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Shofar FTP Archive File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day029.13


Archive/File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day029.13
Last-Modified: 2000/07/25

   Q.   I am not following at the moment why you say it is an
        invention of British propaganda.
   A.   If we abandon gas chambers for a moment, and say, suppose

.          P-112



        a message came from Geneva, saying children were having
        their hands hacked off, on the face of it an implausible
        story, which the Foreign Office said, "We find this
        difficult to believe", as it says later in this document,
        "We find no confirmatory evidence" and so on, and then
        later on the propaganda agencies send out reports by the
        propaganda channels, the BBC, Voice America and the rest
        of it, saying, "We have reliable stories that the Germans
        are cutting off children's hands", that would be an
        invention, would it not?
   MR RAMPTON:  Mr Irving, may we stick with history, rather than
        fantasy?  Here we have a report from Geneva, from
        Mr Riegner, who is not an agent of the British propaganda
        machine, he is an element in the World Jewish Congress,
        that, as, indeed you might say, prophetically turned out
        to be the case, there was a plan reported to him from the
        Fuhrer's headquarters to exterminate the whole of the Jews
        in Europe, or most of them, at one blow by the use,
        amongst others perhaps, of hydrogen cyanide.  Now, how can
        it be that that story is, to use your words, an invention
        of British propaganda?
   A.   Which story?
   Q.   This story that you see reported on the page in front of you.
   A.   That is two separate things.  Riegner is sending a message
        to England to be passed on to Sidney Silverman, reporting

.          P-113



        a story which the Foreign Office clearly, from the
        handwritten minutes, do not consider to be part of what is
        actually happening.  They say there is no doubt that large
        numbers of Jews are dying.  They even used the word I think ----
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  They may not believe it, but they did not
        invent it.  That is the point that I was asking about and
        I think Mr Rampton is asking about.
   A.   I hesitate to use the words "hair splitting", my Lord, but
        I think it is quite plain that if in August 1943
        Cavendish-Bentinck, the head of the British Intelligence
        Service, says, "We have no evidence that these gas
        chambers exist", and yet by that time for 12 months
        already the British propaganda agencies have been pumping
        out the message, then that is an invention, and there is
        no other way of interpreting that.
   MR RAMPTON:  Mr Irving, the story originated not with British
        propaganda.  It originated with a personal organization in
        Geneva, a remarkably accurate story, as it happens.  If
        you turn over to page 4, you see the comment at the time
        in August 1942:  "Mr Silverman having asked if he could
        see somebody about the cable, Sir Beaugrave Beecham had a
        talk with him this morning, first, Mr Silverman said he
        would let us have some particulars about Mr Riegner -- I
        think it is misspelt -- "whom he regards as entirely
        trustworthy.  Secondly, Mr Silverman stated that he had

.          P-114



        received reports of transportation of Jews from occupied
        territories in Germany towards the East, which might be a
        confirmation of the alleged plan".
                  Then we see in the following pages -- turn to
        page 5, for example.  I do not know whose notes these are,
        probably one of the Allens, but I am not sure about that.
        Yes, it is David Allen.  In the middle of the next page 5
        he is talking about atrocious conditions in the East, and
        he says: "Such stories do provide a basis for Mr Riegner's
        report, but they do not of course amount to extermination
        at one blow.  The German policy seems to be rather to
        eliminate useless mouths, but to use able-bodied Jews as
        slave labour."
                  In the light of all of that, the Brits, bless
        their little cotton socks, I might say if I were Jewish,
        decide not to make use of this information.  Is that not
        right?  They put the kaibosh on it, do they not?
   A.   No.  You are overlooking one important detail, the
        chronology.  Do you remember that I put to one of the
        witnesses, I forget which one it was, the diary evidence
        and other evidence of the propaganda broadcasts, some of
        which were in June 1942, about the use of poison gas, and
        some of which were earlier that year, about the
        deportation of the Dutch Jews to Mauthausen, using poison
        gas?  So what is then reported back to us in August 1942
        is interesting, but no more.

.          P-115



   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I have forgotten where the evidence is for
        use of this by the British in their intelligence propaganda.
   A.   Your Lordship will remember there is a bundle of about ten
        pages of documents, including pages from Thomas Mann's
        diary, and the diary of a man called Ringelbulm, and the
        diary of a man called Viktor Klemporer, recording the
        actual dates that they received these broadcasts.  I am
        afraid I do not know which bundles they are in.
   MR RAMPTON:  1943, Mr Irving.  Page 12 I cannot read.  I hope
        it is legible in your copy.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I am so sorry, Mr Rampton.  I appreciate you
        want to get on, but does anybody have any idea where the
        documents -- I suspect they are somewhere in J -- that
        have just been referred to are to be found?
   MR RAMPTON:  No.
   A.   My Lord, I can certainly very easily bring in the copies
        again next time I come.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I am sure I have them somewhere.  I would
        like to know where they are.
   A.   I am not as well organized as I should be, I am afraid.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I do not blame you for that.  Could I ask
        Miss Rogers or somebody to try to track them down?
   MR RAMPTON:  Do you still feel confident, before we come to
        1943, Mr Irving, in saying that the gas chambers were an
        invention of British propaganda?

