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Archive/File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day020.20
Last-Modified: 2000/07/24

   MR IRVING:  I wrote a whole book about it, my Lord.  I wrote
        his biography.  He provided his private diaries to me and
        that has been in discovery and in evidence to the Defence
        throughout this case, and I really do not want to hold up
        the matter by producing evidence for that.  I have
        only been delayed by the fact that the witness has
        admitted that his evidence for these assertions was based
        on -- his own concession -- very limited sources.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Yes.
   A.   I do not think so I said that.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I do not think he did, but the point is that
        it is not terribly satisfactory to have cross-examination
        by assertion, if you follow me.
   MR IRVING:  Yes.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Sometimes I think it is going to be necessary

.          P-178

        to give chapter and verse for what you are asserting.
   MR IRVING:  Yes.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  And I know that makes life difficult for
you.
   MR IRVING:  It is a flimsy assertion against an even
flimsier
        submission by the witness, if I can put like that.
The
        final sentence there, witness, Professor Evans, is you
        say, you have quoted where I say:  "Hitler ordered
state
        pensions provided for the next of kin of the people
        murdered in the Night of the Long Knives, as June 30th
        19934 came to be known"?
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   Do you have any reason to challenge that statement?
   A.   No, I do not.
   Q.   You have held it up there for the delectation of his
        Lordship and others as those it is slightly
incredible?
   A.   Well, I am giving your views on Hitler here.  This is
the
        context.
   Q.   Should I have cut that out then?
   A.   You describe Hitler as a dictator by consent, he had
an
        act of rare magnanimity in ordering state pensions, he
was
        a "friend of the arts, benefactor" -- I am quoting you
        here -- "benefactor of the impoverished, defender of
the
        innocent, persecutor of the delinquent" ----
   Q.   We will come to that one in a minute.
   A.   --- this is what I am trying to establish here.
   Q.   But are you suggesting, therefore, that if Adolf
Hitler in

.          P-179



        this rather odd act of generosity, I suppose, ordered
        bloated pensions provided to the widows of those he
has
        just murdered that I should somehow suppress this
because
        20 years later Professor Evans is going to stand in a
        witness box and say, "This is evidence of Mr Irving's
        admiration for Hitler" that I should not have
mentioned
        it, therefore.
   A.   It seems to me that it is evidence of your admiration
for
        Hitler.
   Q.   And you would not, therefore, have mentioned this
        document; you would have pretended this document did
not
        exist?  Is that the way you would work?
   A.   I do not understand the question there.
   Q.   I cannot understand -- let me put it ----
   A.   Oh, I see what you mean.
   Q.   If you were writing a biography of Hitler, would you
have
        left this document out?
   A.   Which document?
   Q.   The reference to the pensions.
   A.   Well, I would have to see the document before I could
        answer that question.
   Q.   If you were writing a biography of Hitler and you came
        across a document which said:  "The Fuhrer has ordered
        pensions paid to the next of kin of those executed in
the
        Night of the Long Knives", would you have left it out?
   A.   No, of course not.

.          P-180



   Q.   Yes.  So, in other words, you are criticising me for
doing
        something that you too would have done, is that
correct?
   A.   Well, that is to say, if the document bears, you know,
        sustains the interpretation you put on it.
   Q.   Now, moving on to the final sentence of that paragraph
        where you mockingly have quoted where have apparently
        said:  "Hitler, according to Irving, was a 'friend of
the
        arts, benefactor of the impoverished, defender of the
        innocent, persecutor of the delinquent'", is this not
--
        my memory may be wrong and his Lordship is already
looking
        it up -- a slightly mocking entry at the beginning of
a
        chapter where, having set that out, I then ----
   A.   Sorry, could I have the 1991 edition?  The first
section,
        the first file?
   Q.   Has your Lordship find it?
   A.   109.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Yes, I have.
   MR IRVING:  Yes.  I do not have it in front me, but my
        recollection is that the way I used that was slightly
        mockingly offsetting it against what then follows.
   A.   I do not think that offsets it.   This is the
"popular
        dictator, friend of the arts, benefactor of the
        impoverished, defender of the innocent, persecutor of
the
        delinquent.  In an early Cabinet meeting in June 8th
1983
        he had come out against the death penalty for economic
        sabotage, arguing, 'I am against the death sentence

