Archive/File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day017.03 Last-Modified: 2000/07/20 Q. Is that the very reputable German historian too. A. A very reputable German historian, who, in fact, looked at ---- MR JUSTICE GRAY: Mr Irving, if you challenge these figures, I think now is the time to do so. I do not know whether you do or you do not. MR IRVING: My Lord, I am not in a position to challenge them on a numerical basis, but I do wish to plant or implant doubts in your Lordship's mind as to the rigour with which the figures have been arrived at, shall I put it like that? All I have to establish, if I have understood it correctly, in your Lordship's mind is the position that I am entitled, as a writer myself, not to be called a Holocaust denier because I question figures. I can put it as simply as that. Your Lordship has a different take on that, I ought to be told it now perhaps in order that I can ---- . P-19 MR JUSTICE GRAY: I am sure about "ought", but I understand the way you use this evidence. MR IRVING: I mean, this is not a court of law, criminal law, where they are trying somebody for murder. We are just trying to establish a matter of Holocaust denial really which is a different standard of proof, I think. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes. A. Would it be helpful if I said a little bit about how Schafler arrived at his figures? MR JUSTICE GRAY: I think it might be in the sense that Mr Irving is really saying, "Well, I question the figures" and I think he must by implication be saying, "and I have good grounds for questioning the figures". So I think if you wanted to add something about the way in which the figures were arrived at, I think that would be helpful. A. Yes, the figures for each of the camps he did by trying to trace the ghetto liquidations at the different periods into which camps they were sent. So we have a very accurate reduction of the Lodz population, which trains went to Chelmno, when, and we can come very accurately to the number of people deported from Lodz to Chelmno, then one is on a little bit less secure grounds for the various other surrounding towns where we do not have a day by day deduction or a train by train calculation, but we do have statistics of what the populations were there before the whole operation began. . P-20 So with some rough estimate of how many would have been selected for labour, he came to a figure for Lodz as a minimum figure and then a more probable but not putting forward as necessarily a somewhat higher figure. He did the same calculations for the other camps. We know how many Dutch transports went to Sobibor. We know which regions were cleared that were directed to Sobibor. We had the figures of the Jewish populations in those ghettos before the liquidation and the number of workers that were shifted to some of the work camps, and it was on the calculation, on that basis that he arrived at his figures. MR JUSTICE GRAY: That is very helpful. MR IRVING: Yes. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Do ask anything you want, Mr Irving. MR IRVING: I think this is probably an appropriate point to ask the witness about the atmosphere in Germany for historians. Is it possible for an historian in Germany now, whether reputable or disreputable historian, to advance opposing hypotheses in any degree of safety? A. Oh, absolutely. For instance, in this court earlier I saw in the transcript you said that no one could refer to the Himmler guidelines without risking that -- the intercept of the Himmler guidelines, and, of course, Christian Jerloch has published that in Germany, and has suffered absolutely no repercussions and there is no question that . P-21 he would, that there is a very vigorous discussion among German historians on the Holocaust. Q. But would I be right in saying this discussion is skewed or distorted by the fact that anybody who goes to the other end of the spectrum, shall we say, and starts saying, "I think the figures are much lower because, for example, it was not a systematic liquidation" or anything like that, anybody who accidentally says one of the taboo phrases in Germany is going to end up in trouble, in prison, and that this must certainly cast apprehensions in the mind of somebody about which side of the debate he takes? A. I think that is nonsense. For instance, Hans Monson shares your view that Hitler did not give an order. Q. Would you tell the court who Hans Monson is? A. Hans Monson is a very notable historian at the University of Bochum, now retired boss tonne. Q. He is not a Holocaust denier, is he? A. You asked me with taboos and one of the things that has generally been seen that you have been identified with is the argument that Hitler did not make the decision. Hans Monson and Martin Broszat have accepted or have argued that Hitler did not give an order or a decision---- Q. Can I just halt you there? It would be useful if you would---- A. I am still talking. . P-22 MR JUSTICE GRAY: You are interrupting a little bit, Mr Irving. Try and restrain yourself until the end of the answer. MR IRVING: Your Lordship will know why I want to interrupt there. A. Far from being thrown in jail or fearing, Hans Monson currently is the Shapiro Visiting Scholar at the United States Holocaust Museum. There is a wide of range of debate covering a wide spectrum of opinion. There is in Germany a law that outlaws Holocaust denial, but I know of no German historian that I have come across that has lost a night's sleep worrying that this prevents him from arguing from documents and from carrying out a full academic discussion. Q. Have you heard of Dr Reinhard Seitelmann? A. I have heard of Dr Reinhard Seitelmann. I know him. Q. Are you familiar with the course of his career after he made certain statements? Was he originally a historian at the free