Archive/File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day008.15 Last-Modified: 2000/07/20 Q. We do not know it, Mr Irving. You seem to have the wrong end of the stick permanently. I do not know whether it is painful always holding the wrong end of the stick. But we . P-133 are not trying in this court (at least I am not trying) to prove Hitler's guilt. What I am trying to prove is that any sensible, respectable, honest, open-minded historian would be saying to himself that on the evidence, the overwhelming probability is not only that Hitler knew about all this, but that it originated with him, with an order to him? A. In which case, Mr Rampton, what could I have done differently than I did in the 1977 edition of Hitler's War where I reproduced all these passages from these speeches without any omissions, mentioning only in a footnote my reservations on the question of pagination. Q. Mr Irving ---- A. I am not the kind of person who likes to read between lines and I do not really want to start joining the dots up for my readers because they have more brains. Q. It is not a question of reading between the lines. It is a question of giving proper weight to the evidence before your own eyes? A. Which I have then put exactly in that form before the eyes of my readers. Q. Yes, but, let me take page 630 of Hitler's War 1977. True it is that you make reference to the speech of 24th May 1944. A. On page 631. Q. Sorry, 631? . P-134 A. Shall I read that paragraph? Q. No, I will read it. A. But it is my writing. Why can I not read it? MR JUSTICE GRAY: Do not let us squabble about that. I will read it if you like. MR RAMPTON: Yes. Good idea. MR JUSTICE GRAY: No. You read it, Mr Rampton. A. Mr Rampton, you win. MR RAMPTON: Well, it is normal in these courts -- I do not know how experienced a litigant you are? A. I am totally ignorant as you can see. Q. No, you are not. I am talking about Broome and Cassell. Ignorant? MR JUSTICE GRAY: Don't let us get into Broome and Cassell. MR RAMPTON: I was hoping to avoid it, but that answer will not do. Clobbered for exemplary damages? Inexperienced, my foot. "Consider too Himmler's speech of May 24th in which again speaking before generals he explained his stance somewhat differently. He recalled how in 1933 and 1934 he had thrown habitual criminals into concentration camps without trial and boasted, 'I must admit I have committed many such illegal acts in my time. But rest assured of this, I have resorted to these only when I have felt that sound common sense and an inner justice of a Germanic and right thinking people are on my side. With . P-135 this in mind, Himmler had confronted the Jewish problem too. It was solved uncompromisingly on orders and at the dictate of sound common sense." I am not sure I think your translation is very good, Mr Irving, I have to say so. "One page later Himmler's speech again hinted that Jewish women and children also being liquidated". It did not hint. It said so in plain terms, did it not? A. Well, he does not actually say he is killing them but the hint is plainly there. That is what is happening to them. If I had said he said that he was killing them, then I would have been wrong. He says, it would be wrong to allow them to emerge as the avengers against the fathers and the children. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Not emerge, grow into the avengers. If you are not allowed to grow into something, that means you are stopped from growing. That means you are being exterminated. That is Mr Rampton's point. A. I agree, my Lord. I am being as pedantic as I can in the rendition of this. I am saying that he did not actually say we are killing them, but he dropped a broad enough hint that he is killing them. MR RAMPTON: At the bottom of the page you write the footnote 4: "This page alone was also retyped and possibly inserted at a later date in the typescript". But I want to take you back in that context to what I would call a deliberate distortion of the sense of what Himmler said, to what you . P-136 said about the speech of 5th May, which I cannot find in the 1991 edition that is on page 630. It is in the last quarter of the page: "On May 5th 1944, however, Himmler tried a new version or adapted it to his audience of generals. After revealing in now stereo typed sentences that he had had uncompromisingly solved the Jewish problem in Germany and the German occupied countries, he added: I am telling this to you as my comrades. We are all soldiers regardless of which uniform we wear. You can imagine how I felt executing this soldierly order issued to me but I obediently complied and carried it out to the best of my convictions. Never before, say you and never after"? A. Can I ask just what you are reading from now? I am lost. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Page 630 of the first edition? A. OK. MR RAMPTON: I got to last line on 630: "Never before and never after did Himmler hint at a Fuhrer order"? A. Fuhrer underlined. Q. Fuhrer in italics? A. Yes. Q. "Fuhrer order but there is reason to doubt that he dared show this passage to his Fuhrer ". I am not bothered about that sentence, Mr Irving, because you do set out in the next paragraph an extract from the speech of 24th May. What I am bothered about is the footnote. "This is . P-137 footnote 3, page 28 of the large face typed script containing this pregnant sentence where only Hitler was empowered to issue a soldierly order to Himmler, was manifestly retyped and inserted in the transcript at later date as a different indenting shows". A. Later date should be later time, presumably. Q. Well. A. I am not saying it was necessarily one or more days later. Q. So, although it is true to say that you set out in this book the relevant part of the speech, you do not, as you suggested a moment ago, leave the reader to make up his own mind