Archive/File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day005.15 Last-Modified: 2000/08/01 Q. That means we will have to look at some of the documents. I had hoped to avoid that. . P-130 MR JUSTICE GRAY: But so that we are clear what the issue actually really is that we are trying to resolve, it is not so much the numbers -- I think you said you do not like playing the numbers game -- it is whether it was systematic in the sense of having been organized from Berlin and, perhaps, a higher level of Hitler? A. Well, in view of the fact that the court proposes to attach significance to the word "systematic", I shall have to resist the suggestion that what happened in those camps was systematic, and I am sure that Mr Rampton is aware that on occasion even the SS headquarters sent out travelling judges who established that unauthorised killings had been going on and, in fact, on one or two occasions the camp commandants were hanged before their prisoners. Q. You are quite right to pick up the word "systematic". We have been using it, I think, Mr Rampton, have we not, to mean policy and policy adopted, laid down at a high level? MR RAMPTON: Yes, I do and I draw the -- inference is too weak a word -- conclusions about system from both ends of the documentation. MR JUSTICE GRAY: But that is the issue. We need not bother about numbers, it seems to me, in the light of what Mr Irving has said. MR RAMPTON: Nor, I guess, about "deliberate" either? A. Deliberate? . P-131 Q. "Deliberate killing"? A. Have we had an argument about "deliberate" yet? Q. Murder? A. You would need to then specify who is deliberating. MR JUSTICE GRAY: That is a ... MR RAMPTON: Intentional killing. MR JUSTICE GRAY: By whoever it was, the killing was not -- -- A. It certainly was not accidental. MR JUSTICE GRAY: --- not accidental. MR RAMPTON: But the people who did it were criminals who were acting in a random, haphazard way; is that right? A. Yes. At whatever level. I mean, you could equally well say that the middle level SS officers, the SS officials, who were acting in a random and haphazard way. MR RAMPTON: My Lord, the reference to this document which, if Mr Irving does not trust me, he should have is file D8(i), page 222. MR JUSTICE GRAY: That is what you have just read out. MR RAMPTON: Yes, but I am going to read another bit, an earlier bit? A. Which document is that, the Hofle document? Q. It is your letter to Zitelmann. A. Zitelmann, I am familiar with that. I was looking at it a few days ago. Q. OK. Well then it is not necessary. A. May I just pause at that point and say, my Lord, you . P-132 remember that I said that I sent the Bruns' document to a very large number of historians. That is exactly the way I would work. I would send documents like that and later on the Aumeir document as well. Q. I am going to read the paragraph above the one I just read? MR JUSTICE GRAY: Whereabouts in 8(ii)? MR RAMPTON: I am sorry, 8(i), my Lord, 222. Am I waiting for something, Mr Irving? A. I am ready, yes. Q. The third paragraph of the letter reads as follows. This is May 21, 1989, so it may be your views have changed since then, I know not. "On the... (reading to the words)... my own view has crystallized a lot since 1975 when I delivered Hitler's War to the publishers. It is clear to me that no serious historian can now believe that Auschwitz", which is for some reason underlined? A. It is a link, it is a hyperlink. Q. I follow you, yes. "... Treblinka, Mydonek, were totas fabriken"? A. "Factories of death". Q. Factories of death, precisely. "All the expert and scientific (forensic) evidence is to the contrary." We are going to have an argument about Auschwitz. We can agree that Auschwitz did not start out as a totas fabrike, or whatever the singular is. Mydonek, I can agree, was . P-133 only partly used for that purpose, but you have just agreed with me that, so far as you know, Treblinka did not serve any other purpose or am I wrong? A. I did not say that. Q. Right. What purpose did it serve? A. You asked if it was true that large numbers of people and you said hundreds of thousands ---- Q. I said hundreds of thousands. A. --- were killed at these places to which I agreed that they were killed at those places, which included Treblinka, but this does not mean to say that Treblinka was a factory of death existing solely for that purpose. Q. I see. Something special about the word "factory of death", is there? A. Well, it is. It is a quantum leap, if I can put it like that. Q. What does it mean? A. A factory of death is a purpose built ad hoc establishment for killing the people who arrive. That is the way I understand -- maybe I am wrong. Maybe you interpret it somewhat differently. Q. No, it is your word. It is not my word. A. Because I just pointed out the 60,000 Warsaw Jews who arrived there from the Warsaw Ghetto in May 1943 were then sent from Treblinka to Mydonek. So, clearly, it was not a factory of death. It had other purposes too. . P-134 Q. Well, a transit camp for some small number of people? A. Yes. Q. Later on, shortly after which I believe it was closed down, was it not? A. That I do not know. Q. That is, no doubt, why they were moved on to Mydonek, is it not? It was the nearest place. A. I do not know. I do not know if you have any evidence for that. Q. We have a map. A. I am not talking about the proximity. I am talking about the ---- Q. Do not worry about it. MR JUSTICE GRAY: We need not trouble with Mydonek, need we? MR RAMPTON: Well, it was a place at which large numbers of Jews were killed. There was a gas chamber there -- this is our evidence -- which has been reconstructed since the war, but it was also ---- A. In other words, faked since the war. Q. It was also in some sense a work camp? MR JUSTICE GRAY: It is not a pleading point, but I think it is not one of the camps that you actually specifically rely on. MR RAMPTON: No, it is not. This is just for information. It was liberated, I think, in late '44. THE WITNESS: September 1944. . P-135 MR JUSTICE GRAY: It was the first to be liberated, was it not? MR RAMPTON: Yes, it was, by the Russians. This is, as I say, what the experts will tell your Lordship, I think. It was such a shock in Berlin that everything was stopped. A. The Russians, of course, captured the entire camp records. