The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day017.14

Archive/File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day017.14
Last-Modified: 2000/07/20

   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Surely the key consideration is what
        persuaded him to change his mind.  If there were good
        reasons, there good reasons, and if there were not there
        were not.
   MR IRVING:  Witness, can you answer his Lordship's curiosity in
        this respect?
   A.   He does not explicitly address that question as to why the
        change.  He rephrases it in such a way that he felt that
        was too specific.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  No.  What I am getting at is, that the ground
        for criticising him for changing his mind would depend on
        the quality of the evidence that convinced him to change
        his mind.  If there were not good reasons for his change
        of mind, then he should not have changed his mind or the
        text, that is obvious, do you agree with it?
   A.   Yes.
   MR IRVING:  But of course it would be an entirely subjective
        decision by the author or historian concerned as to what
        evidence would meet his own personal criteria?
   A.   Yes, and I think in this case it was partly a semantic
        question.  He felt the word "order" implied or had
come to
        imply by the 1980s more than he was comfortable with

.          P-122

        specificity, and so he phrased it in a more general
        because by this point of course the controversy
        intentionalist and functionalist had broken out.  In
        he withdrew himself from that controversy.  He phrased
        things in a way that was not part of that debate.
   Q.   Can I put to you just a few words of your testimony in
        court action in Canada in about 1988, which obviously
        recollection then was refresher, it was 12 years ago:
                  "I will go on, thank you, said Browning.
        is a question of how we understand the word 'order'
        this is a case where I think we have deepened
        understanding.  Though we have tried to deal with the
        concept, what does it mean for there to be Hitler
order, a
        so-called Fuhrer befehl.  I have certainly looked into
        that question.  I have myself", that is you, "proposed
        that we have to look at it in terms of a series of
        or incitements", and that appears to have been a
        concept of yours, signals or incitements?
   A.   I believe ----
   Q.   Yes.
   A.   I did not mean to interrupt.
   Q.   Do you remember saying that in that particular legal
        action in Canada, in the Zundel case?
   A.   I remember we discussed the question and that sounds
        much like what I said.
   Q.   Would you just explain to the court what you mean by

.          P-123

        phrase of signals and incitements from somebody like
        Hitler which would lead to a Holocaust?
   A.   I would say it is the same as we have been discussing
        morning and yesterday.  Hitler sets a level of
        expectation, in this case, for instance, that the war
        the Soviet Union is to be not simply a conventional
        but a war of destruction, an ideological war, and then
        people bring him proposals and he approves or does not
   Q.   It all sounds frightfully vague, does it not, far
short of
        an order with a heading signature Adolf Hitler that we
        have in some of the other Hitler crimes like
   A.   Yes.  This in a sense is a very different kind of
        and I think the reason why Hilberg took that word out
        because people would read that word and interpret it
        there must be a specific piece of paper, and so he
        more about a general process in which intentions or
        desires are conveyed, but did not want to use the word
   Q.   Yes.  Does your Lordship wish to explore that
        matter any further?
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  No, thank you very much.
   MR IRVING:  I think it is quite useful that we should
        that somebody of the reputation of Hilberg became
        that in his own conscience, would you agree, he felt
        he could no longer accept, having suggested there was

.          P-124

        Hitler order in his first edition and he went through
        actually -- I think, would you agree this is more
        significant than not mentioning it in the first place,
        that he had put it in the first place and then took it
        out?  This is a more significant step than just not
        mentioning that there was no Hitler order?
   A.   It does mean that this had become I think a word that
        become more freighted than when he wrote the first
        edition, and that he felt now the connotation of the
        expectation or the interpretation of the word "order"
        would place him in an interpretation that he was not
        comfortable with.
   Q.   Have you visited any of the Nazi concentration camps
        the sites that you are talking about?
   A.   Yes, I have been to Poland and visited Chelmno,
        Sobibor, Belzec and I have been to Auschwitz,
   Q.   You have been to Auschwitz and Birkenhau?
   A.   And to Semlin.
   Q.   Was this recently or some years ago?
   A.   In 1990 or 1991.
   Q.   1990, 1991?
   A.   One of those.  I forget which summer.
   Q.   Did you visit the sites of the alleged gas chambers in
        Auschwitz one and Auschwitz two in Birkenhau?
   A.   I visited both of them, and so I did go into the
        crematorium building, the reconstruction in Auschwitz

.          P-125

   Q.   You called it a reconstruction?
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   In other words, it is not the original building?
   A.   No.  It was a crematorium and then in 43 to 45, I am
        an expert on this but I believe it was used for other
        purposes, and then it was reconstructed back to close
        what it had been before.  Then I visited in Birkenhau
        walked around the grounds, including the four sites of
        crematoria 2 through 5.  One could walk to bunker two,
        site of bunker one that seems to be totally unknown
   Q.   Yes.  Did they make any attempt to tell you at the
        you visited these two sites that the Auschwitz one
        the old camp, that what they were showing you was a
   A.   I do not know even remember.  I went in and I knew
what I
        was looking at and I do not even recall how it was
        or labelled.
   Q.   Were you aware of the fact that you were not being
        the real thing?
   A.   I was aware that this was a reconstruction, yes.
   Q.   Did you say you also went to Dachau concentration
   A.   I have been to Dachau much earlier.  I believe that
        have been 1972, the fall of 1972.
   Q.   Do they have gas chambers on display at Dachau
        concentration camp?
   A.   There is a gas chambers on display in Dachau

