The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day022.04

Archive/File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day022.04
Last-Modified: 2000/07/24

MR IRVING:  My problem here, my Lord, is once again the fact
that this is not the right witness to ask these questions

.  P-28

MR IRVING:  Because this was certainly the matter to be
addressed to the Holocaust witness rather than to this
witness, but he has spent a page and a half looking at
this episode, and I am just trying to deal with this
summarily.  Does he accept my account is right?
MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I think that is a very sensible question
start with actually.
A.Yes, well, turn to pages 347 and 348 of my report, and
there you will see my criticisms.
MR JUSTICE GRAY:  That should give us the reference too for
the  ...
MR IRVING:  The manipulation of statistics?
MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Can somebody find us the passage in
War?  It is not very good on its index.
A.This is also Goebbels, page 645.
MR IRVING:  Shall we just dwell on the Goebbels one which
is a
more recent one?
MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Yes.  That is page 645 or thereabouts.
MR IRVING:  Yes, the footnotes.  (To the witness):  Do you
suggest, witness, that I have given the wrong overall
total for the number of Jews killed in Riga or on this
specific day?
A.First of all, you say that on 30th November 1941 5,000

.  P-29

Jews were killed.
A.Whereas there is a documentation to indicate that
were killed and after the war the court accepted that
number was actually between 13 and 15,000.  You then
claim, when you are confronted with this evidence,
each ditch into which these unfortunate people were
dumped, shot, would have held 1 or 2,000 victims
having any evidence at all about the size of the
That is the first point.
  Then the second point is that in the main
narrative in Goebbels you do not say anything about
second massacre on 8th December.  You do, however, as
I say, in the footnotes say that 27,800 Jews are
in Riga, but you then claim that that is possibly an
Q.Can we take those two points?
A.And that is -- yes.
MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Yes, take them one by one.
MR IRVING:  Take them one at a time.  So we are now on
347 and 348?
Q.You say:  "Faced with this evidence", five lines from
bottom, right, of page 347?
Q."Faced with this evidence, Irving offers a further

.  P-30

argument".  Why do you say "faced with this evidence"?
A.Do you not mention this evidence?
Q.Did you find these documents that you referred to
in that paragraph in my discovery or are they
in my footnotes?
A.Let me just have a look.  This is the Bruns and then
is the ----
Q.The evidence for the figure of 10,600 shot on that day
which was a book published in 1989.  You have no
that I was faced with that evidence, do you?
A.What you do, what you say is that they will have held
1 or
2,000 victims each.  What you are aware of, you see,
the second -- let us leap to the second account here -
- is
that Einsatzgruppen A reported that a total of 27,800
were executed in Riga, which seems to be a pretty
estimate and that is the evidence that you are faced
Q.That is the second part of the question?
A.And are you saying that you ----
Q.And you object to the fact that I say that this is
possibly exaggerated?
A.Well, there is this -- you say that is possibly
exaggerated, yes, you try to cast doubt upon it, and
you mention the size of the ditches without mentioning
their depth.
Q.We will come back to the size of the ditches.  You
exception to the fact that I say that 27,800 is

.  P-31

exaggerated.  You are familiar with the historian
Ezergailis, the Baltic historian who is, I think we
agree, an expert on this matter?
A.Yes, I cite him in footnote 75.
Q.And at the end of that paragraph 2 you say that he has
arrived at figures of certainly almost 25,000 Jews
A.That is right, yes.
Q.So 27,800 is about 12 per cent more than that, is it
A.The estimates by the court in Hamburg is about 25 to
Q.Is Ezergailis, Andrew Ezergailis, who, as you say,
various methods of calculating the victims arrived
also at
figures of certainly almost, in other words, less
25,000 less killed?
A.Mr Irving, when you saw possibly an exaggeration, you
not mean to suggest to the reader that it might have
a couple of thousand or 2,800 less.
Q.12 per cent?
A.I think you are casting in your usual, a way that you
frequently employ, you are trying to cast a general
on these figures.  "Possibly an exaggeration" does not
mean that it is within that range of possibilities.
I think you are trying to suggest it could be a gross
MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Can we just, I am trying keep an eye on
wood rather than looking at the trees.  The first

.  P-32

criticism, if I remember what you said a few minutes
was that if anyone just read the text in Goebbels, he
would get the impression that there were only 5,000
killed.  Am I right so far?
Q.And that is page 379 of the text?
Q.I cannot find a reference to 5,000.  I can find a
reference to 4,000.
MR RAMPTON:  It is 1,000 plus 4?
A.1 plus 4.  1,000 from Berlin and 4,000 from Riga.
MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Are you saying -- Mr Irving will, no
ask you a question if you are wrong about it -- that
is no reference in the text to any more Jews having
shot at Riga than the 5,000?
A.That is right.
MR IRVING:  But the reference is there in the end notes at
back to 27,800, is that right?
A.Yes, where you frequently put embarrassing things in
footnotes hoping, no doubt, that the common reader
not consult them.
Q.Why would I put footnotes in a book if I hoped that
reader would not consult them?  Would it not just be
simpler not to put them in at all?
A.Well, it is a matter of what strategy you are adopting
try to make your work plausible to those, that
minority of

