Anti-Zionists “Debate” Hitler’s Guilt

NB: This exchange appeared on Haifa University’s “Alef” discussion list, a forum for left-wing anti-Zionists.

The participants:-

- Tony Greenstein is a British communist and IRA supporter who visited Baathist Syria with PLO funding and openly demands the destruction of Israel;

- Yael Korin is a UCLA pathologist and Women in Black leader who mourned the death of the founder of Hamas;

- Shraga Elam is a Swiss-Israeli anti-Zionist who denies Hitler’s responsibility for Auschwitz.

Grammar, spelling and punctuation have been preserved. Links have been added.

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http://list.haifa.ac.il/mailman/private/alef/2006-November/017321.html

From: tony greenstein
To: Shraga Elam
Cc: jaz jaz ; alef at list.haifa.ac.il
Sent: Tuesday, November 21, 2006 4:29 PM
Subject: [alef] Re: A hate mail using Alef address list

Shraga,

It goes without saying that I oppose these vile threats against you and wish you well in your endeavours and wish you well.

However regarding the Irving episode, my opinion hasn’t changed.

We can have a long debate about what Hitler did or didn’t know about the Holocaust. It is generally accepted that Hitler was a ‘broad brush’ leader who cared little for detail but laid down overall policy, playing off one faction of the NSDAP against another. Personally I find it inconceivable that he didn’t know and his ‘prophecies’ coupled e.g. with his diatribe with Horthy in March 1944 are pretty conclusive. Irving himself, in his failed libel action against Deborah Lipstadt, accepted that the Hitler didnt know thesis did not hold after 1943.

But the debate between academics about intentionalism vs functionalism is a false one in my opinion. Firstly my reading of Hilberg is that he is not a functionalist as claimed in the Wikipedia article. No matter. Clearly the holocaust was the culmination of Nazi attempts at making Europe judenrein. When war started and the Madagascar solution, and emigration elsewhere was closed off, then logic dictated that there was only one solution. There is no evidence that Hitler was opposed to the deportations from Germany to the East. Nor is there any reason to believe that it was simply Himmler’s pet project.

But regardless of the above debate, Irving has been a close associate of various British fascists and neo-Nazis such as John Tyndall for as long as I can remember. His politics have always been pro-fascist. The fact that he is a talented historian, albeit someone who distorts and mangles his sources, is irrelevant. Politically he was supporting all manner of holocaust deniers, like Ernst Zundel (at whose trial he finally came out as a HD) well before his own official conversion.

There is no gainsaying that you made a bad political mistake in treating with Irving. From a socialist point of view one has no truck with such people and the fact that we may, sometimes debate with racists and Zionists in order to expose them is no excuse for the tenor of your e-mail to Irving, which was frankly laudatory.

I accept that it was a mistake but it was also a gift horse to the Zionists and their hypocritical fan club.

Tony Greenstein

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From: Yael Korin
To: tony greenstein ; Shraga Elam
Cc: jaz jaz ; alef at list.haifa.ac.il
Sent: Wednesday, November 22, 2006 1:44 AM
Subject: Re: [alef] Re: A hate mail using Alef address list

Is there anyone familiar enough with the testimony given in Eichman trial? Whose orders did he answer to and was his understanding that it was not Hitler’s?

I find it inconceivable that in a totalitarian regime as the third Reich, the very top position is not in a total control of the whole scheme.

Yael

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Shraga Elam
Wed Nov 22 03:35:16 IST 2006

Yael,

Eichmann said that there was a Hitler order but that he never saw it. SS General Mueller allegedly told him that there was such an order. It is a very strange situation that even somebody like Eichmann, who was very central to the “Final Solution” (he was present at the Wannsee Confernce) didn’t see a written order from Hitler.

It is widely agreed that Hitler was not a very strong dictator and had no control over many things done in Germany.

What I’m saying isn’t a defense for Hitler. He was a criminal even without Auschwitz. He is directly responsible for many crimes ad not only against Jews.

Tony,

Please bring me a single written proof and I’ll agree with you. In order to demonstrate the desperate situation of the intentionalists I’ll quote the “discovery” of a German historian called Christian Gerlach, who in 1998 found an entry in Himmler’s diary from December 18, 1941. After meeting Hitler, Himmler wrote a note saying something like “Jews are to be treated like partisans.”

