Archive/File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day004.13 Last-Modified: 2000/08/01 MR RAMPTON: You go on. I think we have to accept there were Mi Li type massacres, where SS officers, the Einsatzgruppen commanders, did machine gun hundreds, if not thousands of Jews -- oh hundreds if not thousands, sorry, I must get it right, did machine gun hundreds if not thousands of Jews into pits on the Eastern Front at Riga at Minsk and at other locations, this kind of thing did happen? A. -- I think quite clearly this is not hundreds of thousands, I mean this is... Q. It is not hundreds of thousands? . P-113 A. I mean the evidence I have given is quite clearly we are talking about hundreds of thousands, not just hundreds or thousands in cases ---- Q. We do not need the hundreds, do we? A. Hundreds of thousands. MR JUSTICE GRAY: I think Mr Irving is saying it is a misprint or whatever the word is he said and what he meant was hundreds of thousands not if not thousands? A. Because if at this meeting I have read out the Bruns' report where alone several thousand people were machine gunned into one pit one could not talk about hundreds. MR RAMPTON: This is one of these speeches, presentations lectures, I do not know, that you will have approved before it went into print in this whatever it is? A. This is correct, yes. Q. Yes. Never mind, it is a small point. A. Yes. Q. The main point is this, Mr Irving, this is another statement in exactly the same vein as the statements you made at Brisbane in 1986, is it not, Mi Li type massacres? A. Yes, I am being accused of being consistent, am I? Q. Yes, you are, you are accused of consistently and knowingly reducing the extent of the responsibility for these massacres? A. Very well. Q. Do you accept that charge, or not? . P-114 A. Trying to identify the responsibility, yes. On the basis of very meagre evidence. Q. The words "Mi Li type massacres" mean this, do they not, to any educated or half educated audience, these massacres were done by criminal gangers unauthorized in the East without the approval, consent or knowledge of the people in Berlin? A. That is correct. Q. That is correct, and it was wrong, was it not? A. That was wrong, yes. Q. And you knew that it was wrong? A. No, I did not, not at this time. Q. Not in 1992? A. No. Q. When did you learn that it was wrong, Mr Irving? A. I suppose once I began studying the documents for this case in detail, and we started looking at the individual documents of the kind we have been looking at in court today that becomes quite plain. Q. Sorry. Yes, I did not mean to interrupt. A. It becomes quite plain that there was a co-ordination, there was a degree of direction. For example, the killings in the Eastern territory - in the Baltic provinces which carried out admittedly by the local populations, the SS were told to join in and help and it turned a blind eye. So there was a lot of nodding and . P-115 winking going on in a degree that quite clearly indicates a systematic direction going on between Berlin and the Eastern Front where the killings were taking place. Q. I missed the last part of that answer, it ended systematic direction, you are saying -- A. Systematic direction going on between the Eastern front and Berlin in connection with these killings. Q. -- I am grateful to you. It is in this same speech is one of places where you refer to the Bruns evidence, is it not? A. I believe so, yes. Q. I am sorry, I am being harassed from all sides. I will try to make both points at once if I possibly can but I do not think I can. Can you turn back, please, to, where is it? MR JUSTICE GRAY: Page 24. Are you on Bruns? MR RAMPTON: Sorry. MR RAMPTON: You were asked a question on page 23, you will find right hand column under "Questions": "What do we know about the people who are responsible for the massacres of Jews by firing squad in Minsk and other areas? How high did the responsibility go?" Were you not? A. Yes. Q. And it was at that point we come to Bruns, is it not? A. Yes. . P-116 Q. And as I think we have been through already so I am not going to go through it again, you do not when reporting Bruns' evidence make any reference to the order which Altemeyer said he had, which were Fuhrer orders, that it should happen, nor to the qualifications and the second conversation that must happen more discreetly? A. If I read it here says, one particular Bruns described to his pals in appalling detail the massacre he himself saw near Riga on November 30th 1941, I am not going to read that out one here, so I did not read out any of it apparently. Q. But the direct answer to the question, would it not, difficult for you when you said these were "Mi Li type massacres". This chap Bruns actually said he had been told it was a Fuhrer order? "But I do not think it is probably right" you could have added, of course? A. I think we have gone over this point in some detail on a previous occasion. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes, we have. MR RAMPTON: I rather agree. I had not spotted the question before, that was all. A. My Lord, might I just read out ten lines of continuation of that particular speech, because it goes to how unreliable a lot of this evidence is? MR RAMPTON: Where are you, Mr Irving? A. At the top left of page 24. It is just a typical -- . P-117 problem we have with eyewitness evidence where apparently equally credible document gives a version of a story which is on the face of it highly unlikely. