In the recent British High Court libel action of historian David Irving against Deborah Lipstadt, one of the most interesting aspects of the trial was the debate about the famous "Schlegelberger Document." This March 1942, memorandum of State Secretary Franz Schlegelberger noted that Hitler's Chief of Chancellery, Dr. Hans Lammers, had informed him: "...The Fuehrer has repeatedly declared to him [Lammers] that he wants to see the solution of the Jewish problem postponed until after the war."
Irving argued this document shows that Hitler had no plans to exterminate European Jewry. British Professor Richard Evans and German Professor Peter Longerich, testifying in behalf of Dr. Lipstadt, both attempted to downplay the memo's significance. While Longerich simply dismissed it as "insignificant," Evans attempted to "explain it away."
In paragraphs 5.155 and 5.161 of Justice Gray's decision, it is noted that Professor Evans expressed the opinion that the subject matter of the "Schlegelberger note" was probably not the Jewish question generally, but rather the narrower issue of mixed marriages between Jews and Gentiles and the children of such marriages. Consequently, this document cannot be used by revisionist historians to prove there was no Nazi policy to exterminate the Jews, because it does not refer to all Jews, only to a small category of Jews.
In volume 13 of the Nuremberg Military Tribunal (NMT) publications, there is a discussion of Nazi Jewish policy. One part, NG-2586-J, a memo written by Nazi official Martin Luther, dated August 21, 1942, is a summary of this policy. Under point number 8 it contains this most telling statement: "On the occasion of a reception by the Reich Foreign Minister on 26 November 1941 the Bulgarian Foreign Minister Popoff touched on the problem of according like treatment to the Jews of European nationalities and pointed out the difficulties that the Bulgarians had in the application of their Jewish laws to Jews of foreign nationality."
"The Reich Foreign Minister answered that he thought this question brought by Mr. Popoff not uninteresting. Even now he could say one thing to him, that at the end of the war all Jews would have to leave Europe. This was the unalterable decision of the Fuehrer and also the only way to master this problem, as only a global and comprehensive solution could be applied and individual measures would not help very much."
Clearly, this passage suppoprts the Irving thesis and undermines the rival thesis of Evans and Longerich. Hitler's orders are perfectly clear. Referring to Jews in general (thus contradicting Evan's claim), the German dictator stated they will still be around after the war is over (as he had no plans to exterminate them en masse), and they will have to emigrate to a new land outside Europe. This decision was "unalterable," that is, not subject to change. And, this Luther memo gives no indication that there was any change in policy during the time between the enunciation of Hitler's Jewish policy to Bulgarian Foreign Minister Popoff in November 1941, and the creation of said memo in August 1942.
Nor can one fall back on Longerich's view that the "Schlegelberger memo" is insignificant, for here we have an important August 1942 memorandum underscoring the Hitler orders of the "Schlegelberger note" of March 1942.
- The document is also published in Arthur Butz, The Hoax of the Twentieth Century (Institute for Historical Review, 1976), pp.205-206, 208-210.
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|Title:||Hitler, the 'Final Solution,' and the Luther Memorandum, A Response to Evans and Longerich|
|First posted on CODOH:||June 29, 2000, 7 p.m.|