The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day017.03

Archive/File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day017.03
Last-Modified: 2000/07/20

   Q.   Is that the very reputable German historian too.
   A.   A very reputable German historian, who, in fact, looked
        at  ----
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Mr Irving, if you challenge these figures,
        I think now is the time to do so.  I do not know whether
        you do or you do not.
   MR IRVING:  My Lord, I am not in a position to challenge them
        on a numerical basis, but I do wish to plant or implant
        doubts in your Lordship's mind as to the rigour with which
        the figures have been arrived at, shall I put it like
        that?  All I have to establish, if I have understood it
        correctly, in your Lordship's mind is the position that
        I am entitled, as a writer myself, not to be called a
        Holocaust denier because I question figures.  I can put it
        as simply as that.  Your Lordship has a different take on
        that, I ought to be told it now perhaps in order that I can ----

.          P-19

   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I am sure about "ought", but I understand
        way you use this evidence.
   MR IRVING:  I mean, this is not a court of law, criminal
        where they are trying somebody for murder.  We are
        trying to establish a matter of Holocaust denial
        which is a different standard of proof, I think.
   A.   Would it be helpful if I said a little bit about how
        Schafler arrived at his figures?
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I think it might be in the sense that
        Mr Irving is really saying, "Well, I question the
        and I think he must by implication be saying, "and I
        good grounds for questioning the figures".  So I think
        you wanted to add something about the way in which the
        figures were arrived at, I think that would be
   A.   Yes, the figures for each of the camps he did by
trying to
        trace the ghetto liquidations at the different periods
        into which camps they were sent.  So we have a very
        accurate reduction of the Lodz population, which
        went to Chelmno, when, and we can come very accurately
        the number of people deported from Lodz to Chelmno,
        one is on a little bit less secure grounds for the
        other surrounding towns where we do not have a day by
        deduction or a train by train calculation, but we do
        statistics of what the populations were there before
        whole operation began.

.          P-20

                  So with some rough estimate of how many
        have been selected for labour, he came to a figure for
        Lodz as a minimum figure and then a more probable but
        putting forward as necessarily a somewhat higher
        He did the same calculations for the other camps.
                  We know how many Dutch transports went to
        Sobibor.  We know which regions were cleared that were
        directed to Sobibor.  We had the figures of the Jewish
        populations in those ghettos before the liquidation
        the number of workers that were shifted to some of the
        work camps, and it was on the calculation, on that
        that he arrived at his figures.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  That is very helpful.
   MR IRVING:  Yes.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Do ask anything you want, Mr Irving.
   MR IRVING:  I think this is probably an appropriate point
        ask the witness about the atmosphere in Germany for
        historians.  Is it possible for an historian in
        now, whether reputable or disreputable historian, to
        advance opposing hypotheses in any degree of safety?
   A.   Oh, absolutely.  For instance, in this court earlier I
        in the transcript you said that no one could refer to
        Himmler guidelines without risking that -- the
        of the Himmler guidelines, and, of course, Christian
        Jerloch has published that in Germany, and has
        absolutely no repercussions and there is no question

.          P-21

        he would, that there is a very vigorous discussion
        German historians on the Holocaust.
   Q.   But would I be right in saying this discussion is
        or distorted by the fact that anybody who goes to the
        other end of the spectrum, shall we say, and starts
        saying, "I think the figures are much lower because,
        example, it was not a systematic liquidation" or
        like that, anybody who accidentally says one of the
        phrases in Germany is going to end up in trouble, in
        prison, and that this must certainly cast
apprehensions in
        the mind of somebody about which side of the debate he
   A.   I think that is nonsense.  For instance, Hans Monson
        shares your view that Hitler did not give an order.
   Q.   Would you tell the court who Hans Monson is?
   A.   Hans Monson is a very notable historian at the
        of Bochum, now retired boss tonne.
   Q.   He is not a Holocaust denier, is he?
   A.   You asked me with taboos and one of the things that
        generally been seen that you have been identified with
        the argument that Hitler did not make the decision.
        Monson and Martin Broszat have accepted or have argued
        that Hitler did not give an order or a decision----
   Q.   Can I just halt you there?  It would be useful if you
   A.   I am still talking.

.          P-22

   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  You are interrupting a little bit,
        Mr Irving.  Try and restrain yourself until the end of
   MR IRVING:  Your Lordship will know why I want to interrupt
   A.   Far from being thrown in jail or fearing, Hans Monson
        currently is the Shapiro Visiting Scholar at the
        States Holocaust Museum.  There is a wide of range of
        debate covering a wide spectrum of opinion.  There is
        Germany a law that outlaws Holocaust denial, but I
know of
        no German historian that I have come across that has
        a night's sleep worrying that this prevents him from
        arguing from documents and from carrying out a full
        academic discussion.
   Q.   Have you heard of Dr Reinhard Seitelmann?
   A.   I have heard of Dr Reinhard Seitelmann.  I know him.
   Q.   Are you familiar with the course of his career after
        made certain statements?  Was he originally a
historian at
        the free university in Berlin?
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Mr Irving, I think this is a digression
   MR IRVING:  Very well.  Would you explain to the court then
        Professor Martin Broszat was?  Was he an eminent
   A.   Yes.  He was the head of the Institute for
        History in Munich.

