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Shofar FTP Archive File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day018.04

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Last-Modified: 2000/07/24

   Q.   Of course, you would not dictate to them what to write,
        but have you dictated what field of research they should
        apply their minds to in connection with this defence?
   A.   Not dictated, no.  I suggested to the defence that certain
        witnesses might be called to cover certain fields and
        then, of course, there were lengthy discussions as to how
        this should be made more precise and exactly what areas
        should be covered and by whom and so on.  Not all of my
        suggestions were accepted, of course.
   MR RAMPTON:  Can I just sound a warning note?  We are getting
        towards forbidden territory.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  We are on privilege.
   MR IRVING:  I certainly would not have asked him privileged
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  No, you are the right side of the
        boundary, but Mr Rampton was putting down a marker.
   MR IRVING:  I was going to ask here, did you look specifically

.          P-28

        for left orientated experts or right-wing orientated
        experts?  I mean, you did not ask Professor Faurisson, for
        example, did you, to give evidence?
   A.   I would not consider him an expert.
   Q.   You would not consider him an expert?
   A.   No, I think he is a charlatan.
   Q.   You are right; he was stripped of his Professorship, was
        he not, by the University of Lyons or Lille, one of the two?
   A.   It is more his work that I am concerned with and I do not
        think it is reputable work.  My only concern in suggesting
        the names of expert witnesses was that they should be
        experts in their particular fields.
   Q.   Yes.  So a right winger is a charlatan and a left winger
        is acceptable.  Would that have been your standard?
   A.   Not at all, no.  Had, for example, Professor Hilgrubber
        still been alive, he was a decidedly right-wing historian,
        but I consider him a reputable expert in certain fields of
        Second World War.
   Q.   What about Professor Hans Monson?  Might he have come up
        with the wrong answers, perhaps?
   A.   I really do not want to get into discussions of whom we
        might have called, and we did not.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Well, I do not think you are actually being
        asked the question in that way, and I think it is a
        legitimate question.  What is the answer?

.          P-29

   A.   What was the question?
   MR IRVING:  Might you have called Professor Dr Hans Monson of
        the University of Fulkum(?) who is an acknowledged expert
        on this field?
   A.   But -- in the end, he has not been called.
   Q.   But you would not have considered calling him?
   A.   That is such a hypothetical question; I mean, I would have
        considered calling him.  There are many people whom
        I would have considered calling but we did not in the end
        consider calling them.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Can I ask you the question this way which
        I do not think infringes any privilege.  Have you gone out
        of your way to recommend historians who have a particular
        point of view which happens to coincide with your own?
   A.   No.
   MR IRVING:  But you have had your knives out in the past for
        right wing historians or Nazi historians, have you not?
        In your book "In Defence of History" you make minced meat
        of some historians?
   A.   I think it is also right to point out that I have very
        heavily criticised some left wing historians as well.  If
        you take my book "In Defence of History", for example,
        there is some very sharp criticism of the Marxist
        historian, David Abraham, there; there is some sharp
        criticism of the Marxist historian, Christopher Hill.  So
        I do not think I direct my criticisms only at historians

.          P-30

        who might be identified as right-wing.
   Q.   You have stepped into the shoes of Sir Geoffrey Elton at
        Cambridge, have you not?
   A.   No.
   Q.   Do you not hold the Chair of Modern History at Cambridge?
   A.   Yes, but he held the Reader's Chair.
   Q.   Is he still there?
   A.   He is dead, I am afraid.
   Q.   Well, he is not still there, is he?
   A.   No.
   Q.   How would we position him on the political spectrum?
   A.   Very difficult.  I mean, I think in some ways he was an
        unconventional character.  I did not know him very well,
        I have to say, but, on the whole, I think you could say he
        was right-wing.
   Q.   What is the difference between "unconventional" in your
        vocabulary and "extremist"?
   A.   I meant more in terms of his rather unpredictable views on
        some subjects.
   Q.   A bit of a loose cannon?
   A.   Yes, I would say that.
   Q.   Not politically correct?
   A.   I think that is a very slippery term.  I mean, it depends
        exactly what you mean by "politically correct".  I am not
        sure that the term political correctness was very much in
        vogue at the time when he held the chair.

.          P-31

   Q.   Let me assure you, I am not trying to lay any traps this
        morning or, indeed, for the rest of today.  We are just
        generally exploring the terrain.  So you do not have to
        have any sense of reserve in answering the questions I am
        putting to you because ----
   A.   Well ----
   Q.   --- there are no traps.
   A.   Well, I am not an expert on Sir Geoffrey Elton whom I only
        knew very slightly and I did not read, by any means, all
        of his work.  I admired, what I did read, I admired it
        greatly.  I thought he was a tremendous historian and also
        a very interesting man with pungent, strongly held views,
        some of which invited disagreement, some of which did
        not.  But I thought, as an historian, he was in his own
        chosen field of Tudor Constitutional History, he was a
        very good historian.
   Q.   Pungently held views or pungently expressed views.  Is an
        historian entitled to express views pungently which are
        different from those of the common place?
   A.   Most certainly, yes.
   Q.   So what makes an acceptable pungently held view and an
        unacceptable pungently held view, in your view?  Is it the
        supposed political leanings of the person who does the
   A.   No.  I think that historians, what makes it, as it were,
        debatable within conventional academic, scholarly terms is