The whole world applauded the historian for his important “discovery” and Yehuda Bauer gave a lengthy interview about it to the Ha’aretz Supplement. I wrote a letter to the editor which angered Amnon Rubinstein. I wrote that this entry is no proof at all. First of all it doesn’t say that Hitler told Himmler so and if he did, it doesn’t talk about gassing Jews, as the partisans were shot immediately after they were caught and not gassed. But this had happened already before December and was found by the SS leadership as not effective enough as a method against Jews.

I wrote that I can understand why Zionists like Bauer are so happy about this “discovery”, because if Hitler ordered the “Final Solution”, it is understood that there was no chance to save Jews and therefore the Jewish Agency leadership was not guilty of abandoning the European Jews and of sabotaging possible large scale rescue chances.

As I thought that it was possible to convince Irving to stop denying the Holocaust I wrote in a polite way and stated that he was a brilliant researcher, which is a fact not noted only by myself. I thought that it was a good opening and then afterwards decided not to pursue the issue, but today I think that this was a mistake not to give it a further try.

I correspond frequently e.g. with Dr. Uri Milstein, who is an absolute radical right winger, but some of his analysis of the Israeli military are brilliant and I tell him so and we lead from time to time civilized discussions. He is trying to destroy many myths around the Israeli army. His political analysis is completely rotten but his critique against the IDF is very interesting for me.

I believe that Milstein, who some right wings radicals wants to see as a leader of their revolution is much more dangerous than Irving.

Shraga

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http://list.haifa.ac.il/mailman/private/alef/2006-November/017359.html

Shraga Elam
Wed Nov 22 23:54:46 IST 2006

Tony,

Enough is enough. You didn’t bring a single proof to refute my argumentation and you are talking about stupid, ignorant historians etc. Your knowledge of the documents and the ongoing discussions is rather limited and in your place I would be more modest and more cautious with such insults.

If it fits your position or not, it is a fact that there are no written proofs that Hitler did order Auschwitz or knew about it. This is a rather a very strange situation. Because there are enough proofs against Himmler, so why Hitler should be saved. He threatened many times publicly that he wanted to kill the Jews, so there was no obvious reason for him not to stand for it openly and even to be proud of it.

I’m aware of the fact that Irving wanted to whitewash Hitler, who was for me a war criminal one way or another, with or without Auschwitz. I’m no groupie of Irving if I acknowledge his merits as a researcher prior to his HD. I’m not the only one at that.

A German friend told me that for the older German generation the claim that Hitler didn’t know about the Auschwitz project is a very important argument. Because they can claim then that even if Hitler did not know about the industrial extermination how could have they known about it.

I’m not trying to protect any one and I care for the truth, even if it doesn’t fit my prejudices. It is a fact that the “Final Solution” was a top secret issue and it is to be seen in many of the relevant documents.

I see the fixation on Hitler as a wrong political analysis, which doesn’t imply any whitewash of him. It has for me religious component.

I’m totally against the hysteric attitude towards HD. Till now HD is more dangerous to the deniers themselves while the Israel and its lobby make a profit out of it and find in it a justification for expanding the Holocaust religion while more and more people are getting fed up with the over kill.

Shraga

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http://list.haifa.ac.il/mailman/private/alef/2006-November/017367.html

tony greenstein
Thu Nov 23 03:58:12 IST 2006

Shraga,

firstly my reference to stupid and ignorant historians was not aimed at you, though obviously you felt it was.

Yes my knowledge of the documents is limited but I don’t accept that kind of spurious academic elitism is any disbarrment of me or anyone else acquainted with the secondary sources and books available from being able to comment. Clearly you are unaware of the development of Irving’s position re the Holocaust, which is not surprising since he is a British not a Swiss fascist and historian.

Clearly you do not understand the position I have been arguing if you still state that it is strange that there was no written order re the holocaust or Auschwitz from Hitler. I find it anything but strange. Since verbal orders from Hitler were in themselves legal pronouncements, there was no need for a written order. But apart from this legalism, there were very good political reasons for there being no such order.

