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Shofar FTP Archive File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day008.23

Archive/File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day008.23
Last-Modified: 2000/07/20

   MR RAMPTON:  Certainly, of course we will.  The first fat one
        is K1, the second one which has not got as much material
        in it is K2, and the Claimant's statements are K3.
   MR RAMPTON (To the witness):  Mr Irving, could you turn open
        the first tab in the first of those files?  That should be
        the Leuchter?
   A.   It is, yes.
   Q.   I would rather you use the one in the file because it has
        the appendices.  Before I do that, I want to do something
        else.  May I?  I am sorry about that, my Lord, I had
        forgotten what I intended to do.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  That is all right.
   MR RAMPTON:  It is Monday morning.  Could you, Mr Irving, turn
        up in the third file, K3, tab 4?  This is a transcript of
        the press conference that you gave, introducing the
        Leuchter in your published edition on 23rd June 1989.
        Could you turn to page 21, please?  I will start, if
        I may, at the bottom of page 20.  You are being asked
        questions, Mr Irving, and somebody says at the bottom of
        page 20:  "So they fabricated this evidence?"  You say:
         "Oh, we fabricated a lot of evidence at Nuremberg.  I am
        very familiar with the private diaries", etc., "of Robert
        H Jackson and the American Judge Biddle."
                  Page 21 at the top:  "They fabricated the

.          P-13

        evidence?" asked the questioner?
   A.   "This evidence".
   Q.   I am sorry, "this evidence".  You are quite right,
        Mr Irving:  "No, but I am familiar with how things like
        the figure of 6 million were arrived at because that is
        dealt with at great length in their private diaries."
        Then you say this: "Judge Biddle, however, sitting in
        judgment at Nuremberg, he looked at one Auschwitz survivor
        all day, a Frenchman -- I am sure you know her name, she
        gave a heartbreaking testimony about what she had survived
         -- and in his diary at the end of that day Judge Biddle
        privately wrote:  'I don't believe a word of what she is
        saying.  I think she is a bloody liar'."
                  Mr Irving, he did not say that in his diary?
   A.   You are right.  He did not write those words.
   Q.   No.  Those are your words, are they not?
   A.   This is my gloss on it, yes.
   Q.   And he did not say it, did he, about the whole of her
   A.   I think he did.  He sat there listening to the testimony
        and after a time when he could stand it no longer, he
        wrote in brackets in the middle of her testimony words
        which gave precisely this meaning to me as the reader.
        You must remember I have read the entire notes of Biddle
        in the archives in the United States.
   Q.   I am going to show you the notes of Judge Biddle and

.          P-14

        you wrote about them on your little index cards in a
        moment.  Can I just draw attention -- you do not need to
        get it out --  the woman in question was a lady called
        Marie-Claude Valliant-Courturier, was she not?
   A.   A French Communist yes.
   Q.   A French Communist.  As she said, a member of the Resistance?
   A.   Well, exactly, a member of the Resistance and a French Communist.
   Q.   Do you remember in your Nuremberg book -- if you would
        like to get it out, you shall -- you published a lot of
        pictures, quite a good selection of pictures really, after
        page 182?
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   A caption to a picture of that lady, Madame
        Valliant-Couturier, reads as follows:  "Credibility
        problems.  As Madame Marie-Claude Valliant-Couturier below
        left testifies about her ordeal as a Communist interned at
        Auschwitz, Judge Francis Biddle notes that he does not
        believe her"?
   A.   Perhaps it would assist the court if you were to read out
        some of this lady's testimony to the Nuremberg court?
   Q.   No, it would not in the very slightest, Mr Irving.
   A.   Well, it certainly would because you can see yourself how
        totally incredible her testimony was.
   Q.   No, Mr Irving, I am sorry.  You can do that later in

