The Holocaust Historiography Project

From the Editor

We begin this issue with another IHR exclusive. Published here for the first time anywhere are copies of inmate death certificates from the long-hidden Auschwitz camp death registry volumes.

These documents, which remained inaccessible in Soviet archives for more than 40 years, disprove the widely repeated myth that all Jewish inmates in Auschwitz who were too old or otherwise not able to work were promptly put to death, and that their deaths were not recorded.

We introduce a selection of facsimile reproductions of a number of these certificates with an essay that explains their significance.

We are grateful for the support of Revisionist researchers and activists in foreign countries, without whose help these documents — which strike yet another powerful blow against the Holocaust extermination story — could not have been have published.

Today, nearly almost half a century after his death in embattled Berlin, the extraordinary personality and dramatic career of Adolf Hitler continues to fascinate millions around the world.

“Ever since V-E day, the swastika has worked like an underwriter’s lab seal of approval in Hollywood; Hitler makes anything high concept,” a writer for the leftist New York weekly Village Voice recently commented. “In fact,” he went on:

cable [television] already has an ad hoc Hitler Channel. Between them, the Arts & Entertainment Network and The Discovery Channel program at least six hours of military programming in prime time every week (more if you count reruns, specials, movies and late-night miscellany), much of it World War II-themed … The immense and cost-effective pool of war documentaries has made Adolf Hitler one of the most recognizable personalities on A&E and TDC.

“Hitler,” the Voice writer sums up, “remains the epic figure of evil in the national psyche, and World War II the certification of America’s world dominance.” (Mark Schone, “The Hitler Parade,” Village Voice, May 5, 1992.)

In spite of all that has been published over the years, “How was Hitler possible?” remains one of the most endlessly intriguing questions of our age. Was his power based on ruthless terror and tyranny, or did he enjoy genuine popular support? And, if the latter was true, what was the basis of his support? Did he, as some historians argue, seduce or “hypnotize” the Germans with emotional but empty propaganda and base appeals to prejudice?

How could the German people support a man who — if one accepts the portrayals in the American mass media — was so obviously evil and maniacal? Or are the Germans themselves demented?

In our next article, Leon Degrelle provides answers to the riddle of Hitler’s success in neutralizing his political opposition and in consolidating power in one of the world’s most cultured and politically sophisticated countries.

Citing an impressive array of figures and facts, Degrelle argues persuasively that the secret of Hitler’s success lay in his astonishing ability to provide real solutions to the massive and seemingly insurmountable economic, social and political problems that plagued Germany when he took power in January 1933.

Degrelle’s article constitutes the first six chapters of Hitler and the Germans, which will be volume three of a projected multi-volume series that is being published by the IHR. Hitler: Born at Versailles (available in hardback for $24.95, plus $2.00 shipping) is the first book of this series of major historical works.

Although Degrelle is an unapologetic admirer of Hitler, the Belgian historian’s explanation of how Hitler was able to consolidate his power in Germany is an informed and intelligent interpretation that deserves thoughtful consideration.

Degrelle’s writing is also a useful antidote to the readily available books about Hitler and the Third Reich that, in spite of their length and apparent erudition, lack balance and contain numerous errors of both interpretation and fact.

Consider three of the most prominent:

  • Hitler, an 844-page biography by German historian Joachim C. Fest,
  • Hitler: A Study in Tyranny, a much-lauded 848-page biography by British historian Alan Bullock that is assigned reading in numerous American college and university history courses, and
  • The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, a 1245-page work by American journalist William L. Shirer that can be found in just about every U.S. public library.

Although widely regarded as an accurate account, few readers realize just how littered with historical duds Shirer’s very one-sided book really is. For example, Rise and Fall upholds the now thoroughly discredited historical lie that Hitler’s stormtroopers set fire to the Reichstag building in February 1933. (See: Fritz Tobias, The Reichstag Fire, New York: 1964.)

Shirer, Bullock and Fest quote extensively from the “revelations” of Herman Rauschning. Supposedly based on private conversations, the numerous “revealing” quotations attributed to Hitler by Rauschning apparently prove the German leader’s dishonesty, duplicity and brutality. In fact, the often-cited quotations are entirely invented. Rauschning never had even a single private conversation with Hitler. (See: IHR Journal, Fall 1983, pp. 378 ff.; H. W. Koch, Aspects of the Third Reich, pp. 13 f.)

Similarly, Shirer, Bullock and Fest confidently cite the “Hossbach protocol” account of a high-level conference of German officials held in Berlin on November 5, 1937. During this meeting, Hitler supposedly revealed his plans for aggression against his neighbors. At the great Nuremberg trial of 1945-1946, Allied prosecutors repeatedly cited the Hossbach account as a key piece of evidence proving the bellicose nature of Hitler’s foreign policy.

Neither Fest, Shirer nor Bullock lets his reader know that the Hossbach account is a fraud, as Revisionist scholars such as British historian A.J.P. Taylor established years ago. (See: Dankwart Kluge, Das Hossbach-'Protokoll,', 1980.; IHR Journal, Fall 1983, p. 372 ff.; A.J.P. Taylor, An Old Man’s Diary, London: 1984, p. 154.)

Both Bullock and Shirer quote at length from the April 5, 1946 “affidavit” of former Auschwitz commandant Rudolf Hss (Nuremberg document 3868-PS), citing it as crucial evidence for the alleged German program to exterminate Europe’s Jews. That this “affidavit” contains blatant and easily demonstrable falsehoods is hardly surprising in light of the fact that it was obtained by torture. (See: Rupert Butler, Legions of Death, England: 1983, pp. 235 ff.; IHR Journal, Winter 1986-1987, pp. 389 ff.)

Fest, Bullock and Shirer — in contrast to Degrelle — minimize or ignore the reality of Hitler’s impressive social achievements. Shirer argues — contrary to fact — that these social accomplishments were merely an incidental by-product of militarization and economic preparations for war.

We conclude this Journal issue with an eye-opening article by American historian John Ries that tells the little-known story of the sinkings in 1945 of three vessels: the Wilhelm Gustloff, the General Steuben and the Goya. Although not as well known as maritime disasters like the sinkings of the Lusitania or the Titanic, the sinkings of each of these German vessels was a much greater naval catastrophe. As Ries' definitive article establishes, the sinkings of the Gustloff and the Goya are — in terms of lives lost — the greatest naval catastrophes in history.

Setting straight the record about this relatively minor aspect of history points up the magnitude of the challenge we face in establishing the truth about larger historical issues.

Source: Reprinted from The Journal of Historical Review, vol. 12, no. 3, pp. 260-263.