Archive/File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day032.08 Last-Modified: 2000/07/25 An example of this test is the wrong weight which I gave to the contents of the 1.20 am telegram issued by SS-Gruppenfuhrer Reinhard Heydrich on Kristallnacht. I think Mr Rampton referred to that this morning. It is a famous telegram, printed in the Nuremberg volumes, five pages long or so. Would such an error have been committed wilfully by me, given the risk that it would inevitably be exposed? Is it not far more likely on the balance of probabilities that in the process of . P-82 writing and rewriting, and of cutting and of cutting and condensing, the Goebbels manuscript, the author, that is me, gradually over the eight years lost sight of the full content and the thrust of the original document? Your Lordship should know, if not then I say so now, that that book witness through five successive drafts and retypes over eight years, filling eventually four archives boxes, a total of eight cubic feet of manuscript, all of which I disclosed to the Defendants by way of discovery. St Martin's Press, my American publishers, particularly asked that these early chapters of the book should be trimmed back in length. These general considerations disposed of the defence arguments on the "Policeman Hoffman" evidence as rendered in the 1924 Hitler treason trial. For the limited purposes of writing a biography of -- my Lord, these are points you have asked me to address specifically in your list of issues. I say that because those who listen to Mr Rampton's speech will not have heard them referred to and may be puzzled as to why I am addressing them. For the limited purposes of writing a biography of Hermann Goring -- not of Hitler -- I relied on the thousands of typescript microfilmed pages of the transcript of this trial. So far as I know, nobody had ever used them before me at that time. Now the handy, printed, bound, indexed, cross-referenced edition, which . P-83 Professor Evans drew upon had not appeared at that time. The printed edition appeared in 1988, two years ago. Eleven years after my Goring biography was published. In other words, even more years after I wrote it by Macmillan Limited. I extracted -- with difficulty -- from the microfilmed pages of the original transcript the material I needed relating to Hitler and Goring and I was not otherwise interested in that man Hofmann at all. I do not consider the printed volume on the trial which is now available shows that I made meaningful errors, if so, they certainly were not deliberate. The Kristallnacht in November 1938 is a more difficult episode in every way. I do not mean in that sense, my Lord, that it is difficult for me personally. It is a difficult episode to reconstruct from the material available to us. As said, I clearly made an error over the content (and reference number) of the 1.20 a.m. telegram from Heydrich. It was an innocent error. It was a glitch of the kind that occurs in the process of redrafting a manuscript several times over the years. The Court must not overlook that by the time was completed in 1994 and 1995 and as I described in the introduction to that book, Goebbels, the Mastermind of the Third Reich, by that time I had been forcefully severed from both my own collection of documents in German institutions and from the German Federal archives in Koblenz. On July 1st 1993, . P-84 my Lord when I attended the latter archives in Koblenz explicitly for the purpose of tidying up loose ends on the Goebbels manuscript, I was formally banned from the building in the interests of the German people I was told, for ever on orders of the minister of the interior -- that is one of the gravest blows that has been struck at me in my submission by this international endeavour to which I shall shortly refer. The allegation of the Defendants in connection with the Kristallnacht is that in order to "exonerate Hitler" I effectively concocted or invented, a false version of events on that night, namely that Adolf Hitler intervened between 1 and 2 a.m. in order to halt the madness. I think that is a fair summary of the charge against me. I submit that their refusal to accept this, my version, is ingrained in their own political attitudes. There is evidence both in the archives and in the reliable contemporary records like Ulrich von Hassell, the diaries of von Hassell, Alfred Rosenberg and Hellmuth Groscurth, and in the independent testimonies. By which I mean independent from each other, testimonies of those participants whom I myself carefully questioned, or whose private papers I obtained -- I mention here Nicolaus von Below, Hitler's adjutant. Another adjutant, Bruckner, Julius Schaub, Karl Wolff and others -- which the Court has seen, to justify the versions which I rendered. It . P-85 therefore was not an invented story. It may well be that my critics were unfamiliar with the sources that I used before they made their criticisms. The dishonesty lies not with me, for printing the "inside" story of Hitler's actions that night, as far as we can reconstruct them using these and other sources; but with those scholars who have studiously ignored them, and in particular the Rudolf Hess "stop arson" telegram of 2.56 am, which was issued "on orders from the highest level", which the Defendants' scholars are agreed or testified is a reference to Hitler. Your Lordship may well have marvelled to hear the Defendants' witnesses dismiss this message from Rudolf Hess -- like the Schlegelberger Document, referred to later -- as being of no consequence. The Kristallnacht diaries of Dr Goebbels, which I obtained in Moscow in 1992, some years after I first drafted the episode for my biography, substantially bore out my version of events, in my submission, namely that he and not Hitler was the prime instigator, and that Hitler was largely unaware and displeased by what came about, or by the scale of what came about, would be a fairer way to put that. Your Lordship will recall that Professor Phillippe Burrin, a Swiss Holocaust historian for whom all the witnesses expressed respect when questioned