.          P-181



        because it is irreversible.  The death sentence should
be
        reserved for only the gravest crimes, particularly
those
        of a political nature'", and so on.  So it does not
seem
        to be a kind of ironic or sarcastic setting off.
   Q.   Then is there what we call a topic sentence for what
        follows, that having set out the topic sentence, I
then
        hang the meat on it, so speak?
   A.   I do not think -- I mean, it is there in black and
white.
         "Friend of the arts, benefactor of the impoverished,
        defender of the innocent, persecutor of the
delinquent".
   Q.   But do you agree that what follows then effectively
hangs
        the meat on that particular topic sentence?
   A.   Well, it refers back both backwards and forwards.  If
you
        like, it is a linking sentence.
   Q.   Yes.  Can you now go forward please to page 213?
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Are you leaving the Night of the Long
Knives.
   MR IRVING:  I have left it entirely, my Lord, yes.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Can I just ask one question?  Professor
        Evans, it seems to me -- I may be wrong about this --
the
        sort of main point on the Night of the Long Knives is
        whether or not Hitler was in any way complicit or
involved
        in the murder of 90 former associates of the Nazi
Party?
   A.   Yes, that is correct, my Lord.
   Q.   Mr Irving has, as I understand it, put to you that
Hitler
        had nothing to do with it, it was Heydrich?
   A.   I am not sure that is what he says.

.          P-182



   MR RAMPTON:  I think the position is in the book Hitler is
        guilty of seven only ----
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I see.
   MR RAMPTON:  --- out of 82 or 90, whatever it is.
   MR IRVING:  Can I be more specific?  He was guilty
originally
        of seven.   Eventually, over the next few days he was
told
        it was 84 or 90 and in private he expressed annoyance
to
        the people who brought the message saying, "It has got
out
        of hand" and this is the evidence of the Adjutants
        Bruchner and Schaub, whose papers I quoted on various
        occasions, and, in fact, there is a letter written by
        Victor Lutze, who was the successor of Rume to Himmler
        four years later harking back to that period saying
that
        the Fuhrer was very angry that so many people had been
        killed, including some of his closest friends.  That
is
        one sentence that sticks in his mind.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  So to that extent, I am grateful to you,
        Mr Rampton, he is disapproving what happened, and I
just
        wanted to know, Professor Evans, whether in the light
of
        your knowledge of what happened, whether that is an
        account you accept?
   A.   No.
   Q.   Can you elaborate slightly?
   A.   Sorry.  I have been asked to keep my answers short.
   Q.   I know.  It is very difficult to get it right.
   A.   No, Hitler was directly responsible for these murders
and

.          P-183



        these crimes.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Thank you.  I am sorry, Mr Irving.
   MR IRVING:  In that case I will just have to re-examine
briefly
        on that.  You say he is directly responsible.  Do you
have
        any evidence whatsoever for that statement on the
basis of
        your admittedly flimsy reading on the matter?
   A.   Yes, certainly.  I mean I quote this in footnote 11 of
        page 209.
   Q.   Other authors.  Had any of them had access to the
private
        diaries of Dr Joseph Goebbels covering the Night of
the
        Long Knives which I had?
   A.   Yes, Kershaw's Hitler certainly and Fry's National
        Socialist Rule in Germany, both of those. The third
book
        I mention there is not really about that, but about
the
        legal proceedings after 1945 concerned with trying to
        bring the perpetrators to justice.
   Q.   Have you read Kershaw's Hitler in this respect?
   A.   Yes, I cite it there.
   Q.   Would it surprise to you notice that he has made no
use
        whatsoever of the new Goebbels' diaries, and
corresponded
        with him about this?
   A.   In the entire book?
   Q.   Yes.
   A.   I would have to check that up.  I find that difficult
to
        believe.
   Q.   Can we now ----

