Archive/File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day017.12 Last-Modified: 2000/07/20 Q. You finish that paragraph by saying: "What follows is my interpretation concerning the emergence" of what you call "the Final Solution" by which you are referring to the . P-103 murder of the Jews, are you not? A. Correct. Q. "It is not shared in every aspect by other able and learned historians of the Holocaust". A. Correct. Q. But it would be wrong to call them Holocaust deniers, would it not, just because they disagree with the established view? A. As I have said, there is a large body of interpretation on a number of issues, including the issue of whether Hitler gave an order or not, that is within the historical debate. Q. What is permissible, in your view, and his Lordship may interrupt this discussion, to debate and what is impermissible to debate? Where is the line drawn? A. Where we draw the line? I would say ---- MR JUSTICE GRAY: In relation to these death camps, do you mean, or more generally? MR IRVING: The Final Solution -- the mass murder of the Jews. A. I would say if interpretations are based upon evidence such as you invented yesterday when you added the lines to the Himmler notation, and that becomes the basis of an interpretation, that would be one that we could say, "This is flawed". Q. Over the line? A. "This is over the line". . P-104 Q. Yes, we are talking about December 18th 1941 note? A. Yes. Q. We put things in square brackets saying, if you remember, Jewish problem to be treated as partisans or to be wiped out as partisans ---- A. And when you added "that they were" ---- Q. Yes, in square brackets? A. --- I said that was invention, and if one is using invented evidence, this would be one example of where we would say, "This person is no longer taking part in the debate. He is fantasizing evidence". Q. That is a very good example. Suppose the person who did the inventing put the invented words in square brackets, which is the accepted connotation for his assistance to the reader, and if he also then gave the German original, if there was any doubt, would that be over the line or within the line? A. I would have to see the particular case to get a sense of whether it was clearly intending to help the reader or to mislead the reader. I mean, this would be a border line case and one would have to look at the individual circumstances. Q. So the criterion then is if something has been changed or included with the intention of misleading, then that would be over the line? A. Certainly when the intention is clear, then we are -- it . P-105 is easier to decide. I, myself, would feel that if one has a pattern of distortion, even if it is not intended, but is so much of the personality of the person that they are so identified with this that they no longer in a sense can see the evidence except by kind of default position, one gets a consistent pattern of distortion even if it is not a calculated and wilful distortion. Q. This is a very useful concept. In other words, if an historian is so imbued with the notion that, "Surely, Adolf Hitler gave the order and, even we cannot find it, it must be there somewhere and I am going to disregard any evidence to the contrary", that would fit within that concept, would it, or are you only looking at the people on the other side of the mirror when you say that? A. I think it is a general rule and the is, as you have brought it up, obviously, one can reverse these things, and if every piece of evidence one gets, the first thing is, "Does this implicate Hitler? Is there Hitler in it? Well, it does not implicate Hitler, we can deal were this document; but if Hitler is in there, then we have to do something with it". Q. Suppose there was a document which suggested that Hitler had repeated the order that he wanted the Final Solution postponed until the war was over and all the historians ignored that, would they be being perverse or would they be entitled to act like that? . P-106 A. In the circumstances, which I am sure we will discuss in detail, I will explain why, I do not think it would be perverse not to discuss that document. Q. We do not discuss the document today. I just wanted to know would it be right to ignore it and pretend it did not exist or would that be perverse? A. I do not think one is obligated to footnote all the documents they do not use. Q. Yes. In other words ---- A. And that they have made a judgment they do not find helpful. Q. You put it under the carpet and you do not even put a footnote about it, and that is OK, is it? That is what you are saying? A. Again, it would depend very much on the circumstances. Q. So I am trying to help you here because the picture you are giving is that a person is considered to be a respectable historian provided he has views that are respectable, if I can put it like that, but as soon as he starts having disrespectable views, then -- if he has politically incorrect views, then this makes him disreputable and beyond the pail? A. It not said that at all. Q. But there are certain views which one has no problem with at all? A. There is a range of views which involve a looking at the . P-107 evidence that historians seeing that evidence would say, "This is within a range of interpretation". The example I then gave was that if one invents further evidence, this is not within the realm of acceptance as one example of where I would say we could say one has gone over the line. Q. Yes, but putting something in square brackets to assist the reader is not inventing evidence, is it? If you are adding an interpretation for the reader and helping the reader to see that -- would that be ---- MR JUSTICE GRAY: Mr Irving ---- A. I think that could be called misleading. MR JUSTICE GRAY: --- I think that for two reasons