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Shofar FTP Archive File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day023.10

Archive/File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day023.10
Last-Modified: 2000/07/24

    MR JUSTICE GRAY:  What are you referring to then? It is a
         document that camp officials at Auschwitz had to sign?  Mr
         Irving, is that right?

    MR IRVING:  Yes, there was but, in view of this, let me move
         straight on to talk about the document which he has produced.

    MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Right.

    MR IRVING:  You refer to this Hitler secrecy order on page 417, line 2?

    A.   Yes.

    Q.   As the famous Hitler secrecy order No. 1?

    A.   Yes.

    Q.   You date it for some reason September 25th 1941.

                                 .          89

     A.   Yes.  Is that wrong?

     Q.   What inference do you draw from that and have you drawn from that?

     A.   It is all right?  The date is OK, is it?

     MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Is the date suggested to be wrong, Mr Irving?

     MR IRVING:  That is question two, my Lord.  I am asking
          question one at this stage.  What inference do you draw?

     A.   I do not draw any inference in the report from the date.

    MR JUSTICE GRAY:  It is document 112.

    MR RAMPTON:  I am going to try to find the document.

    MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Yes, I think it might be worth doing.

    MR IRVING:  Do you not say at line 4 that this order for
         secrecy clearly covered the operational details of the
         Final Solution?  Is that not the inference you draw from it?

    A.   It was in effect, unless you are telling me it was issued
         in 1945 or 44, then I think that follows.

     Q.   No.  You are implying that this order, unless I have
         totally misunderstood you, in which case I apologise, was
         drawn up as part of the security measures to protect the
         ugly details of the Final Solution?

    A.   Ah no, I am not.  I do not think that follows there at
         all.  It certainly did cover all of that.

    Q.   Does not even the most incompetent historian know that the
         famous Adolf Hitler secrecy order was dated January 11th

                                 .          90

          1940 and it was issued as a direct result of the famous
          Mechelin incident when a German plane landed carrying
          secret documents?

     A.   Provide me with documentation, Mr Irving.

     MR RAMPTON:  Can we just to try and the document?

     MR IRVING:  Probably one of most famous orders Hitler ever signed.

     MR RAMPTON:  I am sure Mr Irving is right about everything but
          I wish he would give me a moment to try and the document.

    MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Have you got document 112?

    MR RAMPTON:  Yes.  It is file H1 (ix) and it is page 238.  We
         will provide your Lordship, and somebody will do it for the witness.

    A.   Could I have a copy, please?

    MR RAMPTON:  Yes.

    MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Could I have a copy too?

    MR RAMPTON:  Yes.  I will pass this up.

    A.   238?

     MR RAMPTON:  238 is a stamped page number.

    A.   Yes, on the bottom.

    MR RAMPTON:  The right hand corner is said to be document 112.

    MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Have you got this, Mr Irving?

    MR IRVING:  My Lord, I know all about Hitler's top secret order
         and I do not need to see this thing.  This is a subsequent reissue of it.

    MR JUSTICE GRAY:  It is a reissue of the same document, is it,

                                 .          91

          Mr Irving?

     MR IRVING:  That I do not know, my Lord.  The original January
          11th 1940 version says nobody under any circumstances who
          has no need to know is to be informed of any secret
          operation.  It is a basic need to know document on which a
          lot of other governments have modelled their own secrecy
          laws since then.

     A.   This is where I got it from.

     Q.   So you have never heard of the original basic order No. 1
         which was issued on January 11th 1940?  I thought every
         historian knew of it.

    A.   If you can point me to a copy of it, I am quite happy to
         accept your dating.  It does not really affect what I say at all.

    Q.   The question is:  You do not know of the January 1940 one?

    A.   I found it here.  I quoted it as the date given here.
         I do not see what the point is you are trying to make, Mr Irving.

     MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Nor do I.

    MR IRVING:  The point I am trying to make is, firstly, once
         again there appear to be gaps in this expert witness's
         knowledge of the Third Reich.