.          P-116



   A.   Yes.  Based on the evidence that I have seen so far, yes.
   Q.   You do?  Can we turn to page 13, because I am afraid
        I cannot read page 12.
   A.   Page 12 is the draft declaration of the British and
        American governments.
   Q.   Yes.  Page 13 refers to a telegram to Moscow, and it is
        said to be based in the main, or taken in the main from
        the aide memoir by the Polish government in another file.
        "This aide memoir", reads this minute from Roger Allen to
        Cavendish-Bentinck, "is in line with a good deal of other
        information which we have received from time to time.
        There can, I think, be little doubt that the general
        picture painted is pretty true to life.  On the other
        hand, it is of course extremely difficult, if not
        impossible, for us to check up on specific instances of
        matters of detail."
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I have lost you.
   A.   So have I.
   MR RAMPTON:  I am on page 13, my Lord.
   A.   Which paragraph are we looking at?
   MR RAMPTON:  I read from the top of the page.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Something has gone wrong in that case.
   MR RAMPTON:  In that case something has gone wrong.
   A.   I thought I was going mad.
   MR RAMPTON:  It is a minute by Roger Allen dated 27th August
        1943.  If we had another year, we might get these file

.          P-117



        sorted out.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I think the problem may be we have not got
        the first page.  I think we are missing that document altogether.
   MR RAMPTON:  It is a minute, Mr Irving, do you see, dated 27th
        August 1943 from Mr Roger Allen?
   A.   Yes.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  We will call that 12A, because there is a 13 already.
   MR RAMPTON:  Yes 12A, to Mr Cavendish-Bentinck.  I will start
        again.  I understand that the information on which
        telegram number 1190 to Moscow is based is taken in the
        main from the aide memoir by the Polish government in C,
        whatever it is.  This aide memoir is in line with a good
        deal of other information which we have received from time
        to time.  There can, I think, be little doubt that the
        general picture painted is pretty true to life.  On the
        other hand, it is of course extremely difficult, if not
        impossible, for us to check up on specific instances or
        matters of detail.  For this reason, I feel a little
        unhappy about the statement to be issued on the authority
        of His Majesty's government that Poles "are now being
        systematically put to death in gas chambers."  I expect
        you are familiar with the rest of this document.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Where is the aide memoire, Mr Rampton?
   A.   That is the previous illegible page, my Lord.

.          P-118



   MR RAMPTON:  That is the one I cannot read.
   A.   To be a draft declaration to be signed by Roosevelt and
        Churchill and they were meeting in Quebec to discuss it.
   MR RAMPTON:  Which I think must be the document.  Maybe this is better.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  You can actually read it fairly well.
   MR RAMPTON:  Let me try it: Reliable information has reached HM
        Government regarding the crimes committed by the German
        invaders against the population of Poland.  Since the
        autumn of 1942 a belt of territory extending from the
        province of Bialistok southwards along the line of the
        river Bund has been systematically emptied of its
        inhabitants", crossed out "hundreds of thousands of whom
        have been deported from their homes", continuing uncrossed
        out, "in July 1943 these measures were extended to
        practically the whole of the province of Lublin, where
        hundreds of thousands of persons have been deported from
        their homes or exterminated".  That is the handwriting.
        "These measures are being carried out with the utmost
        brutality.  Many victims are killed on the spot.  The rest
        are segregated.  Men from 14 to 50 are taken away to work
        for Germany.  Some children are killed on the spot.
        Others are separated from their parents, and either sent
        to Germany to be brought up as Germans or sold to
        German settlers, despatched with the women and old men to
        concentration camps, where they are now being

.          P-119



        systematically put to death in gas chambers.  HM
        government" -- something?
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Reaffirm.
   MR RAMPTON:  "Reaffirmed their resolve to punish the
        instigators and actual perpetrators of these crimes.  They
        further declare that, so long as such atrocities continue
        to be committed by the representatives and in the name of
        Germany, they must be taken into account against the time
        of the final settlement with Germany.  Meanwhile, of the
        war against Germany" -- then I run out, I am afraid, of
        legible words, but that may not matter.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Has been finally overthrown.
   MR RAMPTON:  Yes.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  It is not really an aide memoire, is it?  It
        is a proposed communication or release.
   MR RAMPTON:  It is a communique, is it not?
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   It is a proposed communique, making reference to, in
        particular, systematic extermination in gas chambers.
        Correct?
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   Then, says Allen R to Cavendish-Bentinck on page
        12A apropos that proposed communique, "On the other hand,
        it is of course extremely difficult, if not impossible,
        for us to check up on specific instances or matters of
        detail.  For this reason I feel a little unhappy about the

.          P-120



        statement to be issued on the authority of HMG that
        Poles 'are now being systematically put to death in gas
        chambers'".  Does that look to you, Mr. Irving, like an
        intention to exploit this story for its propaganda value?
   A.   There are two different levels of authentication here.
        What has been put to the Foreign Office is a draft
        telegram to be signed by the two heads of State and
        approved by Marshal Stalin, declaration on the war crimes
        committed by the Nazis and the punishment of the
        perpetrators.  At the other level you have black
        propaganda where any kind of lie counts, the kind of stuff
        that was put about by Richard Crossman and Sefton Delmer.
        There are two totally different levels of truthfulness
        involved.  The Foreign Office obviously balked at the idea
        of persuading the British and American heads of State to
        sign a document containing a detail of which, as they
        later stated in this same bundle of documents, there was
        no proof, of which they had no evidence.

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