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Shofar FTP Archive File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day013.15

Archive/File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day013.15
Last-Modified: 2000/07/20

   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I think we must have a translation of the
        whole of that page.  I mean, that is a very good
        illustration of why it is unsatisfactory to work off
        illegible German text.
   MR RAMPTON:  I will ask for it to be done.  Every time it is
        done it costs money because it is better if it is done by
        an independent translator.  I am resistant to doing it
        unless it is absolutely necessary.  If your Lordship
        thinks it is necessary in this case, we will have that
        Funfack letter translated.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Well, I can see Mr Irving's point.  I mean,
        you may say he is adding two and two together and making five.

.          P-130

   MR RAMPTON:  I do, yes, at least.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  And it is a point that would not have been
        apparent if Mr Irving had not spotted it.
   A.   Fortunately I took the lunch hour to read the whole letters.
   MR RAMPTON:  Well, the whole thing is translated in different
        places, I agree ----
   A.   But may I enquire at this stage whether the report of my
        conversation with Grosse's widow, the Police Chief's
        widow, is in this file?  I cannot see it.
   MR RAMPTON:  I have no idea.
   A.   Right.  That also appears to be a relevant document.
   Q.   Mr Irving, you have to make your own case.  If there are
        documents which you think we have not included in the
        bundle which are going to undermine what any of my experts
        say in his report, then you must produce them.
   A.   My Lord, I should explain that the person who wrote this
        Tagesbefehl No. 47, Colonel Grosse, I tracked down his
        widow and interviewed her at length.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I knew that, but I had forgotten the
        significance of that.
   A.   Well, she confirmed that, yes, she remembered her husband
        talking to her about that kind of figure.
   Q.   202,000?
   A.   Yes.
   MR RAMPTON:  Now you also corresponded in February 1965,

.          P-131

        Mr Irving, with somebody called Theo Miller, did you not?
   A.   Theo Muller.
   Q.   Well, I have him as "Miller".  Unfortunately, once again
        the copies -- M-I-L-L-E-R -- my Lord, this is page 538 of
        Professor Evans' report ---
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Thank you.
   MR RAMPTON:  --- and page 6 of the table.  This is written in
        English, apparently.  One can probably see from reading
        what it says.  My Lord, there is quite a lot of Miller and
        I do wish to draw attention to all of it.  538 to 540.
        Might I ask that your Lordship and Mr Irving ----
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Yes, I would be grateful for the opportunity.
   MR RAMPTON:  --- read it to yourselves.  Now, you have read
        those passages?
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   From Mr Miller's letters.  Were they all in English?
   A.   I have no recollection at all of this man, but it appears
        to be a letter written in English by this German.
   Q.   There were two.
   A.   Yes.  Do we know where he was living?  Was it West Germany
        or East Germany?
   Q.   I have no idea.  One of the 7th February and one of the
   A.   This is one problem.  We are seeing only an extract like
        this rather than the whole letter.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I think we will assume he is in East

.          P-132

        Germany.  He is probably still in Dresden, is he not?
   A.   That is my suspicion.
   MR RAMPTON:  He has told you that he was a member of the
        Dresden clearing staff.
   A.   I just wanted to develop what I was saying there.
        Presumably the same kind of constraints operated on him as
        operated on Funfach when he wrote letters.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  His name had not gone public.
   A.   No but he is aware that any letter he writes from East
        Germany to England is going to be opened and read.
   MR RAMPTON:  Taking all that into account Mr Irving, that
        account from a man who, if he is telling the truth, was on
        the spot and could be expected to know the truth figures,
        if correct, totally exploded the 200 to 250,000 figure,
        did it not?  This is in February 1965.
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   Do we find any reference to Mr Miller's account of the
   A.   Anyone can play this game, Mr Rampton.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  No, that is not an answer.
   A.   I am just explaining.
   Q.   Yes or no?
   A.   The answer is no.  I do not think so anyway, but there are
        very many witnesses who wrote to me who did not finally
        get mentioned in the resulting book.
   MR RAMPTON:  No.  You have mentioned what may be a third or

.          P-133

        fourth hand hearsay account numerous occasions, apparently
        derived from Dr Funfach but which Dr Funfach denies.
        Great faith you place in that third, fourth hand denied
        account of Dr Funfach.  Do you not think that the account
        of Mr Miller ----
   A.   What is the third or fourth?
   Q.   Who claims to have been there, deserves a place by way of
        balance at the very least?
   A.   What is the third or fourth hand account?
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Answer the question and go back to that.
        I think the answer is obvious.
   A.   It is not.  I will go back to that in a minute.  Do
        I think this deserves a place?  The answer is no.
   MR RAMPTON:  Why?
   A.   Because we have better quality evidence from somebody
        better placed to know.
   Q.   Who is that?
   A.   General Mehnert.
   Q.   He is dead.
   A.   Can I quote you the letter of 19th March 1965, page 51?
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I am really not going to stop you at all, but
        I suspect Mr Rampton would you like to just maybe answer
        one or two more questions about Miller first.
   A.   I was just stating in principle that anyone can play that
        game, that is where your Lordship stopped me earlier,
        picking documents that back up your own case and ignoring

