Archive/File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day011.16 Last-Modified: 2000/07/20 MR IRVING: I will not press the matter further, my Lord. On that issue I will abandon (and I am sure the Defence will be grateful) the question of the holes in the roof which are central to my case. MR JUSTICE GRAY: How do you mean, you are going to abandon them? MR IRVING: I will abandon the discussion on the holes in the roof point, my Lord. MR JUSTICE GRAY: I see. Bring it to an end. MR RAMPTON: Can I understand what Mr Irving means when he says the holes in the roof were central to his case? I ask the question rhetorically, what case? This is a case about Mr Irving's state of mind at the time when he made certain utterances s. If the roofs are a new feature of the case in the last five or 10 days, they have really got very little to do with the case which your Lordship is trying . P-138 which is not the question, were these gas chambers? MR IRVING: So suddenly once again the Defence is shifting its ground and suddenly what actually happened is of less moment. MR JUSTICE GRAY: No, I think you are not doing justice to the point Mr Rampton is making. He is really making what is, I suppose, in a way an historical point. The case against you is that, historically, you have not approached the issue of the gas chambers in an honest, conscientious way as an historian. That is either right or wrong, looking at the history, but this holes in the roof point seems to have cropped up terribly recently and, although I might be entitled to draw inferences perhaps ---- MR IRVING: My Lord, it has not cropped up recently. MR JUSTICE GRAY: --- about your approach from the way you are dealing with it, Mr Rampton is right, is he not? MR IRVING: My Lord, the Defence has been aware of this particular difficulty, shall I put it, with this story for many, many years ---- MR JUSTICE GRAY: But if you were not ---- MR IRVING: --- that there were no holes in that roof. MR JUSTICE GRAY: If you were not, it cannot have coloured your thinking. MR IRVING: I have long been familiar with this particular argument, my Lord. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Oh, have you? . P-139 MR IRVING: The fact that I only raised it five or six days into the case during the cross-examination of this witness does not mean to say that I did not have a reason for delaying it. It is plain that I have been aware of this holes in the roof problem for a very long time. If I can just summarize in two lines what my position was and always has been? I have never argued that there were probably gassings at Auschwitz -- I have never disputed that, rather, that there were probably gassings on some scale or other, probably a limited scale at Auschwitz. What ---- MR JUSTICE GRAY: A limited experimental basis, I think. MR IRVING: Well, I hesitate to use those words. I was going to concede to the second part of the sentence which is to say that what I have disputed is that there were factories of death, that it was a factory of death and that we heard at the beginning of this witness's evidence that, in his view, most of the killing -- today he said half the killing which was a reduction -- 500,000 people in this one room; and my contention would be that if I can knock holes in that, then I do not really have to look at the rest of the allegations because I have never disputed the rest, my Lord, although we will very briefly look at Auschwitz 1 this afternoon before I cease this cross-examination. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Just so that again I am clear because my . P-140 recollection is that you said something a little bit different maybe earlier on, you accept that there were gassings of humans ---- MR IRVING: Yes. MR JUSTICE GRAY: --- at Auschwitz ---- MR IRVING: Yes. MR JUSTICE GRAY: --- on a limited basis and not involving gas vans or anything of that kind? MR IRVING: Not involving gas vans, no, my Lord. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Right. That is clear. Thank you very much. MR IRVING: I do not think that it can be said that I have disputed that within any material time that is material to this action, but what I have most strenuously disputed is the notion that Auschwitz was a factory of death which we have narrowed down, as far as I am concerned, to this one building because this witness, as the outstanding expert on Auschwitz and the Holocaust, has said that most of it happened in this one building, 500,000 people. This is the Holiest of Holy sites. This is the geocentre of the atlas of the atrocities. MR JUSTICE GRAY: That is all a bit of an incursion into the cross-examination. It has not done any harm, I think, but ---- MR IRVING: Well, we have Mr Rampton to thank for that disloquy on my part. MR JUSTICE GRAY: No, no, I am not blaming anybody. I think it . P-141 is quite helpful to have had it, but I think, perhaps, we ought to resume with Professor van Pelt. MR IRVING: Now we continue very briefly with a few remaining matters. To what degree have you relied on the Soviet Commission Report, the USSR 008? A. For my book or for my expert report? Q. For your expert report. A. In my expert report, I have just given the Soviet Report as an instance again of the emergence of knowledge about Auschwitz. So it is ---- MR IRVING: My Lord, it is on page 162 of the expert report of this witness onwards, beginning at page 162. A. So it is for me not so important as a basis for my own investigations to come to a conclusion about the use and design and transformation of crematorium (ii) to (v). Q. My Lord, you will have observed I am not attacking the integrity of all his eyewitnesses and all his sources because that would take us from here until next Christmas. I am just picking on certain elements. This is one of the reports. Is it not true ---- MR JUSTICE GRAY: I think, if I may say so, that is an entirely reasonable attitude to adopt. I think it would just prolong this case absurdly if we are going through every individual account. MR IRVING: That is also why I am not going to look at every single building, unless your Lordship would wish it . P-142 otherwise, on the basis of what I said