Archive/File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day008.02 Last-Modified: 2000/07/20 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Let's not get bogged down. What is being put . P-9 to you is that, where you have vernichtung in combination with a reference to vermin, there can be no two ways about it. What is being talked about is extermination. Do you not agree with that? A. There is more than one way to skin a cat and I am not going to go beyond what the actual document says, my Lord. For example -- it could equally well be destroyed as vermin by being locked up for life. I am just talking about theoretical possibilities, but I agree that there is a sinister connotation on this document. MR JUSTICE GRAY: You do agree? A. Yes. MR RAMPTON: Professor Browning goes on ----. A. He has also talked about the fact that the Jewish men have been shot and disposed of, which is many of what he calls the vermin. This does not really take it much further. Q. We are coming to the female and the infant vermin in a moment. What did Wurm mean by special measures for the destruction of Jews in the east, extermination, vernichtung, whatever? A. I am not the writer of this letter, Mr Rampton, so I do not know what he is talking about. Q. No. Well, we will leave that, shall we? I do not believe there can be any doubt about what extermination of vermin actually means. Q. "On October 25, 1941, Rademacher's counterpart in the Reich . P-10 Ministry for the Occupied Eastern Territories, Eberhard Wetzel ...". Is that a correct description of Herr Wetzel's position? A. Yes. Q. Was he of equal rank with Rademacher? A. Yes. He survived the war and he died in his bed at a ripe old age without having suffered any penalty. I remember corresponding with him some time ago. Q. "... Met first with Viktor Brack of the Fuhrer Chancellery..." Can I pause there to ask you to explain what the Fuhrer Chancellery actually was, please? A. It is a total misnomer really to call it the Fuhrer Chancellery. It was an office set up in another building many hundreds yards away from Hitler's Chancellery. It was a body which was primarily concerned with dealing with the public, and in that way it became involved with dealing with applications for clemency, and in that way it became involved in the euthanasia programme because doctors who were required to take part in the euthanasia programme had to apply, so to speak, to the head of state in advance for clemency for the actions they proposed to take. In that way it became involved in the mass killing operations. Viktor Brack, I believe, was No. 2 in the Fuhrer Chancellery under Philip Buhler. Q. Can you tell me, I think Viktor Brack was, at any rate, one Dr Brack, sometimes German doctors are Dr Dr, but he . P-11 is Dr Brack, is he not? A. Yes. Q. Do you know what his doctorate was in? A. No. Probably in law. Most of the gangsters were lawyers. Most of the concentration camp commandants were lawyers. Q. As we shall see shortly. Dr Brack had a chemist called Kalmeier? A. Dr Kalmeier, yes. Q. I should ask you a further question. Is it your position then that, despite the fact that it is called the Fuhrer Chancellery, there is not only a hundred yards, but a great deal more metaphorically speaking of distance between what goes on in that Chancellery and the Fuhrer himself? A. I have read a great deal in the files of that department, and I cannot remember having seen any correspondence between that department and Hitler himself. Q. What was the Fuhrer's office called? A. The Fuhrer's office? Q. Yes. Did he have actual office of his own? A. The Reichskanzlei would be the closest body to him which was under Dr Hans Lammas who we will meet later on this morning probably. He was head of the Reichskanzlei, the Reich Chancellery as Reich chancellor. As head of the Wehrmacht he would be the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht, . P-12 which was his military office, so to speak. Q. "... of the Fuhrer Chancellery (where he was involved with the so-called euthanasia program for the killing of mentally-and physically handicapped patients in German hospitals and asylums)..." Pause there a moment. This is not an important point but we will mention it, if we may, in passing. That is the so-called T 4 programme, is it not, from No. 4 Theresien Strasse? A. No, Tiergarten Strasse. Q. I beg your pardon. I muddled up two words. A. The T 4, and they developed the expertise for killing, the gas trucks and so on. Q. That programme did have Adolf Hitler's authority, did it not? A. The euthanasia program was authorized by Hitler in the middle of September 1939. Around about August 1940, when it began to gather momentum voices in the public became agitated about it and retrospectively Hitler signed a decree on September 1st 1939 authorizing it, in other words giving it the force of law. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Authorizing the use of gas trucks to effect the euthanasia? A. No, my Lord, authorizing the euthanasia programme. Strictly speaking, he specified which doctors were allowed to carry it out or to make the decisions of life and death over the victims of the euthanasia programme. He did not . P-13 talk about the methods. Q. He did not talk about methods at all? A. Not in this decree. It is a five or six line decree. Q. Nor anywhere else? A. No. It is a very interesting document because it is obviously a signed death warrant for thousands of people which Adolf Hitler has himself signed. It is that kind of order which does sometimes exist. MR RAMPTON: I do not know, they probably used a variety of methods to begin with, did they not? A. To do what? Q. A variety of methods to begin with, the euthanasia people? A. I understand so. I think the order actually spoke of humane means, and you can interpret the word "humane" how you want if you are a Nazi, I suppose. Q. One of the means used, I do not know whether it was the most frequently used, was carbon monoxide gas from bottles, was it not? A. I believe that is correct, yes. I think this was the method. There was a discussion at Hitler's table about the most humane ways of doing it. I discussed this with the widow of Dr Conte, who was the original chief doctor, and she remembered being at