as to its effect, because you tell us that it was retyped so as Hitler should not see it, the only implication of which can be that Himmler was afraid that he would be caught by Hitler having told a fib about the so-called order. A. Can we read on to the last three lines of the next paragraph:"One page later Himmler's speech again hinted that women and children also being liquidated. The fact remains that in his personal meetings with Hitler the Reichsfuhrer continued to talk only of the expulsion of the Jews even as late as July 1944". Q. You are doing exactly the same thing. You are driving the readers' focus away from the possibility, or the probability as I would suggest, that Hitler had indeed issued such an order to Himmler, are you not? . P-138 A. Let me explain to you about the quality of evidence. If you have a handwritten note by a criminal like Himmler, relating to a conversation he has had with Hitler which is precisely the link we are interested in, and all you find in that handwritten note for his own private papers is reference to having talked about aussiedlung. This is not to be ignored as late as July 1944. It may be you can find evidence of equal quality, and I emphasis the word "quality", not some general speaking after the war in a war crimes trial to save his own neck, but the quality of evidence we are looking at when writing this kind of biography. MR JUSTICE GRAY: By July 1944 that must be either euphemism or camouflage, must it not, because you have conceded that, since October 1943, Hitler knew perfectly well what was going on? A. Yes. Q. So to say that they were only talking of expulsion really is not giving a very full and fair picture, is it? A. They also talk of other things, so this is when the whole conversation starts about selling off Jews in exchange for trucks and so on. The outlines are very confused. Q. continue to talk only of expulsion? A. As far as his own records show. Q. Is that not conveying to the reader that, as far as the Jews were concerned, Hitler's concern was only with their . P-139 expulsion, nothing more sinister? A. To have been completely scientific I should have said, as far as the records show, they only continue to talk about that. MR RAMPTON: Let me repeat my question. A. One assumes, when one is writing a book like this, that you are writing what the records show. Q. Let me repeat my question because I never got an answer to it. It is the fact that you put both speeches into this book, but it is also the fact, is it not, that you immediately qualify what the reader sees in such a way as to suggest that Himmler's reference to a Fuhrer order or soldatischen befehl is not to be relied on as evidence against Hitler? A. I cannot speak for the reasons why the other historians felt that they need not mention the fact that these pages have been tampered with. I certainly would have been delinquent in my duty in quoting these paragraphs without mentioning the fact that they were clearly tampered with at some time. Q. I am sorry, one final thing about this 1977 edition, I do not think it is in the 1991 edition. The footnote at the bottom of page 631 says this: "Only Hitler was empowered to issue a 'soldierly order' to Himmler"? A. Yes, apart from kind of order that he felt the dictates of his conscience, which he also speaks about which is a more . P-140 vague kind of order, a kind of personal duty. Q. In 1977, Mr Irving, you are accepting unambiguously that Himmler meant what he said, whether it was true or not is another question, that he had been ordered by Hitler. A. I have expanded those two words soldierly order, put them in quotation marks, and said that only Himmler was in a position to issue a soldierly order to Himmler. Q. That is correct. There is nothing here about the dictates of conscience, is there? A. There is, because Himmler himself talks about the dictates of conscience. When later on he talks about this difficult task he had, is he talking about an order or about what he was doing for Germany? Q. This morning I am right in saying -- I am not quoting, I am paraphrasing -- you said in effect that that reference to the soldatischen befehl was equivocal or something along those lines, did you not? A. I would have to be shown the transcript of what was actually said. Q. I think I asked you whose order, and I think you, with a little prompting from me, said the order or the dictates of his conscience. We can go back and look. A. It might be useful to go back. Q. That was a foolish answer, was it not? A. I am not going to answer that unless we know exactly what I am alleged to have said. . P-141 Q. Fair enough. Q. My Lord, now I move on to page 75 of Longerich Part one for my last item in this little exercise? A. Can I comment in general just for one minute how unsatisfactory it is that we are even, so long after the war years are over, obliged to scrabble around with these scraps of paper trying to work out what happened. MR JUSTICE GRAY: We have no choice, have we? A. No, we do not have any choice, my Lord, but you have to put yourself in a position of a writer who is trying - - on some records, on some matters, you have an immense body of evidence which you can draw upon, but on these matter you are really fumbling in the dark with occasional little gleams coming from documents that then you have to try and interpret as you can, on the basis of your knowledge at that time. Sometimes it is very easy, looking back in hindsight, saying why did you interpret this way or not that way, when we know in the meantime a lot more. When you are writing at that time and frequently being the first person to make use of these records, as I was, it is sometimes an unjust judgment, I think. I am not saying that defensively at all but I would ask that your Lordship bear that in mind.
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