Archive/File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day018.03 Last-Modified: 2000/07/24 Q. In so far as they contain expressions of opinion, are you satisfied that those opinions are fair? A. Yes. Q. Thank you. Would you remain there to be cross-examined. (Cross-examined by Mr Irving.) Q. Good morning, Professor Evans. A. Good morning. Q. My Lord, I intend this morning to try and deal with matters generally, particularly some of the matters that are large in recent public coverage of this case and those . P-19 witnesses who are not going to be cross-examined or presenting themselves for cross-examination and test your Lordship's patience in that respect, and have to use this cross-examination or the cross-examination of Professor Longerich as a vehicle for introducing certain documents? MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes. We have discussed that already and that is something that you are perfectly entitled to do. But do bear in mind, if I may say it again, that it is important that I can follow it, preferably by reference to the documents. MR IRVING: By reference to the documents, yes. Professor Evans, first of all, we learned yesterday from Professor Browning, rather to my surprise that he is effectively in the pay of the Yad Vashim Institute, that he received 35,000 dollars from them for a task which he has not completed, so he is in their debt. Can you assure the court that you are not also in some way indebted to the Yad Vashim Institute or to any similar body? A. It depends rather what you mean by "any similar body". I am certainly not in debt to anybody, as far as I know. Q. Yes, the significance being of course that Yad Vashim was the body which commissioned the work which is complained of in this action. A. I have never had any dealings with the Yad Vashim Institute of any description. . P-20 Q. Where would you position yourself in the political spectrum? I think it is important that we know, when you are describing somebody as being an extremist of either left or right, where you position yourself, your own vantage point from which you view them? A. I am a member of the Labour Party. I do not suppose that means that one is left wing these days. Q. No. Never mind the Labour Party's politics. What is your own personal political standpoint from which you view people like myself, or Margaret Thatcher, or John Major? Would you regard Margaret Thatcher as being moderately right-wing or extreme right wing? A. As I said, I am a member of the Labour party and, broadly speaking, I take the Labour Party's point of view on current affairs in so far as I interest myself in them. I would not describe myself as an expert. Q. Do you allow the Labour Party to dictate your politics to you or do you have any ideas of your own in this respect? A. It depends what you mean by politics. Of course I make up my own mind about things. Q. Your writings appear to be left of centre, if I may put it that way. You would not expect David Irving to write a book, for example, about feminism or the women's movement or something like that. A. Yes, though I have to point out that my work on feminism has been heavily sharply criticised by a number of . P-21 feminists. Q. Well, maybe feminists are the kind of people who will never be satisfied. Would that be correct? A. I cannot really comment on that. It depends what kind of feminists you are talking about. Q. You have written about 15 books have you, about 15 titles so far? A. 16, I think. Yes. Q. They have been published widely around the world? A. They have, yes. Q. How would you describe yourself? None of your books have been on a best seller list, have they? They are academic works, are they not? A. They are academic works, though some of are written -- I always try to write for a wider audience. That is to say I always try and write in a readable manner, and some of my books have sold I think quite well for works that are scholarly. My book "In Defence of History", which came out two and a half years ago, has I think sold about 20,000 copies. Q. You are referring to this book, is that correct? A. Indeed. That is the American edition. I have no idea what that sold. Q. It spells "defence" differently. A. Indeed. That is why they had to reprint it. It is also appearing in Turkish, Japanese, German, Korean and a . P-22 number of other languages. My book "Death in Hamburg" I think sold about 20,000 copies in English and German. Q. Are you talking about hard book copies or paper back copies? A. Both. Q. Altogether? A. Yes. I should also say that I have one won a literary prize for history and I have recently been elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature so it seems that my books are regarded as being literary in some sense. Q. It is quite difficult to write literary history, is it not, especially when you are quoting from document? Would you agree? A. It is difficult. One has maintain a balance between accuracy, which is of course one's first duty, and readability. Q. If you are translating a document from Chaucer in English, then you would not use the old language, you would use modern English, would you not? You would put it into modern English and this would not be considered in any way distorting the original. Is that right? A. It depends. There are different versions of Chaucer. I cannot say I am an expert on Chaucer in any shape or form. Q. Obviously, if I am referring to translating from French or from German, it is sometimes very difficult to get an . P-23 exact shade of sense on a word. Frequently there is no exact comparison between the