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Shofar FTP Archive File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day021.10

Archive/File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day021.10
Last-Modified: 2000/07/24

   A.   Page 9 is ----
   MR RAMPTON:  That is my function, Mr Irving, I am afraid.
   A.   This is a very brief telegram.
   MR IRVING:  I promise that I will interrupt your killer points.

.          P-86

   A.   May I have give a translation, my Lord?
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Yes, if the conversation in the background ceases.
   A.   This is a telegram at 2.56 a.m. on 10th November 1938 from
        the Brown House in Munich to all Gau leaderships.
   MR IRVING:  Can you translate the heading too then please?
   A.   Telegram via the propaganda writer, whatever that is.
   MR IRVING:  It is on the headed notepaper of the deputy of the
        Fuhrer, is it not?
   A.   Not in the copy I have here, no.
   Q.   In that case you had better have one of these copies then
        which is the genuine telegram.
   A.   Thank you.  That is very helpful.
   Q.   And not the version produced by the Defence.
   A.   Right.  National socialist German Workers Party.  It is
        very difficult to read this.  Is that deputy of the Fuhrer
        staff?  I am guessing.  Munich 33, 10th November.
   MR IRVING:  The office of the Deputy of the Fuhrer.
   A.   Right.  It is whited out here on my copy, I am afraid.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  There is no----
   A.   To all Gau leaderships for immediate ----
   MR IRVING:  To be put into immediate effect?
   A.   Yes, immediate effect, ordnance No. 174/38, repeat of the ----
   MR IRVING:  Repetition of the telegram of November 10th.
   A.   November 10th 1938, on the emphatic command of the all

.          P-87

        highest position.
   MR IRVING:  Acts of arson?
   A.   Acts, well, arson on Jewish shops or ----
   Q.   Businesses?
   A.   Shops or similar.
   Q.   Shop would be Larden, would it not?
   A.   No, Gescheft.  I think you yourself translated Gescheft as
        shop in the witness box, Mr Irving.
   MR RAMPTON:  That is how Mr Irving translated it when I first
        asked him to do it.
   MR IRVING:  Businesses is more precise.
   A.   No, shops, Mr Irving.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I am not sure that it makes a huge amount of
        difference, actually?
   A.   It does, my Lord, I am afraid, but still.
   Q.   I am not sure it does.
   A.   Not in this particular context.
   Q.   That is what I was talking about.
   A.   Arson and Jewish shops or the like must not ----
   MR IRVING:  Business.
   A.   -- happen.
   Q.   Establishment.
   A.   Sorry.  May I translate it, Mr Irving, please?  Arson or
        the laying of fire in Jewish shops or the like may not or
        must not take place under any circumstances and in no
        case, and so on.  That is the essence of it.

.          P-88

   Q.   Pretty emphatic, is it not?
   A.   Yes.  What it is saying is that nobody is to set light to
        Jewish shops or ----
   Q.   Businesses.
   A.   -- or similar kinds of premises.  It is not saying that
        nobody is to arrest the Jews.  It is not saying that
        nobody should smash the shops up.  It is not saying that
        nobody should smash up the apartments and houses of Jews.
   Q.   Professor, I have not asked you what it does not say.
   A.   It does not say that nobody should commit arson against
        many hundreds of synagogues which were burnt down.
   Q.   Professor, I have not asked you what it does not say.
   A.   What it does not say, Mr Irving, is extremely important.
        This is a very limited telegram which says that Jewish
        shops and similar kinds of premises are not to be set
        alight.  The reason for that is very similar, it is the
        same kind of telegram that ----
   Q.   Where does it say similar businesses?
   A.   May I finish my answer, Mr Irving, please?  It is the same
        kind of telegram that went out from Heydrich at 1.20 or
        from Muller at 11.55.  That is to say, it is saying that
        laying fire to Jewish shops at similar apartments,
        whatever it might be, is not to be allowed because of
        course it endangers the surrounding premises, which are
        owned by Germans ----
   Q.   Where does it say that?

.          P-89

   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Would you please not interrupt?
   A.   And, of course, some of these shops may well have been
        owned by Germans.  That is all it is saying.  It is very
        limited.  It does not say, "Bring the whole thing to an
        end".  That is a completely illegitimate interpretation of
        this document.
   MR IRVING:  Where does it say, "because of the danger to
        surrounding premises"?
   A.   Well, I am going back there to ----
   Q.   No, I am looking at this telegram.  Let us just look at
        one document at a time, please?
   A.   It does not say that, but that is my interpretation of the reason.
   Q.   Can we look at what it does say and not what it does not say?
   A.   Indeed, yes.
   Q.   Because that, surely, is where the evidence is?
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   It goes to all the Gauleiters, is that right?
   A.   That is right.
   Q.   What, about 48 of the senior Nazi Party officials though
        the entire country?
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   And it is telling them there are to be no acts of arson
        against Jewish Geschafte, whatever that is.  I translate
        that as "businesses".

