The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day016.11

Archive/File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day016.11
Last-Modified: 2000/07/20

   Q.   Yes.  Well, will you accept that that particular page
        comes from a file of over thousand such pages, just one
        file, and I do not know how many reports are on
that one
        page, there are about 15 items on that one page,
   A.   Seven.
   Q.   Would it surprise you to
hear that in the British archives
        we have, I suppose, several hundred thousand
        SS and police messages?
   A.   I would not challenge the

.          P-76

   Q.   Do you know from the works
of Richard Brightman, like this
        book here, 'Official Secrets', that we, British,
and the
        Americans also through us, were familiar with the
        operations being conducted by the SS on the
Eastern Front?
   A.   We -- as I understand
Brightman's book, we were getting
        the Police battalion reports which were in a lower
        between late July and early September or mid
        which Daluege instructed them to send things by
        and not by radio.
   Q.   1941 you are talking
   A.   1941.
   Q.   Yes.  Is it known to you
that the reason why Daluege
        ordered the code change is because Winston
        actually made a speech in 1941 relying on the
        talking for the first time about these appalling
        atrocities being conducted by the SS?
   A.   I have no single document
that establishes a causal
        connection but there is a chronological meeting --
        chronologically, it is a possible interpretation.
   Q.   Have you seen intercepted
messages passed, intercepted by
        the British, intercepts by the British of messages
        by Himmler to the Einsatzgruppen chiefs, like
Jeckeln or
   A.   There is the August 1st
telegramme, I think it is -- I do
        not believe it is a radio message -- in which he
        them to kill the men and chase the women into the

.          P-77

   Q.   There is that one, but I
am still concentrating on just
        these British intercepts, these tens of thousands
        intercepted Nazi SS and police messages.  You
suggest this
        was just at police battalion level?
   A.   The reports on the
killings that I read in Brightman were
        police battalion reports back to Daleuge.  Now,
        these -- and he first saw them in the United
States which
        may have gotten part of, I do not know to what
        of the British intercepts were available to him in
        United States and how much he may have included of
        records, since I just do not know what he has
   Q.   But if these tens of
thousands of messages contained,
        shall we say, a random selection of intercepts,
there was
        no methodological reason why it should only be
        relating to shootings rather than to anything
else, would
        it surprise you to hear that there are only
references in
        these tens of thousands of messages to shootings
and no
        references whatsoever to gassings?
   A.   It would not surprise me
because we have no intercepts
        that I know of between Himmler and Globocnik, that
        was not the way in which they communicated to the
   Q.   Are you familiar with the
fact that the British official
        historians, Sir Frank Hinsley, summarized these
        similar messages in the British Official History,
this was
        the first clue that we had that these existed?

.          P-78

   A.   I believe he said he
looked at a few of them, that he did
        not study that issue in detail, but that he did
        books that were on the British intelligence and
        to these, yes.
   Q.   Do you know that he read
the reports, the daily reports,
        from the Kommandants of the seven principal
        camps, Auschwitz, Dachau, Buchenwald, and so on,
back to
        Berlin for a number of months over the winter of
1942 to
   A.   I did not know that, but
again I would say that Operation
        Reinhardt was not part of the concentration camp
        and would not have been in the same chain of
   Q.   What archeological
investigations have been conducted in
        recent years at any of the camp sites that you are
        alluding to, like Treblinka, Maidonek, Sobibor and
   A.   At the moment, I
understand that they are doing
        archeological excavations in Belzec, that I do not
        at the moment they are doing them in Sobibor or
        Treblinka.  They have made memorials there.
Chelmo, they
        have created again in the forest where the graves
were a
        series of memorials that represent where the
        were.  Whether that was based on somebody that
knew or
        whether that was just placed there, I just do not
   Q.   So there has been no
systematic effort to try to quantify
        the scale of killing that went on in these camps?
   A.   Belzec, I believe it is
the first time at which they are

