Archive/File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day016.06 Last-Modified: 2000/07/20 Q. Professor Browning, just one more question on this particular avenue: if you were to apply for a position of Director of the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, do you think you would be in the running there or would there be an obstacle there too? A. My guess is in this generation it would be considered not likely to happen, but that within another generation this would be very different. Q. Changing the theme somewhat now, how long has there been talk of Holocaust, not necessarily that word, but just of this particular -- it appears to come to the fore again in the 1970s, the campaign, would you agree? A. When I started work in the early '70s, very, very few people were working on it. By the end of the '70s there were academic conferences on it. So that was the decade in which I think there was a shift to a greater consciousness of the Holocaust as an important historical topic. Q. Were you here in the courtroom earlier when we examined a book published by the Memorial Museum, a passage written by Aberhard Jackel? A. I was here, and yes. Q. Aberhard Jackel, would you agree in that passage, or as it was rendered here in the court, suggested that until my book 'Hitler's War' was published, there had been no real . P-39 investigation of the Holocaust apart from the Reitlinger and the Hilberg books? A. Yes, I think I would not agree with that statement. I would say that there had been substantial study of the Holocaust; the Trunk book, in terms of the Jewish Council's, Hilberg in terms of the apparatus, Schloenus in terms of the preHolocaust bureaucratic process. What had not been studied before you published was a particular focus on decision-making process and Hitler's role. That is one part and, in so far as we can confine ourselves to that, indeed, your publication of 'Hitler's War' was the impetus for the research in that area. Q. What was the reason for this 20 year, 22 year, lack of interest in examining whether the decision had been given or how the decision had been given for the Holocaust? A. I think probably several things. One, the person who had focused mainly in the German documents, Raul Hilberg, was very interested in the bureaucratic structure, but not terribly interested in dating decisions. This happened to be his focus. Q. Have you discussed this matter personally with Raul Hilberg? A. Yes and he is more interested in bureaucratic structure than he is in linear or chronological decision-making process. I am more interested in chronological process than bureaucratic structure. . P-40 Q. Do you know what his opinion is on whether Adolf Hitler actually issued an order or not? A. I think his feeling is if you are looking for an order in a formal sense, that such a thing probably was not given. If you are looking at it in the way that you described earlier, calling it the Richard Nixon complex, that Hitler made very clear to Himmler and Heydrich what he expected and they understood what was expected of them, that he -- I cannot speak for him, but I believe he would not have been uncomfortable with that formulation. Q. The kind of "don't let me find out what you are up to"? A. Well, but also, "this is what I want but don't let me find -- don't bother me the with details". He often said to several people on record, "Take care of this. In 10 years report back that it was done and I will not ask you how it was accomplished". Q. In connection with what topics would that kind of decision have been made, not in connection with the Holocaust? A. I think in terms of the ethnic cleansing from the annexed territories from Poland, he used that expression, to the Gauleiter along with Warthegau and Schlesier and whatever ---- Q. Gauleiter Dreiser or someone like that? A. Yes. Q. He say he did not want to have interim reports, "Just tell me when it has been done"? . P-41 A. That he indicated he did not want to be bothered with the details. He wanted it accomplished ---- MR JUSTICE GRAY: Are we still -- I am so sorry -- talking about Raul Hilberg's view or are we sliding into your own view? MR IRVING: No. We are now talking about his own expertise. MR JUSTICE GRAY: It is quite important to know whose opinions I am hearing. MR IRVING: I believe this is Professor Browning's opinion. (To the witness): Am I right? A. Well, we started talking about what Hilberg and I explained what I thought he would be comfortable with, and then I believe we kind of shifted into how we would understand this kind of decision making process would be done that was not attributed to Raul Hilberg specifically but a general discussion. Q. My Lord, it may be helpful ---- MR JUSTICE GRAY: What I want to have clear is what you have just said, which was very clear, if I may say so. Was that your view, namely, he effectively