Archive/File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day025.12 Last-Modified: 2000/07/25 Q. Yes, but I think somewhere else in your report you admit that we know virtually nothing. We still do not find any . P-148 orders about extermination -- I do not want to turn up the actual page, but I could, I suppose, find it, I have flagged it -- and it struck me as odd that here we are, 55 years down the road, and we are still floundering in some respects. That is page 46, paragraph 16. Let us go briefly back to there where you admit that we do not know the answers. So do we know much more than we did in 1960? A. Well, we have a lot more evidence. Q. The state of contemporary research does not give sufficient evidence, you say, and here we are at the beginning of the 21st century? MR JUSTICE GRAY: No, no, I think that is taking, if I may say so, that particular little section right out of context. A. Yes. I am referring here to the question whether the deportation of Jews to the East was at this time already a matter for the plan. What I am saying, I do not know. The research does not allow us to make such a statement. MR IRVING: So there are lots of areas where we still, even after 60 years, cannot make a firm statement. A. That is due to the fact that many of these decisions, you know, were done obviously orally between, you know, Hitler and Himmler. The Nazis systematically tried to destroy the files concerning this question. As far as the files are survived, they are scattered around Europe. We actually have only access to Eastern European archives . P-149 since a couple of years, so it is... Q. Is that not a bit of a cop out, if I can use a phrase, to say that the files have been destroyed and it was done verbally between Hitler and Himmler? Is it not a bit of an ausflugt? A. No. Himmler said it himself in the speech. This is history which has not been written and will never be written. So they tried systematically to destroy the evidence and to mislead the following generations about ---- Q. Having said that, he then had the speech printed in numerable copies and shown to every member of the SS General Staff? A. I replied this yesterday. It was not, it was a secret speech. It was not planned to publish it. It was just to have a copy available for internal use. Q. Page 53, paragraph 1.3, please? We looked at this document once or twice already. Do you agree that the approval for the mass killing came from Heydrich and Himmler, and that there is no evidence that Hitler himself approved of this operation or, indeed, was even informed of it? A. I have only can refer to this document and if you read the document, it is only a reference to Himmler. Q. Yes. A. And to Heydrich, of course. . P-150 Q. And that if there had been these verbal discussions between Himmler and Hitler that you refer to, this is the kind of place you would have expected to find reference to it between ---- A. Not necessarily. Q. But if there had been general knowledge, and one can assume that Gauleiter Greisler who has carried out this special treatment of 100,000 Jews must have been wondering at the back of his mind, "Is it OK what I am doing?" that Himmler passed on to him the word, "Well, I have cleared it with the boss"? A. Well, Greisler obviously no difficulties to carry out this task. He did not ask for this kind of approval and you know that there were very rules about secrecy, and it was not every -- it was not always necessary to mention the name of Hitler in this or to call upon the authority of Hitler in this ---- Q. Well, you say so, Dr Longerich, but, of course, Gauleiter Greisler, as a Gauleiter, formally came under Hitler, did he not, so where was Hitler in this equation? Here is Greiser dealing direct with Himmler, saying, "I have done what you and Heydrich have authorized", and there is no mention of Hitler in the document? A. No. There is no mentioning because Greiser was quite prepared to carry out this, to carry out this task and he assumed that Himmler had the authority to ask him to do . P-151 so. Q. Do you agree that Hitler did not order this operation then, that the operation was ordered by Himmler and Heydrich, as the document says? A. I have no written evidence that Hitler ordered this particular operation to kill these, to kill 100,000 in the Warthegau area. Q. If somebody says precisely the words you have just used, would that make them a Holocaust denier? A. Not this one sentence, no, of course not. Q. The next page, please, paragraph 2.3, are you able to identify any document in support of your assertion that two districts were to take the lead in the implementation of the Final Solution? A. Well, this is mainly, if you look at the, if you look at the history of the two extermination camps, at the two extermination camps, Belzec, if you look at the history of the extermination camp, Belzec, and if you look then, if you go a little bit further, if you do not stop here, and if you go a little bit further and look into spring 1942 and look at the deportation, what happened, then it is quite clear that Belzec was particularly built for the killing of the Jews who are labelled non-fit for work in the district of Belzec and to a certain extent in the district of Galicia. Q. So once again you are extrapolating backwards from what . P-152 happened to presume an order ---- A. Yes, but