The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day015.08

Archive/File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day015.08
Last-Modified: 2000/07/20

   Q.   Yes.
   A.   --- when we would establish whether this was feasible,
        whether the plates were there, whether they were genuine,
        what their contents were, and whether the Russians were
        open to a piece of horse trading; and then after I came
        back from Moscow and we established to the satisfaction of
        the Sunday Times that I had obtained the material, or was
        in the process of obtaining it, then a contract was drawn
        up in a proper legal manner.

.          P-65

   Q.   And I know that you fell out in some way (and I am not
        interested in why unless you want to tell his Lordship in
        re-examination) you fell out with them for some reason and
        they did not actually pay you, the contract ----
   A.   Well, the reason is, of course, material to this case --
        we will find that later -- but the deal was they would pay
        me 75,000 plus VAT for the particular ----
   Q.   Did they ever pay any of that?
   A.   They paid one-third of it, yes, and they welshed on the rest.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Did you say it was not material?
   A.   The reasons why they welshed on the deal is evident from
        the discovery.  They came under immense world wide
        pressure.  Andrew Neil said he had never experienced
        anything like it.
   MR RAMPTON:  Oh, you mean we are back at the traditional enemy,
        sort of thing, are we?
   A.   Well, if you wish to encapsulate it in that phrase --- -
   Q.   Well, I am trying to use shorthand.
   A.   --- but you have seen the discovery, you have seen the documents.
   Q.   But none of them from anybody who is a Defendant in this
        case, I hope?
   A.   No.
   Q.   Then I do not see that it is material.  Mr Irving, so you
        had two incentives to make this exercise a success?

.          P-66

   A.   Three incentives.
   Q.   One was that you would then, as I say, quite properly get
        the ----
   A.   Kudos.
   Q.   --- kudos for having the job which, I have no doubt, you
        properly did when you had done it?
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   And the second incentive was financial because you had a
        good contract?
   A.   Well, the third incentive was that I wanted the material
        for my biography of Dr Goebbels.
   Q.   Yes.  Right, that is three very sensible (and I make no
        criticism) three strong incentives to be the first there?
   A.   That is right, and the people you call the traditional
        enemy had precisely the same incentives for stopping me.
   Q.   You knew, however, that the Sunday Times -- this is after
        the Hitler diaries fiasco, was it not?
   A.   The Hitler diary fiasco in April 1993.
   Q.   Exactly.  So you knew that the Sunday Times would be very
        wary, and no doubt they told you so, of getting their
        fingers burned a second time?
   A.   Andrew Neil sad to me, "We are very wary about this here
        in the office, as soon as we hear the word Nazis and
        everybody gets very nervous", and my response was,
        "Andrew, this is the chance, I am giving the Sunday Times
        a chance to rehabilitate themselves".

.          P-67

   Q.   One of the conditions, therefore, of this deal was no
        doubt that the Sunday Times had to be satisfied of the
        authenticity of the plates?
   A.   At some stage, either before or after the first trip, they
        made a contractual condition that I should obtained the
        opinion of experts on the content of the diaries, and that
        they should have other means of verifying of the integrity
        of the actual material.
   Q.   And that in due is what happened, was it not?
   A.   Yes.  You will see have seen from this trial that I attach
        great importance to the integrity of the document.
   Q.   Can you turn in the same tab of the same file to page B7
        to your diary entry of 10th June 1992?
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   "Rose 7.45 a.m. wretched breakfast at Cosmo", is that an
        anagram of Moscow or a misprint?
   A.   I think it is "Cosmos".
   Q.   Cosmos, is it?
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   To looks to me like an anagram of Moscow, but never mind.
        "With dried salami", etc., yes, I sympathise with you.
        "At 10 a.m. at the archives continued methodically
        reading the microfiches and flagging in catalogue.  It was
        drizzling with rain.  I illicitly borrowed the fiche we
        had found covering the weeks before the war broke out, and
        took it out of the archives at lunch for copying (in case

.          P-68

        the Germans managed to prevent this)".
                  Will you explain exactly what that means?
   A.   I knew from my contact in Munich that the head of the
        German Federal Archive System, Professor Karlenburg, was
        due to visit Moscow a few days later, and he was coming
        effectively with a large empty suitcase to pick up all the
        looted Nazis' documents, and my experience then was that
        when these documents get back into German archives they
        vanish for several years and are unable to the
        international community for historians.  This has happened
        again and again and again.  So it was important on the
        basis of what you have is what you have got, by hook or by
        crook to get these vital materials out of the KGB archives
        and make them available to the world of historians, which
        is what I did.
   Q.   Mr Irving, whether or not you had a written agreement with
        the Russians, which I understand you did not have, you
        describe to your own diary your conduct in taking this
        fiche as illicit?
   A.   Totally illicit.  I am deeply ashamed to have done that.
        You do not normally go into archives and remove materials,
        even though of course they are going to put them back the
        next day, but desperate situations call for desperate
        remedies.  This was an archive with no copying
        facilities.  It had no microfiche reader.  There was no
        means of reading the materials they had.  They did not

