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Shofar FTP Archive File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day018.03

Archive/File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day018.03
Last-Modified: 2000/07/24

   Q.   In so far as they contain expressions of opinion, are you
        satisfied that those opinions are fair?
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   Thank you.  Would you remain there to be cross-examined.

                  (Cross-examined by Mr Irving.)

   Q.   Good morning, Professor Evans.
   A.   Good morning.
   Q.   My Lord, I intend this morning to try and deal with
        matters generally, particularly some of the matters that
        are large in recent public coverage of this case and those

.          P-19

        witnesses who are not going to be cross-examined or
        presenting themselves for cross-examination and test your
        Lordship's patience in that respect, and have to use this
        cross-examination or the cross-examination of Professor
        Longerich as a vehicle for introducing certain documents?
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Yes.  We have discussed that already and that
        is something that you are perfectly entitled to do.  But
        do bear in mind, if I may say it again, that it is
        important that I can follow it, preferably by reference to
        the documents.
   MR IRVING:  By reference to the documents, yes.
                  Professor Evans, first of all, we learned
        yesterday from Professor Browning, rather to my surprise
        that he is effectively in the pay of the Yad Vashim
        Institute, that he received 35,000 dollars from them for a
        task which he has not completed, so he is in their debt.
        Can you assure the court that you are not also in some way
        indebted to the Yad Vashim Institute or to any similar body?
   A.   It depends rather what you mean by "any similar body".
        I am certainly not in debt to anybody, as far as I know.
   Q.   Yes, the significance being of course that Yad Vashim was
        the body which commissioned the work which is complained
        of in this action.
   A.   I have never had any dealings with the Yad Vashim
        Institute of any description.

.          P-20

   Q.   Where would you position yourself in the political
        spectrum?  I think it is important that we know, when you
        are describing somebody as being an extremist of either
        left or right, where you position yourself, your own
        vantage point from which you view them?
   A.   I am a member of the Labour Party.  I do not suppose that
        means that one is left wing these days.
   Q.   No.  Never mind the Labour Party's politics.  What is your
        own personal political standpoint from which you view
        people like myself, or Margaret Thatcher, or John Major?
        Would you regard Margaret Thatcher as being moderately
        right-wing or extreme right wing?
   A.   As I said, I am a member of the Labour party and, broadly
        speaking, I take the Labour Party's point of view on
        current affairs in so far as I interest myself in them.
        I would not describe myself as an expert.
   Q.   Do you allow the Labour Party to dictate your politics to
        you or do you have any ideas of your own in this respect?
   A.   It depends what you mean by politics.  Of course I make up
        my own mind about things.
   Q.   Your writings appear to be left of centre, if I may put it
        that way.  You would not expect David Irving to write a
        book, for example, about feminism or the women's movement
        or something like that.
   A.   Yes, though I have to point out that my work on feminism
        has been heavily sharply criticised by a number of

.          P-21

   Q.   Well, maybe feminists are the kind of people who will
        never be satisfied.  Would that be correct?
   A.   I cannot really comment on that.  It depends what kind of
        feminists you are talking about.
   Q.   You have written about 15 books have you, about 15 titles
        so far?
   A.   16, I think.  Yes.
   Q.   They have been published widely around the world?
   A.   They have, yes.
   Q.   How would you describe yourself?  None of your books have
        been on a best seller list, have they?  They are academic
        works, are they not?
   A.   They are academic works, though some of are written --
        I always try to write for a wider audience.  That is to
        say I always try and write in a readable manner, and some
        of my books have sold I think quite well for works that
        are scholarly.  My book "In Defence of History", which
        came out two and a half years ago, has I think sold about
        20,000 copies.
   Q.   You are referring to this book, is that correct?
   A.   Indeed.  That is the American edition.  I have no idea
        what that sold.
   Q.   It spells "defence" differently.
   A.   Indeed.  That is why they had to reprint it.  It is also
        appearing in Turkish, Japanese, German, Korean and a

.          P-22

        number of other languages.  My book "Death in Hamburg"
        I think sold about 20,000 copies in English and German.
   Q.   Are you talking about hard book copies or paper back copies?
   A.   Both.
   Q.   Altogether?
   A.   Yes.  I should also say that I have one won a literary
        prize for history and I have recently been elected Fellow
        of the Royal Society of Literature so it seems that my
        books are regarded as being literary in some sense.
   Q.   It is quite difficult to write literary history, is it
        not, especially when you are quoting from document?  Would
        you agree?
   A.   It is difficult.  One has maintain a balance between
        accuracy, which is of course one's first duty, and
   Q.   If you are translating a document from Chaucer in English,
        then you would not use the old language, you would use
        modern English, would you not? You would put it into
        modern English and this would not be considered in any way
        distorting the original.  Is that right?
   A.   It depends.  There are different versions of Chaucer.
        I cannot say I am an expert on Chaucer in any shape or form.
   Q.   Obviously, if I am referring to translating from French or
        from German, it is sometimes very difficult to get an

