The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day016.02

Archive/File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day016.02
Last-Modified: 2000/07/20

   Q.   I do not accept your word "perverse", of course.  We have
        spent many weeks here in this very room, examining how
        perverse or otherwise it is to put forward that
        proposition.  Would you accept that, to somebody who has
        not had complete access to all the records that are now

.          P-8

        correctly available, it may still seem an unusual opinion?
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  That is almost by definition an impossible
        question for him to answer.
   MR IRVING:  It became rather tortuous in the utterance, I am afraid.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I think, bringing yourself up to date with
        historical knowledge as it has been emerging, do you still
        retain the view that it is perverse to say that Hitler did
        not know about the Final Solution?
   A.   I think, my Lord, that it defies common sense.
   MR IRVING:  It does indeed defy common sense, and this is what
        makes it such a fascinating subject to investigate.  Would
        you agree with that?  If it turned out to be against all
        common sense and yet not demonstrable, would it be worth
   A.   It would be so extraordinary that it would defy reason.
   Q.   I agree, "extraordinary" is possibly a better description
        of this conclusion than "perverse".  Perverse, would you
        agree, implies a wilfulness, a deliberate tendentiousness
        in the way one looks at the documentation?
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Well, wrong headed, I think is the meaning.
   MR IRVING:  Wrong headed, yes.  Can I ask you finally to turn
        to pages 8 and 9?  My Lord, the only reason this is
        included is this is one way of putting this before your Lordship.

.          P-9

   MR IRVING:  Are you familiar with the United States Holocaust
        Memorial Museum?
   A.   Well, I have passed it.  I have not been in.
   Q.   Would you accept that this is an official history
        published by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
        by its former director, Michael Berenbaum?
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   I am sure I will be corrected by Mr Rampton if that is
        wrong. Would you turn to page 9?
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   Would you accept that Professor Aberhard Jackel is a
        leading German historian?
   A.   I am never heard of him, but then I am a military
        historian of a rather technical sort and it is not
        necessary that I should have heard of him.
   Q.   Could I ask you briefly to read the paragraph number 5,
        beginning with the words "rehearsal for destruction" and
        I will ask you a question about it.  Just read it to yourself.
   A.   (Pause for reading)  Yes.
   Q.   Would you agree that the tenor of that passage is that
        this German Professor is stating that, until my biography
        of Hitler was published in 1977, there had been no worth
        while research on the Holocaust, and that the publication
        of my book provoked the historians of the world into
        finally doing the research on that subject?

.          P-10

   A.   I do not think I can agree with that.  As an under
        graduate I think I read what I still think is a remarkable
        book called the Final Solution by Gerald Reitlinger, and
        I felt that I have learned from Gerald Reitlinger
        everything substantial that I know about the Holocaust.
   Q.   Of course.
   A.   And that not much has been added to that since.
   Q.   There has been a book by Raul Hilberg in the interim as
        well, 'The Destruction of European Jewry'?
   A.   There have been an enormous number of books on the
   Q.   Not before 1977.
   A.   I am sorry, it is not my subject.  I do not know the
        unrolling of the historiography of the subject in that
   Q.   My question to you, Sir John, was, would you agree that
        the tenor of this paragraph is to suggest that, in the
        eyes of this leading German historian, that, until my book
        on Hitler was published, there was no worth while research
        into the Holocaust, and that triggered, with this
        outrageous hypothesis, as he puts it, the entire research
        which has developed since then?
   A.   I do not know.  I could not endorse that.  I do not know
   Q.   You appreciate my question?  I am not asking your opinion,
        I am asking whether this----

.          P-11

   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Let us cut this short.  It obviously says
        what you have just indicated it says, but Sir John is not
        able to agree with it from what he knows.
   MR IRVING:  Very well.  Sir John, finally I had to coerce you
        into the witness box, although in the 1980s and 1990s you
        wrote very favourable things about my writings.  Can you
        in a very brief sentence explain why you were unwilling to
        come voluntarily?
   A.   Yes.  Briefly, perhaps not.  Just because I admire
        Hitler's War, which I do, I admired it again when I was
        reading it last night, it does not mean to say that
        I endorse your opinions beyond what you have to say, about
        what I am interested in in Hitler's War, which is your
        picture of how Hitler conducted military operations.  As a
        military historian, that is the sort of history in which
        I am interested and I think you do it extremely well in
        Hitler's War.  That does that not mean to say that I can
        go further in following you.  It seemed to me this was to
        be a very contentious case, and one is easily
        misunderstood, I think, in discussion of this dreadful
        episode, this terrible period in European history, easily
        misunderstood.  I did not wish to put myself in a position
        where I might be misunderstood.
   Q.   Would be it fair to say
that you were apprehensive about
        the repercussions of giving evidence on my behalf?
   A.   Naturally.  I am not giving on your behalf.

