Archive/File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day006.11 Last-Modified: 2000/08/02 Q. I appreciate that, but what do you assess him as having had in mind? A. But whatever means to convey them from life to death. He is certainly not being explicit here, but of course, my Lord, it will not surprise you that I rely on the earlier part of that paragraph where he says, "I had to take the serious decision." I think this is a very powerful point in my favour. He does not say: "The Fuhrer took the decision", where he very easily could have in these circles. He is speaking, after all, to the top Nazi leaders. MR RAMPTON: Not on this occasion explicitly. A. He is being very explicit indeed. "I had to take this decision". Q. If Hitler or -- no, it does not say that. A. "I decided". Q. "I decided to find a very clear solution to this problem". A. "I have taken the decision to find a clear solution". Q. If Hitler already knew about it ---- A. You cannot climb out of that one, Mr Rampton. Q. I can, I am just about to. Do not worry, I am going to . P-94 show you another document which I know you are familiar with, so I do not know why you say what you say. I will find out later perhaps. A. There is no need to get rattled about it, but this is a cardinal document, Mr Rampton. Here is Himmler saying, "I took the decision". Q. Mr Irving, can I ask you to calm down a little and answer this question. If Hitler already knew about it, the injunction to the Gau and Reichs leaders to not speak about it would not matter, would it, I mean so far as its going upwards is concerned? What they are not supposed to do is to talk about it lower down. A. He does not actually say that. He just says "keep mum". Q. I know, but if Hitler already knew about it and had actually given Himmler the order to do it, in general terms, the authority to do it, then he is not talking about not telling Hitler, is he? A. I am not prepared to extrapolate from what it is in that document. I am just saying what the document tells us, since he says: "We are doing this but keep quiet about it." Q. Let us look at something a little bit more explicit, shall we? A. But if you remember what I clearly allow is that from this point on Adolf Hitler no excuse not to know because the very next day these same gentlemen went to him and he . P-95 spoke to them. Q. My googolies are I think a little bit more subtle than you sometimes think, Mr Irving. Can you turn on just for reference in this bundle to the next document which is after page 49 of Himmler's Posen speech. My Lord, it is footnote 187. A. My Lord, would be it be helpful if I pointed out that after making this speech Himmler had everybody who was present sign a list to agree that they had hear the speech, or if they had not heard it to agree that they had read it subsequently. All the SS Generals who were present were required -- I have never seen that on any of Himmler's other speeches. MR JUSTICE GRAY: What do you say is the significance of that? A. It is very interesting to speculate, my Lord. I think he was making them into accomplices in his own mind. He was saying: "There you are, now I have told you. Now we are all in it together." It is a very interesting historical document. I have never seen that on any of Himmler's other speeches, that he listed all SS Generals present and made them sign that they had been present and heard the speech or if they not been present that they had read it subsequently. MR RAMPTON: Mr Irving, Heinrich Himmler kept copies of these speeches, did he not? A. In various versions. There was the original raw . P-96 transcript and then a corrected transcript. Q. I know, I happen to have for the 5th May which we are coming to in a minute, I happen to have both versions. A. Yes. There are also his handwritten notes on the basis of which he spoke. Q. Yes, Mr Irving, your knowledge is extensive. I want to know why you think it is that Himmler kept copies of his speeches? A. I keep copies of me speeches. Q. But you do not talk about having given the order for the extermination of millions of Jews, do you, in your speeches? A. I have not exterminated millions of Jews, Mr Rampton. Q. Mr Irving, maybe it is late in the morning or something. Heinrich Himmler's speech is not just this one. We had the one earlier, the 4th October at Posen. We have this one here. We have two more in May 1944, which are quite explicit, at any rate about his role in the extermination of the whole Jewish race? A. Letting them vanish from the face of the earth, brutally explicit. Q. Yes, by killing them? A. Brutally explicit, yes. As he says, by murdering, and not just the men but the women and children too. Q. Yes, I know that. Why would he keep those admissions of guilt, particularly in 1943 and 1944 by which time he must . P-97 have known that the German world was probably going to come to an end? A. Why would he have kept it to himself? Q. Yes. Why did he commit these things to writing and then keep them after he had uttered them to his Generals or his Reichsleiters or whatever they are? A. I think the problem is we are so often on exactly the same side, Mr Rampton. Have I not frequently allowed in all my books that from this point on Hitler had no reason not to know? Q. Hitler did know, come on. A. On precisely this point I have said Hitler had no justification for pleading ignorance, because everybody else immediately around him had been informed, but also you have to set this kind of speech in the context. This is 5th October, 4th and 6th October 1943 rather, at the height of the bombing campaign. There is a reason why Himmler is making a speech like this to the disgruntled SS Generals. Morale is at a low ebb and he is saying, "Hey, we are hitting back, we're doing this to them". MR JUSTICE