Irving v. Lipstadt


Holocaust Denial on Trial, Skeleton Argument of the Claimant (long): Electronic Edition, by Adrian Davies

Table of Contents
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The deportation of the Berlin Jews and the Riga massacres (paras. 5.90 to 5.110 and 13.21 to 13.25)

68.It is submitted that Irving's treatment of these episodes is (1) to be preferred to Evans's, alternatively, (2) is a fair alternative interpretation of the material available to Irving.
69.As to 5.106, Gray J wrongly summarizes the evidence when he says:--  
"In relation to the entry in Himmler's log for 1 December 1941, Irving said that he misread Himmler's spidery Suetterlin handwiting: he thought he had written Judentransporte in the plural. It was, he said, a 'silly misreading'."
70.In fact Judentransport occurs in the entry for 30 November, 1941 entry, and haben zu bleiben, which Irving admitted misreading as Juden zu bleiben, on 1 December, 1941. Irving never admitted misreading Judentransport as Judentransporte.
71.Evans's criticism of Irving's explanation for this mistake cited by Gray J at 5.110 is merely one instance of Evans's gross bias against Irving, and anxiety to impute the worst possible motives to him at every turn. The misreading of Himmler's difficult handwriting in respect of the phrase haben zu bleiben as Juden zu bleiben was regrettable, and eventually corrected. Irving was the first to find and transcribe these notes from Himmler's very difficult old-German handwriting, using barely legible photocopies in the 1960s. He inevitably made numerous errors of transcription. Others have since gone over the same notes and polished and refined the transcriptions. The excision of this sentence from the text has made no difference to the thrust of Irving's argument that there was a direct connection between Hinamler's arrival at Hitler's HQ on 30 November 1941 and his telephone call to Heydrich, ordering a halt to the liquidation of the Berlin Jews.
72.Turning to this point at 13.21, Gray J says:--
"The second criticism (which is more important for the purpose of this case) is that Irving is in error when he claims that the   instruction not to liquidate the Jews on that transport emanated from Hitler. There is no evidence that Hitler 'summoned' Himmler to his headquarters and 'obliged' him to telephone to Heydrich an order that Jews were not to be liquidated."
73.The sequence of events established by Himmler's agenda and telephone log is as follows. Himmler went to Hitler's headquarters in East Prussia on the morning of 30 November 1941, and "from the bunker" spoke at 1.30 p.m. by telephone to Heydrich, forbidding the liquidation of the trainload of Jews from Berlin. Himmler certainly saw Hitler either before or after this telephone call. Evans's claim at 5.104 that there were "several" bunkers at Hitler's HQ was refuted on the spot by Irving: Evans admitted that his map of the HQ was from 1944, after extensive bunker construction had taken place. Gray J makes no reference to Evans's poor methodology on this issue.
74.As Irving has recorded in many books, the trainload of Berlin Jews had however already been liquidated on arrival in Riga at around 9 a.m. on the morning of 30 November 1941. The culprit, SS Obergruppenführer Jeckeln, was severely criticised by Himmler (in a message intercepted by British codebreakers on 1 December 1941) for arbitrarily and disobediently exceeding the guidelines laid down by Hammier and the Reichssicherheitshauptamt (Heydrich):--
"SS Obergruppenführer Jeckeln. The Jews being out placed to Ostland [the Baltic states] are to be dealt with only in accordance with the guidelines laid down by myself and/or by the Reichssicherheitshauptamt on my orders. I would punish arbitrary   and disobedient acts. (sgd) Himmler." See Day 3 13 January 2000.
75.That same day Himmler summoned Jeckeln to East Prussian HQ by a second code signal; Jeckeln presented himself at HQ on 4 December 1941, and was reprimanded. The killings of German Jews immediately stopped for several months. All the expert witnesses agreed that this was the documented sequence.
76.It is accordingly the primary and most reasonable inference that there was a very direct connection between Himmler's arrival at Hitler's HQ and his sudden telephone call to Heydrich, ordering a halt to the liquidation of the Berlin Jews.
77.As to 5.94, Irving was entitled heavily to discount Wisliceny's ex post facto guess work. Wisliceny (a mass murderer, who was hanged after the war for his crimes) is speculating when he expresses his conviction that in late 1941, Hitler had "ordered the biological annihilation of European Jewry".
78.5.120: Here the mathematics are out. As Irving stated in evidence, and Evans agreed, a pit of those dimension would hold at most 1,500 corpses (not 7,000). Bruns stated there were "two or three" such pits. A pit three metres wide cannot be dug deeper than two metres, unless shored up, which these pits were not.
79.At 13.24 Gray J says of Irving's treatment of Bruns' evidence:--  
"An objective historian is obliged to be even-handed in his approach to historical evidence: he cannot pick and choose without adequate reason."
80.Leaving aside the conduct of the Defendants' experts, who throughout dismissed whatever they did not like as euphemism, falsehood, forgery, self-serving or neo-Nazi, etc., the reason (which Gray J does not state) was simply that for the first part of Bruns's statement (mass shootings are to stop) there was contemporary corroborative evidence, for example the signal from Himmler, and the fact that the shootings did stop for many months. For the second part, the suggestion that: "the shootings are to continue more surreptitiously, Irving had not discovered a shred of corroborative evidence.
81.As to 5.126, Irving's translation is taken word for word from the original Weidenfeld edition of Hitler's Table Talk (ed. Hugh Trevor Roper). Irving pointed out to Gray J that the Trevor Roper edition was not a slavish translation of the original German text, which only became available years later. The last sentence of this paragraph should be read in this context.
82.At 5.148 Gray J observes:--
"But he accepted, with some reluctance, that it does establish that Hitler authorised the liquidation of Jews in the East as if they were partisans."
83.This is a seriously inaccurate summary of Irving's evidence. Irving adhered to the view that the correct rendering of the German wording   was that (certain unidentified) Jews were to be liquidated as partisans, not like or as if they were partisans.
84.Re 5.185: Hitler's adjutants was interrogated in 1945/46 et seq. on precisely this knowledge by the Allied interrogators, and their response was the same.
85.Re 5.193: Gray J fails to take into account the compelling argument that in their own private notes Himmler, Bormann and the other leading Nazis had no need to use euphemisms.
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