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Shofar FTP Archive File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day013.10

Archive/File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day013.10
Last-Modified: 2000/07/20

   Q.   Yes.  Tell us whether in that letter -- my only question
        this, I do not know, I have not read the whole letter --
        you raise a doubt about the reliability of the number in
        the same way as you had two days earlier to the Editor of

.          P-84

        whatever the paper was, The Telegraph.
   A.   It is exactly the same.  "This information is naturally
        sensational and coming as it does from the Deputy Local
        Chief Doctor, Dr Max Funfack, there could be no doubt as
        to the authenticity of the document".
   Q.   Fair enough.  I quite agree.  What I asked was whether in
        this document Dr Struss, your German publisher, you raise
        any doubts about the reliability of the figures which is
        the key to this argument, Mr Irving.  You need to read the
        whole of it.
   A.   "I have just returned from a visit to Dresden and I have
        received from confidential sources the Police report of
        the Police Chief in Dresden on the four air raids".  This
        is the Tagesbefehl 47, of course, not the final report.
         "This document gives the death roll known as of that date
        as 202,040.  This information is naturally sensational and
        coming as it does from the Deputy Local Chief Doctor,
        Dr Max Funfack, there can be no doubt as to the
        authenticity of the document.  This document has been
        mentioned in Eastern Germany, in other words, Communist
        Eastern Germany, but only with the comment that it is a
        Nazi propaganda lie, and extracts have been published from
        it.  I accept this judgment on page 245 of our book".
   Q.   Which judgment is that?
   A.   Of the propaganda lie, presumably.  Without checking the
        book, I cannot tell.

.          P-85

   Q.   Well, now ----
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  "Urteil" means "judgment", does it?
   A.   "Urteil" is "judgment", yes, or "verdict".
   Q.   Can you just read the next rather long convoluted
   A.   "As I have now seen the complete document with my own
        eyes, I do not doubt that it is genuine, and should there
        be a second edition of my Dresden book, this information
        should certainly be incorporated, possibly as an appendix,
        perhaps mentioned instead on pages 295 to 296 of the
        present appendix on these pages".
   Q.   Including the number of dead?  You do not say that, but
        that is what you mean, is it not?
   A.   Well, reproducing the document and I believe I am right in
        saying that is what we actually did.  We reproduced the
        document in toto as an appendix which is what one would do
        with a document that one wants to present to readers
        without necessarily forming a judgment on it.
   MR RAMPTON:  You say that, Mr Irving.  You see, what I am I am
        wondering is how it came about, as I shall shortly,
        I hope, show.
   A.   I have to introduce the caveat, of course, you are asking
        me about things that lie 36 years back.
   Q.   Of course.  This is why contemporaneous documents are so
        valuable, Mr Irving.
   A.   Indeed, and if you ask for my recollection of things, like

.          P-86

        what I said at a meeting with a man in his front room...
   Q.   I will show you the documents.
   A.   Yes, it is better that we refer to the documents.
   Q.   Why it was, Mr Irving, that with such rapidity between
        26th November and onwards, from 26th November onwards,
        your lingering doubts, if indeed you had any, about the
        reliability of the numbers seems to have evaporated?
   A.   Well, I do not think I have referred in this letter --
        I may be mistaken -- to saying, I do not think I have said
        that the figure is genuine.  I have said the document
        appears to be genuine, but I have doubts, as I make quite
        plain in the letter two days earlier to McLachlan, who is
        an intelligence chief himself, about the actual figure.
        So, clearly, one has to carry out further investigations.
   Q.   Let us see what you said, roughly speaking, a week
        later  ----
   A.   If I can just continue?  Of course, clearly, it would have
        been improper for me to suppress the document in any way.
   Q.   I am not suggesting you should have done, not for a
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   It might have been an interesting document.  It turned out
        to be ----
   A.   It turned out 20 or 30 years later to be totally fake, and
        interesting in as much as it was issued by the Goebbels
        propaganda ministry.

.          P-87

   Q.   Actually about 10 years later but that does not matter.
   A.   As far as I am concerned, it was 20 or 30 years later.
   Q.   Let us see how your attitude to this document, which
        I quite accept you did not know at the time was a fake,
        though you had expressed considerable doubts about the
        reliability of the figures up until now.  6th December
        1964, you wrote to the Provost of Coventry.  The only
        mistake in Miss Rogers' document is that she describes the
        Provost of Coventry as Mr Cunningham.  That is, in fact,
        Mr Irving's telephone number, telephone exchange?
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  She is too young to have remembered that.
   MR RAMPTON:  It was Cunningham 8426 for anybody that is
        interested.  It was late at night, I know that.  That is
        on page 40 of this document.  This, I think ----
   A.   Can we look previously on December 1st, the letter where
        I am writing to the German Federal archives trying to make
        attempts to find out more about the people concerned and
        the authenticity of the document?
   Q.   Again I have no translation of this which is why I have
        not referred to it.  If it is important, please tell us
        what it says.
   A.   "Dear Colonel Teska, during a recent visit to Dresden, I
        have received from an erstwhile officer in Dresden who
        during the war was the Local Chief Medic in Dresden,
        Dr Max Funfack a copy of the attached document.  As you
        can see, it is supposed to be an order of the day issued

