The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day023.09

Archive/File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day023.09
Last-Modified: 2000/07/24

    Q.   Can I give you another example of your tendentious
         translations of another word?  Page 409.

    A.   I do not accept they are tendentious.

    MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Wait, Professor Evans.

    MR IRVING:  Page 409, please, halfway down.  Have you got this
         passage:  "In his table talk, Hitler even hinted at the
          violent fate of the Jews when he referred to 'racial

         pests' being beaten to death".

    A.   Yes.

    Q.   What is the actual document there? Can we have a look at
         the actual passage that was used?

    A.   Yes, pages 407 to 8, footnote 30.  It is "Wenn mann von
         Staats wegen einen ausgesprochenen Volksschadling
         unschadliche mache, zum Beispiel totschlage".

                                 .          79

     Q.   So how did you manage "Volksschadling" as "racial pests"?
          It is in the singular, is it not?

     A.   I think it is quite clear that he is talking in the
          singular, "der Jude".  He says, "Wenn aber der Jude den
          deutschen Menschen" -- you think he is talking about one
          single Jew there?  It is all collective.

     MR IRVING:  Does your Lordship have the passage?

     MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I think it is translated in the singular at
          page 407.

    A.   Yes, it is.  Page 407.

    MR IRVING:  Halfway down page 409:  "In his table talk, Hitler
         even hinted at the violent fate of the Jews when he
         referred to 'racial pests' or 'Volksschadlinge'".  What
         entitles you, first of all, to translate the word
         "Volksschadlinge" as "racial pests"?

    A.   Well "Schadlinge" is derived from agricultural biology.
    Q.   We know that.  What about "Volks"?

    MR IRVING:  Let the witness to.

     MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Will you let the witness answer, Mr Irving?
         It is impossible for me to follow it. Every answer is interrupted.

    MR IRVING:  I apologise.

    MR JUSTICE GRAY:  "Schadlinge" means what?

    A.   It is a sort of agricultural biology term meaning a kind
         of pest, of crops, or something like that, a sort of small
         animal that devours crops, I think.

                                 .          80

     MR IRVING:  It is the other half of the word I am looking at,
          "Volks".  Would you call a Volkswagen a race car, racial
          car?  A Volkskuche is a racial kitchen?  A Volksseele is a racial soul?

     A.   A Volkswagon is a post 1945 term, even though the car was not.

     MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Do not let us worry about Volkswagons.  Would
          you like to put what you think the correct translation of
          "Volksschadlinge" would be, Mr Irving?  It is marrying up
         two concepts and I think it would be helpful.

    MR IRVING:  Public pest.

    MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Public pest?

    MR IRVING:  It is a reference to a public pest.  Is this not
         because Adolf Hitler was constantly issuing death
         sentences with summary procedures against rapists and
         train robbers and people like that, and you refer to them
         as the "Volksschadlinge"?

    A.   Yes.  It is not a public pest.  Public is "offentlich" and
          that word does not appear here.  That is a totally
         tendentious mistranslation of this term.  Volksschadlinge
         is a term which the Nazis used in indeed dealing with
         criminals, because they considered that criminality was
         basically racial in character.  That is to say, either
         through inherited racial characteristics of some sort,
         whether the criminal was German or not.  I think it is
         quite clear what they mean.  How would one translate the

                                 .          81

          word "Volkisch", which is the adjective?  You
          would translate it as "public", I suppose?  I think that
          is completely illegitimate.

     Q.   The word "Volkisch" is an extremely difficult word to
          translate, as you are familiar, is that not right.
     A.   It is the adjective of "Volk", and as used by the Nazis
          I think it means in most cases "racial".

     Q.   Is not the correct translation of "Eine Volksschadlinge
          totzuschlagen" to bump off a public pest?

    A.   No, it is not.

    Q.   He says, "if we are entitled to bump off a public pest, then".

    A.   No.  To start with, almost everything is wrong there, Mr
         Irving, totzuschlagen is to beat to death, no ambiguity
         about that at all.  "Volksschadling" I translate as a
         "racial pest".  That is my view of what it means in this
         context as used by Hitler, and one comes across this in a
         lot of the legislation courts decisions and memoranda of
          the Ministry of Justice which I am familiar with.  That
         word "Volksschadling" is legally defined, indeed, in the
         Second World War.  It means, to my mind ----

    Q.   So this is another example ----

    A.   In my translation it is a "racial pest".  To put a gloss
         on it, it is a pest who is damaging the German race.  That
         is really what it means.

