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Shofar FTP Archive File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit//transcripts/day006.16


Archive/File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day006.16
Last-Modified: 2000/08/02

   Q.   In 1977, Mr Irving, you are accepting unambiguously that
        Himmler meant what he said, whether it was true or not is
        another question, that he had been ordered by Hitler.
   A.   I have expanded those two words soldierly order, put them
        in quotation marks, and said that only Himmler was in a
        position to issue a soldierly order to Himmler.
   Q.   That is correct. There is nothing here about the dictates
        of conscience, is there?
   A.  There is, because Himmler himself talks about the dictates
        of conscience.  When later on he talks about this
        difficult task he had, is he talking about an order or
        about what he was doing for Germany?
   Q.   This morning I am right in saying -- I am not quoting,
        I am paraphrasing -- you said in effect that that
        reference to the soldatischen befehl was equivocal or
        something along those lines, did you not?
   A.   I would have to be shown the transcript of what was
        actually said.
   Q.   I think I asked you whose order, and I think you, with
a
        little prompting from me, said the order or the
dictates
        of his conscience.  We can go back and look.
   A.   It might be useful to go back.
   Q.   That was a foolish answer, was it not?
   A.   I am not going to answer that unless we know exactly
what
        I am alleged to have said.

.          P-141



   Q.   Fair enough.
   Q.   My Lord, now I move on to page 75 of Longerich Part
one
        for my last item in this little exercise?
   A.   Can I comment in general just for one minute how
        unsatisfactory it is that we are even, so long after
the
        war years are over, obliged to scrabble around with
these
        scraps of paper trying to work out what happened.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  We have no choice, have we?
   A.   No, we do not have any choice, my Lord, but you have
to
        put yourself in a position of a writer who is trying -
- on
        some records, on some matters, you have an immense
body of
        evidence which you can draw upon, but on these matter
you
        are really fumbling in the dark with occasional little
        gleams coming from documents that then you have to try
and
        interpret as you can, on the basis of your knowledge
at
        that time.  Sometimes it is very easy, looking back in
        hindsight, saying why did you interpret this way or
not
        that way, when we know in the meantime a lot more.
When
        you are writing at that time and frequently being the
        first person to make use of these records, as I was,
it is
        sometimes an unjust judgment, I think.  I am not
saying
        that defensively at all but I would ask that your
Lordship
        bear that in mind.
   MR RAMPTON:  Mr Irving, if you succeed in persuading his
        Lordship that you are an inefficient or incompetent
        historian, that is fine.  You will no doubt win this
part

.          P-142



        case at least.  My suggestion to you yet again, as it
has
        been all along, is that you actually deliberately bend
the
        evidence to produce a foregone result, or a fore
wished
        result, that is to say the exculpation of Adolf
Hitler.
   A.   Had that been the case, Mr Rampton, I would have left
        these two passages out because nobody no else had
found
        these speeches.
   Q.   By doing this, Mr Irving, what you do is this.  More
than
        occasionally you do leave things out or you give half
a
        translation.  We have been through some of those and
we
        are going to go through some more. On this occasion
what
        you have done is take the credit for printing the
        document, even perhaps telling them, as you repeatedly
        said in this court, that "I am the man who found it"
but
        then, when you present the document, you tell the
reader
        that there are reasons why they should not believe
what
        they read in the document.
   A.   Well, no doubt your experts would have concealed the
fact
        that the pages have been tampered with.
   Q.   I think more likely, though, you should ask them.
They
        would simply have said, well this makes it lock as
though
        it is another piece of evidence, which makes it look
as
        though what happened was done on Hitler's orders,
though
        one has to be a bit cautious about it because the
document
        which we cannot explain has been not tampered with,
the
        document has been retyped.  The most likely
explanation

.          P-143



        for that is that it is a humdrum secretarial problem
and
        the first version was not good, so it had to be
redone.
   A.   Precisely on those two pages, on these two speeches,
        I think the coincidence is rather tall.
   Q.   I am not sure that that is right, but I am not going
to
        answer because I do not know.
   A.   To go back to what you just said earlier, I think I
would
        be very surprised if you can satisfy this court that
        I suppressed any material document that was before me
at
        the time I wrote either of these versions and, if the
        earlier speech was cut out in the second version, of
        course the second version was an abridged version.
   Q.   It was.  Indeed it was.  Page 75, please, of
        Dr Longerich's report, the first part, paragraph 1920,
you
        mentioned this earlier and I said that I would come to
it,
        and I have now got there.  It is very short:
                  "Hitler himself stated in a speech
addressing
        high officers of the Wehrmacht on 26 May 1944: [that
is
        two days after the Himmler speech]: 'By removing the
Jew,
        I abolished in Germany the possibility to build up a
        revolutionary core or nucleus.  One could, naturally,
say
        to me:  Yes, couldn't  you have solved this more
simply-
        or not simply, since all other means would have been
more
        complicated - but more humanely?  My dear officers, we
are
        engaged in a life and death struggle.  If our
opponents
        win in this struggle then the German people would be

.          P-144



        extirpated."  What is your interpretation of those
words?
        I take it that that is not a controversial translation
and
        that you do not dispute that Hitler said it?
   A.   No.  This is authentic.
   Q.   It may not be the most elegant translation, but it is
        accurate, is it?
   A.   Yes.  Once again, it is a speech that I found and used
for
        the first time.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  What do you make of it?
   MR RAMPTON:  What do you make of it?
   A.   Exactly what I made on page 631 of my biography,
Hitler's
        War, my Lord.
   Q.   Which edition?
   A.   The first edition.  Page 631. "When the same generals
came
        to the Obersalzberg on May 26, Hitler spoke to them in
        terms that were both more philosophical and less
        ambiguous.  He spoke of the intolerance of nature, he
        compared Man to the smallest bacillus on the planet
Earth,
        he reminded them how by expelling the Jews from their
        privileged positions he had opened up those same
positions
        to the children of hundreds of thousands of ordinary
        working-class Germans and deprived the revolutionary
        masses of their traditional Jewish ferment:  Of
course,
        people can say,'Yes, but couldn't you have got out of
        it... More humanely?' I have omitted a few words there
        which do not add or subtract really to the sense.