GRAY: I am really puzzled. Can I explain why, Mr Irving. When Mr Rampton was putting that passage from the October 1943 speech, 4th October 1943 speech, you were at pains to point out that Himmler was saying that it was he who would have taken the decision, but if you are accepting, as you have throughout, that by October 1943 . P-98 Hitler knew about the extermination policy ---- A. I say "from this point on", my Lord, because on the following day ---- Q. But what is the significance of emphasising that it was Himmler's decision if you accept Hitler was in on it? A. Because Himmler is accepting the responsibility for the job which has now been completed. Himmler is kind of reporting ---- Q. I see, ex post facto. A. Yes, saying, "We've done it all, the job has been done, I had to take the decision, it was a difficult job for us, but we done it, and I am proud of you, my SS men, for having carried out such a difficult task." Q. So the knowledge you say Hitler had from October 1943 did not include knowledge of what had been going on in 1942, is that what you are saying? A. I am saying it is quite likely that he will have ex post facto have learned about all these things, particularly the Gauleiters who went to see him the next day and the SS Generals who went to see him. The same audience went effectively to see Hitler where he lectured them, and it would be stretching the bounds of probability too far to say that not one of them went up to Hitler, one of the old veterans, and said, "Mein Fuhrer, we heard something yesterday which rather disturbed me", but I do not think it did disturb them. I think they rather liked . P-99 it. The eyewitness accounts we have of one of these speeches says that there were roars of applause. MR RAMPTON: It was ---- A. The Germans were like that. Q. If you are right, it is something of which Himmler was very proud, is it not? A. He was proud of his men for having carried out those extremely distasteful tasks. Q. But he was pleased, if your interpretation is right, and I am going to suggest it is not, but he was pleased to announce to this august gathering that he personally had made the decision to carry out this difficult task? A. Would it not have been wonderful for him if he had said: "The Fuhrer gave us this task and look how well we have performed his duties for him. Q. Of course he did. A. The great temptation would have been there, but he does not say this. Q. He does not? A. He says specifically: "I was the one who took the decision". Q. So that being so you would not expect that in May 1944 he would reveal that he done what he did in consequence of an order, and the only person of course who could have given an order is Hitler? A. Mr Rampton, shall we get to that document when we get to . P-100 it and look at the precise wording? Q. Very well. Let us doing that now. I have it open. MR JUSTICE GRAY: It is page 187. MR RAMPTON: Page 187. A. There are of course about ten such speeches and you have just picked out two of them. In none of the others does he make any suggestion that there is a Fuhrer order. So it is not just one speech where there is no reference. It is many speeches. Q. He makes another such reference later the same month, about three weeks later. We will come to that probably after the adjournment. A. Are we also going to look at Adolf Hitler's speech of I think it was June 26th 1944? Q. Yes, indeed I certainly am. Let us start with 5th May 1944. On page 18, tell me who this speech is made to, if you will? A. I think it is the military leader, the leadership, the top brass, shall we say. Q. The top brass. A. I know the names of a number of people who were present. General Stumpf was Air Force; General Reinicke was Germany Army. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Generals of the Wehrmacht. MR RAMPTON: These are not SS creatures. These are proper soldiers; these are Generals of the Wehrmacht, are they . P-101 not? A. Yes, the top brass of the German armed forces. Q. On page 28 it has been altered. One can see how these pages evolve sometimes. Page 28. My Lord, it looks like an 18, so one has to look at page 27 at the top, page 5 of the file. A. This is one of the most interesting pages I have ever looked at. Q. You can tell us everything you know about this page in just a moment when I have referred you to the relevant passage, which I think begins in the middle of the page: The Jewish question has been solved within Germany itself and in general within the countries occupied by Germany". Is that roughly right? A. Yes. Q. I am going to read on in the English from Dr Longerich's version. "It was solved in an uncompromising fashion in accordance with the life and death struggle of our nation in which the existence of our blood is at stake." Yes? A. Yes. Q. Then elipse, if you do not mind. Have you got that? A. Yes. Q. "You can understand how difficult it was for me"? A. "You can feel with me how difficult it was" yes. Q. "To carry out this soldatischen befehl". What is that? . P-102 A. Soldierly order or military order. Q. "And which I carried out and went through with a sense of obedience", which word is that? Translate the last part of the sentence for me? A. "Which I obeyed and carried out from obedience and from a sense of complete conviction". Q. Obedience to whom, Mr Irving, Hitler or his own sense of what was necessary for the sake of the thousand year Reich? A. I think the sense of what is coming out of that paragraph is a sense of duty. Q. So it is the sense of duty, is it, that gives him the soldatischen befehl? A. Yes. Q. A very odd choice of words, is it not, this soldierly order? A. Yes. Q. The only person who can give Mr Himmler a soldierly order is Mr Hitler? A. Absolutely right.
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