previously about what my contention was. (To the witness): Is it not so that the Soviet Report is the source of the original 4 million figure? A. I think it is the first time, yes, that it is in an official report, yes. Q. Four million people gassed or killed at Auschwitz? A. Yes. Q. Which figure, of course, is inaccurate now, is no longer believed in? A. That you are right, yes. Q. I have only one other question on this particular report. Do you know the names of any of the signatures on the Soviet Report, any of the experts who signed it? A. I know that, I think that Dawidowski that was actually involved in, he was actually included at some time at the one, at the thing. I think the major signatory is that of the chief prosecutor of the, whatever, 2nd Ukrainian or Yellow Russian Army who actually commissioned report. Q. Are you familiar with the name Bordenko? A. No, I am not. Q. Nikolai? A. No, I am not. Q. As two of the signatures of that Report? A. It is in my file. The whole report is in my file, so I am happy to look at it, but... . P-143 Q. Will you accept it from me that these two people were also signatories of the Soviet investigation of Kateen, the Kateen forest massacre, which resulted in the execution of a number of German officers for their role in that atrocity? A. If you say so, I am perfectly happy to accept it. Q. Are you familiar with the name "Lysenko"? A. No, I am not. Q. As one of the signatures of the Soviet report, L-Y-S-E-N-K-O? A. I am not, no. Q. You are not, no. If I described him as being a biological charlatan or "quack" who has long since been disowned by his peers, would that surprise you? A. Since I only heard this name right now, it does not surprise me one way or another way. Q. When you read a report or a source of this importance, do you bother to consider who has written it or what their political motivations might be? A. I think we come back to the other Bimko argument. I have never used this report in order to write my history of Auschwitz. This report I have just mentioned as a bit of the history of our knowledge of Auschwitz was brought into the world. That is the purpose of ---- Q. About four pages of your report are based on the Soviet commissioning? . P-144 A. And because the Soviet Report made an impression at the time, but I also argue very clearly in the report that the important investigations which were done in 1945 were not done by the Soviets, but by the Poles. It was only after the publication of the Soviet Report that Jan Sehn really got working on this, interviewed the sonderkommandos and so on. So that if we want to look at -- and I spent an incredible amount of space, time and energy to actually reconstruct what the Poles did. I have given significant parts of that Dawidowski's argument in the Polish report. So, I mean, I am happy to answer further questions about a Soviet report, but, in general, I do not think that the Soviet Report is historiographically so important, except the fact that it was issued with the endorsement of the Soviet Embassy in Washington and London, and so on. Q. But do you not recognize a pattern developing here, Professor, that every time I bring up a source or an eyewitness and we, I will not say demolish that man's integrity or reliability, but we chip away at it, you say, "Well, he was not important either" and "he was not important either", and here is the entire Soviet Union Report and you saying, "That is not important either". There is a pattern developing here of a reckless attitude towards the use of sources. A. But I think that I have given this morning, I think, a quite clear presentation of the kind of sources I use and . P-145 the kind of approach I use to those sources. Q. Yes, that is the drawings we are talking at present about the eyewitnesses or about source material based on eyewitnesses which, effectively, the Soviet Report was. A. But the Soviet Report does not give any eyewitness testimony. It gives a certain amount of the declaration by a number of inmates in Auschwitz who make a declaration that this should never happen again, but there is no way any more to establish how the Soviet Report was done. As far as I know, no draft exists of it. We do not have the interrogations the Soviets did in February 1945 of the inmates they found when they liberated the camp. So that is one of the reasons that the Soviet Report for historian is only interested in so far as it allows us to reconstruct the historiography of our knowledge about Auschwitz after the war. MR JUSTICE GRAY: But the Soviets placed themselves, did they not, on, for example, Dragon and Tauber? A. I think Dragon at the last thing he came in, I think, he probably was one of the sources of the 4 million. Q. Yes, and Tauber also? A. But in the systematic investigation -- I think maybe Tauber, yes or no, I am not sure -- but the systematic investigation or the systematic examination of these people only took place later. In the Soviet Report itself, there is, I think, except maybe for the figure of . P-146 4 million which was maintained by the sonderkommando, there is no discussion of either Dragon or Tauber or their testimony. MR IRVING: But the Soviet Report talks about things like electrocutions, is that right? A. That is, I think -- I probably would have it... Q. Let us move on from there rather than waste the court's time. I just say, in general, how many survivors were there from Auschwitz or from Birkenhau -- from the entire complex at the end of war? A. May I consult my book? Q. Just in round figures. Are you talking about hundreds or thousands? A. No less than 10,000. So there were some ---- Q. 10,000 people had been within the barbed wired encampment of this site, yet it is always the same names who crop up as the sources, is it not? It is always Pery Broad, Philip Millar, Vurvah, Vetzler, Ada Bimko; it is always the same old gang who come forward and give the evidence. Nobody goes to the other, 10,000 do, they really? Why is this? A. I adjust the figure -- may I just correct my last statement? We are talking about 6,000, 1200 people in Auschwitz and 5,80 in Birkenhau.
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