The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day017.15

Archive/File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day017.15
Last-Modified: 2000/07/20

   Q.   Then you continue with the word:  "Nonetheless, we will
        take some kind of action".  If you will now go to page 458
        of the original text you will see what you have
        It is seven lines down.  Do you agree that you have
        omitted from the front of that quotation beginning
        the word "nonetheless" ----
   A.   I am afraid I have still not located it.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I have the German text.  I have not got
   MR IRVING:  Line 2 of page 32 is what I am looking at on
        expert report, my Lord.
   A.   I have not found it yet.
   Q.   It is line 2 of the expert report on page 32 and it is
        line 7 of the original Hans Frank conference.

.          P-131

   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Yes, I have the line 2.  It is the line
   MR IRVING:  Page 458.
   MR RAMPTON:  One should start from the first complete
   A.   Is Judensendt the paragraph you want us to get to?
   MR IRVING:  That is correct.
   A.   OK.
   Q.   His Lordship has not found it yet.  Footnote 88 and it
        page 488 of the printed text.
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   Would you translate, please, those first five or six
        lines, the first four lines of that paragraph:  "The
        are exceptionally damaging eaters for us", right?
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   "In the general government we have got an estimated
        million, with the Jewish next of kin and all the rest
        depends on them, now 3.5 million Jews", is that
   A.   Correct.
   Q.   Then a significant sentence follows: "We cannot shoot
        these 3.5 million Jews.  We cannot poison them".  Then
        continue with the passage about: "Nonetheless, we will
        take some kind of action"?
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   I do not want to get into the content of this
        paragraph.  I just want to ask for your motivation for
        leaving out that opening sentence, unless his Lordship

.          P-132

        feels it is irrelevant?
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I do not feel it is irrelevant at all.
   A.   Well, I do not know that it was a specific motivation.
        I do not see why one concluded or not concluded.  What
        I did is, he rejects certain kinds of or when he says,
        cannot do this or cannot do that", I simply summarized
        that as ----
   MR IRVING:  He effectively says: "We cannot shoot them.  We
        cannot poison them."
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   Is he suggesting we should strangle them?
   A.   What he is suggesting is he does not know how they are
        going to do it.
   Q.   Would you not agree that if another historian had
        sentences like that at the beginning of a paragraph,
        without any even any indication of an omission, he
        be held up to opprobrium and obloquy?
   A.   I mean by putting precedents, you know, switching out
        direct quotes I do not think I indicated that there
        nothing that I was continuing directly on.
   Q.   Unless of course the part that was being omitted
        substantially altered the sense of the gist that you
        trying to convey?
   A.   I do not think it substantially alters the gist.
   Q.   If the man who is speaking says "We cannot kill them"
   A.   No, he does not say we cannot kill them.  He says, "We

.          P-133

        cannot shoot them or we cannot poison them".
   Q.   Which is another way of saying, in my submission, that
        cannot kill them?
   A.   No, I do not accept that.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Apart from gas what are the alternatives?
   A.   Well, the alternatives are that one can starve them.
        can keep them in conditions where they will perish.
        course Frank does not know yet, I think, that in fact
        were working on ways to poison them.  This would
        Frank has not yet been initiated into the fact that
        they will be poisoning them.  What he does say, and
        I think is important, is the fact that he is told
there is
        going to be a big meeting to sort this out, and when
        go, when Buhle then is sent to the Wannsee conference
        is going to get some answers to this.
   MR IRVING:  But did they discuss methods of killing at the
        Wannsee conference?
   A.   According to Eichmann it is not literally in the
        protocol.  They use the euphemism we talked about,
        solutional possibilities or possible solutions when
        Eichmann was asked ----
   Q.   Which could mean anything, could it not?
   A.   When Eichmann was asked what did that mean, he said it
        ways of killing or something to that effect.
   Q.   When Eichmann was asked in Israel during these
        interrogations we were talking about a few minutes

.          P-134

   A.   Yes.
   Q.   And he agreed it could have meant killing?
   A.   Yes.  He did not agree that it could have meant.  He
        that is what it did mean.  When he did not want to
        to such things such as Auschwitz, he denied it
        which would indicate that he could say no when he
   Q.   We are now on to the Wannsee conference which is quite
        useful, Professor.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Before we do can I ask this.  Do you read
        Frank at this point in the omitted words, do you read
        Frank as still quoting Hitler's speech?
   A.   No.  I think at the beginning part of his talk in
which he
        says, "We must put an end to the Jews" and he cites
        Fuhrer and that he goes on, you know, "We must have
        compassion only for the German people", these are
        I think in a sense the speech that he got there.  Then
        when he gets down to beyond that I believe he is now
        necessarily paraphrasing what he had heard in Hitler's
        peach on December 12th.
   Q.   He does say, "In Berlin we were told why all this
        trouble", and so on?
   A.   Yes.  My feeling here is that that is more than a
        that he has had a separate meeting with Hitler and he
        have at some point had meetings with people who told

