Archive/File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day017.14 Last-Modified: 2000/07/20 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Surely the key consideration is what persuaded him to change his mind. If there were good reasons, there good reasons, and if there were not there were not. MR IRVING: Witness, can you answer his Lordship's curiosity in this respect? A. He does not explicitly address that question as to why the change. He rephrases it in such a way that he felt that was too specific. MR JUSTICE GRAY: No. What I am getting at is, that the ground for criticising him for changing his mind would depend on the quality of the evidence that convinced him to change his mind. If there were not good reasons for his change of mind, then he should not have changed his mind or the text, that is obvious, do you agree with it? A. Yes. MR IRVING: But of course it would be an entirely subjective decision by the author or historian concerned as to what evidence would meet his own personal criteria? A. Yes, and I think in this case it was partly a semantic question. He felt the word "order" implied or had come to imply by the 1980s more than he was comfortable with in . P-122 specificity, and so he phrased it in a more general way because by this point of course the controversy between intentionalist and functionalist had broken out. In fact he withdrew himself from that controversy. He phrased things in a way that was not part of that debate. Q. Can I put to you just a few words of your testimony in a court action in Canada in about 1988, which obviously your recollection then was refresher, it was 12 years ago: "I will go on, thank you, said Browning. There is a question of how we understand the word 'order' and this is a case where I think we have deepened understanding. Though we have tried to deal with the concept, what does it mean for there to be Hitler order, a so-called Fuhrer befehl. I have certainly looked into that question. I have myself", that is you, "proposed that we have to look at it in terms of a series of signals or incitements", and that appears to have been a favourite concept of yours, signals or incitements? A. I believe ---- Q. Yes. A. I did not mean to interrupt. Q. Do you remember saying that in that particular legal action in Canada, in the Zundel case? A. I remember we discussed the question and that sounds very much like what I said. Q. Would you just explain to the court what you mean by this . P-123 phrase of signals and incitements from somebody like Hitler which would lead to a Holocaust? A. I would say it is the same as we have been discussing this morning and yesterday. Hitler sets a level of expectation, in this case, for instance, that the war in the Soviet Union is to be not simply a conventional war but a war of destruction, an ideological war, and then people bring him proposals and he approves or does not approve. Q. It all sounds frightfully vague, does it not, far short of an order with a heading signature Adolf Hitler that we have in some of the other Hitler crimes like euthanasia? A. Yes. This in a sense is a very different kind of process, and I think the reason why Hilberg took that word out is because people would read that word and interpret it that there must be a specific piece of paper, and so he talked more about a general process in which intentions or desires are conveyed, but did not want to use the word "order". Q. Yes. Does your Lordship wish to explore that particular matter any further? MR JUSTICE GRAY: No, thank you very much. MR IRVING: I think it is quite useful that we should establish that somebody of the reputation of Hilberg became uneasy, that in his own conscience, would you agree, he felt that he could no longer accept, having suggested there was a . P-124 Hitler order in his first edition and he went through actually -- I think, would you agree this is more significant than not mentioning it in the first place, that he had put it in the first place and then took it out? This is a more significant step than just not mentioning that there was no Hitler order? A. It does mean that this had become I think a word that had become more freighted than when he wrote the first edition, and that he felt now the connotation of the expectation or the interpretation of the word "order" would place him in an interpretation that he was not comfortable with. Q. Have you visited any of the Nazi concentration camps or the sites that you are talking about? A. Yes, I have been to Poland and visited Chelmno, Treblinka, Sobibor, Belzec and I have been to Auschwitz, Birkenhau. Q. You have been to Auschwitz and Birkenhau? A. And to Semlin. Q. Was this recently or some years ago? A. In 1990 or 1991. Q. 1990, 1991? A. One of those. I forget which summer. Q. Did you visit the sites of the alleged gas chambers in Auschwitz one and Auschwitz two in Birkenhau? A. I visited both of them, and so I did go into the crematorium building, the reconstruction in Auschwitz one. . P-125 Q. You called it a reconstruction? A. Yes. Q. In other words, it is not the original building? A. No. It was a crematorium and then in 43 to 45, I am not an expert on this but I believe it was used for other purposes, and then it was reconstructed back to close to what it had been before. Then I visited in Birkenhau and walked around the grounds, including the four sites of crematoria 2 through 5. One could walk to bunker two, the site of bunker one that seems to be totally unknown now. Q. Yes. Did they make any attempt to tell you at the time you visited these two sites that the Auschwitz one site, the old camp, that what they were showing you was a reconstruction? A. I do not know even remember. I went in and I knew what I was looking at and I do not even recall how it was signed or labelled. Q. Were you aware of the fact that