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Shofar FTP Archive File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day019.09

Archive/File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day019.09
Last-Modified: 2000/07/24

   Q.   Yes.  If we go to page 57 of his work, which I have
        extracted in that bundle for your Lordship, do we not find
        there that he expresses precisely the same view as I do?
        In fact, two years before I did in my Goebbels biography,
        so it cannot be derivative in the slightest way, he seems
        to have been surprised by the extent of the destruction, Hitler?
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Page 57?  Do you mean that?

.          P-76

   A.   Page 48 of the bundle, my Lord, which is page 57 of the
        book Hitler and the Jews, the Genesis of the Holocaust.
        By Philip Burrin, who is an intentionalist historian.
        Would you explain what an intentionalist historian is in
        the great debate?
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  It is not a functionalist historian.  I think
        I know the answer.
   MR IRVING:  Very good.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Thank you.
   MR IRVING:  Your Lordship has grasped it quicker than I
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Let us get on.
   MR IRVING:  Page 57 on this book?
   A.   I am not sure I would describe Burrin as an out and
        intentionalist in his book on Hitler and the Jews.
   Q.   "Whilst Hitler could only have endorsed the concept of
        exacting reprisals, namely on the Jews, he seems to
        been surprised by the extent of the destruction .
Soon he
        will be able to gauge its impact.  (Jump a sentence)
        each case Hitler covered for Goebbels who did not
        the hoped for benefits from the affair."  Is this
        Professor perverse, do you think, for adopting that on
        basis of----
   A.   I have to say I do not agree with that interpretation.
        I do not agree at all.
   Q.   Yes, but you would not describe him as perverse?

.          P-77

   A.   It really comes down to how he has arrived at that,
        methods he has used to arrive at that conclusion.
   Q.   Of course, he did not have the Goebbels diaries then.
   A.   Without looking at this in detail, it is very
difficult to
   Q.   Yes.
   A.   My criticisms of what you have to say about the
        Reichskristallnacht depend to a large extent on the
        methods you have used to arrive at the conclusions you
        arrive at.  I think this is only a brief -- if I
        rightly and I may be wrong -- paragraph in a work
        is almost entirely devoted to the wartime.  It is part
        a very brief broad summary.
   Q.   So what are you saying is that this view that Hitler
        taken by surprise by it and that he covered for
        but did nothing else, it is not perverse when it is
        by a professor of international history, but it is
        perverse when it is stated by David Irving?
   A.   First of all, he does say that Hitler authorized the
        holding of spontaneous demonstrations, whatever that
        means.  He was surprised by the extent of the
        destruction.  I do not accept either of those points
        view but, as I say, I do not know to what extent this
        rests on his own research, or to what extent this is
        a very brief summary.  I suspect this is just a single
        paragraph.  Knowing what I recall of the book, it is

.          P-78

        nearly all about the years 1939, 1940, particularly 41
   Q.   It is a pretty revolutionary statement for a Professor
        make though, is it not, at that time, to come out you
        say that he thought that Hitler was not behind the
   A.   I do not think he says that.
   Q.   It is not exactly a throw away line, is it?
   A.   He says that -- it is speculative , is it not -- he
        only have endorsed the concept of exacting reprisals.
        have to say simply I do not agree with that point of
        It really comes down to how you arrive at that and the
        documentary basis for it.
   Q.   Moving on to the next paragraph in the middle of that
        45 back in your report, you refer to my omitting key
        passages of this kind from his discussion of documents
        such as Hitler's Political Testament.  Is this
        Political Testament that I am holding in my hand?
   A.   Let me say I do not refer to that.  I am referring to
        Martin Gilbert review and I am saying what he says.
        all this passage I am simply trying to summarise what
        other historians have said.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I know.
   A.   I do not necessarily endorse every single point they
        made.  I am trying to establish reputation.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  You have created a problem.  You

.          P-79

        that, Professor Evans?
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   And I am trying to find the way through it without any
        unfairness to Mr Irving.  Obviously the views of Sir
        Martin Gilbert command enormous respect, but I say
        in the end it is for me to look at the evidence in
        detail, as we are going to have to, and then look at
        criticisms, look at your answer and make up my own
        Obviously it is of importance to note what Sir Martin
        Gilbert and these others say, but in the end it cannot
        impact very much on my decision.
   MR IRVING:  In my submission, this witness has relied very
        heavily on sources of a particular colour, if I can
put it
        like that, and the reliability which I would
        then surely I am entitled seriatim to take these
        until your Lordship has really run out of patience.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I do not see why you have to take it that
        far, in a way.  I have made my view pretty clear.
        I understand why you are doing this.  Professor Evans
        possibly regrets one or two sections of his report for
        that reason.  Maybe he does not, I do not know.  What
I am
        anxious to do, I make no secret of this, is to get on
        the specific criticisms and see how much there is in
        them.  Take it rapidly, if you would, Mr Irving.
   MR IRVING:  I will put on seven league boots.  Did Sir
        Gilbert rely on this book, Hitler's Political

