Archive/File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day013.13 Last-Modified: 2000/07/20 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Well, answer the question first and then go back to that. A. Well, the answer is, no, I did not accept that. My Lord, I gave you a little glossy brochure, a brown brochure, and if we were to open up the middle picture, it opens -- the middle, that is the picture section of my book, "The Destruction of Dresden", and you will see a rather horrible scene of the burning -- of the public cremation of the air raid victims; and Dr Funfack is one of the uniformed characters in the background of that picture. He had been identified to me on that and other photographs standing on top of one of the heaps of 1,000 bodies waiting to cremated. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Well, he says he attended one cremation at the Altmarkt? A. Yes, that is correct. He was wearing Nazi uniform, a Nazi Party uniform. He is living in East Germany. They are all wearing uniform in that picture. He is living in East Germany a quiet life as a retired doctor in 1965, and this letter and the subsequent letter which he wrote me, which I am not sure if Mr Rampton is relying upon ---- MR RAMPTON: Yes. A. --- makes it quite plain his agony at having been mentioned in the West German press. In the subsequent letter which I will draw your attention to ---- . P-112 Q. I will tell you its date. It is 19th March, I think, 1965. A. 19th March, which is page 51, is it? Yes, page 51 of the bundle. He refers to his friendship with the City Commandant, General Mehnert, "who was a close friend of mine" and he anxiously then goes on to say, "He was, God knows, no Hitler fan, and for this reason he was particularly sympathetic in my -- sympathetically in my memory", and he continues either in this letter or in the next letter which he wrote, which I will now find, very significantly to say that the information that he had been mentioned in the West German press was brought to him by the officers of the Ideological Department of the Socialist Unity Party in East Germany who gave him a very rough time. Now, I think it does not take very much perception or imagination to perceive the reasons why he now denies that he was a senior medical officer in Dresden. I will put it no more strongly than that. Q. That is it, is it, Mr Irving? A. Yes. Q. So you had no positive basis for continuing to assert that Dr Funfack, not only was Deputy Chief Medical Officer of Dresden at the time, but would know the figures? A. I had had a lot of correspondence with people living behind the Iron Curtain, and I am very familiar with this . P-113 kind of letter. All three letters that he wrote to me are riddled with the kind of sentences that one put in letters that one knows are going to be read by the Gestapo or by the Communist letter censorship authorities, repeating that his close friends were dedicated anti-Nazis, and so on. The information that I had that he was Deputy Chief Medical Officer of Dresden came from a reasonable and reliable source. Q. Which was? A. I do not know. But, obviously, I would not have stated it off the top of my head. But I would also draw your attention to the passage which Professor Evans has left out immediately following the part which he quotes, and I will translate it for you, after the words, "I can only repeat what was reported to me", and he then says what was reported to him which, for some reason, your expert has left out: "The City Commandant" ---- MR JUSTICE GRAY: Sorry, you are going just a little bit fast. I am trying to keep up with the highlighting. A. I am continuing the quotation from January 19th 1965, my Lord. The letter of January 16th -- January 19th 1965, pages 41 and 42. MR RAMPTON: It is on page 42, my Lord, I think. A. On page 42. Q. The sentence begins half way along the line at the first quarter of the page ---- . P-114 A. [German - document not provided] I am relying on that sentence which says: "The City Commandant, General Mehnert", who was a friend of Funfack, as he stated earlier in the letter, "spoke to me on about February 22nd 1945 of 140,000 dead, and Professor Fetscher" -- F-E-T-S-C-H-E-R -- "of the Civil Defence Organization spoke of 180,000 dead". And I should emphasise the fact that Professor Fetscher, the well-known Communist, a doctor, the father of very well-known West German politician now, Iring Fetscher -- I-R-I-N-G -- who was shot by the SS at the end of war, so it can be no suggestion that he was a Nazi propagandist, and that passage has been left out of the passage quoted by Professor Evans. Q. It is there. It is on page 533 of Evans. It is a case for humble pie, perhaps. A. Well, I take that back but, of course, he has not quoted it in the apposite part, the appropriate part. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Just let me see why he divides it up. A. Well, I am sure he had his reasons, my Lord. MR RAMPTON: It is quite an interesting passage, is it not? Have you got 533? A. Yes. He goes on to say that the International Red Cross sent people to investigate Dresden and, as will you notice on the rest of the bundle, I then went to very great lengths contacting the International Red Cross, locating . P-115 the person concerned, and so on. Q. Yes, have no fear. I am coming to the Red Cross, Mr Irving. It is a little bit further down the line the next month. I still am puzzled for an answer to my original question. What basis did you have for continuing to assert that Dr Funfack had been Deputy Chief Medical Officer of Dresden and would have known the figures? A. Firstly, I had been informed he was the Deputy Chief Medical officer of Dresden. Secondly, this letter of denial is couched in precisely the kind of letters that you got from these Communist countries where people were terrified because they knew the problems that were going to open up