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Heinrich Himmler

Hitler, Himmler, and the Order to Kill the Jews

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Himmler phones Heydrich not to liquidate Jews from Berlin, November 30, 1941

In Hitler's War (The Viking Press, New York; Hodder & Stoughton, London, 1977), David Irving revealed the existence of a handwritten note by Heinrich Himmler on a phone call to Reinhard Heydrich, chief of the RSHA, at 1:30 p.m., November 30, 1941, ordering that a trainload of Jews from Berlin was not to be liquidated.

Mr Irving described how the phone call was made from the Wolf's Lair (Wolfsschanze) Bunker of Adolf Hitler. But the train had arrived at Riga that morning in the midst of a liquidation of the local Jews and, as Irving described in his biography Goebbels. Mastermind of the Third Reich, and with documents on this Website, the Berlin Jews were machine-gunned into pits -- already dead by the time Himmler phoned Heydrich.

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British codebreakers intercepted Himmler's furious protests to the mass murderer in Riga, SS General Jeckeln

For twenty years controversy raged over Mr Irving's revelation. He was reviled. Libel actions were fought.

Himmler discussed the Judenfrage with Hitler, December 18, 1941

Early in 1998, German historian Christian Gerlach published a document from the former Soviet special archives; this revealed that after going to see Hitler at the Wolfsschanze Führerhauptquartier on December 18, 1941, to discuss the Judenfrage (Jewish Question), Himmler noted: Als Partisanen auszurotten (roughly, "to be wiped out as partisans"). Gerlach reads into this item the Final Proof that Hitler had indeed just given an Order. Other items discussed: Neuorganisation d. Waffen SS, Leibstandarte, and Gebirgsdiv. [See too New York Times, January 21, 1998]

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Gerlach notes that Hitler addressed Dr Joseph Goebbels and the other gauleiters on December 12, 1941. Martin Bormann's diary for Hitler, entry of December 12, 1941 confirms:

15 Uhr Empfang Mussert und
16,30 Uhr der Führer empfängt bis 19
Uhr die Reichsleiter und Gauleiter

Afterwards, Goebbels dictated to the civil servant who typed his daily diary (Dr Richard Otte):

Bezüglich der Judenfrage ist der Führer entschlossen, reinen Tisch zu machen. Er hat den Juden prophezeit, daß, wenn sie noch einmal einen Weltkrieg herbeiführen würden, sie dabei ihre Vernichtung erleben würden. Das ist keine Phrase gewesen. Der Weltkrieg ist da, die Vernichtung des Judentums muß die notwendige Folge sein. Die Frage ist ohne jede Sentimentalität zu betrachten.

It was not the first time that he had dictated such entries, however.

Others do not agree that the December 18, 1941 note provides Final Proof. Dr John Fox, specialist in holocaust and genocide studies, argues that the surrounding terrain of these documents (particularly the SS and German Police decodes) suggests that Himmler was referring to partisan problems in the Baltic states.

Himmler's actual movements on November 30, 1941 are now known

Meanwhile, another page from the Himmler file in the Moscow archives, obtained by David Irving on Sunday, May 17, 1998, reveals the Reichsführer’s agenda for November 30, 1941 (see above), the day of the telephone call to Heydrich.

This suggests that Mr Irving's original theory that Himmler discussed the matter with Hitler before phoning Heydrich may be wrong: Himmler saw SS Sturmbannführer Gunther d’Alquèn, a journalist, from 12 to 1 p.m. ("Reisebericht über SS Pol. Division u. Totenkopfdivision"), then worked for an hour ("gearbeitet") during which he made the phone call, received General Dietl from 2 to 2:30 p.m. ("Besprechung über 9. Standarte vor Murmansk") and only then, at 2:30 p.m., went for lunch until 4 p.m. with Hitler ("Mittagessen b. Führer").

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And ... what precisely did Hitler confide to the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem on November 25, 1941?

© Focal Point 2002 write to David Irving