Archive/File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day013.17 Last-Modified: 2000/07/20 Q. Thank you. "They are not too sweeping because, despite what I wrote in The Times, I do not think too much importance can be attached to the figures given in the new German documents. On the other hand, they cannot be ignored. I have marked a copy of the Corgy edition of the book and I am sending it to you separately. I do not think it is necessary to print my letter to The Times as an appendix, as this would call unnecessary attention to the new documents. If you have any urgent comments, I am at the following address in Spain, yours sincerely". What does that letter mean, Mr Irving? You tell me. I know what I think it means, but you tell me. A. I have no idea. This letter was written 34 years ago. . P-149 Would you run your own hypothesis past me? Q. My hypothesis is a suggestion which you will need to deal with. You had written to The Times. You had withdrawn, and you had accepted, on the basis of those two documents, that the original figures were pie in the sky. But now you do not want to draw attention to them. Why not? A. I will tell you what puzzles me, Mr Rampton, and that is why you have not included in this bundle the actual changes that I made, so his Lordship can judge whether they were apposite or not. I have them here and they are in the little bundle I gave your Lordship this morning. MR JUSTICE GRAY: I think we ought to look at them. MR RAMPTON: It is quite right. We should look at page 63, Mr Irving, which is in fact Montadori, the publisher, writing to you. She says on 15th July 1966: "Dear Mr Irving, I have seen your letter to the editor of The Times on the figures of the bombing of Dresden in 1945 and I wonder whether you would like us to publish it as an appendix to a possible reprint of a populicia Dresda". A. Yes. Q. Your response was, I had better keep off that, I do not want too much attention to be drawn to these two new documents. Now why? A. Why do we not just look and see the changes I sent to them? MR JUSTICE GRAY: I think, if you want to and I see why you . P-150 want to, I think we should. The difficulty I have is that I do not quite know where they are. A. Pages 6 and 7 of the little bundle, the one with the photograph in the front. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Has Mr Rampton got this? A. Yes. Everyone has it. MR RAMPTON: I hope so. A. It is page 6, right at the back, my Lord, the last two pages. Unfortunately, my secretary has stapled in inverse order. That kind of thing happens. Alterations in the text of destruction of Dresden resulting from -- I draw your attention, my Lord, to the very last item on page 2 of the last but one. Delete this appendix, the order of the day, No. 47, so that was out. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Wait a minute. A. I am beginning to understand why this document is not before the court until I brought it this morning. Q. Are you referring to the English edition page numbers? A. This was the Corgi edition, but the same document went to all the publishers. It is dated August 28th, as can you see. It is the same date as my reply to the Italians. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Have we got the Corgi edition? MR RAMPTON: S of it. I have not got the whole. MR JUSTICE GRAY: This exercise is not going to achieve much unless we know what is actually in the Corgi edition. A. Except, my Lord, if you look at the long paragraph I am . P-151 saying to insert on the second half of the first page ---- Q. Page 226? A. Yes. That is my treatment of the new evidence. MR RAMPTON: Yes. I am reading it. A. That was my take on the new documents as of that day. Q. Yes. It is the paragraph underneath the big paragraph which is going, you are suggesting, to go on to page 226, which starts "These figures must be regarded with extreme caution". A. Yes. That is still my position to this very day, in fact. Q. Oh, is it? I see. A. I am curious that this was not included in your bundle. Q. Do not worry, it was not deliberate. Miss Rogers could not find it. A. It was not suppressed in any way, was it? Q. No, of course not. It is in the bundle anyway, Mr Irving, if you bothered to read the papers. This is a bundle prepared by us. Suppress, my foot! A. It is in now. Q. My Lord, can we put it in this bundle? MR JUSTICE GRAY: I was thinking exactly the same thing. Q. It should go behind the letter to Miss Calabi, should it not, so it should be 65A and B. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Where is this going? A. It should be behind the next one actually, behind 65A. It should become 65B perhaps. . P-152 MR RAMPTON: 65B and C. You have written in similar terms to Miss Amy Howlett, I see, on 28th August? A. I wrote to all the publishers who at that time had the book under licence. Q. Right, Mr Irving, let us get to grips with it. What are your reasons for being suspicious of the new figures which suggest a maximum of, say, 30,000? A. Well, it was not a maximum of 30,000. He mentions of course all the numbers of those missing, and so on. Q. Yes, 35,000 missing. A whole lot of people fled the city, did they not, after the bombing? A. Yes. The reasons for my being suspicious, even of those figures, are, firstly, the statements by Mehnert and Fetsher as quoted by Funfach. Secondly, comparison of the disaster that had befallen Dresden with the disasters that had befallen similar cities under similar conditions. Thirdly, the statements by large numbers of Dresden civilians that they considered those figures to be far too low. Q. This is hard documentary evidence dating from the period by the Nazis themselves. A. Fourthly, that the man who drew up the report dated March 10th 1945, the police chief of Dresden, was ipso facto also in charge of civil defence precautions for Dresden, the air raid shelters and so on, and so, if there had been a huge casualty resulting from inadequate provision of air . P-153 raid precautions, he was largely to blame himself, so he would have every justification to keep his estimates as low as possible. Q. Is it not odd? He has therefore doctored both reports, has he, or had