.          P-126

   Q.   Do you wish to express an opinion to the court as to
        whether that is a genuine gas chamber or not?
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Whether he wishes to, is it going to help
        really at all?  I know that that there was at one time
        belief that there had been gas chambers at Dachau.  I
        it is now accepted, I think on all sides, that there
        never any.  Do I any need any more than that?
   MR IRVING:  If your Lordship will accept the proposition
        the Allies and their Allies after World War II are
        of erecting fakes for whatever purpose, and that it is
        perverse of me to have said that and it does not make
        ipso facto a Holocaust denier, then I will move on to
        another matter on.
   MR RAMPTON:  If the word "fake" were changed for
        "reconstruction" or "demonstration" or something like
        that there would be common ground.  The word "fake" is
        inappropriate for the reconstruction at Auschwitz one.
   MR IRVING:  I would happily give Mr Rampton a
        $50 bill if me gives me ten fives in exchange.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  You can have your wagers outside court.
I do
        think we must move on.  I do not think Dachau has
        to do with this case.  I have explained my
        of the position.
   MR IRVING:  Are you familiar with the fact that at
        the British prosecutors stated that there had been

.          P-127

        gassings at Dachau, Buchenwald and at Oranienburg?
   A.   No, I am not familiar with that passage.
   Q.   But you have read the Nuremberg war crimes trials
   A.   I have read some of them.  I have not read the whole
        volumes, no.
   Q.   Are you aware of the fact that large numbers of
        eyewitnesses, and I think this is relevant, my Lord --
   MR IRVING:  --- testified to the existence of homicidal gas
        chambers at Dachau?
   A.   I do not know how many did.
   Q.   Are you aware that any did?
   A.   No.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  If you want to take that further you
        have to put chapter and verse.
   MR IRVING:  My Lord, I cannot put chapter and verse to him
        this time.  If the witness says he is not aware of
        eyewitnesses' testimonies I cannot take it further,
        I shall certainly do so again with successor witness.
        your Lordship agrees that putting it that way is
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  No, I think that is a rather different
        of question and I think it is legitimate.
   MR IRVING:  Moving back to the integration of Adolf
        are you aware of the conditions under which he was
        interrogated when he arrived in Israel?
   A.   He was in prison.

.          P-128

   Q.   Was he in prison with the light permanently switched
   A.   I have read that that was the case.  My guess is, and
        is purely speculation, the Israelis might have been
        worried that he might commit suicide, so they wanted a
        constant watch on him.  They did not want a dead
        on their hands.
   Q.   That he was constantly in the company of a guard?
   A.   I presume he was under constant watch.
   Q.   Would you suspect that this might have some affect on
        mental stability if he was deprived of sleep through
   A.   I have no idea how bright the light was.  There are
        things as night lights that would not disturb the
sleep at
   Q.   Do you have any reason to believe that he was provided
        with a night light on these occasions?
   A.   I have absolutely no idea what the wattage of the
light in
        his cell was.
   Q.   Mr Leon Poliakov who is also an expert on the
        is that name familiar to you?
   A.   I am familiar with the name.
   Q.   Is he a trained historian with a university
   A.   I do not know what his academic background is.
   Q.   I would now like to revert to the December 1941, the
        Frank diary, the meeting which is familiar to this
        now held on I think December 13th 1941 -- no, it is

.          P-129

        December 16th.
   A.   The speech is December 16th.
   Q.   The speech by Hans Frank is on December 16th?
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   I am purely concerned with your treatment of this,
        Professor.  You have gone in some detail over the
        of that speech, and this is on page 31 of your expert
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   Paragraph 5.1.13.  I will ask that you have in front
        you ----
   A.   I have the English text and the footnote I believe
        contains the original, yes.
   Q.   Can we have footnote 88, the document that corresponds
        it?  I think it would be adequate if I ask the witness
        just to read the three lines in German and translate
        he has omitted.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Yes.  I personally think it is a good
idea to
        actually have the document.
   MR IRVING:  The whole document.
   MR RAMPTON:  Pages 68 to 75 of what I now know to be L17.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I missed the page number.
   MR RAMPTON:  68 it starts.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Thank you very much.
   MR IRVING:  The passage which you have quoted, Professor,
is on
        page 457 of the printed text.

.          P-130

   A.   Yes.
   Q.   If you remember this is the passage where the translation
        is:  "What is to happen to the Jews?  Do you believe that
        they will be lodged in settlements in the Ostland in
        Berlin?  We were told why all this trouble.  We cannot use
        them in the Ostland or in the Reichskommissarat either,
        liquidate them yourselves.  We must destroy the Jews
        wherever we encounter them and wherever it is possible in
        order to preserve the entire structure of the Reich", and
        there you cease to quote.  You then paraphrase for two or
        three lines on page 32 of your report?
   A.   Yes.

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