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Shofar FTP Archive File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day018.15

Archive/File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day018.15
Last-Modified: 2000/07/24

   Q.   --- this little catalogue of experts who have,
        totally negligently spoken and written highly of my
   A.   Well, let me go on to say that in dealing with the
        reviewers of your work, I try to make a distinction
        between journalists, on the one hand, who maybe accept
        but clearly do not know an awful lot about the subject
   Q.   Can I mention some more names? And
   A.   --- and historians with a general kind of expertise,
        not specific knowledge of the sources ----
   Q.   Would Hans Monson have had ----
   A.   --- and then historians with a specific expertise in
        source materials on which you base your work ----
   Q.   Would Hans Monson ----
   A.   --- and it is the last ----
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Mr Irving, I think, if I may say so, can
        try to help you in this way so that we can move on?
I am
        well aware that there have been quite a large number
        distinguished academics who have paid tribute to your
        as a military historian.
   MR IRVING:  Until comparatively recently, my Lord.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Well, leave that on one side.

.          P-128

   MR IRVING:  Well, after the 1988 watershed.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Does it really help to fire these names
        Professor Evans?  I do not think it does.  It does not
        help me.
   MR IRVING:  Do I not have a right to destroy his expert
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Yes, you do, but I would rather you did
it by
        taking the particular criticisms that he makes of you
        try to destroy them, rather than deal with it in a
        indirect fashion.
   MR IRVING:  Well, can we move on to the two names you
        mentioned, Professor Broszat, we have mentioned him
        briefly.  I am not going to go further into him.  You
        mentioned a second name there, Charles Sydnor?
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   Are you referring to the review he wrote in a journal
        called, I think, European ----
   A.   "Central European History".
   Q.   "Central European History".
   A.   Indeed.
   Q.   Have you compared that with the original article by
        Broszat and have you seen that one is purely
        from the other?
   A.   I do not think it is purely little derivative.  I
        Sydnor had his own -- well, let me say two things.
        of all, I think it is true that Broszat provided, not

.          P-129

        Sydnor but also Trevor-Roper with a number of the
        criticisms that they made of your work, but I do think
        Sydnor does go beyond that.  He is a man who has a
        particular expertise on the SS and, indeed, he did
        research assistants and research grants to write his
   Q.   To write his review?
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   Very nice.
   A.   He acknowledges that in his footnote.
   Q.   But it is very largely derivative from Professor
        in the way that I have suggested?
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Well, Mr Irving, come on.  Let us move on
        the criticisms that are made by Professor Evans
        you, rather than discussing whether one other author's
        work is derivative from another.
   MR RAMPTON:  My Lord, two or three pages later we find
        Professor Evans saying, "Mr Irving gives no example of
        where writers copy what each other write", and that
        pre-empts that particular question, so I will not ask
   MR IRVING:  Will you go now to the bottom of page 21?
   A.   Well, let me just make a point there, that I am not
        of anything you have written that says that Sydnor
        what he wrote from Broszat.
   Q.   I wrote a reader's letter to the magazine concerned

.          P-130

        they published.
   A.   I have read it.
   Q.   Yes.  Would you now go to the bottom of page ----
   A.   But you do not make that accusation there, to my
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Professor Evans, we are trying to move
        Do not put the brakes on.
   MR IRVING:  Page 21.
   MR IRVING:  My Lord, I find it very helpful when you do
tell me
        to move on because I have no way of knowing whether I
        barking up the wrong tree or not.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I am trying to give you the odd hint --
        I meant that in a sort of -- I mean that to be
   MR IRVING:  "The position can be summed up", you say, in
        last two lines on page 21, "The position can broadly
        summed up by saying that there is a general consensus
        a decision was taken at the highest level".  We are
        talking about the decision to kill Jews, right?
   A.   Yes -- to kill all the Jews in Europe in a systematic
   Q.   "... that there is a general consensus that a decision
        taken at the highest level some time between the
        of 1941 and the spring of 1942".  Are you a believer
        the writing of history by general consensus then?
   A.   Ah, now, well, what I am saying is that I am trying to

.          P-131

        up the accepted state of historical knowledge, and ---
   Q.   Accepted state of historical knowledge?
   A.   Yes, the general state of historical knowledge in
        which  ----
   Q.   Can I remind you of one or two other previous general
        consensus -- I believe it is fourth declension -- in
        history previously?  There was at one time a general
        consensus that the world was flat, was there not, and
        there was also a general consensus that the sun moved
        around the earth.  Was that another general consensus
        was generally accepted?
   A.   Well, I think scholarship has moved on a little since
        those days.
   Q.   But is it not dangerous to write history or to do
        astronomy or anything else by general consensus, would
        agree?  There is a case for the outsider to come along
        say, "I may be right, I may be wrong, but let us
        this"?  Do you agree?
   A.   Well, let me go on to say what I say in the next
        which is:  "The limits set by the available evidence
do no
        allow of a date, say, in January 1993, or January
        The view that, for example, no decision was ever
taken, or
        that the Nazis did not undertake the systematic
        extermination of the Jews at all, or that very few
        were in fact killed, lies wholly outside the limits of
        what is reasonable for a professional historian to

