Archive/File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day002.16 Last-Modified: 2000/07/20 A. I deny -- I use that word, it might be more proper to use the word "contest" or "question", but certainly for your purposes I will use the word "deny", that it was possible to liquidate millions of people in the gas chambers that had been presented us by historians so far. Q. I follow that. Are you retreating from your earlier answer that your use of the words "factories", plural, "of death" was confined to Birkenhau? A. What, in this particular speech? Q. Yes. A. Do you wish me to read the speech so that I can answer that question? Q. No, no. I would rather you gave me an answer now; if you want to change it tomorrow, by all means do so. That is perfectly legitimate? A. No, unless the Judge so orders, I think it would be improper for me to answer from memory about the content of a speech I made nine years ago. MR JUSTICE GRAY: I think that is probably a fair point. It does mean that time is going to have to be taken up with . P-237 it, and I am concerned we do not spend too long on it, but glance through. I do not think it will take that long? A. I am anxious to be responsive, my Lord, but I do not want to ---- Q. No, I think that is fair, as I already said. Just glance through and see whether you can get any help one way or the other from the rest of it. A. Whereabouts was it? MR RAMPTON: It is on page 2, tab 11. A. My Lord, with respect, I do not see why I should be required to amplify a statement that I made nine years ago in any respect whatsoever or I should be required to add geographical locations on which I did not specify at the time. MR JUSTICE GRAY: You were not, with respect, being asked that. When you use that phrase "factories of death" - --- A. Well, I can certainly be helpful here and say that I think I am prepared to deny the possibility that the Nazis liquidated millions of people in gas chambers at any of their locations during the Third Reich. MR RAMPTON: That is very helpful. A. But do not then start just taking elements of that sentence saying, "Oh, but you said this, the gas chambers" or "You said the millions" or "You said anywhere". The whole sentence in its totality is correct, and that is what I am testifying to. . P-238 Q. Do you accept that the Nazis killed, by one means or another, and I am not talking about hard labour or exposing people to typhus, shot, murdered, gassed, kicked to death millions of Jews during World War II or not? A. Yes. Q. You do? A. Yes, whether it was of the order of millions or not, I would hesitate to specify, but I would say it was certainly more than one million, certainly less than four million. But that is not a very useful answer to you, the limitation I put on that. I do not want you to say, "You said millions, therefore, it is more than two million", for example. I do not want you to ... Q. So tell me what it was then that was the Holocaust that you removed from the 1991 edition and announced to the world that you had done so? A. The word "Holocaust" has gone. Q. Yes, but why? A. Because I find the word "Holocaust" misleading, offensive and unhelpful. Q. Why? A. For precisely the reasons that I said 10 minutes ago, that it is too vague, it is imprecise, it is unscientific and it should be avoided like the plague, because the word "Holocaust" could be understood to mean one thing when somebody is referring to it meaning something else. I try . P-239 to avoid words like that. I shall be calling -- I shall be asking one of my experts on precisely this matter who is an expert on the use of the word "Holocaust". He also takes the strongest exception to it. Q. So you removed it because you found it imprecise for one reason? A. Yes, as a part of the general tidying up process -- when you take a book after 10 years and you revise it and you work over it with a red pencil, you do a lot of tidying up and tightening up, and we did that with the new edition. We cut a lot of material out anyway because the book was the one-third too long and we wanted to bring a new material that we had obtained, the diaries of Hitler's doctor and Goring, and so on. So there was a lot of editorial work that went on. Q. I want to take it slowly because it may be important in the end. You removed it because it was imprecise, but you accept, you now tell me, that the Germans deliberately murdered perhaps something between one and two million Jews during the course of the War. A. A criminally large number of Jews, yes. Q. Where, in your opinion, did this happen, broadly speaking? A. Well, we could take it sector by sector, but I am not sure if it is a meaningful exercise. If I am a Jew and I take it from Amsterdam and I am living a peaceful life and I . P-240 find myself thrown into a stinking concentration camp where I die of disease, I considered myself to have been murdered. Q. I excluded them, as you know perfectly well. I talked about shooting, gassing, hanging, kicking, what you like, but I excluded the people who died of disease or overwork or starvation. A. Very well. On the Eastern front, particularly in the Baltic States, particularly in the Ukraine, I would estimate that up to one million Jews were murdered, using that word in a way that is completely incontrovertible. They were stood on the edge of pits and shot into the pits, clubbed to death. Q. Just so that we get it straight: in the second edition of "Hitler's War" -- start at the beginning. In the first edition you accepted that Auschwitz was an extermination centre, did you not? A. Yes, a lazy acceptance