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Shofar FTP Archive File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day024.07

Archive/File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day024.07
Last-Modified: 2000/07/24

   MR IRVING:  The reason I am going through this, if I can put it
        like this, is that, if we are looking at what Adolf Hitler
        means when he says certain things or issued certain
        orders, we really need to know what the word meant in
        common usage at that time, and not what it now means at
        the beginning of the 21st century.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  We really have spent a very long time on
        ausrotten and I think we have the full rage of

.          P-56

        possibilities in mind.
   MR IRVING:  That is the bad news.  The good news is frankly
        that I am going to accept without demur that most of the
        meanings he applies to the other words, like Umsiedlung
        and the rest.
   A.   I think I have to say here that I last night found three
        mistakes in the translation.  I think I should correct them.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I think you probably should.
   A.   I know that I am responsible in the end -- I am not
        blaming the translator, I am responsible and for the
        text.  It is in point 5.9 and it is on page 14.  I think
        the term Juda must die should be translated not with
        Judaism must die, but simply with Juda must die, because
        it refers I think basically to the tribe of Juda and
        I think one cannot and should not translate the tribe of
        Juda with Judaism which has another meaning.  The same
        would apply to 6.14.  There is the same mistranslation.
        I apologise for that.  In 6.7 actually the word nicht is
        not translated, so in 6.7 it says in the indented
        paragraph in the second sentence what does die and it
        should say what does not die.  So this is unfortunately a
        mistake.  I am sorry about that.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Do not worry, that is fine.  Shall we move elsewhere?
   MR IRVING:  We are now dealing with your glossary.  I must say

.          P-57

        I take exception to the title of your glossary because
        this assumes a priori that there was such a programme to
        exterminate or murder.  Really what we are looking at is a
        glossary of terms used by the Nazis in their programme of
        persecution of the Jews, is it not?  It includes murder in
        some cases but it is all sorts of other things, is it not?
   A.   In connection with a murder.
   Q.   Yes.  You say in your paragraph 1.1 of your introduction,
        that the Nazi regime avoided speaking of the murder of
        European Jews by name, in other words they did not like
        saying it.
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   Do you not yourself say in your report, I think it is
        round about paragraph 4.3.1 that the Einsatzgruppen
        reported quite frequently in most glowing terms of the
        killings they were carrying out and they made no bones
        about what they were doing?
   A.   I said here generally, so the Einsatzgruppen, of course
        there are exceptions and the most known exceptions are the
        Einsatzgruppen reports.  If you look into the history of
        the Holocaust, this is rather a rare example, I think.
        Historians of the events in Russia are quite happy to have
        this, if I may use this term here, this source, but
        generally you are looking at the whole system.  They were
        quite reluctant to use openly this expression.

.          P-58

   MR IRVING:  Except that it is rather odd that you should argue
        on the one hand there is this colossal use of euphemisms
        everywhere, but on the other hand everyone is talking
        about killing.
   A.   No, not everybody is talking about killing.  I made it
        quite specific.  We have some exceptions and the
        Einsatzgruppen reports are the best example for that.  Of
        course there are more exceptions, but generally, and this
        explains why we do not have more documents, we should
        imagine that an operation like this, the killing of about
        6 million people, in the 20th century we should have more
        documents on that, because it was an operation on an
        unprecedented scale.  But to explain that actually the
        number of documents is in a way limited, I am saying here
        generally they prefer not to speak about the killing.
   Q.   Yes.
   A.   So in newspapers, for instance, and things like that they
        did not announce on the first page that we are killing the
        Jews today, 5,000 people got killed in Auschwitz.  They
        tried to keep it as a state secret.  Even in the
        bureaucracy you find the kind of hesitation.  It was
        actually forbidden to use this terminology within the
        bureaucracy.  Of course there were exceptions.
   Q.   You refer to the speech by Heinrich Himmler at Posnan
        October 4th 1943 in your paragraph 1.2.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  43 or 44?

.          P-59

   MR IRVING:  It was actually 1943.  I think that is mistake in
        the report, my Lord.
   A.   1943, yes.  That is a mistake.
   Q.   That is quite an ordinary speech, is it not?
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   Why is it extraordinary in the context of what we are
        talking about this morning?
   A.   Yes, he is saying:  I also want to talk to you quite
        frankly about a very grave matter, we can talk about it
        quite openly among ourselves, but nevertheless we can
        never speak of it publicly, just to underline my point,
        just as we did not hesitate on 13th June 1934 to do our
        duty as we were bidden and to stand comrades who had
        lapsed up against the wall and shoot them, so we have
        never spoken about it and will never speak of it.  It was
        a natural assumption, an assumption which, thank God, is
        inherent in us, that we never discussed it among ourselves
        and never spoke of it.  That is I think a remarkable
        passage.  Then he is going on: "Most of you will know what
        it means to have 500 of a thousand corpses lying together
        before you.  We have been through this and, disregarding
        exceptional cases of human weakness, to have remained
        decent.  That is what has made has made us tough.  This is
        a glorious page in our history, once that has never been
        written and can never be written".  Of course, the last
        sentence is a kind of challenge for historians, I think.

