The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day006.06

Archive/File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day006.06
Last-Modified: 2000/08/02

   Q.   Yes.

.          P-46

   A.   So far as we were able to after the press had been
        barricaded out by organizations outside my front door.
   Q.   Can I read what you are reported as having said?  You had
        two things to do, the first to confirm that you did say it
        because I do not want to put words into your mouth, and
        then second answer a question from me in consequence if
        you say yes.
                  "Mr Irving is asked whether he denies that Nazis
        killed a large number of Jews by unnatural methods
        including gassing.  Answer: That is a very good question,
        because obviously we have at the back of our minds
        certainly episodes involving gas trucks in Chelmno and
        things like that.  I have not investigated."  Then you say
        this : "I am prepared to accept that local Nazis tried
        bizarre methods of liquidating Jews.  I am quite prepared
        to accept that, and that they may have experimented using
        gas trucks, because I have seen one or two documents in
        the archives implying that there was a roll over from the
        use of those methods of killing, the same people who
        created the euthanasia programme and they may have tried
        to (something unintelligible) of killing Jews but it is a
        very inefficient way of killing people.  The Germans
        themselves had discovered this and there are much easier
        ways of killing people".
                  Now, Mr Irving, that has all your great
        authority as an historian on an important occasion for you

.          P-47

        behind it, does it not?
   A.   It does indeed, and I think that is a very fair summary of
        the state of my knowledge at that time.  Killing people in
        gas wagons is an extremely inefficient way of doing it.
        You will have seen from the documents they had with the
        trucks, they broke their axles, the gas pipe broke.
   Q.   Sure, but I want you just to look quickly, please ----
   A.   Also, they had the nasty mess to clear up afterwards.
   Q.   That is all in Professor Browning's report in fact at page
   A.   What I said in that part of what you read out is
   Q.   It is not, because you did not give the impression, you
        made it clear that these were local bizarre experiments
        and, by implication, on a very small scale.
   A.   Well, I think the small scale is something that had to be
        proven. I have been proven wrong on that.
   Q.   What about the one I read you just now?  You said a very
        limited number.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  No, I think you are at cross purposes.
        I think what Mr Irving is saying is that, if you are
        suggesting it was on more than a limited basis at Sobibor
        and the others, then you must prove it, or at any rate
        present the evidence for it. Is that what you meant, Mr
   A.   My Lord, yes.  If are talking about six or eight

.          P-48

        then that, to my mind, is a limited scale.
   MR RAMPTON:  May I just deal with that because that was my
        question.  Will you please turn to page 38 of
        Browning's report?  Since you do not trust his
        translation, you better also have ----
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Shall we try on Professor Browning
        We may save the labour of going through ----
   MR RAMPTON:  I quite agree.  This is under the heading
        my Lord.  I am going to read both these paragraphs.
                  "Beginning in December 1941, Jews from the
        ghetto and other towns in the Warthegau were deported
        the small village of Chelmno.  On May 1 1942" -- my
        we have seen this letter already --"Arthur Greiser
        to Himmler: 'The special treatment [sonderbehandlung]
        some 100,000 Jews in my territory in an action
approved by
        you in agreement with the Chief of the Reich Security
        Office SS-Obergruppenfuhrer Heydrich will be completed
        the next two to three months."
                  Next paragraph, this is Professor
        completion of this task was not without incident,
        as can be seen in a report in the motor pool section
        the RSHA of June 5, 1942, concerning technical
        in the production of the'special trucks.'".
                  I, not for reasons of taste but because it
        not presently relevant, am not going to read what the
        troubles were with the gas trucks, but I am going to

.          P-49

        the next indented paragraph.
                   "Since December 1941, for example, 97,000
        processed by three trucks in action, without any
        in the vehicles being encountered".
   A.   Shall we go straight to the bottom line and say yes,
        I fully accept the innuendo you are placing on that
   Q.   Innuendo?
   A.   It is not stated clearly, but quite clearly 97,000
        have been liquidated in these trucks.
   Q.   In three trucks?
   A.   Over the months concerned.
   Q.   No, it is actually just about a month and a week.
        people in three trucks in the course of five weeks?
   A.   It is a very substantial achievement when you work it
        with a pocket calculator ----
   Q.   Clever SS!
   A.   -- at 20 people per time, and they drove 20 kilometres
        into the countryside.  I have read all the reports on
   Q.   Not if they are doing them in situ.
   A.   No. They drove them out into the country and did it
        that is where the axle broke.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Is it very limited and experimental?
   A.   My Lord, I did not have this document at the time I
        that.  I had this document five or six months ago.

