Archive/File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day026.03 Last-Modified: 2000/07/25 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Where do we find vergassung? MR IRVING: Half way down the English translation, the new translation, "Whenever Himmler uttered such thoughts, as . P-19 he did repeatedly, he never made any concrete reference to, for example, the Jewish problem. But one today well imagine that Himmler ordered the murder of millions of Jews in a kind of crazily perverted idealism permeated with the notion that the lofty objective which Hitler had defined was one that justified the adoption of any means". MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes, I have got that, but what about vergassung? MR RAMPTON: That is in the last line of the English before in square brackets 00032, "The gassing idea probably emerged when a genuine epidemic broke out". MR JUSTICE GRAY: Thank you. MR IRVING: Of course I cannot give evidence, but let me ask this question this way, and say is it not likely that Wolff, when he was being interviewed in 1952, had read what every other German had read in the newspapers about millions being gassed? A. I cannot say what Wolff read in the newspapers, but he is referring here clearly, he is accepting the idea that millions of Jews were killed, and he is accepting the idea that they were killed by gas. So that is there was no way for him to know. He did not attempt to dispute this. He only tried to, of course, distance Hitler from these events. Q. If you look at the last paragraph on that same page of the translation beginning with the words, "around August . P-20 1942", "General Wolff undertook a drive from the Fuhrer's headquarters to Berlin. He found Himmler there in a state of deep depression". Does this strike you as being something that he is really remembering? Is he describing something vividly that he has in his memory? A. That is typical for Wolff. We know a lot about Wolff. He gave a lot of interviews. He made statements. He met people who wrote books about him, and he made this kind of very vivid statements. So I think he had a very ---- Q. Do you think this is his imagination at work, or is it his memory? A. I think it was imagination to a large extent. Q. When he is imagining something, he actually says it, does he not? In the middle of the previous paragraph he says, "One can today well imagine that Himmler ordered the murder of millions of Jews". So he does make a distinction between what he is imagining and what he is remembering. A. To sum this up, I am not in a position to accept this really as a true collection by Karl Wolff. Q. What about the vague hint that Himmler dropped on this occasion: "Wolff could have no idea what one had had to take upon oneself for the messiah of the next 2,000 years in order that this man (in other words Hitler) remained personally free of sin". Do you think such a remark was made by Himmler to Hitler? . P-21 A. I have no idea. Q. Is it a significant remark if it was made? A. This is a hypothetical question. I cannot answer this question. Q. He continues by saying, for the sake of the German people and its Fuhrer, he had to burden things on to his own shoulders, of which nobody must ever be allowed to learn. Is this self serving again, do you think, in your opinion? A. Well ---- THE INTERPRETER: Vivid imagination? A. I think that Karl Wolff had a vivid imagination and I cannot see here -- he did not take any notes about these events. He did not read from notes. He did not write a letter about this. It is a postwar statement ten years post factum, and I cannot see how one can accept this as evidence that Hitler was not aware of the final solution. Q. Then I would ask you to turn two pages please. You have in the middle of the page, page 34 in square brackets, the sentence beginning just before that, "The little clique, which effectively carried out the vernichtung of the Jews under cover of Himmler and Bormann, simply declared that they were relying on a Fuhrer order without this ever having expressly been given, and they proceeded in this sense on their own authority in order, as they declared, biologically to rid German territory of the seeds. The announcement of this fait accompli was going to be . P-22 Himmler's big moment after the victory". Does this not fit in with some of the documents we have seen? A. If you want to refer to documents, I can recall, of course, the expression, the quote on page 32, "burden on my shoulders" is the expression he used then later on. Q. It does sound like Himmler speaking, does it not? A. It is the same phrase, yes. Q. It has to be said, we have no documents to contradict this version, do we? A. The document contradicts the fact that Himmler spoke to Karl Wolff in August 1942? Q. No, the contradict ---- MR JUSTICE GRAY: The Hitler order, in other words. MR IRVING: The general hypothesis that Wolff is putting up of Himmler acting in secret behind Hitler's back and intending to present him with a fait accompli when the war was over. A. We went through the documents. MR JUSTICE GRAY: It is Pohl and---- MR RAMPTON: I must intervene. That is just not so and Mr Irving knows it is not so. Himmler wrote to Begher on 28th July 1942, just before this meeting that Wolff reports and Himmler said that the carrying out of this very hard order has been put on his shoulders by Hitler. MR IRVING: Yes. What is the order that he is referring to, Dr Longerich? Do you remember? . P-23 A. This is the order to make the occupied territories of the East free of Jews. MR RAMPTON: That is right. MR IRVING: That is right, yes. Is that an explicit order to exterminate the Jews, or an order to deport them to the East, in your opinion? A. At this stage, if I look at the facts what