The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit//transcripts/day020.04


Archive/File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day020.04
Last-Modified: 2000/07/24

   Q.   In that case I cannot ask you about it.  On page 135,
        paragraph 3:  "Irving's view that these local initiatives
        were excusable", is the word "excusable" excusable in this
        context?  Have I ever tried to excuse what the Germans are
        doing to the Jews?
   A.   Well, let me read what you told the press conference in
        Australia in 1986 which is the quote beginning halfway
        down the quote on the previous page where you say, you are
        questioning whether the killing of Jews "was a tragedy
        ordered and organized on the very highest German state
        level, namely by Hitler himself.  Because if my hypothesis
        is correct, it means that all these Jews - and it may be
        any figure, I don't look at the figure concerned - if my
        hypothesis is correct, it indicates that the Jews were the
        victims of a large number of rather run-of-the-mill
        criminal elements which exist in Central Europe.  Not just
        Germans, but Austrians, Latvians, Lithuanians, Estonians,
        feeding on the endemic antisemitism of the era and
        encouraged by the brutalization which war brought about
        anyway.  These people had seen the bombing raids
begin.
        They'd probably lost women, wives and children in the
        bombing raids.  And they wanted to take revenge on
        someone.  So when Hitler ordered the expulsion, as he
did
         - there's no doubt that Hitler ordered the expulsion
        measures - these people took it out on the person that

.          P-29



        they could".
   Q.   And you say this is somebody excusing the Nazis for
taking
        these ghastly actions against the Jews?
   A.   It seems to me that that is the implication in that
        statement, yes.
   Q.   Is it not, in fact, a very sloppy use of the English
        language?  What you meant was not "excusable" but
        "explicable" and there is a very great difference
between
        these two words?
   A.   I think, given your attitude -- well, first of all, I
find
        it very difficult to see how Latvians, Lithuanians and
        Estonians could get so worked up by bombing raids on
        Germany that they started killing Jews.
   Q.   Is that what I say?
   A.   It is the clear implication, "these people", and in
the
        previous sentence you say, "Not just Germans, but
        Austrians, Latvians, Lithuanians and Estonians".
"These
        people had seen the bombing raids begin".
   Q.   Are you familiar with the fact that Jan Karski, the
man
        whom I previously referred to, warned the Polish
        government of the likelihood of pogroms in the Baltic
        states, and he had explained the reasons why in a 1940
        report?
   A.   Mr Irving, there is plenty of documentation to show
that
        there were, that Latvians, Lithuanians and Estonians
and
        so on were involved in the mass killing of Jews with
the

.          P-30



        encouragement of the SS unit and the Einsatzgruppen.
   Q.   But are you not by using the word "excusable"
suggesting
        that David Irving said that what had happened to the
Jews
        was right, that I am excusing it, whereas, in fact, I
am
        explaining it and there is a substantial difference.
Do
        you not agree?
   A.   No, I do not.  I am afraid the tenor and tendency of
your
        explanations is to find excuses.
   Q.   So ----
   A.   And you go on, and I go on to quote numerous places in
the
        report at some length arguments which you put forward
to
        try to suggest (and sometimes say in so many words)
that
        the Jews were responsible themselves for the
misfortunes
        which befell them.
   Q.   You still do not appear to appreciate the difference
        between the word ----
   A.   I think this falls into a pattern.
   Q.   --- to excuse and to explain.  Your use of the word
        "excusable" implies that David Irving welcomed the
        Holocaust, that I am excusing it; whereas I am
explaining
        it by saying, "These people had a vengeance, these
people
        had a grudge, these people felt wronged, these people
took
        it out on the people they perceived as being the ones
who
        did it".  Is that an excuse or is that an explanation?
   A.   I think given the fact that they not been bombed, that
is
        an excuse.

.          P-31



   Q.   I think we can abandon bombing for a moment and point
to
        other things.  I do not want to go into the reasons
why
        the Baltic Jews had a particular grudge, but that is
        neither here nor there.
   A.   Well, I think it is very much here or there.  If you
want
        to use as an explanation of the massacres of Jews by
        Baltic peoples, if you want to use in explanation of
that
        allegations that you want to make about their
maltreatment
        by Jews or justified -- or in some ways grievances
that
        they had which were in some ways justified, that seems
to
        me that you are excusing it.
   Q.   In other words, what you are saying is that I welcomed
the
        Holocaust, is that the way you are trying to put it to
the
        court?
   A.   I do not use the word "welcome", Mr ----
   Q.   Well, I am trying to understand why you use the word
        "excusable".  If something is excusable, then this
        implies that the person who is making the excuses
thinks
        it is a jolly good thing.
   A.   No, I do not think that is true actually.  Those are
two
        rather different things.  Applauding something and
        excusing it are rather different things, Mr Irving,
and
        I come back to this fact that you say, "These people
had
        seen the bombing raids begin, they'd lost probably
women,
        wives and children in the bombing raids".  So these
poor
        Estonians who had been subjected to allied bombings,