.          P-69

        know what they had.
   Q.   When you took it outside, and I do not know what Mr
        really meant, I did not really understand it, but he
        it in some kind of envelope when he took it outside
        disguised as something, that is why he said "James
   A.   Well, it was not disguised as something.  Obviously
        were glass plates.
   Q.   I am not interested in that.
   A.   You just mentioned this.  I just said they were
   Q.   Yes.  I am not suggesting they were not.  You took it
        out.  You say: "I tucked the envelope with the glass
        into a hiding place before re-entering"?
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   What sort of a hiding place?
   A.   Behind a wall.
   Q.   Was it still raining?
   A.   No.  Certainly I would not have left it standing in
        rain obviously.  It was very well wrapped in plastic
   Q.   I see.  We can take this quite shortly now I think?
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I am sorry, I am not following.  What was
        point of tucking the envelope into a hiding place
   A.   I took it out at the lunch break, concealed it, noting
        where I concealed it, and I would come out then at the

.          P-70

        of the archive closing, pick it up, take it to the
        photographers, the Sunday Times office, have all
        the images printed.
   Q.   It was prior to taking it back to England?
   A.   No, my Lord.  This was in the middle of my visit to
        Moscow.  We then had these glass plates printed up in
        Moscow and took them back the first thing the next
        and put them back in the box.  That same day the
        said, "Sure, borrow some more", and he allowed us to
        borrow more and we did the same again.
   MR RAMPTON:  Can you turn over page to your entry of 11th
        which is B8.  Can I start at 10.30 because I think we
        had enough of your breakfasts in Moscow:  "10.30 a.m.
        to the archives.  I return the borrow August 1939
        that is the one we were talking about, is it not?
   A.   Why.
   Q.   So it had stayed out overnight, had it not?
   A.   Yes, but not out in the open.
   Q.   No, I understand that.
   A.   It had gone walkies.
   Q.   Mr Millar was wrong in saying it was returned the same
   A.   I do not think he did say that.
   Q.   Then I misunderstood.  "I returned the borrowed August
        1939 fiche and borrowed two by the same means", that
        illicitly, does it not?

.          P-71

   A.   Yes.
   Q.   This is March, June, September 1934, that is the night
        the long knives period?
   A.   A vitally important period in Nazi history.  It has
        concealed from the world for 55 years up to that point
        I found it.
   Q.   "Including the Rome purge"?
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   "I was overjoyed to find these two fiches.  That
        the importance of this stay".  Over the page, please:
        left the archives at 5 p.m.  I passed the hidden
        is it?
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   "To Peter Millar to get it", it must be "them"
"printed up
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   Then you took them via ----
   A.   Actually it looks like one plate rather than two.
   Q.   I know.  Never mind.  It was in fact I think two
        we know from the documents that two plates were
        back for testing.
   A.   Well, these obviously were not the ones brought back
        because we had them printed up that night and,
        put back the next morning.
   Q.   So you borrow one illicitly put it back and then two
        and put them back, but the two that came to England, I

.          P-72

        not really mind which they were, the two that came to
        England were also taken illicitly?
   A.   Well, I have to halt you there and say that this is
        June 11th which is the day before I returned to
   Q.   Exactly.
   A.   I do think that these ones were borrowed illicitly,
        because certainly on that first trip Dr Bondarev
        us, he permitted us to take some plates out and have
        printed up overnight.  So that may be these two.
   Q.   No.  The two that went back to London via Munich were
        taken illicitly, were they not?  There were five in
   A.   Yes, but if Peter Millar had them printed up overnight
        I would not have had to take them back to England to
        printed.  The ones that I took out, which would have
        I would have taken them out on June 12th ----
   Q.   Well, I do not know what time you ----
   A.   Presumably.
   Q.   I do not think you went back to the institute of
        it was before you left for Munich.  We had better look
        the diary.
   A.   Well, I am not going to argue about this, because of
        course I have made a total admission in writing to you
        the question we of which ones were taken out and which
        ones were left.
   Q.   I know.  I will finish now with one question.  For the
        sake of your good name and good standing as an

.          P-73

        for the sake of 75,000, for the sake of beating the
        Munich Institute to the line and for the sake of your
        Goebbels book, on two occasions at least you illicitly
        took valuable slides out of this Institute and on one
        those occasions you transferred them via aeroplane to
   A.   That is correct.
   Q.   Are you proud of yourself?
   A.   I said earlier, no, I am not.  It is not kind of thing
        wants to do as an historian.  But when you are dealing
        with the Russian archives which at any moment may seal
        again, as they have in the meantime, so these plates
        no longer available and the Germans are sitting on the
        plates too, they are just beginning to publish them
        eight years after I was there.  I think I did a
        service to the community.  Every single plate that I
        copied I gave copies of the prints that I made to both
        German archives, both in Koblenz and also to the
        archives at his home town.  So I made them immediately
        available to the world of historians.  So I did a
   Q.   The end may have been worthy.  The result may have
        desirable, but the means that you used, perhaps you
        agree, were, morally speaking, I am not interested in
        legality ----
   A.   They were illicit.

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