Archive/File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day023.16 Last-Modified: 2000/07/24 Q. We were discussing this morning, where Ribbentrop says, "if you are not prepared to lock them up in concentration camps the way we are demanding, then your only alternative is going to be to shoot them". Right? A. No, he did not quite say that. Q. That is what it boils down to, is it not? A. No, it is not. Q. Ribbentrop is saying, either you do what we say or the only other thing you could do is liquidate them, meaning there is no choice. . 150 A. We had better look up exactly what he said. Q. Is that not the sense of what he is saying? A. I do not accept your version of it. I think we need to be exact here. Q. Is the whole burden of what Hitler and Ribbentrop have been saying to Horthy, you have a security problem, we are worried that you are going to break out of the alliance? A. Back to Horthy, no. Q. The Jews are the biggest problem? A. No, I do not think they said anything about a security problem unless you can point me to it. Q. I am going to produce those documents to the court when we go back to the transcript. But is it not true? A. The Reichs Foreign Minister replied that the Jews must either be annihilated or taken to concentration camps. There was no other way. Q. That is right. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Can you give the reference for that? A. Page 441, my Lord, of my report. MR IRVING: Is Ribbentrop in effect saying you have to lock them up as we demand because the only other thing you could do is with them is to kill them? A. No, he is not. Q. What is the difference? A. He is not saying, lock them up or we will kill them. He is saying they must either be annihilated or taken to . 151 concentration camps. Q. Tell me the difference between those two statements. A. The first one, lock them up or we will kill them, says it is putting primacy, the emphasis on locking them up. The second one gives them two equal statuses and does not say anything about what is happen to them in the concentration camps. The words "lock them up" does not occur there. Q. Is it not possible, lock them away, put them in concentration camps? A. No, it does not occur, not in what he says. Q. Is this not a perfectly feasible and reasonable explanation of the force that was applied to Horthy on that day, saying in blunt terms: You are going to have lock them away because, look, the only other thing you could do is kill them? A. Not at all. We are back on Horthy, all right. It is not at all what he says. Let us go through this all over again. Pages 441 to 442 of my report. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Just a second. MR IRVING: I do not think we need to go through it all again. A. Horthy says, "what should he with the Jews after he had pretty well taken all means of living from them - he surely couldn't beat them to death - The Reich Foreign Minister replied that the Jews must either be annihilated or taken to concentration camps. There was no other way." Hitler then says yes, "Where the Jews are left . 152 to themselves, as for example in Poland, gruesome poverty and degeneracy had ruled. They were just pure parasites. One had fundamentally cleared up this state of affairs in Poland. If the Jews there did not want to work, they were shot. If they could not work, they had to perish. They had to be treated like tuberculosis bacilli, from which a healthy body could be infected. That was not cruel", Hitler goes on, "if one remembered that even innocent natural creatures like hares and deer had to be killed so that no harm was caused. Why should one spare the beasts who wanted to bring us Bolshevism any more? Nations who did not rid themselves of Jews perished". That seems to be extremely open about what is to happen to the Jews whom Hitler and Ribbentrop want Horthy to deliver from Hungary over to their tender mercies. Q. I must protest against this wasting of the time of the court reading out time after time after time paragraphs that we have already heard. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Mr Irving, that is simply not fair, is it? We were on Ribbentrop's knowledge and you suggested that the first he knew was ---- MR IRVING: A perfectly reasonable explanation. MR JUSTICE GRAY: -- in 1944 when Maidonek surfaced, to which the witness, as I recall, replied no, it was obvious to Ribbentrop what was going on back in 1942 and he cited Horthy. That was why it all arose. . 153 MR IRVING: I agree, and I put to him, not realising we were letting ourselves in for another torrent of quotations from his own report, page after page after page. A. It is a quotation from Hitler, Mr Irving. I know you do not want to hear Hitler saying the Jews have to be killed. That is why you want to shut me up, is it not? MR IRVING: A perfectly reasonable interpretation on the words that were used by Hitler and Ribbentrop to Horthy, which is to say, we are demanding you lock up all your Jews because of the security threat, which I shall establish to the court with the documents, and the only other thing you could do is kill them. In other words, you have no choice but to lock them up. A. I think that is a perverted and distorted interpretation which you are putting on this document in a completely illegitimate way in order to try and bolster up your totally untenable view that Hitler did not want the Jews killed and did not know about it. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Let us move on. MR IRVING: Professor Evans, we are thoroughly familiar with the fact that you do not like me but there is no need to keep on expressing it again and again and again. A. I have no personal feelings towards you one way or the other, Mr Irving. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Can we all perhaps calm it a little bit and move on to the next topic. We have dealt with the . 154 Adjutants. What are you wanting to ask about now? MR IRVING: We are dealing just with two tail end questions on the Horthy business. At page 441, footnote 7, you say that Paul Schmidt self serving memoirs are unreliable. Are memoirs sometimes unreliable when you so choose? A. No, I am not using them. It is just a little note. MR JUSTICE GRAY: The answer to that question must be yes. What is the next question? A. Yes. MR IRVING: Thank you very much, my Lord. A. It is not an important note. MR IRVING: Is a historian who researches, unlike yourself, both in the German but also in the Hungarian state files, and who finds in Hungarian state files no explicit reference to any discussion of killing at this Hitler Horthy meeting entitled therefore to assume that this did not bulk very large on that horizon? A. No. Q. At page 451 you talk in paragraph 14 about the effect of the bombing raids, in view of the fact that he had dismissed them as unimportant, it is highly unlikely that these bombing raids roused Hitler to an unprecedented anti-Semitic fury. Are you an expert on the bombing war as well then? A. Mr Irving, I have already said that I have a general level of expertise on the Third Reich and the Second World War, . 