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Did Hitler know about the holocaust?

A psychological assessment

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Psychological profiles:
Adolf/Adolph Hitler Schicklgruber - his psychology and development
Did Hitler know about the holocaust? A psychological assessment
Henry Ford, mechanical man
The psychology of Rex Stout, Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin
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C O O E 'Y'
cultural context
  lateran council 3 (ecumenical council 11)
  lateran council 4 (ecumenical council 12)
  council of basel (ecumenical council 17)
hitler’s relationship to christianism
hitler’s obsession with gas
the wannsee conference
keeping up to date
endnotes return to index


This document is a supplement to The psychology and development of Adolph Hitler Schicklgruber.

As with the main document, my interest is an analysis of Hitler’s state of mind, and the degree of compatibility of that mental state with, what a theologian would call, ‘informed consent’ to the perpetration of the industrial mass-murder known widely as the holocaust. My own judgement, for that is all it can be, is that Hitler’s mental state was indeed compatible with full involvement in willing the deliberate and selective slaughter of ‘Jews’, merely upon the basis of their religious attachment, which attachment Hitler, in his ignorance, interpreted as a ‘race’.

Taken in the context of his historic development and experiences, the timing of Hitler’s utterances lead me to the opinion that he was fully aware of the functioning of the industrial murder machine. However, I do believe it possible that he shielded his full conscious awareness with some degree of denial, so as not to get his own ‘hands’ dirty directly. My view is reinforced by the psychological profile I have drawn in the main document. Other sources have been referenced at the end of this supplement, but they play very little part in my ‘deliberations’.

People are very good at believing what they want to believe, while ignoring reality. “If I think about how dreadful things were, I just get unhappy.[1]David Irving claims, with increasing stridency, that Hitler did not know. That position, I regard as incredible.

In NSDAP[2] Germany, when hopes did not meet desires, or when the depredations of the government oppressed the idealism of the people more than usual, the excuse commonly heard was,

“It’s the little Hitlers that are to blame, If only Adolph knew about this!”[3].

I regard it as eminently clear that Hitler was fully aware of the holocaust and, that like any mass murderer, step by step, he moved down an inevitable spiral of destruction. Like a street criminal, he steadily and instinctively hid behind layers of subordinates.

It fully suited Hitler to maintain the uncritical loyalty of the population, a matter that would have been impossible if he had acted in the open. He was, after all, forced in 1941 to retreat from his killing of mental defectives and others, when knowledge became too widespread. Likewise, as late as February 1943, he backed down under the pressure and demonstrations of non-Jewish wives of Jewish husbands [4]. This was a politician practicing deniability and self-protection, not an innocent dupe.

All that concerns me is never to take a step that I might later have to retrace and never to take a step which could damage us in any way. You must understand that I always go as far as I dare and never further. It is vital to have a sixth sense which tells you broadly what you can and cannot do. (i.e., ‘I do what ever I can get away with’.) return to index
Speech, April 1937 Noakes and Pridham, p.550

Cultural context

Some context from the ‘religious’ culture in which Hitler was conditioned,
taken from the ruling (ecumenical) councils of the Roman Church. See also The rise and fall of the Church of Rome.

Lateran Council 3 (ecumenical council 11) 1179

“26. Jews and Saracens are not to be allowed to have Christian servants in their houses, either under pretence of nourishing their children or for service or any other reason. Let those be excommunicated who presume to live with them. We declare that the evidence of Christians is to be accepted against Jews in every case, since Jews employ their own witnesses against Christians, and that those who prefer Jews to Christians in this matter are to lie under anathema, since Jews ought to be subject to Christians and to be supported by them on grounds of humanity alone. If any by the inspiration of God are converted to the Christian faith, they are in no way to be excluded from their possessions, since the condition of converts ought to be better than before their conversion. If this is not done, we enjoin on the princes and rulers of these places, under penalty of excommunication, the duty to restore fully to these converts the share of their inheritance and goods.”

