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Shofar FTP Archive File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day008.09

Archive/File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day008.09
Last-Modified: 2000/07/20

   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  About two-thirds of the way down.
   A.   It is on page 330 of the first edition too.
   Q.   It is probably the same words.
   A.   It almost certainly is.  I think I make it quite plain
        there that 100,000 had been, quotation marks, "specially
        treated" and the innuendo is quite plain for reader to draw.
   MR RAMPTON:  Yes.  My only comment about that in that version,
        Mr Irving, is that you for some reason -- I do not know
        what the reason is -- you add the sentence "Hitler was not
   A.   It is in the first edition too, yes.
   Q.   Why?

.          P-76

   A.   Am I wrong?
   Q.   No, what is the significance?
   A.   I am writing about Adolf Hitler, Mr Rampton.  If Hitler is
        not mentioned in a document concerning the killing of
        100,000 Jews, it is significant for the reader -- you will
        probably agree.
   Q.   You are afraid that the reader seeing this huge number
        which it is -- there is no question about that -- being
        killed in the Warthegau might infer that Hitler knew
        something about it, is that right?
   A.   Shall we go back to May 1st document again, Mr Rampton?
        Greiser is saying to Himmler:  "The operation carried out
        in your authority and the authority of Heydrich and
        killing 100,000" or "I have killed 100,000 or I am about
        to kill 100,000 or submit them to special treatment", if I
        am writing about Hitler, I am absolutely justified to say,
         "Oh, by the way, Hitler is not mentioned in this
        document".  That is a very important clue.
   Q.   Mr Irving, if Himmler had a general authority to do such
        things, where would it come from?
   A.   It would come from Adolf Hitler.  He would say in the
        correspondence:  "On the Fuhrer's instructions, I am
        ordering the following".  That covers him.
   Q.   It does not, Mr Irving.  If Himmler had a general
        authority (and you should sometimes listen more carefully
        to my questions) to do these kinds of things, it would

.          P-77

        come from Hitler?
   A.   Oh, dear!  If, general, these kinds of things, is this a
        smoking gun, the best we can do after 55 years?
   Q.   What is the answer to my question?
   A.   That is the answer.  55 years we have had to paddle around
        in the archives now of Warsaw, Moscow as well as the
        Western world, and there is still not the slightest shred
        of written evidence that Hitler ----
   Q.   The answer to my question, I think, must be yes; if he had
        such authority, it would have come from Hitler?
   A.   But he would have mentioned ----
   Q.   Your second answer to a question I have not asked, but
        never mind, is we do not know of any evidence that Hitler
        did confer any such general authority on Himmler, is that
   A.   Yes, and the rider, the corollary of that is that we would
        have expected to find such evidence just as there is in
        the euthanasia programme where the actual signed order
        from Hitler is in the archives.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  But Hitler did authorize the euthanasia
   A.   He actually signed the order, my Lord, backdated it to
        September 1st, 1939.  That is in the archives.
   Q.   The euthanasia programme really came to an end when the
        gas vans were transferred to killing on the Eastern

.          P-78

   A.   Hitler ordered it to stop in August 1941.  He ordered the
        euthanasia programme stopped in 1941 because of public
        unrest and disquiet, but it is characteristic and not
        without significance for these hearings that, in fact, the
        euthanasia programme continued in the background, rather
        like the Bruns business, where the SS man was ordered to
        stop but still said, "Well, we are going to carry it on
        with unobtrusive means".
   Q.   But I think really the drift of my question was, well, if
        he was brought in to authorize the euthanasia programme,
        does that suggest at all that it might be probable that he
        was consulted about using the gas vans for some other
   A.   I do not want to be flippant, my Lord, but the answer is
        the archives do not tell us.
   Q.   No, but as a matter of guessing what the reality was?
   A.   They should, my Lord, because knowing the mentality of the
        German people, they would have covered themselves with
        paper.  They would have written letters to each other
        saying, "We are doing this on the Fuhrer's orders.  The
        Fuhrer has instructed".  Even if that was not in the
        archives, we would expect to find it in the Bletchley Park
        files.  That is what I shall be questioning one of your
        experts about.
   MR RAMPTON:  My Lord, I can do one of two things now.  I am
        entirely in your Lordship's hands really.  I can develop

.          P-79

        this question of Himmler's authority which I do not think
        Mr Irving disputes, not only that, well, that he did do
        it, apparently, on Mr Irving's account, without any kind
        of authority from Hitler to murder millions of Jews.
        I can pursue the question of Himmler's authority, or I can
        move to completely different topic which is the
        Schlegelberger memorandum.  Both are somewhat intricate in
        a sort of a sense.  The first exercise will involve going
        to 1943 and 1944 for some references to what both Himmler
        and Hitler said.  The second involves merely a discussion,
        if I can put it like that, of what the so-called
        Schlegelberger memorandum might be and what it might
        represent.  I really do not mind which I do.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Well, it is very difficult for me to suggest
        one way or the other.  In a sense, we are on Hitler and
        Himmler and their respective knowledge and authority for
        what was going on, so maybe that is better taken next.
        But can I before you do that just ask a question which
        I think I may have raised before, but I do not understand
        Mr Irving to have answered it yet.
                  Do you accept or do you not that there was
        gassing of Jews using trucks or vans at Treblinka, Sobibor
        in the same way as you have accepted there was at Belzec?
   A.   I do not accept it, which does not mean to say that I do
        not believe that it happened, but, quite simply, I have
        not investigated it and I do not think we have been shown

