The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day025.04

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Last-Modified: 2000/07/25

MR IRVING:  Embezzling, corruption?
A.  Corruption.  "Corruption" is the key word here.  These
  things played a role in the particular circumstance in
  these camps, I mean, it is clearly that the SS did not

. P-46

  prosecute Koch because he was killing prisoners.  This was
  not, I mean, we have extraordinary, I mean, kommandants of
  concentration camps like, for instance, Ikant(?),
  extremely cruel and sadistic persons, but they were not
  prosecuted because they were killing prisoners in the camp.
Q.  Was Rudolf Hoess, the Kommandant of Auschwitz, under
  investigation by the Conrad Morgan also?
A.  I do not recall this now.
MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Well, even if he was, did anything happen to
  him as a result of Morgan's investigation?
MR IRVING:  My Lord, the witness said he does not know.
MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I was just wondering what the point of the
  question was.
MR IRVING:  I know, but, I mean, I cannot really give evidence
  on that.
MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Well, again I am not really sure you are
  putting your case.  Are you suggesting, Mr Irving, and
  please say so if you are ----
MR IRVING:  This was going to be the next question.
MR JUSTICE GRAY:  --- please listen to the question.  That the
  SS conducted a serious investigation and anyone who was
  found to have illegitimately killed any inmate in any
  concentration camp was punished by the SS.  Is that the
MR IRVING:  A number of the Kommandants were prosecuted and

. P-47

  severely punished for carrying out wild killings.
A.  May I draw the attention to this document, to the
  statistics.  We have here the initials of Heinrich
  Himmler, and statistics say that we have a death rate in
  the camp in the second half of 1942 of 8.5 per cent in
  July, 10 per cent in August, more than 10 per cent in
  September.  So Himmler was prepared to accept this high
  death rates with his own initials here.  So he knew about
  it and he then, well, tried in a way to keep the death
  rate down to a certain extent.  But, as we said, as we
  heard, you know, they accepted at a success, you know,
  actually to keep the monthly rate down from 10 to 8 per
  cent.  So this is a kind of...
MR IRVING:  Dr Longerich, you are not suggesting that these are
  homicidal killings, are you?  These statistics here are
A.  I think killings are always -- I mean, I think a killing
  is a killing.
Q.  These are people who died from the reasons stated in the
  covering letter, bad conditions?
A.  But there is something like a system of concentration camp
  invented by the Nazis in the 1930s and ----
Q.  Now, this is the word that I was going to pick on before  ----
MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I think you interrupted the witness.  Just
  finish your answer.

. P-48

A.  Here, this system was more and more, well, they worked on
  this system and elaborated the system.  They introduced
  this idea of extermination through work at the beginning
  of 1942.  So it was actually -- the purpose of the
  concentration camp was not to keep prisoners alive and to,
  like -- the purpose of the concentration camp here was,
  clearly, to put people to death and to use their ability
  to work for a certain period of time.  This is the idea
  behind this system.  It was not, you cannot compare it
  with a prison or anything in a civilized country.
MR IRVING:  Now, I want to ask two questions, one of which
  I was about to ask when his Lordship ----
MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Asked you not to interrupt the witness.
MR IRVING:  No, I am one stage before that actually.
MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Yes, anyway, ask it now.
MR IRVING:  The first question -- the second question is going
  to be about your system.  The first question -- oh, dear!
  Winston Churchill once said, "Never say there are three
  important things".  I was going to ask about system.  You
  have used the word "system".  Does not what I said about
  Conrad Morgan indicate that the whole system was
  ramshackle from start to finish?  If I can ask you to
  recall that yesterday we saw that Jackeln had obviously
  overstepped the guidelines and he is called back to
  headquarters, but he does get some mild reprimand.  He is
  sent back and nothing else happens.  Is this not an

. P-49

  indication of a totally ramshackle system with lack of any
  real discipline?
A.  Well, I do not feel very happy in this situation.  I think
  if you want to discuss seriously, let us say, the limits
  of the system that Conrad Morgan saw, then we have to
  discuss the document, we have to read, for instance, the
  evidence about, you know, in Koch's case and so on.  But
  I am not really prepared to make these general statements
  about single incidents.  You see, I do not have the
  evidence in front of me.  I am not prepared to do it.
  There was no indication that I ----
Q.  You are quite right.  I am not going to ask you about
  things you do not know about because that would not help
  the court.
A.  Yes, but the system, the SS, as you are trying to say
  here, the idea that the SS had their own, had their own
  disciplinary measures, and they, of course, punished at
  the concentration camps, this has to be seen in a context,
  and I am very unhappy about the idea that I should comment
  on that without actually having a chance to look at the
  wordings and so on.
Q.  Very well.  Let me ask you about this phrase you have used
  twice this morning now, "vernichtung durch
  Arbeit", destruction by labour?
A.  Yes.
Q.  You have referred to this on several occasions.  Have you

