The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day026.02

Archive/File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day026.02
Last-Modified: 2000/07/25

   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I think you did actually say that.  That is
        my impression.

.          P-9

   A.   I just wanted to make it very clear.  On page 13 and the
        following pages we had a discussion on the statistics
        about the death rates in Auschwitz.  I forgot to say the
        most obvious thing -- because I was surprised by this
        document, I have to say -- that these figures all relate
        to the camp population as a whole and not to the Jewish
        camp population, and you would come to complete different
        conclusions if you look at the Jewish camp population.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Which page is that?
   A.   Page 13 and the following pages.
   Q.   I do not see quite where we get to the statistics on the
        pages following page 13.
   A.   We talked about the statistics and I should have said here
        first of all that these numbers are about the camp
        population, everybody in the camps, and it is not specific
        about the Jewish prisoners in the camp.
   Q.   I follow that, but I cannot find where there is any
        reference to numbers.
   A.   No.  We talked about the monthly death rates in the
        concentration camps.
   Q.   I remember that, but that is not here.
   A.   I may be mistaken.
   Q.   It is page 18.
   A.   I am sorry.  The third point is on page 173 Mr Irving said
        he wanted to translate bei Freilassung with "upon release"
        and I said bei Freilassung means "if released".  I should

.          P-10

        have added here that "upon release" is nach Freilassung in
        German, "after".
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  That would be one way of putting it, would it not?
   A.   Pardon?
   Q.   Bei Freilassung could be perhaps regarded as a little
        equivocal, could it not?
   A.   Bei Freilassung is, in my view, "if released".
   Q.   "Upon release" might be another translation?
   A.   "Upon release," but it is definitely not "after".
   Q.   Thank you.  That is very helpful.  The slip which
        I thought you may have made, and I do not have the
        reference for it, is that I think you may have referred to
        Auschwitz when you meant Belzec, but I will not waste time
        trying to find that.  It is at the foot of one of the
        pages.  It is not terribly important, but I think the
        context makes it clear that you were talking about Belzec.
   MR IRVING:  My Lord, I have checked four of my dictionaries on
        "verhungern" and I am ready to concede the primary
        meaning is "die of hunger".  The secondary meaning is "to
        starve".  I am ready to concede that point.
   MR IRVING:  Dr Longerich, you have now received the complete
        translation of the Karl Wolff manuscript, the interview
        with Karl Wolff.  Have you received the German text

.          P-11

   A.   Yes. Where is your translation?
   Q.   Have you received the German text?
   A.   I received the German text on Thursday.
   Q.   So you have not received the English translation which has
        been prepared of it yet?
   A.   No.  This is the first time I see that.
   Q.   Can I ask you questions on the German text?  Would you
        agree that the brief extract which I made some 35 years
        ago accurately represents the parts that I extracted, if
        I can put it like that?  There was no distortion by me of
        the extracts that I made?
   A.   Except the parts you left out in your extract.
   Q.   Obviously, if it is a one page exhibit extract from a ten
        page document, then some eight or nine pages have been
        left out, have they not?
   A.   I think you left out passages which are important, which
        have to be understood in the context of the whole document.
   Q.   Yes.
   A.   And I also was surprised or amazed to see that you, in
        your translation, in your transcript, translated the word
        "ausrottung" with "extermination".
   Q.   Yes.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Whereabouts is that?  I have the English and
        I am not sure you have the English.

.          P-12

   MR IRVING:  That would be on page 1 of the original transcript,
        my Lord.  It is page 00031.  If you turn the page, my
        Lord, it is on line 5.  As Dr Longerich rightly says,
        I have translated it there by the word "extermination".
        I have put the German text in brackets afterwards on line 5.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I do not think we can be looking at the same
        document.  I am looking at your translation and I have
        page 31.  You say line 5?  That talks about the Waffen SS
        arising as a new guard.
   MR IRVING:  No, my Lord.  Page 31 follows.  If you will turn
        the page, my Lord, it will be five lines down on the next page.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Thank you.  I have it now.
   MR IRVING:  Dr Longerich correctly points out that I have
        translated the word "Judenausrottung" by "extermination of
        the Jews".
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Yes.  Thank you.
   MR IRVING:  Yet it is clear from the context, is it not,
        Dr Longerich, that this is what Karl Wolff is referring to
        on this occasion?
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   My Lord, I have lined on your copy the passages on which
        I rely.  It begins on the previous page three lines from
        the bottom, "The assassination of Heydrich at the end of
        May 1942 had an exceptionally powerful effect on Himmler",

.          P-13

        and it carries on for the next two pages, until the page
        that is headed with the word "preparations"?
   MR IRVING:  I am not sure, my Lord, what is the right way to
        deal with that, whether I should put this to the witness?
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I think, if you can select the main points
        out of it -- do not let us trawl through the whole of it
        unless we need to -- if you can put it as bald
        propositions, then we can pursue it if needs be.
   MR IRVING:  Yes.  Would you start, Dr Longerich, with the page
        that begins with the words "and declared", the third or
        fourth of my translation?
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  In the English.
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   This is talking about Himmler.  "He had always regarded it
        as his task and as his duty to carry out the solution of
        this task".  Wolff continues with the proposition that,
        from his viewpoint of 1952, perhaps 70 people were
        initiated in the ghastly secret, if I can put it like
        that.  Have you any comment on that figure?
   A.   That is definitely too low.
   Q.   Too low a figure?
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   Because the people at the killing centres must have
        known?  Is that what you are saying?  Not just the camp
        guards but also the people in all the killing centres?

