Archive/File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day019.18 Last-Modified: 2000/07/24 Q. Is 48,000 a number that you had seen regularly in connection with air raid victims in Hamburg, that operation, the fire storm raids? A. No. I go into this in the same paragraph, that the probable number, the generally agreed number is between 35,000 and 40,000, that 74,000, or nearly twice 74,000 as you put in a letter to The Spectator in 1989, is a wild exaggeration. Q. So you rely entirely on that letter to The Spectator, do you? A. No, 50,000, I do not know where you get the figure from. It is plucked out of the air of 48,000. Q. So in 1989 you say he put it far higher than I did, claiming that, while 74,000 people had died at Auschwitz, "nearly twice as many died in the July 1943 RAF Dacken Hamburg"? A. That is right. Q. That is the quotation from my letter to The Spectator, is it? A. Yes. . P-161 Q. Can we have a look at that letter to The Spectator; it is worth having a look at? MR JUSTICE GRAY: Where do we find it? A. It is in your bundle. MR IRVING: It is not in my letter. I do not know. If we are lucky, it is in the bundle. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Well, I think we will get it from E12, page 312, will we not? MR IRVING: I do want to see it. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes, I think that is fair. MR IRVING: Otherwise, I can tell you from memory what the actual quotation is. A. I have to see it, I am afraid. Q. You have to see it, you are afraid? A. Yes. Q. Otherwise, I will tell you from memory and I will bring the letter in tomorrow. There is only one word missing. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Can anyone on the Defendant's side help? MR RAMPTON: We are trying, my Lord; it is a chase to find Irving's documents. MR JUSTICE GRAY: The trouble is if we come back to it then we have to start all over again, that is the problem. MR RAMPTON: I agree. Let me put it like this. If the word "as" was in after the word "many", would that change the meaning of that sentence? A. Yes, of course it would. . P-162 Q. If it said, "nearly twice as many as died in the July 1943 air raid", would that change the meaning? A. Yes, of course. That would make it 30, 37, is that right? Q. Would it totally deflate the point of the whole paragraph and the paragraph before, as far as exaggerating air raid figures goes? A. No, it would not, because you describe, you give the number as nearly 50,000 on page 441 of Goebbels. Q. Is not the commonly accepted figure for these series of air raids on Hamburg 48,000? A. No. It is between 35,000 and 40,000. Q. On page 2, I am sorry, the next page, 112, line 2, you say 31,647 dead had been found? A. Yes. Q. And you are familiar with the pictures of what it looked like inside bunkers? A. Yes, indeed. Q. The flat tyres, the little heaps of ash which had been human beings? Have you seen the photographs on the streets of the heaps ash? A. Indeed I have. I take it that that is why official German estimates at the time put the total as somewhat higher at 35,000 or even 40,000. Q. And you have never seen a figure of 48,000? A. Only in your work. . P-163 Q. Have you read the official history of the strategic air offensive against Germany by Nobel Frankland and Martin Webster? A. No, but I am relying here on work produced in Hamburg by Hamburg historians. Q. You do accept, though, that if my version of that quotation is correct and you accidently or otherwise omitted the word "as", your entire argument that I have doubled the number of people is unjustified and you are going to have to withdraw that, are you not? A. Yes, because, as I say here, I cite it from Eatwell. Q. So we will put the blame on Professor Eatwell? A. Well, if indeed the word "as" is missing. MR RAMPTON: We cannot find it in the Eatwell documents. I am sorry, it is not in the Evans' documents. MR JUSTICE GRAY: In Eatwell book? A. No. It is in an article. MR RAMPTON: We will check that. MR IRVING: I have the actual original Spectator letter at home. I know that, my Lord, I was looking at it last night. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Bring it in if you would not mind. We are not going to be able to track it down today. MR IRVING: If your Lordship thinks it is relevant. MR JUSTICE GRAY: I think in fairness to you, if Professor Evans has misinterpreted what you said, I think it is . P-164 right that I should know that. I do not think this is a point that is at the heart of the case, but in fairness to you, you ought to have the opportunity to show it to me. MR IRVING: It is at the heart of the allegation that I happily double air raid figures to make a point. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Well, that is one aspect of a broader point that Professor Evans is making ---- MR IRVING: Yes. MR JUSTICE GRAY: -- about what is described, rather inappropriately, as moral equivalence. MR IRVING: Also it is useful at various other levels all the way down to how easy it is to make simple errors that can totally innocently reverse the meaning of a document. This literally reverses the meaning of that particular document, the one word. So all the rest of that paragraph about the probable number, therefore, is between 35,000 and 40,000 (I am on page 112 like 7), "Irving's wildly invariably categorical statements of 48,000", just like today I still say 48,000, nearly 50,000 or nearly twice 74,000, that of course is the wrong bit, is it not? A. If that is that true of course it is wrong, yes, and I would withdraw it. MR JUSTICE GRAY: I really think we have probably got everything we possibly could out of that paragraph. MR IRVING: Moving on to the next paragraph, we are now dealing . P-165 with the number of people who I suggested unequivocally can be shown as having died in Auschwitz, in the last line I say: "Around 100,000 dead in that brutal slave labour camp", and, Professor, you take exception to that sentence, do you not? A. Yes. Q. You think the figure should be much closer to 1 million or? A. About