Archive/File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day023.15 Last-Modified: 2000/07/24 Q. --- I am sure that every effort was made the Defence in this action to produce the notes from her of this alleged interview and these alleged remarks by Christa Schroeder, I am afraid you and I must agree to differ on that. A. I will believe it when you show the correspondence relating to the notes. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Would you care to deal with it this way, Mr Irving? Would you like to put to Professor Evans exactly what your case is? Is it your case that there is not any record, whether tapes, notes or anything, of Gita Szereni's interview with Christa Schroeder and she is, in fact, making the whole thing up? MR IRVING: Yes. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Because I think that should be put clearly, because she is still alive and well. Put your case, would you? MR IRVING: Yes. As stated in your report, your expert report, . 140 this relies entirely on one published source by Gita Szereni. Is that correct? A. Yes. Q. This passage on page 652. A. Where there are lengthy previous quotations? Q. Yes. A. Quotations from Christa Schroeder. Q. Did you or your researchers make any attempt to obtain from Gita Szereni, who lives in London, any original notes or tape recordings, or other memoranda drawn up contemporaneously on her interview with Christa Schroeder? A. No, I do not see why we should have done so. She says clearly that this is in her article. This is what Christa Schroeder told her and we have no reason to disbelieve her. Q. Are you aware that Christa Schroeder expressed herself to me in terms of the utmost contempt for this particular author and what she was trying to get her to say? A. No, I am not. You will have to show me evidence of that if I am to believe you. Q. Have you had complete access to all my private diaries, papers and telephone logs? A. Yes. Q. Have you seen no reference to any conversations or letters from Christa Schroeder in that vein? MR JUSTICE GRAY: If there are any, I would like to see them. . 141 A. Yes. It would be very interesting to see them. I mean, obviously, there is far too much there for us to read all the way through. As I have said many days ago, we were particularly looking at the diaries and telephone logs and so on, with a view, with certain particular questions in mind, and we were not looking to them in order to verify what seems to be a perfectly straightforward statement by Miss Szereni in her article, that this is what Christa Schroeder said to her in her statement and which we had no reason to disbelieve, and I still have no reason to disbelieve. MR IRVING: Are you aware of a book called "Hitler Privat" written by a Frenchman called Albert Zoller which, apparently, is conversations with Hitler's private secretary, Christa Schroeder? A. This is discussed at length in my report. Q. Would you draw us to the page, please? A. Pages 647 to 651. Q. Have you seen Christa Schroeder's original copy of that book with the crossings out and heavy lines in the margin and exclamation marks where she has dismissed most robustly the statements she is alleged to have made? A. That is much too sweeping, Mr Irving. Q. Well, the answer is no, is it? A. No, I am trying to give you an answer, if you will let me. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes, wait for it. . 142 A. So many of your questions do require a lengthy answer. It is on page 649 that I describe the critical addition in 1985, where Frau Schroeder tells the Editor, Anton Joachimstahler, the exact nature of the book produced by Zoller, which leads to conclusions about 160-70 pages originated by Frau Schroeder, although some of those are distorted or amended more, in a greater or lesser vein, by Zoller. Q. Can you, in that circumstance, attach any value whatever to the Zoller book? A. Yes, of course, yes. Q. Can you show straightaway what was said by her and what has been said by Schroeder? A. It is a complex -- well, because we know in her copy the pages she has crossed out were not by her, so at least we have got rid of those extra 70 odd pages which do not originate from Frau Schroeder. Frau Schroeder was asked with reference to or in the course of the preparation of the 1985 edition about these amendments in the pages she did write, and she said that she did not doubt the truth of the statements in the least, only that they were polemically distorted in some details and not represented quite exactly. That is rather a convoluted way of saying that they are basically her words, but slightly altered in some cases or given a slight spin. Q. Was this book published after her death? . 143 A. Yes, seems to have been. As you know, books are prepared a long time in advance of their publication. She died in 1984 and the book was published in 1985. You have argued with reference to some of your books that you wrote them four or five or six years before they were published. Q. If Christa Schroeder had any reason whatsoever to be disgruntled with what I wrote or to dispute what I wrote in my various biographies, why would she have continued an amicable correspondence with me until the very last weeks of her life? A. Let me try to find it. Q. Which has been in discovery throughout this action. Every single letter she wrote me has been in discovery. A. That is right, yes. We have looked at some of them. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Page 647. A. Yes. There she says, that she regretted this and once rashly put a part of my, I guess, letters at David Irving's disposal. "I passed on (parroted) the judgments expressed therein from Hitler's conversations, for instance about the Russian mentality. Today I am horrified about these views thoughtlessly taken from Hitler". MR IRVING: It is true that she wrote these letters to a woman friend. She had a woman friend living in Switzerland, and that she had written some pretty harsh judgments on other peoples in those letters, and that is what she regretted . 