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Shofar FTP Archive File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day020.05

Archive/File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day020.05
Last-Modified: 2000/07/24

   Q.   All I am trying to get from you is a concession that the
        Commissart order issued by the German High Command of the
        armed forces was a military document concerned with
        military measures and that it did not convey a clear and
        overriding intent to kill the Jews as such?
   A.   It is, no, it is an order that Red Army Commissarts will
        be killed.  There were orders issued to that effect in
        its -- I mean, it is very hard to describe that as a
        military order in the sense that it did not seem to me, or
        to most historians, there to be any military justification
        for it.  It is a political act.
   Q.   The simple question there is were they being killed as
        Commissarts or as Jews?
   A.   As Commissarts.  The Jews are a separate matter in these
   Q.   And do you accept that at this time the Soviet Union was
        not a signatory of the Geneva Convention on
        prisoners-of-war and, therefore, the Germans had no
        obligation whatsoever to treat their prisoners properly?
   A.   That is a rather different matter, Mr Irving, and

.          P-38

        issuing an order to the Army to kill Red Army
        is a very different matter from simply not treating
   Q.   Well, you accept that when nations become belligerent,
        they have a choice that they can make, they can agree
        sides, they can become signatories and parties of a
        convention like the Geneva Convention on treatments of
        prisoners-of-war, and the Soviet Union had
        opted out of it and, therefore, at no time opted into
        so the Soviet Union, legally speaking, Soviet
        could not expect to be treated as prisoners-of-war
and, in
        fact, nor could German prisoners be expected to be
        as prisoners-of-war?
   A.   Well, if you are advancing that argument as an excuse
        justification for the order to the Germany Army to
        all the Red Army Commissarts found and for the
        killing of between 3 and 4 million Soviet prisoners-of-
        by the Germans, then I do not think it is a very
        justification or excuse.
   Q.   Did you hear me express it in those terms as an
   A.   That seemed to me what you were saying.
   Q.   Was I not, in fact, just taking up the point you made
        before I mentioned the Geneva Conventions in which you
        referred to the illegal killing of these Commissarts?
   A.   You have lost me, I am afraid.
   Q.   In paragraph 12 you refer to Holocaust denier, Paul

.          P-39

        Rassinier, and on the following page, the first line
        page of 140, you refer to Austin App?
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   Why do you refer to these people?  Is it not totally
        irrelevant to bring in all these names of people?
   A.   No.  I am suggesting here that these are familiar --
        arguments you are putting forward are familiar
        from well-known Holocaust deniers, advanced by many
        Holocaust deniers.
   Q.   Unless his Lordship disagrees, what possible relevance
        does that have to this case that other writers have
        strange views?
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Very, very marginal, in my view, so we
        move on.
   MR IRVING:  In other words, I need not prepare to address
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  No, you do not.
   MR IRVING:  We do, however, on this point come to the
        matter of the allegation by me that the Holocaust
story in
        part is an echo of our own propaganda.  My Lord, I do
        think we have dealt with this allegation before, have
        in this court?
   MR IRVING:  It is quite an intricate allegation, and,
        you disagree with this.  Can we take it in stages?  Do
        agree that the Allies at any time started making
        propaganda broadcasts to Germany with references to

.          P-40

        extermination of the Jews?
   A.   Yes.  I certainly agree with that.
   Q.   Can you put a rough date on when these broadcasts
   A.   Sometime in 1942.
   Q.   Sometime in 1942?
   A.   As I recall.
   Q.   Have you read the memoirs -- do you know who Thomas
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   Was he a famous German novelist?
   A.   Indeed.
   Q.   Author of I think "Wooden Brooks" and various other --
   A.   Yes, that is right.
   Q.   --- famous novels?  Where was he during World War II?
   A.   He was in the United States.
   Q.   In the United States.  Was he engaged by the Allies as
   A.   That, I am not sure about, but he certainly did make
        broadcasts, yes.
   Q.   Have you read his memoirs and his own diary?
   A.   No.
   Q.   If I put to you either now or later passages from the
        Thomas Mann diary of 1941 in which he describes making
        broadcasts relating to -- here we are ----
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  In a way, Mr Irving, you have got your
        because Professor Evans has agreed that there were

.          P-41

        propaganda broadcasts from 1942 about the
extermination of
        the Jews.
   MR IRVING:  I was going to bring you back to 1941.  It may
        completely immaterial, my Lord, but -- in January 1942
        Thomas Mann broadcast the following words in German:
         "[German - document not provided] "400 Young Dutch
        have been brought to Germany to be used as
        objects for poison gas in January 1942".  Can you
        that if he writes that in his diary as a propaganda
        broadcast that he made that there was such a
   A.   Well, could I see a copy, please?
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Do we need to take terribly long?  This
        actually 1942, not 1941, but you have got your answer
        there was propaganda use being made of the alleged
        extermination of Jews.
   MR IRVING:  Right.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  From, at any rate, 1942.
   MR IRVING:  Buttressed with three more sources but we will
        go into detail, my Lord.  Have you heard of the
        Ringlebloom diary.
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   Will you accept that Ringlebloom makes reference in
        1942 in the ghetto to receiving broadcasts about the
        extermination of Jews with poison gas?
   A.   Yes, I will accept that.
   Q.   If you have read my Goebbels biography, as no doubt