university in Berlin? MR JUSTICE GRAY: Mr Irving, I think this is a digression really. MR IRVING: Very well. Would you explain to the court then who Professor Martin Broszat was? Was he an eminent German historian? A. Yes. He was the head of the Institute for Contemporary History in Munich. . P-23 Q. His opinion on my hypothesis that Hitler did not issue an order or that there is no Hitler order, are you familiar with that? A. He takes your view that Hitler did not know of this, or that it was kept secret from him, or he would not have authorized it. That it was done by others behind his back he does not accept. He does not think that Hitler gave an order for or made a decision for the Final Solution, but that rather he ---- Q. It just happened? A. He encouraged it, he instigated it in the sense that he made known his feelings and that others clamoured, or strove to gain Brownie points to get credit by realising the programme that Hitler hinted that he wanted to see done. Q. Are you familiar with the word Verliegenheitslosung, a way out of an awkward solution, a way out of an awkward problem? A. He used the phrase that it was a way out of a Sackgasse, out of a dead end. Q. He picked up this word from the introduction to my book and said this was probably correct. Are you familiar with that? A. I do not know if he picked that expression up from your book, but he did. In so far as the issue of the Hitler order, Monson and Broszat have argued for a long time, as . P-24 you have, they do not think that Hitler gave an explicit or formal order. Q. It would be a grave injustice to call either of those two professors Holocaust deniers, would it not? A. Yes. The argument over whether Hitler gave an order or not is not commonly part of the issue of Holocaust denial. Q. Thank you very much for saying that. Hans Monson, would you identify him? Is he a Professor at the Royal university in Bochum? A. Yes, he was. He is retired. Q. A very eminent historian, is that correct? A. Yes. Q. Very well. I hope your Lordship pardons me for having made that little excursion? MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes. You picked up the answer that Professor Browning gave about whether denying Hitler's having given an order was an aspect of Holocaust denial, but I do not think the Defendants really say that it is. MR RAMPTON: We do not. MR JUSTICE GRAY: I was checking your summary of case. MR RAMPTON: The Hitler exculpation, exoneration, apology part of the case has nothing to do with Holocaust denial at all. They may have a similar motive at the end of the day but that is completely different. We have focused on Hitler's exoneration to prove what we call distorted history. . P-25 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes. I think what you do say is that it is part of Holocaust denial to deny that there was a systematic programme. MR RAMPTON: Yes. MR JUSTICE GRAY: That is not the same as denying that it was Hitler who instigated that programme. MR RAMPTON: That is right. It is number 3, no systematic programme of exterminating Europe's Jews, whether on the part of Hitler or the Nazi leadership. A. I think that Professors Monson and Broszat would say that Hitler instigated it in various ways. They would simply say there was no formal order or decision in the sense that we understand that is the way ---- MR JUSTICE GRAY: You say that yourself. A. Yes. MR IRVING: Is this the debate between the intentionalists and the functionalists? A. It is one aspect of that debate. Q. By instigating it, would you say that Hitler instigated it by raising the climate of anti-semitism in Germany, or was it more specific than that? A. I think that was the beginning of it, but it gets also more specific than that when one continually indicates that you want this whole problem to disappear, that you want a settlement to this. You prophesy a disappearance of the Jews, which is in a sense to set the climate in . P-26 which people are to come forward to you with proposals which you then can approve or not. We know the pattern that Himmler comes to Hitler in mid September with the proposals for the ethnic cleansing of western Poland. Q. September 1939? A. He comes to Hitler. They bring the Madagascar plan to Hitler. They bring proposals about marking and deportation to Hitler. In terms of concrete proposals Hitler is not the micromanager, but the proposals are a response to the signals that he gives of what he wants and wants done, and this is what I would say we would call instigation. Q. You refer to his prophesy, that was the speech of January 30th 1939? A. That is one example. Q. That was January 30th 1939. Did the killings start immediately? A. No. That is a prophesy that could be realised in a number of ways. Q. Nothing really happened for about three years, did it? A. No. I would not interpret that as understood yet as total destruction. But when this does not work and there still needs to be -- that is, expulsion, ethnic cleansing, does not work, the reservation plans prove to be impractical, then the demand that something be done is still there, and then one brings more extreme points. . P-27 Q. How realistic was the Madagascar plan to which you just referred? A. Do I think they took it seriously? Yes, I do think they took it seriously. It is fantastic but of course Auschwitz is fantastic, too. Q. In what way is Madagascar a fantastic plan? A. Fantastic in the sense that one is bizarre, the notion that you could take 4 million Jews and put them on ships and send them to Madagascar, and that anything other than the vast bulk of them would die under the conditions of being dumped into the jungle of Madagascar. Even that a plan that clearly in its implications involved vast decimation, they still talked in these words of resettlement.
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