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes. MR RAMPTON: Yes. Well, then, Mr Irving, you have accepted that an awful lot of people were killed in these little places on the borders. You do not know one way or the other whether there were any remains there, do you? A. Were there any? Q. Remains there of buildings? A. I have not been to see it. Q. You have not? A. I think that there is relatively little. You can go to these places and search in vain for any kind of foundations or anything. I am sure there were buildings of some kind there, but I think the Polish people descended on them like locusts after the war looking for anything they could reuse. Q. You have not been there. Have you read about whether there are remains of factories or large barbed wire encampments with huts for workers and that kind of thing? A. What, still there or whether they were there? Q. No, still there. Have you been to Auschwitz? A. No. . P-136 Q. Have you seen photographs of Auschwitz? A. Yes. Q. Now, that has a lot of remains, has it not, comparatively speaking? A. Quite a high percentage of remains still left there. Q. Even in that part which is alleged to have been the -- -- A. Are we talking about Auschwitz or Birkenhau? Q. Well, I call the whole thing in the usual way Auschwitz, but let us talk about ---- A. Let us be more precise. Q. --- have you been to Birkenhau? A. I have not been to either camp. Q. Have you seen photographs of Birkenhau? A. Yes. Q. There are in Birkenhau quite lot of ruins and huts and bits and pieces, are there not? A. Yes. Q. And the remains of the IG Faven(?) factory are still there, are they not, outside the camp? A. At Monovitz, yes. Q. Yes, Monovitz. Is there anything like that, so far as you know, at Treblinka, Sobibor or Belzec? A. I am not informed one way or the other on that. Q. The short point is this, Mr Irving, you have no evidence to contradict the probability that these camps, these three, I call them Reinhard camps (and I do not want to . P-137 have an argument about that) were purpose-built extermination facilities? A. I have no evidence to contradict the probability. It is a very fair statement. Q. Is that right? A. It is a very fair statement, yes. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Does that mean that you do now resile from the view you expressed in your letter? A. No, my Lord. I am just confirming the way he put the statement. I have no evidence to contradict his statement because I have no evidence, period. MR RAMPTON: Then will you accept it is a probability then? A. No. That is a different thing entirely. I do not want to sound as though I am a bit of an eel on this but... Q. My word entirely, Mr Irving! A. I do not want to sound slippery; I just do not want to be nailed down in one corner where later on you will hold it up dripping and slithering next day and say, "Look what you said yesterday". MR JUSTICE GRAY: But, you see, you said to Dr Zitelmann that it was clear to you that no serious historian can now believe that Treblinka and some other camps were "totas fabriken". A. Quite. They were purpose-built factories of death; in other words, had no other purpose than that. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Oh, I see. . P-138 MR RAMPTON: But you told me -- I am sorry about this; this is getting a bit like a fourth form debating society, I fear -- a moment ago you said to me that you had no evidence to contradict the probability that these were purpose-built extermination facilities. A. Yes, because I have no evidence, period. Q. No, but you write in this letter: "All the experts in scientific forensic evidence is to the contrary"? A. Yes. Q. So what is that scientific and forensic evidence and expert evidence to the contrary? A. Do you wish now already to get into the cyanide tests and that kind of thing? Q. No, I am talking about Treblinka. A. Yes. Q. What is the expert and scientific (forensic) evidence that contradicts the probability that Treblinka was a purpose-built extermination facility? A. Well, I am now looking at a letter which I wrote 11 years ago. I would have to try to put myself back into the mindset at that time when I wrote that letter, and try to recall the actual documents I had been pouring over and the air photographs and the interrogation reports and things like that, if I was to explain why I wrote that particular sentence. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Were you extrapolating from Auschwitz? . P-139 A. I was extrapolating backwards from Auschwitz, if I can put it like that, but certainly tests were also carried out equally on at least one of those other two locations, the same kind of forensic tests. We also had material of the kind I mentioned, like air photos and prisoner of war reports and things like that, but it is not the kind of evidence that puts me in a position to say, "I can, therefore, challenge the probability or whatever it was that Mr Rampton was saying". MR RAMPTON: But how could you extrapolate from Auschwitz, Mr Irving? It has never been proposed by anybody, so far as I know, that the Nazis used hydrogen cyanide anywhere outside Auschwitz to kill people with, has it? A. Well, exactly. This is what I find so puzzling. We were told that this is part of system by learned counsel and yet, apparently, they used cyanide here, petrol gas there, diesel fumes there, bullets in yet another place, bulldozers, hangings, shootings -- it appears to have been a totally ramshackle and haphazard operation. A total lack of system.
Site Map ·
What's New? ·
Home · Site Map · What's New? · Search Nizkor