Archive/File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day002.12 Last-Modified: 2000/07/20 Q. Yes. The last one? A. "In full knowledge of the historical detail, the Plaintiff subjectively filtered, bent and manipulated his sources to his own political and ideological desire to exculpate Mr Hitler." Well, that is a bit of a polemical question, I suppose, in which the sting is in the question rather than in the answer. Q. Not really. Anyway, answer it. A. Well, the answer is under oath, no. My Lord, I have never consciously done any of those things in order to exculpate Hitler. In fact, I have bent over backwards to include what I knew from reliable sources which met my criteria, and in the very introduction to my book "Hitler's War" which is included in the bundle which I provided this morning, my Lord, I gave a short list, a check list, of the crimes he did commit: "He issued the commisart order for the liquidation of the Soviet commisarts and signed it. He issued the euthanasia order for the killing of the . P-201 mentally disabled and signed it, back-dated it to September 1st 1939. He ordered the killing of British commandos who fell into German captivity. He ordered the liquidation of the male population of Stalingrad and Leningrad..." and so on. There is a long list of these crimes which I gave as a kind of check list form in the introduction of the book specifically to avoid the kind of accusation that I apprehended would one day be made. Q. I suppose, to be balanced, you would accept that you would not only need that short list, but also a list of what one might call the opposite points where you say ---- A. Said nice things about him. Q. --- said commendatory things about him which, I think it is right to say, you do from time to time in "Hitler's War"? A. I have obviously said commendatory things about him. There was a time when he was on the right course and then he went off the rails. That is roughly what I have said. But, of course, he was not on the right rails in every respect. You cannot praise his racial programmes. You cannot praise his penal methods. But, on the other hand, he did pick his nation up from out of the mire after World War II and reunify it and gave it a sense of direction and a sense of pride again which, from the German point of view, though not from the English point of view, was something commendable. I say those things which need to . P-202 be said and it would be wrong to suppress them. Q. May I just ask you one thing that struck me when I was reading "Hitler's War" which is that I think you say in the Forward that you are writing it, as it were, from his perspective? A. Well, my Lord ---- Q. Is that a usual way to approach an historical biography? A. No. It is my trademark way of writing, the books which I have written. If you collect enough original primary sources, first of all, you are confronted with many problems. First of all, a super abundance of material and you have to decide which way you slice that particular cake. The easy way that I decided to slice the cake was to say let us imagine we are sitting in his swivel chair and that confronting us, as writer, are only the documents that passed across his desk. It is, in theory, a nice idea; in practice, it is more difficult to put into effect. But this is the first criterion you apply, and you then tell the story as seen from his viewpoint and in the sequence in which it came to him. I give one example: The July 20th 1944 bomb blot. Every other writer would describe the planning of the bomb plot and the conspiratorial meetings and the arrangement and the provision of the explosives and the comings together and the various failed attempts. In my book, your Lordship will have noticed the first we know . P-203 about the bomb plot is when the bomb goes off under your table. Then, retrospectively, you see the Gestapo reports and the enquiries and the investigations, and you find out this was not the first time they tried do it and so on. You may say it is a literary trick as a literary advice, which is why my books are probably more readable than their books, but I do not think it is something necessarily derogatory. Q. Now, I think, unless you want to add anything on the topic of Hitler's adjutants, the next section or the next part of this section is the question of Nazi anti-Semitism. What is said against you is that you tried to blame what was done during the Third Reich against Jews upon the Jews themselves. A. That is a gross oversimplification. I do not level that accusation at your Lordship, of course, but I think it would be a gross oversimplification to put my conclusions in that way. I have said on a number of occasions, for example, most recently to Daniel Goldhagen who wrote a book on Hitler and his executioners. If I was a Jew, I would be far more concerned, not by the question of who pulled the trigger, but why; and I do not think that has ever been properly investigated. Anti-Semitism is a recurring malaise in society. It recurs not just in Germany, not just in Europe, but it keeps on coming back. If I had enough spare time, one day I would like to sit . P-204 down and investigate just that, the root causes of it, but I do not have the qualifications and the training for it, my Lord, and I suppose nobody in this room probably does. One would have it have a great degree of independence, independence of mind and independence of means, but there must be some reason why anti-Semitism keeps on breaking out like some kind of epidemic. That is at the root of several of the books that I have recently written, probably most recently in Dr Goebbels' biography where we had the phenomenon of Dr Goebbels who, on the evidence of his own private letters in his earliest youth was the opposite of anti-Semitic. He actually