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Shofar FTP Archive File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit//transcripts/day018.15


Archive/File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day018.15
Last-Modified: 2000/07/24

   Q.   --- this little catalogue of experts who have,
apparently,
        totally negligently spoken and written highly of my
works.
   A.   Well, let me go on to say that in dealing with the
        reviewers of your work, I try to make a distinction
        between journalists, on the one hand, who maybe accept
it
        but clearly do not know an awful lot about the subject
         ----
   Q.   Can I mention some more names? And
   A.   --- and historians with a general kind of expertise,
but
        not specific knowledge of the sources ----
   Q.   Would Hans Monson have had ----
   A.   --- and then historians with a specific expertise in
the
        source materials on which you base your work ----
   Q.   Would Hans Monson ----
   A.   --- and it is the last ----
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Mr Irving, I think, if I may say so, can
I
        try to help you in this way so that we can move on?
I am
        well aware that there have been quite a large number
of
        distinguished academics who have paid tribute to your
work
        as a military historian.
   MR IRVING:  Until comparatively recently, my Lord.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Well, leave that on one side.

.          P-128



   MR IRVING:  Well, after the 1988 watershed.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Does it really help to fire these names
at
        Professor Evans?  I do not think it does.  It does not
        help me.
   MR IRVING:  Do I not have a right to destroy his expert
        report?
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Yes, you do, but I would rather you did
it by
        taking the particular criticisms that he makes of you
and
        try to destroy them, rather than deal with it in a
rather
        indirect fashion.
   MR IRVING:  Well, can we move on to the two names you
        mentioned, Professor Broszat, we have mentioned him
        briefly.  I am not going to go further into him.  You
        mentioned a second name there, Charles Sydnor?
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   Are you referring to the review he wrote in a journal
        called, I think, European ----
   A.   "Central European History".
   Q.   "Central European History".
   A.   Indeed.
   Q.   Have you compared that with the original article by
Martin
        Broszat and have you seen that one is purely
derivative
        from the other?
   A.   I do not think it is purely little derivative.  I
think
        Sydnor had his own -- well, let me say two things.
First
        of all, I think it is true that Broszat provided, not
only

.          P-129



        Sydnor but also Trevor-Roper with a number of the
        criticisms that they made of your work, but I do think
        Sydnor does go beyond that.  He is a man who has a
        particular expertise on the SS and, indeed, he did
have
        research assistants and research grants to write his
        review.
   Q.   To write his review?
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   Very nice.
   A.   He acknowledges that in his footnote.
   Q.   But it is very largely derivative from Professor
Broszat
        in the way that I have suggested?
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Well, Mr Irving, come on.  Let us move on
to
        the criticisms that are made by Professor Evans
against
        you, rather than discussing whether one other author's
        work is derivative from another.
   MR RAMPTON:  My Lord, two or three pages later we find
        Professor Evans saying, "Mr Irving gives no example of
        where writers copy what each other write", and that
        pre-empts that particular question, so I will not ask
it.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Yes.
   MR IRVING:  Will you go now to the bottom of page 21?
   A.   Well, let me just make a point there, that I am not
aware
        of anything you have written that says that Sydnor
copied
        what he wrote from Broszat.
   Q.   I wrote a reader's letter to the magazine concerned
which

.          P-130



        they published.
   A.   I have read it.
   Q.   Yes.  Would you now go to the bottom of page ----
   A.   But you do not make that accusation there, to my
        recollection.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Professor Evans, we are trying to move
on.
        Do not put the brakes on.
   MR IRVING:  Page 21.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  21.
   MR IRVING:  My Lord, I find it very helpful when you do
tell me
        to move on because I have no way of knowing whether I
am
        barking up the wrong tree or not.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I am trying to give you the odd hint --
        I meant that in a sort of -- I mean that to be
helpful.
   MR IRVING:  "The position can be summed up", you say, in
these
        last two lines on page 21, "The position can broadly
be
        summed up by saying that there is a general consensus
that
        a decision was taken at the highest level".  We are
        talking about the decision to kill Jews, right?
   A.   Yes -- to kill all the Jews in Europe in a systematic
way,
        yes.
   Q.   "... that there is a general consensus that a decision
was
        taken at the highest level some time between the
beginning
        of 1941 and the spring of 1942".  Are you a believer
in
        the writing of history by general consensus then?
   A.   Ah, now, well, what I am saying is that I am trying to
sum

.          P-131



        up the accepted state of historical knowledge, and ---
-
   Q.   Accepted state of historical knowledge?
   A.   Yes, the general state of historical knowledge in
        which  ----
   Q.   Can I remind you of one or two other previous general
        consensus -- I believe it is fourth declension -- in
        history previously?  There was at one time a general
        consensus that the world was flat, was there not, and
        there was also a general consensus that the sun moved
        around the earth.  Was that another general consensus
that
        was generally accepted?
   A.   Well, I think scholarship has moved on a little since
        those days.
   Q.   But is it not dangerous to write history or to do
        astronomy or anything else by general consensus, would
you
        agree?  There is a case for the outsider to come along
and
        say, "I may be right, I may be wrong, but let us
rethink
        this"?  Do you agree?
   A.   Well, let me go on to say what I say in the next
sentence
        which is:  "The limits set by the available evidence
do no
        allow of a date, say, in January 1993, or January
1943.
        The view that, for example, no decision was ever
taken, or
        that the Nazis did not undertake the systematic
        extermination of the Jews at all, or that very few
Jews
        were in fact killed, lies wholly outside the limits of
        what is reasonable for a professional historian to
argue