.          P-90

   A.   Shops.
   Q.   And "der Gleichen", what does that mean?
   A.   "And similar".
   Q.   What does the "similar" mean?  Similar to businesses or
        similar to acts?
   A.   Similar to business, of course, Mr Irving.
   Q.   On what basis do you say that?  Your knowledge of German?
   A.   Because it is Geschafte oder der Gleichen.  Had it been
        "arson", it would have been "[German] Oder der
        Gleichen".  It is quite clear.  It is a shameless
        manipulation of this text to suggest that it says that
        "arson and similar acts".
   Q.   Is this based on your ----
   A.   Quite clearly not.
   Q.   --- superior knowledge of the German language?
   A.   It is based on my knowledge of the German language which
        is a good knowledge of the German language, Mr Irving.
        I am not claiming my knowledge is superior to yours.  You
        also have a very good knowledge of the German language.
        That is why I say this is a shameless manipulation of the
        text.  It is not due to mere ignores.
   Q.   It would be useful if you could keep your answers a little
        bit shorter and more to the point.
   A.   I know you do not like what I am saying, Mr Irving, but
        I shall say what I want to unless I am told not to by his

.          P-91

   Q.   Otherwise Mr Rampton will complain about the expense
        again.  That is why I am trying to keep these answers
        brief.  If it says "Brandlegungen an Judenschen Geschaften
        oder der Gleichen", and you say that if the word "der
        Gleichen" was going to refer to the "Brandlegungen", then
        it would have to go immediately after "Brandlegungen".
   A.   Yes.
   Q.  "Brandlegungen oder der Gleichen an Judenschen
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   But then that would make nonsense, would it not?
   A.   No.
   A.   Why?
   MR IRVING:  Because all you could do with the businesses as an
        object would be to set them on fire or to demolish them or
        whatever, whereas my contention is that the "der Gleichen"
        refers to acts of arson and the "der Gleichen" refers to
        other actions being carried out during that night which
        can amount to all sorts of different things.
   MR IRVING:  Well, whatever was going on that night, my Lord.
        We know already in great detail what was going on that
        night, the arrests, the murders, the outrageous, the
        harassment, the violence, and that ----
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  So your case is -- I am interested because I

.          P-92

        have not heard this before -----
   MR IRVING:  --- the "der Gleichen" can refer equally ----
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  That this meant that all criminal, violent
        activities should stop, although it refers to arson?  Your
        case, Mr Irving?
   MR IRVING:  I was hoping that we had Mr Rampton's undivided
   MR RAMPTON:  I am just having confirmation from a German
        speaker behind me of your Lordship's interpretation.
   MR IRVING:  Are you wishing to give evidence, Mr Rampton,
        because, if so, perhaps we ought to wait until we have a
        German in the witness box who we can cross-examine
        properly on this matter.  No doubt we will when the time
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  But I asked you a question.
   MR IRVING:  My contention is (and I am putting this to this
        witness) that it is equally possible that "der Gleichen"
        refers either to the businesses or to the "Brandlegungun",
        if I can put it like that?
   A.   That is absolutely ridiculous.  It is a completely
        illegitimate misinterpretation and manipulation of this
   Q.   Very well.  We have your answers.  In your considered
        view, that is an impossible interpretation?
   A.   That is right.  I have already said it would have been
         "Brandlegungen oder der Gleichen an Judenschen

.          P-93

        Geschaften" because it says "Brandlegungen an Judenschen
        Geschaften oder der Gleichen".  "Der Gleichen" refers to
        Judenschen Geschaften".
   Q.   You are ploughing once again the depths of your
        considerable knowledge of the German language, "alle
        hochste Stelle", to whom does that refer?
   A.   That must refer to Hitler.
   Q.   That must refer to Adolf Hitler.  There is no question
        about that then.
   A.   It would seem that ----
   Q.   It is not a janitorial level order then, this one?
   A.   No, no.
   Q.   This comes from the very top man.
   A.   No.  Hitler is saying here, "Go ahead with burning down
        synagogues.  Go ahead with wrecking Jewish shops and
        smashing up the interiors.  Go ahead with arresting 20,000
        people.  Go ahead with smashing up Jewish apartments,
        destroying the furniture, chucking it out of the window,
        throwing some of the inhabitants out of the window.  Go
        ahead with all of that, but don't commit arson on Jewish
        shops or similar premises".
   Q.   You read all of that out of these three lines, do you?
   A.   Yes.  I think what is omitted from here is more
        significant in a way than what is in here.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I am looking at a document you do not have,
        Professor -- well, you have it but you are not looking at

.          P-94

        it -- and it has got "Brandlegungen an Judenschen
        Geschaften" underlined.  Is that in the version you are
        looking at?  Is it underlined?
   A.   Mr Irving's version is not underlined.
   Q.   So somebody has done that later is the point?
   MR IRVING:  Effectively, yes, my Lord.  I should amplify that
        the version which is here is originally a negative copy
        which is in the files of the Berlin Document Centre and
        there is no question as to its authenticity.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  No, I accept that.
   MR IRVING:  Professor, have you ever seen this document
        reproduced or printed or quoted at any time before
        I published it in my work in 1977?  Has any German
        historian or non-German historian deigned to use this
   A.   Not to my knowledge.
   Q.   Is there any reason why an orders from the very highest
        level, in other words, from Adolf Hitler to all
        the Gauleiters concerning the Reichskristallnacht should
        have been suppressed in this manner if it was so innocent,
        as you suggest, if it just fits in with the general pattern?
   A.   I do not know that it was suppressed, Mr Irving.  I cannot
   Q.   Well, there appeared to be at least two different copies
        of it in existence, the one which the Defence provided and

.          P-95

        my different version, so I found it easily enough.  So is
        there any reason you can suggest why historians have been
        embarrassed about it and have preferred not to use it?
   A.   I do not think it is true that historians have been
        embarrassed about it.  There is nothing to be embarrassed
        about here at all.  It fits in perfectly well into the
        other documents we have from that same disastrous and
        ghastly evening.

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