The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit//transcripts/day002.14


Archive/File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day002.14
Last-Modified: 2000/07/20

   MR RAMPTON:  Except for the feeling that I am being boiled alive.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  That I have tried to do something about.  The
        air conditioning was supposed to be on.  I do not know

.                                      P-218

        whether it actually was over the midday adjournment -- it
        was.  I just do not see that we can solve any of these problems.

   MR RAMPTON:  Perhaps the authorities at least might pretend
        that it was mid summer instead of Siberia, we might be a
        little bit more comfortable.

                  Cross-examined by MR RAMPTON, QC.

   Q.   Mr Irving, to be serious (and I am sorry to be a little
        bit facetious) Mr Irving will need some files.

   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Yes, I think it is best to do that first
        before you start.
   MR RAMPTON:  Yes, I agree.  D2(i) and (ii), a copy of his
        opening ----
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Would you prefer to have your own copies?
   A.   No, my Lord, they are not marked up.
   MR RAMPTON:  Those are the first two transcript files.
        Eventually, but perhaps not now, and Mr Irving's own
        writing, his books.  Those are the two, just (i) and (ii)
        are the only ones that are needed and a copy of the
        opening to start with.
                  (To the witness):  Mr Irving, there is an
        elegiac story that you told us just now -- I do not mean
        that sarcastically at all; it is perfectly true it is --
        you blame that appalling note on the wreath on Deborah
        Lipstadt's book, is that right?
   A.   I think I was quite careful to say that it is difficult to

.                                      P-219

        quantify and difficult to be precise, but one thing leads
        to another which thereupon leads to another and in that
        respect the book has created and generated a climate of
        hatred.

   Q.   If what the book said about you is true, then it would
        not, perhaps you would agree, be the book's fault but
        yours, would it not?
   A.   I do not think any man can ever be expected to receive
a
        wreath from hateful people like that and have it said
it
        is his own fault.
   Q.   Let us take a step back in time (and I promise you, as
        I have before, both publicly and privately, that I am
        going on to Auschwitz this week, to give you time to
get
        your head round it).  In 1977, when the first edition
of
        Hitler's War was published, you accepted the Holocaust
in
        all its essential details in its ordinary sense, did
you
        not, its generally understood sense?
   A.   Would you tell the court what you mean by the ----
   Q.   Yes, I will.  The systematic mass murder of millions
of
        Jews by the Nazi regime during the Second World War.
   A.   I do not accept the word "systematic", but for the
rest of
        it, then that is an accurate precis.
   Q.   Including the continuous, if not systematic, though it
is
        difficult to distinguish the two, perhaps, use of
        homicidal gas chambers in institutions like Auschwitz?
   A.   Continuous?

.                                      P-220



   Q.   Yes, over a period of time.
   A.   It is not a word that I used.
   Q.   No, not daily on a continuous basis, but for a long
period
        of time, something like, I think, 22 months you
accepted
        that Auschwitz used homicidal gas chambers to kill
very
        large numbers of Jews, did you not?
   A.   I certainly did not say 22 months.
   Q.   No, let us try to get to the point.  In your 1977
edition,
        Auschwitz was characterized, I am not quoting, I am
        paraphrasing, as one of the extermination camps, was
it
        not?
   A.   That is correct.
   Q.   In the 1991 edition, it had become, am I not right,
merely
        a slave labour camp?
   A.   That is correct -- well, I did not say "merely".  I
said a
        slave labour camp.
   Q.   "Merely" is my word.
   A.   You appreciate one has to be precise what I agree to.
   Q.   Yes.
   A.   Otherwise it will be used against me later on.  You
said,
         "It was merely a slave labour camp".
   Q.   You can be certain that I do not conduct litigation in
        that way and that if I did his Lordship would sit on
me
        quite hard.  So have no fear of silly little Perry
Mason
        traps like that.
   A.   I am very glad to hear it.

.                                      P-221



   Q.   Until 1988 you accepted the Holocaust, however it be
        precisely defined (and I am not quibbling about
minutia)
        in its generally understood sense, that is to say, a
mass
        killing of Jews by the Nazis during World War II, did
you
        not?
   A.   I did not use the word "Holocaust" but I did quite
        definitely accept that the Nazis engaged in mass
killing
        of Jews during World War II.
   Q.   Do you accept that most people in the western world
now
        and perhaps all over the world, I know not, when the
word
        "Holocaust" is used mean the systematic mass murder of
        millions of Jews by the Nazi regime?
   A.   I do not think that they ponder one moment to define
what
        they are thinking about.  They associate pictures with
        words.  When the word "Holocaust" is used, they are
        thinking of people behind barbed ward, they are
thinking
        of pits will bulldozers pushing bodies into them.  It
is
        visual images that are conjured up.  They are not
using
        legal definitions which can later on be bandied in a
libel
        action.  I think it is pictures that are conjured up
by
        the word.
   Q.   No, we are not looking for legal definitions, Mr
Irving.
        We are looking for -- I give you the card straightaway
so
        that you can think about it while I ask you more
questions
         -- what people would have understood you to mean when
        later you denied the Holocaust, do you understand?  Do
you

