Archive/File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day025.10 Last-Modified: 2000/07/25 Q. Just going back briefly to page 40, this general statement, you said in the middle of the third paragraph that, "In the fall of 1941 the Nazi regime began to deport the Jews from central Europe to the Eastern European ghettoes. From statements by leading representatives of the regime it becomes clear that at this point the intention was to deport the people further to the East upon a victory over the Soviet Union rather than exterminating them where they were". A. The fact that I said to deport them does not of course exclude that at the next step they were going to liquidate them. Q. Yes. Do you mean, by saying that, that at this time there were only orders for the deportation, there were no orders for extermination at that time, German government orders? A. When you refer to orders, then the orders were clear about the deportation. But of course it has to be seen in the context of a wider policy, and I think the aim of this policy was in the end to bring about a physical end of the life of these human beings. Q. You are familiar with the fact that your colleagues, for example Professor Browning, suggest that the German . P-123 government had decided on extermination by the autumn of 1941 and that deportation was for the purpose of extermination? A. There is a certain kind of disagreement among historians about this. We are in a research process and there is an agreement. Some historians would suggest summer 1941. Christopher Browning among others would say autumn 1941. I have a different theory about this decision making process. I think some of the decisions were made, but not all decisions were made at this stage. Q. Do you reject the judgment in the Eichmann trial in Jerusalem which said that the deportation of the central European Jews to Riga and Minsk which began around this time was specifically for the purpose of extermination? A. I think if I should comment on the wording of the Eichmann trial, I should have the text of the wording in front of me. But, in general, it was not the intention, according to my research, to kill these people immediately after arrival. There is of course a difference. Of course, in the long term the intention was to let these people, let us say it this way, perish in these areas, but there was no policy, according to my research, at this relatively early stage to kill them immediately after arrival. We discussed yesterday the case of the six trains and Himmler's reactions to that. Q. To pick up something you said a few seconds ago, you said . P-124 there is still something of a dispute, quite a genuine dispute, between historians of one school and historians of the other school, and it would be quite improper, would it not, to call the people who disagree with you a Holocaust denier? A. Absolutely. There is a certain kind of disagreement but, on the other hand, we all respect each other's views. I would not call anybody, any of my colleagues like Christopher Browning, a Holocaust denier. It would be absurd. Q. You save that phrase for somebody whose views you do not respect? A. No. That is for somebody who just makes general sweeping statements, just not accepting historical facts, not basing his expertise on thoroughly reading and analysis of documents. One has to make a strong point here. There is a strong difference between a discussion among colleagues, among historians, and between historians and Holocaust deniers, if you want to say so. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Dr Longerich, am I right in understanding you to be saying that the disagreement between historians is as to when there was an transition from deportation to extermination? A. Yes. Q. Not whether there was? A. No. . P-125 Q. Is that correct? A. The question is that the dispute is about whether it is possible to establish a certain day when Hitler made the decision, is it possible and, if it is possible, when was this specific decision. Q. It is the timing? A. Yes, the timing. Nobody in our profession would dispute, come to this absurdity to dispute actually that the Holocaust happened. MR IRVING: My Lord, it may help your Lordship if I say that during the course of the afternoon I will occasionally ask that question, does this dispute constitute a Holocaust denial? MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes, that is a perfectly proper question. MR IRVING: If you think it is not proper, then of course I would not do so. It is a piecemeal approach but it may be helpful. Paragraph 1 at the bottom of page 40 -- well, it is not any particular paragraph. What I am asking is this. Do you agree that all the German government actions that you describe in this following section, the beginning of the deportations, that is section A, all the actions and statements of Himmler and Heydrich and Eichmann, were pursuant to a programme of deportation and not a programme of extermination? That is the first question. I am only referring to section A, the beginning of the deportation. