Archive/File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day018.17 Last-Modified: 2000/07/24 MR IRVING: It begins, does it not, "I have spent 30 years now working in the archives in London, in Washington and Moscow, in short around the world. If I express an opinion, it is properly a reasonably accurate opinion which I have arrived at over a period of years", and then you have left something out. Can you tell us what has been left out? A. Yes. Without fear or favour to either side and certainly not as a result of being bribed or corrupted or intimidated. Q. "In researching Hitler" does it then continue? A. No. MR JUSTICE GRAY: No. MR RAMPTON: That is a confusion. The "researching Hitler" bit is a different footnote. It is footnote 6. MR JUSTICE GRAY: I realise that, because it comes after the little (v). That is obviously right, Mr Irving. . P-146 MR IRVING: Now we are back to Hitler's War again. A. I omitted that because I do not think you have been bribed or corrupted or intimidated. MR RAMPTON: I am waiting for my bag of pure gold. I do not understand. MR IRVING: Gold with a capital G I think is going to come now beyond (ii) of the 1977 Hitler's war. In fact, you are going to dislike me over this because, although the footnote says it is the 1977 edition, my Lord ---- A. It might be 1991. Q. It is the 1991 edition and it is pages 6 to 7. A. It is in fact I think 7 to 8, not 6 to 7, so you are wrong there too. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Come on. MR IRVING: Can we begin with the middle? "For the few autobiographical works I have used, I prefer to rely on the original manuscripts rather than the printed texts as in the early postwar years apprehensive publishers, especially the licensed ones in Germany, made drastic changes in them", and then you have left out a bit? A. Yes. For example, there is a lot of detail there which is not really of any concern to me. Q. Then you continue "But historians". A. Yes. Q. What you are saying is that everything you left out is a lot of detail which is not of concern to you? . P-147 A. Mr Irving, to borrow your own phrase, I did not want to fill my report with acres of sludge. Q. Although it provides verisimilitude to the allegation? A. I am not disputing it here. I am trying to present your own point of view here as succinctly as I can. Q. Did your Lordship identify the passage left out? MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes I did. It is the sort of point you need not labour. I understand what the point is. A. If it helps, I quite accept that you have identified the forgeries and falsifications. I am not disputing that at all. Q. Is it not so that on these two pages, pages 30 to 31 of your expert report, you rather pour cold water, cold douche, on the idea that I have succeeded in spotting source document after source document, particularly in the form of diaries or alleged diaries which turn out to have been phoney or prettified up? A. Where do I do that? Q. In paragraph 233, and I will read it out while you are going back to it. "(Irving) listed a whole variety of diaries and other sources on which he claimed -- without any references to back his assertion up, however -- previous historians had relied ...." Now of course you see the point why I am irritated that you left out the detail I had put in which you chopped out, because you said it did not concern you. . P-148 A. I am not disputing this at all. What I am really writing about here is your claim that other historians, reading on in the paragraph, your "idle predecessors" had failed to detect them each successive biographer has repeated or engrossed the legends, historians have never troubled to consult basic documentation, and so on. That is what the issue is here. I am not disputing at all that you have identified ---- Q. There are numbers of diaries floating around which are still broadly quoted by the great historians, even somebody as reputable as Andreas Hilgruber has relied on the Engel diary for example? A. I thought you did not read the work of other historians, Mr Irving. Q. I am very familiar with what Andreas Hilgruber has written in the criticisms of his work in this respect. A. So you do read other historians. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Professor Evans, may I make a suggestion because we are going to be here a very, very long time. It is really is best not to argue, as it were. It is tempting, I know. A. My Lord, the point I am trying to make in this passage is not that Mr Irving has not discovered falsifications and forgeries. I accept that absolutely. The point I am trying to make here is that, without any references or support, in any references to documents or other . P-149 historians' work, he is levelling unjust accusations at other historians. That is the nub of this paragraph. Q. You go on to then criticise him for not bothering to visit so and so. A. I am sorry, my Lord, no, I do not. I am saying that he has accused other historians of not bothering to visit. MR JUSTICE GRAY: You are right to correct me. MR IRVING: Was that criticism by me justified that other historians failed to visit these people? A. You have not provided any documentation of this allegation. Q. Well, do I not in the introduction to my book Hitler's War draw specific reference to the widow of Walter Havel, the widow of Anst von Bisecker, who was the mother of the later president of Germany, who all provided their private papers and diaries to me of their late husbands? A. I do not dispute that they have provided you with material, Mr Irving. I am not disputing that at all. Q. These are specific examples of widows who had not been visited by these lazy German historians. I am not inventing this, am I? A. But you have not provided any support of the accusation that later historians have repeated or engrossed the legends created