that is something that if you do not have a complete, if you do not have a complete documentation, this is what historians sometimes have to do. They have to draw conclusion what, you know, actually from the following sequence or they have to go back a little bit. Q. That is what I have been saying for some weeks, in fact, and obviously we share the same kind of methods ---- A. I am not sure about that. Q. --- we do not always come up with the same conclusions. Paragraph 2.4, the only sources that you quote for your assertions about the events in East Galicia are the testimony rendered in the 1968 trial and a secondary work Ostgalizien by Pohl? A. This is a dissertation published three years ago by a colleague I know very much and I know very closely and, I mean, I follow ---- Q. Just like Gerlach, the same kind of thing? A. And this is a first case study about the killing of the Jews of Eastern Galicia. There is a second book written at the same time which came to the same conclusion written by Zan Kuhlack, and I think I do not have to go to the local archives in Galicia to prove that the Nazis killed the Jews of Galicia. It is quite evident. These books have been reviewed. These people have to confront colleagues' criticism and conferences. I attended those . P-153 conferences and I am of no doubt about their academic qualifications, and I do not have to present, I think, always first-hand evidence or documentary evidence for something which is commonly acknowledged among historians and is not disputed. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Do you dispute this, Mr Irving? Do you say that this all made up by somebody? MR IRVING: Well, the question I was going to ask is precisely what he just answered. Is he able to identify any documentary evidence in support of his allegations or is it all second-hand? MR JUSTICE GRAY: No, but would you answer my question? Are you disputing that these indiscriminate killings in Galicia took place? MR IRVING: Not in so many words. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Well, then let us move on. MR IRVING: The purpose of asking these questions, of course, is to establish, my Lord, the sometimes rather threadbare evidence that this report is based on. MR JUSTICE GRAY: But there is no point in saying evidence for a proposition is threadbare if you accept the proposition. MR IRVING: Well, I am accustomed to working with original documents rather than with secondary and tertiary sources. MR JUSTICE GRAY: It would not make any difference if you had the original documents because you accept what they show. MR IRVING: 2.6, Dr Longerich, once again are you able to . P-154 identify any document that records what Himmler and Globocnik discussed at their meeting on October 13th, other than, presumably, the Dienstkalender? A. Yes, it is in the Dienst calendar, you have it in front of you probably. Q. They were just talking about the einfluss der Juden, I suppose, or something like that? A. Yes, and then there is the BBC file of Globocnik and there is a very interesting exchange of letters, and you can come to this conclusion if you read through that. Q. And on the basis of those two sources, you then say: "It is presumably at this meeting that Globocnik received the assignment to build the Belzec extermination camp"? A. Just one second, well, we know that they met and we know that Globocnik from the internal correspondence of his office in Lublin, we know that he was looking for more radical solutions for the Jewish question. Then he met Himmler and after that they started to build the extermination camp of Auschwitz. This is a typical, I mean, in this field we have to rely, what we are trying to do, we are trying to reconstruct the history of the decision-making process. This means that because the evidence is sometimes or is sometimes fragmented, we have to put together pieces and have to draw conclusions from that. Q. Yes. . P-155 A. So it is not so easy, you do not have the daily or the weekly records of the conversations between Himmler and Hitler about the Holocaust. We have to use these bits and pieces and put it together and to come to our conclusions. Q. Very interesting. A. Of course, I made here, of course, these kind of reservations when I am not absolutely sure that they decided this day, it is an assumption based on documentary evidence that they probably at this day as I think made the decision to build an extermination camp for the district of Lublin which then existed, and there were people killed in this extermination camp which I think is also part of the evidence. Q. Now just a minor diversion here. Am I right in saying it is a perfectly reasonable process as historian or writer you get fragmentary documents, sometimes only half a line, sometimes a scrap of handwriting. You add your own knowledge, you add your experience, the 30 years you have worked in the archives, your general body of information, and on the basis of that you try to represent, in as accurate and genuine a form as possible, what, on the balance of probabilities, those fragments of information mean. A. And you have to include, of course, every piece you find. You cannot neglect anything. . P-156 Q. Yes, but here you had very little that you could have neglected, because your result said it is very fragmentary, is it not? A. Sometimes these