Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Mr Irving's problem with evidence

A memory was stirred last night. Some time ago, Mr Irving visited Poland and kept a diary of the trip (1). When he published it, I wrote a critique, trying, in my own poor way, to expose his inaccuracies, misrepresentations and evasions (here, here and here (2)).

On his travels, he mentioned emails he received from his admirerers around the world, and occasional questions put to him by doubters. One of those concerned the fate of Martin Boormann, Hitler's private secretary, who fled the Fuhrerbunker following Hitler's suicide. He was reported dead, though as this was not confirmed. He was tried in absentia at Nurenberg and sentenced to death, and sightings of him have continued to be reported since (3).

The question was posed by one George E. Scott, who maintained that Boormann did not die in Berlin in the last days of the war at all, and all evidence that he had was phoney. Here is the text from Irving's diary, in full:

AN email has come from George E. Scott still insisting that Martin Bormann's remains were never found. Oh yes they were. I told him last night: "Bormann's body was found next to that of Ludwig Stumpfegger in Berlin in the 1970s; read the work by Reidar Soggnaes - see Google perhaps? - who identified the dental work."

Scott replies this morning: "Thank you for you reply, but Manning's research explains in detail how the dental work was faked by [Gestapo chief Heinrich] Müller prior to end of war. But again, thanks."

I reply: "I should have added that Bormann's body was found lying next to Ludwig Stumpfegger's, who broke out [of the Führer bunker] with him. Stumpfegger was wearing a ring with a date engraved inside, which his brother identified to me as the date of Stumpfegger's wedding. Satisfied?" There is no reply. (4)

This is all very straight forwards and Irving is in agreement with the evidence here. There was a reliable eyewitness account that Boormann and Stumfegger died trying to make their escape from Berlin, and the corpses subsequently buried. In 1972 skeletons was located close to where it was claimed the bodies had been buried. Dental records, physical data and finally a DNA test using a sample from Boormann's son all pointed to Boormann having commited suicide while trying to escape Berlin - detail here or here (5).

This is interesting not because there Irving says anything revelatory about the fate of Boormann - it is settled histry that he died in Berlin in 1945, and only cranks suggest otherwise. What makes it isnteresting is what it shows us about Irving's mind. Here is a man who rejects the overwhelming evidence of the Holocaust - the eyewitness accounts, the testimony of the perpetrators, the documentary and forensic evidence. And here he s doing the opposite. It requires an impressive ability - or a lack of any sembleance of intellectual honesty - to accept the evidence that describes the fate of Boormann as valid and reject the much greater evidence describing the Holocaust.

I suppose Irving would argue that the evidence pointing to the remains being those of Boormann is incontrovertible. But that is not so. It is quite possible to construct a scenario based on inaccurate testimonies, outright lies, false evidence and conspiracy, aimed at concealling the truth about Boormann's fate. And this is precisely what Irving and his fellow deniers revisionists do when it comes to the Holocaust.
1 - "A Radical's Diary," by David Irving, entries for 2nd of March, 2007, through to March 8th, at which point Mr Irving left Poland for Hungary. (http://www.fpp.co.uk/docs/Irving/RadDi/2007/020307.html)
2 - As described previosuly on lefthandpalm: http://lefthandpalm.blogspot.com/2007/05/david-irvings-trip-to-poland.html, http://lefthandpalm.blogspot.com/2007/05/david-irvings-trip-to-poland-ii.html and http://lefthandpalm.blogspot.com/2007/05/david-irvings-trip-to-poland-iii.html
3 - All from the Wikipedia biography of Boormann, retreived 4th of February, 2009. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_Bormann)
4 - From "A Radical's Diary," by David Irving, entry of 4th of March, 2007. (http://www.fpp.co.uk/docs/Irving/RadDi/2007/040307.html)
5 - Again, this is all available on Boormann's wikipedia entry (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_Bormann) or from history.net (http://www.historynet.com/world-war-ii-november-1998-from-the-editor.htm/2#hide)

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