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Archive/File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day008.15
Last-Modified: 2000/07/20

   Q.   We do not know it, Mr Irving.  You seem to have the wrong
        end of the stick permanently.  I do not know whether it is
        painful always holding the wrong end of the stick.  But we

.          P-133

        are not trying in this court (at least I am not trying) to
        prove Hitler's guilt.  What I am trying to prove is that
        any sensible, respectable, honest, open-minded historian
        would be saying to himself that on the evidence, the
        overwhelming probability is not only that Hitler knew
        about all this, but that it originated with him, with
an
        order to him?
   A.   In which case, Mr Rampton, what could I have done
        differently than I did in the 1977 edition of Hitler's
War
        where I reproduced all these passages from these
speeches
        without any omissions, mentioning only in a footnote
my
        reservations on the question of pagination.
   Q.   Mr Irving ----
   A.   I am not the kind of person who likes to read between
        lines and I do not really want to start joining the
dots
        up for my readers because they have more brains.
   Q.   It is not a question of reading between the lines.  It
is
        a question of giving proper weight to the evidence
before
        your own eyes?
   A.   Which I  have then put exactly in that form before the
        eyes of my readers.
   Q.   Yes, but, let me take page 630 of Hitler's War 1977.
True
        it is that you make reference to the speech of 24th
May
        1944.
   A.   On page 631.
   Q.   Sorry, 631?

.          P-134



   A.   Shall I read that paragraph?
   Q.   No, I will read it.
   A.   But it is my writing.  Why can I not read it?
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Do not let us squabble about that.  I
will
        read it if you like.
   MR RAMPTON:  Yes.  Good idea.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  No.  You read it, Mr Rampton.
   A.   Mr Rampton, you win.
   MR RAMPTON:  Well, it is normal in these courts -- I do not
        know how experienced a litigant you are?
   A.   I am totally ignorant as you can see.
   Q.   No, you are not.  I am talking about Broome and
Cassell.
        Ignorant?
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Don't let us get into Broome and Cassell.
   MR RAMPTON:  I was hoping to avoid it, but that answer will
not
        do. Clobbered for exemplary damages? Inexperienced, my
        foot.
                  "Consider too Himmler's speech of May 24th
in
        which again speaking before generals he explained his
        stance somewhat differently.  He recalled how in 1933
and
        1934 he had thrown habitual criminals into
concentration
        camps without trial and boasted, 'I must admit I have
        committed many such illegal acts in my time.  But rest
        assured of this, I have resorted to these only when I
have
        felt that sound common sense and an inner justice of a
        Germanic and right thinking people are on my side.
With

.          P-135



        this in mind, Himmler had confronted the Jewish
problem
        too.  It was solved uncompromisingly on orders and at
the
        dictate of sound common sense." I am not sure I think
your
        translation is very good, Mr Irving, I have to say so.
        "One page later Himmler's speech again hinted that
Jewish
        women and children also being liquidated".  It did not
        hint. It said so in plain terms, did it not?
   A.   Well, he does not actually say he is killing them but
the
        hint is plainly there.  That is what is happening to
        them.  If I had said he said that he was killing them,
        then I would have been wrong.  He says, it would be
wrong
        to allow them to emerge as the avengers against the
        fathers and the children.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Not emerge, grow into the avengers.  If
you
        are not allowed to grow into something, that means you
are
        stopped from growing.  That means you are being
        exterminated.  That is Mr Rampton's point.
   A.   I agree, my Lord.  I am being as pedantic as I can in
the
        rendition of this.  I am saying that he did not
actually
        say we are killing them, but he dropped a broad enough
        hint that he is killing them.
   MR RAMPTON:  At the bottom of the page you write the
footnote
        4: "This page alone was also retyped and possibly
inserted
        at a later date in the typescript".  But I want to
take
        you back in that context to what I would call a
deliberate
        distortion of the sense of what Himmler said, to what
you

