Archive/File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day024.20 Last-Modified: 2000/07/24 Q. That does not really explain why you then talk about it in camouflage language at the table talk; why not keep your mouth shut? A. I think, if you remember the speech Himmler gave on 4th October, he said, "Well, actually we do not speak among ourselves about this. It is a question of taste. We do not speak about this". It is a history which has not been written which will never be written, and I think they went so far that even among themselves they would, you know, hesitate at this wonderful day in spring 1942 actually to say, "Yes, actually we are killing them". So that is the best explanation I can offer. It is clear from the documents that it stood in clear contrast to what they were doing. MR IRVING: Dr Longerich, in the Institute have you read the memorandum by Karl Wolf who was Himmler's adjutant and liaison officer to Himmler for sometime? A. Which? Q. There were several handwritten memoirs by him, SS General Karl Wolf. Can I put to you one passage from them which . P-175 might help to explain this kind of conversation and ask you if you remember it? A. Yes. Q. Where Karl Wolf says: "I am certain that Hitler did not know what was going on. I think it was kept from him. We had to keep the Messiah of the coming 2,000 years clean of this matter"? A. Well, I think one has to again ---- Q. Do you remember that passage? A. --- I have to look at the document. I do no think -- they are not published. I do not think they are accessible to everybody. Q. I have seen them. A. Yes, but I think ---- Q. And they are in my discovery. A. --- as far as I am aware of, this is not a source which is accessible to every historian. They are not in a public archive on a library. If we, I mean, I would be happy to see them, but I think I would have to be in front of - --- MR JUSTICE GRAY: I think that is fair. It is very difficult to comment on an extract like that. MR IRVING: But can I just put it this way? Is the suggestion that Karl Wolff or the SS were anxious to do the dirty deed without getting Hitler, the Messiah of the coming 2,000 years implicated himself, would that explain how this situation would arise? . P-176 A. Wolff was sentenced in, was it, 199 -- 1965 or something, I think he was sentenced to a 15-year prison sentence, I think, so, really, he was -- his main occupation after the war was, actually his main problem after the war was to distance himself from these murderous actions. He did not want to spend the rest of his life in prison, so I would be very, very cautious to take this as face value, to, you know, what he knew, what Hitler knew. The whole attitude of Wolf is to say, "I was just a military man. I had nothing to do with these things. This was even not mentioned in my presence". So I am really, first of all, I have not seen the document, but really, in general, would be very, very hesitant to draw -- to follow him. Q. Would that not explain Heinreich Himmler's later remark on October 4th 1943, that this is a matter about which we never talk, if they wanted to keep it away from Hitler, would that not be the explanation? A. I do not think he said in the speech, "We kept it away from Hitler". He says, basically, "We do not mention it" ---- Q. Among others? A. " --- among ourselves". If you go to the Himmler speech and if you do it in a more systematic way, you can see that actually he refers to higher orders which were given to him. So I think you can link this speech with Hitler. . P-177 MR JUSTICE GRAY: That is the awful responsibility? A. Yes, for instance. MR IRVING: On page 66 near the end of that, five or six lines up, you say: "Even talking to his closest associates Hitler avoided speaking openly on mass killing". This is your kind of gloss you put on paragraphs like that, that you are trying to explain how it is that in the documents, contemporary documents there are these baffling passages, if I can use the word "baffling"? A. No. I have only seen one, this is the one in 1985, and I think we do not have many examples of that. Q. On 69 there is I think the one you were just referring to in paragraph 19.3, July 28th 1942, Himmler wrote to Gottlegberger, an SS General, saying: "The Fuhrer has placed on my shoulders the implementation of this very difficult order and the responsibility cannot be taken away from me in any case." What order was that? A. That is left out in the translation unfortunately. One had to add the first sentence in German. The first sentence of this quotation is: "The occupied Eastern territories will be free of Jews", and then he goes on: "The Fuhrer placed on my shoulders the implementation of this very difficult order." This is in July 1942. I think that quite clearly Hitler gave Himmler the order to kill every Jew in the occupied Eastern territories, and Himmler saw this a . P-178 particularly unpleasant and difficult task, but he was of course, as obedient as he was, prepared to carry on. So this is my reading of the document. Q. Of course the document does not reply to another letter referring to the killing of the Jews, does it? A. No. It is mentioned in a letter to Berger, but I think this is one of the clearest statements we have. Q. It is indeed very clear. A. "The occupied Eastern territories will be free of Jews", it is, "The Fuhrer placed on my shoulders the implementation of this very difficult order, the responsibility cannot be taken away from me in any case". MR JUSTICE GRAY: "Detesbefehl" must refer back, you would say, to making the Oskabitte free of Jews. A. Yes, I explain this just for the minute. In the translation I left unfortunately out the first sentence. Q. I follow that. A. And the first sentence is: "The occupied Eastern territories will be free of Jews". It is in the German text but not in the English text. MR RAMPTON: My Lord, the full text, in case anybody thinks it is important, which it may well be, is in the new bundle N whatever it is. MR JUSTICE GRAY: You mean the words before the omitted words? MR RAMPTON: Yes. There are two paragraphs and this is a microfilm. . P-179 MR JUSTICE GRAY: I think this is worth looking at. MR RAMPTON: I think it might be important for this witness in particular. 261, my Lord, we have reproduced Dr Longerich's short English translation of two sentences, and, as he says, defective translation of two sentences. