The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day024.16

Archive/File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day024.16
Last-Modified: 2000/07/24

   Q.   I am anxious to hear your opinion about it because it
        appears to be significant.
   A.   Yes.  I think these are two significant and important

.          P-138

   Q.   Yes.  Let me float a hypothesis past you, Dr Longerich.
        Does this indicate to you that Jeckeln has acted outside
        the authority that he believed he had to kill Jews?
   A.   I think this is a fair assumption.  I think this is
        absolutely possible.  Also, I find it quite striking, if
        this is right, if Jeckeln is actually responsible for the
        murder of 6,000 people, what is the consequence of that?
        Is he then court martialled?  Or he is thrown out of the
        SS?  No.  He got a nasty letter.
   Q.   A rap across the knuckles?
   A.   Yes.  That is all he got.  Then he had dinner with Himmler
        on the 4th and that is it, obviously.  It was probably a
        violation of the guidelines but it was not seen as a kind
        of severe disobedience, a lapse or something like that.
   Q.   These were just Jews, were they not?  They were German
        Jews but just Jews?
   A.   That is probably true, yes.  That is definitely true.
   Q.   I think no one disputes the fact that this is a gangster
        state and these are gangsters amongst themselves are they not?
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   Did the killings then stop for a while as far as German
        Jews were concerned?
   A.   As far as we know, the killing on a large scale, mass
        executions, stopped in Riga until a couple of months,

.          P-139

        until they used gas vans at the beginning of 1942.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Just in Riga or elsewhere as well?
   A.   Well, to make this quite clear, there were two waves of
        deportation, the first one to Lodz of 20,000 Jews in
        October, and the second one, they planned to deport 50,000
        people, 25,000 each to Riga and to Minsk.  They managed to
        deport about 21,000 to Riga or 24,000, and 8,000 to
        Minsk.  The general observation is that it was obviously,
        as far as I see it, not the policy to kill them all
        because we do not have mass executions at this time in
        Lodz concerning German Jews and in Riga concerning German
        Jews.  We only have these six trains in Kovno and Riga,
        and this was stopped.  It was obviously, as is said here,
        not in accordance with the guidelines given by the
        Reichssichherheitshauptamt .
   MR IRVING:  It is a strange little glimpse of history which you
        have come across now at the end of the 20th century, 55
        years or more after the events.  Is this an indication to
        you of how history is constantly in flux?
   A.   No.  These two messages confirm what we actually knew
        before.  Obviously these killings in Riga were obviously
        not in accordance with the guidelines of the
        Reichssicherheitshauptamt and now we have another
        confirmation by these two telegrams.
   Q.   Has it been very widely noised around among German
        historians that the orders came down from on high that

.          P-140

        these killings had to stop?  I have never heard it before.
   MR RAMPTON:  That is a slightly tricky way of putting that
        question.  What does Mr Irving mean by on high?
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I think that is right.  The problem is --
        I think this is what Mr Rampton is really saying -- that
        there are guidelines.  We do not know quite what the
        guidelines say.  That is the difficulty.  We cannot assume
        that the guidelines say no killing, full stop.
   MR IRVING:  I was tempted to say from the Fuhrer's
        headquarters, but then Mr Rampton would certainly have objected.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  That is a separate point.
   MR RAMPTON:  No.  Himmler was probably somewhere in that
        complex at the Wolfsschanze when the telephone call of
        30th November was made.  That is as far as one can push at
        what one might call wishful thinking.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Can I just ask the question?  There obviously
        were guidelines knocking around somewhere?
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   Do you take the view that the guidelines said no Jews,
        German Jews or any other Jews, to be killed ever?
   A.   No.
   Q.   Or what?
   A.   I have not seen these guidelines.
   Q.   No.  Nobody has.

.          P-141

   A.   I think I should not speculate on the guidelines.  As far
        as I see this, the Holocaust emerged in different phases.
        We have the Soviet Jews who were killed during the summer
        first, and then the killing was extended in the autumn of
        41 to parts of Poland and to Serbia, then in the spring
        and summer of 42 to other areas.  So the German Jews at
        this stage were deported into these ghettoes, and the
        majority of them survived until the spring of 1941.  So it
        was not policy at this moment, I think, as far as I know,
        as far as I am able to reconstruct this, to kill
        systematically German Jews on arrival in the ghettoes in
        Minsk, Riga and Lodz.  Here obviously Jeckeln, let me put
        it this way, made a mistake, which is quite difficult to
        say because it involved the death of 6,000 people.  But it
        was obviously not the policy of the
        Reichssicherheitshauptamt to kill every German Jew who was
        deported in the East at this stage.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Was it the policy to kill some of them in so
        far as you can speculate?
   A.   When this happened, as I said, there was no severe
        punishment for that.  It was not seen as a major
        violation.  It was seen as a minor incident.
   MR IRVING:  That is a different matter, whether it was
        punishable or not.  Can I ask you to look back at page 122
        of that bundle of German documents, the same one?  It is
        another decode.