.          P-42

        have for the purposes of this case, will you agree
        the German Propaganda Ministry monitored a wave of
        propaganda broadcast in November 1942 referring to the
        gassing, mass gassing, of Germans?
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   In other words, they were Nazi monitoring reports of
        BBC.  You yourself, Professor, are an expert because
        have written a box on the subject, have you not, of
        wartime morale, of the reports?  I think you wrote a
        did you not, on the subject of reports on public
   A.   No, no.  I think the book you are thinking of covered
        years 1892 to 1914.
   Q.   So this is the wrong war?  In other words ----
   A.   It is not even the war at all.  It is before the First
        World War, I am afraid.
   Q.   So you are not familiar with the SD reports or with
        letter intercept reports or anything like that on
        public knowledge?
   A.   Slightly familiar, but I would not say that I was a
        expert on them.  I mean, I know what the SD reports
        I have read a few of them, but I am in no sense a real
        expert on them.
   Q.   Yes, you are absolutely right.  I am wrong.  Your book
        was [German] was it not?  So you have not read any of
        corresponding reports on German public morale, public

.          P-43

        opinion, that were gathered by the Gestapo or by the
        Propaganda Ministry in the war years?
   A.   Only those which were cited in publication of other
        scholars and one or two in the original, but I have
        read them thoroughly.
   Q.   How much talk was there in Germany during the war
years of
        gas chambers, do you think, in public or in private?
   A.   I think that is very difficult to say.  We have to
        remember that there was a great deal of secrecy
        surrounding them.  I think there was a fair amount of
        about shootings behind the Eastern Front, but of
course it
        was against the law, and punished severely, if you
        news about what was going on in concentration camps or
        extermination camps in Germany.
   Q.   Given that the BBC made -- I am going to keep this
        brief -- repeated broadcasts during 1942 about the
        atrocities, and about the extermination of Jews, and
        gas chambers, even before the gas chambers began
        on a large scale ----
   MR RAMPTON:  Wait a minute.  If Professor Evans is to deal
        that, Mr Irving must give some precise dates.  One
        remembers evidence is that the evidence is that
        started killing people in gas trucks 8th December
        and that the three Reinhardt camps were in full
        during the summer 1942.  I think we need some dates.
   MR IRVING:  With respect, Mr Rampton, I think, in view of

.          P-44

        fact that Professor Evans has stated himself that he
        not an expert on this matter ----
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  No, Mr Irving, that will not do, will it?
        You cannot put a question which has as its premise a
        misstatement about the date when gas chambers began
        operating.  That is the point that Mr Rampton is
        making.  It does not impinge on that objection that
        Professor Evans may not himself be an expert.  If you
        going to ask that question, and it is a relevant
        you must premise it correctly.
   MR IRVING:  I was really trying to save the court time.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  That will not do either, Mr Irving, if I
        say so.
   MR IRVING:  It will certainly take time for me to look up
        actual dates and references and I do not want to take
        the court's time shuffling papers.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Can I reformulate it for you and try and
        help?  Or would you rather do it yourself?  Do it
   MR IRVING:  Your Lordship is much better reformulating
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  No.  I think I must not interfere too
   A.   Can I say that what is at issue here are Mr Irving's
        statements that "the British Intelligence Service
        suggested a propaganda campaign against Germany on the
        basis of invented allegations of gas chambers", or

.          P-45

        quote at the top of page 141, "The story that the
        are using gas chambers for the mass extermination of
        is, so and so on forth, psychological warfare, etc,
        the cabinet this is a lie that we ourselves had
        invented."  That is really what is at issue.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I follow that.
   MR IRVING:  This is very helpful.  In fact, the witness has
        been very helpful and this helps me to zero in on the
        particular matter.  Witness, will you therefore go
        straightforward to page 148 of your report?  You are
        quoting here from a clip of Foreign Office documents,
        you not?
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   In the Public Record Office.  They are well-known
        documents and I am going to rely on the final
paragraph of
        page 148.  Is this document dated August 27th 1943?
   A.   Yes, that is right.
   Q.   At this time does Mr Victor Cavendish-Bentinck, who I
        think later became Lord Portland, state, "I think that
        weaken our case against the Germans by publicly giving
        credence to atrocity stories for which we have no
        evidence."  Is that right?  Does he write that?
   A.   That is what he says, yes.
   Q.   So at this time in August 1943 the British had no
        of gas chambers, because that what is specifically
        talk about in this document?

.          P-46

   MR RAMPTON:  The Professor must be allowed to read the
        preceding two paragraphs that he himself has set out
        his report because that is to rip something right out
   MR IRVING:  I thought it would be helpful to go forward to
        to see what we did not know.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Let us see what the context is for what
        Cavendish-Bentinck said.
   MR IRVING:  As regards putting Poles to death in gas
        that is pretty plain, is it not here?  Here is the
        Office saying we have no evidence for this, and yet
        in 1942 they are making the propaganda broadcasts.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Mr Irving, I am just trying to read it.
        you just pause for a second (Pause for reading).  I am
        bound to say that I do think that, in fairness to
        Mr Irving, one of the things about which
        Cavendish-Bentinck is saying that there is no evidence
        available to the British at that stage is the putting
        death of Poles in gas chambers.
   MR RAMPTON:  Polish children, and the underline is in the
        original.  It is not Professor Evans.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I agree what is being talked of is
        Polish children, or selling them.  But also, as a
        topic, it seems to me a fair reading of this suggests,
        putting of Poles to death in gas chambers.

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