I am not aware of any written proofs or orders vs Himmler either but there is an overwhelming body of evidence, not least his visit in 1943 to Auschwitz when he personally oversaw the gassing of one particular trainload. (see R Vrba, I Escaped from Auschwitz)

Part of the problem of historians such as yourself is that they get so enmeshed in the detail of their researches that they cannot stand back and see it in perspective. In English there is a saying about not seeing the wood for the trees. You say there was no good reason for Hitler not taking responsibility, indeed even being proud of, Auschwitz.

Unfortunately, whatever else could be said about the Nazis they weren’t stupid. They knew full well what the political implications were of admitting to the extermination of European Jewry. Throughout the war they denied outright that this was what they were engaged upon. And as Beit Zvi (Zionism in the Crucible of the Holocaust) and others show, the Jewish Agency preferred to accept Nazi denials than the reports seeping out of Poland via the Polish Home Army, Zyglebohm and others. It made very good political sense for the Nazis to deny that they were mass murderers and criminals. Since you cite Himmler then it is appropriate to quote from his talk to SS leaders: (Hilberg, student edn, The Destruction of European Jewry p. 281)

‘I want to mention here very candidly a particularly difficult chapter. Among us it should be mentioned once, quite openly, but in public we will never talk about it. Just as little as we hesitated on June 30 1934, to do our duty and to put comrades who had transgressed [the brownshirts] to the wall, so little have we talked about it and will ever talk about it. It was with us, thank God, an inborn gift of tactfulness, that we have never conversed about this matter, never spoken about it. Every one of us was horrified, and yet every one of us knew that we would do it again if it were ordered and it it were necessary. I am referring to the evacuation of the Jews, to the extermination of the Jewish people.’

The problem Shraga is that you didn’t acknowledge, or praise, Irving’s qualities as a historian prior to his HD, it was well after he openly took up HD. In fact he had flirted with it for many years but only with the Leuchter Report during the Zundl trial did he openly embrace it. As I have already made clear, I think it was a gross act of stupidity and political naivety to have written this letter to an open and overt Hitler lover and fascist.

I profess to not understand your reference to the older German generation citing the ‘fact’ that if Hitler didn’t know about Auschwitz, why should they. I do not accept Goldhagen’s thesis that all Germans were Hitler’s willing executioners. On the contrary I have no doubt that most Germans, although realising that the deportations to the East were not likely to be good for the health of those going, did not know of the extermination camps. There were good reasons, some of which I’ve mentioned, for this, e.g. if it was common knowledge inside Germany it would of necessity leak out. It could also cause opposition to the deportations, and there was already considerable opposition to such deportations. Indeed Goebbels and Hitler complained about the fact that popular opposition had prevented the deportation of the Mischlinge (mixed race) Jews. Of course some Nazis used this ignorance to cover themselves but the argument doesn’t hold, quite the reverse. Hitler clearly knew, most Germans did not and there is no need to rest on the artificial thesis of Hitler’s ignorance to accept that most Germans did not know.

I am well aware of the despicable exploitation of the holocaust, and the growth of the holocaust industry, whose primary object is not to warn against the dangers of racism or fascism, but to legitimise Israel. That is a given. Likewise the focus on holocaust denial is a cynical ploy to pretend that anti-Semitism today is alive and well. Holocaust denial is the equivalent of flat earthism and it is unproductive to engage in debate with these lunatics. Hence why I do not understand your approach to Irving. It would be better for you to admit that you made a mistake than continue to dig yourself deeper into a hole.

Tony Greenstein

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Shraga Elam
Thu Nov 23 11:23:00 IST 2006

I agree that we have to close this discussion for now. Though I believe that it is a very important debate and concerns the understanding of the mechanism leading to the systematic annihilation of Jews by the Nazis and the way the Judeocide historiography is used for political purposes.

Just the same I want to make the following the following principal points:

1) Even if I maybe wrong with my position on Hitler (which I of course don’t agree), it is to note that the discussion about it as such is a very legitimate one. This is the core of the historical debate and research. Any other position is pure witch hunting.