made clear what he wanted done and then said, "You get on with it and I do not want to know the details"? Is that your view? A. Yes. We have documented cases where, in terms of ethnic cleansing, he made that statement, and so I would say this is a way in which Hitler conveys or makes decisions or gives orders that we would not consider a formal order in . P-42 the sense of a signed document, and I would say that is my opinion, not attributed to Raul Hilberg. MR IRVING: My Lord, I should also have given you a kind of topic paragraph of what I intend doing today. MR JUSTICE GRAY: I have made that clear before; it does help me. MR IRVING: Yes. I intend having this general discussion to start with and then we will revert to his report, and I hope that we will cover the first 25 pages of the report during the day which is covering very much ground level operations of the Einsatzgruppen on the Eastern Front. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes. At the moment it is a sort of bird's eye view which is very helpful to start off with. MR IRVING: Indeed, my Lord. This kind of discussion is helpful because I do not know Professor Browning, we have never met, and we have never had the pleasure and I am, frankly, interested in finding out what he knows. MR RAMPTON: I have something to say, if I may since, we have now been told what the plan is. (A) I am not interested, I mean as an advocate appearing for clients, in having this court used as what one might call an historical forum an I dare say your Lordship is not either unless it goes to an issue in the action. I heard with some alarm Mr Irving threatening to spend the rest of the day cross-examining about the Einsatzgruppen shootings in the East. Your Lordship may . P-43 recall that Mr Irving has made a very clear concession that those shootings happened on a massive scale, that they were systematic and that Hitler authorized them. So where ---- MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes, but, well, I do not know what the questions are going to be yet, but this is your -- I am just going to say something to Mr Rampton -- expert. He is saying what he says. He is making various historical assertions. Obviously, Mr Irving cannot resile from what he has already conceded, but he is entitled to go through it. I do not know exactly what he is going to ask. MR RAMPTON: I do not know either. If there is some area of Professor Browning's report which Mr Irving disputes which is still relevant to the case, then, of course, and it may be that there are other areas of the report which he can, as it were, try to use to undermine Professor Browning's credibility. That I cannot object to either. What he cannot do in cross-examination -- I am only putting down a marker -- now is to try, as it were, to go back behind the concession that he has made. MR JUSTICE GRAY: I think it is helpful to be reminded of the concession. I do not suppose Mr Irving will but I certainly do not see any reason why he should not follow the path. MR IRVING: I do not think that was a helpful interruption at all from Mr Rampton. Normally Mr Rampton's interruptions . P-44 are welcome and very helpful but, if he had only waited, I have written in large letters here on my notes, "We do not contest the shootings". MR JUSTICE GRAY: I think so far, if I may say so, you have been perfectly consistent in the way you have put your case, but Mr Rampton was putting down what may turn out to be an unnecessary marker. MR RAMPTON: It may well do. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Let us press on. MR IRVING: You were talking about the ethnic cleansing of these Polish regions. What would have been meant by that? If Hitler had said, carry out the ethnic cleansing but do not tell me for the next ten years, just come back in ten years to tell me it has been done, would the ethnic cleansing have actually involved the mass extermination of any category of people? A. That involved the mass expulsion of Jews, gypsies and what they said was other undesirable people, in these areas to be repopulated with ethnic Germans brought back from the regions of Eastern European conceded to Stalin in the non aggression pact. Q. We have a bit of a problem, do we not, with the fact that parts of Eastern Europe had been conceded to Stalin? Do we have any clear figures as to how many thousands or hundreds of thousands of Jews had been dumped across the demarcation line by the Nazis into the Soviet controlled . P-45 areas? A. We do not have exact figures on either those that were dumped or those that fled, but the estimate that I have seen ranged between 200 and 300 thousand that escaped from the German occupied side of Poland to the Soviet occupied side. But those are estimates because obviously no one is keeping track in any systematic way.
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