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Shofar FTP Archive File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day013.06

Archive/File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day013.06
Last-Modified: 2000/07/20

   Q.   No, Mr Irving, I am sorry, it will not do.  You cannot get
        round the wording of that telegram.
   A.   You cannot get round the heading of that telegram.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Wait for the question.
   MR RAMPTON:  However much you may wish to inflate it, the fact
        is that it is specific as to Jewish shops and the like.
        Geschafte oder dergleichen.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  That is right.  You do not need to check it,
        Mr Irving.  That is right.
   A.  "I directed No. 174/38 repetition of the telegram sent out
        that same evening, 10th November, on express orders from
        the highest level, acts of arson against Jewish businesses
        or the like, are not to take place under any circumstances
        whatever."  Signed by the Deputy Fuhrer, and you cannot
        get round it.
   MR RAMPTON:  Well Mr Irving, I use your own translation given
        from the witness box caught unawares, "shops".  Nothing
        about synagogues?
   A.   If Adolf Hitler was totally endorsing what Goebbels was up
        to, he would have done exactly the opposite.  He would
        have said, "carry on fellows, magnificent stuff, let's
        have more fires".

.          P-47

   Q.   You look at that message again, if you want. Where is the
        reference to synagogues, houses and apartments?
   A.   Where is the reference to Adolf Hitler eagerly backing up
        everything Goebbels was doing?
   Q.   No, Mr Irving.  You use that telegram as incontrovertible
        evidence, to borrow one of your phrases, that Adolf Hitler
        smashed his fist on the table and said, "this has all got
        to stop".  Look at it again.
   A.   Do not forget, I also have the eyewitnesses who were with
        him just before this telegram was sent out.  I have his
        two adjutants.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I think I have each party's case.
   A.   This is another of those pivotal items and this is very
        close to the horse's mouth.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I agree it is pivotal, but there is no point
        in thrashing through it again.  We went through it
        yesterday.  I understand both cases.
   MR RAMPTON:  Yes.
   A.   It is just that my evidence is slightly better quality than his.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Will you save that up for the end of the case.
   MR RAMPTON:  Yes, Mr Irving, laughter in court.  Can we look at
        how you have finally come to deal with this Goebbels diary
        entry on page 278 of your book, Goebbels Mastermind of the
        Third Reich?  It is the top of page 278 in the fourth line

.          P-48

        at the paragraph.
                  "He made his report (on 'what to do next') to
        Hitler in the Osteria, the Fuhrer's favourite Italian
        restaurant, and was careful to record this" -- and you
        insert "perhaps slanted" -- "note in his diary, which
        stands alone, and in direct contradiction to the evidence
        of Hitler's entire immediate entourage:  "He is in
        agreement with everything.  His views are quite radical
        and aggressive.  The Aktion itself went off without a
        hitch.  A hundred dead".  Where did that hundred come
        from?  I do not remember that.  Anyhow, it does not
        matter.  I thought it was 17 dead.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  17, yes.
   A.   It must be a subsequent entry in the diary.
   MR RAMPTON:  "But no German property damaged".
   A.   My Lord, remember I was operating from the handwritten original.
   A.   I may have read the 17 as 100.  It was in digits.  I had
        the original.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  You may be right, it may be a hundred.
   A.   Indeed.
   MR RAMPTON:  The official total at the end of it all was 91,
        was it not, Mr Irving.
   Q.   I take your word for it, yes.
   Q.   We do not find that figure in your book, I do not think,

.          P-49

        do we?
   A.   You have 100 here.
   Q.   No, that is Goebbels.  You do not trust Goebbels.  You are
        just telling the readership in a moment each of these five
        sentences was untrue.  You are discrediting the figure of 100?
   A.   On the previous page 276 I say, "191 of the country's 1400
        synagogues had been destroyed; about 7,500 Jewish shops
        had had their windows smashed. 36 ... had been murdered,
        and hundreds more badly beaten".  I give a source for that.
   Q.   36.  That was an interim report by Heydrich some time on
        the morning of the 11th.
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   The final official figure was something in the region of
        91, was it not, dead?
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   That comes from the report of the people's court in
        February of 1939, does it not?
   A.   I cannot quite understand what the criticism is.  I have
        said on one page the interim figure was 36.  I then say
        Goebbels talks of a hundred.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  It is not the main point, I think.
   MR RAMPTON:  No.  You say Goebbels spoke of 100 and then you
        immediately say that that is untrue.
   A.   What I say is "perhaps slanted", or what?

.          P-50

   Q.   No. I am reading your own words after the end of the
        quote.  "Each of these five sentences was untrue as will
        be seen"?
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   Right.  So you are discrediting Goebbels' total of the
        dead, despite the fact that you know perfectly well that
        even the Nazi people's court, or whatever it was called,
        in 1939 came to a total of 91?
   A.   Well, in that case 100 is untrue.  Each of those figures
        is untrue.  The point is I am pointing out exactly how
        unreliable Goebbels' diary is and I am saying, each of
        these five sentences is untrue, inaccurate.  "No German
        property was damaged".  There had been immense damage to
        German property.  Things went off without a hitch.
        Exactly the contrary.
   Q.   Tell me this. Do you accept that, whatever else you may
        say passed between Goebbels and Hitler at the meeting at
        the Osteria, Hitler told Goebbels that he wants to take
        very sharp measures against the Jews, they must themselves
        put their business in order again, the insurance companies
        will not pay them a thing.  Then the Fuhrer wants a
        gradual expropriation of Jewish businesses?
   A.   Yes, that was said.
   Q.   That was said and it happened, did it not?
   A.   And it did happen, yes.
   Q.   On 12th November 1938 there was a conference chaired by

