Archive/File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day020.05 Last-Modified: 2000/07/24 Q. All I am trying to get from you is a concession that the Commissart order issued by the German High Command of the armed forces was a military document concerned with military measures and that it did not convey a clear and overriding intent to kill the Jews as such? A. It is, no, it is an order that Red Army Commissarts will be killed. There were orders issued to that effect in its -- I mean, it is very hard to describe that as a military order in the sense that it did not seem to me, or to most historians, there to be any military justification for it. It is a political act. Q. The simple question there is were they being killed as Commissarts or as Jews? A. As Commissarts. The Jews are a separate matter in these orders. Q. And do you accept that at this time the Soviet Union was not a signatory of the Geneva Convention on prisoners-of-war and, therefore, the Germans had no obligation whatsoever to treat their prisoners properly? A. That is a rather different matter, Mr Irving, and actually . P-38 issuing an order to the Army to kill Red Army Commissarts is a very different matter from simply not treating people properly. Q. Well, you accept that when nations become belligerent, they have a choice that they can make, they can agree both sides, they can become signatories and parties of a convention like the Geneva Convention on treatments of prisoners-of-war, and the Soviet Union had specifically opted out of it and, therefore, at no time opted into it, so the Soviet Union, legally speaking, Soviet prisoners could not expect to be treated as prisoners-of-war and, in fact, nor could German prisoners be expected to be treated as prisoners-of-war? A. Well, if you are advancing that argument as an excuse or justification for the order to the Germany Army to kill all the Red Army Commissarts found and for the deliberate killing of between 3 and 4 million Soviet prisoners-of- war by the Germans, then I do not think it is a very strong justification or excuse. Q. Did you hear me express it in those terms as an excuse? A. That seemed to me what you were saying. Q. Was I not, in fact, just taking up the point you made before I mentioned the Geneva Conventions in which you referred to the illegal killing of these Commissarts? A. You have lost me, I am afraid. Q. In paragraph 12 you refer to Holocaust denier, Paul . P-39 Rassinier, and on the following page, the first line of page of 140, you refer to Austin App? A. Yes. Q. Why do you refer to these people? Is it not totally irrelevant to bring in all these names of people? A. No. I am suggesting here that these are familiar -- the arguments you are putting forward are familiar arguments from well-known Holocaust deniers, advanced by many other Holocaust deniers. Q. Unless his Lordship disagrees, what possible relevance does that have to this case that other writers have strange views? MR JUSTICE GRAY: Very, very marginal, in my view, so we can move on. MR IRVING: In other words, I need not prepare to address it? MR JUSTICE GRAY: No, you do not. MR IRVING: We do, however, on this point come to the important matter of the allegation by me that the Holocaust story in part is an echo of our own propaganda. My Lord, I do think we have dealt with this allegation before, have we, in this court? MR JUSTICE GRAY: No. MR IRVING: It is quite an intricate allegation, and, witness, you disagree with this. Can we take it in stages? Do you agree that the Allies at any time started making propaganda broadcasts to Germany with references to the . P-40 extermination of the Jews? A. Yes. I certainly agree with that. Q. Can you put a rough date on when these broadcasts began? A. Sometime in 1942. Q. Sometime in 1942? A. As I recall. Q. Have you read the memoirs -- do you know who Thomas Mann is? A. Yes. Q. Was he a famous German novelist? A. Indeed. Q. Author of I think "Wooden Brooks" and various other -- -- A. Yes, that is right. Q. --- famous novels? Where was he during World War II? A. He was in the United States. Q. In the United States. Was he engaged by the Allies as a propagandist? A. That, I am not sure about, but he certainly did make broadcasts, yes. Q. Have you read his memoirs and his own diary? A. No. Q. If I put to you either now or later passages from the Thomas Mann diary of 1941 in which he describes making broadcasts relating to -- here we are ---- MR JUSTICE GRAY: In a way, Mr Irving, you have got your answer because Professor Evans has agreed that there were . P-41 propaganda broadcasts from 1942 about the extermination of the Jews. MR IRVING: I was going to bring you back to 1941. It may seem completely immaterial, my Lord, but -- in January 1942 Thomas Mann broadcast the following words in German: "[German - document not provided] "400 Young Dutch Jews have been brought to Germany to be used as experimental objects for poison gas in January 1942". Can you accept that if he writes that in his diary as a propaganda broadcast that he made that there was such a broadcast? A. Well, could I see a copy, please? MR JUSTICE GRAY: Do we need to take terribly long? This is actually 1942, not 1941, but you have got your answer that there was propaganda use being made of the alleged extermination of Jews. MR IRVING: Right. MR JUSTICE GRAY: From, at any rate, 1942. MR IRVING: Buttressed with three more sources but we will not go into detail, my Lord. Have you heard of the Ringlebloom diary. A. Yes. Q. Will you accept that Ringlebloom makes reference in June 1942 in the ghetto to receiving broadcasts about the extermination of Jews with poison gas? A. Yes, I will accept that. Q. If you have read my Goebbels biography, as no doubt you . P-42 have for the purposes of this case, will you agree that the German Propaganda Ministry monitored a wave of propaganda broadcast in November 1942 referring to the gassing, mass gassing, of Germans? A. Yes. Q. In other words, they were Nazi monitoring reports of the BBC. You yourself, Professor, are an expert because you have