Archive/File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day032.07 Last-Modified: 2000/07/25 I differ too from others, in making copies -- and I am going to emphasise this quite a lot- of the original documents which I unearth freely available to others as soon as my own works are complete, and in fact often before that time, as the panne, the accident, the mishap which Professor Harold Deutsch's book showed. Your Lordship will remember that Harold Deutsch got there first and used it before me, and I was accused of plageurising his book, because I gave him the materials before I used them. As page 14 of Hitler's War shows, I donate these records regularly to publicly accessible archives and I also make them available on microfilm. There are nearly 200 such microfilms in my records, nearly half a million pages. I also devote time to corresponding with and . P-71 assisting other historians and researchers. If, therefore -- this is the important point -- some of my interpretations are controversial, I also do all that is possible to let other people judge for themselves. This speaks strongly against the accusation, levelled against me again today by Mr Rampton, that I distort, manipulate and falsify history. On Hitler and the Holocaust I wrote these words, and this is in the 1991 edition, after the time when I supposedly became a denier obsessed with Hitler and with exonerating him. Page 2: My conclusions ... startled even me. Hitler was a far less omnipotent Fuhrer than had been believed, his methods and tactics were profoundly opportunistic. Page 4: ... the more hermetically Hitler locked himself away behind the barbed wire and mine fields of his remote military headquarters, the more his Germany became a Fuhrer Staat without a Fuhrer. Domestic policy was controlled by whoever was most powerful in each sector - by Goring, Lammers, Bormann, Himmler. Page 17: If this biography were simply a history of the rise and fall of Hitler's Reich, it would be legitimate to conclude "Hitler killed the Jews". He had after all created the atmosphere of hatred with his speeches in the 1930s; he and Himmler had created the SS; . P-72 his speeches, though never explicit, left the clear impression that "liquidate" what was he meant. At pages 17 to 18: For a full length war biography, I wrote, I felt that a more analytical approach to the key questions of initiative, complicity and execution would be necessary. Remarkably, I found that Hitler's own role in the "Final Solution", whatever that was, had never been examined. At page 38: Every document actually linking Hitler with the treatment of the Jews invariably takes the form of an embargo, and I maintain that position, despite everything we have heard for the last two months. This is the famous "chain of documents", of course, notwithstanding everything we have heard in court, I still adhere to this position. At page 19 it is plausible to impute to him, to Hitler, that not uncommon characteristic of heads of state, a conscious desire "not to know", what the Americans now call, I believe, plausible deniability. But the proof of this of course is beyond the powers of a historian. At page 21 I write: ... dictatorships are fundamentally weak ... I concluded, the burden of guilt for the bloody and mindless massacres of the Jews rests on a large number of Germans (and non-Germans), many of them alive today and not just on one "mad dictator", whose . P-73 order had to be obeyed without question. The similarity with the thesis propagated by Dr Daniel Goldhagen of the University of Harvard in his worldwide best seller book, "Hitler's Willing Executioners", will surely strike everybody in this court. I am saying the burden falls on a large number of Germans and not just on that one madman's. Note the word "just". I do not say "not on the madman", I say not just on him. Allow me to rub this point in: What I actually wrote and printed and published in my flagship study Hitler's War was that Hitler was clearly responsible for the Holocaust both by virtue of being head of state and by having done so much by his speeches and organisation to start it off. Where I differed from many historians was in denying that there was any documentary proof of detailed direction and initiation of the mass murders by Hitler, and I am glad to say two months in that respect has not brought us any closer. The view was considered to be heretical at the time. But this lack of wartime documentary evidence for Hitler's involvement is now widely accepted. Indeed, on the narrower matter of the lack of wartime documentary evidence on the gas chambers, your Lordship was already good enough to grant as follows in an exchange between your Lordship and myself and . P-74 Professor Evans. I said: If his Lordship is led to believe by a careless statement of the witnesses that there is a vast body of wartime documents, namely about gas chambers, this would be