It is probable that Hitler had, at the very least, fears that he had ‘jewish blood’. His grandmother, Anna Maria Schicklgruber, is rumoured to have been working as a servant in a Jewish household when she became pregnant. For further details see the psychology and development of Adolph Hilter Schicklgruber.return to index

Lateran Council 4 (ecumenical council 12) 1215

“67. Jews and ‘excessive’ Usury [5]
“The more the christian religion is restrained from usurious practices, so much the more does the perfidy of the Jews grow in these matters, so that within a short time they are exhausting the resources of Christians. Wishing therefore to see that Christians are not savagely oppressed by Jews in this matter, we ordain by this synodal decree that if Jews in future, on any pretext, extort oppressive and excessive interest from Christians, then they are to be removed from contact with Christians until they have made adequate satisfaction for the immoderate burden. Christians too, if need be, shall be compelled by ecclesiastical censure, without the possibility of an appeal, to abstain from commerce with them. We enjoin upon princes not to be hostile to Christians on this account, but rather to be zealous in restraining Jews from so great oppression. We decree, under the same penalty, that Jews shall be compelled to make satisfaction to churches for tithes and offerings due to the churches, which the churches were accustomed to receive from Christians for houses and other possessions, before they passed by whatever title to the Jews, so that the churches may thus be preserved from loss.”

An early influence on Hitler was Feder, who had a bee in his bonnet about ‘interest slavery’. He was socialistic in his leanings and was involved in the writing of the Twenty-five Points of Hitler's Nazi Party.

It is common among those that do not grasp the intricacies of money to regard interest as a personal affront. This attitude is common among the ill-educated adherents of socialism. Like all such simplisms, it contains a scintilla of truth but little more. For further analysis, see document on banking and the mechanisms of money. Meanwhile, there is a document on economic monetary union (EMU) containing some relevant references and a reference to a standard work on economics at recommended books.

“68.Jews appearing in public
“A difference of dress distinguishes Jews or Saracens from Christians in some provinces, but in others a certain confusion has developed so that they are indistinguishable. Whence it sometimes happens that by mistake Christians join with Jewish or Saracen women, and Jews or Saracens with Christian women. In order that the offence of such a damnable mixing may not spread further, under the excuse of a mistake of this kind, we decree that such persons of either sex, in every christian province and at all times, are to be distinguished in public from other people by the character of their dress.”

This was eventually to reappear as yellow stars in Hitler’s third Reich.

“69. Jews not to hold public offices
“It would be too absurd for a blasphemer of Christ to exercise power over Christians. We therefore renew in this canon, on account of the boldness of the offenders, what the council of Toledo providently decreed in this matter: we forbid Jews to be appointed to public offices, since under cover of them they are very hostile to Christians. If, however, anyone does commit such an office to them let him, after an admonition, be curbed by the provincial council, which we order to be held annually, by means of an appropriate sanction. Any official so appointed shall be denied commerce with Christians in business and in other matters until he has converted to the use of poor Christians, in accordance with the directions of the diocesan bishop, whatever he has obtained from Christians by reason of his office so acquired, and he shall surrender with shame the office which he irreverently assumed. We extend the same thing to pagans.”

This pattern is clearly reflected in the several hundred ‘Nuremberg laws’ introduced under Hitler.return to index

Council of Basel (ecumenical council 17) 1431-45

“[The church] firmly believes, professes and preaches that all those who are outside the catholic church, not only pagans but also Jews or heretics and schismatics, cannot share in eternal life and will go into the everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels, unless they are joined to the catholic church before the end of their lives; that the unity of the ecclesiastical body is of such importance that only for those who abide in it do the church's sacraments contribute to salvation and do fasts, almsgiving and other works of piety and practices of the Christian militia produce eternal rewards; and that nobody can be saved, no matter how much he has given away in alms and even if he has shed his blood in the name of Christ, unless he has persevered in the bosom and the unity of the catholic church.”

In Hitler’s state, only Christians could be Germans, while Jews faced Hitler’s version of the Inquisition, complete with the ‘elite’ band of SS enforcers in place of monks.return to index

Hitler’s relationship to christianism

 ‘One cannot declare allegiance both to Jesus and to those who nailed him to the cross’
Richard Wagner, 1850
Köhler, p.16

Hitler was a fanatical admirer of Wagner, who was a violent anti-semite.

