Archive/File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day023.18 Last-Modified: 2000/07/24 Q. Can I help to cut through this verbiage and ask you ---- MR JUSTICE GRAY: No, that is unnecessarily offensive, Mr Irving. MR IRVING: Well, to cut through this particular line of argument and say were the ---- A. Yes, I know you want to cut through this particular line of argument, Mr Irving, because you do not like it. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Please continue, Professor Evans? A. Thank you, my Lord. There is an additional document where on, it says, the local officials in Rome get back the message in answer to these telegrams on the basis of the Fuhrer's instructions. The Fuhrer's instructions, "the 8,000 Jews resident in Rome are to be taken to Mauthausen as hostages. The Heireich Foreign Minister asks you not to interfere in any way with this affair but leave it to . 170 the SS. Please inform Ambassador Rahn". Another, still a telegram, again the same thing, taken to Rome -- taken to Mauthausen as hostages. The Reich Foreign Minister requests that Moran and Moellhausen be told under no circumstances to interfere in this affair but rather to leave it to the SS from Sohn Leitner". And a further or even tougher line, Foreign Minister insists to his local officials that "you keep out of all questions concerning Jews". The SS, they should be the exclusive competence of the SS. So what they are being told on Hitler's orders is, "Stay out of it. Go away with your proposal that they be used locally in Rome on building works." They are all going to be taken off on Hitler's orders to Mauthausen. Now, hostages, well, one has to look at what went on in Mauthausen. This was, as I said, a concentration camp in a class of its own in which murder, mass murder by brutality and overwork and malnourishment was the order of the day. It had an extremely high mortality rate. MR IRVING: What use is a dead hostage? A. "Hostages" I think is a camouflage word again. Q. Another euphemism, another camouflage word? A. Indeed, yes. Q. Goodness! They are more useful than aspirin, are they not, these words? . 171 A. Of course, taking them to Mauthausen was a euphemism and in the end they were, in fact, taken to Auschwitz. Q. I have been very reluctant ---- A. If you want to know what happened to hostages taken to Mauthausen ---- Q. Can I take it piece by piece what you have been saying ---- A. Outline it on page ---- MR JUSTICE GRAY: Let him complete this because once they have got to Auschwitz, that is the end and then you can ask questions. A. If you want to know what happened to so-called "hostages" taken to Mauthausen, I outline it ---- MR IRVING: In great detail? A. --- on page 476: Q. Why not read it all out and waste another 10 minutes? A. 400 young men rounded up in the Jewish quarter in Holland ---- MR JUSTICE GRAY: We have the reference. We have the reference. A. --- taken as "hostages" to Buchenwald and then 348 to Mauthausen. Most, nearly all of them, apart from one, were killed. That is that happens to hostages at Mauthausen. As I said, these ones went to Auschwitz where the vast majority were also killed. It is quite clear this Hitler knew that would happen to them. . 172 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Now, that was a long answer and now, Mr Irving, you have had the case spelled out, as it were and ---- MR IRVING: And I have also read it and your Lordship has read it and I do not think it really needed to be read out. Still, here we go with some short questions and let us have some short answers, please. Kesselring wanted to use them for fortification work, is that right? A. Yes. Q. Were they used for fortification work? A. No. Q. So that was a rather needless detour in this particular argument, was it not? A. No, absolutely not. MR JUSTICE GRAY: No, Mr Irving, that will not do. We have to tackle this point properly if it is going to be tackled at all. As I understand what the witness is saying, he is saying that, basically, those on the ground in Rome, including Kesselring, wherever he may have been -- in Italy? A. General. Q. Yes, all basically wanted the Jews to stay in Rome? MR IRVING: For whatever reason they wanted them kept alive. MR JUSTICE GRAY: For whatever reason. MR IRVING: They wanted them kept alive and not liquidated. MR JUSTICE GRAY: One of the points he makes is that when it is . 173 sent up to Hitler, they do not remain in Rome as a result of Hitler being consulted, they go north for whatever fate. So Kesselring's attitude towards the Jews is relevant, is it not? Can you not see why the Professor says that? MR IRVING: I see those telegrams in Rome as being purely evidence that different people in Rome advance different, all very plausible, reasons why these Jews should not be rounded up and liquidated, which is what the SS wanted, but they should be kept alive, and Kesselring, who was a decent chap, said, "Well, I can use them for fortifications, let us use them for that, let us put that in the telegram" or whatever, and all of this, to all of this, and I say this quite boldly knowing that it will provoke the wrong reaction, I attach no significant whatsoever and far less significance than the fact that Ribbentrop took the message to Hitler, as we know from Hitler's register, the register kept by Heinz Linge, of the visits by Ribbentrop that day, and back came the telegram from Hitler's headquarters, effectively, back to Rome saying, "They are not to be liquidated. They are to be taken to Mauthausen", and I rely on this, "as hostages", and I emphasise hostages have, by their very nature, to be kept alive, so whether or not Mauthausen was a highly infectious place to be sent, or a place where people died like flies, which is unfortunately true, is . 174 neither here nor there; what is significant is that the message from Hitler to Ribbentrop clearly was, "See that they are taken to Mauthausen and kept alive, we can use them as hostages". I then also rely on the fact that, notwithstanding that this very clear order is in the files (which I understand the Defence have great problems with because it is much better than this kind of memoir quality of document that they rely upon) notwithstanding that, these orders from Hitler are flagrantly violated and they are taken off to Mauthausen, but 1,000 of them are rounded up, 1035, or thereabouts, that is all they can get their hands on, because in the meantime the local officials have managed to let the Jews escape, and the 1,000 are taken elsewhere and they are never seen again. They are taken to Auschwitz or somewhere. This is another, to my mind, highly significant fact that Hitler's orders have been violated. MR JUSTICE GRAY: If may say so, Mr Irving, that was not a question, and I do not criticize you at all for that because you have set out your case as clearly as Professor Evans set out his case ---- MR IRVING: Now I will ask the Professor ---- MR JUSTICE GRAY: --- and I do not personally see that there is a great deal of need to amplify it by lot of cross-examination because it all turns on the question whether one takes at face value and literally the order . 