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Shofar FTP Archive File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day012.17

Archive/File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day012.17
Last-Modified: 2000/07/20

   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Yes.  You should understand.  You remember in
        the summary of case which has superseded the defence,
        there has been set out in really a very helpful way the
        various bases of the criticism that you have manipulated
        data and skewed documents and all the rest of it.  Oddly
        enough, Kristallnacht is divided into two, (1) the events
        of the 9th, I cannot remember what it was, December, and
        as a separate section, the events following Kristallnacht,
        later events.  What Mr Rampton has just told me, in
        effect, is that he is not really pursuing that as ground
        of criticism.
   MR RAMPTON:  Would your Lordship forgive me for one moment
        while I take my orders?
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Do not feel you have to decide this on the

.          P-146

   MR RAMPTON:  I can always come back to it.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I think one want to think about these things,
        and there are other categories.
   MR RAMPTON:  I am not going to bother with the Roman Jews.
        That is just argy-bargy between me and Mr Irving and
        I think I have had enough of that.  I got the one line
        answer that I expected I might get in relation to Hitler's
        anti-Semitism.  I got that this morning.  Prewar
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  So we are now on Ribbentrop?
   MR RAMPTON:  I have dealt with the 1924 trial and
        Reichskristallnacht itself.  If I have your Lordship's
        permission, the last topic I want to deal with today is
        Ribbentrop's testimony at Nuremberg.  Mr Irving, the first
        reference that Professor Evans makes to your writing is
        the footnote on page 851 of the 1977 edition of Hitler's
        War.  I will need help with that because my Hitler's War
        footnotes do not have numbers on the pages.
   A.   877.
   Q.   Yes, but I am afraid my edition has no pages beyond the
        end of the text.  I do not know why that should be.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Mine is the same but I think I have been
   A.   Would you like to borrow the book?
   MR RAMPTON:  I would like to be sure that what Professor Evans

.          P-147

        says there is correct, that is all.  If you tell me what
        page is to footnote 2, I can find it.
   A.   851.
   Q.   851.
   A.   Now I understand it.
   Q.   Well, I do not know.  It is difficult for me to find it.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  That cannot be right?
   A.   It is not on page 851, my Lord.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  The book does not go up to page 851.
   MR RAMPTON:  I think it may be, Mr Irving, that Professor Evans
        was using a different edition than the one we have in court.
   A.   Perhaps he translated the number wrongly.
   Q.   I do not want to spend a lot of time on this because all
        I am concerned about is that you should be sure that what
        Professor Evans has quoted in paragraph 1 on page 478 is
        what you wrote in the footnote.  I am not able to check it
        myself because I cannot find it.  It is a very short
        point, Mr Irving.
   A.   Yes.  I left something out, did I not, allegedly?
   Q.   Yes, I think you did.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  So far you are pretty blameless, Mr Irving,
        because it appears that Professor Evans has the page
        number wrong.
   A.   He may have translated it wrong.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  There is not much translation in the figures,

.          P-148

        is there?
   A.   I would not put anything past him when it comes to
   MR RAMPTON:  All right.  Let us turn to page 479 of Evans where
        the German is printed in at the top of the page and the
        full text in English in paragraph 2.
   A.   Yes.  I left out the last sentence, did I not?
   Q.   You did leave out the last sentence, Mr Irving.  Why did
        you leave out the last sentence?
   A.   Well, that comes with the patch of being a writer.  You
        are always leaving bits out of documents because otherwise
        you will end up writing eight pages of sludge every time.
   Q.   I do not know that I could accept that to include the last
        sentence has this effect on what Ribbentrop is reported
        as, or actually wrote?  He wrote it himself I think, did
        he not?
   A.   He wrote it in his death cell, yes, when he was about to
        be hanged.
   Q.   If you include the last sentence.  So it is not a question
        of his being bullied or interrogated or tortured by the
        Allies, is it?
   A.   I have never had the misfortune to sit in a death cell so
        I cannot imagine what psychological condition one is in.
   Q.   No, but you have relied on it yourself, have you not,
        minus this last sentence?
   A.   Yes.