144 I had access to. A. In the later years of her life. In other words, she seems to have changed her mind somewhat about many issues. Q. As people frequently do when they give their most intimate papers to a writer and it is then used in a book. Sometimes they have second thoughts. A. Yes, that is I think probably the explanation of why towards the end of her life she said to Gita Sereny, of course Hitler knew, not only knew, it was all his ideas, his orders, whereas she did not say that to you many years earlier. Q. Have you any indication of the relationship that existed between Gita Sereny and Christa Schroeder, whether they were on an amicable basis or whether in fact there was the utmost hostility between them from the start to the finish? A. I do not, no. I do not see how that affects this at all. Q. Yes. MR JUSTICE GRAY: It affects it in this way, and I am not quite clear what Mr Irving's case is on this. If the contention is that Gita Sereny invented effectively everything that Christa Schroeder said ---- A. It appears to be that. Q. -- and, when asked for some note or tape recording, said, oh well, there is not any record at all of my interview, then I think that should be put. Is that your case, . 145 Mr Irving? MR IRVING: That is, coupled with the fact that the book was published posthumously, the Christa Schroeder book, and the fact these statements by Gita Sereny have surfaced more recently still. Can I ask this question? Is it known to you that Gita Sereny had to withdraw statements that she made in her famous attack on my book in a letter pushed in the Sunday Times? A. We could have a look at that. I think it is in discovery and we can see which ones. I do not think she withdrew this. Q. Is it a fact ---- A. Of course I go back to the fact that the book was published very shortly, the edition of the memoirs was published very shortly after Christa Schroeder's death, and that the editor clearly had the collaboration of Frau Schroeder in preparing the edition, as he says in the preface. I do not accept your view, because I think it is your view, that Gita Sereny made all this up. Q. Can I get back to my question, which is this? Given that Gita Sereny in an article in the Sunday Times also claimed to have interviewed Dr. Frohlich, and quoted Dr Frohlich in quotation remarks and saying various very disreputable things about me, and that two weeks later Gita Sereny had to publish a letter in the Sunday Times admitting that this was totally untrue, is she a reliable source, in your . 146 view? A. Could we have a look at the letter, please? Q. It has been in discovery throughout. MR JUSTICE GRAY: There is a problem, Mr Irving. I am reluctant to press you to chase up every document for which Professor Evans asks, and frankly I think we can forget about the Frohlich one. But, if you are saying that there are documents emanating from Christa Schroeder protesting about Gita Sereny, then I think those, at some stage I would like to see them. MR IRVING: My Lord, I have a note of both Christa Schroeder's name and Sereny's name. MR JUSTICE GRAY: I know it is difficult for you on the hoof but can you bear that in mind. MR IRVING: It is important. I have one more question on this particular matter. Christa Schroeder, through the Albert Soller book, apparently makes a statement incriminating Adolf Hitler in the Final Solution, upon which reliance has been placed by people like Gita Sereny. A. Sorry, is that a question? Q. Yes. A. I am not quite sure what I am meant to ---- Q. Do you agree this is so? A. I would have to see the documentation for that. Q. Well, in that case, let us move on to another name? A. Obviously, you are suggesting that it derived from the . 147 bits of the book which were not written by Sereny but were based on the interrogations of Heinrich Hofmann, the photographer and Schaub, the side kick of Hitler. Q. Then I will ask this further question. Have you seen, as you say you have seen, all my memoranda on my interviews with Christa Schroeder, which are in the Institute's files? A. Yes. Q. Do you agree that I keep very clean records of all my interviews with these people, the times, the dates, exactly what they said, by numbered paragraphs and so on? A. Yes. Q. Have you not seen in one of these memoranda that Christa Schroeder specifically disavows that remark by Albert Soller and says that she never said it? A. I would want to see that but I can quite accept that she might have said that, had it been derived from the other material used in the Soller book, certainly, yes. I make that quite clear, that the Soller book is a kind of hybrid of interrogations of Hofmann, Schaub and the Schroeder stuff, which is the majority of it. Q. Do you have another name? A. Yes, the famous incident recounted on pages 653 to 4, by Sonnleithner and also by Lorenz. MR IRVING: Sonnleithner replaced Walter Habel, did he not, for a time as the liaison officer of the foreign minister to . 148 Adolf Hitler's staff? A. Yes, Foreign Ministry official, that is right. This is quite a celebrated incident, so that is the last one, my Lord. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Thank you very much for doing that. MR IRVING: Since we are on that Maidonek episode that Sonnleithner relates here, is it not true that Ribbentrop, when he also heard the reports about Maidonek, expressed disbelief in September 1944? A. Yes. He is quoted in fact on the next page, 655, as saying I did not know anything about the exterminations until the Maidonek affair came out in 44. Q. Yes, and that he discussed it one morning with his son Roland, did he not? A. That is right, yes. Q. As Roland told me, he said his father had asked him and shown him a copy of the Daily Mail reporting the Maidonek episode. A. Yes. I am trying to find where I deal with this. I think it is earlier on. Q. Does this not rather indicate that Ribbentrop was somewhat in the dark until then? A. This is dealt with. Q. Either he did not know or he did not want to know what was going on? A. On pages 478 to 496 of my report. . 149 MR JUSTICE GRAY: This is Ribbentrop on Hitler's knowledge, is that right, Professor? A. That is right, my Lord. MR IRVING: It is not really about this episode, is it? A. I am not quite sure what are you trying to ask. MR IRVING: I am asking whether you have not heard that Ribbentrop always maintained that the first he learned about the atrocities was when the reports came through the foreign press of Maidonek, the capture by the Russians of the Maidonek camp. A. In 1944 he says -- on page 491 -- that is what he claimed, yes. Whether he is to be believed or not is quite a different matter. Q. Have you seen any evidence? A. Yes, the conversation with Horthy that we were discussing this morning.
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