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Shofar FTP Archive File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit//transcripts/day018.18


Archive/File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day018.18
Last-Modified: 2000/07/24

   Q.   But, if I deliberately and duplicitously misinterpret or
        distort a document and simultaneously place the document
        in the public domain in easily legible form, it is rather
        self-defeating because then all the good historians
and
        all the scholars, as they call themselves, will come
along
        and point out the fact that I have been duplicitous.
Is
        that not so?
   A.   Ultimately yes, but, as I have said, it does require a
        considerable research effort to do this.
   Q.   That presupposes that I have done it deliberately,
that
        duplicity is deliberate, does it not?
   A.   Yes indeed.
   Q.   If the duplicity is there but has been inadvertent,
then
        that is precisely what an inadvertent duplicitous
deceiver
        would do.  He would put stuff in the public domain
without
        realising that he had inadvertently mistranslated
        something or distorted something.  That would be the

.          P-155



        innocent interpretation to be placed on that kind of
        activity, would it not?
   A.   That is so convoluted that I find it very difficult to
        follow.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  It is really quite straightforward.
   MR IRVING:  The genuine deceiver would not simultaneously
place
        the clue to his deceit in the public domain, would he?
   A.   Ah well, let me make two points there.  One is that in
the
        end you are not going to be able to keep them out of
the
        public domain.  That is going to be very difficult
and, of
        course, a number of the documents which you
misinterpret
        and manipulate are in the public domain anyway.
   Q.   Do you say that I misinterpreted and distorted them
        deliberately?  Is this your contention?
   A.   Yes, that my contention.  You know there is a
difference
        between, as it were, negligence, which is random in
its
        effect, i.e. if you are simply a sloppy or bad
historian,
        the mistakes you make will be all over the place.
They
        will not actually support any particular point of
view.
   Q.   Like the example I gave of the waiter who always gives
        wrong change but only in his favour.  That is not
random?
   A.   Yes.  The waiter sometimes gives too much change.
That is
        random.
   Q.   I have never yet met a waiter who has given me too
much
        change.
   A.   On the other hand, if all the mistakes are in the same

.          P-156



        direction in the support of a particular thesis, then
I do
        not think that is mere negligence.  I think that is a
        deliberate manipulation and deception.  Let me give a
        parallel.
   Q.   A short parallel, please.
   A.   All right, a short parallel.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  No, as long as you like.  We are now on
        something which is central and important.
   A.   Thank you.  I refer to this in my report.  There was a
        very bitter controversy nearly 20 years ago now over a
        young Marxist historian in America called David
Abraham,
        who wrote a book about the support of industrialists
and
        agricultural pressure groups for the Nazis in the late
        Weimar Republic and he was accused of massive
        falsification and manipulation of the source material.
        And in his reply he admitted that his German had been
bad,
        he had researched very quickly and he had made a lot
of
        mistakes but he claimed that it had been simple
        incompetence and mere negligence and that his mistakes
        counted in many cases against him.  Then indeed he was
        able to show one or two instances of this, but his
critics
        I think succeeded in showing that the general tendency
of
        his mistakes was to exaggerate the support that
        industrialists gave to the coming of a  Nazi
government.
        Therefore, I think quite rightly, they were able to,
as it
        were, convict him of manipulating the evidence.  So I

.          P-157



        think there is a distinction to be made there that is
        really quite a clear one.
   MR IRVING:  That is a fair example to give and I am sure
his
        Lordship was quite right to allow you to develop it at
        length.  Did this Abraham simultaneously donate his
entire
        research materials to a public domain archive where
all
        his critics could immediately catch him out?
   A.   They were already in archives, most of which had wide
        access.
   Q.   That is how he was caught out?
   A.   Indeed, yes.
   Q.   Would it make sense for somebody who had limited and
        privileged access to papers by virtue of having read
        Heinrich Himmler's very difficult handwriting, for
        example, simultaneously to make records available to
his
        potential critics if he was going to act in a
deliberately
        deceitful way?
   A.   Let me say there is a number of instances where I
think
        that you have made it very difficult, deliberately
        difficult, for other researchers to track down the
sources
        of what you say.
   Q.   I would like one example, please?
   A.   One example is the testimony of Police Officer
Hoffmann in
        the 1924 Hitler trial, where you simply refer to
microfilm
        transcripts.  Another one would be in your references
to
        Ingrid Wecker to source some of your views on the

