Today I was looking at Wikipedia’s entry on Joseph Goebbels and I was startled at the unequivocal claim there that Goebbels had ordered the anti-Jewish violence of “Kristallnacht.” I knew that there had been a rumor or surmise of that nature (still taken seriously, for example, by Heinrich Haertle in 1965), but I was surprised to see it presented even today as unquestionable fact, for a couple of reasons. 

In the first place, the story is incredible on its face. Are we supposed to believe that Goebbels instigated widespread domestic disorder on his own initiative and that Hitler, when he found out, was enraged but let him stay in the government? It really is hard to believe.

Secondly, Ingrid Weckert, who has written a book about the matter and is not a stupid person, argues that Goebbels had nothing to do with it. I could not believe that she would take that position if there were strong evidence that he was involved. If I am not to believe that Ingrid Weckert is insane, then I must assume that there is disagreement about some crucial piece of evidence.

As it turns out, there is such a disagreement.

The source upon which the claim in the Wikipedia article relies is a quotation from Goebbels’ diaries that is reproduced in a book by Martin Gilbert. I had a look at the chapter on Kristallnacht in David Irving’s  Goebbels. Although Irving’s book has the reputation of being hostile to Goebbels — indeed it got Irving a lot of criticism when it appeared in the mid-90s, because he seemed to be trying to make amends to the Jews for having dismissed the Auschwitz gas-chamber story a few years earlier — I thought it might offer some hint of conflicting information.

What I learned from Irving’s book is that Goebbels’ diary for November 1938, pertaining to Kristallnacht, correlates poorly with events in Goebbels’ life:

Goebbels had not anticipated either Hitler’s fury or, probably, such an uncontrollable, chaotic orgy of destruction. Not surprisingly [?] he made no reference to this unwelcome turn of events in his diary. [Irving, Goebbels, p. 497]

We are even supposed to believe that Goebbels, who insisted on accurate reports about the progress of the war1, for his own private consumption wrote statements that he knew to be false:

He … was careful to record this — perhaps slanted — note in his diary, which stands alone, and in direct contradiction to the evidence of Hitler’s entire immediate entourage: ‘He is in agreement with everything. His views are quite radical and aggressive. The Aktion itself went off without a hitch. A hundred dead. But no German property damaged.’ Each of these five sentences was untrue, as will be seen [p.498]

Instead of making the obvious observation that a diary in which a man appears to lie to himself might not be authentic, Irving accepts that Goebbels lied to himself in his own diary, justifying that position with the innuendo that Goebbels was not quite sane. Either way it is admitted that the so-called Goebbels diaries are an unreliable source.

The clear intention behind those untruthful statements in the “Goebbels diaries” is to expand responsibility for Kristallnacht to Hitler and his government, instead of letting Goebbels appear as a rogue instigator as rumored in 1938. It serves the victors’ agenda of criminalizing the defeated German government.

We know that the conquering powers of World War II had no scruples about falsifying evidence. I have demonstrated this in other posts on this blog, especially in regard to the content of some of the films that Frank Capra made for the U.S. Army, which go so far as to use altered documentary footage. Hermann Rauschning’s Conversations with Hitler, a staple of anti-Hitler propaganda, are completely fake. So is The Testament of Adolf Hitler (a.k.a. The Hitler-Bormann Documents). David Irving himself made worldwide news by debunking a really ridiculous set of “Hitler diaries,” but that was back before the Jews broke his will. The Goebbels diaries could easily be fraudulent, because we do not have the original documents, only photographic images: No one knows now where his original notebooks are, or what happened to them,” says David Irving.2

I was going to ask Professor Robert Faurisson if he had ever inquired about the authenticity of the alleged Goebbels diaries. But first I searched his blog, and found some relevant quotes about the “Goebbels diaries” from Mark Weber, given under oath in a Canadian courtroom in 19883:

The later entry, which I think is the 27th of March [1942], is widely quoted to uphold or support the extermination thesis. It is not consistent with entries in the diary like this one of March 7th, and it is not consistent with entries at a later date from the Goebbels diaries, and it is not consistent with German documents from a later date.

[…] there is a great doubt about the authenticity of the entire Goebbels diaries because they are written on typewriter. We have no real way of verifying if they are accurate, and the U.S. Government certified, in the beginning of the publication, […] that it can take no responsibility for the accuracy of the diaries as a whole.

[…] I think again it is worth mentioning that the passage of the 27th of March is inconsistent with the passage of the 7th of March and the one from April, and I don’t remember the date exact (Transcript, p. 5820-5821).

Goebbels had no responsibility for Jewish policy. He wasn’t involved in that. He was the Propaganda Minister. He was involved only to the extent that there were Jews in Berlin and he was responsible for Berlin (p. 5822-5823).

At the time when Weber testified in 1988, all the alleged Goebbels Diaries that had been published were from typed pages, and therefore, as he testified, unverifiable as to authenticity.

In fact, all alleged Goebbels Diaries dated later than July 1941 — which means all that could be used as evidence for the Holocaust, since this is not supposed to have begun until months later — come from typed pages or images of typed pages, and are, as Weber testified, unverifiable as to authorship.

The photographic images of handwritten diaries dated earlier than July 1941 are also unverifiable as to authorship, because images of handwriting can be rearranged to make the writer say things that he did not. These alleged documents come from Soviet state archives, from a government that is well known to have produced false documentary evidence relating to the so-called Holocaust (e.g. the documents framing John Demjanjuk as “Ivan the Terrible”).

Most likely there were some real Goebbels diaries that were altered to create what the world has been shown as “the Goebbels Diaries” since 1945. That would explain why, as Weber testified, there are internal contradictions and contradictions with known fact in the diaries.

If the “Goebbels diaries” are fake, then there is little evidence to support the claim that Goebbels was the instigator of anti-Jewish violence on Kristallnacht. In that case everything else about Goebbels’ behavior, and Hitler’s behavior toward him, makes a lot more sense.


1. “Even Goebbels always insisted that the Wehrmacht communiqués be as accurate as possible.” –Konrad Kellen (Rand Corporation), Introduction to Jacques Ellul’s Propaganda (1965).

2. David Irving, “Revelations from Joseph Goebbels’ Diary,” The Journal of Historical Review, January-February 1995 (Vol. 15, No. 1), pages 2-17

3. These quotes of Weber’s testimony came from Robert Faurisson, “Mark Weber Must Resign from the Institute for Historical Review,” 3 April 2009, posted on The Unofficial Blog of Robert Faurisson. You can get more of the context by reading a summary of Weber’s testimony and the responses  in Barbara Kulaszka, Did Six Million Really Die? — Report of the Evidence in the Canadian “False News Trial of Ernst Zündel, Samisdat Publishing, Toronto (1992).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *