The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit//transcripts/day019.16


Archive/File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day019.16
Last-Modified: 2000/07/24

   Q.   Has the Exhibition been closed down?
   A.   It has been withdrawn for -- the issue here, my Lord, is
        that there has been an exhibition, a travelling
        exhibition, in Germany of crimes of the German Army in the
        Second World War which includes a number of photographs
        which it is now alleged by critics of the Exhibition were
        not, in fact, of victims of the German Army at all, but
        victims of the Russian NKVD; and there are counter
        allegations that these allegations have been brought by
        people with extreme right-wing connections and to
        discredit the view that the German Army was not behaving
        properly  ----
   MR IRVING:  I interrupt you there and ask ----
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  No, I am quite interested in that.
   A.   --- and it is an extremely, it is a complex issue.  But
        I think it is clear that some of the photographs there are

.          P-142

        not genuine photograph and not what they purport to be,
        though it is equally clear that I think that some of them
        most probably are, and the Exhibition has been withdrawn
        in order to try to sort all this out by means of
        research.  That does not mean to say, of course, that
        there are no photographs which you could have used.
   MR IRVING:  Is it not true that the Exhibition was finally
        closed as a result of two learned papers published in
        learned journals, one by an Hungarian historian and one by
        a Polish historian?
   A.   Indeed, and, according to an article in Das Spiegel -- --
   Q.   And they are not extreme right-wingers?
   A.   According to an article in Das Spiegel, these are two
        people who have extreme right-wing connections.  Now, that
        does not necessarily invalidate everything they have said,
        but, as I recall the controversy, that the counter
        argument is that their criterion for what is a crime of
        the German Army is extremely narrow.  They will not
        accept, for example, these two authors will not accept,
        that crimes carried out by local units in Lithuania, or
        wherever it might be, at the behest of the German Army are
        crimes of the German Army.  So it is a very convoluted
        debate.
                  But the point at issue is that -- to come
back
        to it -- are you really saying that there no pictures,
no
        genuine pictures, at all anywhere of any victims of
the

.          P-143



        Nazis?  You could just as well have put up photographs
of
        people who were killed by the Nazis.  You could have
had a
        photograph of Anne Frank, for example.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  The case that is being made is that there
are
        no good quality bona fide such photographs.  That is
what
        you have put, Mr Irving?
   MR IRVING:  Absolutely right, and I am about to move on to
the
        justification for that in a second.
   A.   Well, I do not accept that there are no bona fide
        photographs is my answer to that and that,
irrespective of
        the quality, it does behove a balanced historian who
        wishes to give an objective account of these events to
        include something other than just photographs of the
        victims of allied bombing raids on Hamburg and...
   Q.   Before we leave the Exhibition, is it right, have you
        heard it said that the reason why German historians
were
        frightened to write the learned pages that would
expose
        the Exhibition in the way the Hungarian did is because
        they would then have been prosecuted under German law?
   A.   I have not heard that, no.
   Q.   You accept that the photographs that I published in my
        books, both in the Hitler biography and in the
Nuremberg
        history, are original photographs from original
negatives,
        do you accept that?
   A.   It looks like it, yes.
   Q.   The photograph which you object to, a photograph of a

.          P-144



        train load of Jews at Riga station -- it might be
useful
        if his Lordship sees the photograph?
   A.   I am not saying it is not genuine.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I remember it really.
   A.   I am really not saying it is not genuine.  Nowhere do
        I say that.
   MR IRVING:  Will you accept the photograph was given to me
from
        an album taken ----
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  He is not doubting its genuineness.
   A.   No, it is perfectly OK.
   MR IRVING:  It is a question of the selection of the
photograph
        and the reason I selected that rather than one of the
more
        traditional pictures which you are familiar with.
   MR RAMPTON:  Your Lordship might care to look at the file
copy.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Yes, I was reminding myself why it is
there.
   MR RAMPTON:  The file copy has been skewed because one of
the
        pages is the wrong way round.  Can I pass up a copy of
the
        original book?
   MR IRVING:  I am indebted to you.  While that is being
passed,
        if I can explain, perhaps, by way of a question that
        that  ----
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I think I have got it, but maybe I am
wrong.
   MR IRVING:  My Lord, the son of one of those policemen, you
can
        see on the platform at Riga ----
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Yes, I have it.
   MR IRVING:  The sone of one of those German policemen on
the

.          P-145



        platform at Riga has the album of his father, and he
        provided me with the original negatives to make those
        prints from.  That is why I have picked that
particular
        photograph.  It is an identifiable event, an
identifiable
        train load of Jews, arriving at Riga.  I do not know
what
        happened to them.  One I can only fear the worst for
them.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  But there is something in the text, I
think,
        about the photograph, is there not, or about this
        consignment?
   MR IRVING:  This is five days after the famous Bruns
episode,
        my Lord, of November 30th.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I probably have this wrong, but do you
not
        somewhere say that the photographic evidence does not
bear
        out the notion of cattle trucks and ----
   MR IRVING:  I did not say that, no, my Lord.  The only
comment
        there you will find is whatever the caption says.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  You certainly do not say it in the
caption.
   MR IRVING:  I certainly do not say it in the caption, and I
do
        not think we do deny that there were cattle trucks
used in
        the later stages of this atrocity.
   A.   No, it is simply that you do not mention it in your
        caption.
   MR IRVING:  In the caption, of course, I can only point out
        what is in this photograph.  In the Nuremberg book, if
        I can just jump on one or two pages of your -- do you
wish
        to make a comment?

