Archive/File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day019.02 Last-Modified: 2000/07/24 MR IRVING: I agree, my Lord. We should not really be asking an expert witness about meanings of words, I appreciate that, my Lord, but I am working towards something. You have a little bundle of documents in front of you, a loose bundle called F? A. I do not, actually. Q. Will you turn to page (it should be) 37, which is a photograph? A. They are numbered on the bottom? Q. They are numbered on the bottom, the one after that please? A. Yes. Q. Do you agree that that says it is a plaque, is that correct, a memorial plaque? A. That is right, yes. Q. Do you recognize that plaque? A. I do not, to be honest, no. . P-10 Q. Will you agree that it says: "4 million people suffered and died here at the hands of the Nazi murderers between the years 1940 and 1945"? A. Yes, that is what it says. Q. Will you now turn the page please? Is that another plaque? A. Yes, that is right. Q. Do you recognize that plaque? A. I do not now that I can see what it is. Q. Does it appear to be in the same place as where the previous plaque was? A. I will take your word for it. Q. Do you agree this one says: "Never let this place be a cry of despair and a warning to humanity where the Nazis murdered about one and a half million men, women and children, namely Jews from various countries of Europe"? A. That is right. Q. Is this also Auschwitz? A. They are both in Auschwitz, yes. Q. So somebody has arbitrarily reduced the figure from 4 million to about 1.5 million? Is that Holocaust denial? A. No, I do not agree that the reduction was arbitrary. I think inevitably in the immediate aftermath of the war there was an enormous amount of uncertainty about the numbers who had died. This does not have a date on it, but I think the 4 million is a plaque which was erected . P-11 very shortly after the war and, as research progressed, then the true number of people who died in Auschwitz was more closely approached, so it is an arbitrary reduction. Q. Is the first figure, which is the figure of 4 million, in any way associated with the figure of 4 million that was propagated by the Soviet Union in the first postwar years for the victims in Auschwitz, in your opinion? A. I have to say I do not know enough about Auschwitz. I am not an expert on Auschwitz. You had an expert on Auschwitz here. Q. We will keep it in general terms. If you were told (as we have heard) that Dr Piper, the director of the Auschwitz State Museum at the time that first plaque was in existence, and who arranged for it to be removed and replaced by the second plaque, has stated that the first plaque was purely propaganda, would you accept that this is evidence of politicization of the Holocaust and the figures connected with it? A. I think, well, I would have to see Dr Piper's statement before I could accept that is what he said, of course. I mean ---- Q. Can I draw your attention back we -- will leave that subject. Can I now take you back to your book, please? MR JUSTICE GRAY: You have not got your answer yet. I think the object of the exercise is to get the answer to the question, Mr Irving. . P-12 MR IRVING: My Lord, his answer was the now familiar one that he has not seen the document. MR JUSTICE GRAY: No, well, he was actually going on to say something else. Would you like to complete it? A. Yes. Obviously, I accept that there is an element of propaganda in the official memorialization by the Soviet Union and its satellites in the period of Communism. That is particularly evident, for example, in the absence of any mention of Jews in this first plaque, whereas in the second one it does say mainly Jews. I think it is the case that in the postwar years the Soviet Union and the authorities in Communist Eastern Europe did want to minimise the element of Jewish dead amongst the ---- MR IRVING: As evidence of general Polish anti-semitism or? A. No, I do not think that is true. I think it is a number of different things. It is not that. Q. While you have your book in front of you, Professor Evans, will you remain on page 206 and look at the next paragraph briefly, which begins with the words: "A leading authority". I am sorry, my Lord, that I should have provided your Lordship with the lines I am going to refer to, but it is very brief. A. Yes. Q. I will read it out: "A leading authority on this literature, which is Holocaust denial literature, Professor Deborah E. Lipstadt", that is the Second . P-13 Defendant in this case? A. That is right. Q. "... of Emery University, Atlanta, Georgia, consistently refuses to take part in public debates with the deniers on the ground 'to do so would give them a legitimacy and a stature that they in no way deserve"? A. Yes. Q. Have you any comment on this refusal to debate? Is it a position of strength or a position of weakness, do you think? A. I think it is a position of principle. Q. A position of principle? A. I do not think it is a tactical consideration, in my understanding of it. Q. Is it a principle that you, as an academic, would willingly adopt? A. I think, yes, I do not think that Holocaust deniers are academics or scholars or academically or scholarly respectable, and I would not take part in seminars or discussions with them on that basis. Q. So Holocaust deniers, as you once again use this favourite phrase of yours, are a form of low academic life or low life, in fact, because most of them who have not been academics find themselves cast out? Is that your opinion? A. I do not agree with any of those statements. First of . P-14 all, it is not a favourite phrase of mine. It is a phrase which I have to use because it is at the centre of this case, as I make no apology for that. I do not like using phrases like "low life" or "low form of life" and, to my knowledge, I have never used those phrases. The problem is not that they