Irving v. Lipstadt


Holocaust Denial on Trial, Trial Transcripts, Day 1: Electronic Edition

Pages 36 - 40 of 103

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    If, for example, it should turn out and be
 1 "wanted the final solution of the Jewish problem
 2postponed until the war is over"; and if the document
 3recording those remarkable words has been found in the
 4German archives, it would surely be classifiable as
 5manipulation or distortion if an historian were to attempt
 6to write the history of the Holocaust without even
 7mentioning the document's existence, would it not, my
 9     The Defendants have, as said, arbitrarily and
10recklessly decided to label me a "Holocaust denier".
11Their motivation for doing so we shall shortly hear
13     My Lord, before I continue to address the court
14on this point in my opening statement, may I take this
15opportunity to read to the court, with your Lordship's
16permission, and into the record, a two-page document which
17I shall refer to over the coming weeks as the Walter Bruns
19 MR JUSTICE GRAY:      Yes, I do not see why you should not; I have
20not read it myself. This is the document you handed in?
21 MR IRVING:      It is the document I gave you, my Lord. It is an
22eye witness description. I do so because perceptions
23matter. I want at this late hour to leave a firm
24perception in the minds of all those present about where
25I stand. It is a document which first came into my hands
26some time before 1985.

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 1     I should say, my Lord, by way of introduction,
 2that this document (which is in my discovery) was
 3originally a British top Secret document. Top Secret is
 4only one rung lower than Ultra-secret; some several steps
 5above Secret and Most Secret, in other words. It is the
 6classification given to the British decoded intercepts.
 7It was top Secret because it is the record of an
 8interrogation which was obtained by methods that were
 9illegal, I understand, under the Conventions.
10     Enemy prisoners of war (in this case German)
11were brought into British prison camps, treated lavishly,
12well-fed, reassured by their relaxed surroundings, and
13gradually led into conversation, unaware that in every
14fitting and appliance in the room were hidden microphones
15capable of picking up everything. (That was the
16illegality; you are not allowed to do that under the
18     Released to the British archives only a few
19years ago were all of these reports, but I had already
20obtained several hundred of them 15 or 20 years earlier.
21I consider these transcripts to be an historical source
22which, if properly used and if certain criteria are
23applied, can be regarded as part of the bedrock of Real
25     I would say further by way of preamble, my Lord,
26that the speaker whose recorded voice we are about to

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 1hear, as reproduced in this typescript, was on November
 230th 1941, the day of the episode he narrates, a Colonel
 3in the German Army Engineers Force (the sappers or
 4Pioniere). He was commanding a unit based at Riga, the
 5capital of Latvia. He had learned to his vexation that it
 6was intended by the local SS unit to round up all the
 7local Jews, including "his Jews" in the next day or two
 8and to liquidate them.
 9     I read from this document before I do so, my
10Lord, it is of interest to see that, purely by coincidence
11and chance, Mr Rampton has picked on precisely the same
12day in the statement which I understand that he is to make
13following upon mine.
14 MR JUSTICE GRAY:      I am not quite following. Picked on the same
15day as being what?
16 MR IRVING:      The same episode and the same day as an example of
17my treatment of documents, so it is a very interesting
19     I read from the document itself. It is
20headed: "Top secret. CSDIC (UK)" which is Combined
21Services Detailed Interrogation Centre UK". "GG Report.
22If the information contained in this report is required
23for distribution, it should be paraphrased so that no
24mention is made of the prisoners' names, nor of the
25methods by which the information has been obtained"
26because, of course, it was illegal.

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 1     "The following conversation took place between
 2General-Major Bruns", his full name was Walter Bruns. At
 3this time he was at the Heeres-Waffenmeisterschule which
 4was an army school, an armament school, in Berlin,
 5 "captured at Gottingen on April 8th 1945, and other
 6Senior Officer Prisoners of War whose voices could not be
 7identified". In other words, it is a conversation between
 8this General and various other prisoners overheard by
 9hidden microphones on April 25th 1945. "Information
10received: 25 April 1945", in other words, the war is still
12     "Translation: Bruns: As soon as I heard those
13Jews were to be shot on Friday, I went to a 21 year old
14boy and said that they had made themselves very useful in
15the area under my command, besides which the Army MT park
16had employed 1500 and the 'Heeresgruppe' 800 women to make
17underclothes of the stores we captured in Riga; besides
18which about 1200 women in the neighbourhood of Riga were
19turning millions of captured sheepskins into articles we
20urgently required: ear protectors, fur caps, fur
21waistcoats, etc. Nothing had been proved, as of course
22the Russian campaign was known to have come to a
23victorious end in October 1941!" Sarcasm there. "In
24short, all those women were employed in a useful
25capacity. I tried to save them. I told that fellow
26Altenmeyer(?) whose name I shall always remember and who

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 1will be added to the list of war criminals: 'Listen to
 2me, they represent valuable manpower!' 'Do you call Jews
 3valuable human beings, sir?'" That was the answer. "I
 4said: 'Listen to me properly, I said valuable manpower. I
 5didn't mention their value as human beings'. He
 6said: 'Well, they're to be shot in accordance with the
 7Fuhrer's orders!' I said: 'Fuhrer's orders?' 'Yes',
 8whereupon he showed me his orders. This happened at
 9Skiotawa()?) eight kilometres from Riga, between Siaulai
10and Jelgava, where 5,000 Berlin Jews were suddenly taken
11off the train and shot. I didn't see that myself, but
12what happened at Skiotawa(?) - to cut a long story short,
13I argued with the fellow and telephoned to the General at
14HQ, to Jakobs and Aberger(?) and to a Dr Schultz who was
15attached to the Engineer General, on behalf of these
16people". It is a bit incoherent the way that people talk
17when they are gossiping with each other. "I told him:
18 'Granting that the Jews have committed a crime against
19the other peoples of the world, at least let them do the
20drudgery; send them to throw earth on the roads to prevent
21our heavy lorries skidding'. 'Then I'd have to feed them!'
22 I said: 'The little amount of food they receive, let's
23assume 2 million Jews - they got 125 grammes of bread a
24day - we can't even manage that, the sooner we end the war
25the better'. Then I telephoned, thinking it would take
26some time. At any rate, on Sunday morning", that is

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