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Shofar FTP Archive File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day005.14

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Last-Modified: 2000/08/01

   Q.   Well, I am sorry you will have to look at the document in
        a moment.  It dates from July 18th 1942.  "It is a form on
        which the personnel specially authorized 'for the carrying
        out of the work of the Jewish resettlement within the
        framework of Operation Reinhard" by the SS and police
        leader in the Lublin district' acknowledged having been
        orientated to specific rules of secrecy by SS Amtstung
        Fuhrer Hofle on Globocnik's staff.  They were forbidden to
        make any communication, verbal or in writing, concerning
        the Jewish resettlement, Juden umsiedlung, under any
        circumstances to anyone outside of Operation Reinhard.
        Moreover, there was 'an explicit prohibition against
        photography in the camps of Operation Reinhard'".
                  Would you just glance, please, or more than
        glance, at the document which is in footnote 154 in volume
   MR RAMPTON:  154, my Lord, behind tab 16 in H3(ii).

.          P-121

   MR RAMPTON:  This document is the right way up.  Again it
        to me like a reprint?
   A.   Again it is a printed document.
   Q.   What?  It looks like a reproduction, this, does it
   A.   154, document 228 you are talking about?
   Q.   Yes, document 228.
   A.   Yes, it is a print.
   Q.   Yes.  Have you seen the original of this?
   A.   I have not, no.
   Q.   Did you know of its existence?
   A.   No.
   Q.   Has Professor Browning -- I will give you a moment in
        minute -- is my question summarized its effect
   A.   Yes, and I am familiar with the security, the secrecy
        declarations.  I have seen several of them,
        in connection with Auschwitz itself.
   Q.   You see how, at any rate, in this version ----
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   --- in July 1942, Reinhard is spelt?
   A.   Yes, in this printed version.
   Q.   In this printed version.
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   The spelling that you prefer, Mr Irving, has a "T" on
        end, does it not?
   A.   You are rather presuming, but, in fact, there are

.          P-122

        about how it should be spelt and perhaps I should
        to his Lordship the reason for the...
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  It is Heydrich?
   A.   Obviously, the diminuendo is named in honour of
        Heydrich who had been assassinated a month earlier.
        in fact, Operation Reinhard in its documentation, and
        can produce other documents which very much go in this
        direction, there is an operation run by State
        Fritz Reinhart, of the German Ministry of Finance who
is a
        leading Nazi in that ministry who was in charge of the
        expropriation and looting of stolen Jewish property.
        was a primary concern of these SS gangsters on the
        Front to round up the Jews and rob them blind and take
        their gold and everything else.  Then it want to the
        Ministry of Finance literally.  It was appropriated by
        Reich.  That is how it became known as Operation
        but I do agree that sometimes the documents leave out
        "T" because of confusion.
   MR RAMPTON:  Professor Browning, Mr Irving, only a few
pages on
        at page 66, at the bottom of page 66 ----
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   --- you may dispute it, but this is what he says,
tells us
        that the spelling of "Operation Reinhart" with a "T"
        begins only in late 1943?
   A.   There are documents prior to that, and only two months
        I was sitting in the Hoover Library in California

.          P-123

        through a whole file on Operation Reinhart from
        files which details in very great degree the financial
        expropriation that went on, the gold rings, the
        the whole of the business of recycling the stolen
   Q.   And is your thesis this then, I do not know, perhaps I
        better ask you an open question, what is your thesis
as to
        the nature of Operation Reinhard?
   A.   I am not setting up a rival thesis, Mr Rampton.  I am
        rattling slightly at yours and saying it is not quite
        concrete and cast in stone as possibly you would like
        people to believe.
   Q.   You will find when you question Professor Browning
that he
        does not say either that it is certain that it is
        after Reinhart Heydrich.  All he notices is that the
        spelling undergoes a change.  What he is perfectly
        about, and this is what matters in this case, is that
        was a killing operation as an adjunct of which the
        stole the property of the dead people?
   A.   Well, without wishing to reveal too much about what
        I intend to cross-examine Professor Browning on, I can
        I that I shall be putting to him certain documents on
        letter head of Heinreich Himmler, the Chief of the SS,
        which in the typical German Civil Service then have
        sub-departments and the sub-departs indicated in the
        reference number, and you come to "Verwaltung" which

.          P-124

        administration, "Reinhard" and so on and the document
        purely connected with the expropriation and the stolen
        watches and the remanufacture of the fountain pens and
        everything else that has been stolen from the victims
        what they called the Holocaust.  So the Operation
        Reinhard, it has a far stronger element of the
        expropriation than of the liquidation, if I can put it
        that way.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Can I ask you because sometimes we seem
to be
        proceeding without, as it were, starting with the
        proposition.  Do you accept that Operation Reinhard,
        whoever it was called after, did have an aspect to it
        which involved the wholesale killing of Jews by
   A.   Operation Reinhard was a subsection of the Holocaust
        was partly the deportation element, partly the killing
        element, whatever it happened, it had the for the SS
        pleasant side effect, the large numbers of fountain
        watches, gold, gold rings, jewellery and so on, came
        their hands which were then processed in a ruthlessly
        methodical manner by the technicians of Operation
                  Now, in the way that these things happen, it
        happen, it may have come about that people will then
        regard Operation Reinhard as being the whole rather
        as being part of the whole, if I can put like that.