.          P-136



        said about the speech of 5th May, which I cannot find
in
        the 1991 edition that is on page 630.  It is in the
last
        quarter of the page: "On May 5th 1944, however,
Himmler
        tried a new version or adapted it to his audience of
        generals.  After revealing in now stereo typed
sentences
        that he had had uncompromisingly solved the Jewish
problem
        in Germany and the German occupied countries, he
added:
        I am telling this to you as my comrades.  We are all
        soldiers regardless of which uniform we wear.  You can
        imagine how I felt executing this soldierly order
issued
        to me but I obediently complied and carried it out to
the
        best of my convictions.  Never before, say you and
never
        after"?
   A.   Can I ask just what you are reading from now?  I am
lost.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Page 630 of the first edition?
   A.   OK.
   MR RAMPTON:  I got to last line on 630: "Never before and
never
        after did Himmler hint at a Fuhrer order"?
   A.   Fuhrer underlined.
   Q.   Fuhrer in italics?
   A.   Yes.
   Q.  "Fuhrer order but there is reason to doubt that he
dared
        show this passage to his Fuhrer ".  I am not bothered
        about that sentence, Mr Irving, because you do set out
in
        the next paragraph an extract from the speech of 24th
        May.  What I am bothered about is the footnote. "This
is

.          P-137



        footnote 3, page 28 of the large face typed script
        containing this pregnant sentence where only Hitler
was
        empowered to issue a soldierly order to Himmler, was
        manifestly retyped and inserted in the transcript at
later
        date as a different indenting shows".
   A.   Later date should be later time, presumably.
   Q.   Well.
   A.   I am not saying it was necessarily one or more days
later.
   Q.   So, although it is true to say that you set out in
this
        book the relevant part of the speech, you do not, as
you
        suggested a moment ago, leave the reader to make up
his
        own mind as to its effect, because you tell us that it
was
        retyped so as Hitler should not see it, the only
        implication of which can be that Himmler was afraid
that
        he would be caught by Hitler having told a fib about
the
        so-called order.
   A.   Can we read on to the last three lines of the next
        paragraph:"One page later Himmler's speech again
hinted
        that women and children also being liquidated.  The
fact
        remains that in his personal meetings with Hitler the
        Reichsfuhrer continued to talk only of the expulsion
of
        the Jews even as late as July 1944".
   Q.   You are doing exactly the same thing.  You are driving
the
        readers' focus away from the possibility, or the
        probability as I would suggest, that Hitler had indeed
        issued such an order to Himmler, are you not?

.          P-138



   A.   Let me explain to you about the quality of evidence.
If
        you have a handwritten note by a criminal like
Himmler,
        relating to a conversation he has had with Hitler
which is
        precisely the link we are interested in, and all you
find
        in that handwritten note for his own private papers is
        reference to having talked about aussiedlung.  This is
not
        to be ignored as late as July 1944.  It may be you can
        find evidence of equal quality, and I emphasis the
word
        "quality", not some general speaking after the war in
a
        war crimes trial to save his own neck, but the quality
of
        evidence we are looking at when writing this kind of
        biography.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  By July 1944 that must be either
euphemism or
        camouflage, must it not, because you have conceded
that,
        since October 1943, Hitler knew perfectly well what
was
        going on?
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   So to say that they were only talking of expulsion
really
        is not giving a very full and fair picture, is it?
   A.   They also talk of other things, so this is when the
whole
        conversation starts about selling off Jews in exchange
for
        trucks and so on.  The outlines are very confused.
   Q.   continue to talk only of expulsion?
   A.   As far as his own records show.
   Q.   Is that not conveying to the reader that, as far as
the
        Jews were concerned, Hitler's concern was only with
their

.          P-139



        expulsion, nothing more sinister?
   A.   To have been completely scientific I should have said,
as
        far as the records show, they only continue to talk
about
        that.
   MR RAMPTON:  Let me repeat my question.
   A.   One assumes, when one is writing a book like this,
that
        you are writing what the records show.
   Q.   Let me repeat my question because I never got an
answer to
        it.  It is the fact that you put both speeches into
this
        book, but it is also the fact, is it not, that you
        immediately qualify what the reader sees in such a way
as
        to suggest that Himmler's reference to a Fuhrer order
or
        soldatischen befehl is not to be relied on as evidence
        against Hitler?
   A.   I cannot speak for the reasons why the other
historians
        felt that they need not mention the fact that these
pages
        have been tampered with.  I certainly would have been
        delinquent in my duty in quoting these paragraphs
without
        mentioning the fact that they were clearly tampered
with
        at some time.
   Q.   I am sorry, one final thing about this 1977 edition, I
do
        not think it is in the 1991 edition.  The footnote at
the
        bottom of page 631 says this: "Only Hitler was
empowered
        to issue a 'soldierly order' to Himmler"?
   A.   Yes, apart from kind of order that he felt the
dictates of
        his conscience, which he also speaks about which is a
more

.          P-140



        vague kind of order, a kind of personal duty.
   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.

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