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Up to page 48. . P-126 MR IRVING: Everything in that section was pursuant to a programme of deportation and not extermination? A. (After a pause) I have to look through the section. Q. I do not want an ill considered reply. Just take your time. It is not a trick question. A. No. I think as a summary of this paragraph of this section on page 46, paragraph 16 where I said, the state of contemporary research does not give sufficient evidence for the conclusion that at this time the deportation was already a matter for the planned murder and extermination camps. Q. Yes. A. I think this is my view. Q. To put it another way, you agree that all the evidence you introduce in that section A does not prove a programme of extermination? A. I think I have answered this question. Q. Yes. The answer is yes? A. Well ---- MR JUSTICE GRAY: I think the answer is yes? A. The answer is yes. MR IRVING: Thank you. Paragraph 2, we are now looking at a man called Uebelhoer, who is the head of the administration of the district of Lodz. Are you aware that, in addition to Uebelhoer, there were other local German authorities like Lohse who also protested about the . P-127 plan to dump central European Jews in their districts, in their areas? A. I am not sure that Lohse protested. Kuger, for instance, had some views about that. I think the best is you give me the reference of the document and I comment on the document. Q. Well, it is a bit difficult if we have to keep on looking at documents. MR JUSTICE GRAY: I am not sure what the relevance of the question is at the moment. MR IRVING: The relevance of the question is this. If you are in charge of a district like Uebelhoer and you are in charge of the administration there, and you are protesting about having European Jews dumped in your back garden, this clearly presupposes that they are not going to be exterminated, does it not, because, if they are going to be exterminated, then you do not have the problem of housing and feeding them? A. This is the beginning of the discussions then which went on in the Warthegau, what shall we do with these people? It becomes then clear, if you read further the next section, that at this stage they made a kind of agreement, which meant that they would kill the local Jews in order to make room for the Jews who were coming in from Europe. I am referring in this paragraph to deportations and I am not saying here that at this stage it is clear from the . P-128 documentation that deportation meant the killing of those who were deported on the spot. But, if you look into the next paragraph, it becomes clear what I mean here is that they took the decision to kill the local Jews in order to make room for the incoming German Jews. Q. I am tackling this problem systematically and logically. If Uebelhoer, and as we know from other documents Lohse but take just the case of Uebelhoer, if he is protesting at having European Jews dumped in his district, it is because he assumes that they are going to be kept alive, and have to be fed and housed there. He is not assuming they are going to be exterminated, is he, the European Jews? A. He is just faced with a task to take in his ghetto 60,000 at this stage sent to Germany. This is the task he was facing, and he is complaining about that. Obviously at this stage he is not given the order to kill these people on the spot. This is my argument. It is a transitional phase. Q. As you said in this section A, there is no evidence of extermination, it is all just deportation measures being discussed? A. This deals with deportation. I speak only about the Jews from central Europe. Q. Paragraph 6 on page 42, this is at a meeting in Prague on October 10th 1941, at which Eichmann was also present. Do . P-129 you agree that, when Heydrich suggested that Nebe and Rasch could take Jews into the camps of communist prisoners, this was not a veiled suggestion they could be exterminated in those camps? A. I think he is referring to the next stage of deportations here. Q. So it was not a prerequisite to the extermination of those prisoners coming in? A. I am not sure about this because he was just talking about the ghetto in Lodz. I think this remark about Nebe and Rasch is probably the next stage, what will happen in next spring. Q. Yes, but it is not camouflage for the extermination of the people coming into those camps? A. The problem is that we have not identified these camps. We do not know actually which camps he is speaking at this moment. Probably he is talking about a plan for a new camp which did not exist at this time. I have no idea how to relate this, how to interpret this one sentence. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Mr Irving, it seems to me that you have really got the answer from Dr Longerich which you want for your purposes. He said this is all talking of the deportation of the European Jews, and it did not go beyond that at this stage, according to him. Different things were affecting the Russian Jews at this time, but do you need to trawl through it? . P-130 MR IRVING: No, except that on each occasion I wanted to ask if each of the individual elements constituted a Holocaust denier. MR JUSTICE GRAY: No. I think you have got what you want. MR IRVING: Paragraph 9 on page 44, just to make absolutely certain, "The deportation of the Jews from the German Reich in the autumn of 1941 and the ensuing winter proceeded on the orders of Hitler". Will you just confirm that those orders were only orders for deportation and not for extermination, not even in a camouflage sense. MR JUSTICE GRAY: He has said that already. We are still in section A here. MR IRVING: In that case we will zip forwards to page 48. Paragraph 2, just as a matter of interest, Tiergarten Strasse, after which the action T4 was named, was not part of Hitler's headquarters, was it? A. The building belonged to Hitler's Chancellery of the Fuhrer. Q. Did the Chancellery of the Fuhrer, despite its name, have any close contact with Hitler? Where was it situated? A. This Chancellery of the Fuhrer was situated in Berlin. It was first of all during the 30s mainly responsible for dealing with