.          P-51

        I think Hermann Goring, at which I think probably
        Dr Goebbels was present, at which very harsh measures in
        accordance with the Fuhrer's wishes were taken against the Jews.
   A.   Yes, that is correct, Hermann Goring was head of the four
        year plan and he was in a position to issue these ordinances.
   Q.   You do not in your book, I think, Mr Irving, make
        any connection between the meeting in the Osteria
        restaurant, which in fact on reflection was perfectly
        obvious, and the Goring conference of the 12th two days
        later, do you?
   A.   You say that Dr Goebbels was present at that meeting.
        I do not believe he was actually present, but I may be
   Q.   I do not know.  Just have a quick glance -- I am not a
        historian, Mr Irving -- at the top of page 290 of Evans.
   A.   290 of Evans?
   MR RAMPTON:  Yes.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Are we leaving now the passage at 278.
   MR RAMPTON:  Yes.
   A.   He was present, yes.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  The point is a wider one than the 100 dead,
        is it not?
   MR RAMPTON:  Yes, but I have been over that.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Can I just put the question, so I get the

.          P-52

   MR RAMPTON:  Yes.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  278 of Goebbels.  I think the suggestion is
        that there really is no basis for saying that the record
        in the diary is such a complete misrepresentation of what
        Hitler's express view was at the Osteria.
   MR RAMPTON:  That is right.
   A.   I am afraid I have not followed your Lordship's question.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I am sorry, my fault.  You see what you say
        about the diary entry?
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   You are saying that Goebbels is totally misrepresenting
        Hitler's attitude as expressed to him, Goebbels, at the
        Osteria restaurant on the 10th.
   A.   In as much as he has ----
   Q.   What is the basis for that?  I think that is really the question.
   A.   He has misrepresented the diary in as much as the diary
        suggested Adolf Hitler endorsed, triggered, ignited and
        wanted the pogrom to take the shape it had during the previous night.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Yes, but on what basis do you say that
        Hitler's view was something different from what Goebbels
        says in his diary?
   A.   This telegram, my Lord, the one that goes out at 2.56 a.m.
        saying, this has got to stop.

.          P-53

   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  You rely on that?
   A.   And of course on the eyewitnesses von Behlo and von
        Putkammer who talked to me in a manner that they probably
        would not have talked to Professor Evans.
   MR RAMPTON: How many years after the events, Mr Irving?
   A.   1967.  That would be 29 years later.
   Q.   Did you show them the geschaften telegram of 2.56 a.m.?
   A.   This telegram?
   Q.   Yes.
   A.   I am not sure if I had it at the time I saw them, but
        their own recollections were very, very clear because they
        were burned into their memories.
   Q.   Did you say to them, Mr Irving, look at this telegram, you
        cannot be telling the truth, whatever their names were,
        because this telegram is limited to Jewish shops and the
   A.   What they described to me was Hitler's anger on hearing
        that the synagogue in Munich was on fire, which news they
        brought to him.  His response, "what on earth is going on,
        send for the police chief von Eberstein", the police chief
        arriving.  He then said, "send for Himmler, send for
        Goebbels, let us get to the bottom of this".  Then the
        orders were issued between 2 and 3 a.m..  This is their
        eyewitness account which they gave to me.
   Q.   The answer to my question is no, you did not show them the
        geschaften telegram?

.          P-54

   A.   That I do not know.  This interview is, what 32 years
        ago?  I do not know what documents I showed to them.
   Q.   Nor did you show them, I take it, von Eberstein's telegram
        or message or whatever it was, of 2.10 a.m., saying in
        effect, "carry on, chaps"?
   A.   A message with Eberstein's typed signature on the bottom
        from police headquarters, where Eberstein was not, because
        at that moment he was at Hitler's flat.
   Q.   They had a telephone system in Munich in 1938, did they not?
   A.   Yes, but you have to take into account the factor of
        time.  There is no such thing as instantaneous
        communication of ideas.  They had to pick up the phone.
        They had to dial.  They had to get through.  They had to
        find the officer at the other end.  Somebody had to take
        the message down, somebody had to type it on to the telex,
        they had to get open lines.
   Q.   All of that can be done in about five minutes.
   A.   I do not think so. I think we are talking about the 1930s
        when everything was done manually, including telephone exchanges.
   Q.   Eberstein already had the text of Muller's telex of 5 to
        12 that night, did he not, and he just recites it.
   A.   Yes.  There is no question that at the time those igniting
        orders went out in consequence of Dr Goebbels' speech at
        the old town hall, the executive branch, if you can put it

.          P-55

        like that, thought they were acting in conformity with
        Hitler's wishes.  At 2 a.m. they learned their mistake.
   Q.   Did you show your eyewitnesses in 1967 or whenever it was
        the Eberstein telegram of 2.10 a.m.?
   A.   That would not be the way I would conduct an interview.
        I would go there and learn exactly what they knew without
        showing them documents.
   Q.   Did you not think it sensible to test a person's
        recollection, however amicably you do it, after more than
        20 years by reference to the contemporaneous documentation?
   A.   Mr Gray, if you read the transcripts of these interviews ----
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I think you are getting confused between
        Rampton and me.
   MR RAMPTON:  You do me too much of an honour, Mr Irving, I am

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