Archive/File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day013.10 Last-Modified: 2000/07/20 Q. Yes. Tell us whether in that letter -- my only question this, I do not know, I have not read the whole letter -- you raise a doubt about the reliability of the number in the same way as you had two days earlier to the Editor of . P-84 whatever the paper was, The Telegraph. A. It is exactly the same. "This information is naturally sensational and coming as it does from the Deputy Local Chief Doctor, Dr Max Funfack, there could be no doubt as to the authenticity of the document". Q. Fair enough. I quite agree. What I asked was whether in this document Dr Struss, your German publisher, you raise any doubts about the reliability of the figures which is the key to this argument, Mr Irving. You need to read the whole of it. A. "I have just returned from a visit to Dresden and I have received from confidential sources the Police report of the Police Chief in Dresden on the four air raids". This is the Tagesbefehl 47, of course, not the final report. "This document gives the death roll known as of that date as 202,040. This information is naturally sensational and coming as it does from the Deputy Local Chief Doctor, Dr Max Funfack, there can be no doubt as to the authenticity of the document. This document has been mentioned in Eastern Germany, in other words, Communist Eastern Germany, but only with the comment that it is a Nazi propaganda lie, and extracts have been published from it. I accept this judgment on page 245 of our book". Q. Which judgment is that? A. Of the propaganda lie, presumably. Without checking the book, I cannot tell. . P-85 Q. Well, now ---- MR JUSTICE GRAY: "Urteil" means "judgment", does it? A. "Urteil" is "judgment", yes, or "verdict". Q. Can you just read the next rather long convoluted sentence? A. "As I have now seen the complete document with my own eyes, I do not doubt that it is genuine, and should there be a second edition of my Dresden book, this information should certainly be incorporated, possibly as an appendix, perhaps mentioned instead on pages 295 to 296 of the present appendix on these pages". Q. Including the number of dead? You do not say that, but that is what you mean, is it not? A. Well, reproducing the document and I believe I am right in saying that is what we actually did. We reproduced the document in toto as an appendix which is what one would do with a document that one wants to present to readers without necessarily forming a judgment on it. MR RAMPTON: You say that, Mr Irving. You see, what I am I am wondering is how it came about, as I shall shortly, I hope, show. A. I have to introduce the caveat, of course, you are asking me about things that lie 36 years back. Q. Of course. This is why contemporaneous documents are so valuable, Mr Irving. A. Indeed, and if you ask for my recollection of things, like . P-86 what I said at a meeting with a man in his front room... Q. I will show you the documents. A. Yes, it is better that we refer to the documents. Q. Why it was, Mr Irving, that with such rapidity between 26th November and onwards, from 26th November onwards, your lingering doubts, if indeed you had any, about the reliability of the numbers seems to have evaporated? A. Well, I do not think I have referred in this letter -- I may be mistaken -- to saying, I do not think I have said that the figure is genuine. I have said the document appears to be genuine, but I have doubts, as I make quite plain in the letter two days earlier to McLachlan, who is an intelligence chief himself, about the actual figure. So, clearly, one has to carry out further investigations. Q. Let us see what you said, roughly speaking, a week later ---- A. If I can just continue? Of course, clearly, it would have been improper for me to suppress the document in any way. Q. I am not suggesting you should have done, not for a moment. A. Yes. Q. It might have been an interesting document. It turned out to be ---- A. It turned out 20 or 30 years later to be totally fake, and interesting in as much as it was issued by the Goebbels propaganda ministry. . P-87 Q. Actually about 10 years later but that does not matter. A. As far as I am concerned, it was 20 or 30 years later. Q. Let us see how your attitude to this document, which I quite accept you did not know at the time was a fake, though you had expressed considerable doubts about the reliability of the figures up until now. 6th December 1964, you wrote to the Provost of Coventry. The only mistake in Miss Rogers' document is that she describes the Provost of Coventry as Mr Cunningham. That is, in fact, Mr Irving's telephone number, telephone exchange? MR JUSTICE GRAY: She is too young to have remembered that. MR RAMPTON: It was Cunningham 8426 for anybody that is interested. It was late at night, I know that. That is on page 40 of this document. This, I think ---- A. Can we look previously on December 1st, the letter where I am writing to the German Federal archives trying to make attempts to find out more about the people concerned and the authenticity of the document? Q. Again I have no translation of this which is why I have not referred to it. If it is important, please tell us what it says. A. "Dear Colonel Teska, during a recent visit to Dresden, I have received from an erstwhile officer in Dresden who during the war was the Local Chief Medic in Dresden, Dr Max Funfack a copy of the attached document. As you can see, it is supposed to be an order of the day issued . P-88 by the Dresden Police Chief in which for the first time the number of air raid dead is provisionally estimated at 202,040. Obviously, it is important for me to establish how genuine this document is, and I am trying to locate the officers who signed this document, Colonel Grosse", G-R-O-S-S-E, and so on. I have written to the German Federal