. P-50

  produced any documents at all in your report where that
  phrase actually occurs or is it just a deduction you make?
A.  No.
Q.  An inference?
A.  My report is not about particularly this issue.  I think
  I mentioned it somewhere in my report, I am not sure here,
  but we have documentary evidence from Himmler in his
  writings to Pohl and to -- that this system was introduced
  at the beginning of 1942.
Q.  But you do not actually reference it in your report.
A.  At the moment, I would have to look at my report, whether
  this is here.
Q.  I did actually look for it.
A.  You see, this is a different system separate from the
  killings, separate from the extermination by gas.  This is
  actually what happens to the prisoners which were sent
  into the camps actually fit for work, and then they used
  him for a couple of months, a couple of weeks and a couple
  of months and then they sent them to the gas chambers.
  This is a similar, if you want to say, a subsystem of the
  whole system.  But in my report I am dealing primarily
  with mass executions, with deportations and extermination
  camps, and so on.
Q.  Dr Longerich, it does not make much sense, does it, to
  have a slave labourer who is working for you and work him
  to death so you then have to replace him with somebody

. P-51

  else because, presumably, his output drops off as he is
  dying?  Does it make sense?
A.  Well, in which way do you think it makes sense?  I do not
  understand the question.
Q.  Well, your proposition that they deliberately took a slave
  labourer for two months and said, "Work him until he drops
  and then replace him".
A.  That is what is -- actually there is a reference in the
  document you presented here when you, about the duties of
  the doctors.  They said they have to make sure the
  exchange of prisoners, this is exactly the process.  They
  fought a war of racist extermination, so they ----
Q.  Well, so we hear, yes.
A.  --- one of their main aims in this war was to exterminate
  the Jews in Europe, and they used this as one of the
  methods, and they worked on the assumption that they had
  enough slave labourers at their disposal, and if they had
  exhausted this source, they would use, from their
  perspective, they would use other sources of slave labour,
  like, for instance, the Russians or Poles and so on.  They
  work on the assumption that they had, there was an
  abundance, you know, there was an endless number of slave
  labourers who they could force to work for them.  But this
  is an irrational and completely wrong assumption, but it
  is still they are working on this assumption.
Q.  My problem is, Dr Longerich, and this was the reason for

. P-52

  the question I asked you, that you make this very bold and
  adventurous statement about a deliberate plan to
  exterminate by hard labour, and yet you have not actually
  produced any reference documents or sources to enable us
  to establish whether ----
A.  Well, you have forced me in a way to make ----
Q.  --- that is your conclusion?
A.  Yes, sorry, but you forced me in a way to make those
  adventures and bold statements because you put in front of
  me some documents and asked me for general statements, and
  my statements may not -- may be adventurous, they may be
  very general, but this is the result of this kind of
In my report, as far as I see, I dealt with the
  programme of exterminations and mass executions and
  deportations into extermination camps, not with this
  particular aspect.
Q.  Dr Longerich, in your report, you do on at least two
  occasions use the phrase "extermination by labour" -
  Vernichtung durch Arbeit - and you do not give any
  references for this ----
A.  Then let us go to the ----
Q.  So we do not know if it is your phrase or a wartime
A.  "Vernichtung durch Arbeit" is a wartime phrase --
  extermination through labour.

. P-53

Q.  But you do not give any references for it in your report;
  that is the problem we have.
A.  We have to look at the pages are you referring to.
Q.  Can we now go to your report and we will perhaps stumble ----
MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Let us find the reference to "extermination
  by labour".
MR IRVING:  I am sure Mr Rampton's staff would have found it a
  long ago, if it was referenced.
MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I expect that Dr Longerich probably remembers
  where it is:  Do you Dr Longerich?
A.  Not at the moment.
MR IRVING:  I have to take care that these slogans do not embed
  themselves in the court's subconsciousness without any
  archival basis.
A.  Well, in the conclusion, I refer in my report in ----
MR RAMPTON:  Can I interrupt, please?
MR RAMPTON: It is page 77 of the second part of the report.
MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Thank you very much.
A.  Yes.  This is the conclusion of my report.  So in my
  report I am trying to explain the systematic character of
  the killings, and I am trying to explain the emergence of
  the programme.  So I think that in the last section of
  this, I am referring to, well actually the machinery of
  mass murder and full operation from 1942 onwards.  I base

. P-54

  my comments here, on my writing here on generally
  well-accepted work, because I thought it was not something
  which is really disputed among historians.
We also had an expert witness on Auschwitz here
  who actually was able to fully explain the system.  So
  I think that this idea, that prisoners in the camps were
  systematically worked to death, is something which is not
  disputed by historians in this field.
MR IRVING:  There is a general ----
MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Mr Irving has put before you this morning
  documents showing an overall mortality rate of 10 per cent
  in all the concentration camps.  Does that say anything to
  you, Dr Longerich, about what was intended to go on there?
A.  Yes, this is exactly what I mean.  It is an extremely high
  rate of death and, as we learn from the other document, it
  was a task of the doctors to make sure there was a proper
  exchange of prisoners.  So this is a machinery to put
  prisoners to death by work.
MR IRVING:  My Lord, I am indebted to you for reminding me of
  the documents because, of course, is this right,
  Dr Longerich, the documents do refer purely to
  nourishment, proper nourishment, proper medication, proper
  clothing ----
A.  Yes.
Q.  --- and not being made to stand in these ridiculous three-
  or four hour-long parades and so on?

