The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 2000/07/20

   Q.   You are saying that, yes, there were multiple shootings by
        Einsatzgruppen and so on during the invasion of Soviet
        Russia --
   A.   There was mass murders of Jews committed by Nazis in their
        satraps --
   Q.   -- but it was not pursuant to any systematic programme, is
        that your case?
   A.   -- again, I would have to -- I am not caviling, but these
        are important definitions, my Lord.  If the
        definition -- if by using the word "systematic" you are
        implying that the system, the Third Reich as such
        originated these massacres, then I would have to
quibble
        with that.  I would say that certainly at a lower
level a
        system emerged and that it was systemized somewhere in
the
        hierarchy; does your Lordship appreciate --
   Q.   Yes, I follow what you are saying.
   A.   -- yes.  I submit that the Defendants will find it
very
        difficult to suggest that it was a Third Reich
decision.
        In other words an Adolf Hitler decision, which is of
        course the open water between us at present.
   Q.   Can I ask a similar question; do you accept or deny
        totally that there was any systematic gassing of Jews
in
        gas chambers, whether at Auschwitz or at elsewhere?
        I know we are not dealing with Auschwitz but I think
that

.                                      P-157



        that ought to be part of --
   A.   Yes, I think if we can leave out the word "systematic"
        which is contentious, I do not deny that there was
some
        kind of gassing at gas chambers in Birkenhau, it is
highly
        likely that there was.
   Q.   -- on a solely experimental basis or  --
   A.   That is the word I have used to give an indication of
        scale and to give an indication of the authority on
which
        it was conducted, and, well, I leave it at that.  But
now
        you appreciate the reason why I am reluctant to insert
the
        word systematized into that, because that implies that
it
        was conducted on authority from above and that there
were
        guidelines, and in some of the killings they were very
        definitely guidelines, my Lord, and I will lead some
        evidence on that later.  Because Heinrich Himmler in
fact
        refers to guidelines in a message he send to one of
the
        commanders which has not been revealed previously.
   Q.   -- do you want to add anything more in advance of
        cross-examination about the allegation that you are a
        Holocaust denier using the term "Holocaust" in the
narrow
        definition?
   A.   I do, my Lord, I wish to say that if you are not
allowed
        to examine components of the Holocaust as I described
it,
        the tragedy that was inflicted on the Jewish people in
the
        Third Reich, if you are not allowed to examine
individual
        components of that and say, yes, this definitely

.                                      P-158



        happened.  This is slightly exaggerated, that bit I
find
        little evidence for.  In other words not to carry out
        normal kind of analysis that you would do as a writer
or
        as an historian without being accused and defamed as
being
        a Holocaust denier instantly by the assembled mass
media,
        then I would think would be a very sorry state of
affairs.
        To that extent I find it offensive to be called a
        Holocaust denier because there are aspects of the
        Holocaust as currently portrayed that I find
questionable,
        debateable and they need to be debated.  But that is
not
        Holocaust denial in my view, my Lord.
                  The defence contention that somebody who
        challenges the figure is a Holocaust denier ipso
facto, I
        have read Professor Evans' report in great deal here
where
        I think he gives four criteria of what a Holocaust
denier
        is.  Somebody who says that Adolf Hitler did not give
the
        order, somebody who challenges a figure.  Somebody who
        says there were no gas chambers.  I forget the fourth
        one.  It is almost as though those four criteria have
been
        tailor made in the way that you would have a suit
tailor
        made for this very action, my Lord.  I do not think
that
        your Lordship will set much store by those four
criteria.
        I hope you will not.  Because if it is not possible to
        question the 6 million figure, for example, that I
have
        been I accused of being a Holocaust denier, you run
into
        immediate difficulties, because the Auschwitz
authorities

.                                      P-159



        themselves removed the memorial stone for 4 million
dead
        and replaced it with a memorial stone for one million
        dead; are they Holocaust deniers under Professor
Evans'
        definition?  It is an absurdity.
   Q.   Again, take your own course, but I was being to move
on
        and I was going to skip for the purposes of my so-
called
        examination-in-chief of you, skip altogether the
section
        dealing with Auschwitz and indeed the one...
   A.   If you had not, my Lord, I would have reminded you of
what
        we agreed this morning.
   Q.   Yes, quite.  I am also going to skip Treblinka,
Sobibor
        and Belsic, because it seems to me they really belong
in
        the same compartment of the case as Auschwitz.
                  There is a section though in a subsection in
        section 2, you may be able to find the page 28, which
is
        headed: "Mass Murder of Jews by Shootings", I am not
sure
        that really belongs in that particular section, but I
can
        see why it has landed up there; do you want to say
        anything at this stage about that in fairly general
        terms?  I think the criticism is made of you that
whilst
        you recognize that many, to use a neutral word, many
Jews
        were shot and killed in horrific circumstances, you
have
        downplayed it, you have underestimated the number of
        deaths which occurred in this fashion?
   A.   I do not like playing numbers games, my Lord, and a
lot of
        these numbers are very suspect.  Your Lordship may not
be

.                                      P-160



        familiar with this, but there was the case against
Field
        Marshall Manstein, conducted by British War Crimes
Court
        in Germany, where Manstein was represented by very
eminent
        and able QC, I think it was Paget, who subsequently
wrote
        a book called "Manstein and His Trials" and he led
very
        good evidence indeed on these figures, proving how
totally
        impossible many of the figures were relating to the
        Einsatzgruppen, but I say this with the utmost
diffidence
        as I am not a expert and I have no intention of
becoming a
        expert on that.  What I am an expert on is the role
played
        by Adolf Hitler in these killings and if I can just
spend
        two minutes of the court's time describing the sequel
to
        what happened yesterday, the November 30th 1941
episode,
        documents we have here in the British archives.  They
are
        of the utmost importance because they go a long way to
        refuting what Mr Rampton said yesterday about my
        interpretation of that Himmler document.
                  If you remember, my Lord, on November 30th
1941,
        an event to which both the defence and I in our
opening
        statements have referred occurred.  A train load of
1,035
        Jews from Berlin arrived after a two or three day
journey
        at Riga.  They were unloaded from the train that
morning
        in ice cold conditions and had the misfortune to
arrive in
        the middle of a mass extermination, a mass shooting of
        Jews being conducted by the local SS commander.  They
were
        shot immediately in the pits, and, my Lord, I am sure
you

