Letter in Liberty, December 2007, p. 4

Hitler's Creed

In Stephen Cox's article "Skepticism, and Beyond" (October), he claims that Adolf Hitler's "private conversations showed him as much an enemy of Christianity as he was of Judaism," citing the Norman Cameron and R.H. Stevens translation of Hitler's "Table Talk," a document transcribed from notebooks of Hitler's secretaries Heinrich Heim and Henry Picker and edited into multiple versions by Martin Bormann and Henry Picker. However, as Richard Carrier points out with detailed textual comparisons in his article "Hitler's Table Talk: Troubling Finds," German Studies Review[, vol. 26, no. 3] (October 2003)[, pp. 561-576], there are significant discrepancies between the available versions and translations of this document, with the German of Henry Picker's notes and the German edition of Bormann's text by Werner Jochmann being the most reliable and the version relied upon by Cox being the least reliable. The Stevens and Cameron translation, edited by Hugh Trevor-Roper, contains passages not found in the original German and mistranslations of the German that appear to be derived from Francois Genoud's French translation. In particular, many of Hitler's attacks on Christianity appear to be based on incompetent translation and outright fabrication by Genoud. The result is that Hitler, while not espousing an orthodox form of Christianity, still is a believer in God and divine providence, the authority of Jesus, and the immortality of the soul whose views are Christian in the broadest sense.

A more popular version of Carrier's article, without the German text, was published in the November 2002 issue of Freethought Today[, which may be found online at http://ffrf.org/fttoday/2002/nov02/carrier.php].

Jim Lippard
Phoenix, Ariz.

[Bracketed sections above were deleted from the published version of the letter.]