.                                      P-222



        remember my original question was it might be thought
        eventually that the catastrophe or the misfortune you
        described at the end of your evidence-in-chief had
been
        brought on you by what you have said yourself.  Do you
        understand that?  Do you understand, perhaps put it
this
        way, that if you use a word ----
   A.   This is very similar to saying that the catastrophe
that
        befell the Jewish people was brought on them by
        themselves, and you can say to each of those
sentences,
        each of those points, the answer is yes.
   Q.   I do not think ----
   A.   But between each of those alphas and omegas there are
very
        many intervening stages which you are leaving out.
   Q.   That may be so.  I do not think you are perhaps quite
        answering my question.
   A.   I thought that was a very comprehensive one, sir.
   Q.   Let us go back to your opening yesterday.  You made
noisy
        complaint, if I may call it that, about being branded
a
        "Holocaust denier", did you not?
   A.   Oh, yes, yes.
   Q.   You finished up by calling it a verbal Yellow Star?
   A.   Among my remarks I called it a verbal Yellow Star.  I
did
        not finish up by calling it that.
   Q.   No.  "A poison to which there is virtually no
antedote,
        less lethal than a hypodermic with nerve gas jabbed in
the
        neck but deadly all the same.  For the chosen victim,
it

.                                      P-223



        is like being called a wife beater or a paedophile.
It is
        enough for the label to be attached for the attachee
to
        find himself designated as a pariah, an outcast from
        normal society.  It is a verbal Yellow Star".  What
did
        you mean by "it"?
   A.   The phrase "Holocaust denier".
   Q.   Exactly.  Now, then I would like you to look at some
of
        the things that you have said publicly or, at any
rate,
        semi-publicly.  You have those two files there, the
ones
        with the pink spines on them.  Can we start, please,
with
        the one which is, if I can find it, it is D2(i).  Can
you
        please turn to tab 9 which is the transcript of a
speech
        you made at the Travelodge at the Airport Inn in
Calgary,
        Alberta, on 29th September 1991.  I myself quoted some
        part of this, I think, yesterday in opening for the
        Defendants.  Can you please turn to page 4?  If you
think
        I am reading anything out of context, you must say so
        because then I will go back and start again.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  So take your time if you need it, Mr
Irving.
   A.   My Lord, I read the whole of this speech in the small
        hours of this morning in view of the fact that ----
   MR RAMPTON:  Then can I start, please, halfway down the
page,
        five lines above the paragraph break?
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Sorry, I missed the page.
   MR RAMPTON:  Page 4, my Lord.  There is a sentence which
begins
        with the last word on the line "For", after the words
"in

.                                      P-224



        one or two dramatic points".  Do you have it?
   A.   I have that.
   Q.   "For example, until 1988, I believed that there had
been,
        until 1988, I believed that three had been something
like
        a Holocaust.  I believed that millions of people had
been
        killed in factories of death.  I believed in the gas
        chamber.  I believed in all the paraphernalia of the
        modern Holocaust".  Now, what was "all the
paraphernalia
        of the modern Holocaust" that you believed in up to
1988?
   A.   The words that I had set out in the previous four
lines,
        the factories of death.
   Q.   Yes.
   A.   The gas chambers.
   Q.   Yes?
   A.   Like everybody else in this room, I believed in them
up to
        that point.
   Q.   Then comes this:  "But 1988, when I came to Canada and
        gave evidence in the trial of Ernst Zundel as an
        historian, I met there people who knew differently and
        could prove to me that the story was just a legend"?
   A.   "That that story was just a legend".
   Q.   Quite right, thank you, "that that story", that is to
say
        the Holocaust story in which you previously believed,
"was
        just a legend.  I changed my mind I've now revised the
        Hitler book so that all references to Auschwitz and
the
        gas chamber and all the factories of death", so that
would

.                                      P-225



        include Sobibor, Treblinka ----
   A.   Mr Rampton, you have inserted some words there.
After,
        where you read out "to prove that that story was just
a
        legend", you then verbally inserted the words "in
other
        words, the story of the Holocaust".
   Q.   Yes.
   A.   Or something like that, and that is not in there.
   Q.   Fair enough.
   A.   That story was referring to the paraphernalia.
   Q.   You corrected my reading quite rightly, I said "the
        story", you said "that story".  What does that mean in
        that context?
   A.   The paraphernalia, the equipment, the factories of
death
        and the gas chambers.
   Q.   Yes, and the killing of millions of people?
   A.   No.
   Q.   Really?
   A.   We have repeatedly made quite plain that the Nazis
killed
        large numbers of people.
   Q.   "I believed millions of people had been killed in
        factories of death".
   A.   You see, this is why you said "the story" instead of
"that
        story".  You were trying to sweep up the whole of that
        sentence, including the millions of people, when it is
        quite plain that I am talking about the latter part of
the
        sentence which is the paraphernalia.

.                                      P-226



   Q.   Mr Irving, we will get nowhere if we argue about
trivia of
        that kind.  What you had believed in ----
   A.   It is not trivia, Mr Rampton, with respect, because a
few
        days down the line you will read back to me the
transcript
        and say, "But you agreed on January 12th that this was
        what you were referring to", and that is why I am
going to
        be sticking on each one of these points, Mr Rampton.
   Q.   Let us get it straight.  The story that you had
believed
        in until 1988 was, amongst other things, that millions
of
        people had been killed in factories of death by the
use of
        gas chambers.  I am paraphrasing the penultimate and
the
        propenultimate lines of the previous ----
   A.   I am sorry, but that is not an accurate paraphrase.
You
        just said, "I believed that millions of people had
been
        killed in the gas chambers" and that is exactly what
that
        sentence does not say.  It says:  "I believed that
        millions of people had been killed in factories of
death.
        I believed in the gas chamber".  Can you not see the
        difference between those two sentences?
   Q.   No, I am afraid I cannot.  You tell me the difference.
   A.   I believed that millions of people have been killed.
   Q.   In factories of death?
   A.   In factories of death.  I believed in the gas chambers.

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