Government, the archivist trying to track down the authenticity of the document. Q. That is very proper, if I may say so, a very proper proceeding, Mr Irving. Before you barge into the public arena waving the document and saying how wicked the Allies were, it is best to be sure that the document is genuine and the figure is reliable, do you not agree? A. I consider this to be wicked, burning thousands of bodies at a time in a public funeral. You may say: "So what?", but you are saying about how wicked the Allies are. It is a war crime and there is no way round it. Q. Let us clear the air. Nobody on this side of the court is supposing that it is a jolly good thing that, let us say, 25,000 or 35,000 innocent German civilians were roasted to death in Dresden in 1945. A. Roasted to death? Q. We are concerned about your gigantic appetite for distorting and exaggerating; that is all I am concerned with. I think it was your correspondent -- I cannot remember his name now -- a German gentleman who drew your . P-89 attention to the fact that it was probably only 35,000? A. Only 35,000 people burned alive in one night by the British. Q. Yes, and he said ---- A. A charming term of phrase, only 35,000. Q. As opposed to the huge figures you were punting about and he said, with which nobody would disagree, that is bad enough, that is two divisions. A. At least he did not say: "So what?" MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes, Mr Irving, I think you are being unfair when you pick on that phrase when it was used in context and Mr Rampton was not belittling the tragedy of the bombing. So you have made your point. I do not think it is a fair one, but let us move on. MR RAMPTON: Do you not think it even worst or even more of an offence to those people who died in Germany and Dresden ---- A. I think his Lordship has said that we should move on. Q. --- To exaggerate the numbers of the dead for your own base-political purposes, do you not think that would be worse, Mr Irving? A. I think his Lordship said we should move on. MR JUSTICE GRAY: That is a different point, but, anyway, I think it is comment. MR RAMPTON: Is there anything else in this letter from you to Colonel Teska on 1st December 1964 to which you want to . P-90 draw attention? A. No. Q. Let us see what you said five days letter in a letter to the Provost of Coventry. Was Coventry holding some kind of memorial exhibition or what? A. Coventry is a twinned city with Dresden and I was collaborating with the Coventry Cathedral authorities in their celebrations. Q. Coventry was quite badly bombed in the war, too, but not as badly as Dresden. A. I believe 300 people were killed, were they not? Q. Not as bad as Dresden. Mr Irving, please keep your eye on the ball. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Actually, Mr Rampton, if I may say so, that may have been slightly your fault. MR RAMPTON: But there is no doubt one reason for what you call the Dresden/Coventry link, is there not? A. Yes. Q. They are both victims of bombing during the war? A. Both cities were used for propaganda purposes. Q. What? A. Both bombing raids were used for propaganda purposes. Q. I have no doubt, war is a terrible thing. "I am now enclosing", this is dated 6th December 1964, "I am now enclosing a large number of photographs of the destruction caused in Dresden by the Allied bombing. Some of them . P-91 should be suitable for the exhibition we had in mind to raise funds for the Dresden/Coventry link. I have enclosed several duplicates of some of the best for a particular purpose. I suggest that when your exhibition opens you might circulate these both to the local and national newspapers as free publicity material which they can print if they like". "To drive home the impact of the exhibition, I also suggest that you have the text of the Police President's report on the Dresden raid attached, printed in large type. I think that it is nonchalance and the casualties" (please note those words) "it mentions have a shattering impact. Please also feel free to quote any excerpts you wish from my book or, for example, from the feelings expressed by RAF airmen, without acknowledgment if you wish. The Police President's report is really something sensational. I brought it back from Dresden two weeks ago and I have been trying to establish its authenticity through Ministry of Defence channels". A. Also, in addition to the German archives. Q. Yes. Now this: (Underlined) "I am myself in no doubt as to the authenticity of the document." A. Can I point out that I have not underlined that document myself. Q. That is not your underlining? A. It is certainly not typed in; nor have I done that line . P-92 down the left-hand margin. MR JUSTICE GRAY: I had assumed you had not. MR RAMPTON: I did not take the line down the side to be yours. I am not accepting that it is not possible when you have typed a letter and looked at it and thought that is an important passage, I will underline that in ink, but that is not what you did. "In view of having obtained it indirectly from the Dresden Deputy Chief Medical Officer responsible for the disposing of the victims still lives in Dresden. It was circulated to him officially in March 1945. Please note that I am leaving", so on and so forth, "at the end of December for three and a half months". Mr Irving, you will agree, I hope, that you are urging the Provost of Coventry to put into his exhibition, with as much effect as he can achieve, a document which shows casualties of 202,040 people? A. Yes. Q. And yet, Mr Irving, you still were not certain, or should not still have been certain, that those figures were accurate? A. I said quite clearly here that I am satisfied as to the authenticity of the document, and we now know that the document is accurate, except for the figures.
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