The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day009.12

Archive/File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day009.12
Last-Modified: 2000/07/20

   Q.   Yes, if they survived the allied war crimes courts and did
        not end up in Hammelin in prison as a guest of Mr Albert
   A.   If they survived the allied war crime trials, but ----

.          P-102

   Q.   Do you know how many German war criminals the British
        hanged in Hammelin?
   A.   No, I do not know.
   Q.   Of the order of 1,000 in the postwar years.
   A.   Thank you for that information.
   Q.   So people who were in middle ranking positions in the
        German Nazi criminal hierarchy had to be on the look out,
        is that correct?
   A.   I presume that one had to be careful, yes.
   Q.   And there were various ways of surviving.  One was to put
        on a black eye patch and pretend you were not Heinrich
        Himmler until you were caught, and another way would be to
        offer to help the allies, would this be correct?
   A.   I think you are now making a blanket statement and I would
        not want to endorse it.  I think that there are the
        situation, like any historical situation, has been rapidly
        changing before and after the defeat of the Germans, that
        there were various ways people assessed that situation,
        various ways that people dealt with it, and that, of
        course, probably since the SS was not very popular after
        the war and at a certain moment it was declared a criminal
        organization, that if I had been an SS man, I would have
        been very careful.  I understand most SS men were and
        tried to pass themselves off as something else, including
        Heinreich Himmler who pretended to be an ordinary soldier.
   Q.   Would you tell the court what the position of this

.          P-103

        eyewitness Mr Pery Broad -- that is P-E-R-Y Broad -- in
        the Auschwitz camp was?
   A.   Pery Broad was a kind of an administrative official in the
        camp Gestapo which is called the political department.
   Q.   So that was, as you correctly say, the Gestapo at
        Auschwitz camp?
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   So his life prospects were not particularly rosy when the
        war was over if he fell into Polish hands or into the
        hands of anybody who knew what he had done, if he fell
        into the wrong hands?
   A.   He was a low ranking official.  I mean, he was something
        of a junior sergeant, I understand.
   Q.   I think of lower ranking than that.
   A.   Sorry?
   Q.   Probably even lower ranking than that, I believe?
   A.   I do not know exactly the British -- I think he was
        Rottenfuhrer or something.
   Q.   Rottenfuhrer?
   A.   Rottenfuhrer, yes.
   Q.   As in "rotten" and "Fuhrer"?
   A.   Yes.  It is a peculiar, one of these peculiar SS ranks.
        He was one of the very, very small cogs in the machine.
   Q.   But hews in a position to see everything?
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Can I put to you what I understand to be the
        suggestion?  If I am wrong in my understanding, Mr Irving

.          P-104

        will tell me so, I am sure.  I think what is being
        suggested is that these camp officials made false
        submissions about what they had been doing at Auschwitz in
        order to ingratiate themselves with the British or whoever
        had captured them.  If that is the suggestion, what do you
        say about it or do you not feel you can comment?
   A.   No, I mean, I think again the situations under which
        various testimonies were given again are very particular
        situations.  Mr Pery Broad had, I think, very little to
        fear from anyone since he had been in the political
        department which was outside Stammlager, it was not inside
        Stammlager.  He had very little direct contact with any
        prisoners.  He was pushing paper in the camp Gestapo.  He
        would not have been a person which would have attracted
        the attention of any surviving inmates, unlike his boss,
        Maximillian Bragne(?), who ultimately ended up in court in
        Cracow and was ultimately hanged.  So I think that
        Mr Broad had very little to fear when he was captured and
        that for whatever reason he gave his testimony immediately
        after his capture by the British was -- I mean, I cannot
        speculate about his reasons.
   MR IRVING:  Was he ever on the British payroll, the British
        Army payroll?
   A.   I think that he was used -- while he was, after he was
        captured and he was in British captivity, I would not call
        it "payroll", but he was, as far as I know, had some kind

.          P-105

        of function in the camp as a translator.
   Q.   Yes, but he was on the British Army payroll?
   A.   But he was an inmate in that establishment.  I do not
        think that one is on the inmate -- as an inmate of a camp
        on the payroll of the captors.
   Q.   Very well.  One more question on this line, Aide Bimko,
        you have used the eyewitness of a lady called Aide Bimko,
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   Real name Rosenberg, I believe, is that correct?  She gave
        evidence, she provided eyewitness testimony?
   A.   At the Ludenberg trial.
   Q.   What other eyewitnesses have you relied on, Mr Heinrich
   A.   May I ask you, are you talking about my book or are you
        talking about the expert report?
   Q.   I am sorry.  I will assume you used them in both.  Do you
        wish to distinguish between your report and the book?
   A.   I do not think that I used Bimko in the book.  I did use
        Bendel in the book for one particular thing.  So, yes, but
        I have mentioned them in the expert report not, by the
        way, as a way to ascertain what happened.  I think that
        should be very clear about the use of the eyewitnesses in
        my report.  It is a section, a rather large section, of
        my report to reconstruct how knowledge became available
        about Auschwitz after the war.  So the question is, when