.          P-184



   A.   It depends what you mean by the "new Goebbels'
diaries".
   Q.   Well, the ones that I found in Moscow, the ones that
        I brought back from Moscow in 1992.
   A.   I do not think that is right, Mr Irving.
   Q.   Well, I shall leave my question as it was, that
        I corresponded with him about that and does it not
        surprise you to hear that he told me he had not made
use
        of them?
   A.   It does because that is not my understanding.  You
would
        have to show me the letter before I could accept that.
   Q.   Yes, but we are going to make progress now, please, to
        page 213.  We are now dealing with the assassination,
with
        various things on which I appear to have exonerated
        Hitler.  Beginning with the previous page:  "Charles
        Sydnor found that I portrayed Hitler not as a monster
but
        as a fair-minded statesman of considerable chivalry."
                  Would you have portrayed Hitler as a
monster,
        Professor Evans?  Do you think that Hitler should be
        portrayed as monster?
   A.   I think I am summarizing Sydnor there.
   Q.   Yes, but I am asking you.  Do you think that Hitler
should
        be portrayed as a monster?  In other words, am I to be
        criticised for not portraying Hitler as a monster?
   A.   Well, let us take the full sentence there, not as a
        monster but as a fair-minded statesman of considerable
        chivalry, who never resorted", and so and so forth:
"Who

.          P-185



        never resorted to the assassination of foreign
opponents;
        who never intended to harm the British Empire and
wanted
        peace with Britain after June 1940, and who attacked
the
        Soviet Union in 1941 only as a preventative measure."
        This is Sydnor.  This is in a section in which I am
        commenting and begins in the middle of page 210.  I am
        recounting a number of authors who have considered
that
        your position is extremely favourable to Hitler.  I
think
        here again I am trying to -- I am in a slight
difficulty
        that I am quoting the views of other authors -- I am
        trying to establish that it is not merely a quirk of
        Professor Lipstadt that she says that you are an
admirer
        of Hitler, because this is a view that has been
adopted by
        a number of other writers.  If you want me to say
whether
        Hitler was a monster or not ----
   Q.   That was the question.
   A.   --- if you want to put in those terms, yes, he was a
        monster.
   Q.   Yes, he was a monster.
   A.   It is undeniable.
   Q.   We now turn the page, the specific allegations are
that
        I said that he never resorted to the assassination of
        foreign opponents.  Is that correct?  Is that a true
        statement?
   A.   This is what Sydnor says, how Sydnor says you portray
        Hitler.  He is not ----

.          P-186



   Q.   But you have quoted him.
   A.   Yes, I am quoting him.
   Q.   Can I ask you on the basis of your knowledge as an
        historian of that period ----
   A.   I am not quoting Sydnor as saying that all these
things
        are entirely wrong.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  That is where we get into difficulties,
is it
        not?
   A.   Yes.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  What we want to concentrate on, Mr
Irving,
        I think is really where Professor Evans states his own
        views.
   MR IRVING:  Rather than the views of other people about
views
        of other people.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Rather than the views of other people.
   MR IRVING:  Yes.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  It is not your fault that you pick up
these
        references to other historians because they are there
to
        be picked up, but what is going to help me is when you
        tackle Professor Evans about his views about your
        portraying Hitler in a favourable light rather than
more
        accurately.
   MR IRVING:  Yes.  On the facing page -- I will try to move
        forward and your Lordship will appreciate that I am
        abandoning good points there.  I am doing it willingly
in
        the cause of making court progress.

.          P-187



   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Yes.  I have tried to say that I understand
        why you are being distracted, as it were, by these
        references to other historians.  That is not your fault.

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