The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day016.14

Archive/File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day016.14
Last-Modified: 2000/07/20

   Q.   I am going to put to you a passage from the British
        intelligence summary on these decodes which I have given
        you just a sample page of.  These police decodes were

.          P-98

        analysed very thoroughly during the war years on a current
        by skilled British operatives.  I will read you five lines
        from the British intelligence summary dated September 12th
        1941, which is also referenced by Richard Brightman in his
        book on page 96 and 219.  That is the book on official
        secrets.  The wartime British summary says:
                  "The execution of 'Jews' is so recurrent a
        feature of these reports, namely the intercepts, that the
        figures have been omitted from the situation reports and
        brought under one heading 3D.  Whether all those executed
        as Jews are indeed such is of course doubtful.  The
        figures are no less conclusive as evidence of a policy of
        savage intimidation, if not of ultimate extermination".
        Would you accept that the wartime British operators who
        were reading these reports on a daily basis
        therefore that probably a lot of the people
described as
        Jews were not Jews?
   A.   They concluded that.  I
think they concluded that quite
        erroneously.  I think that they had a tendency
        consistently to underestimate the degree to which
this was
        a priority of the Nazi regime, and that that is a
theme in
        a sense that runs through the whole British
response.  For
        instance, they have earlier, in terms of Jewish
        fleeing, they say we must help the political
refugees but
        the Jews are "mere racial refugees", and therefore
        implication not in danger.  The British had a

.          P-99

        consistent record of underestimating the degree of
        and the degree of priority the Nazis regime had
        the Jews.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Do you mean deliberately or
because they
        simply did not know what was going on?
   A.   They simply could not
understand that it was a priority
        for Hitler, but it was so foreign to their own way
        thinking that it made no sense.  Why would you
spend time
        killing Jewish women and children when you are
trying to
        fight a war?  It was outside their realm, the way
        understood the world.
   MR IRVING:  If we go to page 8 in your paragraph
4.1, we are
        looking at the scale of the killings again, are
all the
        Jews who are being killed, shall we say, native
Jews, or
        do they include German Jews at this time?
   A.   The cases in which they
would include German Jews would be
        Einsatzgruppen 3, reporting the five transports to
        by November 25. That may not be in there yet
because that
        happens on the 25th and 29th.  So that one would
        include it.  Einsatzkommando 2, whether that would
        German Jews, I do not know.  The others, there
would not
        have been any deportation of German Jews to those
areas at
        that point.
   Q.   Was there a distinction
made at that time in the treatment
        between the German Jews and the non-German Jews?
In other
        words, the new arrivals and the locals?

.          P-100

   A.   Yes, there was.  For
instance, in Minsk they murdered a
        group of Russian Jews in order to make room for
        of a ghetto for German Jews, and the transports of
        Jews to Minsk, unlike what happened at Kovno, they
        not shot upon arrival.
   Q.   Does this not seem to
indicate that there was no
        systematic plan to murder all the Jews that they
could get
        their hands on?
   A.   I think what it indicates
is that they were not yet ready
        to do that.  The references for instance in
        letter to Greiser is that we want to send them to
        and they will be sent on next spring.
   Q.   Pretty haphazard, would
you say, this lack of system in
        what they were doing?
   A.   I do not think it is
haphazard.  I think that they were
        engaged in the first stage.  Different historians
        interpreted it differently.  My own feeling is
that, by
        the fall of 1941, Himmler, Hitler and Heydrich
have a
        fairly clear idea of where they are going now,
which is to
        kill all Jews, but how that will be done, what
        will be given to Jews who are still important to
        economy, in what order will various countries be
        approached, what special care must we deal with
        Jews because of the possibly domestic
repercussions, these
        issues are still not decided.  They are decided
over a
        period of time.

.          P-101

   Q.   You slipped in something
under the door there. You said
        this was Hitler, Himmler and Heydrich.  Where does
        and" come from?  Is this just your own personal
   A.   Given that they cannot
have the Madagascar plan until it
        goes to there, they cannot march Jews until it
goes to
        Hitler, they cannot deport Jews until it goes to
        they cannot let Jews out of the Netherlands for
        until it goes to Hitler.  My inference is that
this would
        go to Hitler too.  I do not see how ----
   Q.   There is a difference
between the geographical solutions
        that Hitler was constantly proposing and what was
        happening when the Jews arrived at their terminus,
        we say.  Would it be fair to say that?
   A.   I would say there are two
phases.  That is, starting in
        the summer of 1941, you have the move in early
August to
        killing of all Jews, men, women and children, and
that the
        implementation of systematic killing of Jews other
        that really begins in the spring of 1942 with
        exceptions.  You have the Chelmno gassing
beginning in
        December of 41, and you have the shooting of the
        transports of German Jews five at Kovno and one at
   Q.   On November 30th, 1941?
   A.   The last one is the 30th,
the other two are 25th and 29th.
   Q.   In Kovno?
   A.   In Kovno.
   Q.   Since we are with those
shootings, on what basis did those