.          P-15

        re-examination of yourself if you wish?
   A.   I certainly shall because all those things taken together
        indicated why the Judge wrote down those words in his
   Q.   Could his Lordship and Mr Irving please be given the
        original transcript, or whatever it is, of Judge Biddle's
        notes and also Mr Irving's noted form of that document on
        his index cards?
   A.   These were provided by me to your solicitors.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Where are they going to go?  There is another
        loose document coming, floating in.  Where shall I put it?
   MR RAMPTON:  The back of core file Auschwitz K2.  It will be
        tab ----
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  This is really a core bundle document, is
   MR RAMPTON:  It is an Auschwitz document in a sense, but
        actually on this little exercise for mismisrepresentation.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  This is Biddle's notes of Madame Couturier.
   MR RAMPTON:  That is right.  28th January 1946.  This is his
        notes of her evidence.
   A.   "Sang the Marseillaise when the gas trucks started to move".
   Q.   On page 3, Mr Irving, if you turn to page 3  -- I marked
        it tab 7 in K2, my Lord, if that is convenient?
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Yes, thank you.

.          P-16

   MR RAMPTON:  At the top of page 3 of his actual notes there are
        two sentences:   "SS distributed punishment in form of 50
        blows of stick on back by a sort of machine.  Endless roll
        calls and gymnastics".  Then a new paragraph, Mr Irving.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Sorry, which page.
   MR RAMPTON:  Page 3, my Lord.  3 at the top or 34 at the
        bottom.  Then there is a new paragraph:  "House of
        prostitution for SS selected young women as they were
        washing for maids or camps used the same system.  (This
        I doubt)."  Then he starts a new paragraph.
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   The only thing.  Mr Irving, that he is doubting is her
        statement about the prostitution.
   A.   I do not think you have any justification for saying that.
   Q.   It is perfectly obvious.
   A.   In the previous paragraph we have heard about the SS
        having a machine for beating people with, which on the
        face of it is totally implausible, and we now know it to
        be totally untrue.  By this time, this Judge Biddle, who
        is a very, very level headed American, as I know from his
        private papers, is so fed up with this woman's testimony
        that he finally can stand it no longer and he dictates in
        parenthesis into his report --  this, you remember, is not
        in typing or handwriting, this is him dictating to a
        secretary so we do not know where the paragraphs begin or
        end in his dictation.  He says, "This I doubt".

.          P-17

   Q.   Mr Irving, will you look at your own note of this
        document?  You came upon these in Syracuse in New York
        State, I think?
   A.   The Americans call it Syracuse.
   Q.   I beg their pardon.  But that is right, is it not?.
   A.   This is correct, at the university of Syracuse.
   Q.   There is a little clip, two pages, of your own index card
        notes -- have I got it right?
   A.   That is correct.
   Q.   On the second page, in the top right hand corner, you
        report this part of Judge Biddle's note and, wherever you
        are, as it were, missing something out, you put quite
        properly an ellipse with three dots.
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   At the bottom of that box on the right-hand side, which
        I assume is a card, you write: "... House of prostitution
        for SS selected young women as they were washing for
        maids.  All camps used the same system (this
        I doubt). ..."
   A.   The reason why I write down about the house
        of prostitution is because this was referred to as a
        sonderhouse and sondergeboide and so, for people who are
        interested in the Holocaust, you noticed the word sonder
        as being attached to something which was not connected
        with gassing, and that is why I quoted that particular
        paragraph but, once again, I submit that this dictated

