Archive/File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day004.19 Last-Modified: 2000/08/01 Q. You may be ready for me in some sense or another, Mr Irving; first can I ask you this; this is intended to suggest to the reader, is it not, (a) that there is no actual extermination planned at this point, it is only a matter of public rumour; and (b) that to do anything like that at this time would be to add to one's difficulties, or do you say "yes" simply adding to one's difficulties at a time like this? A. Postpone it to the war is over, yes. Q. Pardon? A. To postpone it until the war is over to quote Schlegelberger. Q. Have you read this passage in Professor Evans' report? A. No -- yes, I have, but that is not the translation I used. Q. What is not? A. Professor Evans has his own clever translation of that passage. Q. Of course, he has, because he has done it correctly. A. You are implying I used a deliberately perverse and . P-170 distorted translation? Q. Oh, yes, indeed so. For one thing there is no reference in what Hitler says to the marshier parts of Russia, is there, actually says? A. What did he say? Q. He said: (German spoken). A. So you are accusing me of having mistranslated? MR JUSTICE GRAY: Well, added words. MR RAMPTON: You have added in some words, a small point. A. My Lord, I will have a statement to make about this in a moment. Q. Pardon? A. Shall I make the statement now? You will be familiar with the facts that Weidenfeld & Nicholson published the edition of Hitler's table talk back in about 1949, with an introduction by Hugh Trevor-Roper, a very good volume, it is almost unobtainable now. I read that when I was about 14 from cover to cover, and that is the translation I have used. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes, I remember that. A. The official translation. I have not changed one dot or comma of the official translation as published by Hugh Trevor-Roper. Q. You mean the Weidenfeld translation? A. Yes. MR RAMPTON: This book is published in 1996, "Goebbels"? . P-171 A. Yes. Q. That is what I read from, page 377. A. Yes. Q. The German edition, which I am sure you have used at other times and for other purposes of the monologue, has been available since 1980. A. The original German text of that was available to me since much earlier than that, because I had the original Martin Bormann typescript text. Q. So you had it, as you wrote these words you had the original German available? A. But I used official translation by -- Q. I hear what you say, the question is not whether you did, but why. You had the original German available to you at the time? A. -- let me be more specific. When I wrote the Hitler's War in the 1970s, I had the English text in front of me, when I reissued it in Germany I contacted the Swiss owner of the original Martin Bormann files, who had the original German texts and I obtained from him on that occasion German texts of these passages. But I did not translate it, Mr Rampton. The translation was done by either Trevor-Roper or by Weidenfeld and I have used the exact words. Q. Why? A. Why? . P-172 Q. Yes. I thought you were somebody who did not read other people books, if you have original document why did you not refer to that? A. That was the publication of the original document, this was a published edition of Hitler's Table Talk and at that time that was the only edition that was available. Q. What in -- A. I beg your pardon? Q. -- sure, but this Goebbels book is published in 1996. A. Yes and I have used exactly the same translation. Q. Why? A. I find it an adequate translation. Q. But it is a terrible translation, Mr Irving. A. By whom? Q. By whoever did it. For one thing it has got its tenses all wrong. It has added words. Look at the top of page 324 of the Professor Evans' report. A. 300 and? Q. 24. The German is set out in footnote 18, I think. This time I do ask that you just read the two one after the after in whichever order you like. A. Which is the part you are saying is the bad translation? Q. Well, for example, he pointed out, however, well, there are several appalling translations. There is no reference in the German to a plan to exterminate the Jews. "The fear precedes us that we are exterminating". . P-173 A. Yes. Q. Correct? A. Yes. Q. It is a much closer and uglier thing in the original German than in this rather namby-pamby translation which includes references to public rumours and plans? A. I do not think so. "Schreiken" is a spook. It is a spook. Q. A spook. It is a word of fright and fear, is it not? A. Yes. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Which is it, because they are quite different in this context? A. My Lord, the imputation is that I have deliberately mistranslated or distorted. Q. Well, adopted what you should have appreciated was a mistranslation, I think is the way it is put. A. At the time I wrote Hitler's War I only had the original English text. Q. Yes, but by the 1991 edition you had the German translation? A. And I still accept that my translation is not a serious deviation from that. Q. You would translate "schreiken" as a spectre or a spook rather than as a fear? A. Yes, schreiken is the idea of a childish kind of spook, the idea of a goblin. . P-174 MR RAMPTON: Do you think this is a reliable dictionary? A. It helped us a lot with the word "vernichtung", did it not? Q. OK. "Schreik", fright, shock, terror, alarm, panic, consternation, dismay, fear, horror? A. What were the first two? Q. Fright, shock, which is the word I used. A. Yes, fright or shock, you see, once again your expert has taken the tertiary or fourth meaning of the word because he prefers to manipulate it in that way. Q. I