her home of the telephone call from Hitler to her husband in September 1939. Her husband, immediately after the phone conversation, went to a dictionary to look up to see what the word "euthanasia" . P-14 meant. After that, they had the discussions at Hitler's chancellery about the most humane ways of putting these people to sleep, if you can put it like that. Q. Including by the use of carbon monoxide gas? A. This was one of the methods discussed on that occasion and I believe they did use it, yes. Q. It is said by Professor Browning that Wetzel met also Adolf Eichmann, Heydrich's special adviser on Jewish policy. Two things. Is there anything in that short account of whom Wetzel met on 25th October 1941, which is a matter of history you disagree with? It is not a matter of history I disagree with in broad terms, but the documentary basis is a bit suspect. I know the documents that Browning is referring to and some of them are in pencil, some of them had gaps in, I think it was N 0365 or something like that is the Nuremberg document number. They go through various drafts. Q. The second question is this. Is it right that Adolf Eichmann was Heydrich's special adviser on Jewish policy? A. He was the head of the Jewish desk of the amtfuhrer which was the section 4 of the Riesigerhauptamt. MR JUSTICE GRAY: I am not sure whether this is really covered by Mr Rampton's question, but do you accept that Brack of the kanzlei did declare himself ready to aid in the construction of gassing apparatus? A. Yes, I think so, my Lord. I think we can very rapidly . P-15 slice through this if I accept most of the contentions that are made in these paragraphs. MR JUSTICE GRAY: That is helpful. MR RAMPTON: In that case I need not ask you to look at the Wetzel letter to Lohse, who is the Reichs commissar for the Ostland. You may, if you wish. It is in H3 (ii) at footnote 83. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Do we need to? MR RAMPTON: No. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Broadly speaking, the narrative is accepted? A. Yes. I think that would probably just dot Is and cross Ts. MR RAMPTON: I will tell you this. It is actually marked Geheim, which is what was second security classification. A. Could you tell me again what the reference number for the document is. Q. I think you ought to look at it. I am sorry about this, my Lord, but I feel uncomfortable being the only one with the document open in front of me. It is H3 (ii), footnote 83. A. I have it. Q. This is, I think, a Nuremberg document, is it not? A. Yes. Q. You can tell that from the top? A. Right. With this document, of course, now I can see the document you are referring to, I do have a problem fitting . P-16 it into the actual framework you are trying to ascribe it to. It refers to unterkunfte and vergasungsapparate. It is referring to Riga and by implication it also brings in Dr Tesch, who was the head of the company that manufactured or rather had the sole distribution rights on Zyklon B east of the river Elb, and I am quite familiar with the Tesch case because I did take the trouble, before this action began, to read through the entire transcripts of the war crimes trial against the Tesch company. MR JUSTICE GRAY: If I am supposed to follow that, I am afraid I am simply not following a word of it. It is no criticism of you, Mr Irving. A. It is just that I have extraneous knowledge, my Lord, about what was going on at Riga with Tesch, who had been sent out with his experts to set up fumigation facilities as a central fumigation plant for the huge masses of clothing, army clothing, military clothing, refugee clothing -- and vergasungsapparate and unterkunfte, and we have one intercept which goes to this and which, purely by coincidence, I actually handed to Mr Rampton this morning, the German intercept, which actually deals with the provision of the Zyklon to Tesch for this purpose. MR RAMPTON: This is merely a reference to using Dr Brack's machinery to destroy, literally speaking, vermin. Is that right? A. Perhaps we had better go through the document in detail. . P-17 Q. I think you had better look at the first complete paragraph on the second page, the first sentence, before you commit yourself to that, Mr Irving. A. That is quite plainly a reference to liquidating the Jews, the second paragraph, yes. Q. Using Dr Brack's machinery means? A. Well, either machinery or methods. Q. Yes, methods, Dr Brack's gassing apparatus. It is a reference to exterminating by means of gas those Jews who could not work, is it not? A. I am not going to be specific about means. All they are saying here is that they are going to be using Brack's means or methods, which could be any means. They used various different means to dispose of the euthanasia victims. Q. Could you please read us in translation that first sentence of the first complete paragraph on page 2, Mr Irving? A. In German or in English? Q. No, in English. A. According to the state of affairs, we have no misgivings if those Jews who are not capable of working are disposed of using Brack's methods. Yes. Q. So the reference to vergasungsapparate is nothing whatever to do with lice or rats or anything else? A. It does have a slight bearing on the fact that there were . P-18 extensive war crimes trial after the war. Dr Wetzel, who wrote this letter, was never prosecuted. He lived in complete comfort until the end of his life in Germany, and how can this be if this is the only interpretation to be placed on those words? MR JUSTICE GRAY: What does beseitegen mean? A. "Getting rid of". It is one of those vague words again, disposing of. MR RAMPTON: There is no objection, or we have no reservations, if those Jews who cannot or who are unable to work, incapable of work, are disposed of by Dr Brack's means? A. Dr Brack's methods, yes. Q. Again, I am not asserting a positive case, Mr Irving, about history. I do not have to do that. I am asking you, in your role as an open minded objective and scholarly historian, what is the natural interpretation of that letter and the word vergasungsapparate? A. I would say quite clearly they are going to be liquidated. Q. Liquidated by what means? A. Using the methods of Dr Brack.
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