The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit//transcripts/day003.15


Archive/File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day003.15
Last-Modified: 2000/07/29

.          P-130

   A.   German SZ, things like that.
   Q.   You have read it now, have you?
   A.   I read it and I disapprove of the translation, but we
will
        reach that moment.
   Q.   We will come to that because that is over the page,
but --
   A.   It is a tendentious translation.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  But nothing wrong with the German?
   A.   -- nothing wrong with German --
   MR RAMPTON:  I will come back, because the translation will
be
        important many times during in the course of the case.
        Dr Longerich translates it at the top page 62.
   A.   -- he is, of course, German translating into English.
   Q.   I know he is, but it may be, I know not, you can ask
him
        when he comes to court.  He had some help.  His
English is
        pretty good, but not perfect: "As concerns the Jewish
        question the Fuhrer is determined to make a clean
sweep";
        what I suggest we do, Mr Irving, is to take out page
61
        and fortunately the German text is on a separate page.
   A.   Right.
   Q.   As we go through the English you can tell me in answer
to
        my questions where you think Dr Longerich has gone
wrong
        in his translation.
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   "As concerns the Jewish question the Fuhrer is
determined
        to make a clean sweep" (German spoken)?
   A.   Tabula rasa they say in Latin.

.          P-131



   Q.   Maybe, but this is fortunately in these courts we do
not
        speak much Latin any more.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  No, but it is closer actually, the Latin
than
        the English.
   MR RAMPTON:  Probably.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  That is the point are you making.
   A.   Yes.
   MR RAMPTON:  Yes, a tabular rasa is a blank surface.
   A.   So I am more accurate than yourself --
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  There is no distinction in terms of the
sense
        of it, is there.
   MR RAMPTON:  I do not know.
   A.   -- does the word tabula rasa exist in English?
   MR RAMPTON:  Yes.  It is frequently used by people who do
not
        know what it means, as so much Latin is.  But if you
wish
        tabula rasa is rather a perhaps stronger word than
"clean
        sweep".
   A.   Cleansing.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Do you dispute clean sweep gives sense?
   A.   Not at all, perfectly good line.
   MR RAMPTON:  "He had prophesied to the Jews that if they
once
        again brought about a world war they would experience
        their own extermination." The words in German are
(German
        spoken); what do those words mean?
   A.   Well, of course, to translate "vernichtung" as
        extermination is highly tendentious.

.          P-132



   Q.   Why?
   A.   If you look in your yellow dictionary, see what
        "vernichtung" says.
   Q.   I think I will.
   A.   I have no idea.  I am prepared to say meaning No. one
is
        extermination.
   Q.   You do not have to say that, Mr Irving.  The root of
the
        word is "making to nothing" annihilating, is it not?
Let
        us see what that says.  I have very little knowledge
of
        German, but it seems to me obvious, but it means,
        according to Langscheidt, annihilate, destroy,
        exterminate, eradicate-shatter.
   A.   It is the third possible meaning and he has chosen the
        third meaning rather than the first.
   Q.   Did you see a distinction --
   A.   Yes --
   Q.   In this context -- weight between annihilate and
        exterminate?
   A.   -- I am not going to put the words on the gold balance
        because this is not Hitler speaking, this is Goebbels
        reporting, am I correct?
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  No.
   MR RAMPTON:  Apparently --
   A.   On the following day.
   MR RAMPTON:  Unless it come from Goebbels diary?
   A.   -- this is Goebbels diary.  This is a third person
report

.          P-133



        by Goebbels of what Hitler said the previous day.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  He is reporting what he recalls him
having
        said.
   A.   Yes, so it is rather meaningless to attach too much
        importance to the actual words contained in the diary.
   MR RAMPTON:  On the contrary, Mr Irving, often enough in
the
        course of your books you attach a kind of uncritical
        credulity to the utterances of Dr Goebbels.
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   Notwithstanding he is merely reporting what somebody
else
        has said.  Furthermore why should -- Dr Goebbels in
        December 1941 misreport what his leader had said?
   A.   Because if you had read my book with the assiduity
that
        I am sure you have you will remember that Dr Goebbels
is
        an evil little genius who is capable of lying in the
most
        malicious and perverse verse way and he will translate
        every single statement through his own distorted
brain.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  In his own diaries?
   A.   Yes.
   MR RAMPTON:  Why?
   A.   This is the way people do things. They have a tendency
to
        write down things they wished they had heard.  If he
        wished to heard Hitler talking about the extermination
of
        the Jews, then he would prefer to use that word when
for
        all we know Hitler may have used a different one.  I
have
        no objection at all, Mr Rampton, when you bring to me
the

.          P-134



        verbatim transcripts of which there are any number of
        Hitler actually said when he says things that are very
        similar.
   Q.   We do not have --
   A.   We should not rely on this kind of second order
evidence
        on matter of this importance.
   Q.   -- you do it repeatedly when it suits your book,
        Mr Irving.
   A.   You are accusing me of double standards.
   Q.   Yes, I am most roundly.
   A.   I disagree.  I am very careful with the criteria I
apply.
        In a matter like this of such importance I look at the
        actual translations with greatest detail and if they
are,
        I mean in law too you have to give somebody the
benefit of
        the doubt when they are ambiguities.  You certainly do
not
        go for the third meaning of the word rather than first
        meaning.
   Q.   You see, you continually assume that I am using one
        document, one utterance, to prove the guilt of Adolf
        Hitler. In fact I am trying to do neither, Mr Irving.
        What I am trying to do is to suggest to you that the
        convergence of the evidence of which this is just one
        small example.
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   Is that on the balance of probabilities, as though it
were
        a civil case at court, the reasonable historian would
say:

