Archive/File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day024.03 Last-Modified: 2000/07/24 Q. I do not want a lengthy answer at this time. I just want a brief overview. Is it right that opinions differ as to the importance of the Wannsee conference in the history of the Final Solution? A. I do not think, generally speaking, the short answer, I would not say that there is so much difference about the significance of the Wannsee conference. It was basically a conference on the implementation of what is called the . P-19 Final Solution. I think a statement like this could be accepted by most of the historians. Of course, if you go into the interpretation of the text, you will find differences. Q. Opinions differ? A. Opinions differ among historians. Q. Yehuda Bauer has said one thing, Eberhard Jaeckel has said another, and so on? A. I would be very careful to make a general comment. One could look at the writings of Yehuda Bauer and Eberhard Jaeckel and then I am prepared to comment on it. Q. My Lord, the next question is purely pre-emptive in case another matter comes up. This is still on that page, three paragraphs from the bottom. You edited something called "Was ist des Deutschen Vaterland", a book on German unity? A. Yes. That is a collection of documents. Actually I issued this in 1990 when this was actually called, as you see here, documents about the question of German unity so that, when the book came out, the question was solved. Q. Would you tell the court please, during the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s, or certainly during the 1960s and 1970s, what was the official designation in west German circles of the Soviet zone or the German Democratic Republic? A. The official name? Q. The official name, Sprachledlung. . P-20 A. I do not think there was a Sprachledlung but I think in the 1950s the generally preferred term was Soviet zone of Occupation. This changed, then in the 1960s, at the end of the 1960s, when it became more common to speak of the German Democratic Republic, but I am certainly not an expert on, you know, on this issue ---- Q. Have you ever heard of the word Middle Deutschland. A. Yes, of course. Q. Was that also an official designation? A. This was also common, yes. Q. No kind of revanches sentiment was attached to that word? A. I would be very careful to make such a general statement. It is a complex issue. Q. Professor Longerich, I think I can say quite evidently that you harbour no personal dislike or animosity towards me at this stage? MR JUSTICE GRAY: No, I am sure not. Mr Irving, shall we move towards one of the substantive questions that you are going to have to ask about? Let us move on, in other words. MR IRVING: On page 8, three paragraphs from the bottom, you lecture the German Historical Institute ---- A. Yes. Q. --- on the policy of destruction, vernichtung? A. Yes, that is the title you prefer. I cannot recall the exact English title of this lecture. . P-21 Q. Politik der Vernichtung. Was I present in the audience on that occasion? A. I think I remember you, yes. Q. Did you invite questions at the end of that function? A. The Director of the Institute invited question, yes. Q. Did I ask a question? A. Yes, you asked a question. Q. What did the Director of the Institute say? A. The Director said, "Dr Longerich does not want to answer your question". Q. He said, "Dr Longerich has informed me in advance he will not answer any questions from Mr David Irving"? A. That is correct, yes. Q. Thank you very much. Was there any specific reason for your refusal? A. I think there was a discussion in the Institute whether you should be actually asked to leave the building, and, well, at this stage I actually know, I actually knew that I would be called into the witness stand here, and I thought it was better not to answer this question, not to have a kind rehearsal of this. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Sorry, you did or you did not know you were going to be a witness? A. I was quite aware, I think, that I would be. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Oh, you were, even back in 1988? A. Yes. . P-22 MR IRVING: Did you state that at the time? A. Pardon? Q. Did you state that to the Chairman at the time as the reason why? A. No. I did not give a reason. Q. What was the question I asked? Do you remember? What document was I asking about? A. I think you were asking about the Schlegelberger, what you called the Schlegelberger document. Q. I read out the Schlegelberger document and invited you to reconcile it with what you had said in your lecture? A. I think this was the moment when you called me a "coward"? Isn't this this incident? Q. That is right, yes. A. Yes. I can recall this, yes. Q. Just a brief answer this time, do you consider the Schlegelberger document to be a key document in the history of the Final Solution? A. No, absolutely not. Q. Totally unimportant? A. It is unimportant, yes. Q. Have you mentioned it in any of your books? A. No, I do not think so. Q. A book, in other words, a document which says the Fuhrer has asked repeatedly for the solution of the Jewish problem postponed until the war is over, in your view, was . P-23 unimportant? A. Well, that is your interpretation of the document. Q. I am saying what it says. A. Yes, it is third-hand evidence. It is an undated document. We do not know who actually wrote the document. It is third-hand evidence. It is about Lammers who said that somewhere in the past Hitler had said something to him about the solution, not the Final Solution, of the Jewish question. I think we will come to the document later in more detail, but I think I could