.          P-32

        whether historians' views are accepted -- I am trying to
        think of an accurate way of putting this -- whether
        historians views are put forward on the basis of documents
        which are available and on a ----
   Q.   The objective sources?
   A.   --- reasonable interpretation of those.
   Q.   You attach great importance to the objective use of
        sources, is that right?
   A.   I do, yes.
   Q.   Yes.
   A.   I think the sources, as it were, have a right of veto on
        what one can and what one cannot say.
   Q.   Express.
   A.   But within the area that is covered by the sources that
        you use, there is, of course, scope for some disagreement.
   Q.   You have done a certain amount of research into the Nazi
        period, have you not?
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   This was not originally your speciality, was it?
        Originally, you came from a different era of history?
   A.   Yes, I have researched on eras of the 19th and 20th
   Q.   For some reason the Nazi era is a profitable era of
        research if one writes books?  I do not mean this in any
        sense as a criticism.
   A.   Well, I have to say the only book that I have done that is

.          P-33

        based on archival research on the Nazi period, a book
        called "Rituals of Retribution" on the issue of capital
        punishment in Germany since the 17th century, has sold
        very badly.  It is far too long and I am told that Penguin
        regard it as something of an albatross.
   Q.   It contains acres of sludge, does it?
   A.   I would not describe it as sludge myself, no.
   Q.   But I know the temptation.  Is it true one finds documents
        that oneself finds fascinating, but the readers probably
        do not?
   A.   Well, I think its length has daunted an English language
        readership.  It is about to appear in German and I think
        Germans are less daunted by very lengthy books.  But it
        does cover 300 years of history in a major area and not a
        handful of years.  It does cover a large subject.
   Q.   I have a confession to make, Professor Evans.  I had not
        heard of you before you were actually nominated as a
        witness in this case.  This is not a criticism in any
        sense at all, and I wondered where on earth I could get a
        copy of your book.  Then I found a copy of your book
        actually on my desk.  Somebody actually sent it to me
        months earlier.  I looked through it, and probably rather
        the same as you looked through my book "Hitler's War", you
        have never read my book "Hitler's War" from cover to cover
        except when this trial began, is that right?
   A.   That is true, yes.

.          P-34

   Q.   You state in your expert report that you picked it up once
        and leafed through it, is that right?
   A.   That is right, yes.  It was not really essentially on
        areas with which I was concerned.
   Q.   At that time you were not dealing with the Third Reich or
        with Adolf Hitler or with the decision-making processes?
   A.   Only in terms of teaching.  I have been teaching courses
        on the Third Reich for some years.
   Q.   And it would never have occurred to you to put my book on
        the list of recommended works?
   A.   Not really.  I think it is more concerned with military
        history than anything else.  I do not know if you would
        accept that.
   Q.   And the courses that are taught in universities and
        colleges do not cover military history, is that correct?
   A.   Some do, but not the courses that I teach.
   Q.   In looking at the book, did it occur to you that I had had
        access to sources that no other historians had had, and
        that this might, therefore, have made it valuable for
        teaching courses?
   A.   As I have said, I mean, the sources -- of course, it
        occurred, of course, it was clear to me that you had a
        justified reputation for obtaining sources which other
        historians had not had access to, but these sources and
        your treatment of them were not, I felt, really useful for
        the kind of teaching that I was doing on the Third Reich.

.          P-35

   Q.   Can I ask the witness to be given one of these little
        bundles, please, Miss Rogers?  I am purely using you,
        Professor Evans, now as a means of getting this document
        before his Lordship.  Are you familiar with the Internet?
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   Do you ever use the Internet?
   A.   Occasionally, yes.  I have to say not very extensively.
   Q.   I am going to ask you at this stage to look at the first
        document, but you can leaf through if you wish.  Are you
        familiar with the H Net which is an aspect of the
        Internet, a kind of communication between experts?
   A.   Not very, I have to say.
   Q.   And that there are various H Nets.  There is H Net,
        Anti-Semitism and so on?
   A.   H German, and so on, yes.
   Q.   Are you familiar, Professor, with a Dr David Aaron Meyer,
        who is the Associate Professor of History and who runs the
        particular discussion group on the Internet called H
   A.   At Dickinson State University?
   Q.   Yes.
   A.   I am not, no.
   Q.   He expresses an opinion in his e-mail to me dated August
        23rd last year in which he says, "I have been familiar
        with your works for a very long time", meaning my works,
         "and find them exceptionally well written and

.          P-36

        researched".  Would you share his opinion?
   A.   No.

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