The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit//transcripts/day019.02


Archive/File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day019.02
Last-Modified: 2000/07/24

   MR IRVING:  I agree, my Lord.  We should not really be asking
        an expert witness about meanings of words, I appreciate
        that, my Lord, but I am working towards something.  You
        have a little bundle of documents in front of you, a loose
        bundle called F?
   A.   I do not, actually.
   Q.   Will you turn to page (it should be) 37, which is a
        photograph?
   A.   They are numbered on the bottom?
   Q.   They are numbered on the bottom, the one after that
        please?
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   Do you agree that that says it is a plaque, is that
        correct, a memorial plaque?
   A.   That is right, yes.
   Q.   Do you recognize that plaque?
   A.   I do not, to be honest, no.

.          P-10



   Q.   Will you agree that it says:  "4 million people
suffered
        and died here at the hands of the Nazi murderers
between
        the years 1940 and 1945"?
   A.   Yes, that is what it says.
   Q.   Will you now turn the page please?  Is that another
        plaque?
   A.   Yes, that is right.
   Q.   Do you recognize that plaque?
   A.   I do not now that I can see what it is.
   Q.   Does it appear to be in the same place as where the
        previous plaque was?
   A.   I will take your word for it.
   Q.   Do you agree this one says:  "Never let this place be
a
        cry of despair and a warning to humanity where the
Nazis
        murdered about one and a half million men, women and
        children, namely Jews from various countries of
Europe"?
   A.   That is right.
   Q.   Is this also Auschwitz?
   A.   They are both in Auschwitz, yes.
   Q.   So somebody has arbitrarily reduced the figure from 4
        million to about 1.5 million?  Is that Holocaust
denial?
   A.   No, I do not agree that the reduction was arbitrary.
        I think inevitably in the immediate aftermath of the
war
        there was an enormous amount of uncertainty about the
        numbers who had died.  This does not have a date on
it,
        but I think the 4 million is a plaque which was
erected

.          P-11



        very shortly after the war and, as research
progressed,
        then the true number of people who died in Auschwitz
was
        more closely approached, so it is an arbitrary
reduction.
   Q.   Is the first figure, which is the figure of 4 million,
in
        any way associated with the figure of 4 million that
was
        propagated by the Soviet Union in the first postwar
years
        for the victims in Auschwitz, in your opinion?
   A.   I have to say I do not know enough about Auschwitz.  I
am
        not an expert on Auschwitz.  You had an expert on
        Auschwitz here.
   Q.   We will keep it in general terms.  If you were told
(as we
        have heard) that Dr Piper, the director of the
Auschwitz
        State Museum at the time that first plaque was in
        existence, and who arranged for it to be removed and
        replaced by the second plaque, has stated that the
first
        plaque was purely propaganda, would you accept that
this
        is evidence of politicization of the Holocaust and the
        figures connected with it?
   A.   I think, well, I would have to see Dr Piper's
statement
        before I could accept that is what he said, of course.
I
        mean ----
   Q.   Can I draw your attention back we -- will leave that
        subject.  Can I now take you back to your book,
please?
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  You have not got your answer yet.  I
think
        the object of the exercise is to get the answer to the
        question, Mr Irving.

.          P-12



   MR IRVING:  My Lord, his answer was the now familiar one
that
        he has not seen the document.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  No, well, he was actually going on to say
        something else.  Would you like to complete it?
   A.   Yes.  Obviously, I accept that there is an element of
        propaganda in the official memorialization by the
Soviet
        Union and its satellites in the period of Communism.
That
        is particularly evident, for example, in the absence
of
        any mention of Jews in this first plaque, whereas in
the
        second one it does say mainly Jews.  I think it is the
        case that in the postwar years the Soviet Union and
the
        authorities in Communist Eastern Europe did want to
        minimise the element of Jewish dead amongst the ----
   MR IRVING:  As evidence of general Polish anti-semitism or?
   A.   No, I do not think that is true.  I think it is a
number
        of different things.  It is not that.
   Q.   While you have your book in front of you, Professor
Evans,
        will you remain on page 206 and look at the next
paragraph
        briefly, which begins with the words:  "A leading
        authority".  I am sorry, my Lord, that I should have
        provided your Lordship with the lines I am going to
refer
        to, but it is very brief.
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   I will read it out:  "A leading authority on this
        literature, which is Holocaust denial literature,
        Professor Deborah E. Lipstadt", that is the Second

.          P-13



        Defendant in this case?
   A.   That is right.
   Q.   "... of Emery University, Atlanta, Georgia,
consistently
        refuses to take part in public debates with the
deniers on
        the ground 'to do so would give them a legitimacy and
a
        stature that they in no way deserve"?
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   Have you any comment on this refusal to debate?  Is it
a
        position of strength or a position of weakness, do you
        think?
   A.   I think it is a position of principle.
   Q.   A position of principle?
   A.   I do not think it is a tactical consideration, in my
        understanding of it.
   Q.   Is it a principle that you, as an academic, would
        willingly adopt?
   A.   I think, yes, I do not think that Holocaust deniers
are
        academics or scholars or academically or scholarly
        respectable, and I would not take part in seminars or
        discussions with them on that basis.
   Q.   So Holocaust deniers, as you once again use this
favourite
        phrase of yours, are a form of low academic life or
low
        life, in fact, because most of them who have not been
        academics find themselves cast out?  Is that your
        opinion?
   A.   I do not agree with any of those statements.  First of