.          P-125

   Q.   So the answer to my question is, yes, that was an
        operation and it did have the wholesale killing of
        Jews  ----
   A.   It was an element.
   Q.   --- as part of its objective?
   A.   It was a part of the whole, my Lord, which possibly
        on may then have become regarded as the whole.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Right.  Sorry, Mr Rampton, just to get
        general position.
   MR RAMPTON:  No, your Lordship, as so often, and I do not
        this in any sycophantic way, just bad luck on me, has
        asked a question that I am about to ask and it has
        times and, in a sense ----
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I am sorry.
   MR RAMPTON:  --- I am grateful, no, because ----
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  It saves your voice.
   MR RAMPTON:  --- for (1) it has the reassuring effect that
        knows the judge is up to speed with the case.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  It happens occasionally.
   A.   Mr Rampton, please do not hesitate to ask it again
        yourself and you will probably get the same answer.
   Q.   No, I will ask you a much, much simpler question, not
        his Lordship's question was in the very slightest bit
        complicated.  Do you accept or do you not accept
        if you do we can go on to something else, Mr Irving,
        hundreds upon thousands of Jews were from, let us say,

.          P-126

        spring of 1942 and in Chelmno earlier and probably
        deliberately killed in Sobibor, Treblinka and Belzec?
   A.   I think, on the balance of probabilities, the answer
        yes.  But I have to say on the balance of
        because the evidentiary basis for that statement is
        extremely weak, even now, 55 years later.  The
        captured the camps, they captured the documentation of
        many of these camps, and we are still short of the
        smoking gun, shall I say.
   Q.   We are also short of factory buildings and such like,
        we not?
   A.   What kind of factory buildings?
   Q.   Well, Sobibor, let us take them north to south,
        Sobibor and Belzec were not factory or work camps,
        they, whatever they were?
   A.   My understand and, once again, I have to keep on
        emphasising I am not an expert on the Holocaust and I
        not intend to become one for the purposes of this
        My understanding is that those camps also had a
        camps aspect, that people would arrive there and they
        would be shipped elsewhere.
   Q.   Where?
   A.   For example, from Mydonek -- from Treblinka they were
        shipped to Mydonek, for example.  There is a ----
   Q.   Maybe somewhere?
   A.   I beg your pardon?

.          P-127

   Q.   Maybe somewhere.
   A.   60,000.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Very late on, I recollect, is that right?
   A.   May 1943, my Lord, the Jews from the Warsaw ghetto,
        according to the standard work by the Soviet
        Grossmann, published very early in the war, they had
        access to the records in Mydonek.  They traced 60,000
        from the Warsaw ghetto who had been sent to Treblinka
        then sent off to Mydonek.  This kind of thing happened
        one wonders how often where we do not have the records
                  But I have to state that I am not an expert
        this, and I am willing to go along with any hypothesis
        that Mr Rampton can ----
   MR RAMPTON:  No, not an hypothesis.  I want to know what
        accept and what you do not accept.  If you accept, on
        balance of probabilities, that Operation Reinhard,
        it had other aspects to it or not, was a killing
        in the course of which hundreds of thousands of Jews
        deliberately killed by the Nazis, we can close this
        chapter and go on to something else.
   A.   No, I do not accept that.  I say the that Operation
        Reinhard was frequently something very definitely only
        sub-operation.  It was the looting part, the looting
        element, and the recycling element, which is where the
        name originally came from.

.          P-128

   Q.   I am getting terribly confused.  I sometimes feel that
        either I am not asking the right question or ----
   A.   This is partially the reason for the secrecy that was
        attached to the people operating in it.  They were
        required to sign these forms saying they had not seen
        looting going on and the stealing going on.
   Q.   I am confused.  I had asked you a couple of minutes
        whether you accepted, on the balance of probabilities,
        that in Treblinka, Sobibor and Belzec whether you
        that hundreds of thousands of Jews were deliberately
        killed by the Nazis and I thought you said yes.
   A.   Yes, but then you tried to say this was Operation
        and that I do not go along with.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Does the label matter in the end, really?
   A.   I do not think so.
   MR RAMPTON:  No, of course it does not.  One sees a
        saying whatever it is, 100,000, it does not matter
what it
        is, and then one sees a document saying "greater
        and then one has the concession from the witness, that
        the end of that story, so it seems to me?
   A.   It is not a concession, Mr Rampton.  It is a simple
        statement of fact on the balance of the evidence,
        of possibilities.
   Q.   Does it matter what the means of killing were?
   A.   Well, apparently it does because apparently we are
        to waste a lot of our time over the coming weeks

.          P-129

        at certain buildings.
   Q.   Can I read something that you said -- you can look at
        in a moment -- on 21st May 1989 in a letter to
        called Zitelmann?
   A.   Dr Reine Zitelmann, a West German historian, yes.
   Q.   You wrote this:  "As for what did unquestionably
happen to
        the Jews, the CSDIC report, of which I also enclose a
        copy, shows with reliability beyond question the
manner in
        which the killings occurred, that is to say,
   A.   That is, of course, the Bruns Report which I have just
        sent to yet another historian.
   Q.   Exactly.  "Random, haphazard, criminal in nature,
        occurring without Hitler's knowledge and immediately
        forbidden by him when he learned of them but going
        unpunished by him too."
   A.   I still stand by that statement today.
   Q.   So, although it was hundreds of thousands of people
        were killed in these three small villages in Eastern
        Poland, it was wholly random; is that right?
   A.   If it had been systematic to the degree that you are
        hoping to establish, industrialised, shall we say, it
        would have been done by far more ruthlessly efficient
        means with all that efficiency we come to associate
        the German name.

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