we have had enough of this. (A) it is my province, and (B) I think the questions are too broad. I think it all depends. MR IRVING: It is, my Lord, and I am going to ask the witness now to turn to 5.1.6 which is on pages 27 to 8. We have had this before already in another context, my Lord. In fact, it is not irrelevant to the previous matter. (To the witness): If one has a certain mind set, Professor, is it correct that one might read a document the wrong way? A. That is possible. Q. I think we are going to come to one example of this straightaway. You say at the foot of page 27: "Rademacher reported: 'Then as soon as the technical possibility exists within the framework of the total . P-108 solution to the Jewish question, the Jews will be deported by waterway to the reception camp in the east." A. Yes. Q. Now, the fact that they were going to go to a reception camp implies to your mind that they were going to go to a sticky end, to some kind of sinister place where nasty things were going to be done to them? A. What I used this for was to show that a reception camp, and we will come to my mistake in terms of the plural and the singular, I am sure, immediately. As I said yesterday, yes, I did make mistakes. Q. Is that an example of the kind of mistake one might make if one had a mind set where you were expecting that we are talking about one of the Operation Reinhardt camps, one of the camps, that they are going to be sent there and they are going to be bumped off; but when we read that the actual document says they are going to be sent to reception camps, all the sinisterness goes out of this particular document? A. On the contrary, I think my interpretation was against interest, that I have looked and what, as an historian, I have been concerned with is evidence in the fall of 1941 of this, as say, a vision between Himmler, Hitler, Heydrich and others, that they have now decided on the murder of Jews. For my purposes, in terms of what I would have been predisposed to find, would indeed to have found . P-109 evidence of a much broader thing and to have interpreted it correctly. To have it in the singular was against interest; an error on my part, but certainly not one that would be one that I would have made willingly or would have been disposed to make because of opinions I held that this is a case, in fact, where I made an error that limited the importance of the document I had, and the correct translation, I think, is very useful to me because it goes towards something that I have been working to collect evidence on, hoping to bolster an argument. So in that case, I would say this is not a reflection of a predisposed mine set to read the document wrongly. I read it wrongly despite a prior interpretation that I had published. Q. So you do not think that this very minor translation error has in any way damaged the burden of the argument you are making? MR JUSTICE GRAY: I cannot see that it makes a blind bit of difference myself. A. I think it limits it. If my argument has been that after, that the second Hitler decision came in early October and that after that there is an awareness among the Germans they are going to build a series of camps, to put this in the singular instead of the plural, that Eichmann's assistant saw travelling with Rademacher is speaking about the creation of, I put it there, within "the technical . P-110 possibility of a framework for a total solution" is talking about a series of camps, this is a much stronger document than the way I have interpreted it. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Well, it depends if it is one big camp or a lot of little camps. MR IRVING: Except that one big camp might have been Belzec or Sobibor or Treblinka, whereas a lot of little camps could not have been, my Lord. It would have been the "new life", if I can put it like that? It would be the gettoes, the alternative solution that was being propagated. I fully accept that it was an accidental mistranslation on the witness's part. But the other point I was going to make is do such accidents happen and are they necessarily perverse in translation? A. If they happen, they should at least sort of be 50 per cent one way and 50 per cent another, and here the case we have found is one, as I say, against interest. If there was a consistent pattern where all mistakes tended to support the position of the man making the mistakes, one could make a case that (indeed, what we have talked about) a predisposed mind set was contributing. Q. You mean it is like a waiter who always gives the wrong change in his own favour? A. Yes. Q. 5.1.8, please, which is on page 28 -- I am just going to refer very briefly to Aberhard Wetzel. We have looked at . P-111 this document many times. I am not going to look at it again. What happened to Aberhard Wetzel, do you know? Was he prosecuted or punished in any way? A. I do not know of a Wetzel trial, so I assume he was not, but I do not know that. Q. So this is yet another case of a man who, prima facie, on the basis of the documents on which you rely was committing crimes of great enormity or encouraging them or inspiring them, and yet nothing happened to him. A. Well, the problem is, of course, that it is a letter in which they propose something. It was never done. Therefore, the document does not -- the only documentary evidence was to a crime that was not committed because, in fact, this plan was not carried out and, therefore, they had no crime with which to charge Mr Wetzel. Knowledge of the killing does not constitute in German law a felony. It is contributing to the killing and in this case there was no gas van killing in Riga resulting from this action by Wetzel, so there was no crime to charge him with.
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