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Shofar FTP Archive File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit//transcripts/day019.20


Archive/File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day019.20
Last-Modified: 2000/07/24

   Q.   Let us approach from another angle then, Professor.  You
        are aware of the fact that there are now substantial
        claims being made against the Swiss and American and
        German companies and so on for compensation?  Have you any
        idea how many Holocaust survivors are now claiming
        compensation, a figure?
   A.   I do not know.  It depends what you mean by Holocaust
        survivors as well.
   Q.   Well, if I say that the number of claimants is 450,000 now
        at the end of the 20th century, the beginning of the 21st
        century?
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I do not know where you get that figure
        from.  I think Professor Evans is entitled to say, well,
        on what basis are they claiming?  Are they claiming

.          P-180



        because they were in Auschwitz, in some other camp, or
        perhaps in no camp at all, they were dispossessed by
the
        Nazis?
   MR IRVING:  If they are Jewish Holocaust survivors, my
Lord,
        and there is that number of them extant at the end of
the
        20th century, then you can do actuarial calculations
        backwards to work out roughly how many would have
        survived, given certain obvious adjustments you have
to
        make for age and so on, that the older ones would have
        stayed behind, the younger ones would have emigrated,
and
        you can come up with ball park figures.  But the
Professor
        has not done this kind of calculations, so there is no
        point asking him.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  But your suggestion, therefore, is that
these
        are 450,000 true Holocaust survivors in the sense that
        they come from one death camp or another?
   MR IRVING:  They were Jews who were subject to the
Holocaust as
        I defined it, which is one more reason why my
definition
        is the right one, that they were Jews who were
subjected
        to the Nazi atrocities during the period of the Third
        Reich of whatever kind.
   MR RAMPTON:  I am sorry, I simply do not understand this.
If
        this is about claims against Swiss Banks who are
holding
        or have held property taken from victims of the
Holocaust,
        we might be talking about the great grandchildren of
        people who survived who had a claim on the property.

.          P-181



   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  That is what was going through my mind.
   MR IRVING:  And also the slave labourers, the great
        grandchildren of the slave labourers cannot claim
        compensation.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Let us go back to where we started.  You
were
        suggesting that the bulk, or a very large proportion,
of
        the people in Auschwitz disappeared because they went
        secretly to Israel and I think Professor Evans ----
   MR IRVING:  My Lord, I have not said either the bulk or a
very
        large portion.  I just said part.  This is what I was
        trying to nail the witness down on when he says,
"Irving
        claimed that the Jews who disappeared did not die",
what
        he meant by the Jews.  Obviously it does not mean all
of
        them.  He is meaning part of them.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Leave aside the exact number.  He is
saying
        that he does not accept that there was any evidence
for
        that statement, and I have not got clear when you
first
        saw this report you have talked about by the Haganah.
        When did you first see that?
   MR IRVING:  Seven or eight years ago my Lord.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Was that the source for your claim?
   MR IRVING:  Yes, very definitely.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  And that says?  What is its conclusion in
        terms of numbers?
   MR IRVING:  The American Military Forces described how the
        Haganah, operating in conjunction with the United
Nations

.          P-182



        Rescue and Relief Agency, visited all the displaced
        persons camps, very well organized, with walkie-talkie
        radios and trucks picking up all the Jewish victims
from
        those camps, loading them on board, and then they
vanished
        sunset.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  My question was really about numbers.
How
        many are we talking about?
   MR IRVING:  The report, I would have to have another look
at
        the report to give your Lordship a number, but it was
        sufficiently important to have a 250-page report on it
        written by the American Government Military
authorities.
        I adduce this purely as one way in which one cannot
look
        at pure figures, because there are leaks, if I can put
it
        like that.
   A.   Let me just make two points, if I may.  One is you are
        presenting evidence of this report which I have not
seen,
        I have not had the opportunity to see, so I do not
know
        whether your account of what is in it is accurate or
not
        and I really cannot comment on it.  The second is that
you
        do not cite it when you gave this particular speech.
As
        far as the numbers, again you plucked, you have
presented
        a number of what you describe as "Holocaust survivors"
who
        have claims of one sort or another against banks and
so on
        elsewhere, and I quote you have alleged that large
numbers
        of so-called Holocaust survivors, as you have
described,
        have made it up, put tattoos on their own arms and so
on.

.          P-183



   MR IRVING:  I shall have to turn the tables on you and say
        that, if you are going to suggest that I said large
        numbers have done that, then I would ask you to
provide
        any evidence for that assertion.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  You said one lady and you said she was
not
        atypical.
   MR IRVING:  I said she may have very well have a genuine
tattoo
        on her name.  I think those were the precise words I
used
        about Mrs Altemann, that may very well be a genuine
tattoo
        on your arm.  If I can now pick up the other point
        that I did not provide a reference for this episode in
my
        speech, one does not put footnotes in speeches.
   A.   No, you but you say where you get the evidence from in
a
        speech.
   Q.   Can I now move on, in the spirit of his Lordship's
desire
        for progress, paragraph 21, you say that my
allegations of
        this nature derive ultimately from the Holocaust
denier
        Paul Rassinier.
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   Have you any evidence at all that I have ever read the
        works of Paul Rassinier?
   A.   You did write an afterword to one of his books, which
        I find it difficult to believe you wrote without
having
        read it.
   Q.   Professor, believe.  That is all I can say.  That fact
        that I am invited to write an afterword on a
particular