.          P-80

        any evidence that it did happen yet.  That is an
        unsatisfactory answer, I am afraid.
   MR RAMPTON:  My Lord, I would only make one small correction to
        that.  I think the evidence of Professor Browning will be
        that once they had established those three Reinhard camps,
        they stopped using mobile vans and started using
        stationery tank engines and other sorts of things like
        that, but we will come to that along the line.  The
        question that I would ask Mr Irving, in the light of that
        answer is this, you do not know of any firm evidence, you
        sigh, that it did happen, whether by stationery engines or
        by vans.  Do you see a difference between saying, "I do
        not know whether or not it happened, I have not seen good
        evidence", and denying that it did happen?
   A.   I do not know that it did happen and denying that it
   Q.   Do you see a difference between saying, "I do not know
        that it happened"?
   A.   Well, the word "deny", of course, in law has a specific
        meaning, does it not?
   Q.   No, it is an ordinary English word.
   A.   But in law the word ----
   Q.   It means, in effect, the person is saying this?
   A.   If somebody denies something, he is saying there is
        something within his cognisance.
   Q.   It is very simple.  One English sentence says, "I do not

.          P-81

        know whether it happened or not", the other says, "It did
        not happen"?
   A.   Well, it is the former.
   Q.   If, therefore, on some former occasion you have said it
        did not happen, that would be an excessive statement of
        your own belief, would it not?
   A.   What did not happen?
   Q.   Oh, gassing at Treblinka, for example?
   A.   It depends what the question is and what my precise answer
        was to that question -- not the question you asked, but
        the question put to me by the questioner and what my
        precise answer was.
   Q.   We will track that down.  I just wanted to get the
        position clear.  Your present position is not that you
        denied that it happened, but that you have not seen good
        evidence that it did happen?
   A.   I have seen a balance of evidence in each direction.
        There is the lack of the photogrammetric evidence on the
        aerial photographs, the lack of any evidence that these
        structures existed, on the one hand, and the
        unsatisfactory nature of the eyewitness evidence.
   Q.   Your present position is that you are in a state of
   A.   A state of doubt and I see no reason to investigate it
        because I am not a holocaust historian.  One has limited
        resources which one has to apply to the proper targets.

.          P-82

   Q.   We will come back to the other part of it later because,
        as Miss Rogers says, Mr Irving, it fits quite neatly into
        the Auschwitz question as a sort of coder, perhaps, or
        maybe an introduction, I do not know, prelude?
   A.   I would prefer we just adhere to the Auschwitz examination
        and ignore the other camps which is not really going to
        lead us much further.
   Q.   No, I am not going to go into the evidence of the other
        camps.  If I go back to the other camps, it will be for
        this purpose, Mr Irving, that which I have already stated,
        to demonstrate that you have, if I am right, made
        categorical denials about the existence of extermination
        facilities at the Reinhard camps when the truth is simply
        that you do not know?
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  In other words, it goes to Holocaust denial
        rather than Auschwitz?
   MR RAMPTON:  It does, but it also goes to irresponsible, at the
        very least, historiography.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  That is part of Holocaust denial, is it not?
   MR RAMPTON:  Yes, of course it is.
   A.   Let us wait until we get the exact statements I am
        supposed to have made.
   MR RAMPTON:  Of course.  I said if I am right about that, if.
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   That will be the only object of ----
   A.   Let us also consider the question of proportionality.

.          P-83

        These are the minor escorts, the corvettes and
        minesweepers, not the actual battleship which is Auschwitz
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Anyway, Hitler and Himmler?
   MR RAMPTON:  Yes.  Hitler and Himmler.  For this purpose, my
        Lord, it will be useful, I think, to turn to page 73 of
        Longerich 1.  While I ask, I am going to have displace my
        chronology, my Lord, because I have not got the document
        reference.  I am sorry.
   A.   Mr Rampton, did you not tell us yesterday that Auschwitz
        did not start gassing until the end of 1942, and yet
        paragraph 2 of this page says exactly the opposite.
   Q.   Mr Irving, let me give you advance notice -- if you have
        not Van Pelt's report two or three times, I quite
        understand you may not have picked it -- of what the best
        view of the history of Auschwitz, so far as gassing is
        concerned, and it is our case, if we had to prove it,
        which we do not; but what that report tells us is this,
        that there were some early gassings, first of all, of
        Soviet prisoners in the autumn of 1941 in the basement of
        block 11 at Auschwitz 1.  They then started using, I think
        later that same year, the crematorium, the morgue in the
        crematorium at Auschwitz 1, for the gassing of Jews again
        to some extent on an experimental scale.  In 1942 they
        developed two gassing facilities.
   A.   What do you mean by "the experimental scale" -- a few

.          P-84

        thousand or?
   Q.   Only a few hundred people at a time, that kind of thing.
   A.   I am just interested in your use of the word "experimental
   Q.   "Experimental", Mr Irving, because they were experimenting
        with the efficacy of Zyklon B?
   A.   Very interesting.  Exactly the same as I said about the
        gas trucks.

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