.                                      P-161



        will vividly remember the description of that very
        shooting that was given to us by General Bruns in the
        Bruns Report, to which I have repeatedly referred.
   Q.   Yes.
   A.   So that one episode, when great good fortune, having a
lot
        of documentation, the defence as I understand it are
going
        to seize on the fact that in the Bruns Report the
local SS
        junior says it is the Fuhrer's orders.  I think there
are
        very grave reasons for doubting that because Heinrich
        Himmler, as we heard yesterday, at 1.30 p.m. on that
same
        Sunday, November 30th 1941, was called into Hitler's
        bunker and at or about that time, and I am going to be
        quite careful how I say this, he had reason to make a
        telephone call to SS Obergruppen Fuhrer Reinhardt
        Heinrich, who was his henchman, his closest
lieutenant.
        He was the head of the killers, shall we say, he was
above
        the Gestapo, Reinhardt Heinreich, and in that
telephone
        conversation he said certain things as a result of
which
        he jotted down two lines in his note pad.  I have the
        actual handwritten notes on the table next to my stand
        there.  The first line says: ( German spoken) Jew
        transport from Berlin.  I appreciate quite readily
that in
        the first chapter of my "Hitler's War" book I wrongly
put
        that in the plural.  The second line continued with
the
        words ( German spoken) "no liquidation".
                  Now, many things can be said about that

.                                      P-162



        document, my Lord, the first is, how is it that it was
not
        until 1974 when David Irving took the trouble to
        transcribe Heinrich Himmler's note, 30 years after the
war
        was over that this extraordinary note came to the
        attention of the historical community.  Well, I do not
        know why they do not want to read Heinreich Himmler's
        handwriting.  It is a very difficult handwriting and
        I have to plead that as being my partial excuse for
having
        misread ( German spoken) and also on the following day
for
        having misread word "juden" as "haben" (?) or vice
versa.
   Q.   I think the point they make is not so much about
        legibility, but that this on its face looks as if it
is
        talking about a single train transportation to --
   A.   Yes, this true, my Lord.
   Q.   -- to Riga from Berlin.
   A.   I should have put in the word "the".  I left out the
word
        "the" in my text based on it.  I should not have said
        "transportation of Jews" I should have said "the
        transport of Jews".  But I corrected this as soon as
this
        was pointed out to me, my Lord.
                  But I can continue because the inference
that
        I drew from this, if this telephone call is made (
German
        spoken), from the bunker, from Hitler's bunker at the
        Wolf's lair in Rustenberg, East Prussia, Himmler has
been
        required to telephone Reinhardt Heydrich and tell
somebody
        these Jews from Berlin were not to be liquidated, you
have

.                                      P-163



        to very interesting conclusion, namely the liquidation
was
        in the air and people have pointed this out to me and
I do
        not dispute that for one moment.  But what interested
me
        is Adolf Hitler's biographer is that here is a case of
        Hitler intervening in a negative way.  But it gets
more
        interesting, my Lord, because we now have 20 years
further
        down the road at the end of the 1990s in the Public
Record
        Office the intercepts of the radio messages sent by
        Himmler the very next day to the man who had carried
out
        the killings, SS Obergruppenfuhrer Joachim.  Now this
may
        be new to your Lordship.  It is certainly new to
everybody
        in this court; December 1st 1941, the day after the
        killings, Joachim gets a message from Heinrich Himmler
in
        top secret SS code which we broke reading, and I have
this
        there memory, I have the actual document on my desk
over
        there but the sense is, the words are: These shootings
        that have been carried out in Riga, concerning the
        shootings in Riga, any excess, any further excesses,
        arbitrary excesses and actions against instructions
given
        to you -- no.  You have been given clear guidelines.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I think we ought to look at this document
        I am not familiar with it.
   MR RAMPTON:  Nor are we.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Then I think we should look at it.
   A.   My Lord, it has been supplied to the Defence several
weeks
        ago.

.                                      P-164



   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I am not doubting that for a moment.  Can
you
        indicate where it is so we can get it for you?
   A.   It is large yellow sheets headed "Most Secret" in my
case,
        at the bottom of the inside of my case.  Then I do not
        have them with me, because I was intending to lead
this
        material tomorrow.
   Q.   So I understand what you are saying, you are saying
there
        is a message from Himmler to Joachim?
   A.   From Himmler to the Chief of the SS saying:  There
were
        very clear guidelines for the outsettlement, the
        outplacing of the Jews from Berlin.
   Q.   So it is about the Jews from Berlin?
   A.   It is talking about Jews from Berlin, clearly
referring to
        this train load.  He then continues: Any further
arbitrary
        actions and actions against instructions will be
severely
        punished, and he ordered Joachim to report immediately
to
        Hitler's headquarters.  On December 4th, my Lord, and
this
        I do have there in the big blue volume -- can you give
it
        to me, the Himmler Diary, have had that volume now for
20
        years -- on December 4th 1941 Joachim then turns up at
        Hitler's headquarters and he is raked over the coals,
        there is no question, because the killings of German Jews
        stopped for the next few months.  On December 1st I would
        say ----
   Q.   Is there a copy of this document?  If there is not there
        should be one.

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