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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