Archive/File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day002.07 Last-Modified: 2000/07/20 Q. You are saying that, yes, there were multiple shootings by Einsatzgruppen and so on during the invasion of Soviet Russia -- A. There was mass murders of Jews committed by Nazis in their satraps -- Q. -- but it was not pursuant to any systematic programme, is that your case? A. -- again, I would have to -- I am not caviling, but these are important definitions, my Lord. If the definition -- if by using the word "systematic" you are implying that the system, the Third Reich as such originated these massacres, then I would have to quibble with that. I would say that certainly at a lower level a system emerged and that it was systemized somewhere in the hierarchy; does your Lordship appreciate -- Q. Yes, I follow what you are saying. A. -- yes. I submit that the Defendants will find it very difficult to suggest that it was a Third Reich decision. In other words an Adolf Hitler decision, which is of course the open water between us at present. Q. Can I ask a similar question; do you accept or deny totally that there was any systematic gassing of Jews in gas chambers, whether at Auschwitz or at elsewhere? I know we are not dealing with Auschwitz but I think that . P-157 that ought to be part of -- A. Yes, I think if we can leave out the word "systematic" which is contentious, I do not deny that there was some kind of gassing at gas chambers in Birkenhau, it is highly likely that there was. Q. -- on a solely experimental basis or -- A. That is the word I have used to give an indication of scale and to give an indication of the authority on which it was conducted, and, well, I leave it at that. But now you appreciate the reason why I am reluctant to insert the word systematized into that, because that implies that it was conducted on authority from above and that there were guidelines, and in some of the killings they were very definitely guidelines, my Lord, and I will lead some evidence on that later. Because Heinrich Himmler in fact refers to guidelines in a message he send to one of the commanders which has not been revealed previously. Q. -- do you want to add anything more in advance of cross-examination about the allegation that you are a Holocaust denier using the term "Holocaust" in the narrow definition? A. I do, my Lord, I wish to say that if you are not allowed to examine components of the Holocaust as I described it, the tragedy that was inflicted on the Jewish people in the Third Reich, if you are not allowed to examine individual components of that and say, yes, this definitely . P-158 happened. This is slightly exaggerated, that bit I find little evidence for. In other words not to carry out normal kind of analysis that you would do as a writer or as an historian without being accused and defamed as being a Holocaust denier instantly by the assembled mass media, then I would think would be a very sorry state of affairs. To that extent I find it offensive to be called a Holocaust denier because there are aspects of the Holocaust as currently portrayed that I find questionable, debateable and they need to be debated. But that is not Holocaust denial in my view, my Lord. The defence contention that somebody who challenges the figure is a Holocaust denier ipso facto, I have read Professor Evans' report in great deal here where I think he gives four criteria of what a Holocaust denier is. Somebody who says that Adolf Hitler did not give the order, somebody who challenges a figure. Somebody who says there were no gas chambers. I forget the fourth one. It is almost as though those four criteria have been tailor made in the way that you would have a suit tailor made for this very action, my Lord. I do not think that your Lordship will set much store by those four criteria. I hope you will not. Because if it is not possible to question the 6 million figure, for example, that I have been I accused of being a Holocaust denier, you run into immediate difficulties, because the Auschwitz authorities . P-159 themselves removed the memorial stone for 4 million dead and replaced it with a memorial stone for one million dead; are they Holocaust deniers under Professor Evans' definition? It is an absurdity. Q. Again, take your own course, but I was being to move on and I was going to skip for the purposes of my so- called examination-in-chief of you, skip altogether the section dealing with Auschwitz and indeed the one... A. If you had not, my Lord, I would have reminded you of what we agreed this morning. Q. Yes, quite. I am also going to skip Treblinka, Sobibor and Belsic, because it seems to me they really belong in the same compartment of the case as Auschwitz. There is a section though in a subsection in section 2, you may be able to find the page 28, which is headed: "Mass Murder of Jews by Shootings", I am not sure that really belongs in that particular section, but I can see why it has landed up there; do you want to say anything at this stage about that in fairly general terms? I think the criticism is made of you that whilst you recognize that many, to use a neutral word, many Jews were shot and killed in horrific circumstances, you have downplayed it, you have underestimated the number of deaths which occurred in this fashion? A. I do not like playing numbers games, my Lord, and a lot of these numbers are very suspect. Your Lordship may not be . P-160 familiar with this, but there was the case against Field Marshall Manstein, conducted by British War Crimes Court in Germany, where Manstein was represented by very eminent and able QC, I think it was Paget, who subsequently wrote a book called "Manstein and His Trials" and he led very good evidence indeed on these figures, proving how totally impossible many of the figures were relating to the Einsatzgruppen, but I say this with the utmost diffidence as I am not a expert and I have no intention of becoming a expert on that. What I am an expert on is the role played by Adolf Hitler in these killings and if I can just spend two minutes of the court's time describing the sequel to what happened yesterday, the November 30th 1941 