by me, comes to the same conclusion independently of me. Now he . P-86 (and I have given the quotation at the foot of page). Now, he is manifestly not a "Holocaust denier" either. The Court will also recall that the witness Professor Evans admitted that unlike myself he had not read all through the available Goebbels Diaries. It is a massive task. A mammoth task. He had not had the time, he said, and we must confess a certain sympathy with that position -- for an academic, time is certainly at a premium. But reading all of the available Goebbels Diaries is however necessary, in order to establish and recognize the subterfuges which this Nazi minister used throughout his career as diarist, in order to conceal when he was creating what I call alibis for his own wayward and evil behaviour. I drew attention to this historiographical conundrum several times in the book, my Goebbels biography, the fact that Goebbels Diaries were not trustworthy. I discussed both in my scientific annotated German language edition of the 1938 diaries and in my full Goebbels biography which your Lordship has read, a characteristic example from this same year, 1938, although the one episode which most deeply harrowed and unsettled him that year was his affair with the Czech actress, Lida Baarova, an affair which drove him to the brink of resignation, divorce, and even suicide, neither her name nor any of those events figures explicitly in the diary at . P-87 all, unless the pages be read particularly closely, when certain clues can be seen. That is an example ... The Goebbels diary is sometimes a very deceitful document; it must be recognized as such and treated very gingerly indeed. It is the diary of a liar, a propagandist. The fact that it was evidently written up not one, but two or even three days later, after the Kristallnacht episode, calls for additional caution in relying on it for chronology and content. My Lord, your Lordship will notice that I have not dealt specifically with the number of the issues you put in your list. I hope your Lordship does not take umbrage with that, but I felt that I dealt with them adequately in my cross-examination. MR JUSTICE GRAY: It is entirely a matter for you. MR IRVING: If this was wrong of me then all I can say is culpa mea (sic) but I now continue with the various narratives of the Nazi shooting of the Jews in the East. There is little dispute between the parties on what actually happened in my view. This is the shootings of the Jews in the East by the Nazis and their collaborators. There is little dispute between the parties on what actually happened in my view, and your Lordship is aware that I have given these atrocities due and proper attention in the various biographies I have written; I however add the one caveat, that they are not . P-88 intended to be reference works on the Holocaust, but just orthodox biographies. I believe that I was the first historian anywhere in the world to discover and make use of the CSDIC reports relating further details to these killings, particularly the Bruns Report, and I made these reports available to many other historians. I should explain to the people who are not familiar with them that these CSDIC reports are eavesdropping reports on Nazi prisoners that we British made using hidden microphones. It took -- it takes many days to read them. There are thousands and thousands of pages in these files. Over the last twenty years I have read these horrifying narratives out repeatedly to public audiences, they describe the killings of the Jews in the most horrifying detail, including "right-wing" audiences. This fact alone entitles me to express my contempt at those who would describe me as a "Holocaust denier". We have seen the Defendants scrabbling around at the end of the Bruns Report for its seizing on its third-hand reference by this SS murderer and braggart in Riga, Altemeyer, to an "order" that he claimed to have received to carry out such mass shootings more circumspectly in future. But we know from the late 1941 police decodes -- we British were reading the SS and police messages passing between Berlin and the front. We . P-89 know from the late 1941 police decodes, which is a much firmer source-document in my view than a snatch of conversation remembered years later, in April 1945, we know precisely what orders had gone from Hitler's headquarters, radioed by Himmler himself to the SS mass murderer, SS Obergruppenfuhrer Friedrich Jeckeln, stating explicitly that these killings exceeded the authority that had been given by himself, Himmler, and by the Reichsssicherheitshauptamp (the RSHA). We know that the killing of all German Jews stopped at once, for many months upon the receipt of that message. When I first translated the word "Judentransport" a word which I emphasise again can mean "transportation of the Jews", as "transports of Jews", in the plural, in the 1970s, being unaware of the surrounding context of data which helps now to narrow down the purport to the one Riga-bound trainload from Berlin. I was thus inadvertently coming closer to the truth, not further from it; because the liquidation of all the trainloads from Germany was halted next day, December 1st 1941, by the order radioed from Hitler's headquarters (whether initiated by Himmler or Hitler seems hair-splitting in this context). As I stated under cross-examination, I did not see the Schulz-Dubois document when I wrote my books and I have not seen it since; having now read Professor Gerald Fleming tells us about it, I confess that I would be . P-90 unlikely to attach the same importance as does learned counsel for the Defendants, to what the famously anti-Nazi Abwehr Chief Wilhelm Canaris allegedly told Lieutenant Schulz-Dubois of Hitler's reaction. The British decodes of the SS signals, to which I introduced the Court, and the subsequent events (the actual cessation for many months of the liquidation of German Jews) in my submission speak louder. Your Lordship asked in your list of questions for my comments on the reference in Hitler's table talk of October 25th 1941. Well, your Lordship is familiar with