.          P-60

   Q.   He is talking about the shootings on the Eastern Front, is
        he not?  He is not talking about the western European
        Jews.  He is talking about here about the killings, the
        machine gunnings into pits and so on?
   A.   I am always quite cautious.  He is talking about the
        killing of hundreds of people.  I cannot see whether he
        refers to shootings, or whether he refers to extermination
        camps, or to labour camps, I have no idea.
   Q.   As you say yourself, he says, "most of you will know what
        it means to have 500 or a thousand corpses lying together
        before you".  He is referring to the shootings on the
        Eastern Front is he not?
   A.   Not necessarily.  He could also refer to extermination camps.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  This is a speech to SS officers, is it not,
        not to the generals or anything of that kind?
   Q.   To the SS Gruppenfuhrer.
   A.   To the SS GruppenFuhrer, that is true.
   Q.   He had this speech recorded on disk, did he not?
   A.   That is true.
   Q.   Did that indicate that he was particularly concerned about secrecy?
   A.   I think the procedure was, it was not uncommon that he had
        his speeches on disk.  He would give the disks to his
        personal adjutant and Brandt, and Brandt would then write
        a good manuscript, what actually improved the wording and

.          P-61

        so on.  So I think the disk was primarily meant to be used
        for internal purposes, just to record exactly the words of
        the speech and to take it as a basis for an extended and
        improved minute.  I think it was not intended to broadcast
        the speech or something like that, definitely not.
   Q.   We had a discussion here about the script of that speech,
        the transcript that was made.
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   Are you aware that he required those who had not read it,
        or had not attended it rather, to sign a list saying that
        they had in the meantime read the speech?
   A.   It may be right.  I cannot recall this, but I think you
        are right.
   Q.   Yes.  It is in my discovery.  It is a two or three page
        list of the names of all the SS Gruppenfuhrer and they had
        been required to confirm either that they have heard this
        speech or that they have since read it?
   A.   Yes.
   Q.   Would you like to speculate from your knowledge as an
        expert on this why Himmler would have wanted to make sure
        that they had all heard the politics of the Third Reich?
   A.   One should not speculate, but it is a very long speech.
        I think it is probably more than 50 pages or something
        like that.
   Q.   Yes.
   A.   He refers to the killing of the Jews.  It might be that he

.          P-62

        wants them to share this secret with him, but it could
        also mean that he just thought it was an important speech
        and they should listen to him, and they should be aware,
        because he is speaking about the conduct of war and all
        other important issues.  So I am not absolutely sure that
        this is particularly this issue, why he is doing that.
   Q.   Let me put it like this.  Are you aware of any other
        Himmler speeches where he required those who had not
        attended to read it like school children afterwards?
   A.   I am not sure, I cannot say anything to that.
   Q.   Can you take it from me that I have never seen any other
        such list from any other Himmler speech?
   A.   No.  I am afraid I have to say it might be, but I cannot
        recall that.
   Q.   Are you prepared to suggest that there is a link between
        the fact that he made this extraordinary expose in this
        speech with the fact that he required all the SS generals
        to sign that they had now taken cognisance of it?
   A.   If I should speculate on it in this sense, yes, it is possible.
   Q.   Probably a link?
   A.   Yes.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I am not quite sure, Mr Irving, what the
        suggestion you are making is.  What are you saying that
        the reason was?
   MR IRVING:  I was just about to try and elicit this.  I think

.          P-63

        undoubtedly that Dr Longerich is an expert on these
        matters and I would be interested to hear his views.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Yes.  You are perfectly entitled to ask, but
        I was not quite sure what the suggestion was.
   MR IRVING:  Is there some suggestion that Himmler is making
        them all into accomplices after the fact?
   A.   That is a possible interpretation.
   Q.   Of something that he has done.  Is he trying to spread the
        guilt, do you think?
   A.   It is a possible interpretation, yes.
   Q.   Am I right, if I can ask a general question here, in
        saying that we are very much in the dark when we get up to
        this rarified level of Heinrich Himmler, Adolf Hitler, we
        do not really know what happened between them?  We are
        forced to speculate, depending on our own personal positions.
   A.   Yes, to speculate.  We are in a way informed speculators
        so I think we have some sources and we should always take
        those sources as a basis for our speculation.  And of
        course it is the nature of the system, the genre of
        decision making.  We know there is a record of the
        relationship between Himmler and Hitler before this time,
        so we are also allowed, I think, to draw a conclusion from
        this wider context.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  You have not told me what your conclusion is?
   A.   My conclusion?

.          P-64

   Q.   The question really was, we do not know much about the
        relationship between Himmler and Hitler.
   A.   We know something about the relationship between Himmler
        and Hitler.
   MR IRVING:  Specifically in this connection, am I right, my Lord?
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  It was your question I was paraphrasing.
   MR IRVING:  I am sure it would interest your Lordship too to
        know, from your own personal knowledge as an expert
        particularly on the Party Chancellery files, for example,
        is there any hint in all that huge body of, as you say,
        50,000 documents which suggests that there were intimate
        discussions between Himmler and Hitler on the Final
        Solution with a homicidal intent, if I can put it like that?
   A.   Not necessarily in the files of the Party Chancellery but,
        if I can expand on that, the sources we have relating to
        Hitler and Himmler, I would say, the most important
        document we have, is the entry in the Dienskalendar, the
        18th December 1941.  This is of course an important
        document.  We have the speeches, not only this speech, but
        also a couple of other speeches, a couple of speeches
        Hitler made to this issue.  We have a number of other
        documents which I refer to in my report number 1.

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