.          P-80

   A.   I really cannot say.  I cannot answer for Sir Martin
   Q.   You have criticised me through him for not relying on
        Hitler's Political Testament?
   A.   I thought it necessary, since you made a great deal of
        this in your reply to the Defence initially at the
        beginning of this whole case a couple of years ago, of
        your reputation as a historian, to go into that, and
        is what I am talking about here.
   Q.   Are you familiar that Hitler's Political Testament is
        forged document, and I know the Swiss gentleman who
        it in his own handwriting?  There is every reason
        therefore why I should not have relied on that
   A.   That is not really relevant to what I am saying here.
        What I am saying here is that you have been criticised
        other historians.
   Q.   2.5.10, please.  I am sorry, the last lines of 2.5.9.
        you remember you are quoting Michael Howard
criticising me
        for not crediting other historians where they had done
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   Can I, in view of the fact that you have not done so,
        the court's attention to the review that Michael
        wrote, which is in the little bundle at page 33?  Does
        your Lordship have it?

.          P-81

   MR IRVING:  I think in your Lordship's copy I may have
        highlighted a few sentences in yellow.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Page 33 of your E?
   MR IRVING:  Of F.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I am sure you have, and it is very
        when you do.  I will read out the passages you have
        highlighted in my copy if you like.
   A.   May I read out the passage in my report in full?  The
        military historian Michael Howard ... praised the
        considerable merits' of The War Path and declared that
        Irving was 'at his best as a professional historian
        demanding documentary proof for popularly held
        That is very positive and I am trying to convey there
        positive impression that Howard gives. Then I go on to
        criticisms:  "Howard pointed out that Irving's account
        an episode such as the enforced resignation of
        Blomberg and Fritsch before the outbreak of the Second
        World War was not as original as he claimed and added
        nothing to the story already told by other historians.
        'It would be nice', he wrote, 'if Mr Irving
        recognised that other men had been there before him
        done a competent job of work'".  This is not a damning
        review.  I am not trying to convey the impression that
        is.  Of course, since, Mr Irving, you say you never
        other historians' work, that last criticism of Sir
        Michael's is really not very surprising.

.          P-82

   MR IRVING:  Oh dear.  I wish you had not said that.  Can I
        draw your attention to the next item in that bundle,
        is page 34?  That is a letter from me to the newspaper
        that published that review.
   A.   Can you direct me to the bundle?
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Page 34 of the slim F.
   MR IRVING:  Now you will see what has happened, will you
        Can I show you the book?  First of all, is this the
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Yes, I have the point.
   A.   Yes I have the point too.  That is one historian.
        other historians ----
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I think climb down on that one.
   A.   I will climb down on Professor Deutsch, but he is not
        only historian who has written about this subject.
   MR IRVING:  Just so that the people behind me know what has
        happened, is this the book to which you were referring
        Professor Harold Deutsch?
   A.   What you say in that letter, as you point out,
        Deutsch in his book had based his account on material
        you had supplied to him.
   Q.   Let me get a lot mileage out of this.  First of all,
        Professor Deutsch Jewish?
   A.   I have no idea.
   Q.   Take it from me that he is a very good old Jewish
        of mine who is one of the United States old guard of

.          P-83

   MR RAMPTON:  There comes a time, even when it is a litigant
        person, where we cannot have continually, we have had
        all the time, evidence from counsel's row.  I do not
        really mind.  I am really standing up for rather a
        different reason. We have done 45 pages in a day and a
        half.  At that rate Professor Evans will be in the box
        another three weeks.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I am very conscious of that.  I do not
        the shape of what is to come.  I have not counted my
        interventions, but they have pretty numerous.  The
        difficulty, Mr Rampton, if I may explain, is that
        Professor Evans has made reference to these other
        historians and their views.  That does rather open up
   MR RAMPTON:  It only does if those references are (a)
likely to
        be relied on by me, which is not very likely, and (b)
        much more important, if they are likely to influence
        Lordship.  This is not a jury trial.  If your Lordship
        were to make it clear, if it be the case, that this
        of the report is not an important part ----
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I think I have made that clear
effectively on
        a large number of occasions.
   MR RAMPTON:  I had thought so, and it does seem to me that
        is a rather futile game of ping pong that is going on
        the moment, and far better to get on to the detailed
        criticisms.  Professor Evans has said a number of

.          P-84

        why he does not regard Mr Irving as a reputable
        historian.  It is because of the way he treats his
        material.  Then we ought to be looking at that, in my
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Mr Irving, that really is very much what
        think I have been trying to say to you very often.  I
        giving you, as I have said many times before also, as
        latitude as I reasonably can, but I do think you
        must get on to the specific criticisms.  We are going
        very, very slowly and this morning I really have not
        hugely helpful in terms of the task that I am
        going to have to perform.  That is my problem.
   MR IRVING:  I am trying to undermine your Lordship's
        in this witnesses as being somebody who has the
        and the impartiality and the historical background to
        judgment on myself.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  If I may say so, that is a perfectly
        legitimate thing to do, but in the end you cannot just
        attack credibility.  You have to get on to the nuts
        bolts of the report and show why they are not
credible, as
        opposed to attacking Professor Evans' credibility on a
        more broad brush basis.  Do you see what I mean?
   MR IRVING:  In that case it would have been well if Professor
        Evans had not written the initial 100 pages in his report.

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