actually happened in the East, it is clear for me that this refers to the mass killings of Soviet Jews, and to nothing else. Q. Does this fit in with the general picture of Heinrich Himmler keeping things secret from people? He is not being specific about what is actually happening. He is writing these camouflage documents. Is this not exactly what Wolff is saying? MR JUSTICE GRAY: When you say that, Mr Irving, you are really going back, I think, to the communications between Pohl and Himmler, and between Greiser and Himmler, is that right, where it is true, I think, we went through those on Thursday, that there is not any express reference to Hitler's authority? That is the point you are putting. We have been through it. MR IRVING: Now I will ask one final question on the Wolff manuscript, if I may, Dr Longerich. You worked in the Institut fur Zeitgeschichte for what, eight years? Seven years? A. Five years. . P-24 Q. Five years, and you have since then written a number of eminent books on the Final Solution of the Jewish problem? A. Yes. Q. And of Hitler's role in this? A. Yes. Q. Have you ever paid any attention at all to Karl Wolff's manuscript, the document that you are looking at? A. Of course. I looked also at Karl Wolff's role and I have to say that I completely dismissed the statement, because this interview is, first of all, if you look at the technique of the interviewer, for instance, he has a long conversation with Karl Wolff, then goes home and writes a summary of this conversation. It is not a verbatim minute of the conversation. The person who did this interview addressed Karl Wolff in 1952 as General Wolff. So this is for me a quite bizarre atmosphere in which this interview took place. I think, if you look at the history of Karl Wolff and the fact that he in 65 was sentenced to 15 years, this statement in this part is self serving. But, on the other hand, for me it is interesting, and I did not recollect that, that he is quite openly referring to millions of people who were actually put to death during the World War II. MR JUSTICE GRAY: You are now talking about Dr Ziegler? He was the interviewer, is that right? A. Ziegler was the interviewer, yes. . P-25 Q. I do not quite understand why this interview came to take place in 1952. A. Because the Institute at this stage more or less systematically tried to interview everybody who was interesting for them. MR IRVING: What was the name of the Institute at that time? Do you remember? A. Still the same name, Institute fur Zeitgeschichte. Q. It was called the Institute for the Research into Nazi Crimes or something, was it not? A. No. In the first year, 48 and 49, it was called Institute for the Research of the History of the National Socialist Period, or something like that. Q. I am right in saying that they had a number of trained professional historians who went around Germany interviewing characters like General Wolff and Ziegler was one of them? A. Yes. But at this stage researchers were not able to actually confront most of their interviewees with documents that actually challenged their views. So, if Wolff said something like that, this interviewer was not able to refer to documents, the documents which we have now, to say, for instance, that the Hitler speech of 12th December 41 is ordered to Himmler, and so on and so on. So in a way this interview was done in quite a naive way, I would put it like this. . P-26 Q. Are such interviews totally valueless? A. Absolutely not. Q. Did you make any use whatsoever of this Karl Wolff manuscript when you wrote your books? A. I remember that I read it but I decided not to use it for my books. Q. The same as you decided not to use the Schlegelberger document and various other items? A. That is your comparison. I cannot comment on that. Q. Would you agree that the Schlegelberger document, this particular manuscript and various other items that have been ignored until I dredged them out of the archives, all tend to suggest a totally different picture to that presented by what you call the consensus of German historians? A. If I look at this document here, the interview of Karl Wolff in 1955, I think it does not prove anything. I commented briefly on the so-called Schlegelberger before, because it is a third hand evidence. MR JUSTICE GRAY: I am going to interrupt you. I do not think we need to go through the Schlegelberger document. MR IRVING: Can I ask one more question on this document? There is a reference here to Martin Bormann and Rudolf Hoess, the Kommandant of Auschwitz being old buddies because they had both been in prison for the Famer murders. Is that right? . P-27 A. Yes. Q. Can you tell the court what the Famer murders were? I could not remember the translation myself. A. In the early 1920s the right-wing circus in Germany tried to build up a secret Army, if you put it this way. Q. The Freicor? A. The Freicor and other paramilitary organisations, which was illegal under the Versailles Treaty, and they also engaged in preparing Putsches and other things like that, and they on various occasions actually killed or murdered people in these groups who they thought actually betrayed them or passed information on the state authority and so on. Q. Like vengeance killing, was it not? A. Vengeance killing, yes. Q. So they were old buddies, they were not just anybody, Martin Bormann and Rudolf Hoess were thick as thieves would you say? A. Yes. They spent several months together in a state prison. Q. That is the only questions I have to ask on Karl Wolff unless your Lordship has any to ask? MR JUSTICE GRAY: No. Thank you very much. MR IRVING: Dr Longerich, you wrote a book called "Politik der Vernichtung", is that right? A. Yes, that is right.
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