The catholic church has spilt more blood than any other religion.
As reported by Reinhold Hanisch, circa 1910
Hamann, p. 250

Hitler commenting on the twenty-five point programme published in 1920:

The New Testament is also full of contradictions, but that hasn’t prevented the spread of Christianity.
As reported by Hanfstaengl.
Kershaw, p.277

I believe to-day that my conduct is in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator. In standing guard against the Jew I am defending the handiwork of the Lord.
Mein Kampf p. 46

Mein Kampf  was published in two volumes on 18 July, 1925 and 11 December, 1926

I too am religious; that is, religious deep inside.
Speech, 8 November, 1943
Domarus, p.29

Going to a performance of Wagner was like going to mass.
Langer, 1972, p.25 – modified translation (see p. 301– 2 more literal translation);
quoted in  Köhler, p.92

Hitler claiming that after inner struggles he had freed himself from the childhood religious ideas which he has continued to harbour:
Now, I feel as fresh as a foal in a meadow
Speech, 1937: Fest, p. 83

Hitler was clearly of a ‘religious’ or mystical turn of mind–
With regard to the intent of the Church of Rome to proselytise in the wake of German conquests, Hitler said,

the idea of the ‘old jockey’ missionary activity was entirely out of the question.
Note of H. von Etzdorf, foreign ministry, 17th July, 1941:
quoted in R. Graham, p.122; cited by Cornwell, p. 261

Christianity is the hardest blow that ever hit humanity. Bolshevism is the bastard son of Christianity; both are the monstrous issue of the Jews.
Mid-July, 1941:
quoted from Jochman, p. 41; cited in Cornwell, p. 261.
Also quoted in Was Hitler a Christian?, where it is cited as from Tabletalk, p.6 – 7 [5a]
This document, Was Hitler a Christian, cites several of Hitler’s intemperate expressions against Christianity and Judaism. I do not use a great number of these Hitler expressions as part of this profile, as I regard them as coloured by the insecurity of an ignorant and boasting person, made with an intention to impress an audience, rather than as statements expressing his fundamental feelings.

The war will come to an end, and I shall see my last task as clearing up the church problem. Only then will the German nation be completely safe….in my youth I had the view: dynamite! Today I see that I cannot break it over one knee. It has to be cut off like a gangrenous limb.
December, 1941:
Jochman, p. 150; cited in Cornwell, p. 261

But also clear that Hitler did not like the competition from the established ‘religions’.

By 1942 even the amazingly dull Pacelli (Pius 12th) was becoming less complacent.
‘Yes, the communist danger does exist, but at this time the NSDAP danger is the more serious. They want to destroy the church and crush it like a toad.’
Cornwell, p. 261 return to index

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Hitler’s obsession with gas

It is my view that Hitler had a fascination with death, and in particular with gas, aggravated by his wartime experiences.

There is no such thing as coming to an understanding with the Jews. It must be the hard-and-fast ‘Either-Or’.
1925 –26:
Mein Kampf, p 121

The British used the yellow gas whose effect was unknown to us, at least from personal experience. I was destined to experience it that very night.

Towards morning I also began to feel pain. It increased with every quarter of an hour; and about seven o’clock my eyes were scorching as I staggered back and delivered the last dispatch I was destined to carry in this war. A few hours later my eyes were like glowing coals and all was darkness around me.

During the last few days I had begun to feel somewhat better. The burning pain in the eye-sockets had become less severe. Gradually I was able to distinguish the general outlines of my immediate surroundings. And it was permissible to hope that at least I would recover my sight sufficiently to be able to take up some profession later on. That I would ever be able to draw or design once again was naturally out of the question.

And, finally, almost in the last few days of that titanic struggle, when the waves of poison gas enveloped me and began to penetrate my eyes, the thought of becoming permanently blind unnerved me; but the voice of conscience cried out immediately: Poor miserable fellow, will you start howling when there are thousands of others whose lot is a hundred times worse than yours? And so I accepted my misfortune in silence, realizing that this was the only thing to be done and that personal suffering was nothing when compared with the misfortune of one’s country.
Attributed by Hitler to 1918:
Mein Kampf, excerpts: pp. 118-121

If twelve or fifteen thousand of these Jews who were corrupting the nation had been forced to submit to poison-gas, just as hundreds of thousands of our best German workers from every social stratum and from every trade and calling had to face it in the field, then the millions of sacrifices made at the front would not have been in vain.
Mein Kampf, pp.373-374

At a Reichstag speech in January 1939, Hitler warned ‘international Jewry’ that if there were another major European war, this time the victims would be the Jews, not the Germans.
Eatwell, p.144

Wannsee conference: 20 January, 1942
A plan to kill 11 million Jews was set out. Deportations began in March, 1942 and continued until 1944. By the end, approximately 6 million Jews had been killed. For further details, see Wannsee.

