Among the tons of confiscated documents from
post WW2 Nazi Germany, there’s not a single
piece of evidence which indicates that Hitler ever
ordered the extermination of the Jews.
— paraphrased by SOTN Editor
Submitted by JK
Since the end of World War II a search has continued, and for many has ended with the quarry having eluded its hunters. Some believe what they seek never existed in physical form, but existed nonetheless. It is vitally important that it existed during the war though it has never been located by those chasing it ever since Germany’s defeat. Though no one has seen it, circumstances dictate that it must exist.
The fabulous item assumed, but never seen, is the order to commence the extermination of jews.
The logic behind the assumption of a “Hitler order” is that since there was a “Nawzi” program to exterminate jews, it must have been ordered by someone; and the someone with authority to do it in NS Germany was Adolf Hitler.
But no such order has ever been found.
This being the case, the order must have either been destroyed or issued orally and never committed to paper. Or so the argument goes.
A German housewife during the war needed papers in the form of coupons in order to purchase butter or almost anything else. When she had run out of coupons she could not buy any more butter. People needed papers when traveling, or working.
NS Germany was a top-down bureaucracy where paperwork was needed to do nearly everything. When anyone wanted to do something out of the ordinary, permission would have to be requested from the proper authorities who would then issue the proper papers granting permission. Yet this pattern is broken with the extermination of the jews and no viable explanation as to why this is the case has ever been offered.
Written orders to kill jews under National Socialist control would have to have been issued. There is no way around it since issuing an oral command would have created its own consequences. Such consequences would have been as obvious in the historical record as any written order.
For example, any time someone with any authority passed through Auschwitz or Treblinka or any of the “extermination camps” he would have asked what the meaning of the pyres piled high with dead bodies was. Such a visitor would ask to see the order which granted the camp administration the power and authority to wantonly kill camp inmates. When those in charge could not produce such documentation, because the order was oral, the requester would naturally have written to Berlin to request confirmation. Berlin would have to respond.
One would expect to find hundreds of such letters if the extermination camps were operating on oral authorization. These queries and requests for verification would have produced a paper trail which would have survived the war since copies of this correspondence would have proliferated as they made their way through the German bureaucracy in duplicate and triplicate.
One line of argument used to explain the void in documents relating to the holocaust is that the order to kill the jews along with other documents relating to the extermination program were destroyed by the Germans in order to hide their crimes.
This too is unlikely since it would have been nearly impossible to keep track of all of these documents. In addition, Judeo-Allied intelligence agents had infiltrated the NS government and were intercepting coded German communications. The enemies of National Socialist Germany would have leaked these to the Judeo-Allies long before the end of the war. Those implementing the orders would have had a strong incentive not to destroy these orders since these could be used in their defense in the event of their prosecution for war crimes.
For these and other reasons the “verbal command from Hitler” explanation is not credible. Since no order has been found, and one would be needed to initiate an extermination program as government policy, logic dictates that there was no extermination program.
What follows is a series of quotes from various historians, writers and thinkers who have examined this question.
“There does not exist then, anything like a written order signed by [Hitler] for the extermination of the jews in Europe.”—Colin Cross, Adolf Hitler, (Milan, 1977), p. 313.
* * *
“Despite the great harvest of ‘Nazi’ documents captured by the Allies at the end of the war, it is precisely the documents concerning the process of the formation of the idea of the final solution of the jewish question that are missing, to the point that up until the present it is difficult to say how, when, and exactly by whom the order to exterminate the jews was given.”—Lilliano Picciotto Fargion, La congiura del silenzio (The Conspiracy of Silence), La Rassegna mensile d’Israel, May-August 1984, p. 226.
* * *
“For in the table talk, the speeches, the documents or the recollections of participants from all those years not a single concrete reference of [Hitler’s] to the practice of annihilation has come down to us. No one can say how Hitler reacted to the reports of the Einsatzgruppen, whether he asked for or saw films or photos of their work, and whether he intervened with suggestions, praise, or blame. When we consider that he ordinarily transformed everything that preoccupied him into rampant speechmaking, that he never concealed his radicalism, his vulgarity, his readiness to go to extremes, this silence about the central concern of his life- involving, as it did in his mind, the salvation of the world – seems all the stranger.”—Joachim C. Fest, Hitler (New York: Vintage Books, 1975), p. 681.
