The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day023.03

Archive/File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day023.03
Last-Modified: 2000/07/24

     Q.   "The Jews are now being pushed out of the General
     Government, beginning near Lublin, to the East", he
    writes.  "A pretty barbaric procedure is being applied
    here, and it is not to be described in any more detail,
    and not much is left to the Jews themselves".  I have no
    quarrel with that translation.

    You then continue:  "In general one may conclude
    that 60 per cent of them must be liquidated, while only 40
    per cent can be put to work".  This is the sentence on

                                 .          20

     which you really rely, is it not?

     A.   Among others.

     Q.   Yes.

     A.   I mean, I quote a very lengthy chunk of this because you
     used this -- you suppressed a great deal of this in your
     own, in your own work.

     Q.   Now, Dr Goebbles is not stating this as a fact, is he?  He
     is speculating.  You have left a word out, have you not,
     in your translation?  You left out the word "wohl.  I draw
     your attention to line 3 of the footnote.

     A.   No, I am sorry.  I have not.  I have translated that as
     "In general one may conclude", not that "one must
     conclude" ----

     Q.   I draw attention to ----

     A.   And that, if I may finish, that formulation is intended to
     convey the sense of strong probability that the word
     "wohl" indicates.

     Q.   Does not "wohl" mean "perhaps"?

     A.   No, it does not.  It means "probably".

     Q.   Even if it meant "probably" which I would participate ----

     A.   If he wanted to say "perhaps" he would have
     said "vielleicht".

     Q.   You have left the word out, have you not?

     A.   No, I have not left it out, Mr Irving.

     Q.   "In general one may probably conclude" or "one may perhaps
     conclude" indicates speculation on his part and not

                                 .          21


     A.   No, I am sorry, Mr Irving. "Im grossen kann man wohl
     festellen", "in general, large scale", "kann" is "can",
     right, not "may", "man", "one can", "wohl festellen", very
     well, and it is "very well conclude".

     MR JUSTICE GRAY:  "Wohl" can be translated just as "well" here,
     can it not, "one can well" ----

     A.   "Conclude", yes.

     Q.   --- "suppose"?

     A.   I tried to render that slightly better, less awkward
     English by saying "one may conclude"; the "may" conveying
     the element of slight uncertainty in that use of the word

     MR IRVING:  The meanings are, my Lord ----

     A.   I have not left the word out.

     Q.   --- "well" "indeed" "possibly" and "probably" in that
     order or "I dare say" which is a very nice one in this
     connection.  "I dare say".  "I dare say one can conclude
     that 60 per cent of them must be liquidated".  Does this
     indicate and element of certainty?

     A.   It is probably.  "Wohl" is stronger than "vielleicht".  It
     indicates ----

     Q.   But you have left a word out, have you not?

     A.   No, I have not left a word out, Mr Irving.  I have
     conveyed this, I think, accurately by indicating the
     element of slight uncertainty in the sentence by saying

                                 .          22

     "one may conclude" instead of "one can well conclude".

     Q.   He is not stating it as a matter fact; he is saying, "this
     is probably or possibly or I dare say one can say that
     this happening"?

     A.   He is saying,"This is probably happening".

     Q.   Is this not a very weak and rusty hook on which to hang
     page after page after page of what now follows?

     A.   It is not the only statement here and it does, I think,
     reflect the policy accurately even if the percentages can
     be argued about in the way they were put into practice.

    MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Do you read Goebbels as talking about
    percentages in that sentence or about the fact of what is
    happening to the Jews?

    A.   Well, he says, "In general one may conclude that 60 per
    cent of them may be liquidated, while only 40 per cent can
    be put to work.  It is those percentages, I mean, that is
    obviously again very rough and that again may well
    indicate the element of uncertainty that he is talking
    about.  I mean, I think the "wohl feststellen" expresses
    his slight vagueness about these percentages.  It might
    have been 70/30 or 80/20 or some other percentages, but he
    is saying that the probability is it is about 60/40. 60
    will die, be killed, and 40 will be put to work.

    MR IRVING:  In other words, these figures are not contained in
    the report, are they, these percentages?

    A.   You would have to show me the report, Mr Irving, before I

                                 .          23

     could comment on that.

     Q.   But you have seen the diary that you are seeking to draw
     major conclusions from it of the state of people's
     knowledge, and I am drawing your attention to the fact
     that it is not knowledge at all, it is speculation.  He is
     saying, "I dare say one can conclude" or even in the bare,
     stripped down version you have put, "one can conclude".
     He is making conclusions.  In other words, he is
     speculating on what is behind it.  He may very well be
     right, but I am looking at the fact that you have made no
     attempt to appreciate the meaning of that word "wohl".
      "Im grossen kann man wohl feststellen" does not mean any
     degree of certainty at all on his part ----

     A.   I do not put that.

     Q.   --- he is saying, "By and large I dare say one can
     conclude", is he not?

     A.   I do not say that, Mr Irving.  I say "in general one may
     conclude" not "one must conclude" or "the fact is".  I say
     "one may conclude".  That is to say, the word "may" is
     permissive.  It means you may conclude 60/40 or you may
     conclude something else.  The probability is 60/40.  It is
     what I would regard as a well informed estimate.

     Q.   Do you now regret not having put in the word "perhaps" or
     "possible" or "dare say" in that sentence?

     A.   Certainly not, I do not.  I think my translation is
     perfectly all right there.

                                 .          24

     Q.   Well, notwithstanding that you raise your voice and
     interrupt me, do you agree ----

     A.   Well, it makes a change from you raising your voice and
     interrupting me, Mr Irving.

     MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Don't let us have you both...