.          P-14

   A.   He is referring to the people who were involved in the
        Juden ausrottung.
   Q.   Yes.  If you have read the manuscript, you will see that
        Karl Wolff suggests that the real guilty culprits were
        Bormann and Himmler who kept to themselves what they were
        doing.  Have you any comment on that proposition?
   A.   I think the statement is so far clearly self-serving
        because Karl Wolff was the liaison officer between the
        Himmler and Hitler, and of course he wanted to, well, play
        down, put it this way, the role of Hitler, because
        otherwise he would be the missing link between the two
        persons.  He would be the man between them, the man who
        carried messages and would transfer information between
        these two people.  Karl Wolff was sentenced in 1965 by the
        German court to 15 years' sentence.  Simply the main
        document, which actually, if I may put it this way, broke
        his neck, was his exchange of letters with Ganzen Muller
        in July and August of 1942, which is on pages 262 and 263
        in the blue bundle.
   Q.   This is 5,000 members of the chosen race being deported?
   A.   Yes.  So this was his main problem, that somebody could
        come and find out that he actually was involved in
        transferring messages from Hitler's headquarters through
        the apparatus which carried out the Final Solution.
   Q.   Could he not equally well have said that obviously Hitler
        knew what was going on but he discussed that only unter

.          P-15

        vier Augen, under four eyes, with Himmler and that he
        Wolff had no knowledge of it?  He could equally well have
        exonerated himself by saying that, if he was right in a
        self-serving document, could he not?
   A.   No, I do not think so.  I think his strategy was to
        systematically try to distance himself from everything
        that happens in Hitler's headquarters concerning the fate
        of the Jews.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Did he remain loyal to Hitler into the 50s
        and 60s?
   A.   He was absolutely loyal.  At this time he never actually
        gave up his sympathy for national socialism.
   MR IRVING:  A lot of Germans never did.
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   You see halfway down that page he describes Himmler as
        being in his way bizarrely religious, holding to the view
        that the greatest war lord in the greatest war of all
        times, in other words Hitler, he had to take upon himself
        these tasks.
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   Does that fit in with your picture that you have of
        Himmler's nature and his character?
   A.   There is obviously some truth in this remark, yes.
   Q.   The loyal Heiny, the faithful Heiny?
   A.   Yes.  On page 6 of the German document he is saying
        Himmler (German spoken - document not provided) Hitler.

.          P-16

        I do not know how you translated this.
   Q.   Himmler was of blind subservience to Hitler.
   A.   Which actually is a kind of contradiction to this view
        that he would actually do it on his own.  Also, I find
        particularly, because I did not have your translation,
        I studied your transcript, the transcripts you made in the
        Institute fur Zeitgeschichte and compared it with the
        German original.  Also, in the German original, you find
        in the central passage that Wolff inserted the
        word "wohl".
   Q.   Yes, handwritten?
   A.   So he actually was saying "I am not absolutely sure about
        this, I think so" (To the interpreter) How do you
        translate "wohl" in English?
   MR IRVING:  It is on page 7, my Lord, of this same page, the
        page beginning "and declared", line 7.
   A.   Which page in the German?
   Q.   "General Wolff also saw Bormann who was infinitely
        actively involved in these things, together with Hoess,
        the former famed murderer, Bormann and Himmler", and he
        has inserted in handwriting the word "probably", wohl,
        "represented the view that the Jewish problem had to be
        dealt with without Hitler getting his fingers dirty in the
   A.   That is in the German document on page 4.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  You do not quarrel with the translation of

.          P-17

        wohl as "probably"?
   MR IRVING: Probably, or perhaps.
   A.   It was not in your transcript.  In your transcript you
        left it out.
   MR IRVING:  Or "may well have"?
   A.   Yes.  He obviously wanted to say that, well, he is not
        absolutely sure, he inserted the word "wohl" in the end.
   Q.   I am sorry but in the transcript I did insert it.  It is
        in the second paragraph.  The word "probably" is in square
        brackets inserted.  I know, Dr Longerich, it is a
        difficult concept to grapple with in the witness box but
        how would this----
   A.   It is difficult for me to deal with three documents at the
        same time, two in English and one in German, I have to say that.
   Q.   And to listen to my questions at the same time?
   A.   Yes.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I think the point Dr Longerich is probably
        making but I do not know where I find the manuscript now,
        is that you did not put "probably" in your original
        manuscript note.
   MR IRVING:  It was, my Lord, and I am sure we will find it.
        Otherwise, I would not have known how to put it in in the
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I have no idea where that is.
   MR IRVING:  I am prepared to take strichnine on that one, as

.          P-18

        they say in German.
   MR RAMPTON:  My Lord, it is seven lines down in the manuscript
        notes, I call them.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  But where do we put those?  That is my problem.
   MISS ROGERS:  It should be in Tab 11, J2, party claimants bundle H.
   MR IRVING:  Has your Lordship found it?
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Yes, in square brackets.  You are quite right.
   A.   In square brackets, I agree.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Thank you, Mr Irving.
   A.   In your transcript, if I may comment on it, this is the
        piece of paper you take home from the Institut fur
        Zeitgeschichte, you left out the passage where actually
        Wolff is referring to millions of dead, and also you left
        out the passage that is referring to the vergassungs, the
        idea to gassings.  So your impression, when you read this
        document, was that only Wolff dealt here with Hitler's
        attitude or non-attitude towards the Jewish question, and
        you left out these important two paragraphs because you
        were not interested in them, obviously.

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