Archive/File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day029.13 Last-Modified: 2000/07/25 Q. I am not following at the moment why you say it is an invention of British propaganda. A. If we abandon gas chambers for a moment, and say, suppose . P-112 a message came from Geneva, saying children were having their hands hacked off, on the face of it an implausible story, which the Foreign Office said, "We find this difficult to believe", as it says later in this document, "We find no confirmatory evidence" and so on, and then later on the propaganda agencies send out reports by the propaganda channels, the BBC, Voice America and the rest of it, saying, "We have reliable stories that the Germans are cutting off children's hands", that would be an invention, would it not? MR RAMPTON: Mr Irving, may we stick with history, rather than fantasy? Here we have a report from Geneva, from Mr Riegner, who is not an agent of the British propaganda machine, he is an element in the World Jewish Congress, that, as, indeed you might say, prophetically turned out to be the case, there was a plan reported to him from the Fuhrer's headquarters to exterminate the whole of the Jews in Europe, or most of them, at one blow by the use, amongst others perhaps, of hydrogen cyanide. Now, how can it be that that story is, to use your words, an invention of British propaganda? A. Which story? Q. This story that you see reported on the page in front of you. A. That is two separate things. Riegner is sending a message to England to be passed on to Sidney Silverman, reporting . P-113 a story which the Foreign Office clearly, from the handwritten minutes, do not consider to be part of what is actually happening. They say there is no doubt that large numbers of Jews are dying. They even used the word I think ---- MR JUSTICE GRAY: They may not believe it, but they did not invent it. That is the point that I was asking about and I think Mr Rampton is asking about. A. I hesitate to use the words "hair splitting", my Lord, but I think it is quite plain that if in August 1943 Cavendish-Bentinck, the head of the British Intelligence Service, says, "We have no evidence that these gas chambers exist", and yet by that time for 12 months already the British propaganda agencies have been pumping out the message, then that is an invention, and there is no other way of interpreting that. MR RAMPTON: Mr Irving, the story originated not with British propaganda. It originated with a personal organization in Geneva, a remarkably accurate story, as it happens. If you turn over to page 4, you see the comment at the time in August 1942: "Mr Silverman having asked if he could see somebody about the cable, Sir Beaugrave Beecham had a talk with him this morning, first, Mr Silverman said he would let us have some particulars about Mr Riegner -- I think it is misspelt -- "whom he regards as entirely trustworthy. Secondly, Mr Silverman stated that he had . P-114 received reports of transportation of Jews from occupied territories in Germany towards the East, which might be a confirmation of the alleged plan". Then we see in the following pages -- turn to page 5, for example. I do not know whose notes these are, probably one of the Allens, but I am not sure about that. Yes, it is David Allen. In the middle of the next page 5 he is talking about atrocious conditions in the East, and he says: "Such stories do provide a basis for Mr Riegner's report, but they do not of course amount to extermination at one blow. The German policy seems to be rather to eliminate useless mouths, but to use able-bodied Jews as slave labour." In the light of all of that, the Brits, bless their little cotton socks, I might say if I were Jewish, decide not to make use of this information. Is that not right? They put the kaibosh on it, do they not? A. No. You are overlooking one important detail, the chronology. Do you remember that I put to one of the witnesses, I forget which one it was, the diary evidence and other evidence of the propaganda broadcasts, some of which were in June 1942, about the use of poison gas, and some of which were earlier that year, about the deportation of the Dutch Jews to Mauthausen, using poison gas? So what is then reported back to us in August 1942 is interesting, but no more. . P-115 MR JUSTICE GRAY: I have forgotten where the evidence is for use of this by the British in their intelligence propaganda. A. Your Lordship will remember there is a bundle of about ten pages of documents, including pages from Thomas Mann's diary, and the diary of a man called Ringelbulm, and the diary of a man called Viktor Klemporer, recording the actual dates that they received these broadcasts. I am afraid I do not know which bundles they are in. MR RAMPTON: 1943, Mr Irving. Page 12 I cannot read. I hope it is legible in your copy. MR JUSTICE GRAY: I am so sorry, Mr Rampton. I appreciate you want to get on, but does anybody have any idea where the documents -- I suspect they are somewhere in J -- that have just been referred to are to be found? MR RAMPTON: No. A. My Lord, I can certainly very easily bring in the copies again next time I come. MR JUSTICE GRAY: I am sure I have them somewhere. I would like to know where they are. A. I am not as well organized as I should be, I am afraid. MR JUSTICE GRAY: I do not blame you for that. Could I ask Miss Rogers or somebody to try to track them down? MR RAMPTON: Do you still feel confident, before we come to 1943, Mr Irving, in saying that the gas chambers were an invention of British propaganda? . P-116 A. Yes. Based on the evidence that I have seen so far, yes. Q. You do? Can we turn to page 13, because I am afraid I cannot read page 12. A. Page 12 is the draft declaration of the British and American governments. Q. Yes. Page 13 refers to a telegram to Moscow, and it is said to be based in the main, or taken in the main from the aide memoir by the Polish government in another file. "This aide memoir", reads this minute from Roger Allen to Cavendish-Bentinck, "is in line with a good deal of other information which we have received from time to time. There can, I think, be little doubt that the general picture painted is pretty true to life. On the other hand, it is of course extremely difficult, if not impossible, for us to check up on specific instances of matters of detail." MR JUSTICE GRAY: I have lost you. A. So have I. MR RAMPTON: I am on page 13, my Lord. A. Which paragraph are we looking at? MR RAMPTON: I read from the top of the page. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Something has gone wrong in that case. MR RAMPTON: In that case something has gone wrong. A. I thought I was going mad. MR RAMPTON: It is a minute by Roger Allen dated 27th August 1943. If we had another year, we might get these file . P-117 sorted out. MR JUSTICE GRAY: I think the problem may be we have not got the first page. I think we are missing that document altogether. MR RAMPTON: It is a minute, Mr Irving, do you see, dated 27th August 1943 from Mr Roger Allen? A. Yes. MR JUSTICE GRAY: We will call that 12A, because there is a 13 already. MR RAMPTON: Yes 12A, to Mr Cavendish-Bentinck. I will start again. I understand that the information on which telegram number 1190 to Moscow is based is taken in the main from the aide memoir by the Polish government in C, whatever it is. This aide memoir is in line with a good deal of other information which we have received from time to time. There can, I think, be little doubt that the general picture painted is pretty true to life. On the other hand, it is of course extremely difficult, if not impossible, for us to check up on specific instances or matters of detail. For this reason, I feel a little unhappy about the statement to be issued on the authority of His Majesty's government that Poles "are now being systematically put to death in gas chambers." I expect you are familiar with the rest of this document. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Where is the aide memoire, Mr Rampton? A. That is the previous illegible page, my Lord. . P-118 MR RAMPTON: That is the one I cannot read. A. To be a draft declaration to be signed by Roosevelt and Churchill and they were meeting in Quebec to discuss it. MR RAMPTON: Which I think must be the document. Maybe this is better. MR JUSTICE GRAY: You can actually read it fairly well. MR RAMPTON: Let me try it: Reliable information has reached HM Government regarding the crimes committed by the German invaders against the population of Poland. Since the autumn of 1942 a belt of territory extending from the province of Bialistok southwards along the line of the river Bund has been systematically emptied of its inhabitants", crossed out "hundreds of thousands of whom have been deported from their homes", continuing uncrossed out, "in July 1943 these measures were extended to practically the whole of the province of Lublin, where hundreds of thousands of persons have been deported from their homes or exterminated". That is the handwriting. "These measures are being carried out with the utmost brutality. Many victims are killed on the spot. The rest are segregated. Men from 14 to 50 are taken away to work for Germany. Some children are killed on the spot. Others are separated from their parents, and either sent to Germany to be brought up as Germans or sold to German settlers, despatched with the women and old men to concentration camps, where they are now being . P-119 systematically put to death in gas chambers. HM government" -- something? MR JUSTICE GRAY: Reaffirm. MR RAMPTON: "Reaffirmed their resolve to punish the instigators and actual perpetrators of these crimes. They further declare that, so long as such atrocities continue to be committed by the representatives and in the name of Germany, they must be taken into account against the time of the final settlement with Germany. Meanwhile, of the war against Germany" -- then I run out, I am afraid, of legible words, but that may not matter. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Has been finally overthrown. MR RAMPTON: Yes. MR JUSTICE GRAY: It is not really an aide memoire, is it? It is a proposed communication or release. MR RAMPTON: It is a communique, is it not? A. Yes. Q. It is a proposed communique, making reference to, in particular, systematic extermination in gas chambers. Correct? A. Yes. Q. Then, says Allen R to Cavendish-Bentinck on page 12A apropos that proposed communique, "On the other hand, it is of course extremely difficult, if not impossible, for us to check up on specific instances or matters of detail. For this reason I feel a little unhappy about the . P-120 statement to be issued on the authority of HMG that Poles 'are now being systematically put to death in gas chambers'". Does that look to you, Mr. Irving, like an intention to exploit this story for its propaganda value? A. There are two different levels of authentication here. What has been put to the Foreign Office is a draft telegram to be signed by the two heads of State and approved by Marshal Stalin, declaration on the war crimes committed by the Nazis and the punishment of the perpetrators. At the other level you have black propaganda where any kind of lie counts, the kind of stuff that was put about by Richard Crossman and Sefton Delmer. There are two totally different levels of truthfulness involved. The Foreign Office obviously balked at the idea of persuading the British and American heads of State to sign a document containing a detail of which, as they later stated in this same bundle of documents, there was no proof, of which they had no evidence.
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