Archive/File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day024.07 Last-Modified: 2000/07/24 MR IRVING: The reason I am going through this, if I can put it like this, is that, if we are looking at what Adolf Hitler means when he says certain things or issued certain orders, we really need to know what the word meant in common usage at that time, and not what it now means at the beginning of the 21st century. MR JUSTICE GRAY: We really have spent a very long time on ausrotten and I think we have the full rage of . P-56 possibilities in mind. MR IRVING: That is the bad news. The good news is frankly that I am going to accept without demur that most of the meanings he applies to the other words, like Umsiedlung and the rest. A. I think I have to say here that I last night found three mistakes in the translation. I think I should correct them. MR JUSTICE GRAY: I think you probably should. A. I know that I am responsible in the end -- I am not blaming the translator, I am responsible and for the text. It is in point 5.9 and it is on page 14. I think the term Juda must die should be translated not with Judaism must die, but simply with Juda must die, because it refers I think basically to the tribe of Juda and I think one cannot and should not translate the tribe of Juda with Judaism which has another meaning. The same would apply to 6.14. There is the same mistranslation. I apologise for that. In 6.7 actually the word nicht is not translated, so in 6.7 it says in the indented paragraph in the second sentence what does die and it should say what does not die. So this is unfortunately a mistake. I am sorry about that. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Do not worry, that is fine. Shall we move elsewhere? MR IRVING: We are now dealing with your glossary. I must say . P-57 I take exception to the title of your glossary because this assumes a priori that there was such a programme to exterminate or murder. Really what we are looking at is a glossary of terms used by the Nazis in their programme of persecution of the Jews, is it not? It includes murder in some cases but it is all sorts of other things, is it not? A. In connection with a murder. Q. Yes. You say in your paragraph 1.1 of your introduction, that the Nazi regime avoided speaking of the murder of European Jews by name, in other words they did not like saying it. A. Yes. Q. Do you not yourself say in your report, I think it is round about paragraph 4.3.1 that the Einsatzgruppen reported quite frequently in most glowing terms of the killings they were carrying out and they made no bones about what they were doing? A. I said here generally, so the Einsatzgruppen, of course there are exceptions and the most known exceptions are the Einsatzgruppen reports. If you look into the history of the Holocaust, this is rather a rare example, I think. Historians of the events in Russia are quite happy to have this, if I may use this term here, this source, but generally you are looking at the whole system. They were quite reluctant to use openly this expression. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes. . P-58 MR IRVING: Except that it is rather odd that you should argue on the one hand there is this colossal use of euphemisms everywhere, but on the other hand everyone is talking about killing. A. No, not everybody is talking about killing. I made it quite specific. We have some exceptions and the Einsatzgruppen reports are the best example for that. Of course there are more exceptions, but generally, and this explains why we do not have more documents, we should imagine that an operation like this, the killing of about 6 million people, in the 20th century we should have more documents on that, because it was an operation on an unprecedented scale. But to explain that actually the number of documents is in a way limited, I am saying here generally they prefer not to speak about the killing. Q. Yes. A. So in newspapers, for instance, and things like that they did not announce on the first page that we are killing the Jews today, 5,000 people got killed in Auschwitz. They tried to keep it as a state secret. Even in the bureaucracy you find the kind of hesitation. It was actually forbidden to use this terminology within the bureaucracy. Of course there were exceptions. Q. You refer to the speech by Heinrich Himmler at Posnan on October 4th 1943 in your paragraph 1.2. MR JUSTICE GRAY: 43 or 44? . P-59 MR IRVING: It was actually 1943. I think that is mistake in the report, my Lord. A. 1943, yes. That is a mistake. Q. That is quite an ordinary speech, is it not? A. Yes. Q. Why is it extraordinary in the context of what we are talking about this morning? A. Yes, he is saying: I also want to talk to you quite frankly about a very grave matter, we can talk about it quite openly among ourselves, but nevertheless we can never speak of it publicly, just to underline my point, just as we did not hesitate on 13th June 1934 to do our duty as we were bidden and to stand comrades who had lapsed up against the wall and shoot them, so we have never spoken about it and will never speak of it. It was a natural assumption, an assumption which, thank God, is inherent in us, that we never discussed it among ourselves and never spoke of it. That is I think a remarkable passage. Then he is going on: "Most of you will know what it means to have 500 of a thousand corpses lying together before you. We have been through this and, disregarding exceptional cases of human weakness, to have remained decent. That is what has made has made us tough. This is a glorious page in our history, once that has never been written and can never be written". Of course, the last sentence is a kind of challenge for historians, I think. . P-60 Q. He is talking about the shootings on the Eastern Front, is he not? He is not talking about the western European Jews. He is talking about here about the killings, the machine gunnings into pits and so on? A. I am