.  P-33

readers who will consult the footnotes.
Q.Which of us has the minority of readers?  Me with my
selling books or you with the 10,000?
A.That is not what I meant.
Q.The suggestion that I put footnotes in a book in the
that nobody will read them is rather implausible, is
A.No.  I think that the average reader does not consult
footnotes.  You are addressing yourself to two
as I think you yourself said under cross-examination.
are addressing yourself to the general reader, but
also to
people who have a more specialized knowledge.
Q.Will you accept that if you are writing a book which
has a
strong chronological flow and you are dealing with an
episode that in happened in November, it would be
disruptive to the reader to be told about things at
end of December and that it, therefore, makes sense to
in footnotes the overall result of this kind of murder
A.It is not the end of December, Mr Irving.  It is 8th
December.  That is a week later.
Q.Yes, but would you accept that it is confusing for ---
A.That is not a huge chronological gap.
Q.--- a reader to be ----
A.No, I will not accept it.  I think you have a duty to
an accurate estimate of the numbers killed, and not to

.  P-34

partly underestimate it and then hide the actual final
number in a footnote and cast doubt on it in a
Q.Are there better ways of hiding things than printing
things in books; you can hide them by just dropping on
floor, like the Schlegelberger document?
MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I think you have asked that question and
think you have got the answer.
MR IRVING:  I have, my Lord, and I will I move on now to
MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Yes, would you, because I have not quite
the picture on that.
MR IRVING:  Do you agree that General Bruns in his gripping
harrowing account of the mass shootings that occurred
November 30th 1941 -- you remember the girl with the
red dress that he had in his mind's eye just before
was shot?  Do you agree that he describes that there
two or three pits of a certain length and a certain
Q.And can we not calculate from that in a rough -- can
not do a check sum to work out the feasibility of
of bodies that would fit into those pits?
A.No, you cannot, unless you know the depth.
Q.How deep can a pit be dug, do you think?
A.Oh, goodness!  I mean, any depth.  I would not want to
make an estimate, I mean.

.  P-35

Q.Would you accept that I am expert in digging pits,
worked in my early years as a student as a navvi for
years in order to finance my way through university?
MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Mr Irving, come on.  You can dig a pit as
deep as you have got the energy to dig it.
MR IRVING:  My Lord, that is a very hazardous operation if
are standing at the bottom of the pit and you dig it
without any kind of shoring.  I would now draw your
Lordship's attention to one such pit which is
in the little bundle I gave you.  It is the last item
the bundle.  It provides a useful check point for the
depth that these pits go when they are only three
A.And you are saying, are you, Mr Irving, that this is
of the pits in Riga?  This is an authenticated
of one of them?
Q.This is, well, as you can tell by the British soldier
standing around with machine guns, this is probably
Bergen-Belsen or Buchenwald, where the victims of Nazi
atrocities are being buried by some of the
A.And what does that tell us about the pits in Riga,
Mr Irving?
Q.I am sorry, my Lord.  You do not have the photograph?
MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I think maybe I am missing a few pages
the back of this little clip.
MR IRVING:  This is the photograph from my collection of

.  P-36

original photographs that I have assembled over the
of Nazi atrocities.
MR JUSTICE GRAY:  What is the question?
MR IRVING:  Yes.  Do you have the photograph in front of
A.Yes.  I will take it out again.
Q.Can you give a rough estimate as to how wide and
how long that pit or, at any rate, how wide the pit
A.Mr Irving, I am not -- this is not one of the pits at
Riga.  This is no relevance whatsoever to the matter
are dealing with.
Q.It is relevant to the matter of how deep you can dig a
in circumstances like this ----
A.You can dig pit any depth you like, Mr Irving.
Q.Is that your expert evidence as a pit digger or can we
apply some common sense?
A.As it happens, I have been having my house
Mr Irving, recently ----
MR JUSTICE GRAY:  That is as may be.
A.--- and people have been digging pits and I have
them, so I do know something about digging pits.
MR IRVING:  Can I ask my Lord, did your Lordship consider
it is possible now using that photograph to make some
basic assumptions about the kind of pits and graves
were dug and whether they had layers of soil on top of
them and...
MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Put your case briefly for saying that the

.  P-37

pits could have contained -- well, put your case
MR IRVING:  Would you agree, as General Bruns describes,
ditch was 24 yards long and 3 metres wide, and if it
was 2
metres deep, that would be 144 cubic metres?
A.25 metres long and 3 metres wide?  No, I do not, no.  They
could have dug it any depth they wanted to.
Q.We will ignore that remark for the moment and continue
with this calculation, please.  Will you agree that if the
pit is 25 by 3 by 2 metres deep, for an example, it would
be 150 cubic metres?
A.I am not going to challenge your mathematics, Mr Irving,
but it really is not a very relevant question.  I do not
know how deep these pits.

Home ·  Site Map ·  What's New? ·  Search Nizkor

© The Nizkor Project, 1991-2012

This site is intended for educational purposes to teach about the Holocaust and to combat hatred. Any statements or excerpts found on this site are for educational purposes only.

As part of these educational purposes, Nizkor may include on this website materials, such as excerpts from the writings of racists and antisemites. Far from approving these writings, Nizkor condemns them and provides them so that its readers can learn the nature and extent of hate and antisemitic discourse. Nizkor urges the readers of these pages to condemn racist and hate speech in all of its forms and manifestations.