The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day014.15

Archive/File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day014.15
Last-Modified: 2000/07/20

   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Assume for the sake of argument, because
        I remember the laughter, assume there was laughter, what
        is funny about saying that the Jews are responsible for
   A.   It is not the least bit funny.
   A.   It is not the least bit funny and, if the audience laughs,
        you saw precisely what my answer was, I do not see what
        relevance it has to me.
   Q.   All right.  Let us go up to the top of page 18.
   A.   I think probably it would be called nervous laughter perhaps.
   Q.   Oh no, Mr Irving.
   A.   Nervous laughter, because they had never heard an answer
        as blunt as that followed then by the corollary which was
        to explain precisely what you mean between the yes --- -
   Q.   Now Mr Irving ----
   A.   Between the alpha and the omega there is a whole series of
        intervening stages.

.          P-130

   Q.   Would you like a rest?  You seem very enerve, if I can use
        the French word.
   A.   I can carry on if you can.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Mr Irving, it occurred to me actually whilst
        watching the film that you said you were up till 4 or 5
        this morning.  I am very concerned that it is a huge
        physical strain on you and I would be perfectly happy if
        you said you had had enough.
   A.   I can go as many rounds with Mr Rampton as he wishes.
   MR RAMPTON:  You do not have to worry going rounds with me,
        Mr Irving.  I have been doing this for 35 years.  I am
        asking you genuinely.  You seem rather rattled.  Would you
        like a rest?
   A.   Mr Rampton, I am not rattled.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Rattled is the wrong word.
   MR RAMPTON:  Whatever?
   A.   You have to accept the answers I give you in the spirit in
        which they are given.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  We are going to carry on.
   MR RAMPTON:  Go to the top of page 18, Mr Irving.
   A.   If you are just trying to score cheap points from----
   Q.   No, I am not.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Mr Irving, please, there is a lot of point
        scoring going on.  Let us get on with the question and answers.
   MR RAMPTON:  Mr Irving, what I am concerned about is that today

.          P-131

        of all days you seem quite incapable of answering my
        questions.  That is a waste of his Lordship's time and my
        client's money.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Ask another one.
   MR RAMPTON:  Yes, I will.
   A.   These are comments for his Lordship to make rather than
        for leading counsel, in my view.  Can I draw your
        attention to the final sentence of that paragraph that you
        objected to?
   A.   It is an interesting point.  They go round the other way
        and they make life unbearable for those who try to analyse
        whatever happened, whatever it was.  That is what I try to
        do.  I try to analyse whatever happened, whatever it was.
        It is not an easy task, because you are constantly being
        accused of wrong motives.
   MR RAMPTON:  Now, can we please go to the top of page 18 in the
        version you have there?
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   Here you cannot argue about laughter because it is written
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   You said, "I find the whole Holocaust story utterly
        boring.  It goes on and on and on and they, that is the
        Jews, keep going on about the Holocaust because it is the
        only interesting thing that has happened to them in the

.          P-132

        last 3,000 years".  Funny, isn't it?
   A.   I think that 95 per cent of the thinking public find the
        Holocaust endlessly boring by now but they dare not say it
        because they know it is politically incorrect.
   Q.   The joke is in the sting in the tail.  "It is the only
        interesting thing that has happened to the Jews in the
        last 3,000 years".  Very funny, isn't it, Mr Irving?
   A.   Well, what other explanation is there for the fact that
        that is all they ever go on about now?
   Q.   It might very well be that----
   A.   Lots of wonderful things have happened to them in their
        3,000 years.  There have been the most incredible episodes
        in the Jewish history and yet all we hear from the movies,
        the television and the newspapers of late is the
        Holocaust, and people are thoroughly bored of it.
   Q.   You are, Mr Irving, no doubt, and you do not speak for
        anybody but yourself, I am sorry.
   A.   Maybe you stood in Oxford Street with a clip board taking
        a poll saying, "are you bored with the Holocaust yet?" My
        own perception, which is what I am giving here from this
        box, is that the people I speak to, who are intelligent
        people from academic and ordinary walks of life, say they
        are thoroughly fed up with it.
   Q.   You do not know anything about it and you have managed to
        lecture for an hour about the detail of it.
   A.   What, now?

.          P-133

   Q.   No, in this transcript.  You went on for an hour.
   A.   It has been interesting to this audience because I had put
        to them facts they did not know about, the code breaking,
        about the aerial photographs, everything they have not
        heard about on the established media I have been putting
        to them.  That is how I have held their attention.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  What I think may have been being put to you
        and, if it was not, I will put it ----
   A.   Question of taste.
   Q.   Listen to my question.
   MR RAMPTON:  It is not a question of taste.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  You said many times that you are not a
        Holocaust historian, and I understand that.
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   But you said you had to become one.  I cannot remember and
        I have not got the reference, but when was it you told me
        that you decided you had to become a Holocaust historian?
   A.   I had to become one for this trial, my Lord, which means
        for the last three years I have wading around knee deep in
        matter and in files and in documents that I would never
        willingly and voluntarily have occupied myself with.
   Q.   Was the speech in Tampa, Florida, in 1995?
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   It appears to me that you knew an awful lot about the
        Holocaust then.
   A.   This is true because by that time there had been a lot of

