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Shofar FTP Archive File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit//transcripts/day020.05


Archive/File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day020.05
Last-Modified: 2000/07/24

   Q.   All I am trying to get from you is a concession that the
        Commissart order issued by the German High Command of the
        armed forces was a military document concerned with
        military measures and that it did not convey a clear and
        overriding intent to kill the Jews as such?
   A.   It is, no, it is an order that Red Army Commissarts will
        be killed.  There were orders issued to that effect in
        its -- I mean, it is very hard to describe that as a
        military order in the sense that it did not seem to me, or
        to most historians, there to be any military justification
        for it.  It is a political act.
   Q.   The simple question there is were they being killed as
        Commissarts or as Jews?
   A.   As Commissarts.  The Jews are a separate matter in these
        orders.
   Q.   And do you accept that at this time the Soviet Union was
        not a signatory of the Geneva Convention on
        prisoners-of-war and, therefore, the Germans had no
        obligation whatsoever to treat their prisoners properly?
   A.   That is a rather different matter, Mr Irving, and
actually

.          P-38



        issuing an order to the Army to kill Red Army
Commissarts
        is a very different matter from simply not treating
people
        properly.
   Q.   Well, you accept that when nations become belligerent,
        they have a choice that they can make, they can agree
both
        sides, they can become signatories and parties of a
        convention like the Geneva Convention on treatments of
        prisoners-of-war, and the Soviet Union had
specifically
        opted out of it and, therefore, at no time opted into
it,
        so the Soviet Union, legally speaking, Soviet
prisoners
        could not expect to be treated as prisoners-of-war
and, in
        fact, nor could German prisoners be expected to be
treated
        as prisoners-of-war?
   A.   Well, if you are advancing that argument as an excuse
or
        justification for the order to the Germany Army to
kill
        all the Red Army Commissarts found and for the
deliberate
        killing of between 3 and 4 million Soviet prisoners-of-
war
        by the Germans, then I do not think it is a very
strong
        justification or excuse.
   Q.   Did you hear me express it in those terms as an
excuse?
   A.   That seemed to me what you were saying.
   Q.   Was I not, in fact, just taking up the point you made
        before I mentioned the Geneva Conventions in which you
        referred to the illegal killing of these Commissarts?
   A.   You have lost me, I am afraid.
   Q.   In paragraph 12 you refer to Holocaust denier, Paul

.          P-39



        Rassinier, and on the following page, the first line
of
        page of 140, you refer to Austin App?
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   Why do you refer to these people?  Is it not totally
        irrelevant to bring in all these names of people?
   A.   No.  I am suggesting here that these are familiar --
the
        arguments you are putting forward are familiar
arguments
        from well-known Holocaust deniers, advanced by many
other
        Holocaust deniers.
   Q.   Unless his Lordship disagrees, what possible relevance
        does that have to this case that other writers have
        strange views?
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Very, very marginal, in my view, so we
can
        move on.
   MR IRVING:  In other words, I need not prepare to address
it?
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  No, you do not.
   MR IRVING:  We do, however, on this point come to the
important
        matter of the allegation by me that the Holocaust
story in
        part is an echo of our own propaganda.  My Lord, I do
        think we have dealt with this allegation before, have
we,
        in this court?
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  No.
   MR IRVING:  It is quite an intricate allegation, and,
witness,
        you disagree with this.  Can we take it in stages?  Do
you
        agree that the Allies at any time started making
        propaganda broadcasts to Germany with references to
the

