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Shofar FTP Archive File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day013.13

Archive/File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day013.13
Last-Modified: 2000/07/20

   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Well, answer the question first and then go
        back to that.
   A.   Well, the answer is, no, I did not accept that.  My Lord,
        I gave you a little glossy brochure, a brown brochure, and
        if we were to open up the middle picture, it opens -- the
        middle, that is the picture section of my book, "The
        Destruction of Dresden", and you will see a rather
        horrible scene of the burning -- of the public cremation
        of the air raid victims; and Dr Funfack is one of the
        uniformed characters in the background of that picture.
        He had been identified to me on that and other photographs
        standing on top of one of the heaps of 1,000 bodies
        waiting to cremated.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Well, he says he attended one cremation at
        the Altmarkt?
   A.   Yes, that is correct.  He was wearing Nazi uniform, a Nazi
        Party uniform.  He is living in East Germany.  They are
        all wearing uniform in that picture.  He is living in East
        Germany a quiet life as a retired doctor in 1965, and this
        letter and the subsequent letter which he wrote me, which
        I am not sure if Mr Rampton is relying upon ----
   MR RAMPTON:  Yes.
   A.   --- makes it quite plain his agony at having been
        mentioned in the West German press.  In the subsequent
        letter which I will draw your attention to ----

.          P-112

   Q.   I will tell you its date.  It is 19th March, I think,
   A.   19th March, which is page 51, is it?  Yes, page 51 of the
        bundle.  He refers to his friendship with the City
        Commandant, General Mehnert, "who was a close friend of
        mine" and he anxiously then goes on to say, "He was, God
        knows, no Hitler fan, and for this reason he was
        particularly sympathetic in my -- sympathetically in my
        memory", and he continues either in this letter or in the
        next letter which he wrote, which I will now find, very
        significantly to say that the information that he had been
        mentioned in the West German press was brought to him by
        the officers of the Ideological Department of the
        Socialist Unity Party in East Germany who gave him a very
        rough time.
                  Now, I think it does not take very much
        perception or imagination to perceive the reasons why he
        now denies that he was a senior medical officer in
        Dresden.  I will put it no more strongly than that.
   Q.   That is it, is it, Mr Irving?
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   So you had no positive basis for continuing to assert that
        Dr Funfack, not only was Deputy Chief Medical Officer of
        Dresden at the time, but would know the figures?
   A.   I had had a lot of correspondence with people living
        behind the Iron Curtain, and I am very familiar with this

.          P-113

        kind of letter.  All three letters that he wrote to me are
        riddled with the kind of sentences that one put in letters
        that one knows are going to be read by the Gestapo or by
        the Communist letter censorship authorities, repeating
        that his close friends were dedicated anti-Nazis, and so
        on.  The information that I had that he was Deputy Chief
        Medical Officer of Dresden came from a reasonable and
        reliable source.
   Q.   Which was?
   A.   I do not know.  But, obviously, I would not have stated it
        off the top of my head.  But I would also draw your
        attention to the passage which Professor Evans has left
        out immediately following the part which he quotes, and
        I will translate it for you, after the words, "I can only
        repeat what was reported to me", and he then says what was
        reported to him which, for some reason, your expert has
        left out: "The City Commandant" ----
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Sorry, you are going just a little bit fast.
        I am trying to keep up with the highlighting.
   A.   I am continuing the quotation from January 19th 1965, my
        Lord.  The letter of January 16th -- January 19th 1965,
        pages 41 and 42.
   MR RAMPTON:  It is on page 42, my Lord, I think.
   A.   On page 42.
   Q.   The sentence begins half way along the line at the first
        quarter of the page ----

.          P-114

   A.   [German - document not provided]  I am relying on that
        sentence which says: "The City Commandant, General
        Mehnert", who was a friend of Funfack, as he stated
        earlier in the letter, "spoke to me on about February 22nd
        1945 of 140,000 dead, and Professor Fetscher" --
        F-E-T-S-C-H-E-R -- "of the Civil Defence Organization
        spoke of 180,000 dead".  And I should emphasise the fact
        that Professor Fetscher, the well-known Communist, a
        doctor, the father of very well-known West German
        politician now, Iring Fetscher -- I-R-I-N-G -- who was
        shot by the SS at the end of war, so it can be no
        suggestion that he was a Nazi propagandist, and that
        passage has been left out of the passage quoted by
        Professor Evans.
   Q.   It is there.  It is on page 533 of Evans.  It is a case
        for humble pie, perhaps.
   A.   Well, I take that back but, of course, he has not quoted
        it in the apposite part, the appropriate part.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Just let me see why he divides it up.
   A.   Well, I am sure he had his reasons, my Lord.
   MR RAMPTON:  It is quite an interesting passage, is it not?
        Have you got 533?
   A.   Yes.  He goes on to say that the International Red Cross
        sent people to investigate Dresden and, as will you notice
        on the rest of the bundle, I then went to very great
        lengths contacting the International Red Cross, locating

.          P-115

        the person concerned, and so on.
   Q.   Yes, have no fear.  I am coming to the Red Cross,
        Mr Irving.  It is a little bit further down the line the
        next month.  I still am puzzled for an answer to my
        original question.  What basis did you have for continuing
        to assert that Dr Funfack had been Deputy Chief Medical
        Officer of Dresden and would have known the figures?
   A.   Firstly, I had been informed he was the Deputy Chief
        Medical officer of Dresden.  Secondly, this letter of
        denial is couched in precisely the kind of letters that
        you got from these Communist countries where people were
        terrified because they knew the problems that were going
        to open up for them.  He had been visited by, as he says,
        officers of the Ideological Department of the Socialist
        Unity Party who had come and asked him penetrating
        questions about how his name had got into the Western
        press and ----
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I do not quite understand what he had to be
        ashamed of.
   MR RAMPTON:  Nor do I.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  If he had been in the SS or something like
        that, yes, but he was Deputy Chief Medical Officer.  Is
        that something that ----
   A.   My Lord, it is difficult for us to appreciate living in a
        free democracy the kind of terror that people lived in,
        first of all, in Nazi Germany and then in the Communist