do not mind which of those words you want me to use, but I am certainly not going to use "spook", still less am I going to use "public rumour". Not even you would use "public rumour" deliberately, would you, Mr Irving? A. I think that Hugh Trevor-Roper is perfectly adequate when he translates like documents like this or the translator employed by George Weidenfeld who was a Jew certainly, could certainly not be accused of having wanted to exonerate Adolf Hitler. Q. In your pleadings, Mr Irving, my Lord, this is, I do not know but it will probably be in the reply somewhere, we will find it -- my Lord, this is page 27 of the reply, no paragraph number at that stage. It is (i) and following on from page 26. You tell us this, Mr Irving, and you are talking about this particular issue and you mention the Trevor-Roper translation, you say this: . P-175 "When the plaintiff", that is you, "thereafter prepared the German edition and subsequently revised the book, he was the only historian in world to whom the original German texts were made available by their physical owner, namely in October 1977." A. That is probably from the date stamp on the documents that I received, yes. Q. I do not know. A. Yes. Q. These are your words. I cannot tell you whether that is right or not. A. Well, if I have written that, then it is right. Q. So you have had the original in your possession since 1977? A. Yes. Q. You could not have used it for the first edition of Hitler's War? A. Yes. Q. But thereafter, knowing you, am I wrong to assume that you would ordinarily go back to the original when you come back to this table talk in later books? A. If this had been a delinquent translation I would certainly have done so, but the translation was not so delinquent that I would have wanted to interfere with this. I should explain that one of the reasons the Professor Boischott attacked me very bitterly, as you are . P-176 familiar, in a 50-page attack on the book in 1977 was because he could not recognize my table talk translations, and for this reason I decided it was important not to interfere with the original English if it was in the Trevor-Roper and Weidenfeld edition because I did not want to be subjected to more unfair attacks like that. MR JUSTICE GRAY: But really public rumour is not a correct or even arguably correct translation of "schreiken". It is fairly elementary that, is it not? It is a common word. A. It is not so widely deviant that I would have wanted to tamper with the original quotation and risk exposure to criticism from other historians who were familiar with Weidenfeld text which was the only one then available. In the German edition of course we used the original German. MR RAMPTON: In fact you did concede, or point out perhaps I should say, in a speech to the International Revisionist Conference in 1983 that, "the German original 'is completely different from the published English translation'"? A. Of this particular one? Q. Yes. Do you remember saying that? A. I notice that the English translator had actually allowed himself to put in an entire sentence that was not in the original. Q. "Terror is a salutary thing" he put in? A. That is right. . P-177 Q. And it is not there at all? A. That is not there at all. Q. Nor is the word "plan" in the German, is it? A. Well, I think that this is a literary translation again. You are faced with the problems of doing a literary rather than a wooden translation. Q. Mr Irving, really. It is a question of absolutely crucial substance. "There is a public rumour that we are planning to exterminate the Jews". That is nasty enough, but consider this sentence: "The public are terrified because we are exterminating the Jews"? A. Does he say that? I do not think he says that. I think that the point I am about to make when you have finished chasing this particular hare is to point out that what matters in this quotation is not whether the word "schreiken" is translated as "public rumour" or "fright" or "shock", but the fact that once again this document shows quite clearly that Hitler had something completely different in mind, and he is telling it to the people who are actually doing it. How do we explain this kind of discrepancy? That is what matters in this document, not whether one word had been mistranslated by Hugh Trevor-Roper or not. Q. It is good if the terror, fright, shock, fear, panic goes before "that we are exterminating Jewry"? A. This is the least important part of the document. Are you . P-178 saying that if that sentence was taken out then that paragraph collapses? On the contrary what matters --- - Q. I am not saying that. A. Excuse me, let me finish. What matters in this paragraph is Hitler saying: "Let nobody tell us we cannot push them out into the marshy parts of Russia", that is the first part. The second part which matters is him saying: "Anyway, let's leave the whole thing until the whole war is over, we have enough problems". Q. I am coming to that. A. That is what matters. Q. Because that is not what it says either. You see, it does matter. It is not that it would have mattered if that part had been left out. It is that you wilfully used in 1991, if it is in Hitler's War, in that edition, I do not know, but in 1996 in Goebbels where it certainly is, you wilfully used a translation you knew to be rubbish, because it is softer in its effect than the original German? A. No, on the contrary. When I was writing the Goebbels book I would have taken Hitler's War in English as my source. Q. Well, that is only to repeat your earlier error. A. No, not my earlier error, but to reuse the translation of Weidenfeld's.
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