four or five television films during last spring, May, this year. A particular nasty couple, Lea Rousch and Eberhard Jäckel. Lea Rousch, is a very well-known Jewish television journalist in Germany, and only marginally more beautiful than Simon Wiesenthal himself. On the other hand is Eberhard Jäckel the head of the University of Stuttgart history department. Eberhard Jäckel was historical consultant and advisor and Lea Rousch was the person who no doubt pieced this apalling four-part series together.

It had the title Der Tod: Ein Meister aus Deutschland (Death: A Master from Germany), and it dredged through and crawled through all the slime. All the propaganda slime that’s been churned up by this particular propaganda campaign for the last forty-five years! And one particular episode that was screened, the 35th minute of the second episode in May of this year, showed trainloads of Jews being hauled out of a station in Romania. A picture was flashed on the screen of the trainloads of Jews in open coal cars. These people standing pitifully packed into open coal cars, and the voice-over said: There they are, being shipped off to the extermination camps at Treblinka and Auschwitz." Well, I had to write a letter to Eberhard Jäckel now, saying:

Dear Professor Jäckel, dear colleague:

It's come to my attention that the picture you've used in the film does not show Romanian Jews being packed into coal cars and shipped off to extermination camps at Auschwitz. If you look in the railway archives at the Hamburg Hauptbahnhof [Central station], you'll find that it is, in fact, a platform of the Hamburg Hauptbahnhof in 1946, one year after the war was over. And the correct caption on the photograph is: Germans from Hamburg packing into a coal train to go on a shopping expedition to the Ruhr "

That's the truth! And I wrote to Professor Jäckel:

If you don't believe it, next time you're in Hamburg, call in at the inner city restaurant, the railway station restaurant at Hamburg central station, and you'll see that pictures displayed on the wall there among a series of photographs of life in Allied occupied Germany. [And there it is, in a display showing nostalgic views out of the immediate post-war period.] Or perhaps that was your original source! May I recommend in the future that you restrict your research to the archives and less to the railway station restaurant.

Its great fun being a historian, as you can see, you have little jolly moments.

Working in the British Public Records Office, I noticed in a catalog, a file on Zyklon B. So, I thought, let's have a look at that. And it comes out to me, a British Intelligence file on Zyklon B from the War Department files in Britain. It’s a file of correspondence between MI6, the British Secret Service, and the London Fumigation Company in the post-war years, in which MI6 is trying to find out what the links were between the London Fumigation Company, on the one hand, which manufactured Zyklon B as a fumigation and disinfestation poison, and I.G. Farben and Degesch, on the other hand, in Germany. They wanted to find out which was the corporation which first invented this substance, this cyanide-based compound, and which was the one that had just bought the license, and so on. Unimportant for me, but there are some very nice photographs of some tins of Zyklon B in the file. But what caught my eye was the fact, that, in 1946 the London Fumigation Company had as its telegraphic address: Zyklon-London!

When in Freiburg at the beginning of last month, in September, I called on a very old friend of mine, the head of the history department at the University of Freiburg, in Germany. They're all my friends, you see, all these German historians in private.

He invited me up for a bottle of wine, and we sat up talking til 2 or 3 in the morning, exchanging notes and comparing sources. In public, of course, they won't be seen dead with me, but in private, they need me. And dear Professor Berndt Martin, who's been a friend of mine for twenty years, said: "Irving, the problem with you is that you've never been to Auschwitz. I have been to Auschwitz two or three times." And I said: "So?" He said: "Now the head of the museum and archives at Auschwitz is a personal friend of mine over many years now." I said, "Oh, you mean Franciszek Piper." He said: "Oh yes, Franciszek Piper, a very close friend of mine over several years – and I remember the last time I went to see Auschwitz I, which is where the tourists are shown, and you're completely wrong about the gas chambers, Irving. There are gas chambers – there were gas chambers – there's no question at all."

He said, "Auschwitz I, of course, is a bit of a problem, and I did point this out to Franciszek Piper. I said: 'Herr Piper, you know I'm an intelligent man, I've had a look at the crematorium here, and the thing that you're showing to the tourists as a gas chamber, between you and me, it is phony, isn't it?'"