.          P-12

   Q.   Giving evidence as a witness for the claimant?
   A.   Under subpoena.
   Q.   Yes.  No.  The question was ----
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  This is a slightly meaningless debate.  Sir
        John is right.  He is here compulsorily, not voluntarily.
        He has no choice but to answer your questions, which he
        has done very clearly.
   MR IRVING:  The evidence I was trying to produce here was
        evidence of the fact that this is an exposed position that
        one takes, and that there are professional repercussions
        which can be expected by those who take this position in
        view of the very unfortunate nature this debate has
        adopted.  It is very difficult for me to produce evidence
        on that matter, particularly as a lot of the witnesses are
        not going to be called.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  If I may say so, it is a point that does not
        really need evidence.  I am not blind to the realities of
        the position and I understand the point you are putting.
   MR IRVING:  I am indebted to your Lordship and in that case I
        have no further questions.
   MR RAMPTON:  I have no questions.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Sir John, that finishes your time in the
        witness box.  Thank you very much.  You are free to go.

                   (The witness stood down)

   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Mr Irving, I think you have some procedural
        points to make?

.          P-13

   MR IRVING:  Yes.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Before you do that, can I just ask you where,
        if anywhere, you are suggesting I put the clip you have
        just handed in?
   MR IRVING:  Miss Rogers has generated a catalogue of these
        stray items and no doubt the catalogue will grow longer.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I think they might say they are their stray
        items.  Shall we put this into one of the C bundles,
        perhaps C4?
   MR RAMPTON:  Back of J2 is suggested.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  That is really your documents, is it not?
   MR RAMPTON:  No.  Ours are L.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  You probably claim J, too, do you not?
        I will put it wherever you suggest.
   MR RAMPTON:  I do not have one, so I cannot really help.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I do not have one either.  J2?
   MR RAMPTON:  Yes, something called J2.
   MR RAMPTON:  It is Claimants Bundle E, Global, which apparently
        is in J2.  Why, I do not know.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  If there is a J2, which I doubt, I would like
        one.  Yes, Mr Irving?
   MR IRVING:  My Lord, your Lordship will see that I have
        provided to you once again a number of newspaper articles.
   MR IRVING:  I do not know how far I am testing your Lordship's
        patience on this matter, but I am a litigant in person and

.          P-14

        I certainly need education on this matter and possibly
        members of the press also need education as to what is
        permissible and what is not in a non-jury action.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Well, show me.
   MR IRVING:  I am not familiar with any ruling which says in a
        non-jury action it is open season on one or other of the
        parties in an action.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Certainly that is right.  It is not.  On the
        other hand, it is presumed -- you may or may not agree
        with it -- that judges are more able to ignore what is
        written outside court and more able to focus on the
        evidence.  I hope I am doing that, which I have slightly
        discouraged you in the past when you have raised various
        newspaper articles.  I cannot obviously tell the press
        what they should and should not say, but show me what you
        are objecting to because, if you have a point----
   MR IRVING:  I will provide your Lordship with three articles
        which I certainly do not expect you to read in an
        instant.  Two are, in fact, from newspapers produced by
        Guardian Newspapers.  One is the Guardian which was
        published on Saturday, a major article by a man called
        Jonathan Friedland, who is a very well-known and very
        responsible journalist.  The other one is an article
        published in The Observer yesterday.  The one published in
        The Observer yesterday by Mr Neil Acheson seems to equate
        David Irving, Jorg Haider and Adolf Hitler in a rather

.          P-15

        unbecoming manner.  "If Irving wins and Heider wins, then
        what?" I have also highlighted "Niematz Wieder never again
        and Den Anfenge, stop it at the start", what used to be
        called in Latin I believe principe obstat.  The repugnance
        of those articles is that of course the Guardian Newspaper
        are Defendants in a second action I am bringing of a very
        similar nature, which they maintain is of a similar
        nature, and they have a clear and vested interest, in
        fact, in trying to see me knocked out in this action.
        Then, slightly more sinister and more difficult to
        control, I appreciate, by your Lordship are the articles
        being written by London journalists for the foreign press
        which then come bouncing back to us through Cyber space.

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