written a box on the subject, have you not, of German wartime morale, of the reports? I think you wrote a book, did you not, on the subject of reports on public opinion, morale? A. No, no. I think the book you are thinking of covered the years 1892 to 1914. Q. So this is the wrong war? In other words ---- A. It is not even the war at all. It is before the First World War, I am afraid. Q. So you are not familiar with the SD reports or with the letter intercept reports or anything like that on German public knowledge? A. Slightly familiar, but I would not say that I was a major expert on them. I mean, I know what the SD reports were. I have read a few of them, but I am in no sense a real expert on them. Q. Yes, you are absolutely right. I am wrong. Your book was [German] was it not? So you have not read any of the corresponding reports on German public morale, public . P-43 opinion, that were gathered by the Gestapo or by the Propaganda Ministry in the war years? A. Only those which were cited in publication of other scholars and one or two in the original, but I have not read them thoroughly. Q. How much talk was there in Germany during the war years of gas chambers, do you think, in public or in private? A. I think that is very difficult to say. We have to remember that there was a great deal of secrecy surrounding them. I think there was a fair amount of talk about shootings behind the Eastern Front, but of course it was against the law, and punished severely, if you spread news about what was going on in concentration camps or extermination camps in Germany. Q. Given that the BBC made -- I am going to keep this brief -- repeated broadcasts during 1942 about the Nazi atrocities, and about the extermination of Jews, and about gas chambers, even before the gas chambers began operating on a large scale ---- MR RAMPTON: Wait a minute. If Professor Evans is to deal with that, Mr Irving must give some precise dates. One remembers evidence is that the evidence is that Chelmno started killing people in gas trucks 8th December 1941, and that the three Reinhardt camps were in full operation during the summer 1942. I think we need some dates. MR IRVING: With respect, Mr Rampton, I think, in view of the . P-44 fact that Professor Evans has stated himself that he is not an expert on this matter ---- MR JUSTICE GRAY: No, Mr Irving, that will not do, will it? You cannot put a question which has as its premise a misstatement about the date when gas chambers began operating. That is the point that Mr Rampton is making. It does not impinge on that objection that Professor Evans may not himself be an expert. If you are going to ask that question, and it is a relevant question, you must premise it correctly. MR IRVING: I was really trying to save the court time. MR JUSTICE GRAY: That will not do either, Mr Irving, if I may say so. MR IRVING: It will certainly take time for me to look up the actual dates and references and I do not want to take up the court's time shuffling papers. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Can I reformulate it for you and try and help? Or would you rather do it yourself? Do it yourself. MR IRVING: Your Lordship is much better reformulating questions. MR JUSTICE GRAY: No. I think I must not interfere too much. A. Can I say that what is at issue here are Mr Irving's statements that "the British Intelligence Service suggested a propaganda campaign against Germany on the basis of invented allegations of gas chambers", or another . P-45 quote at the top of page 141, "The story that the Germans are using gas chambers for the mass extermination of Jews is, so and so on forth, psychological warfare, etc, warned the cabinet this is a lie that we ourselves had invented." That is really what is at issue. MR JUSTICE GRAY: I follow that. MR IRVING: This is very helpful. In fact, the witness has been very helpful and this helps me to zero in on the particular matter. Witness, will you therefore go straightforward to page 148 of your report? You are quoting here from a clip of Foreign Office documents, are you not? A. Yes. Q. In the Public Record Office. They are well-known documents and I am going to rely on the final paragraph of page 148. Is this document dated August 27th 1943? A. Yes, that is right. Q. At this time does Mr Victor Cavendish-Bentinck, who I think later became Lord Portland, state, "I think that we weaken our case against the Germans by publicly giving credence to atrocity stories for which we have no evidence." Is that right? Does he write that? A. That is what he says, yes. Q. So at this time in August 1943 the British had no evidence of gas chambers, because that what is specifically being talk about in this document? . P-46 MR RAMPTON: The Professor must be allowed to read the preceding two paragraphs that he himself has set out in his report because that is to rip something right out of context. MR IRVING: I thought it would be helpful to go forward to 1943 to see what we did not know. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Let us see what the context is for what Cavendish-Bentinck said. MR IRVING: As regards putting Poles to death in gas chambers, that is pretty plain, is it not here? Here is the Foreign Office saying we have no evidence for this, and yet back in 1942 they are making the propaganda broadcasts. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Mr Irving, I am just trying to read it. Can you just pause for a second (Pause for reading). I am bound to say that I do think that, in fairness to Mr Irving, one of the things about which Cavendish-Bentinck is saying that there is no evidence available to the British at that stage is the putting to death of Poles in gas chambers. MR RAMPTON: Polish children, and the underline is in the original. It is not Professor Evans. MR JUSTICE GRAY: I agree what is being talked of is killing Polish children, or selling them. But also, as a separate topic, it seems to me a fair reading of this suggests, the putting of Poles to death in gas chambers.
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