.          P-142

   A.   Yes.
   Q.   Now this one you may also have seen in view of the fact
        that I found it in the PRO and brought it to the attention
        of the court.  It concerns the shipment of train loads of Jews.
   A.   Where are we?
   Q.   Page 122 of the bundle of documents.  It concerns whether
        there was a homicidal intention already in store for the
        train loads of Jews being sent out of Germany.  This is a
        train load of Jews.  It is a telegram.  I will ask you
        just to read it first and then I will ask you some questions.
   A.   This is the first train to Kovno.  The people were all
        killed in Kovno.
   Q.   Thank you for telling us.  That is very interesting to
        know that.  This is the train load on November 17th 1941,
        6.25 p.m., the transport train number DO, presumably that
        is Deutschland Ost, 26th, has left Berlin for Kovno with
        944 Jews on board, details of what the transport escort
        is.  Then it says the transport has been provided with
        3,000 kilograms of bread, 27 hundred kilograms of flour,
        and various other things, which indicates that they were
        going to have enough food for the journey and some.
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   There is another telegram, I am not sure if it is in this
        bundle or not, Miss Rogers will know, which actually says

.          P-143

        they are going to be taking their Gerat with them.
   A.   Tools.
   Q.   Their tools or appliances?
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   Does that imply they anticipated the people sending them,
        anticipated they were going to be going to a new life, if
        I can put it that way?
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  We had this this morning, you got the answer
        you wanted.  They were lured into thinking that they were
        going to a new life in the East.
   MR IRVING:  Very well, but am I right now, Dr Longerich, you
        said that this particular train load, which was referred
        to here, which I did not know, I have to confess, ended up
        being murdered?
   A.   The first five trains to Riga were diverted to Kovno and
        these are the trains where the people were killed, and the
        first train to Riga as well.  If I am not completely
        mistaken, I am pretty sure the people on this train were killed.
   Q.   So would this indicate a totally chaotic situation?  The
        people in Germany who were sending them out, assume they
        are going to need tools and bread for a new life, whereas
        the people who received them, bumped them off as they arrived?
   A.   Again, the tools and the food was provided by the Jewish community.

.          P-144

   Q.   That is neither here nor there, is it, really?
   A.   It was provided by the Jewish communities, so the Jewish
        communities were assuming that, as a kind of solidarity
        with the people who were deported, they had to provide
        them with enough food and tools to survive the first days
        and maybe to build up new homes.  I cannot draw from the
        fact that these trains were provided with food and tools,
        I am not able to draw any conclusions as far as the
        motives and aims of the Gestapo was concerned.  It refers
        to the Jewish communities in Germany, what they thought it
        was appropriate to do.
   Q.   Yes, but ----
   A.   The SS or the police did not provide the trains with food
        from their own stocks.
   Q.   Yes.  I now take you to page 124.  That is the other
        message I was referring to, where they are being sent with
        the food and the money and the appliances.
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   This is a message from the SS, is it not, in Bremen to the
        commander of the police in Riga, saying, we are sending
        all these people with this food and with these appliances?
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   Is a reasonable inference, reading that, that the people
        in Bremen assumed that they were not just carrying all
        this stuff as camouflage, because they were going to be
        bumped off when they got there?  The people in Bremen had

.          P-145

        no idea they were going to their deaths?
   A.   The Gestapo, you mean?
   Q.   The people who sent this message.
   A.   I do not know.  I am really cautious to draw this
        conclusion from this document.  They are just saying the
        Jews are coming and they are bringing money and tools and
        food with them.  I have to see if it survives the internal
        correspondence of the Gestapo in Bremen.  I would not simply agree.
   Q.   Would not the least perverse interpretation to be put on
        this message be that it is an innocent message from the
        people in Bremen, saying we are sending a train load of a
        thousand people who are members of the chosen race, with
        all their food and appliances, and they are arriving at
        such and such a time, and so on?  Any other interpretation
        is pure speculation.
   A.   Every interpretation here is I think speculation.  The
        money, for instance:  Do you think this is money from the
        Gestapo in Bremen to buy food for the Jews in Riga?
        I would think the money is taken from the Jewish community
        and it goes into the pockets of the Gestapo.  I see this
        document here and I cannot follow your line of
   Q.   I am not interpreting it.  I am just reading what it says.
   A.   Yes.  So it says that this train was sent to Riga and did
        they have money and food and tools on the trains?  That is

.          P-146

        what I can read from the document.
   Q.   Yes.  I think, unless your Lordship has another question
        to ask about these decodes, we can move on.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Not for me.
   Q.   We now move either onwards or backwards, whichever way you
        look at it, to the 16th July 1941 conference between
        Hitler and Rosenberg on the policing of the Eastern
        territories.  Did you use the diary of Otto Brottigan?
   A.   I used part of it which is printed in a German edition.
   Q.   Did you not look at my original diary which is in the
        Institute of History?  I donated the entire diary to the
        Institute of History.
   A.   Yes.  I used the one which is printed and commented.
   Q.   I am not sure how much of it is printed but the
        handwritten diary describes the atmosphere of rivalry
        between Rosenberg and Hitler, and Rosenberg coming out
        full of glee because he had got all that he wanted.
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   There is this typical jealous going on at the top level
        inside the hierarchy of Third Reich.
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   You agree that in that entire meeting of 16th July 1941
        the word "Jew" was not even mentioned?  So it is not very
        important from our point of view, except for establishing
        the hierarchy in occupied Eastern Russia?

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