* * *
“Insofar as no one has yet discovered a written trace of this order [to liquidate the jews under German control] in the sources which have been exploited up to the present, and insofar as it seems unlikely, it is incumbent on the historian to date it as precisely as possible by appealing to interpretation. Since the methods and the hypotheses on this subject are very numerous, we find ourselves confronted with very diverse opinions.”—Saul Friedländer, L’Allemagne nazie et le genocide juif, Gallimard, Le Seuil, 1985, pp. 177-178.
* * *
“For the want of hard evidence — and in 1977 I offered, around the world, a thousand pounds to any person who could produce even one wartime document showing explicitly that Hitler knew, for example, of Auschwitz. My critics resorted to arguments ranging from the subtle to the sledgehammer (in one instance, literally). They postulated the existence of Fuehrer orders without the slightest written evidence of their existence. …Of explicit, written, wartime evidence, the kind of evidence that could hang a man, they have produced not one line.”—David Irving, Hitler’s War (London: Focal Point, 1991), pp. 19-20.
* * *
“To the present day a written order by Hitler regarding the destruction of the European jewish community has not been found, and, in all probability, this order was never given.”—Walter Laqueur, Was niemand wissen wollte: Die Unterdruckung der Nachrichten uber Hitlers Endlösung (What Nobody Wanted to Know: The Suppression of News About Hitler’s “Final Solution”), (Berlin-Vienna, 1981), p. 190.
* * *
” The New York Times’ … editorial (December 2, 1942) claimed that ‘Of Germany’s 200,000 jews in 1939 all but 40,000 have been deported or have perished,’ while going on to assert that ‘according to evidence in the hands of the [U.S.] State Department, an order of Adolf Hitler demanding the extermination of all jews in all territories controlled by Germany’ was known to exist. Researchers nearly 40 years later were still searching for that order, or information leading to anyone who might have ever seen it at any time.”—James J. Martin, The Man who invented ‘Genocide’: The Public Career and Consequences of Raphael Lemkin (Torrance: Institute for Historical Review, 1984), p. 40.
* * *
“No written document containing or reporting an explicit command to exterminate the jews has come to light thus far. This does not of course mean that such direct evidence will not appear in the future. In the meantime, the presumption must be that the order or informal injunction to mass-murder jews was transmitted orally.”—Arno J. Mayer, Why did the Heavens not Darken?: The ‘Final Solution’ in History (New York: Pantheon Books, 1990), pp.235-36.
* * *
“The process by which total extermination replaced resettlement in Madagascar or ‘the East’ as the so-called final solution of the jewish question remains unclear. No written order by Hitler for the extermination of the jews has been discovered and the evidence of an oral order is only indirect. The chronology of the development of the extermination programme is also confused.”—J. Noakes and G. Pridham, eds., Nazism: A History in Documents and Eyewitness accounts 1919-1945 – Vol. 2, (New York: Schocken Books, 1988), p. 1136.
* * *
“The archives torn from the bowels of the Third Reich, the depositions and accounts of its chiefs permit us to reconstruct in their least detail the birth and the development of its plans for aggression, its military campaigns, and the whole range of processes by which the ‘Nazis’ intended to reshape the(ir) world to their pattern. Only the campaign to exterminate the jews, as concerns its completion, as well as in many other essential aspects, remains steeped in fog. Psychological inferences and considerations, third- or fourth-hand accounts, allow us to reconstruct the developments with a considerable verisimilitude. Certain details, nevertheless, will remain unknown forever. As concerns the concept proper of the plan for total extermination, the three or four principal actors are dead. No document remains, and has perhaps never existed.”—Leon Poliakov, Breviaire de la haine (Breviary of Hate) , Paris, 1979, p. 134.
* * *
“What became known in high ‘Nazi’ circles as the Fuehrer Order on the Final Solution apparently was never committed to paper — at least no copy of it has yet been unearthed in the captured ‘Nazi’ documents. “—William Shirer, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich (New York: Fawcett Crest, 1960), p. 1256.
* * *
“One cannot fix the exact moment when Hitler gave the order- without doubt never drawn up in writing – to exterminate the jews.”—Christian Zentner, Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf. An edition with commentary by Christian Zentner, Munich, 1974, p. 168.
And just for kicks, here is a lame attempt by the ADL to combat what everyone is waking up to.
Richard A. Widmann: compilation, research June 29, 1995