.          P-18

        parenthesis by Biddle refers to everything he has heard up
        to this point.  It is getting more and more implausible
        and, when he hears about the machine for beating people,
        his patience snaps.
   MR RAMPTON:  Mr Irving, that must be complete nonsense, must it
        not?.  Look at the little paragraph in Judge Biddle.
   A.   He did not say, "new paragraph Miss Smith", he just dictated.
   Q.   What warrant did you have for inflating that side note
        about one little paragraph about prostitution into a
        general doubt by Judge Biddle about the credibility of the
        whole of this lady's testimony.  What warrant was there
        for that?
   A.   I sat for either one or two days in the university library
        of Syracuse University.  Reading all Judge Biddle's notes
        on the testimony given by the witnesses that I was
        interested in, and also his notes on the deliberations on
        the judgment, whether to hang or sentence to life
        imprisonment and so on.  So you get a very good feeling
        for the sense of the way a judge is thinking and, if he
        did not make this kind of comment about the other
        witnesses and suddenly at this point he does, then this is
        what said to me that this was a witness who tested his own
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Can I just ask because I am not quite sure
        that I am following this?  You interpret those three words

.          P-19

        in parenthesis, appearing where they do in the summary of
        this lady's evidence, as the judge casting doubt over the
        totality of it?
   A.   Up to that point, yes.  There is no reason for him to
        doubt really the house of prostitution but there certainly
        is reason to doubt what comes in the paragraph before
        about the special machine for caning people.  We did not
        even have that at public school.  Everything up to this
        point he has been listening, as judges do, I am sure your
        Lordship also does sometimes, with mounting impatience,
        and he made a little mental note that he dictated that
        evening to a secretary, "(this I doubt)".
   MR RAMPTON:  Mr Irving, you know perfectly well, do you not,
        that you have done what you have so often done?  You have
        taken one little phrase which is applied to one
        proposition made by the witness about prostitution when
        the judge has put a parenthetical note that he doubts this
        proposition, and the word "this" is very specific in
        English.  It means that which we are now talking about,
        does it not?
   A.   What they were now talking about was the SS distributed
        punishment in the form of 50 blows by a stick on the back
        by a machine, and all the other stories about the
        orchestra playing music as people went into the gas
        chambers, all these other stories that this witness
        generated in her testimony.  There is a great deal of

.          P-20

        in these five pages and you have been very careful not to
        read out the five page so that people can hear exactly how
        ludicrous this witness's statement was, as we now know
        with hindsight.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Give us one other example.  The machine for
        beating you have described.  Just so that I have the
        flavour of it.
   A.   Dogs tore at their legs and killed, set on by SS guards,
        corpses in the courtyard, a hand or head would now and
        then stir in the corpses seeking to free itself, the heap
        moaned from morn till night in all languages "Water
        water", huge rats everywhere, and so on.  I think there is
        a reason why the judge is dictating this kind of
        material:  In order to get the flavour of what this
        witness is saying.  He finally then writes down "(this
        I doubt)".
   MR RAMPTON:  Mr Irving, I simply cannot accept that.
   A.   This is frankly why I think eyewitness evidence is so
   Q.   Yes, maybe you do, Mr Irving.  I am not on about
        eyewitness.  I am on about a deliberate distortion of what
        the text of Judge Biddle's note actually says.
   A.   I agree and I concede, for what it is worth, that what
        I said in the press conference, no doubt four or five
        years after reading Judge Biddle's notes, or possibly even
        ten years after I read Judge Biddle's notes, I cannot

.          P-21

        remember precisely when I saw the papers.
   Q.   What about what you said here in the picture caption?
   A.   About the credibility of the witness?
   Q.   Yes.
   A.   I think that is absolutely justified.  If he says that he
        doubts her, then ipso facto her credibility has been maligned.
   Q.   Would you turn back to tab 2 in the third of those files,
        the same files as you have the Leuchter press conference?
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   It is page 18.  My Lord, this is a speech at Toronto in
        August 1988.  Turn to page 18, please.
   A.   I cannot see any pagination.
   Q.   Bottom of the page?
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Tab 2.  Are you in the right tab?
   A.   I am in the right tab but there is no pagination in mine.
        However --
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Are you in the right volume?
   A.   It is the district court of Ontario.
   MR RAMPTON:  I am sorry about this.  Tab 2, page 18.  It is
        Toronto August 1988.
   A.   What is the page number?
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  It is the wrong file.

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