Archive/File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day020.04 Last-Modified: 2000/07/24 Q. In that case I cannot ask you about it. On page 135, paragraph 3: "Irving's view that these local initiatives were excusable", is the word "excusable" excusable in this context? Have I ever tried to excuse what the Germans are doing to the Jews? A. Well, let me read what you told the press conference in Australia in 1986 which is the quote beginning halfway down the quote on the previous page where you say, you are questioning whether the killing of Jews "was a tragedy ordered and organized on the very highest German state level, namely by Hitler himself. Because if my hypothesis is correct, it means that all these Jews - and it may be any figure, I don't look at the figure concerned - if my hypothesis is correct, it indicates that the Jews were the victims of a large number of rather run-of-the-mill criminal elements which exist in Central Europe. Not just Germans, but Austrians, Latvians, Lithuanians, Estonians, feeding on the endemic antisemitism of the era and encouraged by the brutalization which war brought about anyway. These people had seen the bombing raids begin. They'd probably lost women, wives and children in the bombing raids. And they wanted to take revenge on someone. So when Hitler ordered the expulsion, as he did - there's no doubt that Hitler ordered the expulsion measures - these people took it out on the person that . P-29 they could". Q. And you say this is somebody excusing the Nazis for taking these ghastly actions against the Jews? A. It seems to me that that is the implication in that statement, yes. Q. Is it not, in fact, a very sloppy use of the English language? What you meant was not "excusable" but "explicable" and there is a very great difference between these two words? A. I think, given your attitude -- well, first of all, I find it very difficult to see how Latvians, Lithuanians and Estonians could get so worked up by bombing raids on Germany that they started killing Jews. Q. Is that what I say? A. It is the clear implication, "these people", and in the previous sentence you say, "Not just Germans, but Austrians, Latvians, Lithuanians and Estonians". "These people had seen the bombing raids begin". Q. Are you familiar with the fact that Jan Karski, the man whom I previously referred to, warned the Polish government of the likelihood of pogroms in the Baltic states, and he had explained the reasons why in a 1940 report? A. Mr Irving, there is plenty of documentation to show that there were, that Latvians, Lithuanians and Estonians and so on were involved in the mass killing of Jews with the . P-30 encouragement of the SS unit and the Einsatzgruppen. Q. But are you not by using the word "excusable" suggesting that David Irving said that what had happened to the Jews was right, that I am excusing it, whereas, in fact, I am explaining it and there is a substantial difference. Do you not agree? A. No, I do not. I am afraid the tenor and tendency of your explanations is to find excuses. Q. So ---- A. And you go on, and I go on to quote numerous places in the report at some length arguments which you put forward to try to suggest (and sometimes say in so many words) that the Jews were responsible themselves for the misfortunes which befell them. Q. You still do not appear to appreciate the difference between the word ---- A. I think this falls into a pattern. Q. --- to excuse and to explain. Your use of the word "excusable" implies that David Irving welcomed the Holocaust, that I am excusing it; whereas I am explaining it by saying, "These people had a vengeance, these people had a grudge, these people felt wronged, these people took it out on the people they perceived as being the ones who did it". Is that an excuse or is that an explanation? A. I think given the fact that they not been bombed, that is an excuse. . P-31 Q. I think we can abandon bombing for a moment and point to other things. I do not want to go into the reasons why the Baltic Jews had a particular grudge, but that is neither here nor there. A. Well, I think it is very much here or there. If you want to use as an explanation of the massacres of Jews by Baltic peoples, if you want to use in explanation of that allegations that you want to make about their maltreatment by Jews or justified -- or in some ways grievances that they had which were in some ways justified, that seems to me that you are excusing it. Q. In other words, what you are saying is that I welcomed the Holocaust, is that the way you are trying to put it to the court? A. I do not use the word "welcome", Mr ---- Q. Well, I am trying to understand why you use the word "excusable". If something is excusable, then this implies that the person who is making the excuses thinks it is a jolly good thing. A. No, I do not think that is true actually. Those are two rather different things. Applauding something and excusing it are rather different things, Mr Irving, and I come back to this fact that you say, "These people had seen the bombing raids begin, they'd lost probably women, wives and children in the bombing raids". So these poor Estonians who had been subjected to allied bombings, . P-32 therefore, felt so angry with the Jews that they took it out on them. Now, I do not think there is evidence that Estonians were heavily bombed by the Allies in 1941. Q. Forget the bombing raids for the time being. A. I am not forgetting the bombing raids because that is a central passage -- a central part of this passage, Mr Irving. Q. My Lord, let me explain the reason why I am dealing with this at length. This is one of the issues pleaded. In the pleadings one of the complaints is that I am accused by the Second Defendant of having, I think, applauded the incarceration of the Jews in the concentration camps. MR JUSTICE GRAY: I do not believe that she ever has made that accusation. What you are accused of in this part of the report is making excuses for those who took part in the ---- MR IRVING: Finding something excusable rather than explicable, and there is a substantial difference there. I find the use of the word "excusable" which I hope the Professor will admit was a slip, but now he is trying to justify it? A. I will not admit it is a slip, no. I mean, I looked at this passage and it seems to me to excuse these massacres. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Speaking for myself, I think I understand the point you are making, Mr Irving, and I understand the answer as well. MR IRVING: In that case, I will now wish to speak another . P-33 paragraph about the explanation why the Baltic Jews took revenge on their native Jewish population during the brief interregnum between the time the Soviets moved out and the German Army arrived. Did you appreciate that there were substantial killings in that period? A. I would have to be provided with evidence, I think, to show that. Q. So you make the allegations without the evidence then? You say that the bombing raids and so on, you say they had, the Nazis, the Latvians and Lithuanians the Estonians had no ---- A. Let me set the context here, Mr Irving, is that I am talking about your denial that there was a systematic element in the Nazi extermination of Jews. Q. You are going substantially further; you are saying that I am welcoming it, I am excusing it? A. I do not say you are welcoming it. Welcoming is different from excusing. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Mr Irving, he is not saying you are welcoming it. He is saying you are making excuses for it. MR IRVING: And this is precisely the point that I have to challenge, my Lord, because, of course, what I am actually saying is there are explanations for these pogroms committed by the local population against the Jews, and that is not making excuses for them in any way at all. MR JUSTICE GRAY: I have already said, I understand the point . P-34 you are making and I understand the answer. MR IRVING: But it is a repugnant allegation to be made either ---- MR JUSTICE GRAY: There is no point in just using this point as a sort of punch bag and going on and on because I have the point. MR IRVING: Well, I am beginning to feel like a punch bag when I read this report with things being thrown at me the whole time like that, and I find that allegation particularly repugnant. I have described the atrocities committed by the Nazis against the Jews and by their collaborators against the Jews in very much detail in my works and never at any time have I given even the slightest hint of relish or welcoming these things. A. That is not what I am saying, Mr Irving. Q. I have repeatedly tried to argue away the Wannsee conference, you say at the foot of page 137. I am not going to dwell at length on that. If you are an historian, you would, no doubt, know that there is a great debate raging among genuine historians and scholars -- to spare you any difficulties here -- as to whether the Wannsee Conference was important or not. Do you agree with that? A. There are arguments about how important it was, yes. Q. Yes, so if somebody tries ---- A. I do not think anybody has said that it was unimportant. . P-35 It is a question of the level and degree of importance you attach to it. Q. Do you agree that there is no reference to the word "liquidation" in the records or to any order by Hitler or to any systematic killing in the Wannsee Conference? A. Yes, that is true. Q. Middle of page 138, please. You say that I relied on Eichmann's testimony on other occasions but not when it does not suit me. This is another allegation of manipulation, right? A. Yes. Q. Can you tell me what other occasions I did rely on Eichmann's testimony? Are you just referring to the episode where he looks through the peep hole in the back of the van and saw the gas vans operating? A. I think that is one of them, yes. There are others, I think, which I mentioned in the report. Q. I relied on it when it suited me -- why would it suit me to use Eichmann's confirmation of something which I, as a denier, am supposed to be denying? A. Well, this comes back to the point that we talked about yesterday, that I made it clear that Holocaust deniers as a group have, on the whole, always admitted, as Faurisson said, there were some small scale, relatively small scale, killings on the Eastern Front of Jews, and that belongs to that. . P-36 Q. Have you ever read very much of Eichmann's testimony either in his memoirs or in the subsequent trial in Israel? A. I have read some, not the whole thing. Q. Are you familiar with the passage where Eichmann, challenged about a particular episode, interrupted the interrogator two minutes later and said words to this effect: "I am sorry. You asked me two minutes ago about that episode, and I have to say now I cannot remember whether I am actually remembering it or just remembering being asked a question about it more recently"? A. Well, you would have to show me that document. Q. Do you agree that sometimes this happens in interrogations, that the interrogator puts questions with such force that sometimes the person being interrogated comes to believe what is being suggested to him by the questions? A. Well, that is a very general statement, Mr Irving, and I suppose in some integrations somewhere or other that kind of thing takes place. Q. Going on to page 139, the Commissart Order, and the guidelines for jurisdiction issued to the German Army and armed forces in the spring of 1941. I am not asking you in detail about them, but would you agree that these are documents of a military nature? A. I am sorry, I cannot see this. . P-37 Q. 139, paragraph 11. We are dealing here with the orders to kill Jews, Red Army Commissarts and others in the German Army area? A. Oh, yes, yes. Q. So this is a reference to the Commissart order, is it not? A. Yes.
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