for them. He had been visited by, as he says, officers of the Ideological Department of the Socialist Unity Party who had come and asked him penetrating questions about how his name had got into the Western press and ---- MR JUSTICE GRAY: I do not quite understand what he had to be ashamed of. MR RAMPTON: Nor do I. MR JUSTICE GRAY: If he had been in the SS or something like that, yes, but he was Deputy Chief Medical Officer. Is that something that ---- A. My Lord, it is difficult for us to appreciate living in a free democracy the kind of terror that people lived in, first of all, in Nazi Germany and then in the Communist . P-116 East Germany. There were informants everywhere. People were being arrested at the drop of a hat, and the suspicion that somebody had been a senior officer in the regime or hierarchy of a Nazi German City, wearing whatever uniform and had not yet been punished for it, would certainly have persuaded me also to write this kind of letter and make repeated references in the letters to "my proper beliefs" and "my anti-Nazi friends", and all the rest of it, particularly as he then went on to give me very useful information which is the reason for writing the letter, that his friend, the City Kommandant of Dresden, General Mehnert, had told him the following figures, and that was what he obviously wanted to tell me in this very guarded manner. MR RAMPTON: I quite appreciate, Mr Irving, you may have had, perhaps, quite sensibly inspired doubts about Dr Funfack's denial of knowledge. Did you ever make that clear to any of your correspondents or your readers? A. No. Q. That he had denied it? A. No. Q. You just suppressed the fact that he denied it and continued to refer to him in categorical terms as the Deputy Chief Medical Officer of Dresden at the time? A. Indeed. In a letter immediately following, I referred to him as being a Senior Medical Officer in Dresden, which he . P-117 clearly was, he was head of the urological department of one of the City's biggest hospitals, which is precisely the position that the Deputy Chief Medical Officer of the City would also have occupied, in my view. Q. It follows, does it not, that ---- A. Can I draw your attention -- I am sorry to interrupt you -- page 42, at the foot of that first letter, it is very difficult to read, but I have read it during the lunch hour: "I learned of the naming of my name in the press by a Mr [somebody] of the Ideological Commission of the Socialist Unity Party of the City administration in Dresden; and that is his way of telling me, "This is what all the above is about. I have been hauled over the coals by the local Communists because of this". [German - document not provided] It is an appalling copy, but that is what the words say, and that is what he is saying in this postscript. MR JUSTICE GRAY: The irony is, of course, that he was right? A. I beg your pardon? Q. I mean, what he said, "It has nothing to do with me", he was right; it was not anything to do with him? A. Well, except that he admits that he did have the copy of the document in a later letter. He said, "I have a copy of the document. I have the original here. You are welcome to come and see it, and he also tells me quite gratuitously that he knew from the City Kommandant, who . P-118 was a close friend of his, which is exactly what you would expect of somebody who is Chief Medical Officer, that the figure was 170,000 or 180,000, and that the Professor Fetscher, who was the head of the Civil Defence, also stated such figures as early as 22nd February. So that is very much in the same order of magnitude as what the document said. MR RAMPTON: Did you write to the Red Cross at the beginning of the next month, Mr Irving? A. In view of the fact that Funfack said that there had been a Swiss Red Cross visit to Dresden, yes, I did. Q. Sorry, it was at the end of January? A. A very few days later, yes. Q. I think on 4th February you got a reply, did you not? My Lord, this is the bottom of page 5 of the table. A. Yes. Q. I am afraid there is no copy of this. The reason for that is a simple one, Mr Irving. Your copies of these letters -- it is not a criticism -- are on microfilm, are they not? A. Yes. All these negative ones, presumably, come off my microfilm. Q. I do not know where they came from. When my researchers, our researchers, looked at them, they were able to see what they said. However, it was not possible to produce satisfactory photocopies of the copies made from the . P-119 microfilm. Do you understand? A. Yes. Q. Does that sound technically likely to be right? A. It sounds highly likely, yes. Q. If you turn to page 534 of Evans, we see what the Red Cross said in their letter to you of 4th February 1965. "It is correct to say" -- this is in paragraph 3, my Lord -- "that on of our delegates, Mr Walter Kleiner, was in the Dresden area during the period you mention, for the purpose of carrying out his duties of visiting camps. We have in fact in our possession the reports he made at the time on prisoner-of-war camps. We have, however, no information concerning the victims of the Dresden air raids." Then so that we can telescope it, I think on 17th of the same month they wrote to you and said: "There were no prisoner-of-war camps in Dresden itself. Consequently, Mr Kleiner's reports did not even allude to the air raids on the town." A. Yes. Q. That was a dead end, was it not? A. Well, except that they gave me the name, the address of Mr Kleiner, and I then wrote a letter to Mr Kleiner which was also in this file which came back that he no longer lived there. Q. But the Red Cross provide no confirmation one way or the . P-120 other of the figures which were being floated around at this time? A. No. Q. How is it then, if you turn the page to page 8, that in the 1966 Corgi edition of your book -- it is in the middle of page 8 ---- A. Yes.
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