Even most of the intentionalists, who used to defame at the beginning the functionalists like Hans Mommsen at the beginning as kind of HD are not doing so any longer and made many “concessions” towards the functionalists position. Yehuda Bauer, for one, pleads for a moderate middle position.

2) If I support Irving basic factual position on the Fuehrerbefehl it doesn’t mean that I support his motivation or other political views. On the contrary, I wrote to him, naively or not, in the conviction that I might convince him to abandon the HD. I gave it up and didn’t follow it and I might be even wrong at that.

3) There is nothing morally wrong with discussing with Irving and his friends. I don’t see the basic moral difference between Iriving and some members of this list who deny that Israel committed in 1948 an ethnic cleansing and that it does it today. Still many of us discuss with these ethnic cleansing deniers.

Shraga

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http://list.haifa.ac.il/mailman/private/alef/2006-November/017466.html

Shraga Elam
Sun Nov 26 04:37:38 IST 2006

Hi all,

Though I’m for keeping the possibility of forwarding messages from Alef to other persons and even to publish them on other websites and blogs, I believe that it should be made clear which member forwarded such messages. Something which was not done in the enclosed part of the discussion on Irving and the missing written Hiter’s order for the “special treatment” (Sonderbehandlung) - see in [updated link] and further down.

I want also to draw your attention that last year the famous playwright and author Rolf Hochhuth called David Irving in an interview a “fabulous pioneer of contemporary history” and “much more serious than many German historians”. Hochhuth who had based one of his plays on a previous Irving’s research said later that he referred to Irving’s work before he had started to deny the Holocaust. Irving was really a very respected researcher till he started to deny the Judeocide.

I find it almost amusing that the racists witch-hunters from the Israel-academia-monitor.com are claiming that I’m disseminating “Anti-Semite” material, because I claim that there is no written proof that Hitler ordered the industrial extermination of the Jews and that he didn’t get real reports on it.

Some people might not like this fact and might have another interpretation for this fact, which doesn’t change its status.

A German friend, a Historian, who tried to refute my argumentation in a collegial way, actually strengthened it. He drew my attention to the so called Korherr report on the “final solution” to Hitler dated March 1943. The author was instructed by Himmler that the words “liquidation” and “special treatment” had to be replaced by others and the he had to reduce the report in a half. Dr. Korherr, Inspector for Statistics, finished the exact statistical report on the current statue of the Final Solution; it noted 1,873,539 Jews had by that time received “special treatment”

Himmler rejected several phrases in die sixteen-page paper and had Dr. Rudolf Brandt, the head of his Personal Office, write to Korherr on April 14, 1943

The Reichsfiihrer-SS [Himmler] has received your statistical report on the “Final Solution of the European Jewish Problem”. He does not wish the words “special treatment of Jews” [Sonderbehandlung] to be used at all on page 9, point 4 the text must read as follows

“Transportation of Jews from the Eastern Provinces to the Russian East Number of those passed through the camps in the General Government, through the camps in Warthegau.”

A different formulation must not appear

In his interrogation in Israel Eichmann had to explain to the police officer Awner Less Himmler’s formulation “purposes of camouflage” in the enclosed quotation out of a top secret letter to Kaltenbrunner

I have received the statistical report of the Inspector for Statistics concerning the final solution of the Jewish question. I consider this report satisfactory as material for possible use at a later date, for purposes of camouflage... For the time being, it must be neither published nor passed on.

Eichmann said that he can’t explain it. For me this is a further strong proof that Himmler hid the “special treatment” from Hitler.

I have several Swiss secret service reports stating that at the same time Himmler was conspiring against Hitler. He tried to contact the allies in order to reach with them a separate peace and promised to topple Hitler if they’ll agree to negotiate with him. This offer was again and again rejected together with was called trade with Jews (Judenhandel).

I have published my theory in two books and in a lengthy Swiss national radio series and several articles. As there is a law against racism here in Switzerland I invite anybody who wants to, to sue me. I just have to warn you that my publications were read by experts like Prof. Randolph Braham, who reviewed positively my book “Hitler’s forgers”, though he didn’t refer to my theory but to the important Nazi agent Jaac van Harten who found refuge in Israel.

Shraga