.          P-134

        the rest, which is precisely what I am accused of.
   MR RAMPTON:  No, no, Mr Irving.  You mistake me completely.
        I am not trying to prove a case about the number of deaths
        at Dresden one way or another.  This is a mistake you
        habitually make.  You make the same mistake in relation to
        Auschwitz and elsewhere.  No, Mr Irving.  I am wondering
        why it is that an honest, upright, careful, meticulous,
        open minded historian does not mention two alternative
        sources, the one of which claims to be a direct witness of
        what happened.
   A.   Are you saying that nowhere in my Dresden book do I state
        that there are authorities which hold that lower figures
        are more accurate?  Is that what are you are suggesting?
   Q.   No, I am not.
   A.   And that this person is not included among those
   Q.   I am very puzzled why an open minded historian desiring to
        give a balanced account of what the figures might be would
        not include this man who, on the face of it, appears to be
        a very powerful witness for the opposition.
   A.   Indeed.  I am sure that Evans will have seized all the
        particular letters that run in that vein and said, here
        are all these ones and let us ignore all the rest, the
        same as he has ignored the figures that are presented in
        Funfach's letters.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I think what Mr Rampton is saying is that

.          P-135

        this is a man, part of whose job was to try and record the
        numbers of deaths at the time.  Does that not make him
        rather a specially valuable witness?
   A.   Purportedly he was.
   MR RAMPTON:  Did you follow him up?
   A.   Can I just finish what I am saying?  When you write a book
        like this, you get letters from all sorts of people who
        claim to have been on the spot.  If they do not provide
        some kind of instant justification, for example the man
        who took these ghastly photographs of the, so what,
        burnings on the Altmarkt, he produced to me his actual
        pass signed by the Gauleiter giving him permission to go
        through the police cordons.  If someone comes to me with
        this kind of evidence and I am also looking for something
        which gives verisimilitude.  Do you remember General
        Bruhns and the girl in the flame red dress that was still
        in his mind's eye? Looking at that letter, and it is
        difficult, having only two paragraphs presented to us, for
        me to say what caused me to put this lower down the ladder
        of reliability, because we are only just shown two
        paragraphs from it.  It may have been the fact that it was
        typed on a very cheap typewriter or perhaps it was badly
        spelt and illiterate, and the person was not in the right
        position where he should be.  But there may have been
        something and I cannot tell you after 35 years what it was
        that told me that this letter assigned less importance to

.          P-136

        than the letter typed by Mr Funfach.
   MR RAMPTON:  Mr Funfach denied having had any direct knowledge
        of it at all.  All he told you was that General Mehnert,
        who is dead, had mentioned a figure of, what, 180,000.
        That is better evidence, is it, than the direct eyewitness
        testimony, on face of it, of Mr Miller?
   A.   If you turn to page 52, you will see Mehnert telling to
        Funfach, we were both absolutely astounded at the low
        figure of 35,000, which is given in the press here.
   Q.   I repeat it, Mr Irving.  Mr Funfach says he was not
        there.  He reports the words of a dead man.
   A.   He reports the words of a man who was alive at the time he
        spoke to him.
   Q.   You put that in the forefront and reach firm conclusions
        on the basis of it.  You suppress what you were told by
        Mr Miller.
   A.   You say suppress.  This implies that there has been a
        deliberate act of suppression of something because it does
        not agree with what I intend to say.
   Q.   Indeed.  That is precisely my suggestion.  You have got it
        in one, Mr Irving.
   A.   Nowhere in my Dresden book have I stated words to the
        effect that there are authorities which hold that lower
        figures are more credible, and that this kind of letter is
        not covered by that kind of statement.
   Q.   I did not say that, Mr Irving.

.          P-137

   A.   I have repeatedly said, both in the Dresden book and
        elsewhere, there are upper figures and there are lower
        figures and you have to decide yourself what figure is
        more plausible.  I then said I consider figure X to be
        plausible because ... and I have then given the reasons
        why, which is precisely the way that a scientist should do
        it.  But for your Professor Evans to come along and say,
        oh, look at this letter which he ignored or suppressed,
        which is the word you use, is totally unjust.
   Q.   My information, for what it is worth, I do have a sort of
        ---- where does this come from?  It is in an H1 file.
        Mr Miller wrote to you, Theo Miller, from Ingoldstadt,
        Donnau which I think is in West Germany, is it not?
   A.   Why is the entire letter not before us in this bundle so
        that I can form an impression?
   Q.   I am afraid, Mr Irving, somebody is to blame for that.  It
        ain't me and I don't know the reason.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  The reason is that it is not legible.  That
        is what it says in the table.
   MR RAMPTON:  It is jolly difficult to read.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I think Mr Irving ought to have a look at it.
   MR RAMPTON:  I agree.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  If there is a point to be made, he ought to
        have the chance to make it now.
   MR RAMPTON:  That is the second letter.  I do not know about
        the first letter.

.          P-138

   A.   Anyone can use this tactic of coming along with isolated
        paragraphs and say, why did you not quote this and why did
        you not quote that?
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I have not concealed from you that I think it
        is all rather unsatisfactory.
   MR RAMPTON:  My Lord, this is not actually very funny, but that
        is the state of the first letter.
   A.   Well, let us see.
   Q.   The second letter is a bit more easy, so there they are.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  How much of the first page did Professor
        Evans -- he has a good imagination.
   MR RAMPTON:  When you read the microfilm, you can read them.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Off the microfilm.
   MR RAMPTON:  I will not hand that one up.
   A.   Unfortunately, he says, my recollection is very poor.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Whereabouts on the page?  I think I have page
        you are looking at?
   A.   It is about line 10 of the first page, my Lord.  "My
        recollection of names etc. is very poor.  Please
        understand everybody" ----
   Q.   Yes, names.  That is the point, is it not?
   A.   Yes.
   MR RAMPTON:  It looks as though you did write back to him,
        Mr Irving.
   A.   He says he is answering my questions.
   Q.   No, he wrote to you first, I think, on 4th February, 7th,

.          P-139

        that is the one we cannot read.  The first line of this
        says: "Dear Mr Irving I thank you very much for your kind
        letter of February 21st".  Do we have that in the bundle?.
   A.   Yes.  That is the one I am looking at.

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