.          P-134

        discussion about it in the newspapers, and material had
        come my way.  If people send you things about the decodes,
        if people send you things about the aerial photographs, if
        you are the Hitler historian that I was and people send
        you material indicating, for example, the police decodes,
        which have obviously now come to play a very important
        part in the Hitler history, for example the episode around
        November 30, December 1st 1941, you pick up this material
        as you go along.  But I certainly never knew as much then
        as I have learned in the course of this trial, and
        particularly from the very interesting remarks made by
        Professor van Pelt.  When I read Professor van Pelt's book
        for the first time "In 1270" I wrote both to him and to
        Trevor Roper in fact in May 1997, saying the most
        extraordinary book on Auschwitz had been published, which
        was one of the first books I have read from cover to
        cover.  That was the kind of interest I had, general interest.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Thank you very much.  Mr Rampton, that was my
   MR RAMPTON:  I find that helpful.  Looking back on it now,
        Mr Irving, in the light of what you actually know as
        opposed to what you purported to know in October 1995,
        would you accept that almost everything that you told this
        audience about the facts of the Holocaust was wrong?
   A.   Some figures are wrong, I think.

.          P-135

   Q.   Leuchter was wrong?
   A.   I do not agree.  Can we just turn to the passage where
        I refer to Leuchter?
   Q.   I am not starting that cross-examination all over again.
   A.   If you look at the top of page 19, that is the passage you
        are referring to.  I looked at that in some alarm, I must
        admit, in view of what we have been discussing here in
        these last few days.  I refer specifically to the cyanide
        findings -- which is what Leuchter was good on, in my view.
   Q.   You mentioned Hinsley?
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   I cannot remember whether you mentioned the death books in
        this speech or not.
   A.   I did, yes.
   Q.   Without even pausing to consider the evidence to the
        effect that those who were immediately gassed were never
   A.   That the burden of the eyewitness testimony, yes.
   Q.   It is also what a number of the Germans said too, for
        example General Oswald Pohl, but never mind that.
   A.   In what way is General Oswald Pohl not eyewitness
   Q.   It is.  It is post war eyewitness testimony from the
        German side.
   A.   I shall be introducing a document to Professor Browning

.          P-136

        which suggests precisely the opposite when the time comes.
   Q.   You go on about people faking their tattoos, in effect
        Mrs Altmann's tattoo is a fake, is it not?
   A.   On the contrary, I said that she no doubt suffered.
   Q.   No.  I will take you to the passage.  We cannot leave that
        answer where it is, I am afraid.  What page is it in the
   A.   You have to remember I have had the benefit of seeing Mrs
        Altmann in action on television and you have not.
   Q.   Page 17, last quarter of the page.  Tell me one thing.
        You are reporting in what one might think rather tasteless
        terms, that is your own word, your conversation with
        Mrs Altmann.  Tell me one thing, and this is why I am
        going to get tasteless with her, because you have got to
        get tasteless.  "Mrs Altmann, how much money have you made
        out of that tattoo since 1945?  Laughter again.  Jolly
        funny.  How much money have you coined for that bit of ink
        on your arm, which may indeed be real tattooed ink"?
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   The suggestion is she has had it put on after the war.
   A.   You can take that one either way.  As a general matter, in
        my view, expressing a criticism of the way that a Jew or
        the Jewish people are behaving or acting cannot be taken
        per se as anti-Semitism.  They are not a people or a race
        who are immune from criticism, am I right?
   Q.   Mr Irving, the suggestion is that Mrs Altman had that

.          P-137

        tattoo put on her and pretty damned quick after the war so
        as to get money out the German Government, is it not?  Be
        honest for once, that is what you are trying to suggest
        and that is why you got a jolly laugh?
   A.   I said it may be genuine; it may not.
   Q.   That is why you got a laugh for your tasteless joke?
   A.   Whether it got a laugh or not is neither here nor there.
        I am concerned only with the words I have uttered, which
        is that may be genuine or it not may not.  We cannot tell.
   Q.   The fact is that those which were gassed without going
        into the camp to work were never tattooed, were they?
   A.   That is the eyewitness evidence, yes.
   Q.   Yes, and it would not be in the least bit surprising, as
        in fact happened, if a lot of those who were registered
        tattooed and set to work, particularly towards the end of
        the war, actually survived, would it?
   A.   I think that the burden of my criticism of the Mrs Altmans
        of this world is that the ones who have been coining the
        money are the ones who suffered least.  The ones who
        suffered most are the ones died under the most hideous
        circumstances in these camps, and they did not get a bent
        nickel out of it of course.  It is survivors, whatever
        degree they suffered or otherwise, who have been turning
        their suffering into profit, whereas people who suffered
        in other circumstances, like the air raid victims or the
        Australians soldiers building the Burmese railway, have

.          P-138

        never sought to make money of their suffering.  This is a
        criticism of the Jewish survivors that it cannot be taken
        as anti-Semitism.  The reason I say it is a criticism is
        because I perceive that as being a possible source later
        of anti-Semitism.
   Q.   Very nicely put in a nice academic way, Mr Irving.
   A.   Thank you very much.
   Q.   Yes, but I am not your audience in Tampa in October 1995,
        that is the difference.
   A.   In other words, I should tailor my utterances to the
        audience I am speaking to?  This I think would be
        repugnant.  I have never tailored my utterances to the
        audience.  I have always given every audience exactly the
        same speech.

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