175 that they are to be taken no Mauthausen as "hostages". That is what it comes to. MR IRVING: I will ask one supplementary question. A. May I just comment on what Mr Irving said which included several gross misrepresentations of the document --- - MR JUSTICE GRAY: Briefly. A. --- so I am afraid I really do have to point this out. The telegram giving Hitler's view did not say they are not to be liquidated. That is a complete fabrication that has emerged from Mr Irving here. The point is that the original protest, as it were, from the local officials in Rome are saying that the SS wants to liquidate them, and what is Hitler's response? "Leave it up to the SS". Finally, also, of course this is in mid October 1943 and Mr Irving has made it quite clear that from October 1943 Hitler knew perfectly well that the extermination of the Jews was taking place. MR IRVING: He had no reason not to know is what I say, of course. A. You actually have said that he did know. MR JUSTICE GRAY: But, Professor Evans, can I just ask you this, I mean, if you look at the instructions that came back from Hitler's headquarters, they do say in terms that the Jews are to be taken to Mauthausen as hostages? A. Yes. Q. And it is true it goes on to say, "Leave it to the SS". . 176 That does not mean leave it to the SS to decide what to do with them, or would not appear so on the face of this telegram. It means, "Leave the handling of the hostages and the arrangements", I suppose, "for taking them north to the SS". Is that not a fair reading of the reference to the SS? A. Yes, my Lord, well, it is saying, the two telegrams I quote are saying to the local officials: "Keep out of it. Leave it to the SS", and the SS, of course, are the instrument through which the Jews are being exterminated. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Who would have arranged for their transport north -- the SS, presumably? A. The SS, my Lord, yes. The message is quite clear: "No local works, no use of labour. Just take them off and kill them". MR JUSTICE GRAY: I follow that point, yes. MR IRVING: Are you familiar very briefly with the Otto Brottigan diary of September 1941 where Hitler agrees to the notion that the Jews should be held as hostages ---- A. That is September '41. This is October '43. Q. Does Hitler frequently order Jews kept alive as hostages in bulk, en masse? A. There are instances up until the American declaration of war -- the declaration of war by Germany on America on the 11th December 1941 where Hitler does talk, in general terms, about using Jews as hostages for the event of a . 177 World War. It seems to disappear after that. There are some -- we have already discussed the rather odd idea of keeping a small number of Jews with connections in America in a special camp and keeping them alive. But this, I think, I cannot conceive why these should be used as hostages. It is simply one word. There is not explanation of any larger policy, as you usually have when hostages are discussed. I think this is simply a little piece of camouflage thrown in to try to appease the obviously disquieted local officials in Rome where the situation is extremely difficult, the Pope is threatening to intervene. It is quite clear that the local Italian population are extremely unhappy about the Jews being taken away and doing their best, such as it was, to protect them. The members of the Foreign -- of the Embassy in Rome were connected with the German opposition, which eventually came out in 1944, the bomb plot. So it is a very convoluted and difficult situation. It is not surprising that they should want to sugar the pill a little bit by describing them as "hostages". Q. We do have several SS documents from this episode, do we not, a couple of documents? A. Yes. Q. Is there any indication in any of the Himmler files or the . 178 SS files that this document from Hitler was regarded or recognized as being camouflage, and that "Although Hitler says, 'Send them to Mauthausen as hostages', we all know what the old boy really wants" is not in any of the SS files, is it? A. No. Q. I am going to move on now, my Lord, because otherwise we are not going to cover the ground. Page 491, the last few lines, please, of the main text. You say: "This last mentioned claim is an obvious untruth. It is undermined by Ribbentrop's knowledge of the activity and situation reports of the Einsatzgruppen". Do you remember writing that? A. Yes. Q. What evidence do you have that Ribbentrop read or received the SD Einsatzgruppen reports, the Einsatzgruppen reports? The mere fact that they are in the Foreign Office files? A. Yes, I am relying here on the two standards works on the Foreign Office and the Jewish question of the Third Reich by Professor Browning. Q. Are you aware that we heard Professor Donald Watt state here in the witness box that there were hundreds of tonnes of Foreign Office records? A. As I remember, Professor Cameron Watt said that he was not really competent to judge on the nature of records during the Second World War. His expertise covered the period . 179 1933 to '39. Q. Are you aware of any copies of these SD reports which have Ribbentrop's big letter "R", his initial on them, to indicate that he has read them? A. I would have to check that up in the sources that I used which make it clear that Ribbentrop knew of these things. Q. In your opinion? A. In the opinion of Professor Browning whom you had ample opportunity to question about the matter. Q. Yes, but I am questioning you on your report. You say there is ample evidence that Ribbentrop knew, and I am asking you what the evidence is and your information is second-hand, is that correct? A. Indeed, yes. I rely on Professor Browning for that. Q. Page 484 ---- A. That is not the only evidence, of course. There is also the Horthy conversation with Ribbentrop which I have also mentioned. Page 484?
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