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 ever did. 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 out 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 have been surprised by the extent of the destruction . Soon he will be able to gauge its impact. (Jump a sentence) In each case Hitler covered for Goebbels who did not derive the hoped for benefits from the affair." Is this Professor perverse, do you think, for adopting that on the 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, the 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 say. 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 recall rightly and I may be wrong -- paragraph in a work which is almost entirely devoted to the wartime. It is part of a very brief broad summary. Q. So what are you saying is that this view that Hitler was taken by surprise by it and that he covered for Goebbels but did nothing else, it is not perverse when it is stated 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 of view but, as I say, I do not know to what extent this rests on his own research, or to what extent this is just 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 and 42. Q. It is a pretty revolutionary statement for a Professor to make though, is it not, at that time, to come out you and say that he thought that Hitler was not behind the Kristallnacht? 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 could only have endorsed the concept of exacting reprisals. I have to say simply I do not agree with that point of view. 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 page 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 Hitler's Political Testament that I am holding in my hand? A. Let me say I do not refer to that. I am referring to Sir Martin Gilbert review and I am saying what he says. In 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 have made. I am trying to establish reputation. MR JUSTICE GRAY: You have created a problem. You understand . 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 again in the end it is for me to look at the evidence in huge detail, as we are going to have to, and then look at the criticisms, look at your answer and make up my own mind. 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 challenge, then surely I am entitled seriatim to take these sources 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 to 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 Martin Gilbert rely on this book, Hitler's Political Testament? . P-80 A. I really cannot say. I cannot answer for Sir Martin Gilbert. 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 that is what I am talking about here. Q. Are you familiar that Hitler's Political Testament is a forged document, and I know the Swiss gentleman who forged it in his own handwriting? There is every reason therefore why I should not have relied on that document. A. That is not really relevant to what I am saying here. What I am saying here is that you have been criticised by other historians. Q. 2.5.10, please. I am sorry, the last lines of 2.5.9. Do you remember you are quoting Michael Howard criticising me for not crediting other historians where they had done the work? A. Yes. Q. Can I, in view of the fact that you have not done so, call the court's attention to the review that Michael Howard wrote, which is in the little bundle at page 33? Does your Lordship have it? MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes. . 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 helpful 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 'very considerable merits' of The War Path and declared that Irving was 'at his best as a professional historian demanding documentary proof for popularly held beliefs'". That is very positive and I am trying to convey there the positive impression that Howard gives. Then I go on to his criticisms: "Howard pointed out that Irving's account of an episode such as the enforced resignation of Generals 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 occasionally recognised that other men had been there before him and done a competent job of work'". This is not a damning review. I am not trying to convey the impression that it is. Of course, since, Mr Irving, you say you never read 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 now draw your attention to the next item in that bundle, which 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 not? Can I show you the book? First of all, is this the book? MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes, I have the point. A. Yes I have the point too. That is one historian. Many other historians ---- MR JUSTICE GRAY: I think climb down on that one. A. I will climb down on Professor Deutsch, but he is not the 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 by Professor Harold Deutsch? A. What you say in that letter, as you point out, Professor Deutsch in his book had based his account on material that you had supplied to him. Q. Let me get a lot mileage out of this. First of all, is Professor Deutsch Jewish? A. I have no idea. Q. Take it from me that he is a very good old Jewish friend of mine who is one of the United States old guard of historians? . P-83 MR RAMPTON: There comes a time, even when it is a litigant in person, where we cannot have continually, we have had it 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 for another three weeks. MR JUSTICE GRAY: I am very conscious of that. I do not know 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 cross-examination. MR RAMPTON: It only does if those references are (a) likely to be relied on by me, which is not very likely, and (b) and much more important, if they are likely to influence your Lordship. This is not a jury trial. If your Lordship were to make it clear, if it be the case, that this part 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 this is a rather futile game of ping pong that is going on at the moment, and far better to get on to the detailed criticisms. Professor Evans has said a number of times . 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 submission. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Mr Irving, that really is very much what I think I have been trying to say to you very often. I am giving you, as I have said many times before also, as much latitude as I reasonably can, but I do think you really must get on to the specific criticisms. We are going very, very slowly and this morning I really have not found hugely helpful in terms of the task that I am eventually going to have to perform. That is my problem. MR IRVING: I am trying to undermine your Lordship's confidence in this witnesses as being somebody who has the ability and the impartiality and the historical background to pass 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 and 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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