Irving v. Lipstadt


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

Pages 76 - 80 of 103

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    Fortunately, Dr Frohlich had alerted me about
 1celebrate at the end of the week. That would have been
 2unthinkable in any Western archive building.
 3     My German assistant had worked with me in the US
 4National Archives previously. We spent the first day
 5cataloguing and sifting through all the boxes of glass
 6plates and identifying which plates were which,
 7earmarking, figuratively speaking, the glass plates which
 8were on my shopping list to be read copied. Very rapidly
 9we began coming across glass plates of the most immense
10historical significance, sections of the diaries which
11I knew had never been seen by anybody else before. I was
12particularly interested in the Night of the Broken Glass,
13November 1938, the Night of the Long Knives, June 1934.
14I also found the glass plates containing the missing
15months leading up to the outbreak of World War II in 1939,
16diaries whose historical significance in short need not be
17emphasised here.
18     Given the chaotic conditions in the archives,
19I took the decision to borrow one of the plates overnight
20and bring it back the next day so that we could photograph
21its contents. I shall argue about the propriety of this
22action at a later data. I removed the plate. Its
23contents were printed that night by a photographer hired
24by the Sunday Times whose name was Sasha, and the glass
25plate was restored to its box the next morning without
26loss or damage.

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 1     The Sunday Times editor, Andrew Neil, was
 2coincidentally in Moscow at this time, and I showed him
 3one of the glass plates at his hotel, the Metropol. He
 4stated: "We really need something spectacular to follow
 5the Andrew Morton book on Princess Diana and this is it".
 6The next day, Dr Bondarev formally authorized the
 7borrowing of two more such plates anyway. So it was clear
 8to me that nobody would have been offended by my earlier
10     I returned to London and over the next few days
11a contract was formalized by myself and the Sunday Times
12under which the newspaper was to pay me £75,000 net for
13procuring the diaries, transcribing them and writing three
14chapters based on the principal extracts from the Goebbels
15diaries. The contract with the Sunday Times contained the
16usual secrecy clauses. Nobody was to learn of the nature
17of the contract or its contents or the price or the
18existence of the diary.
19     For reasons beyond my knowledge, the Sunday
20Times when it came under extreme pressure from
21international and British Jewish organisations,
22subsequently put it about that I had only been hired to
23transcribe the diaries, with the implication that they had
24obtained them on their own initiative. I was not,
25however, just a hired help. This was my project. Which I
26took to them and which they purchased, as the documents

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 1before this court make plain.
 2     It may be felt that £75,000 would have been a
 3substantial reward for two weeks work. My response would
 4be that it was for 30 years plus two weeks work. We are
 5paid for our professional skills and expertise and
 6experience and reputation, for our track record in short.
 7I returned to London with arrangements to revisit Moscow
 8in two or three weeks time.
 9     My Lord, the court will find that I have
10stipulated, in what I believe is known in legal terms as
11an admission, that I carried with me two of the glass
12plates from the Moscow archives to the Sunday Times in
13London, informally borrowing them in the same manner as
14previously, namely those vital records containing the
151934, "Night of the Long Knives". The reasons for doing
16I have already hinted at earlier, the fear that they would
17either vanish into the maw of the German Government, or be
18resealed by the former Soviet Archives, or be sold off to
19some nameless American trophy hunter and thus never see
20the light of day again.
21     I took these two borrowed plates straight from
22Moscow to Munich to the Institute of History (the Institut
23fur Zeitgeschichte), where I knew they had a microfiche
24printer and reading machine, together with the institute's
25Dr Zirngiebel who was an expert in the archives, we
26inserted the appropriate lenses in the microfiche printer

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 1for a microfiche of this magnification, and I printed out
 2two copies of each of the 100 or so documents contained on
 3the two microfiche.
 4     There was no secrecy about this. I at once sent
 5two of those pages upstairs to the experts in the
 6Institute of History itself, and two more to the German
 7Federal Archives with the written request that they
 8formally identify these pages as being in the handwriting
 9of Dr Joseph Goebbels. This was a necessary part of the
10agreement with the Sunday Times who were being no less
11cautious than I.
12     The other principal reason that I borrowed these
13glass plates temporarily from the Russian Archives was in
14order to put them to London forensic experts for the
15purposes of authentication. I mentioned the use of
16forensic experts before. We are doing it again. In the
17same manner that others had tested the Adolf Hitler
18diaries and I had tested the Canaris diaries, the Sunday
19Times quite properly wished to have final proof that the
20glass plates were indeed of wartime manufacture. We are
21dealing after all with the KGB archives. Namely, that the
22glass was wartime origin and that the photographic
23emulsion was of wartime chemicals.
24     My Lord, the court may marvel at these
25precautions that we as non-scholars took, but it seemed
26perfectly natural to me and to the officers of the Sunday

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 1Times. After all, not only were large sums of money
 2involved, but the reputation of myself and the reputation
 3of a major international newspaper group. We wished to be
 4absolutely certain.
 5      On my return from Moscow and Munich to London in
 6June 1992, therefore, the two glass plates were sent their
 7separate ways, heavily wrapped and protected; one to Agfa
 8photographic laboratory which tested the age of the
 9emulsion in a non-constructive manner, and the other to
10the Pilkington Glassworks whose laboratory specialists
11carried out similar tests on the age of the glass. Their
12reports are part of my discovery, and these confirmed that
13the tests were appropriate under the circumstances.
14      My Lord, if I may just anticipate by a few
15paragraphs what happened to those two glass plates
16subsequently. I returned to Moscow at the end of June.
17The glass plates were brought out to Moscow personally by
18a courier of the Sunday Times. As soon as the tests on
19them were complete and handed to me standing outside the
20archives building, as my diary records, and within three
21minutes I had taken them back into the archives building
22and replaced them in the box where they have been for the
23last 47 years. This is of course a matter that is very
24much in contention, my Lord. That is why I have gone into
25it in such detail.
26      What follows is not strictly relevant to the

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