.          P-79

        doing, which was the most -- the one that does not
have a
        developed memorial is the one which they are doing
at the
        moment archeological excavation.
   Q.   Just finally on your
paragraph 3.2, you said there that as
        far as the shootings go, we have a lot of
        evidence, but for gassings we have to rely on
        and circumstantial evidence.
   A.   For the three camps of
Operation Reinhardt.  We do have
        some documentary evidence concerning Zemblin(?)
and the
        gas vans working with the Einsatzgruppen and
documents, a
        few documents, relating to Chelmo.  The documents
        to Operation Reinhardt, I have argued, presents
the case
        that lots of people went here and were never seen
        but the written documents do not specify why they
        never seen again.  They do not specify a method of
   Q.   Do the documents specify
that they were killed or do we
        have to conclude that?
   A.   Well, if 20 miles or 20
kilometres from Treblinka the
        Kommandant complains that the Jews are not buried
        enough and that they have got a pestilential smell
        kilometres away, it would indicate a large number
of Jews
        had been killed.
   Q.   Do you find that credible,
plausible eyewitness evidence,
        that people can smell something 20 kilometres
   A.   If the wind was blowing
the right way from Treblinka, I

.          P-80

        would think that was very credible.
   Q.   Do you have no problem
with any of the eyewitnesses, with
        accepting the evidence that they have given, the
        eyewitnesses, whether evidence given in court
        or afterwards, more recently, do you not suspect
that they
        may have been subjected to some kind of duress or
        or promises of better conditions or promises of an
        alleviated sentence if they would just sign the
   A.   I think one has to assume
there is potential problems with
        all eyewitnesses, but this is one of the materials
        have.  It is a kind of source the historians have
        used and must be used with care, but I would argue
        one does not write it off categorically because it
        potential problems.
   Q.   So, as an historian, it is
your duty to weigh evidence
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   To look at it and say,
"This one I accept and that one
        seems implausible"?
   A.   Or accept parts of this
because he was in a position to
        have seen this himself.  The second part of it may
        hearsay and, therefore, it is no more reliable
than what
        somebody else told him.  So you can have parts of
        testimony that have greater evidentiary weight --
I would
        give them greater evidentiary weight than other
   Q.   You have to rely on your
own integrity and your own

.          P-81

        judgment in deciding what to select and what to
   A.   Historians are always
making decisions about selection of
        documents.  We are in a constant process of
   Q.   And, obviously, in a
constant process of compression too
        because you start off with an immense shelf of
        you have to compress into a reasonable length of
   A.   Yes.  We always have to
make decisions about what is more
        important than something else.
   Q.   Yes, and you would be
indignant if somebody called you
        perverse or manipulative or if you were accused of
        distorting because you left out a paragraph that
        repeated what the paragraph above had said?
   A.   It would depend entirely
on the context.  If I had made a
        very egregious mistake and was caught out, I guess
I would
        not have a right to be indignant.
   Q.   Have you ever made
   A.   Of course historians make
mistakes, yes.
   Q.   Indeed.  But nobody has
accused you of wilfully distorting
        or manipulating because you have made a mistake?
   A.   I have been accused of
wilfully distorting.
   Q.   Have you misread words in
handwriting sometimes, in German
   A.   I may have.  I do not know
that anyone has called it to my
        attention but I certainly have been accused by
someone who
        wished me no good will of manipulating evidence.

.          P-82

   Q.   Have you ever read the
book by, I think it is, Mr Paget QC
        who was the Defence counsel of Manstein?
   A.   No, I have not read that
   Q.   Manstein, of course, was
put on trial for war crimes?
   A.   By the British, yes.
   Q.   By the British, yes.  I
cannot ask you about what it
        contains.  The Jager document, the Jager report
now -- I
        am now on page 7, paragraph 4.4, my Lord -- is
this a
        document from the Moscow archives, was it a
   A.   I believe it is a Riga
document, the Jager report.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Are you on 4.5?
   MR IRVING:  4.4, my Lord.  We are looking at the
        document which is item 1944.  You seem to prefer
        work  ----
   A.   I am sorry, it is a Moscow
   Q.   You seem to prefer to work from printed volumes of documents?
   A.   That will depend.  If I am doing a detailed study of
        something like the Vehrmacht role in the shootings in
        Yugoslavia or the Police 101, I work in the original sources.

Home ·  Site Map ·  What's New? ·  Search Nizkor

© The Nizkor Project, 1991-2012

This site is intended for educational purposes to teach about the Holocaust and to combat hatred. Any statements or excerpts found on this site are for educational purposes only.

As part of these educational purposes, Nizkor may include on this website materials, such as excerpts from the writings of racists and antisemites. Far from approving these writings, Nizkor condemns them and provides them so that its readers can learn the nature and extent of hate and antisemitic discourse. Nizkor urges the readers of these pages to condemn racist and hate speech in all of its forms and manifestations.