Archive/File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day013.12 Last-Modified: 2000/07/20 MR RAMPTON: In the middle of the page under, "They shall reap the whirlwind" - "Now if a trifle belatedly in the weeks after the American and British destruction of Dresden, Dr Goebbels was also discovering the use to which bombing propaganda could be put. At the beginning of fourth week in March he set in motion a cleverly designed campaign of whispers calculated to galvanize the German people into a last horrified stand against their invaders. For this purpose he appears deliberately to have started a rumour about the death roll in Dresden wildly exceeding any figure within the realms of possibility. On 23rd March a Top Secret order of the day, Tagesbefehl, was leaked to certain Berlin officials would could be relied on not to keep their tongues still." And it read: "In order to counter the wild rumours circulating at present, this short extract from the final report of the Dresden Police President on the Allied raids on Dresden of 13th to 15th February 1945 is reproduced: 'Up to the evening of 20th March 1945 altogether 202,040 bodies, primarily women and children, were recovered. It is expected that the final death roll will exceed 250,000. Of the dead only some 30 per cent could be identified. As the removal of the . P-102 corpses could not be undertaken quickly enough, 68,650 of the bodies were incinerated. As the rumours far exceed reality, these figures can be used publicly." A. That is what I wrote in 1962. Yes, I wrote that. Q. I am going to finish it: "It was characteristic of the highly advanced national and socialist propaganda experts that they did not try to spread this figure through public press announcements, but by means of this apparently indignant denial of an exaggerated rumour. All responsible authorities placed the Dresden death roll considerably below this figure. Neither the Dresden Police President nor his report on the air raids survived the end of the war, the President dying by his own hand and the order never having been referred to outside this spurious order of the day." Now that was the position in 1963, Mr Irving? A. 1962, yes. Q. 1962. You received a copy of a copy, not even a photographic copy, but a typewritten copy of a pre-existing document in Dresden in November 1964. A. Yes. So this was not ---- Q. By which time ---- A. But this passage is not based on the document of course. It is based on ---- Q. By which time you had on a number of occasions, quite properly, asked yourself whether the document was . P-103 authentic and, more particularly, which is what matters, whether the figures were reliable. You had yourself raised the possibility in your introduction to your memorandum of November 1964 that there might Nazi propaganda, had you not? What was it, I ask you, that had happened to eliminate that proper doubt about the reliability of the figures by the time you wrote to the provost of Coventry at the beginning of December 1964? A. Right. Taking it in sequence, this passage which is in the book which I wrote in 1962 and was published on April 1st 1963, was based, to the best of my recollection, on the version of that document given in the book by Max Seydewitz, the Mayor of Dresden, who was, as I mentioned earlier, he was a leading Communist party official. So I accepted what he said in that book about the probable origins and motivation of the circulation of that document by the Nazis at the end of World War II. In November 1964, as we see from Professor Evans' report, he has found among my papers a memorandum I wrote on my visit to Dresden where I obtained a copy, a carbon copy, a fourth or fifth carbon copy of the actual document, coming from a provenance where you would expect such a document to emerge, namely the Chief Medical Officer of Dresden from whom Dr Walter Hahn, the photographer Walter Hahn, had obtained it. This clearly gave me food for thought that this document which had been . P-104 mentioned dismissively by the Communist Mayor of Dresden apparently did exist and it is in the hands of the Deputy Chief Medical Officer of Dresden who considered it to be genuine. Does this sufficiently answer your question? Q. No. I want to know how between your receipt of that document you are writing to on various occasions, though of course one could not be certain that the figures were right ---- A. Yes. Q. --- thought the document was probably authentic, but you still thought that the figures might be unreliable. A. Yes. Q. You said as much in the memorandum you wrote about this document? A. Yes. Q. How it was that that doubt about the reliability of the figures had evaporated apparently by the time you wrote to Provost of Coventry on 6th November 1964? A. I have not actually in that letter to the Provost of Coventry said there is no doubt that the figure is correct. I said take the document with its shattering figures and use it to raise money for the cathedral. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Your answer is that the document appeared to you to be authentic because of its provenance? A. Precisely, my Lord, and I was carrying out the proper enquiries at that time to try narrow, to focus in on the . P-105 specific authenticity of its contents. MR RAMPTON: But the answer to my original question is nothing had happened to bring any greater certainty about the reliability of the figures, had it? A. No. The figure was as dubious as ever, but I had an improved perception of the authenticity of the document itself, and we now know that everything else about the document was accurate, the contents, because it was based ---- MR JUSTICE GRAY: Did it not cross your mind that it was a bit suspicious that the figure of 200,040 in the Tagesbefehl was identical with the leaked phoney figure, leaked propaganda phoney figure? A. You mean plus or minus a 0? Q. No. I do not know mean that. I may have misunderstood the figures? MR RAMPTON: No, your Lordship does not misunderstand. If you go back to the Kimber book, there was a propaganda document which mentions precisely the same figures. A. Well, this is the same document. This is the Max Seydewitz obviously also had a