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Transcripts

Holocaust Denial on Trial, Trial Transcripts, Day 21: Electronic Edition

Pages 6 - 10 of 201

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     Well, you did leave out a little about there. Let me read
 1court that you were leaving out those four words, "though
 2mine did not".
 3 Q. [Mr Irving]      Then he continues: "It is not my fault that according to
 4the record the Austrian crisis (that is 1938) was launched
 5by Schuschnigg, not by Hitler, nor my fault that the
 6British government, according to the record, and not
 7Hitler took the lead in dismembering Czechoslovakia", and
 8so on. In other words, he is just writing what he finds,
 9even though it comes out in favour of Hitler?
10 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]      He is writing what he has argued that he found, and of
11course there is a great deal of argument about this. But
12I do not think that he would have accepted, and it is very
13difficult, that he is favouring Hitler. "Destroying these
14legends is not a vindication of Hitler", he says.
15 Q. [Mr Irving]      Then he also refers to specific episodes like the
16Reichstag fire and other controversial episodes in history
17where he claims the right to take a different line from
18that commonly or politically correctly adopted by
19historians up to that point. He says, if he does so, this
20is not necessarily to be taken as a vindication of Hitler,
21he is just doing his job as an historian.
22 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]      That is right.
23 Q. [Mr Irving]      In other words, I am not unique in my standpoint; there
24are other historians who accept, who on occasion find
25words of admiration for Adolf Hitler's military
26capacities, is that right?

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 1 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]      I really do not know. The point is, Mr Irving ----
 2 Q. [Mr Irving]      Professor Evans, you are holding yourself out to this
 3court as an expert on the historiography of the Third
 4Reich, and now you are saying you do not know if any
 5historians----
 6 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]      I imagine there are. I am not a military historian, but
 7I would accept that there are historians who have had
 8words of praise for some of Hitler's military
 9interventions, most certainly, yes, but it is not really
10what is at issue here in this case.
11 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     I think that is right, Mr Irving, is it not?
12We are really not concerned with Hitler as a military
13figure. I think I am right in saying that all the
14criticism of you relates to your writings about his, for
15want of a better word, political persona, not his military
16persona.
17 MR IRVING:     My Lord, I respectfully disagree. I think the
18allegation is that I have written a book that is an
19admiring work, a panogyric.
20 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Yes.
21 MR IRVING:     And this encompasses the whole Hitler, not just the
22bits that the Defendants may wish to seize upon.
23 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     I think it is right that they say you have
24written a book which admires Hitler, but the criticism, as
25I understand it, is of the way in which you write about
26his political activities, not his military activities.

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 1Mr Rampton, is that right as a very general summary, just
 2so that we know where we stand?
 3 MR RAMPTON:     It may or may not be thought a good thing to write
 4a book which has elements, perhaps significant elements,
 5which are favourable to Hitler, but that has nothing to do
 6with this action. What is said here is that this book is
 7in large part an apology for Hitler, in particular those
 8aspects of Hitler's thinking and actions which reflect
 9upon what happened to Jews in Europe during Hitler's
10reign, if I can call it that. Allied to that, and indeed
11inseparable from it, is the criticism which is perhaps
12even more important, that this picture of Hitler which
13Mr Irving paints in his book is arrived at by bending and
14distorting the evidence.
15 MR IRVING:     These are two separate issues. At present we are
16dealing solely with the issue with whether it is
17legitimate for a historian to write a book which is in
18part admiring of Adolf's Hitler capabilities in whichever
19field, and this was the burden of my opening remarks to
20the court. I thought as a general matter I would deal
21with that first.
22 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     I do not think anyone is suggesting that the
23historian is not entitled to express admiration, if the
24facts and the evidence justify it. I think that is a
25historian's duty. I do not think anyone would doubt that.
26 MR IRVING:     But your Lordship is familiar with the fact that,

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 1as soon as one utters the slightest positive word about
 2"that man", as he used to be called in Tommy Handley's
 3day, one then comes under the full guns of one's enemies,
 4who say, there he is saying that he did the right thing in
 5the battle of France, or there he is saying that he did
 6the right thing over Czechoslovakia. There are different
 7opinions. Some historians take this point of view, some
 8historians take that point of view, and AJP Taylor is just
 9one example I wanted to present because he is so well
10known. No-one has suggested that he did so for any
11perverse reasons, or at any rate they no longer do so, and
12whether the reasons were perverse, or whether I distorted
13or manipulated is the second part of the argument with
14which we are now occupying the court. We will now turn to
15the Reichskristallnacht, please. I am going to ask you a
16few general questions, first, Professor, if I may.
17 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]      Sorry, I am just trying to keep my desk a bit clear.
18 Q. [Mr Irving]      Housekeeping, yes. Your researchers who were doing the
19research for you, and possibly even you yourself, made use
20of or looked into my files and the research that I had
21done when I wrote my various books from the 1970s
22onwards. Is that correct?
23 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]      That is correct, yes.
24 Q. [Mr Irving]      You looked in my files, in my collection, the Irving
25collection, in the Institute of History in Munich, is that
26right?

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 1 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]      Yes.
 2 Q. [Mr Irving]      Did you look in the equivalent collections which are in
 3the Federal archives in Koblenz?
 4 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]      I believe we did, yes.
 5 Q. [Mr Irving]      Did you also look not just at the collections of documents
 6which were in Munich but also at the collections of
 7correspondence that I had donated to the Institute of
 8History in Munich between myself and, for example, Adolf
 9Hitler's private staff?
10 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]      I think we did, yes. We looked at as much as we could
11find in the time available.
12 Q. [Mr Irving]      The time available was 18 months, is that right?
13 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]      To write the whole report, yes, of which this is only one
14chapter.
15 Q. [Mr Irving]      You had a large number of people, or relatively large
16number of people, working on your staff?
17 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]      Two.
18 Q. [Mr Irving]      It was probably several man years.
19 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]      Two. I had two people, Mr Irving.
20 Q. [Mr Irving]      Again, it was several man years in the compilation of
21these particular aspects?
22 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]      Well, not really, no, because everybody of course had
23other things to do at the same time. None of us was
24working full time on this.
25 Q. [Mr Irving]      Yes. Do you think that any documents in my collection
26would have eluded your attention, or your researchers'

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