Irving v. Lipstadt


Holocaust Denial on Trial, Trial Transcripts, Day 2: Electronic Edition

Pages 51 - 55 of 189

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 1 A. [Mr Irving]     Yes
 2 Q. [Mr Justice Gray]     The way the Defendants put their case is to quote quite a
 3large number of, mostly speeches, that you have made
 4 A. [Mr Irving]     Yes
 5 Q. [Mr Justice Gray]     Usually in North America, and to say that you have denied
 6that there were any Jews killed in gas chambers at
 7Auschwitz and so on, and refer to Auschwitz in dismissive
 8terms. The first question, I suppose, is to what extent
 9you accept that you are accurately quoted. I am not
10asking you to go into the detail of it, but do you accept
11that you have said that sort of thing, in general, whether
12the quotation is accurate
13 A. [Mr Irving]     In general, those quotations are accurate, my Lord. Of
14course, I am quite unhappy about the use of word
15"holocaust" without having had it very closely defined.
16It is a very elastic expression
17 Q. [Mr Justice Gray]     You state what you understand it to mean
18 A. [Mr Irving]     The Holocaust was the tragedy that befell the Jewish
19people during World War II. I would set it as broadly as
20that. One could even set if more broadly and say the
21Holocaust was whole of World War II and that the people
22who died and suffered in that Holocaust were not
23necessarily confined to the Jewish religion, but any
24number of innocents, whether gypsies, homosexuals, the
25people in Coventry, the people in Hiroshima. I think it
26is otiose to try and define the Holocaust just the way you

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 1wish to define it in order to snare somebody, which
 2appears to be what happens in a case like this. They set
 3it as wide as they want when it is a concern, for example,
 4of taking money from the Swiss banks. I will justify that
 5statement in a moment, and they set it very narrowly when
 6they then try to snare a writer who is dangerous to them,
 7as they put it.
 8     The reference to the Swiss Bank is justified as
 9follows. I have in my files and I can produce it to your
10Lordship if you wish probably five or ten whole page
11advertisements inserted in the newspapers around the
12world, and your Lordship may well have seen them, inviting
13people in entitled to compensation for their suffering in
14the Holocaust to come forward, and for the purposes of
15that advertisement those people are defined as any person
16who was persecuted in Germany during the periods of the
17Third Reich, or in Nazi occupied territories, by virtue of
18his religion or by virtue of being a minority. He did not
19have to be in a concentration camp. He did not have do
20work in a slave labour factory. The mere fact of being
21within the frontiers of those countries justified that man
22to Holocaust compensation. That, of course, is, in my
23submission, an offensively wide description of the word
24and I think that the two line description I gave, the
25Holocaust is -- I would prefer to see it defined for the
26purposes of this court, this trial, the Holocaust is the

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 1tragedy that befell -- that undoubtedly befell the Jewish
 2people during the Third Reich, not even just during World
 3War II
 4 Q. [Mr Justice Gray]     Well, do not let us be too bothered about labels, but can
 5I just ask you this; I understand what are you saying
 6about the Holocaust being a term you could apply to the
 7World War II generally, but if you take it as meaning, for
 8the purposes of this question anyway, a systematic
 9programme of exterminating Jews, conducted by the Nazi
10regime --
11 A. [Mr Irving]     My Lord, I think the difference --
12 Q. [Mr Justice Gray]     -- can I just ask you this, do you accept that there was
13any such programme first; leave aside the issue of gas
15 A. [Mr Irving]     -- no, I do not. I think this is the defect, with
16respect, in your Lordship's definition. The systematic
17programme to exterminate the Jews is the cause, whereas
18the Holocaust, the word "Holocaust" as I would see it is
19the effect, the result, the tragedy that results. When we
20are looking at the Holocaust we are looking at the
21victims. We are looking at the mass graves. We are
22looking at the people being machine gunned into pits. The
23Holocaust in my submission is not the machinery which
24produced the result, it is the suffering and not the
25murderer, shall we say
26 Q. [Mr Justice Gray]     So I want to be clear on this, because it is obviously

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 2 A. [Mr Irving]     It is very important indeed, my Lord
 3 Q. [Mr Justice Gray]     You are saying that, yes, there were multiple shootings by
 4Einsatzgruppen and so on during the invasion of Soviet
 5Russia --
 6 A. [Mr Irving]     There was mass murders of Jews committed by Nazis in their
 7satraps --
 8 Q. [Mr Justice Gray]     -- but it was not pursuant to any systematic programme, is
 9that your case
10 A. [Mr Irving]     -- again, I would have to -- I am not caviling, but these
11are important definitions, my Lord. If the
12definition -- if by using the word "systematic" you are
13implying that the system, the Third Reich as such
14originated these massacres, then I would have to quibble
15with that. I would say that certainly at a lower level a
16system emerged and that it was systemized somewhere in the
17hierarchy; does your Lordship appreciate --
18 Q. [Mr Justice Gray]     Yes, I follow what you are saying
19 A. [Mr Irving]     -- yes. I submit that the Defendants will find it very
20difficult to suggest that it was a Third Reich decision.
21In other words an Adolf Hitler decision, which is of
22course the open water between us at present.
23 Q. [Mr Justice Gray]     Can I ask a similar question; do you accept or deny
24totally that there was any systematic gassing of Jews in
25gas chambers, whether at Auschwitz or at elsewhere?
26I know we are not dealing with Auschwitz but I think that

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 1that ought to be part of --
 2 A. [Mr Irving]     Yes, I think if we can leave out the word "systematic"
 3which is contentious, I do not deny that there was some
 4kind of gassing at gas chambers in Birkenhau, it is highly
 5likely that there was
 6 Q. [Mr Justice Gray]     -- on a solely experimental basis or --
 7 A. [Mr Irving]     That is the word I have used to give an indication of
 8scale and to give an indication of the authority on which
 9it was conducted, and, well, I leave it at that. But now
10you appreciate the reason why I am reluctant to insert the
11word systematized into that, because that implies that it
12was conducted on authority from above and that there were
13guidelines, and in some of the killings they were very
14definitely guidelines, my Lord, and I will lead some
15evidence on that later. Because Heinrich Himmler in fact
16refers to guidelines in a message he send to one of the
17commanders which has not been revealed previously
18 Q. [Mr Justice Gray]     -- do you want to add anything more in advance of
19cross-examination about the allegation that you are a
20Holocaust denier using the term "Holocaust" in the narrow
22 A. [Mr Irving]     I do, my Lord, I wish to say that if you are not allowed
23to examine components of the Holocaust as I described it,
24the tragedy that was inflicted on the Jewish people in the
25Third Reich, if you are not allowed to examine individual
26components of that and say, yes, this definitely

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