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Not defective but deficient. MR RAMPTON: No, but the whole of the German text is in a microfilm copy on the right-hand side. MR IRVING: My Lord, just for the record, I have no objection to any of the extracts this witness has made. He has left nothing out of any importance. MR JUSTICE GRAY: No, I accept that. Should we just have a look. Did you say 261, Mr Rampton? A. 261, yes. MR RAMPTON: 261 I think I was told to say. MR JUSTICE GRAY: I see, it is paragraph 1. MR RAMPTON: It is in paragraph 1. It is the second part of paragraph 1. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Can you just translate? A. The whole thing? Q. The first sentence on paragraph 1. MR IRVING: Yes: "I urgently ask you not to have any ordinance about the concept of the word "Jew" issued. With all these stupid determinations we are just tying our own hands. The occupied Eastern territories will be free of the Jews. The execution of this very difficult order has . P-180 been placed on my shoulders by the Fuhrer. So nobody can take that responsibility from me." A. I would agree. MR JUSTICE GRAY: So there has been some sort squabbling about what comes within the definition of a "Jew". MR IRVING: Who is a Jew. A. He did not want them to issue a regulation about the definition of the Jew because it was not necessary any more, because the problem has ---- MR JUSTICE GRAY: And Himmler is saying: "I have been ordered to sort the problem out by getting rid of the Jews and get on with it." A. Yes. MR IRVING: Yes. So the question which arises from that, Dr Longerich, is does this not fit in with the scenario that I suggested, that Hitler had said to Himmler: "You do the job, keep me out of it, I will keep people off your back, just get on with it, but don't bother me with it"? A. Well, it says here, this is my reading, that Hitler has given Himmler the order that the occupied territories shall be free of Jews. So which way this happened I do not know, whether this was ---- Q. So, "I can do what I want and buzz off"? A. Yes, you can speculate about this, but I do not have the minutes of the conversation between Hitler and Himmler. It could be a very explicit order, a very clear order. It . P-181 could also be something general. Why should I speculate about it? I do not have the text in front of me. Q. Now let me take you ahead to page 72, please, the first indented paragraph, and we get a little bit closer to what I am asking for. This is the second closing speech on October 6th 1943. A. Yes. Q. "I ask you that which I say to you in this circle be really only heard and not ever discussed. We were faced with the question "What about the women and children?" I took the decision to find a very clear solution to this problem here too." "I took the decision". Now is Himmler saying Hitler took the decision or is Himmler saying "I, Himmler, took the decision"? A. Yes, you answered the question yourself I think. Q. Yes, and that is pretty clear, is it not? A. Yes, but he did not say in this, he does not say in this speech that he took the decision without having the consent of Hitler. Q. Oh, yes, he has been given the overall blank cheque by Hitler, has he not? A. Yes, I think it is fair to argue -- I think he is referring here to the extension of the shootings in the Soviet Union, the extension of the shootings to women and children, which happened between the end of July 1941, end of October 1941, where actually the various killing units . P-182 extended their shootings to include in the mass executions also women and children, shot also women and children. I think, as far as I am concerned, as I tried to reconstruct as precisely as possible the decision-making process, that clearly there is some kind of initiative coming from Himmler, but I have no doubts that this was in full consent and that Himmler acted under the -- that Himmler was convinced, deeply convinced that he acted with full consent of Hitler. I have no doubt about that. Also in this he says for the organization which had to execute this task. I think also this organization, it could be read as a reference to a higher order, an order which was given from, well, somebody above Himmler. Q. I strongly disagree, Dr Longerich. If he says, "I am the one who took the decision that the women and children had to be killed too", and that the people who had to do this job, it was very unpleasant for them, there can be no doubt at all what job he is talking about and who gave the order, he Himmler? A. Well, I think you can read this sentence, it also can be read as that the SS, a reference to a higher order, but I cannot dispute, I do not want to dispute, that Hitler is referring here to his own initiative, but I on the other hand, looking at the whole history in 1941, in the second half of 1941, I have no doubts that he came to this conclusion with the deep conviction that he acted . P-183 according to the wishes of Hitler. I mean this idea to separate in a way Himmler from Hitler and to insinuate that Himmler would have carried out this operation behind Hitler's back, I really have to say that this looks quite absurd to me, because if you look at Himmler's personality, for instance, Himmler was obedient, he was as loyal as he could be to Hitler. He was an anxious person. I think the whole personality, Himmler can only be explained as somebody who, it is really a remarkable example of somebody who really did the utmost to carry out the wishes of Hitler. The whole died of idea that this whole operation, this enormous operation, killing operation of 6 million people could be started and could be carried out on a large scale with implications, you know, transportation, the building of extermination camps, the involvement of 10,000 people who had to carry out this programme and the ramifications as far as the foreign policy was concerned, the policy towards the German Allies was concerned, all this, that this could be carried out by Hitler not asking, not being sure that he actually acted, you know, on Hitler's, according to Hitler's wishes, this whole notion seems absolutely, I hate to say this in a very strong way, absurd. I think we cannot build this case on three or four documents you find in the archives. I think you have to look at the whole system. You have to look at the relationship between Hitler and Himmler. You . P-184 have to look at the way this was carried out. I simply cannot follow this line of argumentation.
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