155 Nazism, and historiography. I am not a specific expert on Auschwitz. I am not a specific expert on the bombing war. You could have many different levels of expertise. You could have someone who spends his whole life studying the history of a single village in 20th century Germany. If you want to know about the method of operation of gas chambers in Auschwitz, you ask an expert on that. My level of expertise is at a fairly general level. I have made that quite clear. Q. So the answer is no? A. I am not the world's greatest expert on every issue which is discussed in these documents. I do not pretend to be. Q. The short answer is no. I do not mean that in any derogatory sense. A. I am sure you do mean it in a derogatory sense, Mr Irving. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Come on. MR IRVING: When did the battle of the Ruhr start as it is referred to---- A. Let me just try and get across the point of what I am saying. Q. If you do not know, just say so. A. Mr Irving, this is not "Who wants to be a millionaire". I am not going to stand here and be quizzed by you on names, facts and dates. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Professor Evans, come on. A. I want to try and explain what I put in my report. . 156 MR JUSTICE GRAY: If I may say so, just confine yourself to a brief answer to the specific point. MR IRVING: Would you agree that the battle of the Ruhr started around March 5th 1943, with a series of very heavy violent air raids on the Ruhr, coupled with air raids on Nuremberg, which is a city that the Nazis felt very fond of, and that this battering of the German cities continued throughout March and April 1943? A. Yes. Q. This may very well have formed the back drop to the conversation between Hitler and Horthy? You should not therefore dismiss it in the way you do in paragraph 14. A. No, I do not dismiss it. It is Hitler who dismisses it. He says the attacks themselves have been irritating but wholly trivial: "Die Angriffe selbst seien zwar storend, abere ganzlich belanglos". Q. If he refers in paragraph 17 to the effect of this bombing war, we know what the effects are because we have seen the photograph on women and children, then no doubt, although he is trying to act to his foreign visitors there to say this too we can take on the chin, in fact it is deeply upsetting and grieving him? A. I cannot see that it is, when he describes them as irritating but wholly trivial. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Mr Irving, if I am meant to be following this, I am afraid you have lost me completely. . 157 MR IRVING: Paragraph 17, my Lord, page 452. A. I do not see any mention there. MR JUSTICE GRAY: What is the suggestion? That because of the allied bombing raids Hitler was adopting a particular policy towards the Hungarian Jews? That is an enquiry, Mr Irving. I do not know what you are suggesting. MR IRVING: For some reason the witness has put in his paragraph 14 on page 451, he has dismissed the importance of the bombing raids and Hitler's particular feelings during the discussion with Horthy. A. Well, my Lord, this is a comment on the 1991 edition of Hitler's War. In the 1977 edition Mr Irving tries to make the Warsaw uprising as the trigger for Hitler's outburst to Admiral Horthy, even though the uprising started after they met. So he has withdrawn that in 1991. In 1991 he says, "in Hitler's warning to Horthy that the "Jewish Bolsheviks" would liquidate all Europe's intelligentsia, we can identify the Katyn episode. That is a massacre of Polish officers by Russians. A propaganda windfall about which Goebbels had just telephoned him. Hitler warmly approved Goebbels' suggestion that Katyn should be linked in the public's mind with the Jewish question. But the most persuasive argument used to reconcile Hitler with the harsher treatment of the Jews was the bombing war from documents and target maps found in crashed bombers he knew that the British air crews were instructed to aim only at . 158 the residential areas, only one race murdered, he lectured to quailing Horthy, and that was the Jews. It was they who had provoked this war and given it its present character against civilians, women and children." These are wholly bogus claims by Mr Irving. The word Katyn is not mentioned at all in the Horthy Ribbentrop Hitler conversations. MR IRVING: Would Hitler ---- A. "The source says that it is not that the British air crews are instructed to aim only at the residential areas, but to aim at them as well. Hitler describes these in the conversations with Horthy, when he is describing these air raids on Frankfurt, where the British bombers are instructed to destroy residential areas as well as industrial targets, Hitler says the attacks themselves have been irritating but wholly trivial". Now, if Hitler says that they are irritating but wholly trivial, it is very unlikely that he is so worked up into a passion about this that he indulges in an unusual outburst of anti-Semitism. That is all. Q. Do you think Hitler was not worked up by the air raids on the Ruhr, on Nuremberg and elsewhere? Have you ever read Heiber's War Conferences, the verbatim stenographic records? A. The attacks themselves had been irritating but wholly trivial. . 159 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Can I get a word in edgeways? You have just had quoted to you, Mr Irving, what Hitler himself appears to have said at the time so do you want really to pursue this any further? MR IRVING: They are trivial, yes. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Do you want to pursue this any further? MR IRVING: At the risk of being lectured for repetition the fact that Adolf Hitler tells of visiting foreign dignitaries, effectively these British air raids are trivial, does not mean to say that he regarded them as trivial. Any more than if Winston Churchill had said in 1940 to Roosevelt, these air raids on London are trivial and Britain can take it. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Your suggestion is that Hitler was wanting to take reprisals on the Hungarian Jews because he was alarmed at the effect the allied bombing raids on Germany were having? MR IRVING: My Lord, it is not as simple as that.
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