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Shofar FTP Archive File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day017.08

Archive/File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day017.08
Last-Modified: 2000/07/20

   MR IRVING:  I would be very happy to make available a copy to
        the Defence and I will leave this copy with them overnight
        and they can make a copy if they wish.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  That is fair.  I think Mr Rampton is happy
        you should make the point that you make on these two pages.
   MR IRVING:  I just wish to put this to the witness.  I
        just draw your attention, witness, to page handwritten 14

.          P-65

        which is page 122 of the book.
   A.   122.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Can you give us the context, Mr Irving?
   MR IRVING:  The killing of the Russian prisoners in 1941
        I think he is talking about.  This is by Rudolf Hoess.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  And he had been ordered to carry it out, is
        that right?  He, Hoess, had ----
   MR IRVING:  "It was ordered that I had to carry it out", writes
        Hoess, "but I have to say openly that this gassing had a
        calming effect on me, as in the near future we had to
        begin with the mass destruction of the Jews too, and
        neither Eichmann nor I was clear about how we were to deal
        with these masses", is that roughly the sense of that
        final sentence on page ----
   A.   Roughly, yes.
   Q.   And underneath it in his appalling handwriting Adolf
        Eichmann has written -- can you read the words:  "Ich war
        gar nichts zustandig"?
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   What does that mean?
   A.   I was not at all competent, this was not at all my
   Q.   And in the margin next to the footnote he was written just
        one word "falsch"?
   A.   Correct.
   Q.   In other words, Eichmann, who ought to have known, if

.          P-66

        I can use one of the phrases Mr Rampton likes,
        the version given by Rudolf Hoess.  In private, he
        not know that David Irving is going to come into
        possession of that years later, so can we assume
        that there is some conflict in the evidence that Hoess
   A.   Yes.  This is the major case where Eichmann contests
        vigorously the evidence the Israelis bring to him and
        present this before him.  For instance, in the
        notes to his attorney, he says:  "Hoess is the arch
        I have nothing to do with Hoess, with his death camp
        his gas chambers".  That is in Eichmann's handwriting
        Serwateus' notes.  He disputes having anything to do
        Hoess's gas chambers.  He does not deny the existence
        gas chambers but confirms Auschwitz, but he says that
        not my thing.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  The falsehood is his own involvement,
        Eichmann's own involvement.
   A.   Yes.  He is saying that Hoess is laying responsibility
        him for playing a part in the selection of the gas
        site, and the selection of the type of gas at
        and in this regard I think Eichmann is correct and
        Hoess is utterly wrong.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY: That is the means, not the end, in other
   MR IRVING:  You use the interesting phrase, of course,

.          P-67

        gas chambers" and that Eichmann ----
   A.   This is Eichmann's phrase; what I quoted to you from
        memory is what Eichmann wrote to Serwateus in the
        Serwateus papers.
   Q.   Serwateus was his lawyer in Israel?
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   Is there any hint there, therefore, that people like
        and the other concentration camp commandants were
        canons, and that they were doing things their own way
        without -- ?
   A.   I do not think that there is a hint of that at all.
        hint is that Hoess is trying to shift blame elsewhere
        that Hoess has a very bad memory.
   Q.   Or a conveniently bad memory perhaps?
   A.   Well, Hoess has many self-incriminating things.  Where
        Hoess's testimony is particularly unreliable is
        related to dating.
   Q.   Dating and numbers?
   A.   Numbers as well, and to, in this issue certainly,
        Eichmann's role in all of this.
   Q.   Is it not correct that Hoess, in fact, fluctuates
        2.8 million and 1 million, and then back to 2.7
        as late as March 1947?  Before his execution, he is
        to 2.7 million again killed in Auschwitz.
   A.   I do not remember the exact figures but I believe he
        give fluctuating figures.

.          P-68

   Q.   Can any kind of credence be attached to figures like
        when they vary by such enormous amounts?
   A.   This would be a case where you would look at the
        and say that, when Hoess is talking about dates and
        figures, one would not use it as reliable.  When he is
        talking about experiences that he recalls with great
        vividness, one would say this is more likely to be
        something that one at least must look at, can we
        corroborate this?  It would not mean that everything
        says is wrong, but it would mean that, in the areas of
        dating and where he is trying to share
        with others, one must use it with great caution.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  You do not know this, Professor Browning.
        looked at the 2.8 million figure in some detail and it
        quite clear that that is actually not his own account
        it is what he has been told by others.
   MR IRVING:  It did actually creep up again, the 2.8 just
        he was hanged.  He appeared to be readily flexible and
        this is what I am getting at; I suppose "suggestible"
        what I am aiming at, the word that these witnesses --
        yourself have said that you had to pick and choose
        they wrote, effectively?
   A.   You had to make judgments about it.  "Pick and choose"
        sounds as if one was picking and choosing for my
        convenience rather than my ability to explain in terms

