Archive/File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day018.04 Last-Modified: 2000/07/24 Q. Of course, you would not dictate to them what to write, but have you dictated what field of research they should apply their minds to in connection with this defence? A. Not dictated, no. I suggested to the defence that certain witnesses might be called to cover certain fields and then, of course, there were lengthy discussions as to how this should be made more precise and exactly what areas should be covered and by whom and so on. Not all of my suggestions were accepted, of course. MR RAMPTON: Can I just sound a warning note? We are getting towards forbidden territory. MR JUSTICE GRAY: We are on privilege. MR IRVING: I certainly would not have asked him privileged questions. MR JUSTICE GRAY: No, you are the right side of the boundary, but Mr Rampton was putting down a marker. MR IRVING: I was going to ask here, did you look specifically . P-28 for left orientated experts or right-wing orientated experts? I mean, you did not ask Professor Faurisson, for example, did you, to give evidence? A. I would not consider him an expert. Q. You would not consider him an expert? A. No, I think he is a charlatan. Q. You are right; he was stripped of his Professorship, was he not, by the University of Lyons or Lille, one of the two? A. It is more his work that I am concerned with and I do not think it is reputable work. My only concern in suggesting the names of expert witnesses was that they should be experts in their particular fields. Q. Yes. So a right winger is a charlatan and a left winger is acceptable. Would that have been your standard? A. Not at all, no. Had, for example, Professor Hilgrubber still been alive, he was a decidedly right-wing historian, but I consider him a reputable expert in certain fields of Second World War. Q. What about Professor Hans Monson? Might he have come up with the wrong answers, perhaps? A. I really do not want to get into discussions of whom we might have called, and we did not. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Well, I do not think you are actually being asked the question in that way, and I think it is a legitimate question. What is the answer? . P-29 A. What was the question? MR IRVING: Might you have called Professor Dr Hans Monson of the University of Fulkum(?) who is an acknowledged expert on this field? A. But -- in the end, he has not been called. Q. But you would not have considered calling him? A. That is such a hypothetical question; I mean, I would have considered calling him. There are many people whom I would have considered calling but we did not in the end consider calling them. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Can I ask you the question this way which I do not think infringes any privilege. Have you gone out of your way to recommend historians who have a particular point of view which happens to coincide with your own? A. No. MR IRVING: But you have had your knives out in the past for right wing historians or Nazi historians, have you not? In your book "In Defence of History" you make minced meat of some historians? A. I think it is also right to point out that I have very heavily criticised some left wing historians as well. If you take my book "In Defence of History", for example, there is some very sharp criticism of the Marxist historian, David Abraham, there; there is some sharp criticism of the Marxist historian, Christopher Hill. So I do not think I direct my criticisms only at historians . P-30 who might be identified as right-wing. Q. You have stepped into the shoes of Sir Geoffrey Elton at Cambridge, have you not? A. No. Q. Do you not hold the Chair of Modern History at Cambridge? A. Yes, but he held the Reader's Chair. Q. Is he still there? A. He is dead, I am afraid. Q. Well, he is not still there, is he? A. No. Q. How would we position him on the political spectrum? A. Very difficult. I mean, I think in some ways he was an unconventional character. I did not know him very well, I have to say, but, on the whole, I think you could say he was right-wing. Q. What is the difference between "unconventional" in your vocabulary and "extremist"? A. I meant more in terms of his rather unpredictable views on some subjects. Q. A bit of a loose cannon? A. Yes, I would say that. Q. Not politically correct? A. I think that is a very slippery term. I mean, it depends exactly what you mean by "politically correct". I am not sure that the term political correctness was very much in vogue at the time when he held the chair. . P-31 Q. Let me assure you, I am not trying to lay any traps this morning or, indeed, for the rest of today. We are just generally exploring the terrain. So you do not have to have any sense of reserve in answering the questions I am putting to you because ---- A. Well ---- Q. --- there are no traps. A. Well, I am not an expert on Sir Geoffrey Elton whom I only knew very slightly and I did not read, by any means, all of his work. I admired, what I did read, I admired it greatly. I thought he was a tremendous historian and also a very interesting man with pungent, strongly held views, some of which invited disagreement, some of which did not. But I thought, as an historian, he was in his own chosen field of Tudor Constitutional History, he was a very good historian. Q. Pungently held views or pungently expressed