.          P-184



        topic for a book which I then deliver without reading
the
        book should not surprise anyone?
   A.   It does not say very much for your responsibility as
        historian, Mr Irving.
   Q.   I have no responsibility at all whatsoever for the
content
        of somebody's book if I am invited to write an
historical
        afterword on it and, if you know the content of that
        afterword, you see that it no bore no resemblance or
        relationship to what was in the book at all.  Do you
agree
        with that?
   A.   You did have some very kind words to say about
        Mr Rassinier in your afterword.  You have a rather
obscure
        but very positive introductory paragraph talking about
his
        work, and I find it quite extraordinary that you would
        write such a thing without actually having read it.
   Q.   Will you tell court what we know about Paul Rassinier?
        Was he a right-wing extremist?
   A.   It is in my report.  I have a few paragraphs about him
a
        bit further on.
   Q.   Was he a right-wing extremist?
   A.   He was one of the earliest and most important
Holocaust
        deniers.
   Q.   Was he a right-wing extremist?
   A.   I am not sure about his politics.
   Q.   Or was he in fact a communist, a left winger, who was
        incarcerated in Auschwitz because of his political
views?

.          P-185



   A.   Initially, yes.  I think that is why he went into
        Auschwitz.  I do not think that is how he came out.
   Q.   He is a kind of eyewitness with first hand experience,
is
        he?
   A.   Yes, he is a curious and interesting figure.
   Q.   A curious and interesting figure?
   A.   --- who seems to have been, I am trying to find my
        references to it.  It is on page 192 of my report.
        Rassinier was a Holocaust denier who published his
book
        with Grabert Verlag, which is a well-known Holocaust
        denial publishing house in Germany.
   Q.   Everybody in your vocabulary is a Holocaust denier,
        Holocaust denial, right-wing extremist?
   A.   I did not say right-wing extremist.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Let the witness finish his answer.
   A.   This what this trial in part is about.
   Q.   Is it more significance that in fact he was a left
winger
        who was incarcerated in Auschwitz because of his
political
        views?
   A.   It seems that he was beaten up by a communist fellow
        prisoner for having failed to pay his respects to the
        former German communist leader Thalmann, who was in
the
        camp, and that this seems to have turned him against
the
        communist party, and that he seems to have been well
        treated by the an SS guard.  Certainly after the war
he
        defended the SS and started to deny the existence of
gas

.          P-186



        chambers, asserting that the Jews are mainly
responsible
        for starting the second world war and so on.
   Q.   Unlike yourself and myself, this was a man who had
been in
        Auschwitz and so possibly his word deserves some kind
of
        respect.
   A.   I am not sure he was in Auschwitz.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Buchenwald, was he not?
   A.   Buchenwald I think.
   MR IRVING:  I think he was also in Auschwitz at some stage.
        Anyway he was in the German concentration camp system
and
        he wrote about it.
   A.   That is why I consider it a curious case that he had
the
        views that he had.
   Q.   And I therefore did the wrong thing by writing an
        afterword to his book?
   A.   I certainly think you did the wrong thing in writing
an
        afterword to his book without actually having read the
        thing and making statements about the book in that
        afterword.
   Q.   Did I say in my afterword I have read this book and
find
        it jolly good?
   A.   I think one assumes it.  You said things about
Rassinier's
        views in your afterword which makes me assume that you
are
        familiar with them.
   Q.   I am familiar with them to the extent that I have just
        described them to the court.  He was a left winger who
was

.          P-187



        sent to the concentration camp for his political
views.
   A.   So you were familiar with his views then on the
Holocaust.
   Q.   I have always known the fact that he has been a
doubter
        and I see no reason at all why I should ----
   A.   I find it difficult to know what we are disputing here
in
        that case.
   Q.   What we are disputing is on what basis you say that my
        views derived from Paul Rassinier?
   A.   I said ultimately.  I am quite prepared to accept that
        there may have been intervening stages for his views.
For
        example ----
   Q.   If I have never read any of his books, how can my
views as
        far as the death roll and anything else possibly have
        derived from Mr Rassinier?  You now accept that this
is
        just another of your wild and unsubstantiated
assertions,
        is it not?
   A.   No, because his views then became taken up into the
        general discourse of this particular -- I do not want
to
        keep using the words "Holocaust denial" but I suppose
it
        is unavoidable -- that they were represented by a
number
        of other people.
   Q.   He just wanted to shoe horn his name in somehow, is
that
        right?
   A.   The idea is in his book and in his work it is put
forward
        by you, the same view, and it seems therefore
reasonable
        to conclude that somehow it has found its way from him
to

.          P-188



        you, since it has no evidential basis.
   Q.   On page 120 now -- we will leave Mr Rassinier -- at
        paragraph 24, you say what Irving did concede in his
1992
        speech was that there were some authorised mass
shootings
        on the Eastern Front.
   A.   Unauthorized.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  What page?
   MR IRVING:  Page 120, my Lord, of his report.  You say that
        I conceded this in 1992.  Had I ever denied that there
had
        been shootings on the Eastern Front?  Does not the
word
        "concede" imply that I was now reversing a previously
        held stand or conviction?
   A.   No.  I did not mean it to.  I made it quite clear that you
        say this repeatedly, that there were unauthorized mass
        shootings of Jews behind the Eastern front.
   Q.   In other words you have used the word "conceded" as just
        another loaded word you can use to help put some spice in
        the paragraph and flavour----
   A.   I do not think it is that spicey, Mr Irving.

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