.          P-69

   Q.   We will come to that in a minute, Professor Browning,
        we come to Gerstein.
   A.   We will get there but, in terms of ability to bring
        reasons as to why you think parts of it are more
        than others.
   Q.   Yes.  Is there any reason why, when somebody is in
        captivity on trial for one's life, one might write
        either deliberately or inadvertently, that were not
        do you think?
   A.   This is a possibility but, again, one looks at it and
        judges.  If one is already sentenced to be hanged and
        there is, in a sense, nothing further they can
        you with, then wonders one why would one go through
        business of writing out a long handwritten document.
   Q.   Have you not read large numbers of interrogations and
        pretrial interrogations yourself, where you have
        at some of the statements that these people have made?
   A.   Can you give me a context?
   Q.   For example, self-incriminating statements which, as
        said in the case of Eichmann, nobody knew what he was
        admitting there.  Have you never wondered why people
        make these statements?
   A.   I think in cases I have used he is telling the truth.
        I think he is relating----
   Q.   Obviously.  Otherwise you would not have used them.
        does it not occur to you that sometimes people make

.          P-70

        astonishing statements, self-incriminatory statements?
        The most extraordinary examples are, for example, in
        Soviet show trials.  It is a psychological problem.  I
        just trying to assail the credibility of eyewitness
        evidence basically.  That is what I am getting at.
   A.   Certainly in Soviet trials where part of the protocol,
        a sense, is to have a signed statement at the end.
        I would not put great weight on something collected in
        1937 and 38 in which a witness said, "Oh yes, I was
        of the Trotskyite conspiracy", or whatever.
   Q.   Or American agent.  Do not the same kind of duresses
        prevail when you are in a cell in a bleak prison in
        Nuremberg and the Americans come to you and say, well,
        can guarantee you will not get the death sentence if
        sign this affidavit which we have taken from your
   A.   I would not accept that Americans came and said, "Sign
        this or we are going to kill you".
   Q.   Are you familiar with the case of Dr Friedrich Gauss,
        was Ribbentrop's legal adviser?
   A.   No, I am not.
   Q.   Are you familiar with Dr Robert Kempton, who said, "If
        do not sign this we are going to turn you over to the
   A.   No, I am not familiar with that.
   Q.   Obviously I cannot develop that particular line.  If

.          P-71

        are not familiar with that case I cannot develop it.
        later trials in Germany we have another problem, do we
        not, and this is the passage of years?  20 or 30 years
        pass.  You have referenced in your own very
        expert report a number of German war crimes trials
        conducted quite properly by the German government in
        1960s and even in the 1970s?
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   How reliable is that kind of evidence being given by
        Germans who have been taken out of their little
        somewhere in Ingoldstadt or somewhere and they find
        themselves on trial, they are going to be locked away
        20 years, and they are being asked to remember
        that happened 30 years before?
   A.   I think that much of it is very reliable.  They did
        have to give testimony.  They had counsel, they did
        have to, under German law, give self-incriminating
        testimony.  They could remained silent.
   Q.   how many did remain silent?
   A.   Virtually none.  A few.  The document that we see in
        Chelmno gas vans, the villager who signs that refused
        talk and nothing happened to him.  He is one who did
        get brought to trial.
   Q.   So the man who signed the famous memorandum about the
        97,000 killed, is this the document you are referring
   A.   This is the document and this is the case where

.          P-72

        refusing to talk ----
   Q.   Nothing happened to him?
   A.   They said, we have not enough evidence to contest that
        contributed in a causal way to the killing, even if he
        knew of it, and therefore we have no grounds.  In
        there was a case where the one who did not talk did
        better than his colleagues in the motor pool who did
        incriminated themselves and were tried.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Mr Irving, I do not want to interrupt you
        unduly.  I am not finding this terribly helpful
because we
        all know that eyewitness evidence has to be looked at
        carefully.  Everyone agrees on that.
   MR IRVING:  If you think I have laboured the point too
        then I shall not bring it up again.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  It is not really that, but illusive
        references which are not really followed up do not
help me
        very much, besides which it appears to me we are
        perhaps a little bit from what I think is the intended
        structure of your cross-examination, which really goes
        the case for saying that Hitler knew about the
        extermination.  I am not keeping you to any tramlines.
   MR IRVING:  I was trying to undermine the quality of his
        sources by referring to the fact that a very large
        of the sources which he refers to in his report in the
        footnotes appear to be ----
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Not in relation to Hitler's knowledge.  I

.          P-73

        not think eyewitnesses come into that at all, do they?
   MR IRVING:  It is certainly in connection with the numbers
        I was just about to get on to the 97,000 figure again,
        when your Lordship intervened.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Yes.  Develop that, but can you help me
        giving me a little bit more information about which
        you are talking about, given by whom, in what context?
   MR IRVING:  This is one of two letters.  One is the Greiser
        letter of May 1st 1942, Greiser to Himmler.  Are you
        familiar with that document?
   A.   Yes.
   MR RAMPTON:  Page 38 of Professor Browning's report, my
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Thank you.
   MR IRVING:  In that letter Greiser says that we shall have
        within, I believe, two to three months killed 100,000
        effectively.  That is what he is saying, is he not?
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   Has he already started by then?
   A.   Yes.  Chelmno has opened in early December 1941.
   Q.   Does he actually refer to Chelmno in that document?
   A.   He does not refer to Chelmno in that document.
   Q.   We do not know whether he is actually referring to the
        document or actually to Chelmno, and whether even one
        those 100,000 has died at that time or not.
   A.   He does not say explicitly but Chelmno is the
        death camp in the region to which he is referring, the

.          P-74

   Q.   There is a reasonable inference?
   A.   Yes.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Do not assume too much.  You have been,
        you say, for 34 years on this topic.
   MR IRVING:  Not on the Holocaust.

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