episode, documents we have here in the British archives. They are of the utmost importance because they go a long way to refuting what Mr Rampton said yesterday about my interpretation of that Himmler document. If you remember, my Lord, on November 30th 1941, an event to which both the defence and I in our opening statements have referred occurred. A train load of 1,035 Jews from Berlin arrived after a two or three day journey at Riga. They were unloaded from the train that morning in ice cold conditions and had the misfortune to arrive in the middle of a mass extermination, a mass shooting of Jews being conducted by the local SS commander. They were shot immediately in the pits, and, my Lord, I am sure you . P-161 will vividly remember the description of that very shooting that was given to us by General Bruns in the Bruns Report, to which I have repeatedly referred. Q. Yes. A. So that one episode, when great good fortune, having a lot of documentation, the defence as I understand it are going to seize on the fact that in the Bruns Report the local SS junior says it is the Fuhrer's orders. I think there are very grave reasons for doubting that because Heinrich Himmler, as we heard yesterday, at 1.30 p.m. on that same Sunday, November 30th 1941, was called into Hitler's bunker and at or about that time, and I am going to be quite careful how I say this, he had reason to make a telephone call to SS Obergruppen Fuhrer Reinhardt Heinrich, who was his henchman, his closest lieutenant. He was the head of the killers, shall we say, he was above the Gestapo, Reinhardt Heinreich, and in that telephone conversation he said certain things as a result of which he jotted down two lines in his note pad. I have the actual handwritten notes on the table next to my stand there. The first line says: ( German spoken) Jew transport from Berlin. I appreciate quite readily that in the first chapter of my "Hitler's War" book I wrongly put that in the plural. The second line continued with the words ( German spoken) "no liquidation". Now, many things can be said about that . P-162 document, my Lord, the first is, how is it that it was not until 1974 when David Irving took the trouble to transcribe Heinrich Himmler's note, 30 years after the war was over that this extraordinary note came to the attention of the historical community. Well, I do not know why they do not want to read Heinreich Himmler's handwriting. It is a very difficult handwriting and I have to plead that as being my partial excuse for having misread ( German spoken) and also on the following day for having misread word "juden" as "haben" (?) or vice versa. Q. I think the point they make is not so much about legibility, but that this on its face looks as if it is talking about a single train transportation to -- A. Yes, this true, my Lord. Q. -- to Riga from Berlin. A. I should have put in the word "the". I left out the word "the" in my text based on it. I should not have said "transportation of Jews" I should have said "the transport of Jews". But I corrected this as soon as this was pointed out to me, my Lord. But I can continue because the inference that I drew from this, if this telephone call is made ( German spoken), from the bunker, from Hitler's bunker at the Wolf's lair in Rustenberg, East Prussia, Himmler has been required to telephone Reinhardt Heydrich and tell somebody these Jews from Berlin were not to be liquidated, you have . P-163 to very interesting conclusion, namely the liquidation was in the air and people have pointed this out to me and I do not dispute that for one moment. But what interested me is Adolf Hitler's biographer is that here is a case of Hitler intervening in a negative way. But it gets more interesting, my Lord, because we now have 20 years further down the road at the end of the 1990s in the Public Record Office the intercepts of the radio messages sent by Himmler the very next day to the man who had carried out the killings, SS Obergruppenfuhrer Joachim. Now this may be new to your Lordship. It is certainly new to everybody in this court; December 1st 1941, the day after the killings, Joachim gets a message from Heinrich Himmler in top secret SS code which we broke reading, and I have this there memory, I have the actual document on my desk over there but the sense is, the words are: These shootings that have been carried out in Riga, concerning the shootings in Riga, any excess, any further excesses, arbitrary excesses and actions against instructions given to you -- no. You have been given clear guidelines. MR JUSTICE GRAY: I think we ought to look at this document I am not familiar with it. MR RAMPTON: Nor are we. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Then I think we should look at it. A. My Lord, it has been supplied to the Defence several weeks ago. . P-164 MR JUSTICE GRAY: I am not doubting that for a moment. Can you indicate where it is so we can get it for you? A. It is large yellow sheets headed "Most Secret" in my case, at the bottom of the inside of my case. Then I do not have them with me, because I was intending to lead this material tomorrow. Q. So I understand what you are saying, you are saying there is a message from Himmler to Joachim? A. From Himmler to the Chief of the SS saying: There were very clear guidelines for the outsettlement, the outplacing of the Jews from Berlin. Q. So it is about the Jews from Berlin? A. It is talking about Jews from Berlin, clearly referring to this train load. He then continues: Any further arbitrary actions and actions against instructions will be severely punished, and he ordered Joachim to report immediately to Hitler's headquarters. On December 4th, my Lord, and this I do have there in the big blue volume -- can you give it to me, the Himmler Diary, have had that volume now for 20 years -- on December 4th 1941 Joachim then turns up at Hitler's headquarters and he is raked over the coals, there is no question, because the killings of German Jews stopped for the next few months. On December 1st I would say ---- Q. Is there a copy of this document? If there is not there should be one.
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