.          P-116

        East Germany. There were informants everywhere.  People
        were being arrested at the drop of a hat, and the
        suspicion that somebody had been a senior officer in the
        regime or hierarchy of a Nazi German City, wearing
        whatever uniform and had not yet been punished for it,
        would certainly have persuaded me also to write this kind
        of letter and make repeated references in the letters to
        "my proper beliefs" and "my anti-Nazi friends", and all
        the rest of it, particularly as he then went on to give me
        very useful information which is the reason for writing
        the letter, that his friend, the City Kommandant of
        Dresden, General Mehnert, had told him the following
        figures, and that was what he obviously wanted to tell me
        in this very guarded manner.
   MR RAMPTON:  I quite appreciate, Mr Irving, you may have had,
        perhaps, quite sensibly inspired doubts about Dr Funfack's
        denial of knowledge.  Did you ever make that clear to any
        of your correspondents or your readers?
   A.   No.
   Q.   That he had denied it?
   A.   No.
   Q.   You just suppressed the fact that he denied it and
        continued to refer to him in categorical terms as the
        Deputy Chief Medical Officer of Dresden at the time?
   A.   Indeed.  In a letter immediately following, I referred to
        him as being a Senior Medical Officer in Dresden, which he

.          P-117

        clearly was, he was head of the urological department of
        one of the City's biggest hospitals, which is precisely
        the position that the Deputy Chief Medical Officer of the
        City would also have occupied, in my view.
   Q.   It follows, does it not, that ----
   A.   Can I draw your attention -- I am sorry to interrupt you
         -- page 42, at the foot of that first letter, it is very
        difficult to read, but I have read it during the lunch
        hour:  "I learned of the naming of my name in the press by
        a Mr [somebody] of the Ideological Commission of the
        Socialist Unity Party of the City administration in
        Dresden; and that is his way of telling me, "This is what
        all the above is about.  I have been hauled over the coals
        by the local Communists because of this".  [German -
        document not provided]  It is an appalling copy, but that
        is what the words say, and that is what he is saying in
        this postscript.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  The irony is, of course, that he was right?
   A.   I beg your pardon?
   Q.   I mean, what he said, "It has nothing to do with me", he
        was right; it was not anything to do with him?
   A.   Well, except that he admits that he did have the copy of
        the document in a later letter.  He said, "I have a copy
        of the document.  I have the original here.  You are
        welcome to come and see it, and he also tells me quite
        gratuitously that he knew from the City Kommandant, who

.          P-118

        was a close friend of his, which is exactly what you would
        expect of somebody who is Chief Medical Officer, that the
        figure was 170,000 or 180,000, and that the Professor
        Fetscher, who was the head of the Civil Defence, also
        stated such figures as early as 22nd February.  So that is
        very much in the same order of magnitude as what the
        document said.
   MR RAMPTON:  Did you write to the Red Cross at the beginning of
        the next month, Mr Irving?
   A.   In view of the fact that Funfack said that there had been
        a Swiss Red Cross visit to Dresden, yes, I did.
   Q.   Sorry, it was at the end of January?
   A.   A very few days later, yes.
   Q.   I think on 4th February you got a reply, did you not?  My
        Lord, this is the bottom of page 5 of the table.
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   I am afraid there is no copy of this.  The reason for that
        is a simple one, Mr Irving.  Your copies of these letters
         -- it is not a criticism -- are on microfilm, are they not?
   A.   Yes.  All these negative ones, presumably, come off my microfilm.
   Q.   I do not know where they came from.  When my researchers,
        our researchers, looked at them, they were able to see
        what they said.  However, it was not possible to produce
        satisfactory photocopies of the copies made from the

.          P-119

        microfilm.  Do you understand?
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   Does that sound technically likely to be right?
   A.   It sounds highly likely, yes.
   Q.   If you turn to page 534 of Evans, we see what the Red
        Cross said in their letter to you of 4th February 1965.
        "It is correct to say" -- this is in paragraph 3, my Lord
         -- "that on of our delegates, Mr Walter Kleiner, was in
        the Dresden area during the period you mention, for the
        purpose of carrying out his duties of visiting camps.  We
        have in fact in our possession the reports he made at the
        time on prisoner-of-war camps.  We have, however, no
        information concerning the victims of the Dresden air raids."
                  Then so that we can telescope it, I think on
        17th of the same month they wrote to you and said: "There
        were no prisoner-of-war camps in Dresden itself.
        Consequently, Mr Kleiner's reports did not even allude to
        the air raids on the town."
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   That was a dead end, was it not?
   A.   Well, except that they gave me the name, the address of
        Mr Kleiner, and I then wrote a letter to Mr Kleiner which
        was also in this file which came back that he no longer
        lived there.
   Q.   But the Red Cross provide no confirmation one way or the

.          P-120

        other of the figures which were being floated around at
        this time?
   A.   No.
   Q.   How is it then, if you turn the page to page 8, that in
        the 1966 Corgi edition of your book -- it is in the middle
        of page 8 ----
   A.   Yes.

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