.          P-135

        about the upcoming Wannsee conference, because there
is no
        indication that Hitler would have mentioned that.  So
        I think he has talked to -- my interpretation would be
        that he had talked to a number of people, possibly
        Hitler alone, and clearly with someone who let him
        that there would be further meetings, because he makes
        reference to this meeting under the SS at which much
        this will be sorted out.
   MR IRVING:  Are you aware of testimony that Hans Frank gave
        at Nuremberg, evidence-in-chief I believe, in which he
        questioned about his contacts with Hitler, and he
        mentioned having visited Hitler once and talked to
        about Auschwitz and asked him what was going on there,
        that he described having tried to gain access to
        but that he was turned back on the excuse that there
        an epidemic?  Are you familiar with that passage?
   A.   I am not, but Auschwitz is not in the General
        and certainly not in Frank's jurisdiction, and I would
        no reason why he could barge into Auschwitz.
   Q.   Was this particular passage put to you in the Canadian
        trial that I referred to earlier?
   A.   I have a vague recollection but I do not remember in
        that discussion in any detail.  I know that we brought
        aspects of the Frank testimony at Nuremberg.  I do not
   Q.   And that Frank testified on oath at Nuremberg that
when he

.          P-136

        put this to Hitler, Hitler said to him, "I do not want
        hear about this, this nothing to do with me, this is
        entirely Himmler's business"?
   A.   I do not remember us discussing that passage.  We may
        but I just do not remember it right now.
   Q.   If your Lordship is interested I could find the actual
        quotation and read it to you.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Well, do not do it now, but that is quite
        revealing exchange.
   MR IRVING:  Yes.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  It seems to me.
   MR IRVING:  I will do that overnight.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Yes, do.
   MR IRVING:  We are now at the Wannsee conference.  Is there
        indication at all that Hitler was involved in the
        conference or was even apprised of it?
   A.   We have no evidence of him being apprised of it.  We
        know that Heydrich cites him as authority that the
        has now ordered something other than the territorial
        solutions that now will be sent to the East.
   Q.   Are you referring to the letters of invitation that
        Heydrich sent out in the middle of November 1941?
   A.   No, I believe it is in the opening of Heydrich's
        that he cites that he is acting on the authority of
   Q.   Is that a reference to the vulmardt which was issued

.          P-137

        Heydrich by Goring, do you think, on July 31st 1941?
   A.   The fact it includes the Goring authorization with the
        invitation, I think that is indeed what he is partly
        referring to.  He is bolstering his credentials
because he
        is dealing with people who might not be anxious to
        orders from him.
   Q.   Is there a dispute among historians as to the
        of the Wannsee conference?
   A.   I think that most of them view it as an implementation
        conference, at a point at which they are now trying to
        initiate the ministerial bureaucracy and in which
        is going to visibly assert his leading position in
        I do not think it is viewed by many historians now as
        conference at which a decision was taken.  They did
        debate should we do A or B and then say we will do B.
        They said, "Hitler has ordered this and now how are
        to implement it?  Are we going to include mixed
        Are we going to include this?"  It is an
   Q.   Are you saying that it has been overrated?
   A.   Not overrated, because it is a crucial part of
bringing in
        the ministerial bureaucracy.  I have always seen it
        way, so I do not consider it, I am not backing up from
        something I think that I have claimed more than.
   Q.   Am I correct in describing it as being an
        inter-ministerial conference at State Secretary level?

.          P-138

   A.   Yes.
   Q.   In other words, the ministers themselves were not
        in; it was just at the lower levels?
   A.   Because Heydrich cannot sit there with people higher
        his rank.  Cabinet ministers would have been parallel
        Himmler.  If Heydrich is sponsoring it he cannot bring
        people higher in his rank in a programme he is trying
        assert his leadership.  So he would invite the State
   Q.   This rather tends to down-play the significance of
        Heydrich was acting on Hitler's orders at this meeting
        then, if he is only able to bring in State
        As you say, he is only relying on his own rank.  He is
        only pulling his own rank and he is not pulling
        rank on those present?
   A.   Well, at the place he cites Hitler's authority, buried
        against all protocol for him summoning cabinet
   Q.   He cited Hitler's authority just proforma, is that
        you say?
   A.   I do not think it is proforma.  It is setting out his
        authority and he has the signed Goring letter which,
        best we can tell, he drafted and took to Goring for
        signature and that he, likewise, invokes Hitler's
        authority at the conference.
   Q.   You said earlier at any rate in the record of the
        conference (which is not verbatim) there is no

.          P-139

        reference to killing.  There is one inference from
        killing can be drawn, am I correct?
   A.   There are a number of passages in which -- that most
        people would view as transparent references.
   Q.   Can you remember one offhand?
   A.   I would suggest two.  One is that most of the Jews
        diminish away under physical labour and the rest ----
   Q.   The hard core will remain?
   A.   --- will be treated accordingly.  The second is
        reference that where we should we begin, and he said,
        should begin in the General Government because there
we do
        not have to worry about Jews capable of work".  They
        not mention in the first place what happens to the
        non-workers.  They talk about the workers will
        the survivors will be handled accordingly, and there is no
        reference to the vast majority, the women and children and
        old people, who obviously are not even going to work.
        Then Buhle's reference, "Well, let us begin this programme
        with the General Government because most of the Jews are
        not even work worthy there any longer", I would interpret
        it as a fairly -- as a reference to the fact that they can
        be killed first of all.

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