60 Years Later, Dresden Bombing Claims Another Victim: Memory
By Deborah Lipstadt
February 18, 2005
The Dresden official responsible for collecting and counting the bodies, Theo Miller, wrote Irving in 1965 that the highest possible toll was 30,000. Irving ignored Miller's lucid and sober account in the many subsequent editions of his book. In 1965, a copy of the original police report, from which TB-47 had been extracted, was found. It listed a toll of 20,000 to 25,000.
Charles Gray, the presiding judge in my case, found Irving's treatment of the Dresden historical record "reprehensible" and "absurd" and concluded that Irving's work on this topic "fell far short of the standard to be expected of a conscientious historian." Even more telling is what Irving's German publishers wrote on the title page when they republished his book in 1985: "a novel."
David Irving comments:
DEBORAH Lipstadt shows that one reason she did not speak for three months during the British High Court trial of my libel action against her -- a reticence which has puzzled many observers hitherto -- was evidently because she was asleep.
If awake she would have heard me tell the Court that for thirty years after my book The Destruction of Dresden was first published in 1963, no new editions whatever appeared (as opposed to reprints, over which an author has no control). (Lipstadt: "Irving ignored Miller's lucid and sober account in the many subsequent editions of his book. ")
I did however publish a letter in The Times (London) on July 7, 1966, quoting new documents which might suggest my figures were high; and although under no compulsion to do so, I paid for a reprint of this letter, which I circulated widely among historians.
The first opportunity I had to revise the content of the book was in 1995 when I published my own updated edition, as "Apocalypse 1945: the Destruction of Dresden."
We have just commissioned a newly updated reprint. But I confess that I still ignore Miller's "lucid and sober" account, as I had better sources on the death-roll than him, including the man whose job it was to keep the tally at the time.
AS for Dresden being attacked as a "key railway junction" for the eastern front, we have yet to hear Frederick Taylor (or now Professor Lipstadt, this multi-faceted genius of strategic history), explain the target map which I reproduced in 1963, and was given me by the Master Bomber himself, Wing Commander Maurice Smith: not one railroad station or railway line in the attack sector -- just the ancient, easily combustible, city center.
Small wonder that Taylor needed police protection when he tried to deliver his "Dresden-had-it-coming" lecture in the city earlier this month.
That would be akin to saying that the Jews deserved what they got.