.          P-132



        in the light of the available evidence."  That is not
to
        say that nobody should or people should not be allowed
to
        challenge these things, but simply to say that this is
        what you face and, of course, it is based on an
enormous
        amount of research by a very large number of people in
the
        archives, in the original documents, and that you have
to
        deal with all that research and all the documents
which
        have been thrown up.
   Q.   So you say that people should not be necessarily
        prevented, they should be allowed to say these things
        without being harassed, arrested or imprisoned or
stripped
        of their Professorship, but that these are generally
not
        acceptable opinions?
   A.   There are several questions there, I think.
   Q.   Let us deal with just one.
   A.   First of all, I believe in free speech, so you can say
        whatever you like so long as it does not offend the
laws
        of the land.  What one does, as a university
Professor, is
        slightly more circumscribed, that is to say, I think,
as
        an academic historian, you have the duty to confirm to
        academic standards in the evaluation of evidence and
in
        the views that you put forward, leaving entirely aside
        whatever people who have been dismissed from their
        university posts might have done by way of running
against
        the laws of the land in terms of racist statements or
        whatever.

.          P-133



   Q.   Let us just look at the first thing you say here:
"The
        view that, for example, no decision was ever taken",
and
        you consider this is one of the views that is totally
        beyond the limits.  Are you not familiar with the fact
        that this is precisely the view espoused by Professor
        Martin Broszat in his famous 1977 paper?  He said he
came
        to agree with David Irving that probably there was no
        decision, and this is also the view taken by Raul
Hilberg,
        is that not right?
   A.   If you present to me the passages in their work where
they
        say that, it is not quite my understanding of what
they
        say.
   Q.   Well, I believed that you were an expert and this is
why
        you were being paid a very substantial sum by the
Defence
        to stand in the position you are in now, that you knew
        these things?
   A.   Yes, and I am already, leaving aside your cheap jibe
about
        money which I treat with the contempt it deserves ----
   Q.   It was not cheap, from what I hear.
   A.   --- and I hope the court will as well ----
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  This is degenerating and please don't let
us
        let it.
   MR IRVING:  My Lord, was this not a justified question?
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I do not really think that -- the problem
        I have with this is that Professor Evans has
introduced a
        number of other authors in support of his criticisms.
To

.          P-134



        that extent, I suppose it is legitimate for you to
        introduce, as it were, the other side of the coin.
But
        I will say again, what is going to help me is to look
at
        the individual criticisms and see whether Professor
Evans
        is right when he says you have manipulated the data.
I am
        not stopping you going through these earlier sections,
        but, without disrespect to Professor Evans, I can tell
you
        I have not marked many of these early pages because
they
        seem to me so broad and general that ----
   MR IRVING:  They are very broad and general but ----
   THE WITNESS:  They are intended, my Lord, if it helps, just
to
        set the background.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Yes, I realize that, but, in the end, it
is
        the guts of it that we have to tackle.
   MR IRVING:  Yes, but if he is ----
   THE WITNESS:  I mean, if it helps, Mr Irving, of course
        I accept that your work has had many very favourable
        reviews from many distinguished people.
   MR IRVING:  That is not what we are talking about.  That is
now
        beyond dispute.  What we are saying here is that it is
        wrong for you to say in your report, in the opening,
        scene-setting passage, that the view that no decision
was
        ever taken is beyond the pail and no reasonable person
        would now say this, when, in fact, I have mentioned to
you
        two names of very famous, notable, academic
historians,
        Monson (sic) and Hilberg, who have adopted precisely
this

.          P-135



        view and have not been disproved.
   A.   Well, that is my assessment of ----
   Q.   I mean Broszat and Hilberg, I am sorry.
   A.   That is my assessment of the situation of research in
this
        field.
   Q.   At the end ----
   A.   If you wish to produce documents which go against
that,
        you are quite welcome to do so.
   Q.   Well, I did take it, Professor, that you had studied
the
        documents in this case which include on several places
in
        the expert reports the precise statements by Martin
        Broszat and Hilberg to this effect.
                  Would you go to the end of this particular
        paragraph ----
   A.   I do, Mr Irving, outline Broszat's ----
   Q.   --- On page 25?
   A.   --- views on the decision-making process in my report,
and
        I do note that because he thought of the decision-
making
        process as coming from, as it were, the bottom up,
that
        that inclined him to be sympathetic to your particular
        line on Hitler.  So if that helps at all, I do not
dispute
        that.
   Q.   At the end of the last line and a half on page 25, you
        say:  "Irving has fallen so far short of the standards
of
        scholarship customary among historians that he does
not
        deserve to be called a historian at all".  Is this
still

.          P-136



        your view, having heard all the evidence over the last
        four or five weeks, that I show no scholarship ----
   A.   Yes, it has been ----

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