Archive/File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day022.04 Last-Modified: 2000/07/24 MR IRVING: My problem here, my Lord, is once again the fact that this is not the right witness to ask these questions . P-28 of. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Why not? MR IRVING: Because this was certainly the matter to be addressed to the Holocaust witness rather than to this witness, but he has spent a page and a half looking at this episode, and I am just trying to deal with this summarily. Does he accept my account is right? MR JUSTICE GRAY: I think that is a very sensible question to start with actually. A.Yes, well, turn to pages 347 and 348 of my report, and there you will see my criticisms. MR JUSTICE GRAY: That should give us the reference too for the ... MR IRVING: The manipulation of statistics? A.Yes. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Can somebody find us the passage in Hitler's War? It is not very good on its index. A.This is also Goebbels, page 645. MR IRVING: Shall we just dwell on the Goebbels one which is a more recent one? MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes. That is page 645 or thereabouts. MR IRVING: Yes, the footnotes. (To the witness): Do you suggest, witness, that I have given the wrong overall total for the number of Jews killed in Riga or on this specific day? A.First of all, you say that on 30th November 1941 5,000 . P-29 Jews were killed. Q.Yes. A.Whereas there is a documentation to indicate that 10,000 were killed and after the war the court accepted that the number was actually between 13 and 15,000. You then claim, when you are confronted with this evidence, that each ditch into which these unfortunate people were dumped, shot, would have held 1 or 2,000 victims without having any evidence at all about the size of the ditches. That is the first point. Then the second point is that in the main narrative in Goebbels you do not say anything about the second massacre on 8th December. You do, however, as I say, in the footnotes say that 27,800 Jews are executed in Riga, but you then claim that that is possibly an exaggeration. Q.Can we take those two points? A.And that is -- yes. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes, take them one by one. MR IRVING: Take them one at a time. So we are now on pages 347 and 348? A.Yes. Q.You say: "Faced with this evidence", five lines from the bottom, right, of page 347? A.Yes. Q."Faced with this evidence, Irving offers a further . P-30 argument". Why do you say "faced with this evidence"? A.Do you not mention this evidence? Q.Did you find these documents that you referred to earlier in that paragraph in my discovery or are they referenced in my footnotes? A.Let me just have a look. This is the Bruns and then there is the ---- Q.The evidence for the figure of 10,600 shot on that day which was a book published in 1989. You have no evidence that I was faced with that evidence, do you? A.What you do, what you say is that they will have held 1 or 2,000 victims each. What you are aware of, you see, in the second -- let us leap to the second account here - - is that Einsatzgruppen A reported that a total of 27,800 Jews were executed in Riga, which seems to be a pretty accurate estimate and that is the evidence that you are faced with. Q.That is the second part of the question? A.And are you saying that you ---- Q.And you object to the fact that I say that this is possibly exaggerated? A.Well, there is this -- you say that is possibly exaggerated, yes, you try to cast doubt upon it, and then you mention the size of the ditches without mentioning their depth. Q.We will come back to the size of the ditches. You take exception to the fact that I say that 27,800 is possibly . P-31 exaggerated. You are familiar with the historian Ezergailis, the Baltic historian who is, I think we both agree, an expert on this matter? A.Yes, I cite him in footnote 75. Q.And at the end of that paragraph 2 you say that he has arrived at figures of certainly almost 25,000 Jews killed? A.That is right, yes. Q.So 27,800 is about 12 per cent more than that, is it not? A.The estimates by the court in Hamburg is about 25 to 30,000. Q.Is Ezergailis, Andrew Ezergailis, who, as you say, used various methods of calculating the victims arrived also at figures of certainly almost, in other words, less than, 25,000 less killed? A.Mr Irving, when you saw possibly an exaggeration, you do not mean to suggest to the reader that it might have been a couple of thousand or 2,800 less. Q.12 per cent? A.I think you are casting in your usual, a way that you frequently employ, you are trying to cast a general doubt on these figures. "Possibly an exaggeration" does not mean that it is within that range of possibilities. I think you are trying to suggest it could be a gross exaggeration. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Can we just, I am trying keep an eye on the wood rather than looking at the trees. The first . P-32 criticism, if I remember what you said a few minutes ago, was that if anyone just read the text in Goebbels, he would get the impression that there were only 5,000 killed. Am I right so far? A.Yes. Q.And that is page 379 of the text? A.Yes. Q.I cannot find a reference to 5,000. I can find a reference to 4,000. MR RAMPTON: It is 1,000 plus 4? A.1 plus 4. 1,000 from Berlin and 4,000 from Riga. