The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 2000/07/25

   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Where do we find vergassung?
   MR IRVING:  Half way down the English translation, the new
        translation, "Whenever Himmler uttered such thoughts, as

.          P-19

        he did repeatedly, he never made any concrete reference
        to, for example, the Jewish problem.  But one today well
        imagine that Himmler ordered the murder of millions of
        Jews in a kind of crazily perverted idealism permeated
        with the notion that the lofty objective which Hitler had
        defined was one that justified the adoption of any means".
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Yes, I have got that, but what about
   MR RAMPTON:  That is in the last line of the English before in
        square brackets 00032, "The gassing idea probably emerged
        when a genuine epidemic broke out".
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Thank you.
   MR IRVING:  Of course I cannot give evidence, but let me ask
        this question this way, and say is it not likely that
        Wolff, when he was being interviewed in 1952, had read
        what every other German had read in the newspapers about
        millions being gassed?
   A.   I cannot say what Wolff read in the newspapers, but he is
        referring here clearly, he is accepting the idea that
        millions of Jews were killed, and he is accepting the idea
        that they were killed by gas.  So that is there was no way
        for him to know.  He did not attempt to dispute this.  He
        only tried to, of course, distance Hitler from these events.
   Q.   If you look at the last paragraph on that same page of the
        translation beginning with the words, "around August

.          P-20

        1942", "General Wolff undertook a drive from the Fuhrer's
        headquarters to Berlin.  He found Himmler there in a state
        of deep depression".  Does this strike you as being
        something that he is really remembering?  Is he describing
        something vividly that he has in his memory?
   A.   That is typical for Wolff.  We know a lot about Wolff.  He
        gave a lot of interviews.  He made statements.  He met
        people who wrote books about him, and he made this kind of
        very vivid statements.  So I think he had a very ----
   Q.   Do you think this is his imagination at work, or is it his
   A.   I think it was imagination to a large extent.
   Q.   When he is imagining something, he actually says it, does
        he not?  In the middle of the previous paragraph he says,
        "One can today well imagine that Himmler ordered the
        murder of millions of Jews".  So he does make a
        distinction between what he is imagining and what he is
   A.   To sum this up, I am not in a position to accept this
        really as a true collection by Karl Wolff.
   Q.   What about the vague hint that Himmler dropped on this
        occasion: "Wolff could have no idea what one had had to
        take upon oneself for the messiah of the next 2,000 years
        in order that this man (in other words Hitler) remained
        personally free of sin".  Do you think such a remark was
        made by Himmler to Hitler?

.          P-21

   A.   I have no idea.
   Q.   Is it a significant remark if it was made?
   A.   This is a hypothetical question.  I cannot answer this
   Q.   He continues by saying, for the sake of the German people
        and its Fuhrer, he had to burden things on to his own
        shoulders, of which nobody must ever be allowed to learn.
        Is this self serving again, do you think, in your opinion?
   A.   Well ----
   THE INTERPRETER:  Vivid imagination?
   A.   I think that Karl Wolff had a vivid imagination and
        I cannot see here -- he did not take any notes about these
        events.  He did not read from notes.  He did not write a
        letter about this.  It is a postwar statement ten years
        post factum, and I cannot see how one can accept this as
        evidence that Hitler was not aware of the final solution.
   Q.   Then I would ask you to turn two pages please.  You have
        in the middle of the page, page 34 in square brackets, the
        sentence beginning just before that, "The little clique,
        which effectively carried out the vernichtung of the Jews
        under cover of Himmler and Bormann, simply declared that
        they were relying on a Fuhrer order without this ever
        having expressly been given, and they proceeded in this
        sense on their own authority in order, as they declared,
        biologically to rid German territory of the seeds.  The
        announcement of this fait accompli was going to be

.          P-22

        Himmler's big moment after the victory".  Does this not
        fit in with some of the documents we have seen?
   A.   If you want to refer to documents, I can recall, of
        course, the expression, the quote on page 32, "burden on
        my shoulders" is the expression he used then later on.
   Q.   It does sound like Himmler speaking, does it not?
   A.   It is the same phrase, yes.
   Q.   It has to be said, we have no documents to contradict this
        version, do we?
   A.   The document contradicts the fact that Himmler spoke to
        Karl Wolff in August 1942?
   Q.   No, the contradict ----
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  The Hitler order, in other words.
   MR IRVING:  The general hypothesis that Wolff is putting up of
        Himmler acting in secret behind Hitler's back and
        intending to present him with a fait accompli when the war
        was over.
   A.   We went through the documents.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  It is Pohl and----
   MR RAMPTON:  I must intervene.  That is just not so and
        Mr Irving knows it is not so.  Himmler wrote to Begher on
        28th July 1942, just before this meeting that Wolff
        reports and Himmler said that the carrying out of this
        very hard order has been put on his shoulders by Hitler.
   MR IRVING:  Yes.  What is the order that he is referring to,
        Dr Longerich?  Do you remember?