things are very fragmentary. Q. What I just described is the normal process of writing history on the basis of very scant records? A. If the record is fragmented, yes. Q. Are you familiar with the writings of Jan Karski? I will ask you about one particular one, page 56, paragraph 2.7. Are you aware of the first report that a Polish emissary called Jan Karski wrote? He gave it to the Polish government in exile early 1940, in which he described a visit in December 1939 to a transit camp for Jews at Belzec? A. Yes. A camp existed at Belzec before this. There was a large slave labour camp in Belzec before this time. Belzec was just on the demarcation line between the Soviet and the German sphere of influence in Poland. They employed Jewish slave labour in 1939 and 1940 to build what they called the Buchgraben, the fortification at the river Buch. So there was a camp there and the living conditions in the camp were quite horrid. Q. Jan Karski describes this ---- MR JUSTICE GRAY: Mr Irving, before you go on about Mr Karski, I had thought you accepted that at Belzec there were many thousands, tens if not hundreds of thousands, of Jews . P-157 killed by gassing. What is the point of putting that Mr Karski took the view it was a transit camp? MR IRVING: I am looking at the quality of the sources. I appreciate this point. We will just concentrate on the figures then. Is your primary source on Belzec Michael Tregenza article published in the Wiener Library bulletin? A. No, my primary source is the Belzec verdict in German the court. Of course I am familiar with the article. Q. It is in your footnote 259. A. Yes, it refers to it but it refers first of all to evidence from German court material. Q. So you accepted in your footnote 259 that Tregenza is reliable? A. No, I just quoted him here. The footnote is about an attempt to reconstruct the history of the setting up of Belzec. So I quoted here different statements from actually people who participated, worked, who actually built this up, and then I said in the footnote Tregenza as well confirmed the statement. He accepted the statement as a kind of additional source, but I am primarily relying on the Polish workers who built there, and who gave us evidence about the history of the camp itself. Q. Have you disregarded anything that Tregenza wrote in his report? A. I only referred, I think, to his article here. This does not mean I accepted every line that he has written about . P-158 the camp. Q. So, if he had written a number of totally absurd statements that would have implied to you that he had never been anywhere near the place? MR JUSTICE GRAY: There is no doubt that Belzec was constructed, is there? MR IRVING: Unfortunately, he is the source for one million being killed apparently? A. No, not in my report. Q. Do you endorse Tregenza's claim that more than a million Jews were killed at Belzec? A. We do not know the exact number. I think best estimations were given in the German Belzec trial. They said between 500 and 600,000 people. So I would assume that the number one million could be seen as exaggerated. I am only quoting this article one time and, if he made an absurd statement there, I would not quote the article of course. Q. If he made a dozen absurd statements, would you have quoted it? A. Please criticise me if I quote him. I think I only quoted him one once and I only quoted that he actually confirms these statements of documents which I found elsewhere. MR JUSTICE GRAY: I am sorry to keep interrupting but, if I do not understand, I may as well say so. You quote whatever he is called, Tregenza, simply for the date when the construction of Belzec started. You do not rely on him, . P-159 as I understand it, am I right, Dr Longerich, for the number killed there? A. No, exactly. Q. You rely on the German court documents for that and they give a different figure. So why are we spending a long time on whether he is a reliable witness? MR IRVING: We are going to spend a short time. I could have spent much longer describing all the absurd statements which make it quite plain that Tregenza was never anywhere near the place and that any reasonable historian, reading Tregenza's report, would have disqualified that source completely. Paragraph 2.8, page 57, your only source for the claim that Globocnik had an assignment to kill the Jews of the Lublin and Galicia districts is a secondary work again, Pohl's Lublin? A. I am stating here that Globocnik had not yet received the order to prepare for the killing of all Jews in the Generalgouvernement, so this is the key sentence here. I came to the conclusion actually by looking at the history of Belzec because Belzec was obviously too small, put it this way, to kill all the Jews of the Generalgouvernement. So I think in my attempt to reconstruct events, Belzec was first of all designed to kill the Jews non-fit for work in the district of Lublin, and in the district of Galicia, but not the killing centre for the whole Generalgouvernement. I came to this . P-160 conclusion by looking actually at the size of this installation. Q. In Belzec? A. Belzec. Q. So we do not have very much information on the size anyway, do we? We are very ill informed about it. A. Because these camps were destroyed systematically by the Nazis at the end of the war.
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