.          P-40



        extermination of the Jews?
   A.   Yes.  I certainly agree with that.
   Q.   Can you put a rough date on when these broadcasts
began?
   A.   Sometime in 1942.
   Q.   Sometime in 1942?
   A.   As I recall.
   Q.   Have you read the memoirs -- do you know who Thomas
Mann
        is?
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   Was he a famous German novelist?
   A.   Indeed.
   Q.   Author of I think "Wooden Brooks" and various other --
--
   A.   Yes, that is right.
   Q.   --- famous novels?  Where was he during World War II?
   A.   He was in the United States.
   Q.   In the United States.  Was he engaged by the Allies as
a
        propagandist?
   A.   That, I am not sure about, but he certainly did make
        broadcasts, yes.
   Q.   Have you read his memoirs and his own diary?
   A.   No.
   Q.   If I put to you either now or later passages from the
        Thomas Mann diary of 1941 in which he describes making
        broadcasts relating to -- here we are ----
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  In a way, Mr Irving, you have got your
answer
        because Professor Evans has agreed that there were

.          P-41



        propaganda broadcasts from 1942 about the
extermination of
        the Jews.
   MR IRVING:  I was going to bring you back to 1941.  It may
seem
        completely immaterial, my Lord, but -- in January 1942
        Thomas Mann broadcast the following words in German:
         "[German - document not provided] "400 Young Dutch
Jews
        have been brought to Germany to be used as
experimental
        objects for poison gas in January 1942".  Can you
accept
        that if he writes that in his diary as a propaganda
        broadcast that he made that there was such a
broadcast?
   A.   Well, could I see a copy, please?
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Do we need to take terribly long?  This
is
        actually 1942, not 1941, but you have got your answer
that
        there was propaganda use being made of the alleged
        extermination of Jews.
   MR IRVING:  Right.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  From, at any rate, 1942.
   MR IRVING:  Buttressed with three more sources but we will
not
        go into detail, my Lord.  Have you heard of the
        Ringlebloom diary.
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   Will you accept that Ringlebloom makes reference in
June
        1942 in the ghetto to receiving broadcasts about the
        extermination of Jews with poison gas?
   A.   Yes, I will accept that.
   Q.   If you have read my Goebbels biography, as no doubt
you

.          P-42



        have for the purposes of this case, will you agree
that
        the German Propaganda Ministry monitored a wave of
        propaganda broadcast in November 1942 referring to the
        gassing, mass gassing, of Germans?
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   In other words, they were Nazi monitoring reports of
the
        BBC.  You yourself, Professor, are an expert because
you
        have written a box on the subject, have you not, of
German
        wartime morale, of the reports?  I think you wrote a
book,
        did you not, on the subject of reports on public
opinion,
        morale?
   A.   No, no.  I think the book you are thinking of covered
the
        years 1892 to 1914.
   Q.   So this is the wrong war?  In other words ----
   A.   It is not even the war at all.  It is before the First
        World War, I am afraid.
   Q.   So you are not familiar with the SD reports or with
the
        letter intercept reports or anything like that on
German
        public knowledge?
   A.   Slightly familiar, but I would not say that I was a
major
        expert on them.  I mean, I know what the SD reports
were.
        I have read a few of them, but I am in no sense a real
        expert on them.
   Q.   Yes, you are absolutely right.  I am wrong.  Your book
        was [German] was it not?  So you have not read any of
the
        corresponding reports on German public morale, public

.          P-43



        opinion, that were gathered by the Gestapo or by the
        Propaganda Ministry in the war years?
   A.   Only those which were cited in publication of other
        scholars and one or two in the original, but I have
not
        read them thoroughly.
   Q.   How much talk was there in Germany during the war
years of
        gas chambers, do you think, in public or in private?
   A.   I think that is very difficult to say.  We have to
        remember that there was a great deal of secrecy
        surrounding them.  I think there was a fair amount of
talk
        about shootings behind the Eastern Front, but of
course it
        was against the law, and punished severely, if you
spread
        news about what was going on in concentration camps or
        extermination camps in Germany.
   Q.   Given that the BBC made -- I am going to keep this
        brief -- repeated broadcasts during 1942 about the
Nazi
        atrocities, and about the extermination of Jews, and
about
        gas chambers, even before the gas chambers began
operating
        on a large scale ----
   MR RAMPTON:  Wait a minute.  If Professor Evans is to deal
with
        that, Mr Irving must give some precise dates.  One
        remembers evidence is that the evidence is that
Chelmno
        started killing people in gas trucks 8th December
1941,
        and that the three Reinhardt camps were in full
operation
        during the summer 1942.  I think we need some dates.
   MR IRVING:  With respect, Mr Rampton, I think, in view of
the