.          P-23

   Q.   His opinion on my hypothesis that Hitler did not issue
        order or that there is no Hitler order, are you
        with that?
   A.   He takes your view that Hitler did not know of this,
        that it was kept secret from him, or he would not have
        authorized it.  That it was done by others behind his
        he does not accept.  He does not think that Hitler
gave an
        order for or made a decision for the Final Solution,
        that rather he ----
   Q.   It just happened?
   A.   He encouraged it, he instigated it in the sense that
        made known his feelings and that others clamoured, or
        strove to gain Brownie points to get credit by
        the programme that Hitler hinted that he wanted to see
   Q.   Are you familiar with the word Verliegenheitslosung, a
        out of an awkward solution, a way out of an awkward
   A.   He used the phrase that it was a way out of a
        out of a dead end.
   Q.   He picked up this word from the introduction to my
        and said this was probably correct.  Are you familiar
   A.   I do not know if he picked that expression up from
        book, but he did.  In so far as the issue of the
        order, Monson and Broszat have argued for a long time,

.          P-24

        you have, they do not think that Hitler gave an
        or formal order.
   Q.   It would be a grave injustice to call either of those
        professors Holocaust deniers, would it not?
   A.   Yes. The argument over whether Hitler gave an order or
        is not commonly part of the issue of Holocaust denial.
   Q.   Thank you very much for saying that.  Hans Monson,
        you identify him?  Is he a Professor at the Royal
        university in Bochum?
   A.   Yes, he was.  He is retired.
   Q.   A very eminent historian, is that correct?
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   Very well.  I hope your Lordship pardons me for having
        made that little excursion?
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Yes.  You picked up the answer that
        Browning gave about whether denying Hitler's having
        an order was an aspect of Holocaust denial, but I do
        think the Defendants really say that it is.
   MR RAMPTON:  We do not.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I was checking your summary of case.
   MR RAMPTON:  The Hitler exculpation, exoneration, apology
        of the case has nothing to do with Holocaust denial at
        all.  They may have a similar motive at the end of the
        but that is completely different.  We have focused on
        Hitler's exoneration to prove what we call distorted

.          P-25

   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Yes.  I think what you do say is that it
        part of Holocaust denial to deny that there was a
        systematic programme.
   MR RAMPTON:  Yes.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  That is not the same as denying that it
        Hitler who instigated that programme.
   MR RAMPTON:  That is right.  It is number 3, no systematic
        programme of exterminating Europe's Jews, whether on
        part of Hitler or the Nazi leadership.
   A.   I think that Professors Monson and Broszat would say
        Hitler instigated it in various ways.  They would
        say there was no formal order or decision in the sense
        that we understand that is the way ----
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  You say that yourself.
   A.   Yes.
   MR IRVING:  Is this the debate between the intentionalists
        the functionalists?
   A.   It is one aspect of that debate.
   Q.   By instigating it, would you say that Hitler
instigated it
        by raising the climate of anti-semitism in Germany, or
        it more specific than that?
   A.   I think that was the beginning of it, but it gets also
        more specific than that when one continually indicates
        that you want this whole problem to disappear, that
        want a settlement to this.  You prophesy a
        of the Jews, which is in a sense to set the climate in

.          P-26

        which people are to come forward to you with proposals
        which you then can approve or not.  We know the
        that Himmler comes to Hitler in mid September with the
        proposals for the ethnic cleansing of western Poland.
   Q.   September 1939?
   A.   He comes to Hitler.  They bring the Madagascar plan to
        Hitler.  They bring proposals about marking and
        deportation to Hitler.  In terms of concrete proposals
        Hitler is not the micromanager, but the proposals are
        response to the signals that he gives of what he wants
        wants done, and this is what I would say we would call
   Q.   You refer to his prophesy, that was the speech of
        30th 1939?
   A.   That is one example.
   Q.   That was January 30th 1939.  Did the killings start
   A.   No.  That is a prophesy that could be realised in a
        of ways.
   Q.   Nothing really happened for about three years, did it?
   A.   No.  I would not interpret that as understood yet as
        destruction.  But when this does not work and there
        needs to be -- that is, expulsion, ethnic cleansing,
        not work, the reservation plans prove to be
        then the demand that something be done is still there,
        then one brings more extreme points.

.          P-27

   Q.   How realistic was the Madagascar plan to which you
   A.   Do I think they took it seriously?  Yes, I do think
        took it seriously.  It is fantastic but of course
        Auschwitz is fantastic, too.
   Q.   In what way is Madagascar a fantastic plan?
   A.   Fantastic in the sense that one is bizarre, the notion
        that you could take 4 million Jews and put them on
        and send them to Madagascar, and that anything other
        the vast bulk of them would die under the conditions
        being dumped into the jungle of Madagascar.  Even that
        plan that clearly in its implications involved vast
        decimation, they still talked in these words of

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