copy of the document. MR JUSTICE GRAY: But it might be said that an historian ought or his ears ought to prick up when he sees, well, it is the very same figure which Goebbels was putting into circulation for propaganda purposes? A. I do not think your Lordship has understood me, with . P-106 respect. The Max Seydewitz had the same document as I obtained. The Mayor of Dresden had the same document. He printed it in his own history of the raids. That is where I first found it in 1962 and I used it. Two years later somebody gives me the document. It is the same document. MR JUSTICE GRAY: I follow that. A. But it is now not coming from a communist party official. It is now coming from somebody who during the war was the Chief Medical Officer of Dresden, and for better or worse he himself considered it to be accurate. So obviously I have to take that into account. It is also not greater than the largest figure which had previously been said for the Dresden air raids. It only becomes suspect two years later with emergence from the archives then finally of the Police Chief's report which gives very similar figures but of one magnitude smaller. MR RAMPTON: My Lord, I am going to go to 1965 in a moment, but perhaps I could preface that with this. My Lord, this is page 40 of tab 2. You had explained to the Provost of Coventry that one of the reasons why you had no doubt as to the authenticity of the document, I am not talking about the figures ---- A. Yes. Q. This is the bit that is underlined. "I am myself in no doubt as to the authenticity of the document, in view of . P-107 having obtained it indirectly from the Dresden Deputy Chief Medical Officer responsible for disposing of the victims who still lives in Dresden." That gentleman was a Dr Funfack, was he not? A. Yes. Q. He was never Deputy Chief Medical Officer of Dresden, was he? A. If I wrote here that he was then certainly that is what I was informed at the time. Q. He never had anything whatever to do with estimating the numbers of the dead, did he? A. Well, if I wrote here any differently, certainly I did not know any differently. Q. You knew, however, on 19th January 1965? A. I knew what? Q. That he was neither Deputy Chief Medical Officer nor had any responsibility for estimating the numbers of dead? A. You are referring to the letter that he wrote me subsequently on the following page? Q. Yes, 19th January 1965. A. Yes. Q. You have pinned your hopes on Dr Funfack, have you not? A. Pinned my hopes on him for what? Q. He was one of the routes to authentication, is that right, yes, authentication of this document in your mind, was he not, this Deputy Chief Medical Officer? . P-108 A. Without you having read the document since he wrote it 35 years ago, I can tell you straightaway what the problem with this is. MR JUSTICE GRAY: I suspect that is not quite so simple as it sounds. Shall we do that at 2 o'clock? A. Very well. (Luncheon Adjournment) (2.00 p.m.) MR RAMPTON: Mr Irving, we are in January 1965. My Lord, this is page 5 of the table and it is page 520 of Professor Evans' report. The person that you believe to be the Deputy Chief Medical Officer of Dresden at the relevant time, 1945, and whom you thought was likely to have corroborative information about the number of deaths and casualties, was a Dr Funfack, was it not? A. Yes. Q. Did he write to you on 19th January 1965? A. He did, yes. Q. You will find the original German of that letter at page 41 at tab 2 of this file. A. Yes. Q. A translation of, at any rate, part of that letter is set out on page 520 of Professor Evans' report. May I read it in English? If you have a quarrel with the English, please tell me or would you like to read the German original first to yourself? . P-109 A. This is paragraph 3, is it, of ---- Q. No, it is actually paragraph 4 at the top of page 520. Professor Evans says: "On 19th January 1965 Irving received a letter from Funfack". A. Yes. Q. And, as I say, no good asking me ---- A. I am just puzzled by where it says, "... after six weeks of frantic marketing". I do not quite understand the significance. MR RAMPTON: Never mind that. You can ask him about that. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes, that is gratuitous. MR RAMPTON: Let us try to keep to the dry facts, shall we, Mr Irving? A. Yes. Q. I would like you just to glance at the German first. It is no good asking me to do it. A. I have read it during the lunch break. Q. You did, good. Now I would like to read the English translation, if may. Funfack is said by Professor Evans to have told you this: "'Why should I now, after 20 years, be put on the spotlight with the mention of my name in the West German papers and be named as a witness to the number of dead is a complete mystery to me'". How did his name get in the West German papers, Mr Irving? A. Presumably, the German edition of the book had been published by Bertlesman. . P-110 Q. The German edition of what? A. "The Destruction of Dresden". Q. Your book? A. Yes. Q. In which you name Dr Funfack as a source for these figures, is that right? A. If you say so, yes. Q. "'Exactly like everyone else'", goes on Dr Funfack, "'affected, I have only ever heard the numbers third-hand from city commandants with whom I was friends, from the civilian air raid protection, etc. But the numbers always differed greatly, I myself was only once present at a cremation on the Altmarkt, but otherwise completely uninvolved. Likewise, I was never Dresden's Chief Medical Officer or even Deputy Chief Medical Officer, rather I was always working, or worked, I always worked as a specialist urologist in a hospital. How one comes to such suppositions is incomprehensible to me. I did not have the slightest to do with rendering any such services. The photos of the cremations on the Altmarkt as well as the "Order of the Day 47" were also given to me by acquaintances. Therefore, I can give no firm [verbindliche] Information about the figure of the dead but only repeat what was reported to me'." Mr Irving, from that date you knew, did you not, that Dr Funfack was not your man? . P-111 A. Can I comment first on the person of Dr Funfack?
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