    Q.   It is another example of a euphemism, right?  You have to

                                 .          82

          translate it.  It is a word which means one thing but you
          say this is euphemism for the Jews?

     MR JUSTICE GRAY:  No, I do not think that is what----

     A.   No.  I do not mean that at all, no. Not necessarily at all.

     MR IRVING:  How you would you translate the words "public pest"
          into German?

     A.   Something like "offentlich ergonist", something like
          that.  Public nuisance is "offentlich Unfug".  The use of
         the word "Schadling" comes from the racial ideology
         drawing a parallel between growing crops and farming and human beings.

    MR JUSTICE GRAY:  A sort of agricultural bacillus?

    A.   Yes, my Lord.

    MR IRVING:  You are aware that Adolf Hitler personally had to
         issue the death sentences against train robbers, rapists,
         and people like that.  He would be the one who sent the
         word down the phone lines, saying "Execute"?

     A.   I do not think he had to, Mr Irving.  What he tended to do
         was -- I cite this in the book that I wrote -- he quite
         frequently, on at least 18 occasions listed by the
         Ministry of Justice during the early part of war, was
         reading the Nazi newspaper, and would see a report of some
         criminal whom he considered had too lenient a sentence for
         robbery or whatever, would exclaim, "That person ought to
         be shot", and immediately Schaub or somebody else would

                                 .          83

          leap up, get on the phone to Munich or wherever it was,
          and have the criminal shot while trying to "escape".

     Q.   Do not I say exactly the same in my book, Hitler's War,
          now that you have mentioned that fact, that a simple phone
          call to Schaub sufficed and the man was already sent to be
          executed.  Do you remember the passage in my book,
          Hitler's War, where I said that in the Kaiser's time the
          condemned man had the right to see the Kaiser's signature
          on the death warrant, but in Hitler's time it was done
         more informally?

    A.   Yes, I remember that.

    Q.   Not a very flattering passage about Hitler, is it?

    A.   In order to comment on that I would have to see the passage.

    Q.   Yes, I thought you would say that.  Will you now go to page 408?

    A.   I am sorry, I would have to.

    Q.   At the foot of page 408, the very last line of the
          footnote, you criticise me for failing to translate the
         last sentences.  "In his translation of this passage,
         Irving fails to translate the last sentences".

    A.   Yes.

    Q.   If you look at the last sentences referred to, which is
         just above it in that footnote, it is not in the
         subjunctive, is it?  So it is Goebbels, not Hitler.

    A.   No, I do not think that follows.  You yourself said,

                                 .          84

          Mr Irving, that Goebbels wrote a rather colloquial slangy
          sort of German so one would not expect him to stick
          absolutely consistently to the formal means of reported speech.

     Q.   Does the last sentence add at all or subtract at all to
          the story?  Is there some criticism?  Is there some reason
          why you criticise me for leaving out those sentences?
          Obviously I have left out a huge number of sentences, I
          have left out millions of sentences in writing my books.
         It is part of being a writer.

    A.   It is not a major point, Mr Irving.

    Q.   Yes.  "Absolute Ausrottung" on page 413 is offset against
         going of their own accord, is it not?  Either they go off
         their own accord or there is going to be "absolute Ausrottung"?

    A.   Yes.

    Q.   So it is clearly a going and not a killing?

    MR JUSTICE GRAY:  You have cross-examined about that.

     MR IRVING:  Yes.  I just came across my rather nice way of
         putting it in my notes, my Lord.

    MR JUSTICE GRAY:  It had struck me.

    A.   Yes.  What he is saying is that he will totally
         exterminate them if they do not go of their own accord,
         which of course by this time, January 1942, they were not
         going of their own accord because the Nazis had forbidden
         emigration of Jews from Germany in the previous October.

                                 .          85

     MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I think the point Mr Irving is making is that
          going and not going, as it were, are being contrasted.

     A.   Yes.

     Q.   Which suggests Ausrottung is----

     MR IRVING:  Going voluntarily and not going voluntarily.