.          P-88

        by the Dresden Police Chief in which for the first time
        the number of air raid dead is provisionally estimated at
        202,040.  Obviously, it is important for me to establish
        how genuine this document is, and I am trying to locate
        the officers who signed this document, Colonel Grosse",
        G-R-O-S-S-E, and so on.  I have written to the German
        Federal Government, the archivist trying to track down the
        authenticity of the document.
   Q.   That is very proper, if I may say so, a very proper
        proceeding, Mr Irving.  Before you barge into the public
        arena waving the document and saying how wicked the Allies
        were, it is best to be sure that the document is genuine
        and the figure is reliable, do you not agree?
   A.   I consider this to be wicked, burning thousands of bodies
        at a time in a public funeral.  You may say:  "So what?",
        but you are saying about how wicked the Allies are.  It is
        a war crime and there is no way round it.
   Q.   Let us clear the air.  Nobody on this side of the court is
        supposing that it is a jolly good thing that, let us say,
        25,000 or 35,000 innocent German civilians were roasted to
        death in Dresden in 1945.
   A.   Roasted to death?
   Q.   We are concerned about your gigantic appetite for
        distorting and exaggerating; that is all I am concerned
        with.  I think it was your correspondent -- I cannot
        remember his name now -- a German gentleman who drew your

.          P-89

        attention to the fact that it was probably only 35,000?
   A.   Only 35,000 people burned alive in one night by the British.
   Q.   Yes, and he said  ----
   A.   A charming term of phrase, only 35,000.
   Q.   As opposed to the huge figures you were punting about and
        he said, with which nobody would disagree, that is bad
        enough, that is two divisions.
   A.   At least he did not say:  "So what?"
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Yes, Mr Irving, I think you are being unfair
        when you pick on that phrase when it was used in context
        and Mr Rampton was not belittling the tragedy of the
        bombing.  So you have made your point.  I do not think it
        is a fair one, but let us move on.
   MR RAMPTON:  Do you not think it even worst or even more of an
        offence to those people who died in Germany and
        Dresden ----
   A.   I think his Lordship has said that we should move on.
   Q.   --- To exaggerate the numbers of the dead for your own
        base-political purposes, do you not think that would be
        worse, Mr Irving?
   A.   I think his Lordship said we should move on.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  That is a different point, but, anyway,
        I think it is comment.
   MR RAMPTON:  Is there anything else in this letter from you to
        Colonel Teska on 1st December 1964 to which you want to

.          P-90

        draw attention?
   A.   No.
   Q.   Let us see what you said five days letter in a letter to
        the Provost of Coventry.  Was Coventry holding some kind
        of memorial exhibition or what?
   A.   Coventry is a twinned city with Dresden and I was
        collaborating with the Coventry Cathedral authorities in
        their celebrations.
   Q.   Coventry was quite badly bombed in the war, too, but not
        as badly as Dresden.
   A.   I believe 300 people were killed, were they not?
   Q.   Not as bad as Dresden.  Mr Irving, please keep your eye on
        the ball.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Actually, Mr Rampton, if I may say so, that
        may have been slightly your fault.
   MR RAMPTON:  But there is no doubt one reason for what you call
        the Dresden/Coventry link, is there not?
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   They are both victims of bombing during the war?
   A.   Both cities were used for propaganda purposes.
   Q.   What?
   A.   Both bombing raids were used for propaganda purposes.
   Q.   I have no doubt, war is a terrible thing.  "I am now
        enclosing", this is dated 6th December 1964, "I am now
        enclosing a large number of photographs of the destruction
        caused in Dresden by the Allied bombing.  Some of them

.          P-91

        should be suitable for the exhibition we had in mind to
        raise funds for the Dresden/Coventry link.  I have
        enclosed several duplicates of some of the best for a
        particular purpose.  I suggest that when your exhibition
        opens you might circulate these both to the local and
        national newspapers as free publicity material which they
        can print if they like".
                   "To drive home the impact of the exhibition,
        I also suggest that you have the text of the Police
        President's report on the Dresden raid attached, printed
        in large type.  I think that it is nonchalance and the
        casualties" (please note those words) "it mentions have a
        shattering impact.  Please also feel free to quote any
        excerpts you wish from my book or, for example, from the
        feelings expressed by RAF airmen, without acknowledgment
        if you wish.  The Police President's report is really
        something sensational.  I brought it back from Dresden two
        weeks ago and I have been trying to establish its
        authenticity through Ministry of Defence channels".
   A.   Also, in addition to the German archives.
   Q.   Yes.  Now this: (Underlined) "I am myself in no doubt as
        to the authenticity of the document."
   A.   Can I point out that I have not underlined that document
   Q.   That is not your underlining?
   A.   It is certainly not typed in; nor have I done that line

.          P-92

        down the left-hand margin.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I had assumed you had not.
   MR RAMPTON:  I did not take the line down the side to be
        yours.  I am not accepting that it is not possible when
        you have typed a letter and looked at it and thought that
        is an important passage, I will underline that in ink, but
        that is not what you did.
                  "In view of having obtained it indirectly from
        the Dresden Deputy Chief Medical Officer responsible for
        the disposing of the victims still lives in Dresden.  It
        was circulated to him officially in March 1945.  Please
        note that I am leaving", so on and so forth, "at the end
        of December for three and a half months".
                  Mr Irving, you will agree, I hope, that you are
        urging the Provost of Coventry to put into his exhibition,
        with as much effect as he can achieve, a document which
        shows casualties of 202,040 people?
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   And yet, Mr Irving, you still were not certain, or should
        not still have been certain, that those figures were accurate?
   A.   I said quite clearly here that I am satisfied as to the
        authenticity of the document, and we now know that the
        document is accurate, except for the figures.

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