The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day005.15

Archive/File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day005.15
Last-Modified: 2000/08/01

   Q.   That means we will have to look at some of the documents.
        I had hoped to avoid that.

.          P-130

   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  But so that we are clear what the issue
        actually really is that we are trying to resolve, it
        not so much the numbers -- I think you said you do not
        like playing the numbers game -- it is whether it was
        systematic in the sense of having been organized from
        Berlin and, perhaps, a higher level of Hitler?
   A.   Well, in view of the fact that the court proposes to
        attach significance to the word "systematic", I shall
        to resist the suggestion that what happened in those
        was systematic, and I am sure that Mr Rampton is aware
        that on occasion even the SS headquarters sent out
        travelling judges who established that unauthorised
        killings had been going on and, in fact, on one or two
        occasions the camp commandants were hanged before
   Q.   You are quite right to pick up the word "systematic".
        have been using it, I think, Mr Rampton, have we not,
        mean policy and policy adopted, laid down at a high
   MR RAMPTON:  Yes, I do and I draw the -- inference is too
        a word -- conclusions about system from both ends of
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  But that is the issue.  We need not
        about numbers, it seems to me, in the light of what
        Mr Irving has said.
   MR RAMPTON:  Nor, I guess, about "deliberate" either?
   A.   Deliberate?

.          P-131

   Q.   "Deliberate killing"?
   A.   Have we had an argument about "deliberate" yet?
   Q.   Murder?
   A.   You would need to then specify who is deliberating.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  That is a ...
   MR RAMPTON:  Intentional killing.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  By whoever it was, the killing was not --
   A.   It certainly was not accidental.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  --- not accidental.
   MR RAMPTON:  But the people who did it were criminals who
        acting in a random, haphazard way; is that right?
   A.   Yes.  At whatever level.  I mean, you could equally
        say that the middle level SS officers, the SS
        who were acting in a random and haphazard way.
   MR RAMPTON:  My Lord, the reference to this document which,
        Mr Irving does not trust me, he should have is file
        page 222.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  That is what you have just read out.
   MR RAMPTON:  Yes, but I am going to read another bit, an
        earlier bit?
   A.   Which document is that, the Hofle document?
   Q.   It is your letter to Zitelmann.
   A.   Zitelmann, I am familiar with that.  I was looking at
it a
        few days ago.
   Q.   OK.  Well then it is not necessary.
   A.   May I just pause at that point and say, my Lord, you

.          P-132

        remember that I said that I sent the Bruns' document
to a
        very large number of historians.  That is exactly the
        I would work.  I would send documents like that and
        on the Aumeir document as well.
   Q.   I am going to read the paragraph above the one I just
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Whereabouts in 8(ii)?
   MR RAMPTON:  I am sorry, 8(i), my Lord, 222.  Am I waiting
        something, Mr Irving?
   A.   I am ready, yes.
   Q.   The third paragraph of the letter reads as follows.
        is May 21, 1989, so it may be your views have changed
        since then, I know not.  "On the... (reading to the
        words)... my own view has crystallized a lot since
        when I delivered Hitler's War to the publishers.  It
        clear to me that no serious historian can now believe
        Auschwitz", which is for some reason underlined?
   A.   It is a link, it is a hyperlink.
   Q.   I follow you, yes. "... Treblinka, Mydonek, were totas
   A.   "Factories of death".
   Q.   Factories of death, precisely.  "All the expert and
        scientific (forensic) evidence is to the contrary."
        are going to have an argument about Auschwitz.  We can
        agree that Auschwitz did not start out as a totas
        or whatever the singular is.  Mydonek, I can agree,

.          P-133

        only partly used for that purpose, but you have just
        agreed with me that, so far as you know, Treblinka did
        serve any other purpose or am I wrong?
   A.   I did not say that.
   Q.   Right.  What purpose did it serve?
   A.   You asked if it was true that large numbers of people
        you said hundreds of thousands ----
   Q.   I said hundreds of thousands.
   A.   --- were killed at these places to which I agreed that
        they were killed at those places, which included
        Treblinka, but this does not mean to say that
        was a factory of death existing solely for that
   Q.   I see.  Something special about the word "factory of
        death", is there?
   A.   Well, it is.  It is a quantum leap, if I can put it
   Q.   What does it mean?
   A.   A factory of death is a purpose built ad hoc
        for killing the people who arrive.  That is the way
        I understand -- maybe I am wrong.  Maybe you interpret
        somewhat differently.
   Q.   No, it is your word.  It is not my word.
   A.   Because I just pointed out the 60,000 Warsaw Jews who
        arrived there from the Warsaw Ghetto in May 1943 were
        sent from Treblinka to Mydonek.  So, clearly, it was
not a
        factory of death.  It had other purposes too.

.          P-134

   Q.   Well, a transit camp for some small number of people?
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   Later on, shortly after which I believe it was closed
        down, was it not?
   A.   That I do not know.
   Q.   That is, no doubt, why they were moved on to Mydonek,
        it not?  It was the nearest place.
   A.   I do not know.  I do not know if you have any evidence
   Q.   We have a map.
   A.   I am not talking about the proximity.  I am talking
        the ----
   Q.   Do not worry about it.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  We need not trouble with Mydonek, need
   MR RAMPTON:  Well, it was a place at which large numbers of
        Jews were killed.  There was a gas chamber there --
        is our evidence -- which has been reconstructed since
        war, but it was also ----
   A.   In other words, faked since the war.
   Q.   It was also in some sense a work camp?
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  It is not a pleading point, but I think
it is
        not one of the camps that you actually specifically
   MR RAMPTON:  No, it is not.  This is just for information.
        was liberated, I think, in late '44.
   THE WITNESS:  September 1944.