are not academic; the problem is what they are engaging in, in my view, is a politically motivated falsification of history, and that is why I think, on the whole, I would endorse and accept Professor Lipstadt's position. Q. But is it not equally arguable that the use that is made of the Holocaust and that immense tragedy inflicted on the Jews during World War II has just been equally politicized for other purposes, whether good or bad? A. I think there is, obviously, a political element in a great deal of historical writing, if not all historical writing, to some measure or other, but I would distinguish between the historians', as it were, control of that through reference to the documents and through the attempt to arrive at an objective interpretation which is in accordance with the documents, on the one hand, and deliberate falsification and invention on the other. I think the Holocaust deniers belong to the latter category. Q. Would you consider ---- A. And, of course, in academic and scholarly discussions, one . P-15 puts aside political aspects and concentrates on the issues. Q. But it is a commonly held view, even among Jewish academics, that the Holocaust is being abused for political purposes now. Are you aware of the writings of Norman Finglestein, for example? Do you have any opinion about his qualifications as an academic or as a writer? A. I have -- I am eagerly awaiting his book. He has written an article and a couple of reviews which I think give some foretaste, but I would not want to make a judgment on these views. Q. Have you, by any chance, read what he wrote in The Times Literary Supplement, I believe it was, in January, suggesting that the whole of the Holocaust propaganda campaign started around about the time of the 1967 June war? A. I think that both Finglestein and Peter Novic, whose book I have read with great interest, and Tim Cole. Q. Would you identify Peter Novic, University of ---- A. The University of Chicago, yes, and another similar book by Tim Cole of the University of Bristol, I think -- are talking about the public presentation of the Holocaust ---- Q. Are they ---- A. --- and the political ---- Q. --- Holocaust deniers in your book? . P-16 A. No, they are not because they are not, they are certainly not denying that i happened in the terms in which I described it in my report. They are talking about the public presentation of history, as in these memorial plaques that you have illustrated. That, I think, is a different thing from the scholarly working up of history. None of them would fall into any of the four, or satisfy any of four, conditions that I have laid down for Holocaust denial. They do not minimise the numbers. They do not deny the use of gassing to kill large numbers of Jews. They do not deny that is systematic, and they do not claim that the evidence was invented or fabricated. They are talking about something quite different which is the public presentation and use which, indeed, of course, by its very nature is going to be subject to political influences. Q. Yes. They are all American academics, are they? A. No. Tim Cole is a British academic. Finglestein, I am not sure, I think he is American. Q. Yes. Would they be able to propagate their views safely in this country or in France or in Germany, do you think, without fear of either losing their academic privileges or even arrest and prosecution? MR JUSTICE GRAY: Mr Irving, I do not think that is a question that is really going to help in this case, if I may say so. . P-17 MR IRVING: My Lord, I am just trying to establish that Holocaust deniers, if I can adopt the witness's phrase, do not have it easy to propagate their views, and if the debate seems lopsided, it is because, on the one hand, people refused to debate and, on the other hand, the people are arrested and locked away. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes, but you had rather veered off Holocaust deniers to the historians who take the view that there has been some politicization of the Holocaust from 1967 onwards. MR IRVING: In that case, may I just revert very briefly to Professor ---- A. I mean, my answer is yes, if that helps. I mean, Dr Cole has not suffered at all from his book and Professor Novic's book is about to be published in this country. MR IRVING: You have expressed words of distaste for Professor Faurisson who, of course, is no longer a Professor? A. Where do I do this? Q. When you were last standing and the witness box on Thursday. I mentioned his name. You said you did not consider him to be an academic and you ---- A. I think -- I am not sure I said that. I would have to see the transcript. Q. Yes. Are you aware of the damage that was inflicted on Professor Faurisson for holding his principles and views, for holding to his principles as a Holocaust denier? . P-18 A. I am aware that he was deprived of his university post, most certainly, yes. Q. Would you turn, please, to page 57 of the bundle, the little bundle? I am very sorry, it is at bundle E, my Lord. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes, I know. MR IRVING: The global bundle. I am afraid that you may not have the photographs there. A. I only have 55 pages, I am afraid. MR JUSTICE GRAY: So have I. MR IRVING: In that case I will produce two pages to you. That is Professor Faurisson after he was taught a lesson for his principles and views. Is this the way you think academics should be dealt with? A. Most certainly not, no. Q. Thank you very much. The reason I am asking that, my Lord, is evident because I wish to bring to the attention of the court the dangers that befall somebody in public life who is accused of being a Holocaust denier. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Do it, by all means. I am not quite sure that I see how that advances your case here.
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