.          P-102

        shootings occur?  Was that on orders from Berlin,
or from
        Hitler, or was it just random actions by the local
   A.   This is an area that we
have no documents that illuminate
        it, and so one then looks at the overall.  Jager
        it in his Einsatzgruppen report.  He clearly
        that -- my inference from that would be that Jager
        reporting something that he thought he was
expected to
        do.  We have, as you know, the Himmler intercept
        December 4th, saying what happens to the Eastern
Jews is
        on my guidelines, there are repercussions for
Jackeln and
        there are none for under Jager.  I would suggest
that that
        would indicate that Jager was following orders.
   Q.   I will try putting this to
you like this, and his Lordship
        may intervene because I do not have the file in
front of
        me.  My Lord, this is the bundle of intercepts
that we
        dealt with about ten days ago, November 30th 1941.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Yes.  That got into E as well.
   MR IRVING:  Your Lordship has the advantage on
me because I do
        not have the bundle with me.  I have searched for
it and
        I am in chaos.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  That is really why I have been
trying to
        insist all along that we identify where documents
        going.  If anybody on the Defendants side can
        I would be grateful.  I think it is in E but it
may not
        be.  173, J?

.          P-103

   MR IRVING:  We landed on this topic before I
intended but,
        since we are at it, we might as well take it on
the fly.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Take your own course.
   MR IRVING:  If I were to show you an intercept
of a message
        from the -- can you find an intercepted message in
        from Bremen to Riga?
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Can you help me?  Did you say
J 173?
   MR IRVING:  What is called on the top right hand
   MS ROGERS:  Tab 3.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Thank you.  What are you
looking for,
        Mr Irving?
   MR IRVING:  There is an intercepted message from
Bremen to
   A.   This would be November
   Q.   Does this describe a train
load of Jews being sent to
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   Has that train load
apparently been well provisioned with
   A.   Yes.  The guidelines for
the deportations in the fall,
        which would have been true of all the transports,
not just
        the ones to Kovno but to Lodsch and Minsk, where
Jews were
        not immediately killed, they were allowed take a
        amount with them.  In fact, the Jewish councils
        encouraged to provide them, so that this would not
be just
        this train, this would have been standard

.          P-104

   Q.   Would one be correct in
assuming, if one finds one or two
        messages like that in this kind of random sample
that the
        British code breakers got by their method, so
there are
        probably quite a lot of such messages?
   A.   I do not know about how
many messages there were, but we
        do know that the trains were basically sent out
under the
        same guidelines and the guidelines permitted at
        point, unlike in the spring, taking quite a large
        of material with them.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  The Jews provided ----
   A.   This would have been
provided by the Jewish councils to
        the deportation train.
   MR IRVING:  And have you in front of there also
a message in
        which there is reference in German to the train
        provided not only with Verpflegung but also with
        It is a similar message on 17th or the 19th or the
        perhaps of November 1941.
   A.   I am afraid I do not find
the file.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  It is page 5.
   MR IRVING:  Page 5 of that bundle.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I am not sure we have the
German in the file.
   MR IRVING:  The German text will be there in
   A.   We have a series in
English and I am not sure where the
        German is.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Gerat is there.  It is really
a translation

.          P-105

   MR IRVING:  The question is, if the train is not
only taking
        Verpflegung (food) which is set out, how many
tonnes of
        bread and so on, but they are also taking Gerat
        them.  What would you understand by that word?
What are
        they taking?
   A.   Utensils and cooking pots
and that sort of thing.
   Q.   Things for a new life?
   A.   That they would need to
use when they got there.
   Q.   To use when they got
there.  So the people who are at the
        sending end are unaware of what is likely to
happen to
        this train load of Jews at the other end if they
are all
        going to be killed?  They think they are going to
a new
        life, in other words not to their death?
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I think you think you got an answer that you
        did not get.  It is important sometimes to make sure that
        there is no misunderstanding.  The translation that was
        given by Professor Browning was utensils and cooking
        pots.  You then things for a new life, and I am not that
        that is something that the Professor has agreed with yet,
        but perhaps he does agree with that.
   A.   I believe they were allowed to bring tools as well.  I am
        recalling from memory what the Eichmann guidelines to the
        various police stations creating the transports, that the
        fall guidelines are remarkably different than the spring
        ones in terms of how much people were allowed.
   MR IRVING:  Spring 1942?

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