Who knew?

Norman Stone

  • The Terrible Secret by Walter Laqueur
    Weidenfeld, 262 pp, £8.95, September 1980, ISBN 0 297 77835 8

After the Second World War, an often-heard German excuse was that ‘we did not know.’ Even very senior Nazis, among them Goering and Speer, said that they had had no knowledge of Hitler’s plan to destroy the European Jews, let alone responsibility for it. The central planning of the Final Solution was intentionally such that very few records of essential decisions were kept; David Irving may even be formally right in his assertion that there is no written document to link Hitler himself with the Final Solution until October 1943; and the same absence or confusion in the written record has even been taken as evidence that the whole thing did not really happen at all. ‘It wasn’t six million: it was only four million’ is a familiar refrain these days.

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