Holocaust denier David Irving. (AP/Hans Punz) (AP/Hans Punz)
Holocaust denier David Irving

The UK’s Yesterday channel broadcast a program this week with claims that bore an eerie resemblance to statements from one of the world’s most notorious Holocaust-deniers.

By: United with Israel Staff

A British documentary aired this week entitled “Private Lives” claimed that Adolph Hitler did not wish to confront the reality of the Final Solution and was not personally involved in its implementation. The program presenter, Tracy Borman posits, “When it came to the extermination of Jews, Hitler was very hands off.”

Among the programs’ contentions are that Hitler never visited a death camp and pulled down the blinds of his train when a train carrying Jews to their deaths stopped on a nearby platform. The show also claimed that the Holocaust began with Hitler’s comments at a private dinner and that there was no “paper trail” linking him directly to its instigation.

The shows claims were immediately attacked by leading Holocaust expert Richard Evans, former Regius Professor of History at the University of Cambridge and the author of several volumes on the Nazi regime.

Evans noted that while Hitler did not visit the camps, he was regularly sent and read the reports of SS task forces that murdered hundreds of thousands of Jews during the war. Evans explained that Hitler pulled down the blinds of his train when he passed a rail car that was carrying wounded German soldiers, not Jews.

Evans commented to Times of Israel, “There are many documents attesting to Hitler’s knowledge of the extermination of the Jews, including the diaries of his propaganda minister, Joseph Goebbels.”

A closer examination reveals that the British documentary appears to rehash similar statements made by notorious Holocaust denier David Irving. In his book, “Hitler’s War,” Irving clams that Hitler had no knowledge of the Holocaust and that Heinrich Himmler and Reinhard Heydrich were its originators and architects.

Similar to the “Private Lives” documentary, Irving trumpeted the lack of any written order from Hitler demanding the Holocaust, and for years offered to pay £1,000 to anyone who could find such an order. Irving’s absurd claims were debunked by a host of World War II experts.

In 2005, for example, Ian Kershaw, professor of Modern History at the University of Sheffield, noted, “The distance that Hitler kept between himself and the actual killing has fueled neo-Nazi claims that he was not responsible for the murder of the Jews, and that Himmler kept him in ignorance of what was taking place.”

Kershaw continued, “In truth, however, Hitler’s indelible imprint can be found at every stage of the Final Solution. His central role is superficially obscured by the deliberate camouflage language about the extermination used by the Nazi leadership; by his extreme unbureaucratic leadership style, and by the high premium he attached to secrecy.

“Orders on sensitive issues were passed on verbally, on a ‘need-to-know’ basis. That the paper trail often stops before it reaches him is testimony not to his ignorance of the Final Solution, but to the way his dictatorship worked,” Kershaw concluded.


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