always quite cautious. He is talking about the killing of hundreds of people. I cannot see whether he refers to shootings, or whether he refers to extermination camps, or to labour camps, I have no idea. Q. As you say yourself, he says, "most of you will know what it means to have 500 or a thousand corpses lying together before you". He is referring to the shootings on the Eastern Front is he not? A. Not necessarily. He could also refer to extermination camps. MR JUSTICE GRAY: This is a speech to SS officers, is it not, not to the generals or anything of that kind? Q. To the SS Gruppenfuhrer. A. To the SS GruppenFuhrer, that is true. Q. He had this speech recorded on disk, did he not? A. That is true. Q. Did that indicate that he was particularly concerned about secrecy? A. I think the procedure was, it was not uncommon that he had his speeches on disk. He would give the disks to his personal adjutant and Brandt, and Brandt would then write a good manuscript, what actually improved the wording and . P-61 so on. So I think the disk was primarily meant to be used for internal purposes, just to record exactly the words of the speech and to take it as a basis for an extended and improved minute. I think it was not intended to broadcast the speech or something like that, definitely not. Q. We had a discussion here about the script of that speech, the transcript that was made. A. Yes. Q. Are you aware that he required those who had not read it, or had not attended it rather, to sign a list saying that they had in the meantime read the speech? A. It may be right. I cannot recall this, but I think you are right. Q. Yes. It is in my discovery. It is a two or three page list of the names of all the SS Gruppenfuhrer and they had been required to confirm either that they have heard this speech or that they have since read it? A. Yes. Q. Would you like to speculate from your knowledge as an expert on this why Himmler would have wanted to make sure that they had all heard the politics of the Third Reich? A. One should not speculate, but it is a very long speech. I think it is probably more than 50 pages or something like that. Q. Yes. A. He refers to the killing of the Jews. It might be that he . P-62 wants them to share this secret with him, but it could also mean that he just thought it was an important speech and they should listen to him, and they should be aware, because he is speaking about the conduct of war and all other important issues. So I am not absolutely sure that this is particularly this issue, why he is doing that. Q. Let me put it like this. Are you aware of any other Himmler speeches where he required those who had not attended to read it like school children afterwards? A. I am not sure, I cannot say anything to that. Q. Can you take it from me that I have never seen any other such list from any other Himmler speech? A. No. I am afraid I have to say it might be, but I cannot recall that. Q. Are you prepared to suggest that there is a link between the fact that he made this extraordinary expose in this speech with the fact that he required all the SS generals to sign that they had now taken cognisance of it? A. If I should speculate on it in this sense, yes, it is possible. Q. Probably a link? A. Yes. MR JUSTICE GRAY: I am not quite sure, Mr Irving, what the suggestion you are making is. What are you saying that the reason was? MR IRVING: I was just about to try and elicit this. I think . P-63 undoubtedly that Dr Longerich is an expert on these matters and I would be interested to hear his views. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes. You are perfectly entitled to ask, but I was not quite sure what the suggestion was. MR IRVING: Is there some suggestion that Himmler is making them all into accomplices after the fact? A. That is a possible interpretation. Q. Of something that he has done. Is he trying to spread the guilt, do you think? A. It is a possible interpretation, yes. Q. Am I right, if I can ask a general question here, in saying that we are very much in the dark when we get up to this rarified level of Heinrich Himmler, Adolf Hitler, we do not really know what happened between them? We are forced to speculate, depending on our own personal positions. A. Yes, to speculate. We are in a way informed speculators so I think we have some sources and we should always take those sources as a basis for our speculation. And of course it is the nature of the system, the genre of decision making. We know there is a record of the relationship between Himmler and Hitler before this time, so we are also allowed, I think, to draw a conclusion from this wider context. MR JUSTICE GRAY: You have not told me what your conclusion is? A. My conclusion? . P-64 Q. The question really was, we do not know much about the relationship between Himmler and Hitler. A. We know something about the relationship between Himmler and Hitler. MR IRVING: Specifically in this connection, am I right, my Lord? MR JUSTICE GRAY: It was your question I was paraphrasing. MR IRVING: I am sure it would interest your Lordship too to know, from your own personal knowledge as an expert particularly on the Party Chancellery files, for example, is there any hint in all that huge body of, as you say, 50,000 documents which suggests that there were intimate discussions between Himmler and Hitler on the Final Solution with a homicidal intent, if I can put it like that? A. Not necessarily in the files of the Party Chancellery but, if I can expand on that, the sources we have relating to Hitler and Himmler, I would say, the most important document we have, is the entry in the Dienskalendar, the 18th December 1941. This is of course an important document. We have the speeches, not only this speech, but also a couple of other speeches, a couple of speeches Hitler made to this issue. We have a number of other documents which I refer to in my report number 1.
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