ticked off his girlfriend for writing an anti-Semitic letter to him, saying that this kind of sentiment is very cheap and needless, and yet he later on becomes the worst and most criminal anti- Semite of all times. One can say facetiously, is it something in the water? But something must have caused him to change. I do not think it is irresponsible to ask that question, even if one cannot provide a full answer. Q. Can I just be clear what you are meaning when you say "something must have caused that change" -- something done by the Jews themselves? A. Something which I have not been able to establish and something which I am frightened of even investigating, and I do not really have to investigate because it would not . P-205 come within the purview of a biographer to start getting involved in sociological problems, I do not think. Q. Is it not an historical problem as well? A. It is an historical problem but for somebody else to investigate because I am in trouble as it is, my Lord, and I do not think that one would earn any great kudos for investigating that because, frankly, I do not have the qualifications to investigate it. I am not a sociologist. My findings would not be heeded anyway. So I would prefer to spend the time somewhere else that was put to better use. But I did what I could in the case of Dr Goebbels, as you will see, trying to develop why he became an anti-Semite. I think what is most offensive in my works is the apportionment of blame between Hitler and Goebbels which a lot people find offensive. They find it incredible, but I think that it is well-founded in my works. Q. Yes, well, I think perhaps we can move on, if you are ready to, to the ---- A. Extremism. Q. --- penultimate topic, I think, which is your alleged association with Neo Nazis and other right-wing extremists. A. My Lord, I would make a general comment here, and I think it was in this very building only a few weeks ago that . P-206 Moreland J said that there is no such crime in Britain as guilt by association and there never has been, and it would be very difficult to define and very difficult to pursue in any way. I suppose it can easily be said (and I am making no great concession here) if I say that probably everybody in this courtroom has acquaintances who they shudder when they ring the door bell. When you hold a cocktail party, you say you hope that Smith does not come or whoever it is but, on the other hand, he is an agreeable person to have around. This does not mean to say that you share all of Smith's opinions. Sometimes when the allegation is made, as it is made, I am rather shocked to say, in some of the expert statement, the expert reports, that it is not Smith that I am being accused of being associated with, but somebody who is associated with Smith, then it is beginning to become rather like that musical song about "I danced with a man who danced with a girl who danced with the Prince of Wales". How far down the line does this buck stop? Does it mean that everybody who is in this room is in some way polluted by being in the same room as I am? It is ridiculous. Which way does this particular flow of odium run? I think it is a very loose kind of argument when people say, "Look who he is in the same room with" or . P-207 "Look who comes to hear him speak" which is what a lot of the allegations appear to be. It is name calling. It is a waste of the court's time, and I shall answer the questions, my Lord, but it is very difficult to come to grips with it. These people are extremists by definition of these expert witnesses. I do not think there is any satisfactory definition of "extremist". In my book, an extremist is somebody who plants bombs under motor cars, somebody who plots the overthrow of governments, somebody who goes around with a gun in his pocket, somebody who holds views which are extreme, this is a very subjective concept. It depends on which viewpoint you view those views from. Am I making sense, my Lord? Q. Yes, I understand what you are saying and, indeed, it may well be that this does not turn out to be one of the most important issues in the case. A. My Lord, I have not chosen this. This is ---- Q. No, I appreciate that. No, that is not said in a way critical of you at all. But, having said that, one needs to break it down a little bit. I mean, do you accept that you have found yourself on the same platform or at the same meeting as a number of people who could be legitimately categorized as extreme right-wing fanatics? A. It is the subsidiary clause there who could be legitimate . P-208 categorized, and you have even put it into the passive voice which puts one further removed -- we do not know who is doing the categorising. Q. So you are saying that the people who you found yourself alongside are not, in truth, right-wing extremists or fanatics? A. I do not regard them as extremists, by my definition of the word "extremist". I am prepared to believe there are people at the other extreme who would regard them as extreme from their viewpoint because they hold views that are extremely or diametrically opposed to their own. But this is a free society. They are not extremist in the degree that they do not go around espousing violence or practising violence or advocating overthrow of governments. They are people who just hold views with which I am not necessarily associated. As your Lordship will have seen from the correspondence, I frequently had very marked altercations with these people, saying, in effect, "You may be a frightfully nice person privately and you have got a good tennis serve but, on the other hand, your views on the Holocaust are wrong". Q. So would you say that there is not anyone who you feel, in hindsight, you should not have associated with?
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