.          P-135



        on the balance of probabilities the evidence is that
Adolf
        Hitler was at the heart of all of this?  Do you follow
me?
   A.   It is a rather vague sentence, that Hitler was at the
        heart of all this.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I think it probably clear what Mr Rampton
is
        getting at, can I put a related question, I would be
        interested to know what your answer is; do you
        "vernichtung" would be a word that would be likely to
be
        used if what was being talked of was deportation to
        Madagascar or anywhere else?
   A.   I agree it would not and there are definitely cases
where
        word "vernichtung" is used in the sense of murder. For
        example, in the German phrase ( German spoken), the
        destruction of people who are not entitled or should
not
        be allowed to live.  It is quite definitely a killing
        operation, but there are so much better sources where
you
        have the actual transcript of what people are speaking
        that I hesitate to waste the court's time looking at
the
        kind of document when undoubtedly you have the
verbatim
        transcript of what Hitler said where he uses similar
words
        or the same words.
   MR RAMPTON:  Fortunately for everybody, Mr Irving, it is
not in
        your hands whether the court's time is wasted.  If I
try
        to waste the court's time I will be told not to, if I
am
        thought not to be wasting the court's I will not be
told.
   A.   If I was sitting there wearing a wig I would have
jumped

.          P-136



        to my feet and made this point.
   Q.   You have made it.
   A.   I am wearing my other hat if I say that.
   Q.   If you want to invite his Lordship to stop this line
of
        cross-examination please do so.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Come on, I think you are not asking me to
and
        if you did, I would not.
   MR RAMPTON:  Thank you.  Now then you do not like Dr
Goebbels
        use of the word "vernichtung".  You are not certain
that
        that is a word Adolf Hitler would have used on that
        occasion.
   A.   Well, we know exactly what speech Hitler made on
January
        30th 1939, there we have the verbatim text.
   Q.   Turn back to page 38 of the same report.
   A.   We know exactly what Hitler said there, so why we are
        using a second hand version of a version of it
repeated
        four years later.
   Q.   For the very fact that it was repeated on 12th
December --
   A.   Hitler constantly repeated this speech.
   Q.   -- please, Mr Irving, be patient and listen to my
        questions.  Its importance you may agree is that it
occurs
        again on 12th December 1941 at the time when the
German
        Jews were being transported in large numbers to the
East?
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   Right.  If you go back to 811 of Dr Longerich's report
you
        find the relevant English of the Reichstag speech on
30

.          P-137



        January 1939?
   A.   I know the speech off by heart.
   Q.   In that case you will agree that the last words in
        citation are: (German spoken); which means the
        annihilation, extermination or eradication of the
Jewish
        race in Europe, does it not?
   A.   Can we just be absolutely certain what German words he
        uses.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  It is same word, take it from me.
   A.   In German, very well, my Lord, yes.
   MR RAMPTON:  It is at the bottom of the page in German
(German
        spoken)?
   A.   In this case I would say that the word "race" implies
that
        he is not talking about an actual killing operation
and
        certainly January 1939 nobody was talking about
killing
        Jews.
   Q.   What does word "genocide" mean, Mr Irving?
   A.   Genocide?
   Q.   Yes, genocide.
   A.   An English word genocide?
   Q.   No, it is not English, it is Latin.
   A.   It is not a Latin word, you mean Latin origin?
   Q.   Yes.  What does it mean?
   A.   You explain to the court.
   Q.   No, you tell me if you know what it means.
   A.   Killing of people by virtue of their race.

.          P-138



   Q.   Yes, it means killing of a race of people.
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   Is it any different from the "vernichtung" of a
"rasa"?
   A.   You destroy races in other ways than killing them.
Nobody
        in January 1939 and I would be very surprised if you
can
        establish the opposite was talking about killing Jews.
   Q.   Yes.  I am going to go on with this little comparison
        between --
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   -- if you forgive me and as long as I am not told by
his
        Lordship it is waste of the court's time, but there is
        little comparison between what Dr Longerich has
written in
        English and what the original German of Dr Goebbels
diary
        was.  We have finished with the word "vernichtung
erleben
        geben", which means "they would experience", this was
not
        just an empty phrase.  The German is: "Das is keine
frazig
        vasen"?
   A.   That is correct.
   Q.   What does that convey to you?  This was --
   A.   Dr Goebbels is saying that is not an empty phrase.
This
        is not Hitler saying this is an empty phrase, this is
        Goebbels saying it is an empty phrase.
   Q.   -- so you say.
   A.   Well, this is Goebbels diary.
   Q.   How do you know it is not a report what Hitler said?
   A.   Let me educate you in the German language.  If this
was

.          P-139



        Goebbels saying this is Hitler saying it would have
been
        in the subjunctive.  German language reports reported
        speech in the subjunctive.  It would be (German
spoken)
        not (German spoken) I am sure every German in this
room
        would agree with me.
   Q.   Everything in the rest of this quotation is not
        attributable to Hitler; is that your position?
   A.   We are taking this sentence by sentence; is that
correct?
   Q.   Let go on, the world war is there, the extermination
and
        again the words are (German spoken) that is of Jewry,
Jews
        in general if you like, must be the necessary
        consequence.  (German spoken)?
   A.   Here he has the same word, vernichtung, but he has
given
        it a totally different translation, extermination, am
        I right?
   Q.   What do you mean?
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  No.

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