30 January, 1942: 10 days after Wannsee
I predicted on September the 1st 1939 before the German Reichstag, and I am careful to refrain from rash prophesies, that this war will not end the way the jews would have it, namely with the extermination of all European and Aryan peoples, but the result of this war will be the annihilation of the jewish race.
Domarus, vol. 1, p. 41

9 February, 1942: 20 days after Wannsee
Hitler, in a radio broadcast, said:
The Jews will be liquidated for at least a thousand years.
Cornwell, p. 281.
Yet Irving contends that Hitler knew nothing of the holocaust because, as I saw it recently put, ‘no one is able to produce a piece of paper saying, “Dear Heinrich, please kill all the Jews. Yours, Adolph”.

Early 1945:
As the Russians closed in on his Berlin bunker, Hitler began to torture himself that the Russians might pump poison gas down the ventilation shafts. So he ordered a new filter system be installed.
Reden und Proklamationem, vol. 2, p.2237;
cited in Köhler, p 11.

2 April, 1945:
In his final testament Hitler stated that the world
would be eternally grateful to me and to national socialism for having exterminated the Jews in Germany and central Europe
Jackel, p.122; cited in Köhler, p. 8

30 April, 1945:
The cyanide capsules used for suicide by some top NSDAP members, by Hitler’s concubine Eva Braun, and also forced on Hitler’s dog Blondi, relied upon volatilising gas. Hitler, instead, chose to shoot himself. return to index

Wannsee Conference

On 20 January, 1942, a conference of Nazi officials was held in the East Berlin suburb of Grossen-Wannsee, for the purpose of planning the “final solution” (Endlösung) of the “Jewish question” (Judenfrage). On 31 July, 1941, Hermann Göring had issued orders to Reinhard Heydrich to prepare a comprehensive plan for this “final solution”. The Wannsee Conference, held six months later, was attended by 15 Nazi bureaucrats, led by Heydrich and including Adolf Eichmann, chief of Jewish affairs for the Reich Central Security Office (Reichssicherheitshauptamt).

An earlier idea, to deport all of Europe’s Jews to the island of Madagascar, was abandoned as impractical in wartime. Instead, the newly planned “final solution” would entail rounding up all Jews throughout Europe, transporting them eastward and organizing them into labour gangs. The work and living conditions would be sufficiently hard as to fell large numbers by “natural diminution”; those that survived would be “treated accordingly”. The final protocol of the Wannsee Conference never explicitly mentioned extermination, but, within a few months after the meeting, the first poison-gas chambers were installed in Poland, in what came to be called extermination camps. Responsibility for the entire project was put in the hands of Heinrich Himmler, and his SS and Gestapo[6].return to index


Keeping up to date

A rational observer might be surprised to become aware that a considerable number of uneducated people still regard Hitler with respect, or even affection. There are people abroad in the world who are entirely focussed upon their own selfish ambitions. Such people are fully prepared to attempt to manipulate the ignorance and disgruntled resentments of the vulnerable in pursuit of ambition. It is well that you acquaint yourself with their methods.

The Pioneer Fund was set up in 1937 to promote a segregationist agenda. It has millions of pounds to dole out each year to ‘scientists’ who wish to pursue ‘research’ aimed at ‘proving’ that various ‘races’ or groups are ‘inferior’. In practice, this is no different from a lobby promoting cigarette smoking or the interests of the car, gun or media lobbies. Truth and fact are not their objectives. Their objectives, like Hitler’s are simply power. The better their motives and methods are understood, the more likely society can guard against their venal selfishness.

For a short run-down on the Pioneer Fund see:
For further detail see Tucker.

For a long, well researched article concerning the considerable links between the ‘religious’ fundamentalists and nazi ‘philosophy’ see:

Should you wish to research the holocaust further, I refer you to the enormous nizkor web-site. a good place to start is:
For further psychological background, an entry point is

This web-address is the 150,000 word judgement against David Irving in the British High Court, dated 11 April, 2000. It effectively incorporates a summary of historians’approach to the issue that my document tackles from a psychological perspective. [currently unavailable]

For an expert historical report by Richard Evans, solicited for the Irving libel trial by the defendants, Penguin Books Ltd. and Deborah E. Lipstadt, see the 445-page Acrobat document at: [currently unavailable]
I quote from this document–p.15, paragraph 1.6.2:
“... [Irving’s] numerous mistakes and egregious errors are not, therefore, due to mere ignorance or sloppiness; on the contrary, it is obvious that they are calculated and deliberate. That is precisely why they are so shocking. Irving has relied in the past, and continues to rely in the present, on the fact that his readers and listeners, reviewers and interviewers lack either the time, or the expertise, to probe deeply enough into the sources he uses for his work to uncover the distortions, suppressions and manipulations to which he has subjected them.”

p.18, paragraph 1.6.11:
“Once again, it should be emphasised that these topics, numerous though they are, were not chosen as particularly egregious examples of Irving’s disregard of proper historical method.