.          P-149

   Q.   If you include the last sentence, what you are trying to
        do is to see Hitler through the eyes of people that knew
        him well, as indeed Ribbentrop must have done.
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   However unpopular he might have been with others.  The
        impression you leave is that in Ribbentrop's mind there
        was no doubt at all that Hitler could not have ordered the
        extermination of Jews because it was not in his character.
   A.   That is not what he says.  He says how things came to the
        destruction of the Jews, i just do not know as to whether
        Himmler began it or Hitler put up with it.  I do not know.
   Q.   But that he ordered it -- and the italics are yours, not
   A.   That he ordered I refuse to believe.
   Q.   "Because such an act would be wholly incompatible with the
        picture I always had of him".
   A.   That is the part that I considered to be significant.
   Q.   I can see that at once, Mr Irving.  We are not going to
        argue about that.  But do you not agree that, if you add
        the last sentence, then the picture of Hitler's
        personality which one derives from Ribbentrop's written
        words is a very great deal more equivocal, is it not?
   A.   I agree.  It is a defeated man about to be hanged, who
        then writes, on the other hand judging from his testament,
        one would suppose that he at least knew about it, if not

.          P-150

        even ordered it, in his fanaticism against the Jews.  What
        kind of evidence is that?  Supposition.
   Q.   It is just as good evidence as the bit that you did
   A.   Yes.  They are both equally bad.
   Q.   So why quote one bad bit and leave off the other bad bit
        which supplies the balance?
   A.   Well, it does not just supply the balance.  It also makes
        the passage twice as long and it is bad enough quoting one
        supposition without putting in two suppositions, the
        second of which is really a piece of resigned wish- wash by
        the man who says, well, anyway, who knows?  Who knows?
        I suppose, if you read his testament, he does look like a
        different man.
   Q.   You quoted it as ever, all these little or big, all these
        alterations, suppressions, transfers, and so on that over
        the weeks we hope we have demonstrated, all these
        adjustments which you make to the evidence, all tend in
        one direction, Mr Irving.  That is to say, the exoneration
        of Adolf Hitler.
   A.   I totally disagree.  You have no idea what other passages
        I cut out of documents because they were too long.  If a
        document is too long, I will cut it, regardless of what
        the content is, and sometimes I cut matters which lean one
        way, sometimes I cut matters which lean the other way, and
        this was a typical piece which cries out to be cut and it

.          P-151

        got cut.  It was chopped.  I know that my opponents clutch
        at these sentences like drowning men in the hope that this
        may save them.  I think, if this is the best they can do,
        then it is pathetic.
   Q.   I told you a long time ago, Mr Irving, that I was not
        pinning my hopes on any one document, any one little error
        by you, because of course errors can go in any direction.
        I am pinning my case on some very big adjustments and some
        little ones, which converge to the same conclusion.
        Whenever there is something adverse to Hitler, it is
   A.   Well, I look forward to hearing things you are pinning
        your hopes on.
   Q.   You have heard most of them already, I think.
   A.   Oh, gosh!
   Q.   Then I will be about the same business, Mr Irving, when we
        get to Dresden tomorrow.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Would you, for my benefit, Mr Rampton, let me
        know if there are any of the points in your Defendants'
        summary of case which ----
   MR RAMPTON:  Yes, I will.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  --- you are not pursuing and then I can - ---
   MR RAMPTON:  The Roman Jews your Lordship can ----
   MR RAMPTON:  I think the only other thing at the moment that
        I have not finally -- because I need to take my orders --

.          P-152

        decided about is the aftermath of Reichskristallnacht.
        There may be some little pieces from the Adjutants that
        I will use, there may be not, but as soon as we have made
        a decision, we will let you know.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  And Madame Valliant-Couturier -- have we had her?
   MR RAMPTON:  We have had her, yes.
   A.   She was the one with the beating machine.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Yes.  So, I do not myself see any point in
        just reading Civil Evidence Act Notices just for the sake
        of it.  If they arise in connection with the point we are
        happening to deal with, then, by all means, let us see
        them, but none, I think really arise on the topics we have
        been dealing with today, do they?
   A.   Can I ask, will you be calling the Russians or?
   MR RAMPTON:  I have not made a final decision about that yet,
        Mr Irving.  I think the probability is not, no.  I do not
        want to waste the court's time and my client's money.
   A.   Well, what is decided?  Because, obviously, I have to do a
        great deal of preparation for the cross-examination of
        these witness, and it would be nice to know sometime ahead.
   MR RAMPTON:  Yes, no, I promise you, I have been quite good
        about that, I think, my Lord.  As soon as I have made a
        final decision that I am not going to, I will let you know.

.          P-153

   A.   Well, we are very well prepared for Professor Terassof.
        We were hoping he was going to bring the glass plates with him.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Right, well, do not think I need listen to
        this debate.  But, obviously, it is right that Mr Irving
        should have ample opportunity of anything that is not
        being pursued, that is not being called, because he has a
        lot on his plate anyway and ----
   MR RAMPTON:  I know.
   A.   Time is a very scarce commodity for me.
   MR RAMPTON:  I am well conscious of that.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  So 10.30 tomorrow.

                   (The witness stood down)
           (Court adjourned until the following day)

.          P-154

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