.          P-23

   A.   This is the order to make the occupied territories of the
        East free of Jews.
   MR RAMPTON:  That is right.
   MR IRVING:  That is right, yes.  Is that an explicit order to
        exterminate the Jews, or an order to deport them to the
        East, in your opinion?
   A.   At this stage, if I look at the facts what actually
        happened in the East, it is clear for me that this refers
        to the mass killings of Soviet Jews, and to nothing else.
   Q.   Does this fit in with the general picture of Heinrich
        Himmler keeping things secret from people?  He is not
        being specific about what is actually happening.  He is
        writing these camouflage documents.  Is this not exactly
        what Wolff is saying?
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  When you say that, Mr Irving, you are really
        going back, I think, to the communications between Pohl
        and Himmler, and between Greiser and Himmler, is that
        right, where it is true, I think, we went through those on
        Thursday, that there is not any express reference to
        Hitler's authority?  That is the point you are putting.
        We have been through it.
   MR IRVING:  Now I will ask one final question on the Wolff
        manuscript, if I may, Dr Longerich.  You worked in the
        Institut fur Zeitgeschichte for what, eight years?  Seven
   A.   Five years.

.          P-24

   Q.   Five years, and you have since then written a number of
        eminent books on the Final Solution of the Jewish problem?
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   And of Hitler's role in this?
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   Have you ever paid any attention at all to Karl Wolff's
        manuscript, the document that you are looking at?
   A.   Of course.  I looked also at Karl Wolff's role and I have
        to say that I completely dismissed the statement, because
        this interview is, first of all, if you look at the
        technique of the interviewer, for instance, he has a long
        conversation with Karl Wolff, then goes home and writes a
        summary of this conversation.  It is not a verbatim minute
        of the conversation.  The person who did this interview
        addressed Karl Wolff in 1952 as General Wolff.  So this is
        for me a quite bizarre atmosphere in which this interview
        took place.  I think, if you look at the history of Karl
        Wolff and the fact that he in 65 was sentenced to 15
        years, this statement in this part is self serving.  But,
        on the other hand, for me it is interesting, and I did not
        recollect that, that he is quite openly referring to
        millions of people who were actually put to death during
        the World War II.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  You are now talking about Dr Ziegler?  He was
        the interviewer, is that right?
   A.   Ziegler was the interviewer, yes.

.          P-25

   Q.   I do not quite understand why this interview came to take
        place in 1952.
   A.   Because the Institute at this stage more or less
        systematically tried to interview everybody who was
        interesting for them.
   MR IRVING:  What was the name of the Institute at that time?
        Do you remember?
   A.   Still the same name, Institute fur Zeitgeschichte.
   Q.   It was called the Institute for the Research into Nazi
        Crimes or something, was it not?
   A.   No.  In the first year, 48 and 49, it was called Institute
        for the Research of the History of the National Socialist
        Period, or something like that.
   Q.   I am right in saying that they had a number of trained
        professional historians who went around Germany
        interviewing characters like General Wolff and Ziegler was
        one of them?
   A.   Yes.  But at this stage researchers were not able to
        actually confront most of their interviewees with
        documents that actually challenged their views.  So, if
        Wolff said something like that, this interviewer was not
        able to refer to documents, the documents which we have
        now, to say, for instance, that the Hitler speech of 12th
        December 41 is ordered to Himmler, and so on and so on.
        So in a way this interview was done in quite a naive way,
        I would put it like this.

.          P-26

   Q.   Are such interviews totally valueless?
   A.   Absolutely not.
   Q.   Did you make any use whatsoever of this Karl Wolff
        manuscript when you wrote your books?
   A.   I remember that I read it but I decided not to use it for
        my books.
   Q.   The same as you decided not to use the Schlegelberger
        document and various other items?
   A.   That is your comparison.   I cannot comment on that.
   Q.   Would you agree that the Schlegelberger document, this
        particular manuscript and various other items that have
        been ignored until I dredged them out of the archives, all
        tend to suggest a totally different picture to that
        presented by what you call the consensus of German historians?
   A.   If I look at this document here, the interview of Karl
        Wolff in 1955, I think it does not prove anything.
        I commented briefly on the so-called Schlegelberger
        before, because it is a third hand evidence.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I am going to interrupt you.  I do not think
        we need to go through the Schlegelberger document.
   MR IRVING:  Can I ask one more question on this document?
        There is a reference here to Martin Bormann and Rudolf
        Hoess, the Kommandant of Auschwitz being old buddies
        because they had both been in prison for the Famer
        murders.  Is that right?

.          P-27

   A.   Yes.
   Q.   Can you tell the court what the Famer murders were?
        I could not remember the translation myself.
   A.   In the early 1920s the right-wing circus in Germany tried
        to build up a secret Army, if you put it this way.
   Q.   The Freicor?
   A.   The Freicor and other paramilitary organisations, which
        was illegal under the Versailles Treaty, and they also
        engaged in preparing Putsches and other things like that,
        and they on various occasions actually killed or murdered
        people in these groups who they thought actually betrayed
        them or passed information on the state authority and so on.
   Q.   Like vengeance killing, was it not?
   A.   Vengeance killing, yes.
   Q.   So they were old buddies, they were not just anybody,
        Martin Bormann and Rudolf Hoess were thick as thieves
        would you say?
   A.   Yes. They spent several months together in a state prison.
   Q.   That is the only questions I have to ask on Karl Wolff
        unless your Lordship has any to ask?
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  No.  Thank you very much.
   MR IRVING:  Dr Longerich, you wrote a book called "Politik der
        Vernichtung", is that right?
   A.   Yes, that is right.

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