petitions and things like that, which were addressed to Hitler. But it became in the course of 1939, 1940, a clandestine, let us call it, operational centre for the killing actions, the euthenasia programme. . P-131 Q. Was this because the doctors who carried it out formally had to have petitions for clemency for carrying out criminal acts? Was that the connection? A. Sorry? Q. The doctors who were required to carry out these killings of the mentally sick and so on, they had to have clemency in advance for car committing a criminal act? A. Yes. They had this famous letter Hitler signed. Q. He actually signed an order for the mass killing, did he not? A. Yes, he did. Q. But this was the only connection between Hitler and the Chancellery of the Fuhrer, the fact that it had his name on its letter head, but it was geographically situated somewhere else. It was in Berlin and Tiergarten Strasse. A. If you take a street plan of Berlin in 1939, you will see that the buildings of government were widely spread throughout the district of Tiergarten and the district of Wilmerstov in Berlin, so the idea that all was situated in one complex would be wrong. Q. It would be wrong, would it, in your opinion, to draw any false conclusion from the fact that this agency was called the Chancellery of the Fuhrer? A. To draw ---- Q. Would it be dangerous to draw a wrong conclusion from the fact that the Chancellery is called the Chancellery of the . P-132 Fuhrer? Would it be wrong to conclude that therefore it was Hitler's own personal instrument? A. It was definitely Hitler's, it was one of the five Chancelleries which actually reported directly to Hitler. MR JUSTICE GRAY: I thought it was common ground that Hitler had initiated the euthanasia programme. MR IRVING: Yes. I am looking at just how closely connected because the euthanasia programme, the operatives in the programme, as your Lordship is probably familiar, later on became involved in selling their expertise, if I can put like that, in the gas vans. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes. I am sorry, I thought you were talking about the euthenasia programme in your last question. MR IRVING: I am trying to break the link between Hitler and the Fuhrer's Chancellery, if I can put it like that. A. Hitler had five Chancelleries. This is one of them. They were directly reporting to Hitler. There was a strong direct relationship between -- Hitler had his own Chancellery. Q. Have you seen the files of the Chancellery of the Fuhrer? A. I have seen some of the files, yes. Q. Are they bulging with correspondence between Adolf and Philip Buhle or Viktor Brach? A. I tried to explain this earlier. This was originally an office which dealt with petitions sent to the Fuhrer and things like that. Then it became, in the course of the . P-133 euthanasia programme, a clandestine operation centre to carry out the final solution in a way of this question, the euthanasia question. Q. Would you now answer my question? A. The character of the Chancellery in, let us say, 38 and in 1940, if you compare these two years, is completely different. It became a killing centre, and the fact that it was in Tiergarten Strasse 4, it was of course a clandestine operation. Q. Will you now answer my question? From your knowledge of the files of this Chancellery, are they bulging with correspondence between Adolf Hitler and the head of Fuhrer's Chancellery, namely Philip Buhle? A. We do not have the complete files, particularly all the files about the euthanasia programme, except some splinters, are lost. The files do not give us a clear view about the whole operation, about the Chancellery. It is basically boring stuff about people who are writing petitions to Hitler. The Chancellery dealt with the petition obviously on behalf of Hitler. Q. Well, let me go straight to the bottom line -- otherwise I am sure his Lordship will ask me to do so -- and say that, when the T4 action then moved over into running the gas vans, is there any evidence whatsoever of a link between Hitler and the Chancellery in this connection? Any documentary evidence that Hitler got personally . P-134 involved with the gas van programme? A. I think there is no such evidence, but the very fact that Hitler stopped the euthanasia programme in 1941 and that more than 100 people employed in the euthanasia programme then went to the district of Lublin and actually were used as the key personnel for the killing of the 1.5 million Jews, probably more, of the generalgouvernement, this gives us a clear idea of the involvement of Hitler. The Party Chancellery did only report to Hitler, so I am asking you who actually gave the order to the Party Chancellery to move this man from the euthanasia programme. Q. I am sorry, you are saying Party Chancellery, you do not mean that? A. I mean the Chancellery of the Fuhrer. So actually who gave the order to this man to actually take on this new task in Poland? Q. This is of course pure supposition on your part, is it not? A. Based on the fact that this was Hitler's Chancellery, the office which worked for Hitler. Q. Philip Buhle, who was the head of the Chancellery, what was his rank? Was he Reichsleiter? A. Yes. Q. Which is one rung down from Reichsminister? A. Reichsleiter is the highest rank in the party. . P-135 Q. Did he have an SS rank? A. I do not remember at the moment. Q. These gas vans -- I am now on page 49, my Lord, paragraphs 5 to 8 -- whose existence we accept, were they only killing Jews or were they originally designed for clearing out the inmates of the Soviet mental hospitals?
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