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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