.          P-50

   Q.   Answer the question even so. Would you describe it as
        limited and experimental?
   A.   Not on this scale.  This is systematic.
   MR RAMPTON:  It is systematic, huge scale, using gas trucks
        murder Jews?
   A.   Yes.  No question at all.  Can I refer you back to the
        letter where it says Greiser writing to Himmler of the
        special treatment "approved by you in agreement with
        Heydrich"?  Again, there is no reference to Hitler, I
   Q.   Yes.  We are not going to have that argument at the
   A.   It is not unimportant, Mr Rampton.  Surely, if Hitler
        given the order, they would all willingly have said,
        the instructions of the Fuhrer, we are carrying out
        beloved Fuhrer instructions", but that is not in the
   Q.   Mr Irving, if you bother to read yesterday's
        you will know precisely what I say about this.  I
spelt it
        out at his Lordship's request, and there it is for you
        anybody else who wants to see it in black and white.
   A.   My comment was about three lines and your response is
        about ten.  I think my comment is more valuable.
   Q.   No doubt you do, Mr Irving, or we should not be here.
   A.   You have failed to establish the link upwards to
   Q.   So you keep asserting.  I beg to differ, but I am not

.          P-51

        going develop that until the end of this case.
                  Now, Mr Irving, page 36 please.  Again, my
        I do this for completeness because on page 36 of
        Browning we move southwards to Yugoslavia, and again
        I have the document if anybody wants to see it.  In
        instance I will ask Mr Irving to glance at it in a
        for one particular reason.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Is it worth a general question first of
        as to whether what is now accepted as having happened
        Chelmno, broadly speaking, was happening at Treblinka
   MR RAMPTON:  Yes. There are two particular reasons to refer
        the document.  Have you read these two paragraphs?
   A.   The Yugoslavia one?
   Q.   Yes.
   A.   Yes, I read it and there is no question at all that
   Q.   Do you accept therefore that they shot all the Jewish
        first and then, sometime after in spring of 1942, they
        gassed all the women and children, using a gas truck?
   A.   That is the interpretation to derive from these
   Q.   Now could I please ask you to look -- in fact this is
        name of this document, though it is referred to by
        Professor Browning.  It is H1 (xv).  You will not have

.          P-52

   A.   What is the document?
   Q.   It is a letter from Harold Turner to Wolf.
   A.   I know this document.
   Q.   I have given him a German pronounciation.  Perhaps he
        an Englishman?
   A.   Again, I do not think we are going to have any dispute
        with this letter.
   Q.   You may not do, but there are two questions which, at
        rate, if you already know the answers, I want his
        to hear.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Is there a copy for me because it is one
        the files I do not have here.
   MR RAMPTON:  It is page 849.  I do not know if I mentioned
        this, my Lord? What Miss Rogers and I are going to do
        try and put together a bundle of core documents.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I wondered about that.
   MR RAMPTON:  By reference to the transcripts.  Whether we
        do it at the end of this week, I do not know, but we
        try.  By reference to the transcript we can see which
        are likely to be important. Your Lordship mentioned
        this morning already.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Yes.  Thank you.
   MR RAMPTON:  This is a three-page document from somebody
        Stadtrat Dr Turner.  What does Stadtrat mean?
   A.   It is the equivalent of a Privy Counsellor.
   Q.   OK.  He is in Belgrade, is that right?

.          P-53

   A.   In Serbia, yes.
   Q.   In Serbia, and he is writing to Karl Wolf, who is
        Himmler's Adjutant and liaison officer with Hitler.
        that right?
   A.   He is writing to Karl Wolf, who is Himmler's Adjutant.
   Q.   I thought you agreed with me yesterday that there was
        time when I do not know how long a time or what the
        were, when Wolf was a liaison officer.
   A.   Wolf was liaison officer to Hitler from August 26th
        Whether he was still at this time or not, I do not
        There was a matrimonial problem.
   Q.   It is obviously going to be important that we find
        out.  I am sorry, I have been given some history.
   A.   He was out of favour with Hitler.
   Q.   We will deal with this later?
   A.   I thought you probably would.
   Q.   It is too complicated to for me to pick up at this
        Can you just look at the first page of this letter?  I
        sorry, somebody has written something on the top.  I
        not think that is probably the original.  Do you?
   A.   No.
   Q.   I think that is a later edition. But I am interested
        what looks like pencil, rather bad pencil, capital
        A R, with two underlines.  Do you see that?
   A.   Yes.  It is interesting, is it not?
   Q.   Do you think it possible that somebody in Berlin put

.          P-54

        on, possible only, and put it into the Aktion
   A.   Can I reserve judgment on that until tomorrow?  I will
        look at my copy.  I have a copy of the original.  We
        see then if it was he person who did the handwriting
        the top or on the original but let us assume for the
        moment that it is on the original for your purposes.
   Q.   Yes.  Assume it is an original.
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   Do you think that is possible?
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   You will correct me because you probably have a much
        better copy than I have, but am I wrong in thinking
        there is no security classification on this document?
   A.   Except on the rubber stamp.  You can also make out the
        to which I drew attention yesterday on the July 1942
   Q.   That just means action Reinhardt.
   A.   Yes.  I think that is a reasonable interpretation.  I
        not think anyone else has spotted that, apart from you
        me, Mr Rampton.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  What, the absence of a security?
   A.   No.  It is he initials A R.  They appear to have
        established a separate file for A R, Aktion Reinhardt.
   MR RAMPTON:  Stadtrat Dr Turner is writing to Wolf?
   A.   Yes.

.          P-55

   Q.   It is probably not Dr Turner's reference, is it?
   A.   Excuse me.  There is a security classification on it.
   Q.   Where?
   A.   Next to the handwritten 2, where it says 1, 2, 3.
   Q.   No, that says Chief Hatkentness (?)
   A.   I am sorry, I thought it might be chef -- right, carry

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