.          P-146



   A.   No, that is all right.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Well, what you do say in the text -- I
have
        just found it; it is all a bit jumbled up in the copy
--
         "A rare original photograph shows the next train load
of
        1,200 Jews leaving for Riga.  Except for one uniformed
SD
        officer near the third open carriage door, the escorts
are
        all elderly German police officers with two Latvian
police
        in the right foreground".
   MR IRVING:  Which rather bears out, my Lord, what one of
those
        decodes said that a train load of 1,000 or 900 Jews
was
        going escorted by 14 local policemen, if you remember?
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  That is the point you are trying to make
with
        this photograph, is it not?
   MR IRVING:  No, my Lord.  A picture is worth 1,000 words
which
        is one reason why I have supplied so many pictures to
your
        Lordship rather than documents.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Thank you very much.
   MR IRVING:  It is an original photograph, high quality
        photograph, of the tragedy actually happening, and it
is a
        photograph of unquestionable authenticity that was
        supplied to me by one of the policemen's sons.
                  The allegation against me on page 109 is
that
        this only picture shows an orderly scene (as though I
had
        deliberately picked a photograph with an orderly
scene) of
        passenger carriages and people handing luggage out of
        windows, no brutality, no herding and no whips.  Well,

.          P-147



        I am sorry.  Are you suggesting that I should have
        abandoned this photograph and looked for a more
hackneyed
        stereotyped photograph, Professor?
   A.   I am afraid I am, yes.  I think that you should have
        balanced out your picture, your extremely gruesome
        pictures which you put in the book of victims, emotive
        pictures of victims of the bombing raids, including a
dead
        child clutching the body of an adult over -- a very
large
        reproduced picture.  I think you should have balanced
that
        with pictures of the victims of the Nazis.  If you
only
        look at the pictures section, the impression given is
        that, well, how jolly nice this train is at Riga, what
a
        nice time they are having?
   Q.   On the contrary, is that not a picture of the utter
        banality of this kind of atrocity, that there are
people
        handing baggage out of windows and stepping on to a
        platform ----
   A.   Sorry, there is no mention of any atrocity there in
the
        caption at all.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  So how do you react to the suggestion
that
        the reason for not including the sort of picture you
have
        just been describing is the utter banality of those
kinds
        of photographs?  I think that was the suggestion.
   A.   Yes.  I find that very hard to accept, that pictures
of,
        let us say, the victim, people about to be shot by the
        Einsatzgruppen lining up in front of a ditch are banal

.          P-148



        pictures.  It does not matter how many times they are
        reproduced, they still remain, I think, very shocking.
   MR IRVING:  Professor Evans, how often have you seen
pictures
        in my books that are familiar to you from other
people's
        books?  Never?  Once?
   A.   Plenty of portraits, I think, which I am familiar
with.
        You include lots of portraits of individuals which are
        quite familiar.
   Q.   Colour ones or black and white?
   A.   Some of these pictures are not familiar.  I am not
        disputing that these original pictures that you got,
that
        they are very high quality, and so on.  What I am
talking
        about is the balance of the presentation and, indeed,
the
        captions.
   Q.   You wanted me to include the fact that travel without
food
        and water, for example, if I look at the second line
from
        the end of that paragraph?
   A.   Not if they did not, no.
   Q.   The evidence is from the decodes that they did, that
they
        had the food and water they needed for these journeys?
   A.   That the people who travelled in the autumn of 1941 on
        these particular trains did, yes.
   Q.   But that is what this picture shows, is it not?
   A.   Yes, I am not saying you should not have included that
        picture.  I am saying that you should have had a
balanced
        selection.

.          P-149



   Q.   I should have skewed it the other way?
   A.   It is not a question of skewing; it is question of
        balance.  What you have is an illustration section
with
        some very good pictures, original ones that I have not
        seen before, absolutely authentic, rare, and so on.
But
        that these give the impression, the way they are
        cumulatively arranged, that there were massive numbers
of
        victims of allied bombings, and that that is, as you
say,
        48,000 people died in devastating Holocaust in
Hamburg.
        You are trying to establish, at the very least, I
think,
        an equivalence, and the impression given by the
imbalanced
        selection of pictures is that it is more -- that the
        bombing of German cities is a more serious crime than
the
        killing of millions of Jews.  That is what I take from
        your -- not having seen it before, that is what I take
it
        from your illustration section.
   Q.   Is there no equivalence between these crimes -- not on
any
        level?
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  The question is that the bombing by
allied
        planes of German cities is morally equivalent to the
        extermination that Professor Evans believes took
place, is
        that the question?
   MR IRVING:  In certain circumstances it was and that is
        certainly...
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  What is your reaction to that, Professor
        Evans?

.          P-150



   A.   I find that a very difficult question to answer.  I am
not
        a moral philosopher.
   MR IRVING:  Do you not later on in your report say that it
is
        totally wrong for me to suggest that Dresden would now
be
        a war crime if it was repeated?
   A.   I do not think you say that, you say that it is a
        certified war crime, I do not believe it has been
        certified as a war crime.  That is not to say that
        I approve of it, but we are not really dealing here with
        the moral issues or with what happened.  We are dealing
        with your presentation.  In my view, this selection of
        illustrations is imbalanced.

Home ·  Site Map ·  What's New? ·  Search Nizkor

© The Nizkor Project, 1991-2012

This site is intended for educational purposes to teach about the Holocaust and to combat hatred. Any statements or excerpts found on this site are for educational purposes only.

As part of these educational purposes, Nizkor may include on this website materials, such as excerpts from the writings of racists and antisemites. Far from approving these writings, Nizkor condemns them and provides them so that its readers can learn the nature and extent of hate and antisemitic discourse. Nizkor urges the readers of these pages to condemn racist and hate speech in all of its forms and manifestations.