.          P-145



   Q.   What could you not have got out of it?
   A.   More humanely.
   Q.   I am reading from the bottom of the page in
Longerich,"Man
        kann mir naturlich sagen:  Ja, hatten Sie das nicht
        einfacher"- yes?
   A.   Yes.  Could you not have done it more simply, as
        Mr Browning has translated it.
   Q.   More simply, and then there is the parenthesis, or not
        more simply since all other things would have been
ware
        komplizierter gewesen, aber humaner, more humanely,
losen
        konnen?
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   Not got out of it, solved it, the solution of the
Jewish
        question, the losen konnen?
   A.   I do not think you are going to make much mileage out
of
        it, getting out of something and solving something.
        I have taken the essence of that sentence, stripped
out
        this complicated mess that he got into in the middle
of
        the sentence and put the essence of the sentence,
which is
        could you not get out it more humanely?
   Q.   Do you agree, Mr Irving, that one sensible
interpretation
        of that little passage in Hitler's speech is, I could
have
        solved it more humanely, I could not have solved it
more
        simply, that is to say the Jewish question, since all
        other means would have been more complicated.  That is
        what he is saying, is it not?

.          P-146



   A.   Yes.
   Q.   And what do you think he means by that?
   A.   He means I solved it inhumanely.  Or I am solving it
        inhumanely.
   Q.   Yes.  This is May 44, it is less than a year before
the
        war ends.  He could have solved it more humanely.
What is
        the simplest and least humane way of solving such a
        problem?
   A.   He does not actually say I have solved it in the least
        humane way I could.  He says, I have solved it less
        humanely, in other words, not more humanely.
   Q.   Exactly.
   A.   I do not want to split hairs, but let us go by what
the
        document actually says.
   Q.   Answer my question, please.
   A.   What is less humanely?
   Q.   Answer my question, please, Mr Irving.  What is the
        simplest and the least humane way of getting rid of
the
        Jewish problem?
   A.   Killing them.
   Q.   Yes.  So what was the simplest way, if it was not
killing
        them that he was referring to here, and relatively
        inhumane way, that he is referring to?
   A.   Well, we do not know what he is specifically referring
to,
        but somewhere between humane and the least humane
would be
        being woken in the middle of the night by the Gestapo
and

.          P-147



        given half an hour to pack your bags and get on to a
        cattle truck.
   Q.   What is the simple way of solving the problem that he
is
        referring to here?  Simple means than which all other
        means would have been more complicated?
   A.   Simple means than which all other means would have
been
        more complicated -- this is the kind of tangle he got
        himself into this in this sentence.
   Q.   I am asking you in your role as historian to tell us
what
        you think Hitler was referring to by this simple means
        than which all other methods or means were more
        complicated or would have been more complicated?
   A.   They could have been anywhere on that scale between
humane
        and least humane, and you can put your individual
personal
        preference where you want.
   Q.   But, you see, the point is this, is it not, Mr Irving?
If
        Hitler on 26th May is talking to the generals of the
        Wehrmacht, as Himmler had been on the 24th and I think
the
        5th as well, and if Hitler has read what Himmler said
to
        the generals on the 5th and 24th of the same month, it
        would not be the very least surprising, would it, if
        Hitler merely goes back over the same ground and says:
        Well, do not object to my inhumanity, it was the
simplest
        way of doing it but it had to be done, you know the
        details from what Reichsfuhrer SS Himmler has told you
        earlier this month?

.          P-148



   A.   This is one possible interpretation.
   Q.   Where do I find that interpretation coming anywhere
from
        you in any of these published works?
   A.   I am inclined to stick more closely to what I find in
the
        records without doing this quantum leap forwards or
        backwards, and I prefer just to get the records in as
much
        volume as I can and allow my readers to draw the
        appropriate conclusions.  I would have preferred
obviously
        if Adolf Hitler in this speech had said, you know as
well
        as I do what is going on at these camps rather as
Goebbels
        said in his March 27th 1942 entry, that not very much
        remains of them.  There are things happening there
that
        beggar description, but unfortunately Hitler does not
say
        that in his speeches, so we are left rather in
suspense.
        I am sure that the Martin Gilberts or the William
Showers
        will be quite happy to extrapolate and read between
the
        lines but I am well known for the fact that I do not
        extrapolate.
   Q.   No, you do not extrapolate at all where the conclusion
you
        hit from the extrapolation is one you do not like.
Where,
        however, it is necessary to, as it were, what shall we
        say, convert what Hitler actually said into something
        else, you are quite happy to do so.  Could I ask you
to
        look again at page 631 of this book?
   A.   Is this an example of what you just said.
   Q.   Yes, it is.

.          P-149



   A.   Right.  I am looking.

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