.          P-132

        in the light of the available evidence."  That is not
        say that nobody should or people should not be allowed
        challenge these things, but simply to say that this is
        what you face and, of course, it is based on an
        amount of research by a very large number of people in
        archives, in the original documents, and that you have
        deal with all that research and all the documents
        have been thrown up.
   Q.   So you say that people should not be necessarily
        prevented, they should be allowed to say these things
        without being harassed, arrested or imprisoned or
        of their Professorship, but that these are generally
        acceptable opinions?
   A.   There are several questions there, I think.
   Q.   Let us deal with just one.
   A.   First of all, I believe in free speech, so you can say
        whatever you like so long as it does not offend the
        of the land.  What one does, as a university
Professor, is
        slightly more circumscribed, that is to say, I think,
        an academic historian, you have the duty to confirm to
        academic standards in the evaluation of evidence and
        the views that you put forward, leaving entirely aside
        whatever people who have been dismissed from their
        university posts might have done by way of running
        the laws of the land in terms of racist statements or

.          P-133

   Q.   Let us just look at the first thing you say here:
        view that, for example, no decision was ever taken",
        you consider this is one of the views that is totally
        beyond the limits.  Are you not familiar with the fact
        that this is precisely the view espoused by Professor
        Martin Broszat in his famous 1977 paper?  He said he
        to agree with David Irving that probably there was no
        decision, and this is also the view taken by Raul
        is that not right?
   A.   If you present to me the passages in their work where
        say that, it is not quite my understanding of what
   Q.   Well, I believed that you were an expert and this is
        you were being paid a very substantial sum by the
        to stand in the position you are in now, that you knew
        these things?
   A.   Yes, and I am already, leaving aside your cheap jibe
        money which I treat with the contempt it deserves ----
   Q.   It was not cheap, from what I hear.
   A.   --- and I hope the court will as well ----
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  This is degenerating and please don't let
        let it.
   MR IRVING:  My Lord, was this not a justified question?
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I do not really think that -- the problem
        I have with this is that Professor Evans has
introduced a
        number of other authors in support of his criticisms.

.          P-134

        that extent, I suppose it is legitimate for you to
        introduce, as it were, the other side of the coin.
        I will say again, what is going to help me is to look
        the individual criticisms and see whether Professor
        is right when he says you have manipulated the data.
I am
        not stopping you going through these earlier sections,
        but, without disrespect to Professor Evans, I can tell
        I have not marked many of these early pages because
        seem to me so broad and general that ----
   MR IRVING:  They are very broad and general but ----
   THE WITNESS:  They are intended, my Lord, if it helps, just
        set the background.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Yes, I realize that, but, in the end, it
        the guts of it that we have to tackle.
   MR IRVING:  Yes, but if he is ----
   THE WITNESS:  I mean, if it helps, Mr Irving, of course
        I accept that your work has had many very favourable
        reviews from many distinguished people.
   MR IRVING:  That is not what we are talking about.  That is
        beyond dispute.  What we are saying here is that it is
        wrong for you to say in your report, in the opening,
        scene-setting passage, that the view that no decision
        ever taken is beyond the pail and no reasonable person
        would now say this, when, in fact, I have mentioned to
        two names of very famous, notable, academic
        Monson (sic) and Hilberg, who have adopted precisely

.          P-135

        view and have not been disproved.
   A.   Well, that is my assessment of ----
   Q.   I mean Broszat and Hilberg, I am sorry.
   A.   That is my assessment of the situation of research in
   Q.   At the end ----
   A.   If you wish to produce documents which go against
        you are quite welcome to do so.
   Q.   Well, I did take it, Professor, that you had studied
        documents in this case which include on several places
        the expert reports the precise statements by Martin
        Broszat and Hilberg to this effect.
                  Would you go to the end of this particular
        paragraph ----
   A.   I do, Mr Irving, outline Broszat's ----
   Q.   --- On page 25?
   A.   --- views on the decision-making process in my report,
        I do note that because he thought of the decision-
        process as coming from, as it were, the bottom up,
        that inclined him to be sympathetic to your particular
        line on Hitler.  So if that helps at all, I do not
   Q.   At the end of the last line and a half on page 25, you
        say:  "Irving has fallen so far short of the standards
        scholarship customary among historians that he does
        deserve to be called a historian at all".  Is this

.          P-136

        your view, having heard all the evidence over the last
        four or five weeks, that I show no scholarship ----
   A.   Yes, it has been ----

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