by their predecessors and so on and so forth. Q. Let me put it in question form. If German historians have . P-150 existed from 1945 to approximately 1970, 25 years without visiting the widows of these well-known Germans, who might very well have the private diaries of their late departed husbands, is this not laziness on the part of the entire body of German historians, academics or otherwise, not to have made such visits to these people? A. No, I do not accept that. Historians are constantly discovering new sources. There are many historians who have discovered sources that you have not discovered, but I would never accuse you of being lazy. Q. Is it not remarkable that not one single German historian had visited the widow of Ribbentrop's state secretary to ask, do you have your husband's diaries in 25 years? A. The normal procedure with papers and files is that archivists approach people whom they think might have them and that is what is normally done. That has of course taken place. Q. In this case clearly they had not. The Institut fur Zeitgeschichte had not bothered to visit them. The Bundesarchives had not bothered to visit them? A. However the Institut fur Zeitgeschichte had a great number of former leading Nazis in to give interviews, collected a great deal of material, so it is very difficult to criticise them, particularly since you have described them in your own work as being an admirable institution. Q. Commendable, yes. Would you go to the next paragraph, . P-151 please, which is paragraph 2.3.4? I am trying to make forward progress. On line 3 you criticise the fact that I constantly say the German historians have just quoted each other and it is the biggest active incest since 1945, I have occasionally said, they just run around quoting each other. A. Yes. Q. Each one assuming that the other one had the source. A. Yes. Q. You have said, give me one example or justify this have you not, in that paragraph? A. Yes. Q. You were not here two or three days ago when we read one page from the history published by Michael Berenbaum. Do you know who Michael Berenbaum is? A. Yes, I do. Q. The ex director of the US Holocaust memorial museum. Do you know who Professor Aberhard Jackeln is? A. Yes, indeed I do. Q. Are you aware that Aberhard Jackeln wrote a paper in a book recently published by Berenbaum in which he looks at the historiography of the Holocaust? A. I am not familiar with that one, no. Q. If I tell you that that paper contains -- I know what your answer is going to be -- a statement by Aberhard Jackeln that, until my book Hitler's War was published, . P-152 historians had just quoted each other, or they had not bothered to do the research, they had only started researching once my book was published with my outrageous opinions, as he calls them, does that not justify my statement that until that time, 1977, there had been no independent research? A. Well, first of all, I would have to see that statement by Jackeln to make sure that it says what you say it says and, secondly, then I would have to check it to see if he justifies it by reference to the work of other historians. Q. If, since 1955, approximately, the American National Archives in Washington had on microfilm available freely in the public domain microfilm copies of all Heinrich Himmler's papers, and all his handwritten telephone notes and all his handwritten diaries so far as they were in United States hands, is it not to be criticised that not one single German historian or scholar or any other historian or scholar had made any use of them until I came along and used them? A. There are two points there. First of all, it depends on what historians actually are researching as to what sources they consult. Secondly, of course, it depends on the use they make of them. Trying to cut this discussion short, I do not dispute that you have been the first person to read and discover many documents. I am not disputing that at all. What I am disputing is the fact . P-153 that you criticise other historians for relying on weak and unprofessional evidence, and quoting each other for the last 45 years, without providing any substantiation of those statements whatsoever. Q. Professor, I agree with you, but is it not true that at the time I wrote Hitler's War in 1977, this was a perfectly justified criticism to make, and that nobody had done the research until I came along? A. Research on what, Mr Irving? Q. Heinrich Himmler's handwritten telephone notes, for example. We have 300 pages of Heinrich Himmler's handwritten telephone notes; you would imagine that one historian would have bothered to transcribe them. A. Yes, but you state in 1991 that conventional historians of the Jewish Holocaust have not consulted the Himmler telephone notes and pocket diaries, and historians have certainly used them between 1977 and 1991. Q. By that time they had come along and started using them, that is correct, but I published the original introduction with an addendum. But, in the light of what we have been saying in the last 20 minutes, is not your judgment that I do not deserve the title of historian and do not deserve the title of scholar rather harsh and unjustified? Would you be prepared to reconsider that opinion now? A. I think it is harsh, but I do not think it is unjustified. It is not a question of what you discover or . P-154 what you bring to light, it is a question of what you do with the material that you have got. Q. If what I did with it was make available my transcripts of the Himmler telephone notes immediately to all other historians by placing them in the archives in Munich, is that reprehensible? A. No, it is thoroughly commendable but that is not what I mean. What I mean is what you do with it in the way that you interpret it, which we still have not got on to.
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