.          P-14



        all, it is not a favourite phrase of mine.  It is a
phrase
        which I have to use because it is at the centre of
this
        case, as I make no apology for that.  I do not like
using
        phrases like "low life" or "low form of life" and, to
my
        knowledge, I have never used those phrases.  The
problem
        is not that they are not academic; the problem is what
        they are engaging in, in my view, is a politically
        motivated falsification of history, and that is why
        I think, on the whole, I would endorse and accept
        Professor Lipstadt's position.
   Q.   But is it not equally arguable that the use that is
made
        of the Holocaust and that immense tragedy inflicted on
the
        Jews during World War II has just been equally
politicized
        for other purposes, whether good or bad?
   A.   I think there is, obviously, a political element in a
        great deal of historical writing, if not all
historical
        writing, to some measure or other, but I would
distinguish
        between the historians', as it were, control of that
        through reference to the documents and through the
attempt
        to arrive at an objective interpretation which is in
        accordance with the documents, on the one hand, and
        deliberate falsification and invention on the other.
        I think the Holocaust deniers belong to the latter
        category.
   Q.   Would you consider ----
   A.   And, of course, in academic and scholarly discussions,
one

.          P-15



        puts aside political aspects and concentrates on the
        issues.
   Q.   But it is a commonly held view, even among Jewish
        academics, that the Holocaust is being abused for
        political purposes now.  Are you aware of the writings
of
        Norman Finglestein, for example?  Do you have any
opinion
        about his qualifications as an academic or as a
writer?
   A.   I have -- I am eagerly awaiting his book.  He has
written
        an article and a couple of reviews which I think give
some
        foretaste, but I would not want to make a judgment on
        these views.
   Q.   Have you, by any chance, read what he wrote in The
Times
        Literary Supplement, I believe it was, in January,
        suggesting that the whole of the Holocaust propaganda
        campaign started around about the time of the 1967
June
        war?
   A.   I think that both Finglestein and Peter Novic, whose
book
        I have read with great interest, and Tim Cole.
   Q.   Would you identify Peter Novic, University of ----
   A.   The University of Chicago, yes, and another similar
book
        by Tim Cole of the University of Bristol, I think --
are
        talking about the public presentation of the
        Holocaust  ----
   Q.   Are they ----
   A.   --- and the political ----
   Q.  --- Holocaust deniers in your book?

.          P-16



   A.   No, they are not because they are not, they are
certainly
        not denying that i happened in the terms in which
        I described it in my report.  They are talking about
the
        public presentation of history, as in these memorial
        plaques that you have illustrated.  That, I think, is
a
        different thing from the scholarly working up of
history.
        None of them would fall into any of the four, or
satisfy
        any of four, conditions that I have laid down for
        Holocaust denial.  They do not minimise the numbers.
They
        do not deny the use of gassing to kill large numbers
of
        Jews.  They do not deny that is systematic, and they
do
        not claim that the evidence was invented or
fabricated.
        They are talking about something quite different which
is
        the public presentation and use which, indeed, of
course,
        by its very nature is going to be subject to political
        influences.
   Q.   Yes.  They are all American academics, are they?
   A.   No.  Tim Cole is a British academic.  Finglestein, I
am
        not sure, I think he is American.
   Q.   Yes.  Would they be able to propagate their views
safely
        in this country or in France or in Germany, do you
think,
        without fear of either losing their academic
privileges or
        even arrest and prosecution?
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Mr Irving, I do not think that is a
question
        that is really going to help in this case, if I may
say
        so.

.          P-17



   MR IRVING:  My Lord, I am just trying to establish that
        Holocaust deniers, if I can adopt the witness's
phrase, do
        not have it easy to propagate their views, and if the
        debate seems lopsided, it is because, on the one hand,
        people refused to debate and, on the other hand, the
        people are arrested and locked away.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Yes, but you had rather veered off
Holocaust
        deniers to the historians who take the view that there
has
        been some politicization of the Holocaust from 1967
        onwards.
   MR IRVING:  In that case, may I just revert very briefly to
        Professor ----
   A.   I mean, my answer is yes, if that helps.  I mean, Dr
Cole
        has not suffered at all from his book and Professor
        Novic's book is about to be published in this country.
   MR IRVING:  You have expressed words of distaste for
Professor
        Faurisson who, of course, is no longer a Professor?
   A.   Where do I do this?
   Q.   When you were last standing and the witness box on
        Thursday.  I mentioned his name.  You said you did not
        consider him to be an academic and you ----
   A.   I think -- I am not sure I said that.  I would have to
see
        the transcript.
   Q.   Yes.  Are you aware of the damage that was inflicted
on
        Professor Faurisson for holding his principles and
views,
        for holding to his principles as a Holocaust denier?

.          P-18



   A.   I am aware that he was deprived of his university
post,
        most certainly, yes.
   Q.   Would you turn, please, to page 57 of the bundle, the
        little bundle?  I am very sorry, it is at bundle E, my
        Lord.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Yes, I know.
   MR IRVING:  The global bundle.  I am afraid that you may
not
        have the photographs there.
   A.   I only have 55 pages, I am afraid.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  So have I.
   MR IRVING:  In that case I will produce two pages to you.
That
        is Professor Faurisson after he was taught a lesson
for
        his principles and views.  Is this the way you think
        academics should be dealt with?
   A.   Most certainly not, no.
   Q.   Thank you very much.  The reason I am asking that, my
        Lord, is evident because I wish to bring to the
attention
        of the court the dangers that befall somebody in
public
        life who is accused of being a Holocaust denier.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Do it, by all means.  I am not quite sure
        that I see how that advances your case here.

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