Archive/File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day020.20 Last-Modified: 2000/07/24 MR IRVING: I wrote a whole book about it, my Lord. I wrote his biography. He provided his private diaries to me and that has been in discovery and in evidence to the Defence throughout this case, and I really do not want to hold up the matter by producing evidence for that. I have only been delayed by the fact that the witness has admitted that his evidence for these assertions was based on -- his own concession -- very limited sources. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes. A. I do not think so I said that. MR JUSTICE GRAY: I do not think he did, but the point is that it is not terribly satisfactory to have cross-examination by assertion, if you follow me. MR IRVING: Yes. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Sometimes I think it is going to be necessary . P-178 to give chapter and verse for what you are asserting. MR IRVING: Yes. MR JUSTICE GRAY: And I know that makes life difficult for you. MR IRVING: It is a flimsy assertion against an even flimsier submission by the witness, if I can put like that. The final sentence there, witness, Professor Evans, is you say, you have quoted where I say: "Hitler ordered state pensions provided for the next of kin of the people murdered in the Night of the Long Knives, as June 30th 19934 came to be known"? A. Yes. Q. Do you have any reason to challenge that statement? A. No, I do not. Q. You have held it up there for the delectation of his Lordship and others as those it is slightly incredible? A. Well, I am giving your views on Hitler here. This is the context. Q. Should I have cut that out then? A. You describe Hitler as a dictator by consent, he had an act of rare magnanimity in ordering state pensions, he was a "friend of the arts, benefactor" -- I am quoting you here -- "benefactor of the impoverished, defender of the innocent, persecutor of the delinquent" ---- Q. We will come to that one in a minute. A. --- this is what I am trying to establish here. Q. But are you suggesting, therefore, that if Adolf Hitler in . P-179 this rather odd act of generosity, I suppose, ordered bloated pensions provided to the widows of those he has just murdered that I should somehow suppress this because 20 years later Professor Evans is going to stand in a witness box and say, "This is evidence of Mr Irving's admiration for Hitler" that I should not have mentioned it, therefore. A. It seems to me that it is evidence of your admiration for Hitler. Q. And you would not, therefore, have mentioned this document; you would have pretended this document did not exist? Is that the way you would work? A. I do not understand the question there. Q. I cannot understand -- let me put it ---- A. Oh, I see what you mean. Q. If you were writing a biography of Hitler, would you have left this document out? A. Which document? Q. The reference to the pensions. A. Well, I would have to see the document before I could answer that question. Q. If you were writing a biography of Hitler and you came across a document which said: "The Fuhrer has ordered pensions paid to the next of kin of those executed in the Night of the Long Knives", would you have left it out? A. No, of course not. . P-180 Q. Yes. So, in other words, you are criticising me for doing something that you too would have done, is that correct? A. Well, that is to say, if the document bears, you know, sustains the interpretation you put on it. Q. Now, moving on to the final sentence of that paragraph where you mockingly have quoted where have apparently said: "Hitler, according to Irving, was a 'friend of the arts, benefactor of the impoverished, defender of the innocent, persecutor of the delinquent'", is this not -- my memory may be wrong and his Lordship is already looking it up -- a slightly mocking entry at the beginning of a chapter where, having set that out, I then ---- A. Sorry, could I have the 1991 edition? The first section, the first file? Q. Has your Lordship find it? A. 109. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes, I have. MR IRVING: Yes. I do not have it in front me, but my recollection is that the way I used that was slightly mockingly offsetting it against what then follows. A. I do not think that offsets it. This is the "popular dictator, friend of the arts, benefactor of the impoverished, defender of the innocent, persecutor of the delinquent. In an early Cabinet meeting in June 8th 1983 he had come out against the death penalty for economic sabotage, arguing, 'I am against the death sentence . P-181 because it is irreversible. The death sentence should be reserved for only the gravest crimes, particularly those of a political nature'", and so on. So it does not seem to be a kind of ironic or sarcastic setting off. Q. Then is there what we call a topic sentence for what follows, that having set out the topic sentence, I then hang the meat on it, so speak? A. I do not think -- I mean, it is there in black and white. "Friend of the arts, benefactor of the impoverished, defender of the innocent, persecutor of the delinquent". Q. But do you agree that what follows then effectively hangs the meat on that particular topic sentence? A. Well, it refers back both backwards and forwards. If you like, it is a linking sentence. Q. Yes. Can you now go forward please to page 213? MR JUSTICE GRAY: Are you leaving the Night of the Long Knives. MR IRVING: I have left it entirely, my Lord, yes. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Can I just ask one question? Professor Evans, it seems to me -- I may be wrong about this -- the sort of main point on the Night of the Long Knives is whether or not Hitler was in any way complicit or involved in the murder of 90 former associates of the Nazi Party? A. Yes, that is correct, my Lord. Q. Mr Irving has, as I understand it, put to you that Hitler had nothing to do with it, it was Heydrich? A. I am not sure that is what he says. . P-182 MR RAMPTON: I think the position is in the book Hitler is guilty of seven only ---- MR JUSTICE GRAY: I see. MR RAMPTON: --- out of 82 or 90, whatever it is. MR IRVING: Can I be more specific? He was guilty originally of seven. Eventually, over the next few days he was told it was 84 or 90 and in private he expressed annoyance to the people who brought the message saying, "It has got out of hand" and this is the evidence of the Adjutants Bruchner and Schaub, whose papers I quoted on various occasions, and, in fact, there is a letter written by Victor Lutze, who was the successor of Rume to Himmler four years later harking back to that period saying that the Fuhrer was very angry that so many people had been killed, including some of his closest friends. That is one sentence that sticks in his mind. MR JUSTICE GRAY: So to that extent, I am grateful to you, Mr Rampton, he is disapproving what happened, and I just wanted to know, Professor Evans, whether in the light of your knowledge of what happened, whether that is an account you accept? A. No. Q. Can you elaborate slightly? A. Sorry. I have been asked to keep my answers short. Q. I know. It is very difficult to get it right. A. No, Hitler was directly responsible for these murders and . P-183 these crimes. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Thank you. I am sorry, Mr Irving. MR IRVING: In that case I will just have to re-examine briefly on that. You say he is directly responsible. Do you have any evidence whatsoever for that statement on the basis of your admittedly flimsy reading on the matter? A. Yes, certainly. I mean I quote this in footnote 11 of page 209. Q. Other authors. Had any of them had access to the private diaries of Dr Joseph Goebbels covering the Night of the Long Knives which I had? A. Yes, Kershaw's Hitler certainly and Fry's National Socialist Rule in Germany, both of those. The third book I mention there is not really about that, but about the legal proceedings after 1945 concerned with trying to bring the perpetrators to justice. Q. Have you read Kershaw's Hitler in this respect? A. Yes, I cite it there. Q. Would it surprise to you notice that he has made no use whatsoever of the new Goebbels' diaries, and corresponded with him about this? A. In the entire book? Q. Yes. A. I would have to check that up. I find that difficult to believe. Q. Can we now ---- . P-184 A. It depends what you mean by the "new Goebbels' diaries". Q. Well, the ones that I found in Moscow, the ones that I brought back from Moscow in 1992. A. I do not think that is right, Mr Irving. Q. Well, I shall leave my question as it was, that I corresponded with him about that and does it not surprise you to hear that he told me he had not made use of them? A. It does because that is not my understanding. You would have to show me the letter before I could accept that. Q. Yes, but we are going to make progress now, please, to page 213. We are now dealing with the assassination, with various things on which I appear to have exonerated Hitler. Beginning with the previous page: "Charles Sydnor found that I portrayed Hitler not as a monster but as a fair-minded statesman of considerable chivalry." Would you have portrayed Hitler as a monster, Professor Evans? Do you think that Hitler should be portrayed as monster? A. I think I am summarizing Sydnor there. Q. Yes, but I am asking you. Do you think that Hitler should be portrayed as a monster? In other words, am I to be criticised for not portraying Hitler as a monster? A. Well, let us take the full sentence there, not as a monster but as a fair-minded statesman of considerable chivalry, who never resorted", and so and so forth: "Who . P-185 never resorted to the assassination of foreign opponents; who never intended to harm the British Empire and wanted peace with Britain after June 1940, and who attacked the Soviet Union in 1941 only as a preventative measure." This is Sydnor. This is in a section in which I am commenting and begins in the middle of page 210. I am recounting a number of authors who have considered that your position is extremely favourable to Hitler. I think here again I am trying to -- I am in a slight difficulty that I am quoting the views of other authors -- I am trying to establish that it is not merely a quirk of Professor Lipstadt that she says that you are an admirer of Hitler, because this is a view that has been adopted by a number of other writers. If you want me to say whether Hitler was a monster or not ---- Q. That was the question. A. --- if you want to put in those terms, yes, he was a monster. Q. Yes, he was a monster. A. It is undeniable. Q. We now turn the page, the specific allegations are that I said that he never resorted to the assassination of foreign opponents. Is that correct? Is that a true statement? A. This is what Sydnor says, how Sydnor says you portray Hitler. He is not ---- . P-186 Q. But you have quoted him. A. Yes, I am quoting him. Q. Can I ask you on the basis of your knowledge as an historian of that period ---- A. I am not quoting Sydnor as saying that all these things are entirely wrong. MR JUSTICE GRAY: That is where we get into difficulties, is it not? A. Yes. MR JUSTICE GRAY: What we want to concentrate on, Mr Irving, I think is really where Professor Evans states his own views. MR IRVING: Rather than the views of other people about views of other people. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Rather than the views of other people. MR IRVING: Yes. MR JUSTICE GRAY: It is not your fault that you pick up these references to other historians because they are there to be picked up, but what is going to help me is when you tackle Professor Evans about his views about your portraying Hitler in a favourable light rather than more accurately. MR IRVING: Yes. On the facing page -- I will try to move forward and your Lordship will appreciate that I am abandoning good points there. I am doing it willingly in the cause of making court progress. . P-187 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes. I have tried to say that I understand why you are being distracted, as it were, by these references to other historians. That is not your fault.
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