And Martin said to me (this conversation actually did occur in September – the third, this year),Martin said to me: "But Piper,[who is the man who ordered the reduction of the figure from four million to one million] said, ‘Well, between you and me, you're right! We have built this purely for the tourists.'"

How about that! An admission, ladies and gentlemen, that in Auschwitz I, der Stammlager Auschwitz, the crematorium and the gas chambers that are shown to tourists from all over the world, are a post-war dummy, put up for the benefit of the tourists! Something that we've always suspected, something that we've particularly suspected since the Leuchter Report came into our hands. But Professor Martin, bless his heart, this German historian said: "Mr. Irving, but of course, that’s just in Auschwitz I. In Birkenau [3 or 5 kilometers away], that's where the genuine gas chambers were!" It never occured to him to ask the logical question: why show dummies to the tourists, when you've got the genuine ones 3 to 5 kilometers away? So who are the dummies now? Not just the gas chambers, but the tourists, too!

But I have to admit that it wasn't until the next morning, when I wrote a note on the conversation with Martin, and it suddenly occured to me, the gravity of what he'd said. Here's a German historian who accepts this quite absurd abomination that it's perfectly obvious that the gas chambers shown to the tourists are, in fact, dummies! It's a criminal offense to say that in Germany now. I have a case pending against me in Munich now because I'd said that to a mass-meeting of a thousand people at Löwenbrau beer hall in Munich. (Well, that’s not the only reason. I'm also supposed to have led a demonstration out from the Hotel Hohenzollern in Munich; according to the police allegation, the docket, on me: "David Irving staged a street march to celebrate Adolf Hitler's birthday on April the 21st." Now the experts among you will notice a small anachronism there.)

Anyway, I'd written to Professor Martin and said: "Will you confirm this please, in writing: that my understanding of what you've told me is correct?" I'm waiting for a reply.

I don't think he's going to venture that far out along the gangplank behind me. As I say, the battleship is scuttling itself. We can leave it – it will quietly founder all by itself, like the Graf Spee went down. We can continue firing our torpedos at it. Hardly any need! Or to make another analogy, they realized they are way out of line with the Auschwitz story and they are frantically engaged in damage control at present. They're pulling their entire army of liars back from the main battlefront into the second line, because all the artillery is coming down on the frontline now and it's making it too dangerous for them.

When I went to see Professor Martin, he asked: "What are you working on now?" And I said: "Well, Professor Martin, I'm working, in fact, on the biography of Dr. Joseph Goebbels, the Nazi Propaganda Minister." In fact, I can tell you, ladies and gentlemen, that I have now received from the Russians – I'm the only person to have it – the Goebbels diaries for the whole of 1938! It's a beast, it's written in hand-writing, it's a thousand pages of hand-writing – but it's worth it. Because when you read Goebbels's diary – it contains real insights into Hitler's character!

For example, a few days after the Anschluss between Germany and Austria, Goebbels writes in his diary a complaint: he says Heydrich, the chief of the Gestapo, is now down in Vienna, and that Heydrich has ordered the carrying out of a number of forbidden executions and that the Führer is hopping mad at this. It's an interesting point. It's what we all have suspected was going on: that the underlings were carrying out certain orders and carrying out executions and Hitler was only finding out about these things far too late.

Berndt Martin, the professor at the University of Freiburg, said: "Mr. Irving, very interesting. Do you know who's buried here in the local village churchyard, near Freiburg?" I said: "Who is that?" He said: "Goebbels's first mistress. She was buried here 30 years ago. They just leveled in the grave two years ago when they found out who she was." That’s how things are in Germany. It's criminal. So I said, "You mean Anke Starhelm." He said, "Yes, that's right, she died here thirty years ago."

Down in Freiburg lives an old woman who was a friend of hers, and Anke Starhelm, Goebbels's first girlfriend gave this old woman all her letters. Aha! Needless to say, 24 hours later I was the proud possesser of all the letters and all the photographs. That's the way it works.

Because, once again, I'm not going to read other peoples's books. I'm just interested in what the documents show.

Additional information about this document

Author(s) David Irving
Title Battleship Auschwitz, Historical News and Comment
Sources The Journal of Historical Review, vol. 10, no. 4, pp. 491-508
  • Mark Weber: introduction
Dates published: 1990-12-01, first posted on CODOH: Nov. 14, 2012, 6 p.m., last revision: n/a
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