them doctored? A. I am not saying he has doctored them, but the police chief of a German city was also ex-officio the head of the air defence precautions for that city. He was in charge of ensuring the underground air raid shelters, the static water tanks and so on. In the case of the biggest disaster in German history like this, he must have been deeply conscious of the fingers being pointed at him for having provided no air raid shelters and inadequate air raid precautions for the city. Q. So, Mr Irving, what is your rational, calm, best estimate of the likely death toll at Dresden now? A. In the latest edition of my book, Apocalypse in Dresden, which was published two years ago, I think I estimated that the best margins for the figures which I would accept would be between 60,000 and 100,000, which brings down the original figure that I suggested substantially, which still puts me in a bracket above that contained by the police chief of Dresden. But I have explained in that book the reasons for these calculations. I have not just stated this as being gospel. They are not carved in letters of stone. . P-154 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Mr Rampton, this all started with a document coming to light and I am trying to find where that is, because I do not think we ever looked at it, did we? MR RAMPTON: Which was that, my Lord? MR JUSTICE GRAY: This particular line of cross-examination all started with a particular document coming to light, the report. MR RAMPTON: Two documents, my Lord. MR JUSTICE GRAY: I am trying to find it in the table and I do not think we have looked at it, have we? A. It is almost illegible, my Lord. It is printed as an appendix to the Corgi edition of the book. It is page 1 under tab 2, that is, the major police report, and on page 8 of tab 2 there is the minor one which was found in the West German archives. Q. Thank you very much. That is very helpful. We have not actually even read what Evans says it says. MR RAMPTON: I have given the figures. They are here. We will look at Evans if your Lordship pleases, 546 and 547. There is no dispute about what they say, I do not think, and there is no dispute about their genuineness, as far as I know. MR JUSTICE GRAY: No, but I need to know, do I not. MR RAMPTON: I did read the figures out, but your Lordship should see them. On page 545 your Lordship should start, which is the so-called final report of 15th March 1945, . P-155 and it had all the right signatures on it. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Broadly speaking, they are all saying the same thing. MR RAMPTON: Yes. A. The statistics are exactly the same. MR JUSTICE GRAY: What puzzles me is why you do not accept -- I suppose the reason why you do not accept these three more or less unanimous reports are the reasons you have just listed from 1 to 4. Is that right? A. The underlying reason is that the report specifically states that this is the status as of March 10th, at which sometime the city was still completely ruined. The cellars had not been cleaned out. The whole of the centre of the city, I am sure your Lordship has seen the photographs of what Dresden looked like afterwards. They did not have the manpower to dig out the bodies, whatever figure he gave was an estimate. He said we have done this so far. We have counted these bodies. The latest book published by the East German authority goes into enormous detail. They have now dug out of the archives the cemetary registers of how many bodies were delivered to the local cemeteries and how many rings were taken off the bodies and how many shoes were taken off the bodies and shipped off to be recycled elsewhere. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes, I see. A. Frankly, truck loads of shoes were taken off the bodies. . P-156 MR RAMPTON: Do you know how many bodies were discovered under the ruins of Dresden between 8th May, that is the day of the German surrender, in 1945 until 1966? A. Yes, I have read what the latest book says on that and it is very illuminating. They have done a very thorough piece of research on that. Q. 1800. Do you know that between 1990 and 1994 when I have no doubt Dresden was being extensively rebuilt after reunification, they found no bodies at all? A. Yes. If you see the heaps of ashes, do you think they managed to keep account of the heaps of ashes? You are not looking, Mr Rampton, but you will see the photograph here, the heaps of ashes in the background. Q. Put your horrid photograph away, please, Mr Irving. A. Two photographs. Q. Tell me how many people. A. You see heaps of ashes and you tell me how they can count them. Q. Tell me how many people you think were incinerated in the Altmarkt after the 13th to 15th February 1945? A. Large numbers. Q. Tell me how many. 35,000? A. Large numbers were incinerated. Q. Maximum of 9,000, is it not? MR JUSTICE GRAY: Give us your best estimate, Mr Irving. A. I do not know, my Lord, not off the top of my head without . P-157 looking at the figures. MR RAMPTON: Where did the 35,000 missing people go? They have not been found in the ruins. You cannot incinerate that number in the Altmarkt. Where did they go, Mr Irving? A. Have you ever read -- I will not put this as a question. I have read the report of the police chief of Hamburg on the after effects of the British fire storm air raid on Hamburg, which described how, in the cellars and bunkers, they just found heaps of ashes, because the bodies had just self incinerated inside these buildings in the heat. Tell me how you can count them. Q. The fact is, Mr Irving, that the scientific, the cold objective, clear headed assessment of those who investigated this matter in depth cannot get you beyond the figure of 30 to 35,000, at the very most, for those that died. Is that not right? A. No, it is not. Q. Well, answer my question, please. A. If you have been to Dresden, I have not been to Auschwitz but I have been to Dresden and I have been to the cemetary where they buried the bodies, and there is a big monument above the mass grave which says in a German poem: How many lie here? Who knows the number? Nobody knows.
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