Archive/File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day016.05 Last-Modified: 2000/07/20 Q. Yes. We were going to come later on to the Aktion or Operation Reinhard. Am I correct in saying that there has been one school of thought, the thought that the Operation Reinhardt had been named after the late lamented or unlamented chief of the security police, Reinhard Heydrich? A. That is one suggestion made because the files on personnel in Berlin spell it with just a D which is the way he spelt his name, so that was one suggestion that has been made which I do not endorse. Q. While we are on the matter, because we are going to have a joint journey of discovery and exploration over the next day or two, I think, have documents come to your attention that have the initials AR in them instead of a security classification? A. I only saw reference to that from the transcript here. Q. Yes? A. But I had not noticed that myself. Q. It is an interesting discovery, would you agree? A. I would like to look at the documents to see how it was . P-31 written, but I had not noticed that before. Q. Yes. You are familiar with the correspondence between Wolff and Gunsen Muller? A. Yes. Q. In July 1942? A. Yes. Q. Where Wolff -- can you remember what Wolff wrote to Gunsen Muller? A. Yes, he wanted trains and Gunsen Muller replied that, yes, he had trains and told him how many would be going each day. Q. It is correct that Wolff replied that he was glad to hear that 5,000 of a chosen race were going to be sent to ---- A. That is my memory of the document, yes. Q. And is there any significance you would attach to the fact that that had the initials AR on it? A. It could indicate that a copy of this was to be filed in some file called Aktion Reinhardt. Q. So we are constantly discovering new things, is this correct? A. Yes. Q. So that the last chapter on the Holocaust really still has to be written? A. We are still discovering things about the Roman Empire. There is no last chapter in history. Q. It is quite an adventure, though, is it not, as fresh . P-32 archives around the world open up, would you agree? A. Yes. Q. Have you worked in -- I suppose you have worked in the German archives, have you not? A. Yes. Q. Have you worked in the archives in Munich? A. Yes. Q. Have you had the opportunity to work in the Moscow archives yet? A. No, I have not. Q. What other major holdings are there of records on the Holocaust -- for example, in the United States? A. There would be the National Archives collection of captured German documents and the microfilms at the United States Holocaust Museum from various East European archives and the Berlin Document Centre of Microfilms now also in the National Archives. Q. Have those microfilms also been placed in the German Federal Archives now? A. The German Federal Archives took over the originals of the Berlin Document Centre, so I presume they have both the microfilm and the originals in their possession. Q. Shooting off on one brief side excursion, have you found German archives sometimes rather secretive about recently acquired collections? A. The area where I have had difficulty is getting court . P-33 access to see pretrial interrogations because of the increased emphasis on privacy law in Germany. That is, I would say, the greatest difficulty that I have encountered. Q. I am surprised by this. In other words, what you are saying is the pretrial interrogations of suspected war criminals or of witnesses conducted in the 1940s and 1950s? A. Mostly 1960s and '70s. Q. Have now been closed again, have they? A. Not closed, but there simply is more paper work to get them. In the 1970s I could ask to see them and I would be granted immediate access by the local person. Now it has to go to somebody higher up to approve it. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Does it make any difference if they are dead? A. No, generally it applies to whether you can see the records of this particular case, and they make no distinction as to whether people there are living or dead because the family members, children, would still be living too. I believe that there was concern, or at least that is what is cited, the family is still sensitive to the issues. MR IRVING: Would it be right to say that if an historian went to Moscow and came back with the Goebbels diaries and gave them to German archives, they would then vanish for several years? . P-34 A. It is a possibility that they would say, "We need to classify these" and do whatever else and it would temporarily not be available. Q. Are you familiar with the Goebbels diaries in any respect? A. Only in the publications of the various -- the Frohich publication from Munich and previous publications. I have not worked in an original Goebbels. Q. Have you any sense of how long the period elapses between the arrival of the original diaries in the hands of those, shall we say, processors and the publication in generally accessible form? Is it a matter of months or weeks or years? A. I do not know. Q. Professor Browning, do you have any particular problems as a non-Jewish historian writing about the Holocaust? A. Could you tell me a little more -- can you give me a little more direction as to what you are looking at? In terms of do I have a psychological problem or personal problem? Have I encountered ---- Q. Professional problems? A. --- professional problems? Occasionally, one might say that it has been -- I can say in one or two cases I think it affected the opinions of some people concerning my publications. Q. I do not want to explore this in any great depth, but would I be right in suggesting that the Jewish historians . P-35 regard the Holocaust as their patch? A. No, I would not. I think, in fact, many of them were very accepting of my coming into the field because it, in fact, indicated that this was not their patch, if I can use your phrase, but something that was not just important to Jewish history but important to world history, and that the fact that a non-Jewish historian would look at this would be seen as a validation of the universal importance of the topic, not just that it was a parochial ethnic history of a particular people and that no one else, this was not important to anyone else. So I would say I have had for more re-affirmation of supports from Jewish historians than the very few cases in which I felt my work would have been seen in a negative way because I was not Jewish. Q. So you have not been disadvantaged in any way by being a non-Jewish historian? A. There are one or two instances where that may have been the case, but far more prominent -- far more often that has not been the case. Q. You used to be Professor of History at Pacific State Luther University? A. Pacific Luther University. Q. In Tacoma in Washington State? A. Tacoma, Washington. Q. You are now currently a Professor of History at? . P-36 A. University of North California at Chapel Hill. Q. At Chapel Hill. One of the most prestigious universities to have held tenure at would have been Harvard, would it not? A. Harvard would be a very prestigious university. Q. So if a chair in Holocaust studies had been appointed in Harvard, it is a position you would have applied for or hoped to obtain? A. I was considered for a position there. Q. What militated against you, do you think? A. No one received the position, Jewish or non-Jewish historians. At least one person on the Search Committee made a statement to the press that they felt that only someone deeply grounded in Jewish culture should be eligible. Q. What did he mean by that, do you think? A. Well, in fact it was a she and the statement was applied to me and the other candidates because they were mainly working in German history, not in Jewish history, and I think this was meant that she did not like any of the candidates. MR JUSTICE GRAY: No. So no one was appointed, is that what you say? A. No one was appointed. MR IRVING: In fact, the man who had put up money for this new chair then starting raising obstacles, is this not right? . P-37 A. I believe when they did try to make an appointment for a semester per year, rather than a full-time, he refused to release his money to support the appointment on that basis. Q. Yes. Is it right that the New York Times in July 1997 quoted you as saying that you felt that you had been ruled out because, and I am quoting, "I am not Jewish. I come from a small college"? A. That was a quote that was taken entirely out of context. In the letter to the editor published the following Friday, I explain what the full quote had been, and that is she had asked me why I had not, why did I think I had not been appointed, and I had said, "Well, I do not know. I am not on the committee, but I can read in the press what several people have said themselves", one of which is the one I gave you earlier, and having quoted this person on the Search Committee to the effect that someone only deeply grounded in the Jewish culture should get it, I then commented, "That would make me doubly ineligible because I do not work in Jewish history and I am not Jewish". She quoted the last four words and left out all of the context and totally distorted the meaning of the statement that I gave and that was explained in a letter to the editor at the end of the week. Q. Are you as deeply shocked as I am to hear that the press takes things out of context? . P-38 A. Not a surprise, no. It does happen.
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