.          P-106

        did people actually start to testify, at what moment and
        where were they?
   Q.   And what might they have learned from other witnesses?
   A.   And what kind of cross-referencing would there have been,
   Q.   What I call cross-pollination, yes.
   A.   Pollination, as you called it yesterday.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Or "convergence", I think that is the other
   MR IRVING:  My Lord, I am steering clear of the word
        "convergence" because of its legal meaning.  I think
        cross-pollination is nice because it implies that they
        picked up a tit-bit from a newspaper.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I follow.  I think, Mr Irving, you tell me
        when you have reached a convenient breaking point.
   MR IRVING:  One more question.  (To the witness):  Are you
        going to tell us about any more eyewitnesses on whom you
        rely, because you do say that in certain key points of
        this issue you are relying more on eyewitnesses than on
        documents because the documents do not help us.
   A.   I find this very difficult to answer right now because I
        do not really know where you are going to go and what
        issues you are going to raise, and when at a certain
        moment those issues are raised, I will introduce
        eyewitnesses I see fit.
   Q.   All will become plain to you immediately after lunch,

.          P-107

   A.   Then the trap will be set or it is sprung?
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Yes, well, we will look forward to that at
        2 o'clock.
                        (Luncheon adjournment)

                      (Professor van Pelt, recalled.
                  Cross-Examined by Mr Irving, continued.)

   MR IRVING:  My Lord, with regard to the remark I made earlier
        this morning, might I ask or suggest that we might
        possibly consider ending slightly earlier this afternoon,
        to give me time to prepare in more detail for tomorrow.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Yes.  I think, if you need that, that is a
        perfectly reasonable request.  How much earlier were you
   MR IRVING:  Half an hour or one hour earlier.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Shall we compromise?  Shall we make it half
        an hour?
   MR IRVING:  Yes.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  So quarter to four.  When you reach a
        convenient moment around quarter to four or a little
        earlier, we will break off then.
   MR IRVING:  Yes.  Professor van Pelt, you are probably the
        world's leading authority on Auschwitz.  There is no need
        to be humble or modest about this.  Is this correct?
   A.   It is difficult to say that.  I think that the history of
        Auschwitz is a very big history, a very complex history.

.          P-108

        There are many parts of the history of Auschwitz about
        which we know very little, the history of medical services
        in Auschwitz, the history of children in Auschwitz.  There
        are many historians who have worked on different parts,
        but I would say that, on the more limited issue of the
        history of construction in Auschwitz, or the history
        construction around Auschwitz, because, as you probably
        realize, the book deals also with what happened outside of
        the camp in great detail.
   Q.   Yes.
   A.   I would say that probably one of the two people, yes, who
        was most comfortable with all the material.
   Q.   You are certainly the best that money can buy and, as we
        shall see from, I think I am confident in saying, the
        other witnesses who are being called by the Defence, they
        are of an unusually high calibre, so anything that you do
        not know about Auschwitz is not worth knowing.  Am
        I correct?
   A.   I do not think that is true.  I think that the mass of
        material which is available in Moscow I have consulted.
        I have glossed these archives on microfilm, all of them,
        like the certain moment when I started my work in
        Auschwitz in 1990, I worked through the whole archive to
        build an archive there, but I have not studied every issue
        in detail.
   Q.   But you get a feel for it though, do you not, by looking

.          P-109

        at this?
   A.   I think you get a feel for it, yes.
   Q.   It is possible to scan very large bodies of documents at
        high speed, at unusually high speed, and still get a feel
        for what is in them?
   A.   One gets a feel, but there were questions which I did not
        ask when I went through these archives, both in Auschwitz
        and in the Moscow archives, historical questions I did not
        ask, at a time which of course made me pass over certain
        files which may be now I wish I had looked at in more
        detail, because of some of the issues you seem to raise or
        which I expect you to raise.
   Q.   Is it true that most of these Auschwitz files have now
        been microfilmed and provided to the US Holocaust Memorial
        Museum in Washington DC?
   A.   The Auschwitz files from Moscow have all been unblocked
        microfilmed, and the museum is now working on a microfilm
        collection of the files in Auschwitz itself.
   Q.   So there are probably not many pages of those archives
        that have not recently been turned by one researcher or another?
   A.   I do not know what other researchers are doing.  I have
        read in some of, I think in material which comes from your
        web site, I think, Mr Montonia has done a lot of work in
        Moscow.  I think that, a number of people in the Holocaust
        museum seem to have been intimidated by this book and

.          P-110

        thinks there is no more work to do, but I tell them that
        there is enough work to do still.
   Q.   It is a very well written book, if I may say so.  Certainly
        for the last eight years they have been researching that
        because, when I was in the archives working on the
        Goebbels diary, at the table behind me were two
        researchers from the Washington museum, working on
        precisely the Auschwitz archives.  They have had eight
        years working specifically through those archives, turning
        all the pages, looking for things, so not much would have
        escaped their attention of any significance.
   A.   I think that of course the question is again, what
        question are you asking of the material?  I mean what are
        people, when they look at these materials, looking for?

Home ·  Site Map ·  What's New? ·  Search Nizkor

© The Nizkor Project, 1991-2012

This site is intended for educational purposes to teach about the Holocaust and to combat hatred. Any statements or excerpts found on this site are for educational purposes only.

As part of these educational purposes, Nizkor may include on this website materials, such as excerpts from the writings of racists and antisemites. Far from approving these writings, Nizkor condemns them and provides them so that its readers can learn the nature and extent of hate and antisemitic discourse. Nizkor urges the readers of these pages to condemn racist and hate speech in all of its forms and manifestations.