    A.   I am sure there are gaps even in your knowledge of the
         Third Reich, Mr Irving.

    Q.   Secondly, the inference which you invited the reader to
         draw from your expert report, that paragraph at the top of

                                 .          92

          417, that there was some sinister connection between the
          issue of the order and the Final Solution evaporates?

     MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I do not read it as saying that so I think we can move on.

     A.   I do not draw that inference at all.  That is just reading
          far more into there than is actually there.

     MR IRVING:  Good.  Line 5, you quote Henry Picker as saying,
          "Over state secrets Hitler was totally uncommunicative.
          He told us nothing in his table talk about the
         extermination of the Jews in the concentration camps".
         Does this not render nugatory every clever translation you
         have made of "Ausrottung" and "vernichtung" in the table
         talks up to this point and beyond?

    A.   No.  I do not recall any mention of the concentration camps.

    MR IRVING:  No, the "Ausrottung" and the "vernichtung"?

    A.   No, we are talking about the concentration camps here.
         I do not see any mention in the table talk of the
          concentration camps.  That is what he is talking about here.

    Q.   So you believe Henry Picker is being clever when he is
         saying, "OK, he told us about all the other extermination
         of the Jews going on but not about what was going on in
         the concentration camps"?

    A.   That is what he is saying. He says, "he told us nothing in
         his table talk about the extermination of the Jews in the

                                 .          93

          concentration camps."  It may be clever or not, I think it
          is probably true.  What he goes on to say his (Hitler's)
          conversations nevertheless revealed his deep rooted and
          fanatical hatred for all other races.  That I think is
          also a true observation.

     Q.   What about Adolf Hitler's other private staff, his
          stenographers, the people who took down every word he
          spoke from September 1942 onwards, people like that, the
          Adjutants, the private secretaries?

    A.   Oh goodness.  You want to go all through all the whole section on the Adjutants now?

    Q.   I do not, but what I am going to draw your attention to is
         page 36 of the little bundle I gave you and invite you to
         look briefly at pages 39 and 40.  Just run your eye over
         that letter from a lawyer to me dated 1974, when I was
         writing Hitler's War.  He says that he carried out
         interrogations of all Hitler's Adjutants, stenographers
         and people like that in American captivity, and he has all
          their statements, and what should he do with them, if my
         memory of the letter is correct.

    A.   Yes.

    Q.   If you go back now to page 36, in the meantime he has now
         given them to me and I am listing them.  That is a little index of them.

    A.   Yes.

    Q.   Page 37 shows that I, like a total idiot, give them to the

                                 .          94

          archives in Germany, where I can no longer get them now.
          Is that right?

     A.   Yes.

     Q.   I can only draw your attention therefore to the summary in
          this listing.  If you look down the page numbers on the
          right of that page 36, there is a statement by Ludvig
          Krieger, who was one of Hitler's stenographers, his
          extraordinary impression of Hitler, and Hitler never
          mentioned the Holocaust of Jews.  Right?

    A.   Yes.

    Q.   Do you see that one?

    A.   Well, without actually seeing the written statement, of
         course we do not know whether that summary of it and
         account of it is correct.

    Q.   Ah.  We will come to that.

    A.   What exactly he means by that is unclear.

    Q.   If you look at the item listed as page 23, Hitler never
         discuss concentration camps, the statement of another
          stenographer, Heinz Bucholz ----

    A.   Page 23?  Down the list?

    Q.   Yes, down the list?

    A.   Yes.

    Q.   I think it is true he did not discuss concentration
         camps.  I do not think one sees the word "Auschwitz"
         anywhere in the Hitler table talks.

    Q.   Your experts have had total access to my records,

                                 .          95

          including of course those particular interrogation
          reports, have they not, in my papers in Munich?

     A.   Yes.

     Q.   Did they look at those interrogations, do you think?

     A.   I would have to check, but I do not see what the relevance
          of that question is.  I do not think we used them, put it like that.