that, yes. Slightly more. Q. No doubt 20 years ago you would have said the figure would be closer to 4 million? A. Not 20 years ago, no. Q. No? A. I do not think so. Q. So you would have discounted what the memorial said? A. We have already been through this, but that was the product of immediate postwar circumstances when not a great deal was known. Q. You do not just go with what the prevailing wind suggests is the latest figure; you do your own independent thinking about it? A. I am not a specialist on Auschwitz, Mr Irving. So I accept what is the general consensus of scholarship on this issue. Q. Yet if anybody does try to analyse the figures on the basis of other sources than what the memorial says or what . P-166 the Auschwitz State Museum says or what Sir Martin Gilbert says, he is a denier? A. Well, it is not a question of just what they say. There is a very large, substantial amount of work. This court has been spent several days going through a whole mass of evidence about Auschwitz. Q. Yes, but it is the word "analyse" I am looking at. If you look at page 113, paragraphs 13 and 14, I say: "Anybody who wants to analyse any part of the Holocaust story is dismissed and smeared as an anti-semite or at the other end of the scale a pro-Hitler apologist and a Nazi apologist." You then comment in paragraph 14: "Analyse here is a synonym for refute or deny"? A. Yes, that seems to me it is. It is a euphemism. You are very careful to avoid the word "denial" as much as you can, or you have been in what you have written and said about the Holocaust, but clearly as it stands this statement is absurd. Historians are analysing the Holocaust story all the time. Q. But are they? A. It goes on massively. Q. Are they analysing figures all the time? A. Yes. There is an enormous amount of work that is in progress. There are hundreds of historians working on this. There are large institutions which are devoted to analysing all different parts of the Holocaust story, and . P-167 nobody is dismissing them as anti-semites or Nazi apologists. What you have here is "analysed" as a euphemism for "deny". Q. So analysing is all right until we look at the figures and then it becomes denial? A. No. Historians are looking at the figures all time. Q. What kind of historian do you have to be then to avoid that word "denial"? Do you have to avoid my name or do you have to be left-wing or what? MR JUSTICE GRAY: This is semantic. We know what the definition of Holocaust denier is as contended for by the Defendants. The issue we are trying to explore is whether you, Mr Irving, fit that definition. I really think semantic discussions of this kind are unhelpful. MR IRVING: I was scene setting with a broad brush, and now we are going to start getting out the small sable and start painting in some of the detail. Professor, if there are either logical calculations that you make or there are bodies of documents that you can make which would enable one to reassess the figures, I am avoiding the word "analyse" now, but to reassess the figures, would that be a justifiable exercise for any historian of whatever colour? A. Yes, certainly. For example, new material is becoming available or has become available since the collapse of the Soviet Union in East European archives which has . P-168 helped in reassessments. Q. Yes. In about 19899 Soviet Union released the death books, did they not, of Auschwitz relating not to all the years but some of the years? A. That is right, yes. Q. Would you expect these death books, the registers of deaths of people in Auschwitz, to have provided some kind of impetus to this calculation? A. They are certainly a significant document, yes. Q. I am avoiding the use of the word "analyse". It would be justifiable to look at those records for any person and try to do some kind of meaningful calculation and try to work out whether these were comprehensive, all-encompassing death books, or whether they were only part of the body of Auschwitz or what? A. Indeed, yes. You have to remember, of course, that those large numbers of people who were taken straight to the gas chambers on their arrival at Auschwitz were not entered in the camp registers, and so do not appear in the death books. Q. This is an important part of the Holocaust history, is it not, the notion that a large number of people arrived at the camp, were unloaded and were sent straight to their deaths in the gas chambers, is that correct? A. I think, yes. Q. What kind of people were they? . P-169 A. It is described as more than a notion. Q. What kind of people were then selected for death? A. Well, I am not an expert on Auschwitz, but my understanding is that the process of selection generally tended to take into the camp or register in the camp those who were considered to be capable of working and those who were not, particularly women and children, were sent to the gas chambers. Q. Women and children were sent to the gas chambers. Professor, will you have a look at page 35 I think it is in my bundle, the little bundle you were handed this morning? It is another of these pictures speaking louder than words things again. Is that a photograph showing people standing behind barbed wire? A. Indeed, yes. Q. What kind of age are those people? A. It is very difficult to say. They look like -- it is difficult to say. One or two children, some adolescence. Q. Does the caption provided by Associated Press say: This is somebody standing among a group of children? A. Indeed, yes. Q. When the camp was liberated by the Red Army? A. Yes. Q. Why would they have had children in the camp? A. There could have been any one of a number of reasons. I mean some children were retained for medical . P-170 experimentation, that is a particular reason. There were numbers of allegedly or so-called pure bred gypsy children who were kept. There were a number of reasons. Q. Is there any indication on the caption that these were the experimental ones or the gypsy ones? A. I really could not say.
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