.          P-158



        Reichskristallnacht.  There are others which I detail
in
        the report which do make it very time consuming and
very
        difficult to track down.
   Q.   Obviously I cannot answer your points here because
        I cannot lead evidence, but will you take it,
Professor,
        that we have dealt with, not the Wecker matter, but we
        have dealt with the microfilm matter quite extensively
        under cross-examination.  I am sure his Lordship will
look
        that up in due course.  On the microfilm of the Hitler
        treason trial in 1924, my Lord, we dealt with that.  I
can
        remind your Lordship that Professor Evans was using
the
        printed edition of the trial and I was using the
original
        three microfilms of the 8,000 pages or so of the
        transcripts.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I am afraid I do not have that, to be
honest,
        in my mind at the moment.
   A.   The printed edition is a complete edition of the
        microfilm.
   MR IRVING:  The printed edition appeared, did it not,
several
        years after the microfilms did?
   A.   Oh, yes.
   Q.   Relatively recently.
   A.   You could have been more precise in your references.
   Q.   Am I not right in saying the printed edition appeared
        several years after my Hermann Goring biography was
        published and so I could not possibly have referenced
it

.          P-159



        from the printed edition?
   A.   I am not saying you should have referenced the printed
        edition.  I am simply saying first of all the printed
        edition is the same as the microfilm edition because
you
        disputed that in cross-examination, and secondly I am
        saying that you made it difficult to consult your
source,
        which is the microfilm edition, because you did not
give
        any precise reference.
   Q.   Have you looked at the microfilms of that treason
trial?
   A.   No I have not. I have seen the printed edition.
   Q.   Are you familiar with whether they have frame numbers
or
        not?
   A.   You do not give the frame numbers.
   Q.   No, but would you accept that, if they do not have
frame
        numbers then you cannot give frame number references?
   A.   If that is the case, yes, but you can of course be
helpful
        to the reader by pointing to roughly where it comes.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Are you putting, Mr Irving, that these
        microfiche did not have frame reference numbers?
   MR IRVING:  I had to leave it exactly the way I said it my
        Lord.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  What is the answer to my question?
   MR IRVING:  I put to the witness the possibility that it
had no
        frame numbers in which case I would not have been able
to
        quote them.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I am asking you a question though and I
think

.          P-160



        I am entitled to because I want to know how you are
        putting your case.  Are you making it an allegation
which
        is part of your case that these particular microfiche
did
        not have frame numbers, so that that was the reason
why
        you could not accurately refer?
   MR IRVING:  To be perfectly frank, my Lord, it is 12 years
        since I wrote the book and I cannot remember.  But
that
        would be one logical reason why I did not give frame
        numbers where normally I do give frame numbers, as
your
        Lordship is aware.
   A.   But you did not provide the dates, did you, for when
the
        testimony was given, for example, which would be
helpful
        to the reader?
   MR IRVING:  That again I cannot tell you without looking at
the
        book.  Would you go to page 32, please, paragraph
2.3.6?
        You have been very harsh about just about every other
        Hitler historian have you not?  Every Hitler
biography,
        you do not find words of praise for any of them?
   A.   Not a lot, no.
   Q.   Joachim Fest is overblown and over-praised?
   A.   This is not "every other" of course.  There have been
        scores, hundreds, of Hitler biographies.
   Q.   These are the major ones.
   A.   These are the leading ones, that is right, yes.
   Q.   These are the main ones.  You describe Joachim Fest,
his
        book as being overblown and overpraised?

.          P-161



   A.   Yes.
   Q.   You describe John Toland's work as hopelessly
inaccurate.
        You are relatively kind about Alan Bullock, which is,
        I suppose, you call his book "for the time very
credible"
        which is a kind of back handed complement, is it not?
   A.   It was written about five years after the war, I
think,
        immediately after the war.
   Q.   You do not have nice words to say about anybody
really,
        apart from Ian Kershaw on the next page.
   A.   That is true.
   Q.   Now that you know that he wrote to us, apologising
that
        his knowledge of German was very limited ----
   A.   I do not know that, Mr Irving, because I have not seen
the
        document that you are referring to.
   Q.   If I tell you that he wrote us a letter apologising
that
        he could not give evidence for this case because his
        knowledge of German was too limited, would you accept
----
   A.   No, I will not.  I will have to see the letter before
        I accept it.
   Q.   If anybody wrote a letter saying that his knowledge of
        German was very limited, would you say that he could
not
        have a thorough knowledge of the archival material
which
        is what you say in lines 2 and 3?
   MR RAMPTON:  I do think in this particular instance, most
of
        time I have not intervened because I know that Mr
Irving
        is not a professional advocate and he gives evidence
all

.          P-162



        the time while he is cross-examining, which I would
never
        be allowed to do, without producing material.  In this
        case I would like to see the letter if it is to be
relied
        upon.
   MR IRVING:  We will produce the letter.  There is no
problem
        about that, my Lord.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I think it is a fair request so perhaps
        tomorrow morning you can do that.
   MR IRVING:  Certainly.  If Mr Rampton has any criticisms to
        make of the way that I am cross-examining, I am sure
that
        your Lordship would not object to him raising his
        objections at the time.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  If and when he does, then I will deal with it
        and in the meantime I am trying, as I have said many
        times, to make allowance for the fact that you are not as
        familiar as some of us are with the rules.

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