Sometime around 330 B.C the Greek polymath Aristotle proposed that everything was composed from a mixture of one or more roots. By 1869 the Russian chemist Dimitri Mendeleev had begun to compile the periodic table as we know it today; arranging elements according to their atomic mass. Since that time, Mendeleev’s original mosaic has continued to evolve and enlarge as new discoveries have been made; metals and non-metals, halogens, noble gases and the series’s of lanthanides and actinides. Even in the exact science that is chemistry, nothing remains the same for long. Knowledge begets new knowledge and as time marches on, what was once regarded as being the factual reality of the known world becomes obsolete and it passes quietly into history.
History is not an exact science, however the same rules of mortality apply to it. As new facts and artefacts are discovered in files and fields, history is revised and rewritten. The mind of the historian must always be weighing the evidence that is known to them. They ought not to construct the evidence that presents itself to support their theories, rather their theories must be supported by the evidence that is available, and when new details from the historical record appear, then they must be prepared to adapt their thesis. Inventing history that suits the prevailing culture of the day serves no purpose other than to wilfully ignore the reality of our ancestors and condemn ourselves and our children to repeating the mistakes of the past and to be unable to build upon the successes. History must be honest or it is nothing but delusional.
The preeminent British historian of the Second World War, David Irving, may be described by his detractors using a number of adjectives however dishonest and incompetent cannot be among them. There is not an historian from the English speaking world with a more thorough knowledge of the conflict that took place (essentially) between Germany and the rest of the modern world. Mr Irving unlike his peers, who for reasons of their linguistic limitations, could write only from the perspective of the victorious western powers, not only could speak German but read and write German. He could conduct face to face interviews with surviving combatants from both sides of the conflict in their native tongue. He could analyse in English or in German the reams of official documents hidden away in the national archives, read through volumes of the hand written personal diaries of soldiers and civil servants and the correspondence that was sent back and forth between them. He understood the colloquialisms of their expressions and the implications for correctly understanding conversations and deciphering texts. David Irving knew the mindsets of the protagonists from both sides of the conflict that scarred those six tragedy filled years and no other historian has come close to matching his level of knowledge and understanding of the officers and men in khaki green and field grey.
As any historian worth their salt will tell you, one must follow the evidence, not invent it. A report compiled by Nazi Party statistician Richard Korherr and sent to Reichsführer Heinrich Himmler on March 27th 1943 gave the numbers for the total number of Jews deported to and murdered in the extermination camps in Poland, namely Treblinka, Sobibor, Majdanek and Belzec. It is notable that his final figures were all but a match for those contained in two telegrams that were sent on January 11th 1943 by SS Sturmbannführer Hermann Höfle, one that was to arrive on the desk of Adolf Eichmann and the other to SS Obersturmführer Franz Heim. Treblinka was the final destination for 713 555 Jews; Sobibor for 101 370, Majdanek, 24 733 and Belzec, 434 500. The report by Herr Korherr stated that, of the 1 449 692 souls that were deported in 1942 to the death camps in the east, 1 274 366 of them received their “sonderbehandlung at camps in the Central Government.” Knowing that this report was to be read by Adolf Hitler himself, Reichsführer Himmler ordered that the wording of the report be changed to read, “transport of Jews from the Eastern Provinces to the Russian East, processed through the Camps in the General Government.” Sonderbehandlung translates as preferential treatment and was used by the Nazis as a euphemism for mass murder and it is more than interesting that the word was deliberately omitted from the final report sent by Heinrich Himmler to his Führer, Adolf Hitler.
Almost as telling as this omission from the final report may be, is the fact that Mr David Irving did not omit any of these facts and figures from his books. The figures for 1942 and for the following year when the extermination camps were ordered to be closed, bulldozed and grassed over, are all published by Mr Irving. He did not seek to ignore the evidence; he read it, translated it and then published it. Odd behaviour for a man, who it is claimed by less honest and diligent history detectives, is a denier of the existence of extermination camps and a minimiser of the atrocities committed on the eastern front. He has neither denied that there were camps, nor that over the course of almost two years between 1942 and 1943, more than two and a half million men, women and children perished at the hands of insatiable criminals, nor even that the victims were murdered on an industrial scale using poisonous gas.
David Irving has suffered greatly, both physically and mentally, and his reputation has been deliberately destroyed by devious and malicious personalities from the worlds of media and academia, who are themselves ignorant of much of the reality of that period in our recent history. Mr Irving’s aim has always been to uncover the truth of what went on between 1939 and 1945. Who did what? When, where and how it was done. History is about the facts, it is not an exercise in propaganda. Those who have sought to propagate lies about Mr Irving and myths regarding the historical record have been following an agenda that has little, if any regard for the facts and no intention of understanding the complexities of war. History, like the people who make it, is never black and white, it is colourful, confusing and complicated. If ever there has lived a man so dedicated to uncovering the unpalatable truths of history, and done so in the face of vehemently intolerant voices of opposition, it is the octogenarian Mr David Irving. Perhaps now the credit that is due to him should be given and he should be allowed to live out his remaining days in peace.
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