unfair, would it not, because you, Professor Evans, are not referring to wartime documents, you are referring to postwar documents? Professor Evans at this point replies: I am referring to all kinds of documents. I insist, this is me: You are not referring to wartime documents? Evans says: I am referring to documents including wartime documents, the totality of the written evidence for the Holocaust which you deny. Irving then says: Are you saying there is a vast quantity of wartime documents? You see, I am a bit persistent on this matter. Evans says: What I am saying is that there is a vast quantity of documents and material for all aspects of the Holocaust. At this point your Lordship was good enough to say: I expect you would accept, Professor Evans, just to move on, the number of overtly incriminating documents, wartime documents, as regarding gas chambers is actually pretty few and far between? That is how it was left. . P-75 To summarise, in Hitler's War I differed from the other historians in suggesting that the actual mass murders were not all or mainly initiated by Hitler. I pointed out that my sources were consistent with another explanation: A conscious desire "not to know" (a kind of Richard Nixon kind of complex) to which I referred, I believe, on three occasions during the hearings here. I submit that I have not distorted, manipulated and falsified. I have put all the cards on table; I made the documents available to all comers, on microfilm and in the archives, and I have pointed to various possible explanations. I further submit that, while certainly "selling" my views, I have been much less manipulated that those historians, including some whom you heard in this court, my Lord, whose argument has an important part been simply this -- that I ought not to be heard, because my views are too outlandish or extreme. Disgracefully, these scholars cleared from the sidelines as I have outlawed, arrested harassed, and all but "vernichtet" destroyed as a professional historian; and they have put pressure on British publishers to destroy my works. This is a reference to MacMillan Limited, to which we will come later. To assist your Lordship in deciding how outlandish and extreme these views of mine are, I allow . P-76 myself to quote from AJP Taylor's The War Lords, published by Penguin -- the First Defendants in this action -- in London in 1978. Of Adolf Hitler Taylor wrote. "... it was at this time that he became really a recluse, settling down in an underground bunker, running the war from the front. (at pages 55-57). Precisely same kind of image I generated from my own sources. "He was a solitary man, though he sometimes accepted, of course, advice from others, sometimes decisions [my emphasis]. [he accepted decisions from others] It is, I think, true, for instance, that the terrible massacre of the Jews". This is AJP Taylor who "was inspired more by Himmler than by Hitler, though Hitler took it up". (At pages 68-70). These quotations are from the foreword of AJP Taylor's own flagship work, The Origins of the Second World War, published in 1963: "Little can be discovered so long as we go on attributing everything that happened to Hitler. He supplied a powerful dynamic element, but it was fuel to an existing machine... [later on he writes] He have counted for nothing without the support and co-operation of the German people. It seems to be believed nowadays that Hitler did everything himself, even driving the trains and filling the gas chambers unaided. This . P-77 was not so. Hitler was a sounding-board for the German nation. Thousands. Many hundred thousand, Germans carried out his evil orders without qualm or question." What I wrote, with less felicity of style than Professor Taylor, was a reasonable interpretation of the information available to me at the time. I might add that my words are often accepted, quoted, and echoed by other historians far more eminent than me. (including the government's Official Historians like Professor Frank Hinsley, in his volumes on British intelligence) who specifically footnotes and references my works. Some may regard my interpretations as not the most probable. But they are never perverse. For the Defendants to describe me as one who manipulates, distorts, and falsifies it would be necessary for them to satisfy your Lordship that I wilfully adopted perverse and ridiculous interpretations. But I have not and they have not satisfied your Lordship either, I submit. The Defendants' historiographical criticisms I now turn to some of the particular matters which exercised your Lordship, in the list of points at issue. As a preamble I would say that I trust your Lordship will be bear in mind that the task facing an historian of my type -- what I refer to as a "shirtsleeve historian", a shirtsleeve historian working in the field, . P-78 from original records -- is very different from the task facing the scholar or academic