.          P-23

        exact shade of sense on a word.  Frequently there is no
        exact comparison between the two words, between the
        English and the German?
   A.   This is, well, I think what I would say is that, of
        course, you cannot do an absolutely literal
        translation because the word order is different and words
        have slightly different meanings, but the first duty of an
        historian is to translate from a foreign language in terms
        that render faithfully the meaning of the original.
   Q.   Yes.
   A.   And I think that any literary pretensions that one has
        must surely take second place to that aim.
   Q.   How would you decide what is the faithful rendering of a
        particular word in translation?  Would you look just at
        that word or would you take into account your own general
        knowledge of what is going on or would you look at the
        surrounding countryside, so to speak, of the paragraphs
        before and after?
   A.   I think you have to do all of these things and reach your
        own judgment as to what is an accurate translation.
   Q.   Yes, but the fact that you have used a word that is not a
        mirror image from one language to the other of a word in a
        translation is not necessarily evidence of a distortion or
        an intent to distort?
   A.   It depends on how you do it.  I mean, as you know,
        dictionaries give a number of different alternative

.          P-24

        English equivalents for German words and you have to
        decide which one is the most accurate in the
   Q.   Well, I will be dealing with this probably next week with
        you when you come back, Professor, but you will accept
        that, for example, a 1936 dictionary in German will
        probably give a different meaning of a word from a 1999
   A.   In some cases, most certainly, in some cases, not, and of
        course they give range of meanings which one has to use in
        different circumstances.  It may well be, for example,
        that in 1942 or 1943 in some circumstances a word is used
        somewhat differently from the way it is used in 1936.  So
        I would not take a 1936 dictionary as being absolute
        gospel for the usage of words in some circumstances in
        1942 to 3.  As I said, you have to look, as you said
        indeed, at the document itself and the surrounding
        documents, at the meanings, at the time, the people who
        wrote it.
   Q.   And take your own expertise into account, is that correct?
   A.   You have to use your judgment which is based on your
        reading of other documents, most certainly, yes, and,
        indeed, other people's of course.  Other people will have
        worked ----
   Q.   Sometimes the document itself will give you a clue.  We
        looked at a document with Professor Browning, October

.          P-25

        1942, relating to the Umsiedlung of 20,000 Jews from
        Reslatosk.  Just from that sentence, it was not plain what
        the word "Umsiedlung" meant, but two pages later, as
        Professor Browning correctly pointed out, the 20,000 are
        referred as anschossen, shot.  So there is no question
        there, is there?
   A.   I would not really want to comment on it without actually
        having the document in front of me.
   Q.   Later on in the same paragraph we have the sentence that
        half the inhabitants of the village of X were shot and the
        after were umgesiedelt to a neighbouring village in which
        case the word quite clearly has a different meaning, does
        it not, in the same paragraph?
   A.   Again I really do not want to comment without having the
        document in front of me.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Take it from me it is right.  We went through
        it and it is obviously right.
   A.   I am afraid have not read the transcripts for that
        particular day.
   MR IRVING:  So it seems it is possible to have the most glaring
        inconsistencies even within the same document as to what
        the meaning of a word is?
   A.   Words may be used in different senses, yes, and certainly
        as euphemisms in some senses and not as in others.  If you
        use an euphemism, well, almost by definition, in other
        circumstances it going to have its actual real meaning.

.          P-26

   Q.   So it is a minefield then, the translation of documents,
        or it is either a minefield or a sweet shop, a candy
        store, depending on which way you are looking at it.  If
        you want to go into those documents with an evil intent or
        with a perverse intent, then you can fix a meaning which
        just fits the meaning you want, is that correct?
   A.   Well, if you are referring to yourself, yes.  I mean,
        I would not do that.
   Q.   Well, I am ----
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  What is sauce for the goose is source for the
        gander.  In a way, I understand why you are asking these
        questions.  I understand the point you are making.
   MR IRVING:  I am just rubbing it in, my Lord, the fact that, as
        Professor Evans rightly said, if this applies to myself, I
        could distort the document one way, but, of course, if it
        applies to a left wing historian or a Marxist, they could
        distort exactly the same document the other way, and he
        was quite right to point this out.
                  (To the witness):  We will leave the matter of
        meanings of words because we cannot do that really at this
        point without having a little bundle of documents to look
        at which I shall bring on Tuesday, I think, which will be
        a bundle of documents about the "Ausrotten", so you might
        like to prepare yourself intellectually for the word
        ausrotten and what it means.
                  Professor, you are in charge of this magnificent

.          P-27

        team of stallions who have been preparing the defence, is
        that correct?  You were the leading, the chief expert
        witness, am I right?
   A.   No, I some research assistants.  I have helped the defence
        in suggestion as to whom should be called as expert
        witnesses, but not all the expert the witness have been
        called at my suggestion.  I certainly have not been in
        charge of them in the sense that I have directed them what
        to write.

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