Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Dresden Death Toll: Kurt Vonnegut's Son Continues the Misinformation

I just listened to Mark Vonnegut's son on the Leonard Lopate show on WNYC. He was talking about a new book of his father's writings. In the course of his interview he said the Dresden death toll was 140,000.

Distortion strikes again. According to the Nazi era Dresden police and to subsequent studies it probably was somewhere in the vicinity of 30-40,000. This is a terrible toll. But it's not 140,000.

Remember, of course, that Vonnegut relied on David Irving for his historical information in Slaughterhouse Five.

Deniers such as David Irving are intent on aggrandizing the death toll because then they can point to Allied "atrocities."

For background on this see Richard Evan's expert report for my trial or my own History on Trial


lena said...

Hello. I just finished reading your book "History on Trial". I learned quite a lot of information and I'm happy that you won. While reading this book though, I found information that was incorrect. You state that at the Massacre of Mi Lai it was the Marines who did the unthinkable when in fact it was the Army. How can you go about getting it fixed for future editions? Thank You

lena said...

Hello. I just finished reading your book "History on Trial". It was very interesting and I learned alot. While I was reading it I found a mistake, you stated that at the massacre of Mi Lai it was committed by the Marines when in fact it was by the soldiers of the Army. Hopefully this misinformation can be fixed!! Thank you

Deborah Lipstadt said...

Yes, it was corrected in subsequent editions.

Ian Thal said...

When Vonnegut was writing Slaughterhouse Five, was it generally known that Irving was a fraud?

I do recall reading that Kurt Vonnegut, as much as he was horrified by the bombing of Dresden, did see the ultimate responsibility for the destruction as that of the Germany.

Marty Johnston said...

Hi Deborah,

I just finished reading an article by Vonnegut in a certain misogynistic men's magazine. I recently read your "Denying the Holocaust" and the Vonnegut article seemed to have been penned by a careful and clever anti-Semite, from the word choice to the subtle "im"moral equivalences.

I had never read Vonnegut. His fans always seemed to me to be a group that wore too many black concert shits, washed their hair infrequently and were always a bit to excited about his work. One of those cults that surrounds an author whom they have never met.

Thanks for writing "Denying the Holocaust". When confronted with this horrible Vonnegut article, I felt equipped and empowered to face the article objectively and with a better understanding of the truth of the situation.

Thanks again,

Tucson, Arizona

Deborah Lipstadt said...

Regarding Ian's question if IRving was known as a fraud. Not really, he was known to be edgy but not the liar he was exposed to be.

BTW, my comment about Vonnegut's reliance on Irving was not to suggest that Vonnegut knowningly relied on a denier. NOt at all.

It was a way of showing how lies can enter the mainstream unbeknownst to the person who is mainstreaming them