two words, between the English and the German? A. This is, well, I think what I would say is that, of course, you cannot do an absolutely literal translation because the word order is different and words have slightly different meanings, but the first duty of an historian is to translate from a foreign language in terms that render faithfully the meaning of the original. Q. Yes. A. And I think that any literary pretensions that one has must surely take second place to that aim. Q. How would you decide what is the faithful rendering of a particular word in translation? Would you look just at that word or would you take into account your own general knowledge of what is going on or would you look at the surrounding countryside, so to speak, of the paragraphs before and after? A. I think you have to do all of these things and reach your own judgment as to what is an accurate translation. Q. Yes, but the fact that you have used a word that is not a mirror image from one language to the other of a word in a translation is not necessarily evidence of a distortion or an intent to distort? A. It depends on how you do it. I mean, as you know, dictionaries give a number of different alternative . P-24 English equivalents for German words and you have to decide which one is the most accurate in the circumstances. Q. Well, I will be dealing with this probably next week with you when you come back, Professor, but you will accept that, for example, a 1936 dictionary in German will probably give a different meaning of a word from a 1999 dictionary? A. In some cases, most certainly, in some cases, not, and of course they give range of meanings which one has to use in different circumstances. It may well be, for example, that in 1942 or 1943 in some circumstances a word is used somewhat differently from the way it is used in 1936. So I would not take a 1936 dictionary as being absolute gospel for the usage of words in some circumstances in 1942 to 3. As I said, you have to look, as you said indeed, at the document itself and the surrounding documents, at the meanings, at the time, the people who wrote it. Q. And take your own expertise into account, is that correct? A. You have to use your judgment which is based on your reading of other documents, most certainly, yes, and, indeed, other people's of course. Other people will have worked ---- Q. Sometimes the document itself will give you a clue. We looked at a document with Professor Browning, October . P-25 1942, relating to the Umsiedlung of 20,000 Jews from Reslatosk. Just from that sentence, it was not plain what the word "Umsiedlung" meant, but two pages later, as Professor Browning correctly pointed out, the 20,000 are referred as anschossen, shot. So there is no question there, is there? A. I would not really want to comment on it without actually having the document in front of me. Q. Later on in the same paragraph we have the sentence that half the inhabitants of the village of X were shot and the after were umgesiedelt to a neighbouring village in which case the word quite clearly has a different meaning, does it not, in the same paragraph? A. Again I really do not want to comment without having the document in front of me. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Take it from me it is right. We went through it and it is obviously right. A. I am afraid have not read the transcripts for that particular day. MR IRVING: So it seems it is possible to have the most glaring inconsistencies even within the same document as to what the meaning of a word is? A. Words may be used in different senses, yes, and certainly as euphemisms in some senses and not as in others. If you use an euphemism, well, almost by definition, in other circumstances it going to have its actual real meaning. . P-26 Q. So it is a minefield then, the translation of documents, or it is either a minefield or a sweet shop, a candy store, depending on which way you are looking at it. If you want to go into those documents with an evil intent or with a perverse intent, then you can fix a meaning which just fits the meaning you want, is that correct? A. Well, if you are referring to yourself, yes. I mean, I would not do that. Q. Well, I am ---- MR JUSTICE GRAY: What is sauce for the goose is source for the gander. In a way, I understand why you are asking these questions. I understand the point you are making. MR IRVING: I am just rubbing it in, my Lord, the fact that, as Professor Evans rightly said, if this applies to myself, I could distort the document one way, but, of course, if it applies to a left wing historian or a Marxist, they could distort exactly the same document the other way, and he was quite right to point this out. (To the witness): We will leave the matter of meanings of words because we cannot do that really at this point without having a little bundle of documents to look at which I shall bring on Tuesday, I think, which will be a bundle of documents about the "Ausrotten", so you might like to prepare yourself intellectually for the word ausrotten and what it means. Professor, you are in charge of this magnificent . P-27 team of stallions who have been preparing the defence, is that correct? You were the leading, the chief expert witness, am I right? A. No, I some research assistants. I have helped the defence in suggestion as to whom should be called as expert witnesses, but not all the expert the witness have been called at my suggestion. I certainly have not been in charge of them in the sense that I have directed them what to write.
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