which I now regret. Q. That is as may be. By the time of the second edition you had recanted that acceptance, had you not? A. That Auschwitz was an extermination centre, a dedicated extermination centre. Q. Yes. A. Yes. Q. You said, for example, I am paraphrasing, perhaps you will accept it, that the Hungarian Jews were sent to Auschwitz . P-241 for slave labour? A. Yes. Q. Instead of purposefully to be killed? A. Definitely. Q. What do you say went on -- perhaps I will ask you this first. Do you accept that there were camps, and we will take them one by one, Chelmo? A. Yes. Q. Belzec? A. Belzec I am not certain of. Q. Treblinka? A. Treblinka I am becoming uncertain about. Q. Sobibor? A. Sobibor I know nothing of. Q. Chelmo you accept? A. Yes. Q. The other two, second two you are uncertain about? A. Yes. Q. What happened at Chelmo? A. In 1940 they established a killing centre. It was in a handy part of Europe. Hitler had ordered liquidation in the Polish campaign and afterwards the liquidation of all the Polish intellectuals and clergy and intelligentsia and the Jews who were liable to occupy leading positions, and a lot of them found themselves shipped off to Chelmo where they were dispatched. . P-242 MR JUSTICE GRAY: But not by gas? A. Not to the best of my knowledge, my Lord, no, but I say this, and I hesitate to say this, as a non-expert on the Holocaust, this book was not written as a history of the Holocaust. This was book was written as a biography of Hitler and it would have been neither here nor there how his victims were disposed of. MR RAMPTON: Let us take the other three camps together. You would not accept that they were purpose built extermination centres either? A. Not on the basis of the evidence I have seen so far. Q. It follows, does it not, that you do not accept that people who were killed there were killed by the use of purpose designed gas chambers? A. At which camps are you talking about, Treblinka? Q. To the three East Polish ones. A. There is a lot of debate each way which, in my mind, is unresolved and I have no particular interest in resolving it because, I repeat for the nth time, I am not a Holocaust scholar, and taking the Treblinka Miediner camp you have the problem there that they cannot make up their mind what kind of gas was used to kill the victims, was it Zyklone, was it diesel engine exhaust fumes, was it petrol engine exhaust fumes, when that kind of uncertainty occurs in the testimony, frankly I tend to turn my back on the entire story and write something that is safe rather than . P-243 something that is liable to dispute. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Mr Rampton, can I ask this question. I thought, Mr Irving, when you were giving your evidence-in-chief, I think it was in response to a question from, you said you accepted that gassing had occurred? A. Yes. Q. But to the limited sent that it had been carried out on an experimental basis. A. By experimental ---- Q. Let me finish the question. I had understood that to be a reference to the gas vans being brought after the termination of euthanasia programme. Am I wrong? Is it wider than that? A. By "experimental" I do not mean that men stood around in white coats with clip boards and stopwatches. It as just local SS commanders who had been given the job of disposing of these people and were looking for other ways of doing it. Certainly the gas vans were used, because in Adolf Eichmann's papers which I obtained in Argentina he describes having witnessed one such killing, and there are documents which satisfy me, which may be of great disinterest to the Defendants but they satisfy me that they are authentic that such killing trucks did exist, unless there are enormous coincidences in the use of language and words. The gas chambers story is . P-244 sufficiently difficult to analyse, because on the one hand you have apparently consistent testimony of people who should have known, like the commandants and their deputies, testifying to the fact that these killings were carried out in gas chambers, and on the other hand you have the logistical and agricultural impossibilities which cannot be overlooked. I am sure that we will hear a lot more about them later on in the trial. MR RAMPTON: Yes, perhaps. Then let us return finally to page 2 of tab 11 of this file. I hope you still have it open, have you? A. Page 2, tab 11, yes. Q. Yes. In the second paragraph timed at 12.13 the last sentence reads: "If something didn't happen then you don't even dignify it with a footnote". The "it" you are referring to there is the Holocaust whatever that may mean. Is that right? A. Well, it is the gas chamber Holocaust. Q. Yes. I am not trying to be unfair, but according to the internal syntax of that statement the "it" is the Holocaust, is it not? A. It is the gas chamber Holocaust and I am sure his Lordship is well aware of the fact this is a speech delivered under very strained circumstances without a script. So one does not put every word on the gold balance, as the Germans . P-245 say. The mere fact it means the gas chamber Holocaust is evident from the fact that if you look at the book I am talking about, Hitler's War, there is any amount of reference to the rest of the Holocaust story, namely the shootings on the Eastern Front which are accepted in full degree. Q. I said I was not trying to be unfair. I wanted to take it in stages. A. You are being very fair and you are being very patient with me, but I have to be very careful with my responses.
Site Map ·
What's New? ·
Home · Site Map · What's New? · Search Nizkor