     A.   How he thinks that Jews could have gone voluntarily at
          this point, I really do not know.

     Q.   Did large numbers of Jews leave Germany more or less
         voluntarily between 1938 and the end of 1939?

    A.   Yes, driven out by the enormous hostility of the Nazi
         regime, particularly in the Reichskristallnacht.

    Q.   Were they carried to the port or the airport and dumped on a plane?

    A.   No, they made the decision that life was unbearable in
         Germany and they left.

    MR JUSTICE GRAY:  This is 1942, that is the point.

    A.   This is 1942.

     MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Let us move on.  I think we have had enough
         of that particular bit of table talk.
    MR IRVING:  Page 416, in paragraph 22 and paragraph 1, I am
         sorry, the top paragraph of that page, what you are
         effectively saying is that the Nazis are using a code, are
         they not?  They are using special words when in fact they
         mean something different.

    A.   Yes.

                                 .          86

     Q.   Does not the use of a code presuppose some kind of code
          document or list that has to be both ends?  People have to
          know.  It is not just a nod and a wink in something as
          important as this.  Would you not expect to try and some
          kind of little list that, when I say evacuiert, I really mean kill?

     A.   No, I do not think so.

     Q.   Is there not a danger then that you send a train load of
          Jews to Minsk, you evacuate them there and the person at
         the other end, Joe Bloggs, thinks they are just going to
         be evacuated, and he has them evacuated without realising
         he is supposed to kill them?

    A.   Or the reverse, as we know happened in Riga.  One cannot
         expect it to be entirely consistent, but I think it is
         clear that people knew that there was a euphemistic
         language.  It is not consistent.  There is a variety of
         different terms used.

    Q.   But does not this whole scenario raise the obvious
          objection that any conspiracy theory has, that as soon as
         you are presupposing a major conspiracy with everybody
         knowing what is going on, everybody who is in the know,
         there must be some kind of documentation of the fact of
         the conspiracy, the code list or the list of names, and,
         apart from one or two scattered references like Heinrich
         Himmler's Posen speech, we do not actually have the
         equivalences, do we, spelled out?

                                 .          87

     A.   That is such a convoluted question I am not how to answer it.

     MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I think it is the same question you were
          asked before.  Would you expect some sort of list or code,
          and you have said no.

     A.   I do not expect some sort of list, no.

     Q.   Page 417, line 4?

     A.   Yes.

     Q.   The oath of secrecy which was taken by people involved in
         Operation Reinhardt, I think we agreed that there is such
         an oath because I have seen at least one.  Do you remember
         what it consisted of, the three or four points what they
         swear to secrecy on?

    A.   Remind me.  I quote it somewhere.

    Q.   Do they swear to preserve secrecy about what is going on
         in the evacuation?

    A.   I am sorry.  I would have to see a copy of the oath, I am afraid.

     Q.   You asked me to remind you.

    A.   Yes.

    Q.   Do you ----

    A.   I think I quote it somewhere, I am trying to try and it.
    Q.   Let me put it like this.  Was it not to protect the
         plundering character of Operation Reinhardt from
         unauthorized eyes?

    A.   In fact, I have it on page 609 of my report, the

                                 .          88

          fundamental order No. 1.  Is this what we are referring to?
     Q.   No.

     A.   25th September 41.  It is certainly what I am referring to there.

     Q.   No.  The oath of secrecy that each person involved at
          Auschwitz or somewhere like that had to sign on pain of death?

     A.   I cannot comment on that without seeing it.

    MR JUSTICE GRAY:  It is very easily got hold of.  It is
         document 112, is it not?

    A.   This is not the fundamental order No. 1 in September 1941,
         but something different.

Home ·  Site Map ·  What's New? ·  Search Nizkor

© The Nizkor Project, 1991-2012

This site is intended for educational purposes to teach about the Holocaust and to combat hatred. Any statements or excerpts found on this site are for educational purposes only.

As part of these educational purposes, Nizkor may include on this website materials, such as excerpts from the writings of racists and antisemites. Far from approving these writings, Nizkor condemns them and provides them so that its readers can learn the nature and extent of hate and antisemitic discourse. Nizkor urges the readers of these pages to condemn racist and hate speech in all of its forms and manifestations.