.          P-135

   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  It was the first to be liberated, was it
   MR RAMPTON:  Yes, it was, by the Russians.  This is, as I
        what the experts will tell your Lordship, I think.  It
        such a shock in Berlin that everything was stopped.
   A.   The Russians, of course, captured the entire camp
   MR RAMPTON:  Yes.  Well, then, Mr Irving, you have accepted
        that an awful lot of people were killed in these
        places on the borders.  You do not know one way or the
        other whether there were any remains there, do you?
   A.   Were there any?
   Q.   Remains there of buildings?
   A.   I have not been to see it.
   Q.   You have not?
   A.   I think that there is relatively little.  You can go
        these places and search in vain for any kind of
        foundations or anything.  I am sure there were
        of some kind there, but I think the Polish people
        descended on them like locusts after the war looking
        anything they could reuse.
   Q.   You have not been there.  Have you read about whether
        there are remains of factories or large barbed wire
        encampments with huts for workers and that kind of
   A.   What, still there or whether they were there?
   Q.   No, still there.  Have you been to Auschwitz?
   A.   No.

.          P-136

   Q.   Have you seen photographs of Auschwitz?
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   Now, that has a lot of remains, has it not,
   A.   Quite a high percentage of remains still left there.
   Q.   Even in that part which is alleged to have been the --
   A.   Are we talking about Auschwitz or Birkenhau?
   Q.   Well, I call the whole thing in the usual way
        but let us talk about ----
   A.   Let us be more precise.
   Q.   --- have you been to Birkenhau?
   A.   I have not been to either camp.
   Q.   Have you seen photographs of Birkenhau?
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   There are in Birkenhau quite lot of ruins and huts and
        bits and pieces, are there not?
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   And the remains of the IG Faven(?) factory are still
        there, are they not, outside the camp?
   A.   At Monovitz, yes.
   Q.   Yes, Monovitz.  Is there anything like that, so far as
        know, at Treblinka, Sobibor or Belzec?
   A.   I am not informed one way or the other on that.
   Q.   The short point is this, Mr Irving, you have no
        to contradict the probability that these camps, these
        three, I call them Reinhard camps (and I do not want

.          P-137

        have an argument about that) were purpose-built
        extermination facilities?
   A.   I have no evidence to contradict the probability.  It
is a
        very fair statement.
   Q.   Is that right?
   A.   It is a very fair statement, yes.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Does that mean that you do now resile
        the view you expressed in your letter?
   A.   No, my Lord.  I am just confirming the way he put the
        statement.  I have no evidence to contradict his
        because I have no evidence, period.
   MR RAMPTON:  Then will you accept it is a probability then?
   A.   No.  That is a different thing entirely.  I do not
want to
        sound as though I am a bit of an eel on this but...
   Q.   My word entirely, Mr Irving!
   A.   I do not want to sound slippery; I just do not want to
        nailed down in one corner where later on you will hold
        up dripping and slithering next day and say, "Look
        you said yesterday".
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  But, you see, you said to Dr Zitelmann
        it was clear to you that no serious historian can now
        believe that Treblinka and some other camps were
   A.   Quite.  They were purpose-built factories of death; in
        other words, had no other purpose than that.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Oh, I see.

.          P-138

   MR RAMPTON:  But you told me -- I am sorry about this; this
        getting a bit like a fourth form debating society, I
         -- a moment ago you said to me that you had no
        to contradict the probability that these were
        purpose-built extermination facilities.
   A.   Yes, because I have no evidence, period.
   Q.   No, but you write in this letter:  "All the experts in
        scientific forensic evidence is to the contrary"?
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   So what is that scientific and forensic evidence and
        expert evidence to the contrary?
   A.   Do you wish now already to get into the cyanide tests
        that kind of thing?
   Q.   No, I am talking about Treblinka.
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   What is the expert and scientific (forensic) evidence
        contradicts the probability that Treblinka was a
        purpose-built extermination facility?
   A.   Well, I am now looking at a letter which I wrote 11
        ago.  I would have to try to put myself back into the
        mindset at that time when I wrote that letter, and try
        recall the actual documents I had been pouring over
        the air photographs and the interrogation reports and
        things like that, if I was to explain why I wrote that
        particular sentence.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Were you extrapolating from Auschwitz?

.          P-139

   A.   I was extrapolating backwards from Auschwitz, if I can
        it like that, but certainly tests were also carried
        equally on at least one of those other two locations,
        same kind of forensic tests.  We also had material of
        kind I mentioned, like air photos and prisoner of war
        reports and things like that, but it is not the kind
        evidence that puts me in a position to say, "I can,
        therefore, challenge the probability or whatever it was
        that Mr Rampton was saying".
   MR RAMPTON:  But how could you extrapolate from Auschwitz,
        Mr Irving?  It has never been proposed by anybody, so far
        as I know, that the Nazis used hydrogen cyanide anywhere
        outside Auschwitz to kill people with, has it?
   A.   Well, exactly.  This is what I find so puzzling.  We were
        told that this is part of system by learned counsel and
        yet, apparently, they used cyanide here, petrol gas there,
        diesel fumes there, bullets in yet another place,
        bulldozers, hangings, shootings -- it appears to have been
        a totally ramshackle and haphazard operation.  A total
        lack of system.

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