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Are you saying -- Mr Irving will, no doubt, ask you a question if you are wrong about it -- that there is no reference in the text to any more Jews having been shot at Riga than the 5,000? A.That is right. MR IRVING: But the reference is there in the end notes at the back to 27,800, is that right? A.Yes, where you frequently put embarrassing things in footnotes hoping, no doubt, that the common reader will not consult them. Q.Why would I put footnotes in a book if I hoped that the reader would not consult them? Would it not just be simpler not to put them in at all? A.Well, it is a matter of what strategy you are adopting to try to make your work plausible to those, that minority of . P-33 readers who will consult the footnotes. Q.Which of us has the minority of readers? Me with my best selling books or you with the 10,000? A.That is not what I meant. Q.The suggestion that I put footnotes in a book in the hope that nobody will read them is rather implausible, is it not? A.No. I think that the average reader does not consult the footnotes. You are addressing yourself to two audiences, as I think you yourself said under cross-examination. You are addressing yourself to the general reader, but also to people who have a more specialized knowledge. Q.Will you accept that if you are writing a book which has a strong chronological flow and you are dealing with an episode that in happened in November, it would be disruptive to the reader to be told about things at the end of December and that it, therefore, makes sense to put in footnotes the overall result of this kind of murder operation? A.It is not the end of December, Mr Irving. It is 8th December. That is a week later. Q.Yes, but would you accept that it is confusing for --- - A.That is not a huge chronological gap. Q.--- a reader to be ---- A.No, I will not accept it. I think you have a duty to give an accurate estimate of the numbers killed, and not to . P-34 partly underestimate it and then hide the actual final number in a footnote and cast doubt on it in a footnote. Q.Are there better ways of hiding things than printing things in books; you can hide them by just dropping on the floor, like the Schlegelberger document? MR JUSTICE GRAY: I think you have asked that question and I think you have got the answer. MR IRVING: I have, my Lord, and I will I move on now to the pits. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes, would you, because I have not quite got the picture on that. MR IRVING: Do you agree that General Bruns in his gripping and harrowing account of the mass shootings that occurred on November 30th 1941 -- you remember the girl with the flame red dress that he had in his mind's eye just before she was shot? Do you agree that he describes that there were two or three pits of a certain length and a certain width. A.Yes. Q.And can we not calculate from that in a rough -- can we not do a check sum to work out the feasibility of numbers of bodies that would fit into those pits? A.No, you cannot, unless you know the depth. Q.How deep can a pit be dug, do you think? A.Oh, goodness! I mean, any depth. I would not want to make an estimate, I mean. . P-35 Q.Would you accept that I am expert in digging pits, having worked in my early years as a student as a navvi for many years in order to finance my way through university? MR JUSTICE GRAY: Mr Irving, come on. You can dig a pit as deep as you have got the energy to dig it. MR IRVING: My Lord, that is a very hazardous operation if you are standing at the bottom of the pit and you dig it without any kind of shoring. I would now draw your Lordship's attention to one such pit which is photographed in the little bundle I gave you. It is the last item in the bundle. It provides a useful check point for the depth that these pits go when they are only three metres wide. A.And you are saying, are you, Mr Irving, that this is one of the pits in Riga? This is an authenticated photograph of one of them? Q.This is, well, as you can tell by the British soldier standing around with machine guns, this is probably Bergen-Belsen or Buchenwald, where the victims of Nazi atrocities are being buried by some of the perpetrators. A.And what does that tell us about the pits in Riga, Mr Irving? Q.I am sorry, my Lord. You do not have the photograph? MR JUSTICE GRAY: I think maybe I am missing a few pages off the back of this little clip. MR IRVING: This is the photograph from my collection of . P-36 original photographs that I have assembled over the years of Nazi atrocities. MR JUSTICE GRAY: What is the question? MR IRVING: Yes. Do you have the photograph in front of you? A.Yes. I will take it out again. Q.Can you give a rough estimate as to how wide and probably how long that pit or, at any rate, how wide the pit is? A.Mr Irving, I am not -- this is not one of the pits at Riga. This is no relevance whatsoever to the matter we are dealing with. Q.It is relevant to the matter of how deep you can dig a pit in circumstances like this ---- A.You can dig pit any depth you like, Mr Irving. Q.Is that your expert evidence as a pit digger or can we apply some common sense? A.As it happens, I have been having my house reconstructed, Mr Irving, recently ---- MR JUSTICE GRAY: That is as may be. A.--- and people have been digging pits and I have watched them, so I do know something about digging pits. MR IRVING: Can I ask my Lord, did your Lordship consider that it is possible now using that photograph to make some basic assumptions about the kind of pits and graves that were dug and whether they had layers of soil on top of them and... MR JUSTICE GRAY: Put your case briefly for saying that the . P-37 pits could have contained -- well, put your case briefly. MR IRVING: Would you agree, as General Bruns describes, the ditch was 24 yards long and 3 metres wide, and if it was 2 metres deep, that would be 144 cubic metres? A.25 metres long and 3 metres wide? No, I do not, no. They could have dug it any depth they wanted to. Q.We will ignore that remark for the moment and continue with this calculation, please. Will you agree that if the pit is 25 by 3 by 2 metres deep, for an example, it would be 150 cubic metres? A.I am not going to challenge your mathematics, Mr Irving, but it really is not a very relevant question. I do not know how deep these pits.
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