Archive/File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day017.02 Last-Modified: 2000/07/20 Q. All the wealthy Holocaust victims, either at the time they were dispatched from their places of residence or upon their arrival in the camps, were systematically robbed of their valuables by Operation Reinhardt, or as part of Operation Reinhardt? Is that correct? A. Operation Reinhardt, in a sense, is the last stage of a long process of dispossession because the Jews in Germany were disposed of much of their property for that. When they were put on the trains the last things like rings and valuables and jewellery are taken. These are the small personal possessions they would still have been allowed. Again in Poland Jews are dispossessed of their property and moved into ghettoes and, when they are taken to the camps, the last remaining possessions are taken by Operation Reinhardt. Operation Reinhardt, in a sense, is the last cleaning up of whatever property had not been . P-10 taken already. Q. Not many more questions on this matter, Professor. Would you be able to make any kind of global estimates on these kind of data and say, well, therefore, the number of victims was not less than a certain figure and it was probably not more than a certain figure, on the basis that of course not everybody had valuable wristwatches or valuable fountain pens, but on the other hand not many people wear two wristwatches, shall we say, so it was probably not less than 100,000 people? Can you say that? A. I would say that this would help us with a minimum figure but it would be nowhere close to a maximum figure because they are presumably skimming the cream and taking the very best things. Most Jews would have traded their wristwatches for food and whatever else long before this if they were in desperate straits, which they were. So it does not give us anything approaching a maximum figure. MR RAMPTON: Can I intervene to say that I just have done some arithmetic? It is not obviously an exhaustive figure for whatever reason, but the total under A on this page is 200,000 items. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Which page are you? MR RAMPTON: Page 10, my Lord, at A. Many of these items may of course come from the same person, one does not know. MR JUSTICE GRAY: That is what I was wondering. You can have a fountain pen and a watch. . P-11 MR RAMPTON: Of course you can. MR JUSTICE GRAY: What was the number? MR RAMPTON: 200,000 precisely. MR IRVING: Exactly, but it is giving orders of magnitude, in my opinion, my Lord. We are really clutching at straws and trying to arrive at figures. Is it not right, Professor, that our statistical database for arriving at any kind of conclusions for the numbers of people who have been killed in the Holocaust by whatever means, we are really floundering around in the dark, are we not? Is that correct? A. No. I would not express it that way. I would say we have a very accurate list of the deportation trains from Germany. In many cases we have the entire roster name by name and we are not floundering. We can tell you, as we have seen in the intercepts, 974 on one train. Q. But I interrupt you there and you say in many cases, but, of course, had we got a complete list of all the ---- A. Can I finish my answer. Q. --- trains, then ---- A. May I finish my answer? MR JUSTICE GRAY: Let him finish. You have been very good, Mr Irving, but let him finish this answer. A. In terms again of France, the Netherlands, the countries from which there were deportations from Western Europe, we can do a very close approximation by trains, the number of . P-12 people per train. In the area of Poland, there were at least statistics in terms of ghetto populations and these ghettos were liquidated completely, so we can come to a fairly good rough figure of Polish Jews. We also have a fairly reliable prewar census and postwar calculations so that one can do a subtraction. So, in terms of Holocaust victims from Poland westward, we are not floundering. We are coming fairly close approximation. Where historians differ and where you get this figure of between 5 and 6 is because we do not have those figures for the Soviet Union. MR IRVING: Can I halt you at this point ---- A. There is where we are -- that the numbers vary greatly. Q. But can I halt you at that point and say the fact that a train load of Jews sets out from Amsterdam or from France does not, of course, necessarily mean that they end up being gassed or killed in some other way, does it? A. If they are sent to camps like Treblinka or Sobibor or Chelmno or Belzec, yes, they are virtually all exterminated. Q. On the basis of eyewitness evidence? A. On the basis of, yes, what I have presented here. We know that ---- Q. Which we are coming to later on? A. Yes, and they do not come back. . P-13 Q. Yes. A. They disappear. Q. Well, the Nazis did not want them to come back, but would you accept that large numbers were also the subject of, shall we say, population movements, particularly in the 1939/1940 period. You talked about the Jews in Poland? A. Yes, this is a move from one area of German control to another. So Jews that are moved from the Warthegau into the General Government are then included in the ghetto population statistics of the various towns in the General Government and those ghettos are then liquidated and they count as part of the disappearance ---- Q. When you mean "the ghetto is liquidated", you mean the ghetto is just wound up? A. The ghetto is empty. People are put on trains. Q. Emptied, but the word "liquidated" is rather suggestive that something else is happening? A. Well, that was the German term. "Ghetto liquidierung" is their word, and that these liquidation, ghetto liquidations, also we know the mode in which they were carried out with extraordinary brutality and ---- Q. Yes, but come back to Poland for a minute. You talk about the fact that we had the prewar population census and