Archive/File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day005.14 Last-Modified: 2000/08/01 Q. Well, I am sorry you will have to look at the document in a moment. It dates from July 18th 1942. "It is a form on which the personnel specially authorized 'for the carrying out of the work of the Jewish resettlement within the framework of Operation Reinhard" by the SS and police leader in the Lublin district' acknowledged having been orientated to specific rules of secrecy by SS Amtstung Fuhrer Hofle on Globocnik's staff. They were forbidden to make any communication, verbal or in writing, concerning the Jewish resettlement, Juden umsiedlung, under any circumstances to anyone outside of Operation Reinhard. Moreover, there was 'an explicit prohibition against photography in the camps of Operation Reinhard'". Would you just glance, please, or more than glance, at the document which is in footnote 154 in volume H3(ii). MR JUSTICE GRAY: 154. MR RAMPTON: 154, my Lord, behind tab 16 in H3(ii). . P-121 MR JUSTICE GRAY: 153. MR RAMPTON: This document is the right way up. Again it looks to me like a reprint? A. Again it is a printed document. Q. What? It looks like a reproduction, this, does it not? A. 154, document 228 you are talking about? Q. Yes, document 228. A. Yes, it is a print. Q. Yes. Have you seen the original of this? A. I have not, no. Q. Did you know of its existence? A. No. Q. Has Professor Browning -- I will give you a moment in a minute -- is my question summarized its effect correctly? A. Yes, and I am familiar with the security, the secrecy declarations. I have seen several of them, particularly in connection with Auschwitz itself. Q. You see how, at any rate, in this version ---- A. Yes. Q. --- in July 1942, Reinhard is spelt? A. Yes, in this printed version. Q. In this printed version. A. Yes. Q. The spelling that you prefer, Mr Irving, has a "T" on the end, does it not? A. You are rather presuming, but, in fact, there are disputes . P-122 about how it should be spelt and perhaps I should explain to his Lordship the reason for the... MR JUSTICE GRAY: It is Heydrich? A. Obviously, the diminuendo is named in honour of Reinhart Heydrich who had been assassinated a month earlier. But, in fact, Operation Reinhard in its documentation, and I can produce other documents which very much go in this direction, there is an operation run by State Secretary, Fritz Reinhart, of the German Ministry of Finance who is a leading Nazi in that ministry who was in charge of the expropriation and looting of stolen Jewish property. This was a primary concern of these SS gangsters on the Eastern Front to round up the Jews and rob them blind and take their gold and everything else. Then it want to the Ministry of Finance literally. It was appropriated by the Reich. That is how it became known as Operation Reinhart, but I do agree that sometimes the documents leave out the "T" because of confusion. MR RAMPTON: Professor Browning, Mr Irving, only a few pages on at page 66, at the bottom of page 66 ---- A. Yes. Q. --- you may dispute it, but this is what he says, tells us that the spelling of "Operation Reinhart" with a "T" begins only in late 1943? A. There are documents prior to that, and only two months ago I was sitting in the Hoover Library in California going . P-123 through a whole file on Operation Reinhart from Himmler's files which details in very great degree the financial expropriation that went on, the gold rings, the watches, the whole of the business of recycling the stolen property. Q. And is your thesis this then, I do not know, perhaps I had better ask you an open question, what is your thesis as to the nature of Operation Reinhard? A. I am not setting up a rival thesis, Mr Rampton. I am just rattling slightly at yours and saying it is not quite as concrete and cast in stone as possibly you would like people to believe. Q. You will find when you question Professor Browning that he does not say either that it is certain that it is named after Reinhart Heydrich. All he notices is that the spelling undergoes a change. What he is perfectly certain about, and this is what matters in this case, is that it was a killing operation as an adjunct of which the Nazis stole the property of the dead people? A. Well, without wishing to reveal too much about what I intend to cross-examine Professor Browning on, I can say I that I shall be putting to him certain documents on the letter head of Heinreich Himmler, the Chief of the SS, which in the typical German Civil Service then have the sub-departments and the sub-departs indicated in the reference number, and you come to "Verwaltung" which is . P-124 administration, "Reinhard" and so on and the document is purely connected with the expropriation and the stolen watches and the remanufacture of the fountain pens and everything else that has been stolen from the victims of what they called the Holocaust. So the Operation Reinhard, it has a far stronger element of the expropriation than of the liquidation, if I can put it that way. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Can I ask you because sometimes we seem to be proceeding without, as it were, starting with the general proposition. Do you accept that Operation Reinhard, whoever it was called after, did have an aspect to it which involved the wholesale killing of Jews by whatever means? A. Operation Reinhard was a subsection of the Holocaust which was partly the deportation element, partly the killing element, whatever it happened, it had the for the SS the pleasant side effect, the large numbers of fountain pens, watches, gold, gold rings, jewellery and so on, came into their hands which were then processed in a ruthlessly methodical manner by the technicians of Operation Reinhard. Now, in the way that these things happen, it may happen, it may have come about that people will then regard Operation Reinhard as being the whole rather than as being part of the whole, if I can put like that. . P-125 Q. So the answer to my question is, yes, that was an operation and it did have the wholesale killing of Jews ---- A. It was an element. Q. --- as part of its objective? A. It was a part of the whole, my Lord, which possibly later on may then have become regarded as the whole. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Right. Sorry, Mr Rampton, just to get the general position. MR RAMPTON: No, your Lordship, as so often, and I do not say this in any sycophantic way, just bad luck on me, has asked a question that I am about to ask and it has several times and, in a sense ---- MR JUSTICE GRAY: I am sorry. MR RAMPTON: --- I am grateful, no, because ---- MR JUSTICE GRAY: It saves your voice. MR RAMPTON: --- for (1) it has the reassuring effect that one knows the judge is up to speed with the case. MR JUSTICE GRAY: It happens occasionally. A. Mr Rampton, please do not hesitate to ask it again yourself and you will probably get the same answer. Q. No, I will ask you a much, much simpler question, not that his Lordship's question was in the very slightest bit complicated. Do you accept or do you not accept because if you do we can go on to something else, Mr Irving, that hundreds upon thousands of Jews were from, let us say, the . P-126 spring of 1942 and in Chelmno earlier and probably Belzec, deliberately killed in Sobibor, Treblinka and Belzec? A. I think, on the balance of probabilities, the answer is yes. But I have to say on the balance of probabilities because the evidentiary basis for that statement is extremely weak, even now, 55 years later. The Russians captured the camps, they captured the documentation of many of these camps, and we are still short of the actual smoking gun, shall I say. Q. We are also short of factory buildings and such like, are we not? A. What kind of factory buildings? Q. Well, Sobibor, let us take them north to south, Treblinka, Sobibor and Belzec were not factory or work camps, were they, whatever they were? A. My understand and, once again, I have to keep on emphasising I am not an expert on the Holocaust and I do not intend to become one for the purposes of this trial. My understanding is that those camps also had a transit camps aspect, that people would arrive there and they would be shipped elsewhere. Q. Where? A. For example, from Mydonek -- from Treblinka they were shipped to Mydonek, for example. There is a ---- Q. Maybe somewhere? A. I beg your pardon? . P-127 Q. Maybe somewhere. A. 60,000. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Very late on, I recollect, is that right? A. May 1943, my Lord, the Jews from the Warsaw ghetto, according to the standard work by the Soviet historian, Grossmann, published very early in the war, they had the access to the records in Mydonek. They traced 60,000 Jews from the Warsaw ghetto who had been sent to Treblinka and then sent off to Mydonek. This kind of thing happened and one wonders how often where we do not have the records of it. But I have to state that I am not an expert on this, and I am willing to go along with any hypothesis that Mr Rampton can ---- MR RAMPTON: No, not an hypothesis. I want to know what you accept and what you do not accept. If you accept, on a balance of probabilities, that Operation Reinhard, whether it had other aspects to it or not, was a killing operation in the course of which hundreds of thousands of Jews were deliberately killed by the Nazis, we can close this chapter and go on to something else. A. No, I do not accept that. I say the that Operation Reinhard was frequently something very definitely only a sub-operation. It was the looting part, the looting element, and the recycling element, which is where the name originally came from. . P-128 Q. I am getting terribly confused. I sometimes feel that either I am not asking the right question or ---- A. This is partially the reason for the secrecy that was attached to the people operating in it. They were required to sign these forms saying they had not seen the looting going on and the stealing going on. Q. I am confused. I had asked you a couple of minutes ago whether you accepted, on the balance of probabilities, that in Treblinka, Sobibor and Belzec whether you accepted that hundreds of thousands of Jews were deliberately killed by the Nazis and I thought you said yes. A. Yes, but then you tried to say this was Operation Reinhard and that I do not go along with. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Does the label matter in the end, really? A. I do not think so. MR RAMPTON: No, of course it does not. One sees a document saying whatever it is, 100,000, it does not matter what it is, and then one sees a document saying "greater secrecy" and then one has the concession from the witness, that is the end of that story, so it seems to me? A. It is not a concession, Mr Rampton. It is a simple statement of fact on the balance of the evidence, balance of possibilities. Q. Does it matter what the means of killing were? A. Well, apparently it does because apparently we are going to waste a lot of our time over the coming weeks looking . P-129 at certain buildings. Q. Can I read something that you said -- you can look at it in a moment -- on 21st May 1989 in a letter to somebody called Zitelmann? A. Dr Reine Zitelmann, a West German historian, yes. Q. You wrote this: "As for what did unquestionably happen to the Jews, the CSDIC report, of which I also enclose a copy, shows with reliability beyond question the manner in which the killings occurred, that is to say, shooting"? A. That is, of course, the Bruns Report which I have just sent to yet another historian. Q. Exactly. "Random, haphazard, criminal in nature, occurring without Hitler's knowledge and immediately forbidden by him when he learned of them but going unpunished by him too." A. I still stand by that statement today. Q. So, although it was hundreds of thousands of people that were killed in these three small villages in Eastern Poland, it was wholly random; is that right? A. If it had been systematic to the degree that you are hoping to establish, industrialised, shall we say, it would have been done by far more ruthlessly efficient means with all that efficiency we come to associate with the German name.
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