“On the contrary, his account of the bombing of Dresden was selected for scrutiny because his book on the subject has been reprinted many times and did much to establish his reputation.

“His use of the evidence of Hitler’s adjutants was chosen for examination because his access to their private papers, and his use of exclusive interview material generated in his meetings with them, have been presented as strengths of Irving’s research not just by himself but by others as well.

“And finally, his analysis of the reasons for Nazi antisemitism was singled out for investigation because it seemed on the face of it that this might cast light on, or in some way modify or revise, his insistence that Hitler was not involved in it.

“In every case, however, as this Report will demonstrate, Irving has fallen so far short of the standards of scholarship customary amongst historians that he does not deserve to be called a historian at all.”

This section (1.6.11) is presented as one paragraph in the original, I have split it into five for increased readability.

p.26, paragraph 2.4.9:
“... If an obvious forgery like ‘the Hitler diaries’ gives credence to [Irving’s] views, he will use it. This Report will detail other, less spectacular, but no less telling examples of this unscrupulousness below. Irving will use any argument, no matter how flimsy, to try and discredit genuine source material if it runs counter to his arguments. And if he cannot dismiss it, then he will manipulate it to the point of falsification, or suppress or ignore it all together. Often he will attempt to diguise what he is doing by rendering his footnote references opaque rather than transparent, flouting one of the most basic requirements of historical scholarship in the process. These arguments will be substantiated at length in the course of this Report.”

Hitler’s War by David Irving
In the second edition (1991 and currently very hard to access), Irving has become more settled in his claims that Hitler did not know about the industrial killing of Jews, otherwise known as the holocaust. He has expunged the word ‘holocaust’ from this second edition of his book. (First edition: 1977.)

The book which Irving chose to use a a basis for his libel action was Denying the Holocaust - The Growing Assault on Truth and Memoryreturn to index

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1 Statement by a client, when questioned as to why they kept making glowing reports of their mother, who had in reality destroyed their security and confidence as a child.
2 NSDAP: National Socialist German Workers’ Party
Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (NSDAP),
widely called the Nazi Party.
3 R. Grunberger, A Social History Of The Third Reich
4 Cornwell, p. 196
5 Lending money at interest.
5a Hitler’s conversations during private gatherings, such as dinners, were recorded by various secretaries. These records have been drawn by various editors to produce books such as those cited here (Jochman, Tabletalk. See also Picker).


An abbreviation of GEHEIME STAATSPOLIZEI (German: Secret State Police), the political police of Nazi Germany. The Gestapo ruthlessly eliminated opposition to the Nazis within Germany and its occupied territories, and was responsible for the round-up of Jews throughout Europe for deportation to the extermination camps.

When the Nazis seized power in 1933, Hermann Göring, then Prussian minister of the interior, detached the political and espionage units from the regular Prussian police, filled their ranks with thousands of Nazis, and, on 26 April, 1933, reorganised them under his personal command as the Gestapo. Simultaneously, Heinrich Himmler, head of the SS, together with his aide Reinhard Heydrich, similarly reorganised the police of Bavaria and the remaining German states. Himmler was given command over Göring’s Gestapo in April 1934 and on 17 June, 1936, was made German chief of police with the title of Reichsführer. Nominally under the Ministry of the Interior, Germany’s police forces now were unified under Himmler as head of both the SS and the Gestapo.

The Gestapo operated without civil restraints; it had the authority of preventative arrest, and its actions were not subject to judicial appeal. Thousands of leftists, intellectuals, Jews, trade unionists, ‘political’ clergy, and homosexuals simply disappeared into concentration camps after being arrested by the Gestapo. During World War 2, the Gestapo suppressed partisan activities in the occupied territories and carried out reprisals against civilians.

Members of the Gestapo were included in the Einsatzgruppen (Task Forces), which were mobile death squads that followed the German regular army into Poland and Russia for the purpose of killing Jews and other ‘undesirables’. Section (Amt) IVb of the Gestapo, under Adolf Eichmann, organized the deportation of Jews from other occupied countries to the extermination camps in Poland.

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