Archive/File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day016.11 Last-Modified: 2000/07/20 Q. Yes. Well, will you accept that that particular page comes from a file of over thousand such pages, just one file, and I do not know how many reports are on that one page, there are about 15 items on that one page, so? A. Seven. Q. Would it surprise you to hear that in the British archives we have, I suppose, several hundred thousand intercepted SS and police messages? A. I would not challenge the figure. . P-76 Q. Do you know from the works of Richard Brightman, like this book here, 'Official Secrets', that we, British, and the Americans also through us, were familiar with the killing operations being conducted by the SS on the Eastern Front? A. We -- as I understand Brightman's book, we were getting the Police battalion reports which were in a lower code between late July and early September or mid September, which Daluege instructed them to send things by courier and not by radio. Q. 1941 you are talking about? A. 1941. Q. Yes. Is it known to you that the reason why Daluege ordered the code change is because Winston Churchill actually made a speech in 1941 relying on the intercepts, talking for the first time about these appalling atrocities being conducted by the SS? A. I have no single document that establishes a causal connection but there is a chronological meeting -- chronologically, it is a possible interpretation. Q. Have you seen intercepted messages passed, intercepted by the British, intercepts by the British of messages passed by Himmler to the Einsatzgruppen chiefs, like Jeckeln or Stahlecker? A. There is the August 1st telegramme, I think it is -- I do not believe it is a radio message -- in which he instructs them to kill the men and chase the women into the swamps. . P-77 Q. There is that one, but I am still concentrating on just these British intercepts, these tens of thousands of intercepted Nazi SS and police messages. You suggest this was just at police battalion level? A. The reports on the killings that I read in Brightman were police battalion reports back to Daleuge. Now, whether these -- and he first saw them in the United States which may have gotten part of, I do not know to what percentage of the British intercepts were available to him in the United States and how much he may have included of London records, since I just do not know what he has looked. Q. But if these tens of thousands of messages contained, shall we say, a random selection of intercepts, there was no methodological reason why it should only be intercepts relating to shootings rather than to anything else, would it surprise you to hear that there are only references in these tens of thousands of messages to shootings and no references whatsoever to gassings? A. It would not surprise me because we have no intercepts that I know of between Himmler and Globocnik, that this was not the way in which they communicated to the Soviet Union. Q. Are you familiar with the fact that the British official historians, Sir Frank Hinsley, summarized these and similar messages in the British Official History, this was the first clue that we had that these existed? . P-78 A. I believe he said he looked at a few of them, that he did not study that issue in detail, but that he did write books that were on the British intelligence and referred to these, yes. Q. Do you know that he read the reports, the daily reports, from the Kommandants of the seven principal concentration camps, Auschwitz, Dachau, Buchenwald, and so on, back to Berlin for a number of months over the winter of 1942 to 1943? A. I did not know that, but again I would say that Operation Reinhardt was not part of the concentration camp system and would not have been in the same chain of command. Q. What archeological investigations have been conducted in recent years at any of the camp sites that you are alluding to, like Treblinka, Maidonek, Sobibor and Belzec? A. At the moment, I understand that they are doing archeological excavations in Belzec, that I do not believe at the moment they are doing them in Sobibor or Treblinka. They have made memorials there. Chelmo, they have created again in the forest where the graves were a series of memorials that represent where the trenches were. Whether that was based on somebody that knew or whether that was just placed there, I just do not know. Q. So there has been no systematic effort to try to quantify the scale of killing that went on in these camps? A. Belzec, I believe it is the first time at which they are . P-79 doing, which was the most -- the one that does not have a developed memorial is the one which they are doing at the moment archeological excavation. Q. Just finally on your paragraph 3.2, you said there that as far as the shootings go, we have a lot of documentary evidence, but for gassings we have to rely on eyewitness and circumstantial evidence. A. For the three camps of Operation Reinhardt. We do have some documentary evidence concerning Zemblin(?) and the gas vans working with the Einsatzgruppen and documents, a few documents, relating to Chelmo. The documents relating to Operation Reinhardt, I have argued, presents the case that lots of people went here and were never seen again, but the written documents do not specify why they were never seen again. They do not specify a method of killing. Q. Do the documents specify that they were killed or do we have to conclude that? A. Well, if 20 miles or 20 kilometres from Treblinka the Kommandant complains that the Jews are not buried well enough and that they have got a pestilential smell 20 kilometres away, it would indicate a large number of Jews had been killed. Q. Do you find that credible, plausible eyewitness evidence, that people can smell something 20 kilometres away? A. If the wind was blowing the right way from Treblinka, I . P-80 would think that was very credible. Q. Do you have no problem with any of the eyewitnesses, with accepting the evidence that they have given, the various eyewitnesses, whether evidence given in court procedures or afterwards, more recently, do you not suspect that they may have been subjected to some kind of duress or bribery or promises of better conditions or promises of an alleviated sentence if they would just sign the document? A. I think one has to assume there is potential problems with all eyewitnesses, but this is one of the materials we have. It is a kind of source the historians have always used and must be used with care, but I would argue that one does not write it off categorically because it has potential problems. Q. So, as an historian, it is your duty to weigh evidence then? A. Yes. Q. To look at it and say, "This one I accept and that one seems implausible"? A. Or accept parts of this because he was in a position to have seen this himself. The second part of it may be hearsay and, therefore, it is no more reliable than what somebody else told him. So you can have parts of testimony that have greater evidentiary weight -- I would give them greater evidentiary weight than other parts. Q. You have to rely on your own integrity and your own . P-81 judgment in deciding what to select and what to omit? A. Historians are always making decisions about selection of documents. We are in a constant process of selection. Q. And, obviously, in a constant process of compression too because you start off with an immense shelf of documents you have to compress into a reasonable length of manuscript? A. Yes. We always have to make decisions about what is more important than something else. Q. Yes, and you would be indignant if somebody called you perverse or manipulative or if you were accused of distorting because you left out a paragraph that just repeated what the paragraph above had said? A. It would depend entirely on the context. If I had made a very egregious mistake and was caught out, I guess I would not have a right to be indignant. Q. Have you ever made mistakes? A. Of course historians make mistakes, yes. Q. Indeed. But nobody has accused you of wilfully distorting or manipulating because you have made a mistake? A. I have been accused of wilfully distorting. Q. Have you misread words in handwriting sometimes, in German handwriting? A. I may have. I do not know that anyone has called it to my attention but I certainly have been accused by someone who wished me no good will of manipulating evidence. . P-82 Q. Have you ever read the book by, I think it is, Mr Paget QC who was the Defence counsel of Manstein? A. No, I have not read that book. Q. Manstein, of course, was put on trial for war crimes? A. By the British, yes. Q. By the British, yes. I cannot ask you about what it contains. The Jager document, the Jager report now -- I am now on page 7, paragraph 4.4, my Lord -- is this a document from the Moscow archives, was it a Nuremberg document? A. I believe it is a Riga document, the Jager report. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Are you on 4.5? MR IRVING: 4.4, my Lord. We are looking at the Jaeger document which is item 1944. You seem to prefer to work ---- A. I am sorry, it is a Moscow document. Q. You seem to prefer to work from printed volumes of documents? A. That will depend. If I am doing a detailed study of something like the Vehrmacht role in the shootings in Yugoslavia or the Police 101, I work in the original sources.
Site Map ·
What's New? ·
Home · Site Map · What's New? · Search Nizkor