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Well, yes, if you want to read it out. A. If it would be a useful exercise, or if your Lordship so directed I would not, of course. MR RAMPTON: I do not object. MR JUSTICE GRAY: There is no objection taken, if you want to, then do. A. Purely as an exercise in how unreliable evidence can be from prisoners of war. Here is a prisoner of war in a conversation on December 20th. A man called Obergaufreiter Till, who was captured in August 1944. He claimed to have been guarding the railway at Auschwitz in July 1943 when a train load of Greek Jews arrived. This again is an intercepted and overheard conversation. Till said: "The SS man kicked a Jewish woman who was highly pregnant. He kicked her right in the stomach and knocked her down and the unborn baby came almost out. He took hold of it pulled it out, threw it on the ground and told the woman to get up. He put that child on the truck that was standing there to take away the dead people to be burned." The British officer is then heard asking: "The child was dead, of course?" Till then said: "Yes, and the woman could not get up she was hardly dressed and he grabbed her by the breast. He wanted to pull her up. He . P-118 just ripped her skin and everything out of her breasts. There was a captain there from the army. I think his name was Captain Klug. He went after that SS guy, he took him by the shoulder, turned him round and said: "Are you crazy to do something like that, are you not ashamed of yourself?" And so on. As I comment this is the kind of rubbish that gets into these interrogation reports and part of the job of being a responsible writer or researcher is to sift the wheat from the chaff and try evaluate which ones are credible. It may be that this is an entirely true story, but on the face of it I considered it was not. That is the kind of problem we have, it is all very well in court look at documents which have been singled out by the Defendants, and say, look at this one, look at that one, why have you ignored this? As an historian working in the archives you are confronted with tens of thousands of documents and you have to make your own choice. MR RAMPTON: Yes, Mr Irving. You made a statement to -- why did you want to read that out, as opposed to just drawing attention to it, saying this is something you could not believe? A. Why did I wish to read it out? Q. Why did you want it read it out? A. It is self- evident. It is material of precisely the same quality as General Brun's eyewitness account; it comes . P-119 from precisely the same provenance, from the Combined Services Detailed Interrogations Centre transcripts and yet we have to make a value judgment and say this document I believe, that document I do not believe or this document I believe this much, that portion I am less inclined to believe. And on balance, as I think I explained to the court earlier, when it came to Bruns' recollection of what Altemeyer said about, "we have got the Fuhrer's order but we are going to disregard it", I am afraid I attach the value to it which I consider to be proper. Q. Mr Irving, if I put General Bruns' Report of Lieutenant Altemeyer's words in those terms you would have given me the most terrible rocket, would you not? "We are going to disregard it"; he did not say that at all, did he? A. I beg your pardon? Disregard -- Q. He did not say "we are going to disregard it"? A. -- no, discount certain elements of it. Q. Yes, I see. A. Which on -- prima facie less likely than others. We can believe the part where he says he can see the girl in the flame red dress in his mind's eye because all experience tells us that is the kind of detail people do report. Q. We have done it before -- A. We have also dealt with SS braggarts who shoot their mouths off -- Q. -- we have done that one, Mr Irving, I will not pick up . P-120 the conflict again. I would not be allowed it anyway. I want to ask you this about your Mi Li remark, which I have now lost, of course. We have to accept that there were Mi Li types massacres. You have accepted it was wrong. You could have found out that it was wrong before you made it, could you not? A. -- find out what was wrong? Q. The characterization of these organized, systematic shootings known to Berlin in the East of the eastern Jews; the characterization of those Mi Li type massacres was wrong, you have accepted it was wrong, and you could have known it was wrong before you made that -- A. I think to be more specific, there were Mi Li type massacres. Q. -- I am sure there were? A. But there were also others that were clearly on orders from above. Q. I do not want to go back over old ground again. A. Yes. Q. But my question was not that to which you gave an answer; my question was, you had the means of knowing it was wrong before you said it, did you not? A. What would those means have been? Q. You could have done the same research in the EMs going back to Berlin as everybody else has done? A. I do not think everybody else does done it for a start; . P-121 secondly, I am not a Holocaust historian, as I keep reminding the court. Q. Then why are you discussing it here and why are you making a categorical assertion that they were simply unauthorized gangster killings? A. I am being asked by a member of the audience my opinion on this and I am giving the opinion based on my knowledge at that time. Q. Now I want to come to something different that arises from some things you were saying on Thursday. I promised you that I would come back to it and I will. It is Hitler's log note, telephone log note, of the 30th -- A. November 1941. Q. -- yes. It has to do with the manuscript, not the sense, the manuscript, and your transcription of the word "haben -- " A. This is December 1st? Q. November 30th 1941. A. December 1st 1941? Q. There was a copy of it -- December 1st, you are quite right, I got the wrong date. There was a copy of it in your little bundle, my Lord, at the back of J3. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes? A. December 1st. Q. Have you got it, Mr Irving? A. No. . P-122 MR JUSTICE GRAY: We all know it by heart by now? A. I know it by heart. MR RAMPTON: No, for this purpose the witness will need the actual copy. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Have you got that little clip? A. No my Lord I no longer have it. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Is there a spare copy? Bundle C.
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