not see this and I cannot see this as a major document, let us say, for the interpretation of the Holocaust. Q. What would have prevented you saying this to what was obviously a friendly audience at the German Institute on ---- MR JUSTICE GRAY: He has given his answer. You may not accept it, but he felt inhibited by the fact he had been asked to give expert evidence. A. I should mention that I do not want to find myself on Mr Irving's website with my answer. I felt myself ten with the full comment, you know, of my behaviour and I know that Mr Irving was doing these things, and I do not want to get engaged in this kind of argument or debate, so I prefer to be silent. Q. You prefer there not to be a debate, is that right? A. Pardon? . P-24 Q. You prefer there not to be any debate on things like this? A. No, I do not prefer to be involved in this kind of debate that you, you know, should be more specific, not to be with my comment. I do not want to find me on your web page which is what I said during this discussion or during this lecture. This was the second reason. Q. We are now going to go to the meaning of words, Professor Longerich. Again this is perfectly straightforward questioning and answering. There are no concealed tricks involved here. Would you agree that a lot of the words that you have put in your list quite clearly show an intention, a homicidal intent, if I can put it like that? A lot of the euphemisms used by the Nazis? A. Yes, I think that is true. Q. A lot of them are ambiguous? A. They are in the way they were used they are. They are sometimes ambiguous, yes. Q. It is really a bit of a minefield, is it not? A. Well, I think, I cannot speak about minefields. I think what an historian has to do, he has to look at each document and has to look at the context and then try to reconstruct from the context what actually the meaning of this, of this passage might be. Q. But is not the danger there that you then come back using our pre-Ori methods, that you extrapolate backwards from your knowledge and assign a meaning to the word rather . P-25 than using the word to help you itself? A. That is the problem with all interpretations. You have to come back. Of course, you cannot analyse the word completely, you know, outside. You have to look at the meaning of the word, but always in a historical context. I am not a linguist, so I prefer to actually, as I said, to look at the context and to ---- Q. You speak English very well, Dr Longerich, if I may say so, and I think we are all very impressed by that and I am certainly impressed by the arguments you have put forward in your glossary. Would you agree also that the same word can have different meanings when uttered by different people? A. Yes. That is exactly why I think it is important always to look at the context because, as you rightly said, the same word could have different meanings in different contexts. Q. The same word can also have a different meaning depending on when it is uttered? A. Exactly. Q. Even by the same person? A. Exactly. Q. Or in what circumstances it is uttered? A. That is what I call the context. Q. The only two words I am really concerned with (but we will certainly look at the other words in your glossary) are . P-26 the words "vernichtung" which is destruction or annihilation? A. I said, I translate it as, I could accept this translation, but I also think in our context, I said probably the translation "extermination" is the better one or the more appropriate one. Q. Yes, well, "extermination" is a possible one, but you will appreciate it is not always proper to go for the third or fourth meaning of a word? A. I do not know what you mean by "the third or fourth meaning". If you mean the use of dictionaries, I think that is a rather mechanical way, you know, at looking at dictionaries. Of course, a dictionary offers various meanings and you have to probably go to the third or fourth meaning if the context suggested that, the context in which the document stands. So I do not think a translator or an historian would always in a mechanical way take the first meaning in the dictionary. Q. Here is a 1935 dictionary that says -- I will just check it -- "vernichtung" has only two meanings and that is "annihilate; destroy"? A. This looks rather small, your dictionary, if I may say so, and you find other dictionaries -- actually, I do not think that. Q. I have any number of other dictionaries going back over the years. . P-27 A. We can go, if you want, to the dictionaries. MR JUSTICE GRAY: I think what the witness is saying is you can swap dictionary definitions until the cows come home and no-one is at the end of it any the wiser. MR IRVING: The other word I want to look at is "ausrotten" and I am going to ask you very quickly, Dr Longerich, to take this little bundle of documents which is on the left-hand side there which I just gave you. A. I just see this for the first time, I have to say. Q. Is that the little bundle there? A. Yes. Q. Yes. I have given it to you for the first time because perhaps I can ask an interim question. When you compiled your glossary, Dr Longerich, did you have before you a number of documents from a dossier on the word "ausrotten" that had been provided by the Defence solicitors? A. Sorry, a glossary of terms of what the word ---- Q. When you wrote your glossary ---- A. Yes. Q. --- did you before you a number of documents provided to you by the Defence solicitors? A. No, I cannot actually -- I cannot recall this. I wrote this in Munich but, of course, it was holidays and when I did this, I did not have anything in front of me.
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