who sits in a book-lined study, plucking handy works of reference from his shelves, printed in large type, translated into English, provided with easy indices and often with nice illustrations too. Your Lordship will recall that while researching the Goebbels Diaries in Moscow for the first week in June 1992 I had to read those wartime Nazi glass microfiches plates through a magnifier the size of a nailclipper, with a lens smaller than a pea. The Court will appreciate that reading even post-war microfilm of often poorly reproduced original documents on a mechanical reader is tedious, time consuming, and an unrewarding business. Your Lordship will be familiar with the reason why I saying this. There were certain matters which we dealt with. Notes have to be taken in handwriting when are you sitting at a reader. There are no "pages" to be xeroxed. In the 1960s xerox copies were nothing like as good as they are now, as your Lordship will have noticed from the blue-bound volumes brought in here from my own document archives. Mistakes undoubtedly occur: the mis-transcription of difficult German words pencilled in Gothic or Sutterlin-style handwriting, a script which most modern German scholars find unreadable anyway; mistakes of copying are made; mistakes of omission (i.e. a passage is not transcribed when you are sitting at the screen because at the time it . P-79 appears of no moment). These are innocent mistakes, and with a book the size of Hitler's War which currently runs to 393,000 words, they are not surprising. Your Lordship may recall another exchange I had with Professor Evans: may I emphasise here that there is no personal animus from me towards Professor Evans at all. I thought he gave his evidence admirably. IRVING: Professor Evans, when your researchers were researching in my files at the Institute of History in Munich, did they come across a file there which was about 1,000 pages long, consisting of the original annotated footnotes of Hitler's War which were referenced by a number to a every single sentence in that book? ANSWER: No. IRVING: It was not part of the original corpus, it was part of the original manuscript, but it was chopped out because of the length. EVANS: No, we did not see that. IRVING: Have you seen isolated pages of that in my diary (sic) in so far as it relates to episodes which were of interest, like the Reichskristallnacht? EVANS: No, I do not to be honest, recall, but that does not mean to say that we have not seen them. IRVING: You say my footnotes are opaque because they do not always give the page reference. Do you agree that, on a page which we are going to come across in . P-80 the course of this morning, of your own expert report, you put a footnote in just saying "see Van Pelt's report", and that expert report is 769 pages long, is it not? So from this exchange it is plain that I was not just a conjurer producing quotations in my books, producing quotations and documents out of a hat; I made my sources and references available in their totality to historians, even when they were not printed in the book. The allegation that the mistakes are deliberate -- that they are manipulations, or distortions -- is a foul one to make, and easily disposed of by general considerations, which I ask your Lordship to pay particular attention to. If I intended deliberately to mistranscribe a handwritten word or text on which the defence places such reliance, I would hardly on the deliberate nature of the mistranscription, I would hardly have furnished copies of the original text to my critics, or published the text of the handwritten document as a facsimile in the same work (for example, the famous November 30th 1941 note, which is illustrated as a facsimile in all editions of Hitler's War); nor would I have placed the entire collection of such documents without restriction in archives commonly frequented by my criticism. If I intended to mistranslate a document, would I have encouraged the publication of the resulting book, . P-81 with the correct original quotation in the German language, where my perversion of the text would easily have been discovered? Yet like all my other works both, Hitler and Goebbels have appeared in German language editions with a full and correct transcription of the controversial texts. Is that the action of a deliberate mistranslator. As for the general allegation that the errors of exaggeration or distortions that were made were "all" of a common alignment, designed to exonerate or exculpate Adolf Hitler, the test which I submit your Lordship must apply should surely be this: if the sentence that is complained of be removed from the surrounding paragraph or text (and in each book there are only one or two such sentences of which this wounding claim is made) does this in any way alter the book's general thrust, or the weight of the argument that is made?
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