. P-55

A.  Yes.  I stated this before that, in the document about the
  duties of concentration camps, it is quite clear that it
  is not the duty of the doctor to care for the welfare.
Q.  Just so that it is a matter of record, Dr Longerich, page
  77, where you used the phrase annihilation through labour,
  you give no reference, do you?
MR RAMPTON:  I was going to interrupt because that is a false
  point, too.  On page 89, three lines up from the bottom,
  there is, in the bibliography, a reference to a book by
  Ham and Keienburg called Vernichtung durch Arbeit: Der
  Fall Neungamma von 1990.
MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Yes, thank you.
A.  I think I made it clear in this final section of the
  report that the annihilation through labour is part of the
  extermination system.  I was trying to explain the system
  in a kind of summary because I think that, from 1942
  onwards, it is absolutely not possible to dispute that
  there was such a system for extermination.
MR IRVING:  Can we be absolutely specific and make quite plain
  for the record that this phrase Vernichtung durch Arbeit
  is not a wartime phrase used by SS, but is a title of a
  post-war book, a secondary source on which you relied, is that right?
A.  No, this is one of the major studies about this problem
  and it refers to a wartime phrase which was currently used
  among the SS.

. P-56

Q.  You have not referenced the actual wartime document, you
  just referenced somebody's secondary source, the title of a book?
A.  My report tries to explain how this system of systematic
  murder was built up.  Maybe it was mistake, and also you
  did not have the chance to ask me for more evidence for
  that a month ago, it was not my intention here to explain
  in great detail the existing system of extermination after
  1942, because I thought that this is something which is
  generally acknowledged and there is no major dispute about that.
I am trying to explain that the building up of
  the system mainly through the years 1940, 1941 and 1942.
  Then the system is in operation and the annihilation
  through work is one aspect of this system.  I am referring
  to second-hand literature.  I did not go into detail here;
  I am just referring to general works on this topic in
  which this is described in full detail.
Q.  If there had been one document referred to that secondary
  literature, which was particularly tempting because it
  used that actual phrase, you would no doubt have drawn our
  attention to it, would you not?
A.  As I said, this is a summary, this is not the main purpose
  of this report.  I actually I wrote a book on the policy
  of destruction.  I had a chapter on this matter in the book.

. P-57

Q.  So you are all feeding upon each other, all the historians
  are just feeding upon each other.
A.  This is a research process and, of course, you rely, in
  your central parts of argumentation, on primary evidence,
  but you do not have to invent the reel every time.  This
  is why i accept that you can rely on the research of
  others, if their work is generally accepted in the
  historical profession.  This is nothing which is
Q.  Can we rely on a German historian's consensus that the
  consensus of opinion among German historians.  What
  happends to a German is ----
A.  It is an internationally well-established consensus.
Q.  What happens to a German writer who adopts a different
  position on Auschwitz in Germany today, can you tell us?
A.  You are quite free to express if you have -- as historians
  have doubts and you are quite free to express your doubts
  and to put them down in writing, I do not see what the
  consequences could be.
Q.  I do not want to labour the point, but are you familiar
  with the fact that a number of writers in Germany have
  been sent to prison for expressing these doubts?
A.  I am only aware of the fact that there is a law in
  Germany, paragraph 130 of the German penal code, which is
  against the denial of genocide.  I do not know whether you
  refer to this case, but I think if you want me to discuss

. P-58

  that, you ----
Q.  My actual question was more specific.  Were you aware that
  certain historians who have written doubts, shall we say,
  about Auschwitz and the Holocaut, have been sent to prison
  for expressing these doubts?
A.  I do not know a historian who actually wrote something on
  Auschwitz and whose works is suppressed for that.
Q.  I think we have had better start making progress on his
  report, my Lord.  On page 3 of your report, you refer to
  an SS General called Bach-Zelewski, and you referred to
  him again on page 28, 311 -- I am sorry 3.1.11.  This
  paragraph on page 28 shows General Bach-Zelewski carrying
  out the most appalling murderers and atrocities, murdering
  women and children on a huge scale, 2,208 Jews of both
  sexes and so on.
A.  In this paragraph, it is only said that one Company of the
  Police Battalion 322 Mogilev killed, according to their
  own reports, 2,208 Jews and in this town was
  Bach-Zelenski's headquarters and he was ----

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