     MR IRVING:  Do you agree that it would have been better to
     include a proper translation of the word "wohl" in that

     A.   It is a proper translation of that sentence.  It is about
     the 15th time I have said that, Mr Irving.

     Q.   I have to say this because -- I am not going to move on --
     of course, you do rely on that, you agree that you rely on
     that sentence and the burden of that sentence quite
     heavily, in refuting me and suggesting that I have
     manipulated, suppressed and omitted words myself, is that

    A.   Well, where is that in your description of these events
    which I deal with on the previous page?

    Q.   Over the next 27 pages you repeatedly hark back to this
    one sentence.

    A.   Can you direct me to where I repeatedly hark back to it?

    Q.   I have just said, over the next 27 pages.

    A.   Can you direct me to the exact pages and line numbers in
    which I refer to it?

    Q.   We are going to come to them bit by bit.

    A.   Then I cannot accept that statement of yours until you

                                 .          25

     actually do point me to the precise points where I rely
     and refer to that sentence.

     Q.   Do you agree that even in the stripped down version or
     truncated version of that sentence as presented by
     you  ----

     A.   No, I do not agree that it is stripped down or truncated.
     It is an accurate translation, Mr Irving.

     MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I think you interrupted the question,
     Professor Evans.

     MR IRVING:  Thank you very much.

     THE WITNESS:  I have to dispute the premise, my Lord.

     MR IRVING:  Do you agree that in the version of the sentence as
     presented by you, you are, even in that version it can be
     relied upon only as evidence against Goebbels and not as
     evidence against Adolf Hitler?  It is the state of mind of
     Goebbels, not the state of mind of Adolf Hitler or the
     state of his knowledge or speculation.

    A.   This is the state, this is the state of knowledge of
     Goebbels, yes.  Who has said that it is anything else?

    Q.   Is this purporting to be a conversation between
Hitler and Goebbels ----

    A.   No.  Nobody says that.

    Q.   This is Goebbels in Berlin reading a report that has been
    put on to his desk in Berlin, is that not right?

    A.   He appears to be reading a report from which he arrives at
    this estimate that one may conclude that 60 per cent of

                                 .          26

     the Jews pushed out to the East may be liquidated and 40
     per cent put to work, yes.

     MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Why do you say he has been reading a report?

     A.   Well, he says it seems to be that someone has informed
     about him about this, and maybe somebody has informed him

     MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Yes, I see.

     A.   I am sorry, I should not have said "reading".

     MR IRVING:  My version of Goebbels diary has vanished, my Lord,
     but I believe I am right in saying that the preceding
     sentence, that precedes the part quoted, said something
     like "I have received an SD report", or something like

     A.   If I could see a copy, I could comment on that, if it is
     important.  Certainly somebody has informed him that he
     has gained some information from somewhere and he is
     writing down what he has heard.

     MR IRVING:  There is no indication in that diary because, as we
     said earlier, if there had been, he would have mentioned
     it, that Adolf Hitler had also received this report?

     A.   No, there is not.  There is a statement here in which he
     goes on to link it to Hitler's views, by referring, as he
     so frequently does, and indeed as Hitler himself does, to
     the prophecy that Hitler issued on 30th January 1933,
     that, if the Jews, as he put it, started a new world war,
     they would be annihilated.  He goes on to use the language

                                 .          27

     that indeed is Hitler's favourite language in referring to
     the extermination of the Jews ----

     Q.   You mean 1939, do you not?

     A.   Yes.  Did I not say 39?  I meant 39 -- a struggle for life
     and death between the Aryan race and the Jewish bacillus.
     This idea of a bacillus is a very common Hitler he
     goes on and says, "No other government and no other regime
     could muster the strength for a general solution to the
     question".  "Here too", says Goebbels, "the Fuhrer is the
     persistent pioneer and spokesman of a radical solution
     which is demanded by the way things are and thus appears
     to be unavoidable".  I take that to be the same kind of
     statement as is made about Lammers in what we have called
     the Schlegelberger memorandum.  That is to say ----

     MR IRVING:  Please, can we keep very much to the questions?

     MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Do not interrupt.

     A.   That is to say, it is a statement about a number of
     occasions on which Hitler has said this thing, or revealed
     himself to be the persistent pioneer.  So it is clearly
     talking about a number of occasions.  It is not talking
     about a specific occasion on which he is shown a report
     to, or talked about it to, Hitler.  That is what I would
     describe as the link between this diary entry and Hitler.

     MR IRVING:  You do admit of course that there are other
     passages in these same diaries which show Hitler in

                                 .          28

     anything but a homicidal mood towards the Jews?

     A.   Point them to me, please.

     Q.   I am not going to keep on falling for this game throughout
     the day, Professor Evans, because we have to get through a
     great deal today.

     A.   Mr Irving, I cannot accept what you are saying without
     seeing the documentation, I am afraid.  I think that is a
     perfectly reasonable thing to do.

     MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I am afraid it is.  It does slow things down
     but I think, if you put a proposition to the witness, he
     is not inclined to agree to it unless he see the document
     you rely on, then he is entitled to ask you to look at it.

    MR IRVING:  Turn to page 404 of your report, please. You will
    see several such passages referred to by you yourself.
    Goebbels diary April 26th, May 29th, 1942, Hitler's table
    talk May 15th, July 24th, 1942.  Are those non-homicidal
     passages, if I can put them like that?

    A.   What I say is that you rely on them to show that Hitler
    did not know about the extermination of the Jews while
    Goebbels himself did.

    Q.   Yes.  We are going to come to that in sequence, but you
     asked me to point you to those passages.  I have now
     pointed you to them.

    A.   I am pointing to the use you make of them, which is a
    slightly different thing.

    MR JUSTICE GRAY:  If we are coming to them in due course, then

                                 .          29

     let us wait until we do.

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