     Q.   Do you accept that I used them in my books?

     A.   Yes.

    Q.   And that, if I had statements by members of Hitler's
         private staff, not only questioned by me but questioned by
         others and by people far cleverer than myself, all of whom
         elicited precisely the same information that the Holocaust
         was never discussed by Hitler or at Hitler's headquarters,
         is that not a significance?

    A.   Well, there are a number of problems there.  First of all,
         what some of these say is that Hitler never discussed the
         concentration camps, and that is true.  What I say in my
          report is that he used a generalized language of racism,
         exterminatory racism, towards the Jews.  You can read that
         in his table talks and in the Goebbels diaries, but he did
         not go into any details.  That does seem to be the case on
         reading through the table talk.  He did not talk in any
         detail about gas chambers in Auschwitz or the actual
         processes.  The second thing to say is of course that ----

    Q.   These are all Nazis?

                                 .          96

     MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Will you let him finish?

     A.   Yes.  A lot of these people of course were concerned to
          exculpate themselves, and therefore were being very
          cautious in what they admitted about what Hitler did or
          did not say to them.  The third thing to say is of course
          the fact that Hitler did not talk about these things does
          not mean that he did not know about them, and a number of
          his entourage who said that Hitler did not talk about the
          extermination of Jews went on to say that they thought it
         was very clear that he did actually know about it.

    MR IRVING:  Is there even one member of Hitler's staff who has
         stated from absolute certainty that Hitler had discussed
         this to your knowledge?

    A.   All right.  We shall have to go through the whole section
         on the Adjutants in that case which I thought we were not going to do. .

    MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I would be interested, though, if you could
         tell me and, if you cannot do it from memory, have a quick
          glance at your report, who are the members of the
         entourage who you say believed that Hitler did know about
         the extermination?  You do not have to go into the detail
         of it, unless Mr Irving wants to ask you questions.

    MR IRVING:  I will ask about specific people.

    A.   Right.

    Q.   Did Otto Gunscher make a statement?

    MR RAMPTON:  I am sorry, I do not think this is a satisfactory

                                 .          97

          way of dealing with it.  Because I had said that I was not
          any longer much interested in the Adjutants, I dare say
          Professor Evans has not committed them all to memory over
          the weekend.  I do not know because I have not spoken to him.

     A.   I have been repeatedly assured that this was going to be
          ditched so I have not.

     MR RAMPTON:  I do think it right that, if he is going to answer
          this perfectly proper question, he should be given time to
         read the adjutants section of the report, or skim it
         anyway, so that he can bring it back to mind.

    MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Yes.  We have all got time pressure slightly
         in mind.  I therefore was inviting him just for my
         reference, then I could read about it later, to identify
         the names of some of those.

    MR IRVING:  It is purely the fact that Otto Gunscher, who
         I think is the last surviving Hitler adjutant, told my
         Dusseldorf lawyer five days ago that the first he heard of
          it was when he was in the Luganka in Moscow.  Although he
         has made statements differing from that, he now accepts
         that the first he heard of it was when he was in Russian
         captivity, the first he heard specifically of the
         Holocaust and of Auschwitz.  He was with Hitler from 1936
         until literally he was the man who burned Hitler's body.
         I have a letter from my Dusseldorf lawyer to that effect
         reporting this conversation.

                                 .          98

     MR JUSTICE GRAY:  It is up to you, Professor Evans.  Would you
          rather come back to this, maybe at 2 o'clock?

     A.   I think I would, my Lord, yes.

     MR IRVING:  If we have time.

     A.   If we have time.  It has caught me on the hop, I am afraid.

     MR JUSTICE GRAY:  That is totally understandable.  Do you mind
          moving on, Mr Irving?

     MR IRVING:  Yes.  Page 421, Professor Evans.

    A.   This, as you realize, has been superseded by my letter of 10th January.

    Q.   Paragraph 4?

    A.   Yes.

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