you were not being shown the real thing? A. I was aware that this was a reconstruction, yes. Q. Did you say you also went to Dachau concentration camp? A. I have been to Dachau much earlier. I believe that would have been 1972, the fall of 1972. Q. Do they have gas chambers on display at Dachau concentration camp? A. There is a gas chambers on display in Dachau concentration . P-126 camp. Q. Do you wish to express an opinion to the court as to whether that is a genuine gas chamber or not? MR JUSTICE GRAY: Whether he wishes to, is it going to help me really at all? I know that that there was at one time a belief that there had been gas chambers at Dachau. I know it is now accepted, I think on all sides, that there were never any. Do I any need any more than that? MR IRVING: If your Lordship will accept the proposition that the Allies and their Allies after World War II are capable of erecting fakes for whatever purpose, and that it is not perverse of me to have said that and it does not make me ipso facto a Holocaust denier, then I will move on to another matter on. MR RAMPTON: If the word "fake" were changed for "reconstruction" or "demonstration" or something like that there would be common ground. The word "fake" is inappropriate for the reconstruction at Auschwitz one. MR IRVING: I would happily give Mr Rampton a reconstructive $50 bill if me gives me ten fives in exchange. MR JUSTICE GRAY: You can have your wagers outside court. I do think we must move on. I do not think Dachau has anything to do with this case. I have explained my understanding of the position. MR IRVING: Are you familiar with the fact that at Nuremberg the British prosecutors stated that there had been . P-127 gassings at Dachau, Buchenwald and at Oranienburg? A. No, I am not familiar with that passage. Q. But you have read the Nuremberg war crimes trials records? A. I have read some of them. I have not read the whole 42 volumes, no. Q. Are you aware of the fact that large numbers of eyewitnesses, and I think this is relevant, my Lord -- -- MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes. MR IRVING: --- testified to the existence of homicidal gas chambers at Dachau? A. I do not know how many did. Q. Are you aware that any did? A. No. MR JUSTICE GRAY: If you want to take that further you would have to put chapter and verse. MR IRVING: My Lord, I cannot put chapter and verse to him at this time. If the witness says he is not aware of these eyewitnesses' testimonies I cannot take it further, but I shall certainly do so again with successor witness. If your Lordship agrees that putting it that way is relevant. MR JUSTICE GRAY: No, I think that is a rather different kind of question and I think it is legitimate. MR IRVING: Moving back to the integration of Adolf Eichmann, are you aware of the conditions under which he was interrogated when he arrived in Israel? A. He was in prison. . P-128 Q. Was he in prison with the light permanently switched on? A. I have read that that was the case. My guess is, and this is purely speculation, the Israelis might have been very worried that he might commit suicide, so they wanted a constant watch on him. They did not want a dead witness on their hands. Q. That he was constantly in the company of a guard? A. I presume he was under constant watch. Q. Would you suspect that this might have some affect on his mental stability if he was deprived of sleep through these conditions? A. I have no idea how bright the light was. There are such things as night lights that would not disturb the sleep at all. Q. Do you have any reason to believe that he was provided with a night light on these occasions? A. I have absolutely no idea what the wattage of the light in his cell was. Q. Mr Leon Poliakov who is also an expert on the Holocaust, is that name familiar to you? A. I am familiar with the name. Q. Is he a trained historian with a university engagement? A. I do not know what his academic background is. Q. I would now like to revert to the December 1941, the Hans Frank diary, the meeting which is familiar to this court now held on I think December 13th 1941 -- no, it is . P-129 December 16th. A. The speech is December 16th. Q. The speech by Hans Frank is on December 16th? A. Yes. Q. I am purely concerned with your treatment of this, Professor. You have gone in some detail over the content of that speech, and this is on page 31 of your expert report. A. Yes. Q. Paragraph 5.1.13. I will ask that you have in front of you ---- A. I have the English text and the footnote I believe contains the original, yes. Q. Can we have footnote 88, the document that corresponds to it? I think it would be adequate if I ask the witness just to read the three lines in German and translate what he has omitted. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes. I personally think it is a good idea to actually have the document. MR IRVING: The whole document. MR RAMPTON: Pages 68 to 75 of what I now know to be L17. MR JUSTICE GRAY: I missed the page number. MR RAMPTON: 68 it starts. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Thank you very much. MR IRVING: The passage which you have quoted, Professor, is on page 457 of the printed text. . P-130 A. Yes. Q. If you remember this is the passage where the translation is: "What is to happen to the Jews? Do you believe that they will be lodged in settlements in the Ostland in Berlin? We were told why all this trouble. We cannot use them in the Ostland or in the Reichskommissarat either, liquidate them yourselves. We must destroy the Jews wherever we encounter them and wherever it is possible in order to preserve the entire structure of the Reich", and there you cease to quote. You then paraphrase for two or three lines on page 32 of your report? A. Yes.
Site Map ·
What's New? ·
Home · Site Map · What's New? · Search Nizkor