.          P-44



        fact that Professor Evans has stated himself that he
is
        not an expert on this matter ----
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  No, Mr Irving, that will not do, will it?
        You cannot put a question which has as its premise a
        misstatement about the date when gas chambers began
        operating.  That is the point that Mr Rampton is
        making.  It does not impinge on that objection that
        Professor Evans may not himself be an expert.  If you
are
        going to ask that question, and it is a relevant
question,
        you must premise it correctly.
   MR IRVING:  I was really trying to save the court time.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  That will not do either, Mr Irving, if I
may
        say so.
   MR IRVING:  It will certainly take time for me to look up
the
        actual dates and references and I do not want to take
up
        the court's time shuffling papers.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Can I reformulate it for you and try and
        help?  Or would you rather do it yourself?  Do it
        yourself.
   MR IRVING:  Your Lordship is much better reformulating
        questions.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  No.  I think I must not interfere too
much.
   A.   Can I say that what is at issue here are Mr Irving's
        statements that "the British Intelligence Service
        suggested a propaganda campaign against Germany on the
        basis of invented allegations of gas chambers", or
another

.          P-45



        quote at the top of page 141, "The story that the
Germans
        are using gas chambers for the mass extermination of
Jews
        is, so and so on forth, psychological warfare, etc,
warned
        the cabinet this is a lie that we ourselves had
        invented."  That is really what is at issue.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I follow that.
   MR IRVING:  This is very helpful.  In fact, the witness has
        been very helpful and this helps me to zero in on the
        particular matter.  Witness, will you therefore go
        straightforward to page 148 of your report?  You are
        quoting here from a clip of Foreign Office documents,
are
        you not?
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   In the Public Record Office.  They are well-known
        documents and I am going to rely on the final
paragraph of
        page 148.  Is this document dated August 27th 1943?
   A.   Yes, that is right.
   Q.   At this time does Mr Victor Cavendish-Bentinck, who I
        think later became Lord Portland, state, "I think that
we
        weaken our case against the Germans by publicly giving
        credence to atrocity stories for which we have no
        evidence."  Is that right?  Does he write that?
   A.   That is what he says, yes.
   Q.   So at this time in August 1943 the British had no
evidence
        of gas chambers, because that what is specifically
being
        talk about in this document?

.          P-46



   MR RAMPTON:  The Professor must be allowed to read the
        preceding two paragraphs that he himself has set out
in
        his report because that is to rip something right out
of
        context.
   MR IRVING:  I thought it would be helpful to go forward to
1943
        to see what we did not know.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Let us see what the context is for what
        Cavendish-Bentinck said.
   MR IRVING:  As regards putting Poles to death in gas
chambers,
        that is pretty plain, is it not here?  Here is the
Foreign
        Office saying we have no evidence for this, and yet
back
        in 1942 they are making the propaganda broadcasts.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Mr Irving, I am just trying to read it.
Can
        you just pause for a second (Pause for reading).  I am
        bound to say that I do think that, in fairness to
        Mr Irving, one of the things about which
        Cavendish-Bentinck is saying that there is no evidence
        available to the British at that stage is the putting
to
        death of Poles in gas chambers.
   MR RAMPTON:  Polish children, and the underline is in the
        original.  It is not Professor Evans.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I agree what is being talked of is
killing
        Polish children, or selling them.  But also, as a
separate
        topic, it seems to me a fair reading of this suggests,
the
        putting of Poles to death in gas chambers.

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