views. Is an historian entitled to express views pungently which are different from those of the common place? A. Most certainly, yes. Q. So what makes an acceptable pungently held view and an unacceptable pungently held view, in your view? Is it the supposed political leanings of the person who does the expression? A. No. I think that historians, what makes it, as it were, debatable within conventional academic, scholarly terms is . P-32 whether historians' views are accepted -- I am trying to think of an accurate way of putting this -- whether historians views are put forward on the basis of documents which are available and on a ---- Q. The objective sources? A. --- reasonable interpretation of those. Q. You attach great importance to the objective use of sources, is that right? A. I do, yes. Q. Yes. A. I think the sources, as it were, have a right of veto on what one can and what one cannot say. Q. Express. A. But within the area that is covered by the sources that you use, there is, of course, scope for some disagreement. Q. You have done a certain amount of research into the Nazi period, have you not? A. Yes. Q. This was not originally your speciality, was it? Originally, you came from a different era of history? A. Yes, I have researched on eras of the 19th and 20th centuries. Q. For some reason the Nazi era is a profitable era of research if one writes books? I do not mean this in any sense as a criticism. A. Well, I have to say the only book that I have done that is . P-33 based on archival research on the Nazi period, a book called "Rituals of Retribution" on the issue of capital punishment in Germany since the 17th century, has sold very badly. It is far too long and I am told that Penguin regard it as something of an albatross. Q. It contains acres of sludge, does it? A. I would not describe it as sludge myself, no. Q. But I know the temptation. Is it true one finds documents that oneself finds fascinating, but the readers probably do not? A. Well, I think its length has daunted an English language readership. It is about to appear in German and I think Germans are less daunted by very lengthy books. But it does cover 300 years of history in a major area and not a handful of years. It does cover a large subject. Q. I have a confession to make, Professor Evans. I had not heard of you before you were actually nominated as a witness in this case. This is not a criticism in any sense at all, and I wondered where on earth I could get a copy of your book. Then I found a copy of your book actually on my desk. Somebody actually sent it to me months earlier. I looked through it, and probably rather the same as you looked through my book "Hitler's War", you have never read my book "Hitler's War" from cover to cover except when this trial began, is that right? A. That is true, yes. . P-34 Q. You state in your expert report that you picked it up once and leafed through it, is that right? A. That is right, yes. It was not really essentially on areas with which I was concerned. Q. At that time you were not dealing with the Third Reich or with Adolf Hitler or with the decision-making processes? A. Only in terms of teaching. I have been teaching courses on the Third Reich for some years. Q. And it would never have occurred to you to put my book on the list of recommended works? A. Not really. I think it is more concerned with military history than anything else. I do not know if you would accept that. Q. And the courses that are taught in universities and colleges do not cover military history, is that correct? A. Some do, but not the courses that I teach. Q. In looking at the book, did it occur to you that I had had access to sources that no other historians had had, and that this might, therefore, have made it valuable for teaching courses? A. As I have said, I mean, the sources -- of course, it occurred, of course, it was clear to me that you had a justified reputation for obtaining sources which other historians had not had access to, but these sources and your treatment of them were not, I felt, really useful for the kind of teaching that I was doing on the Third Reich. . P-35 Q. Can I ask the witness to be given one of these little bundles, please, Miss Rogers? I am purely using you, Professor Evans, now as a means of getting this document before his Lordship. Are you familiar with the Internet? A. Yes. Q. Do you ever use the Internet? A. Occasionally, yes. I have to say not very extensively. Q. I am going to ask you at this stage to look at the first document, but you can leaf through if you wish. Are you familiar with the H Net which is an aspect of the Internet, a kind of communication between experts? A. Not very, I have to say. Q. And that there are various H Nets. There is H Net, Anti-Semitism and so on? A. H German, and so on, yes. Q. Are you familiar, Professor, with a Dr David Aaron Meyer, who is the Associate Professor of History and who runs the particular discussion group on the Internet called H Anti-Semitism? A. At Dickinson State University? Q. Yes. A. I am not, no. Q. He expresses an opinion in his e-mail to me dated August 23rd last year in which he says, "I have been familiar with your works for a very long time", meaning my works, "and find them exceptionally well written and . P-36 researched". Would you share his opinion? A. No.
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