Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Mattogno on Riga, Part One: Keine Liquidierung Revisited

With my blogmates already having responded to parts of Carlo Mattogno’s magnum opus on the Einsatzgruppen, I decided to have a look at the ten pages Mattogno dedicates to the killings in the fall of 1941 in Riga – a topic I’ve had occasion to look at very closely over the last couple of years. I put together some of the theories about the famous Keine Liquidierung note a few years back; for his part, Mattogno seems to have stuck with some of the less compelling explanations.

To begin, examining the note itself, Mattogno quotes the note in its entirety, followed by Werner Grothmann’s message to Friedrich Jeckeln of 1 December summoning the HSSPF to meet with Himmler at Führer Headquarters three days later and Himmler’s message to Jeckeln informing the latter that Jews being sent to Latvia from the Reich should be treated only according to specific orders from Himmler himself or the RSHA.

According to Mattogno (p. 212), “The original entry’s text has a period after ‘Berlin’ and ‘No’ begins with a capital letter.” What’s curious is that, on the previous page, where Mattogno has quoted the 30 December phone note from Himmler’s Dienstkalender, he does not render the punctuation as Witte et al have in their edition: Witte et al place a period, not a common, at the end of the third line, although they do begin the fourth line with a lower-case letter. Acknowledging that the book is a translation from Mattogno’s original Italian edition, it’s nevertheless odd that a fact-checker or proofreader wouldn’t have been particularly careful on this particular point, given Mattogno’s emphasis of it to make his own case.

At any rate, it’s hard to see how Mattogno’s correction here (if true – see Irving’s reprint of the original) makes any real difference. Of course, Mattogno maintains that “Keine Liquidierung” refers to something other than the “Jew transport from Berlin”; the reasons he gives for this conclusion are disproved by other entries in the Dienstkalender. For instance, we cannot assume that, every time Himmler used a period at the end of a line, he was moving on to a new topic. For example, on 14 November, Himmler’s note following a discussion with Karl Wolff details three distinct topics – award of Knight’s Crosses, motorization of the police divisions, and a visit from Clausen, but none of the lines ends with a period – at least as rendered by Witte et al; for that matter, the original as printed by Irving clearly shows the first line of the 30 November note also lacks a period. Nor is a lower-case letter an automatic indicator that the line in question continues that from the previous line. The note from 17 November following another discussion with Wolff has four topics: distribution of books with letters; Norwegian volunteers; “invitation for tonight”; and the military situation. The second and fourth lines begin with lower-case letters despite being new topics, so neither a lower-case letter nor lack of a period on the preceding line automatically indicate an old topic being continued by Himmler in the Dienstkalender.

To his benefit, Mattogno only briefly entertains the notion put forward in my debate with Bob at RODOH that “Keine Liquidierung” refers to the “liquidation of the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia.” As I explained then, this argument is also implausible since the appointment of Heydrich as Deputy Reichsprotektor of Bohemia and Moravia in September was designed precisely to prevent the “liquidiation” of the Protectorate’s autonomy in favor of it being incorporated into the Reichsgau system by the Party. Further, were this matter still an issue more than two months after Heydrich’s appointment, Heydrich had seen both Hitler and Himmler in Berlin just a few days earlier – the matter certainly could have been discussed then, rather than when Himmler arrived at FHQ (see below). Finally, there was a new government installed in the Protectorate in January 1942, which also belies the idea that the Protectorate was going to become a Gau.

Referring to Himmler’s activities following his conversation with Heydrich on 30 November, Mattogno writes (p. 212), “In fact, according to the Dienstkalender, Himmler met the Führer after Heydrich’s phone call. This meeting lasted from 2:30 in the afternoon until 4 o’clock.” This is hardly surprising information given that Himmler was at FHQ at the time and had only just arrived (the Dienstkalender notes that he was on the train until 1 p.m. that day).

I’ll pick up on this point in my next blog – to be on the Rumbula massacre and the shooting of Reich Jews on 30 November.

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