the postwar census. We are having a major problem with Poland because the whole of Poland was shifted westwards as a result of the agreements, so what do you mean by Poland? . P-14 This is the first problem. Is that not right? A. Well, you are talking about territory, but the Polish population in terms of number of Jews left at the end really is not changed or altered by a shifting of borders because there were no Jews in either the German or the Polish territory. Q. They also have a problem caused by the fact that the Soviet Union arbitrarily declared that everybody who was in the Soviet occupied part of certain parts of Poland became Soviet citizens. After they had entered, I believe, on September 19th or September 17th 1939, did they not arbitrarily declare after that that large number, the citizens who had previously been Polish were now Soviet citizens? A. Yes, but those areas ten fall back under the Germans and they are part of the statistics -- I mean, the prewar census we have is pre1939. Q. Are you saying that the Jews who were in the Soviet part of occupied Poland in 1939 stayed there until the Germans invaded two years later? A. I think most did. Some did manage to get -- those that were saved, for the most part, were the ones that Stalin sent on to Siberia. Q. Is it right the figure of those who left and were sent on to Siberia was of the order of 300,000? A. The total number of Polish Jews in Siberia I do not think . P-15 is even close to that. We know that the estimated number of Jews that fled or were deported from the German zone to the Soviet zone in 1939/1940 was in the magnitude of 200 to 300,000. How many for 1941 are, in a sense, caught in the German advance which in these areas, of course, is the very first territories they overcome, that you do not have any indication that very large numbers escaped at all. Q. But there is an area of uncertainty, is there not? A. The point at which the German documents start saying "The Jewish populations have managed to flee" is when you get much deeper into the Soviet Union where it took longer for the Russian armies to get to and there was more warning. The German documents indicate only then are they beginning to find that the Jews had managed to flee before they arrived. So, while there is certainly a degree of uncertainty, to suggest that significant vast numbers of Jews escaped from these very border territories the very first days occupied by the German Army, I do not think is -- it is not one that I can accept. Q. But is not the evidence, in fact, that the Soviet Union had evacuated large parts of their forward territories in preparation for their attack on Germany, and that when the Germans advanced into these areas in Operation Barbarossa in June 1941 they found the population relatively thin because of these evacuations? . P-16 A. No, I do not think so. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Can we ---- A. There were deportations of what they -- there were deportations of what they considered political enemies. MR IRVING: So, in other words, I am not right in suggesting there is any area of uncertainty about the figures, in your view? A. No. What I said is the area of greatest uncertainty is the areas of the Soviet Union and that from that boundary westward we come to a fairly close proximation. After that it varies, estimates vary greatly. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Can I just interrupt because I want to go back to Operation Reinhardt which is where we started and we have rather sort of spread out from there. Can you -- Mr Irving, you are probably going to ask this at some stage anyway -- put an estimate on the number of people you would say were killed by gassing at the smaller death camps like Treblinka, Sobibor and Chelmno? A. The numbers that the German courts came to in their investigations in which they emphasised that they were using the minimum estimate so that this would not be a controversy between the defence and the prosecution, in the first Treblinka trial, I believe it was 700 or 750,000. By the second Treblinka trial, they had upped that figure to 9 or 950,000. Belzec is estimated at about 550,000. Sobibor, I believe they estimated 200,000, and . P-17 Chelmno, as a minimum, I think they said 150,000, but they thought it was more likely in the 250,000 area. MR IRVING: When were these estimates made? A. These were in the various judgments of the 1960s in German courts. Q. 1960s and 1970s or 1960s? A. These particular trials, I believe, all -- and I think the last one was in 1968/69, so I think all of those concluded before 1970. Q. You say these figures were reached at by agreement between the parties? A. These were the figures that were put into the judgment and what the prosecution said -- I mean, let me see if I can phrase this right, I want to be very careful on this -- that this was the figure that in a sense was in the realm where they had sufficient documentation that it was not contested. Then you have the estimate, possible additional that they did not want to put into the judgment or the indictment because they did not want that to be an obscuring issue or become a detracting issue, "Well, we did not kill 250,000, we killed only 200,000". Q. I was going to ask, to put it in common language, was it any skin off anybody's nose if people added 100,000 more or less? I mean, was anybody going to get a shorter sentence because the numbers were lower or a longer sentence because the numbers were higher? What I am . P-18 getting at is were the figures properly tested in court? A. The figures were reached in general by historical expert witnesses that submitted these to the court and they were open to cross-examination by the Defence. Q. And these witnesses were German or? A. The most, the most active witness was Wolfgang Schafler who was a German historian. Q. A German historian? A. Yes.
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