.          P-32



        therefore, felt so angry with the Jews that they took
it
        out on them.  Now, I do not think there is evidence
that
        Estonians were heavily bombed by the Allies in 1941.
   Q.   Forget the bombing raids for the time being.
   A.   I am not forgetting the bombing raids because that is
a
        central passage -- a central part of this passage,
        Mr Irving.
   Q.   My Lord, let me explain the reason why I am dealing
with
        this at length.  This is one of the issues pleaded.
In
        the pleadings one of the complaints is that I am
accused
        by the Second Defendant of having, I think, applauded
the
        incarceration of the Jews in the concentration camps.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I do not believe that she ever has made
that
        accusation.  What you are accused of in this part of
the
        report is making excuses for those who took part in
the
         ----
   MR IRVING:  Finding something excusable rather than
explicable,
        and there is a substantial difference there.  I find
the
        use of the word "excusable" which I hope the Professor
        will admit was a slip, but now he is trying to justify
it?
   A.   I will not admit it is a slip, no.  I mean, I looked
at
        this passage and it seems to me to excuse these
massacres.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Speaking for myself, I think I understand
the
        point you are making, Mr Irving, and I understand the
        answer as well.
   MR IRVING:  In that case, I will now wish to speak another

.          P-33



        paragraph about the explanation why the Baltic Jews
took
        revenge on their native Jewish population during the
brief
        interregnum between the time the Soviets moved out and
the
        German Army arrived.  Did you appreciate that there
were
        substantial killings in that period?
   A.   I would have to be provided with evidence, I think, to
        show that.
   Q.   So you make the allegations without the evidence then?
        You say that the bombing raids and so on, you say they
        had, the Nazis, the Latvians and Lithuanians the
Estonians
        had no ----
   A.   Let me set the context here, Mr Irving, is that I am
        talking about your denial that there was a systematic
        element in the Nazi extermination of Jews.
   Q.   You are going substantially further; you are saying
that
        I am welcoming it, I am excusing it?
   A.   I do not say you are welcoming it. Welcoming is
different
        from excusing.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Mr Irving, he is not saying you are
welcoming
        it.  He is saying you are making excuses for it.
   MR IRVING:  And this is precisely the point that I have to
        challenge, my Lord, because, of course, what I am
actually
        saying is there are explanations for these pogroms
        committed by the local population against the Jews,
and
        that is not making excuses for them in any way at all.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I have already said, I understand the
point

.          P-34



        you are making and I understand the answer.
   MR IRVING:  But it is a repugnant allegation to be made
        either  ----
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  There is no point in just using this
point as
        a sort of punch bag and going on and on because I have
the
        point.
   MR IRVING:  Well, I am beginning to feel like a punch bag
when
        I read this report with things being thrown at me the
        whole time like that, and I find that allegation
        particularly repugnant.  I have described the
atrocities
        committed by the Nazis against the Jews and by their
        collaborators against the Jews in very much detail in
my
        works and never at any time have I given even the
        slightest hint of relish or welcoming these things.
   A.   That is not what I am saying, Mr Irving.
   Q.   I have repeatedly tried to argue away the Wannsee
        conference, you say at the foot of page 137.  I am not
        going to dwell at length on that.  If you are an
        historian, you would, no doubt, know that there is a
great
        debate raging among genuine historians and scholars --
to
        spare you any difficulties here -- as to whether the
        Wannsee Conference was important or not.  Do you agree
        with that?
   A.   There are arguments about how important it was, yes.
   Q.   Yes, so if somebody tries ----
   A.   I do not think anybody has said that it was
unimportant.

.          P-35



        It is a question of the level and degree of importance
you
        attach to it.
   Q.   Do you agree that there is no reference to the word
        "liquidation" in the records or to any order by Hitler
or
        to any systematic killing in the Wannsee Conference?
   A.   Yes, that is true.
   Q.   Middle of page 138, please.  You say that I relied on
        Eichmann's testimony on other occasions but not when
it
        does not suit me.  This is another allegation of
        manipulation, right?
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   Can you tell me what other occasions I did rely on
        Eichmann's testimony?  Are you just referring to the
        episode where he looks through the peep hole in the
back
        of the van and saw the gas vans operating?
   A.   I think that is one of them, yes.  There are others,
        I think, which I mentioned in the report.
   Q.   I relied on it when it suited me -- why would it suit
me
        to use Eichmann's confirmation of something which I,
as a
        denier, am supposed to be denying?
   A.   Well, this comes back to the point that we talked
about
        yesterday, that I made it clear that Holocaust deniers
as
        a group have, on the whole, always admitted, as
Faurisson
        said, there were some small scale, relatively small
scale,
        killings on the Eastern Front of Jews, and that
belongs to
        that.

.          P-36



   Q.   Have you ever read very much of Eichmann's testimony
        either in his memoirs or in the subsequent trial in
        Israel?
   A.   I have read some, not the whole thing.
   Q.   Are you familiar with the passage where Eichmann,
        challenged about a particular episode, interrupted the
        interrogator two minutes later and said words to this
        effect:  "I am sorry.  You asked me two minutes ago
about
        that episode, and I have to say now I cannot remember
        whether I am actually remembering it or just
remembering
        being asked a question about it more recently"?
   A.   Well, you would have to show me that document.
   Q.   Do you agree that sometimes this happens in
        interrogations, that the interrogator puts questions
with
        such force that sometimes the person being
interrogated
        comes to believe what is being suggested to him by the
        questions?
   A.   Well, that is a very general statement, Mr Irving, and
        I suppose in some integrations somewhere or other that
        kind of thing takes place.
   Q.   Going on to page 139, the Commissart Order, and the
        guidelines for jurisdiction issued to the German Army
and
        armed forces in the spring of 1941.  I am not asking
you
        in detail about them, but would you agree that these
are
        documents of a military nature?
   A.   I am sorry, I cannot see this.

.          P-37



   Q.   139, paragraph 11.  We are dealing here with the
orders to
        kill Jews, Red Army Commissarts and others in the
German
        Army area?
   A.   Oh, yes, yes.
   Q.   So this is a reference to the Commissart order, is it
not?
   A.   Yes.

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