the Defendants' argument and with mine. My extract from this document which I used was based originally on the original Weidenfeld translation, in fact, I used the original Weidenfeld translation into English, as is well known, in disagreement with the Defendants' experts I still maintain and others have followed me in this (notably Professor Phillippe Burrin, who translates Schrecken as "the ominous reputation") in that context, that the appropriate translation here for the word "schrecken" is indeed "rumour" and not "terror", a word which makes for a wooden and uncouth translation anyway. Ladies and gentlemen, it will make no sense, unfortunately, this passage, unless you see the document. A relevant passage from the SS Event Report from activities in the rear of the eastern front, dated . P-91 September 11, 1941 front (provided by the Defendants), shows that this is precisely what was meant: "The rumour that all Jews are being shot by the Germans had a salutary effect". The Jews were now fleeing before the Germans arrived. The rumour! To accuse me of wilful mistranslation and even worse distortion when (a) I used the original (sic) Weidenfeld translation, not at that time having received the original German from Switzerland, and (b) the word "rumour" gives precisely the nuance, the correct nuance that the surrounding history shows the word was meant to have, this accusation seems to me an excessively harsh judgment on my expertise. The next in line is the Goebbels diary entry for November 22nd, 194: Again, I just pick out what seems to matter to me in that particular entry here, for the purposes of today's submissions. This diary entry, my Lord, includes a fair example of how dishonest the reporting by Goebbels was when it comes to his meetings with Hitler. He records "the exceptional praise" of Hitler for the weekly newsreel produced by his ministry, the propaganda ministry; in fact Hitler was forever criticising this very product of the Goebbels ministry, as the diary of Rosenberg shows. Goebbels then continues, here is the quote: "With regard to the Jewish problem too the Fuhrer completely agrees with my views. He wants an energetic . P-92 policy against the Jews, but one however that does not cause us needless difficulties." Goebbels diary entry continues: "The evacuation of the Jews is to be done city by city". So it is still not fixed when Berlin's turn comes; but when it does, "the evacuation should be carried out as fast as possible". In other words, he had not got his way. He had been agitating once again that the evacuation should start but Hitler had not come into line. "Still not fixed when Berlin's time comes". Hitler then expressed the need for "a somewhat reserved approach" in question of mixed marriages -- that is marriages between Jews and non-Jews. What do you do with them? Are you going to keep them in Germany or deport them? Hitler's view was the marriages would die out anyway by and by, and they should not go grey worrying about it. Now I have suggested that on the balance of probabilities Hitler was alluding to the public unrest when he said he wanted a policy that does not cause us needless difficulties. I have suggested on a balance of probabilities Hitler was alluding to the public unrest caused by the suicide a few days earlier of the popular actor Joachim Gottschalk and his family. Apart from "needless" becoming "endless", in an irritating typo which hardly amounts to manipulation, in other words, in the original German, the original translation started off as "causing us needless difficulties", which is correct, . P-93 and somehow it became "endless difficulties" is an irritating typo which hardly amounts to "manipulation". This passage bears out what I have always said of Hitler. While Goebbels was the eternal agitator, as witness his anti-Semitic leading article published in Das Reich only a few days before, November 16th 1941, Hitler was (even by Goebbels own account) for a reserved approach towards the Jewish problems; and he was doing so, even as the trainloads of Jews were heading eastwards from Bremen and Berlin, for example to the conquered Russian territories and the Baltic states. Your Lordship will not need reminding of the curious British decodes, which revealed the provisioning of the deportation trains with tonnes of foods for the journey. These are messages which we British decoded, which reveal the provisioning of the deportation trainloads of Jews with tonnes of food for the journey, stocks of many weeks food for after they arrived and even deportees' appliances, "Gerat", appliances. So the evacuation at this time evidently meant just that to very many Reich officials, and no more. My Lord ---- MR JUSTICE GRAY: Press on. Let us get as far as the Schlegelberger document, shall we, on the next page. MR IRVING: Jolly good, yes, good point. Mr Rampton went to some effort and expense to suggest that I suppressed vital information from the newly . P-94 discovered Goebbels diary, December 13th 1941. In this day's entry Goebbels reported on various things and he reported on Hitler's rhetoric to the Gauleiters, speaking on December 12th 1941 in Berlin, the Nazi governors. Anybody who is as familiar as I am with Hitler's speeches, and with Goebbels' diary entries relating to be them will effortlessly recognize this entire passage as being usual the Hitler gramophone record about his famous 1939 "prophecy". It was part of his stock repertoire when speaking to the Party old guard -- they had carried him into power, the Party old guard had carried him into power and they expected to hear from him that he had not abandoned the hallowed Party programme. I can understand the temptation for the younger generation of scholars, unfamiliar with Hitler's rhetoric, to fall greedily upon such freshly discovered morsels as though they were the answer to the great Holocaust mystery: None of the witnesses to whom this item was put by myself, or by counsel for the Defendants, was able to identify any part of this passage which was out of the ordinary for Hitler.
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