Archive/File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day021.11 Last-Modified: 2000/07/24 Q. A document showing Adolf Hitler intervening at 2.56 through his deputy, through the office of his deputy, ordering a halt to whatever, or a stop, a veto on however narrow a front you wish to portray it, did not deserve any kind of comment by the entire assembled body of historians around the world? A. Mr Irving, you have already said that the telex of Heydrich at 1.20 was the result of discussions between Hitler and Himmler, the Muller telex earlier in the evening was also on Hitler's orders, and all of these things say roughly the same thing. We can look at the other telexes, if you like. They all, taken together, represent the attempt by Hitler to make sure that German property was not damaged, and that foreign -- it is not in this one, but it is in the other ones -- that foreign Jews were not to be harmed because of the diplomatic consequences. None of these documents, certainly not this one, puts it in any way -- attempting to put the . P-96 whole action to an end. Q. So why have other historians not quoted it? A. This is part of a stream of documents. There is nothing surprising or new or novel or shocking about this one. Q. Why have other historians not quoted a brief telegram which is on the authority of the very highest level in a matter of such importance? A. You will have to ask them. Q. Well, I am asking you as ---- A. I do not think it surprises ---- Q. --- the expert on historiography. You have written books on the way people write history. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Professor Evans, can I just ask you this question? If, indeed, the telex or the message, whatever it is, had said, "Stop everything", would you then agree that it would be surprising that historians have ignored it, as Mr Irving suggests? A. I do not think that historians would have deliberately suppressed it, had it said that. I mean, I can only assume that ---- Q. That is not quite an answer to my question. A. I know. Q. What I am really saying is that if, indeed, Hitler had decided at 2.56 in the morning that everything must stop ---- A. Yes. . P-97 Q. --- would that be something that you would expect somebody giving an account, an historian giving an account, of Kristallnacht would include in his account or her account? A. Yes, most certainly because it would change our entire picture of the whole series of events, and you would then have to explain, of course, why lower police officials sent out orders for the actions to start later in the morning, why the Reichskristallnacht events only really began in the morning well after this of the 10th November in Vienna, for example, and this would cast very interesting light on why Hitler's orders were not followed if that was the case. I mean, I should also say I am here simply accepting Mr Irving's suggestion that other historians have not quoted this, although he himself says he does not read other historians, so... Q. Yes, well, assuming that. A. If may well be that if I had time to check up in detail through the literature of other historians, I might find that they had quoted this before 1977. MR IRVING: But we assume that you have read all the literature on the Reiskristallnacht because you are an expert witness on this. A. Well, I would have to -- this is one small document, and I would have to go back and check it all. I do not have a photographic memory. . P-98 Q. It is small in as much as it contains only three lines, but it does rely on the authority of the very top level in the Third Reich in the middle of the night on the Night of Broken Glass ---- A. Yes, but so ---- Q. --- and yet nobody else quoted it except me? A. Well, how can you say that if you do not read other historians' work, Mr Irving? Q. Well, I am asking you as the expert on historiography. A. And you are just telling me, and I am telling you that you have no right to say that. You do not read what other historians have written on the subject. You have no idea. Q. Well, I believe that we would have had an echo by now. I have been waving this document in the air for the last 25 years, saying, "Look what I found. Why have you not quoted it?" I remembered a mass meeting at the University of Bonn saying precisely this, and advising the students to ask their professors afterwards why they were hearing it from me for the first time. So, surely, somebody would have said, "Mr Irving, you are not first"? A. Yes, I am not sure I believe you, Mr Irving, I am afraid. Q. You are not sure you believe me? A. No. I would have to go up and check the literature to see whether this document was quoted and it would not surprise me if it was. Q. Will you accept the proposition that if my interpretation . P-99 of the document is correct, that Adolf Hitler was hereby acting on the information that he had received during the previous hour as described by the Adjutants, the three of whom I have related earlier this morning, he was determined to stop this nonsense and he telephoned Rudolf Hess and said, "Send an immediate message to the Gauleiters", that if this signal meant that, this would be an embarrassment to the historical profession? A. Too many ifs there, Mr Irving. I do not accept a single part of your premises, I am afraid. Q. But that, in a way, answers my question, does it not, because it is an embarrassing document for the historians to have a look at? A. It is not an embarrassing document at all. It does not really say very much. Q. So it does not say all the things you said earlier, about "Go out and burn the synagogues and arrest the 20,000", you said that you could read all that into it. A. All it says, Mr Irving, is that there should be no arson in Jewish shops or similar premises under any circumstances. That is all it says. This is in the middle of the evening where all over the country synagogues are being burned down. Everybody knows that synagogue are being burned down. I do not see any mention of synagogues here, and I do not think you can describe them as being like shops, although I am not very familiar . P-100 with synagogues. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Mr Irving, my feeling is that we could probably move on. I think we have really explored this issue. MR IRVING: Except, my Lord, that he said this was the middle of the evening and, of course, that is not. It is the middle of the night. It is 2.56 a.m. which fits ---- A. Sorry, night, yes. Q. --- in precisely with the timetable that I have adumbrated from the very start of my writings on the Reichskristallnacht. That is why i attach such importance to it. A. That is a completely phoney timetable, Mr Irving, based on the manipulation and falsification of the material that you have got before you and the acceptance of lies told by people involved after the war simply because they support your belief or your attempts to show that Hitler did not order all these goings on and was not cognizant of them and tried to stop them when he found out about them. It is a tissue of your lies on your part, Mr Irving, based on the shameless manipulation of documents like this whose meaning is absolutely obvious to anybody with even the most elementary knowledge of German. Q. Well, you accept that I do not have just an elementary knowledge of German, do you not? A. Quite. . P-101 Q. Yes, but you still feel entitled to trot out all those adjectives again, the tissue of lies, the manipulations, the distortions and so on, because that is the only kind of language you can use to confront a document like this, is that right? A. I am not confronting a document like this. It is the use you make of it that I am commenting on which I find quite extraordinary. Q. Which do you find more extraordinary, the fact that no other historian has quoted that document or the fact that I do quote it? MR JUSTICE GRAY: Mr Irving, do you remember a few moments ago I said that I thought we ---- MR IRVING: You said we should move on, my Lord, yes, right. (To the witness): What is the evidence that we do have for the fact that Adolf Hitler initiated the pogrom therefore? A. The Goebbels speech to the Party at the 10th -- at 10 p.m. Q. What transcript do we have of that speech, if any? A. It is in his -- well, that is -- there are two, I think two relevant documents there, in particular, one is, of course, Goebbels own diary, and the other is the Party tribunal investigation. Q. The Party tribunal, of course, only refers to the fact that Goebbels triggered the events ---- A. Well ---- . P-102 Q. --- according to the ---- A. All right. Can we have a look at the Party tribunal report then, please? It is very brief. MR RAMPTON: Tab 2, my Lord. A. Tab 2 of this? MR RAMPTON: Yes? A. I seem to have a loose leafed folder here. MR RAMPTON: Tab 2 of L2. A. Right. In the first very opening paragraph it says, if I may translate: "On the evening of 9th November 1938, Reichs Propaganda Minister Party Comrade, Dr Goebbels, informed the Party leaders gathered for a comradely evening in the Old Town Hall in Munich that there had been anti-Jewish demonstrations in the Gals, Hessner, Nanteburg, Anhaut, and thereby Jewish shops had been smashed up and synagogues had been set on fire. The Fuhrer had" -- this is reported speech of what Goebbels was saying -- "the Fuhrer had decided on his report that such demonstrations, these kinds of demonstrations, should neither be prepared by the Party", I mean "should neither in future", as it were, "be prepared by the Party nor organized by it in so far as they emerged or arose spontaneously, but they were not to be opposed". MR IRVING: Now was Adolf Hitler present when Goebbels made these remarks, allegedly? . P-103 A. No, the Party court accepted that this was the case, of course, that these remarks were accurate. Q. Accepted that what was the case? A. That Hitler never intervened to say, as surely he would have done, that he had not given this permission. Goebbels had dinner with Hitler on the evening of the 9th November, immediately before the speech, and what he said in his speech was, essentially, what Hitler told him at the dinner, as you agreed under cross-examination. Q. Would you answer my question? Was Hitler present when Goebbels made these alleged remarks to the Gauleiters? MR JUSTICE GRAY: He has answered that question. MR IRVING: In other words, he was not present? MR JUSTICE GRAY: He said no. MR IRVING: Yes. The only evidence we have, therefore, for there having been such a conversation between Hitler and Goebbels is Goebbels' reported speech, as reported four months later by the Supreme Party court, in other words, it is a third party source? A. I think it is in his, well, this is an investigation of the events of that evening by a Party court ---- Q. Does the report ---- A. --- under the chairmanship of a man who -- Buch, I think his name was. Q. Walter Buch? A. Walter Buch who was rather hostile to Goebbels. . P-104 Q. I was about to come to that point. What was the relationship between the Chairman of the Party court and Dr Goebbels about whom he is writing? A. It is not very good. Q. Not very good at all, were they? In fact, if you read the Goebbels diaries, there was most outspoken hostility between them. They loathed each other. Is that correct? A. Yes. Q. Is it correct towards the end of the same report it justifies the actions of a number of the criminals involved in the outrages on the basis that they believed that they were acting in accordance with the Fuhrer's wishes? A. That is right. Let us have a look at that passage, can we? Q. Does that not imply that ---- A. Can we have a look at that passage, please? Q. --- in fact they believed wrongly? A. Where is it? MR JUSTICE GRAY: I think I would like to see the passage, if that is what you are saying, Mr Irving? MR IRVING: I am stating this from memory, my Lord. I do not have it in front of me, but I am familiar with the document. A. Can someone provide Mr Irving with the document, please? MR JUSTICE GRAY: Is it part of the same report? . P-105 MR IRVING: It is. MR JUSTICE GRAY: So it is a question of finding it. MR RAMPTON: He needs L2, my Lord. MR IRVING: I am pretty certain that the tenor of the report was that these outrages and crimes had been ---- A. It is the final sentence in the report. Do you want me to wait until you have it? MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes, I think you had better because the suggestion is that when it says that they believed they were acting on a Hitler order, it is really implying that they knew they were not. Is that the suggestion? MR IRVING: Well, my suggestion is that the document casts doubt on whether there was actually such an order. MR JUSTICE GRAY: I see.
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