Irving v. Lipstadt


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

Pages 76 - 80 of 189

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    Of course, this was incomplete because they had
 1adults, not all the adults were married. But he was able
 2to extrapolate and he kept a diary, which he also made
 3available to me. When I asked him the 60,000 dollar
 4question, I said, Dr Voigt or Mr Voigt, how many people in
 5your estimate died in that air raid on Dresden? He gave
 6me an upper estimate and a lower estimate, and he then
 7said that in his own belief the figure was probably
 8135,000. Which was the figure I then used, and I quoted
 9the source as being this man. In other words it was not a
10figure on my authority, it was a figure on the authority
11of the source. I see no reason really to depart from that
12figure because, it may sound self-defeating, I say that
13there is not much difference between 135,000 dead and
1435,000 dead. Both of them are a monstrous tragedy or
15crime, depending on which end of scale you are viewing it
16from. If you are one of those dead it hurts just as much
17if you are one of the 35,000 or one of 135,000. So
18I confess that I did not dedicate as much work to try to
19pin down the actual death roll as no doubt the defence
20would have liked me to have done, the Defendants in this
21case, my Lord.
22     But I would also submit this cannot be
23categorized as being wilful misrepresentation, or
24distortion. My Lord, you will remember that I said that
25the German police chief's document giving a different
26death figure had been found three years after I wrote the

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 1book. It was supplied to me by the East German
 2authorities, very kindly, voluntarily, and by an
 3extraordinary coincidence in exactly the same post
 4I received from the West German Government a summary of
 5the German Finance Ministry files for that week which
 6contained precisely the same figures that that East German
 7document contained, because otherwise one which might have
 8suspected this was an East German cold war propaganda
 9trick. So it was a very authentic kind of document. But
10even then you had to say the document was dated,
11I believe, March 10th 1945, less than four weeks after the
12air raid on Dresden.
13     My Lord, I do not know if you have seen the
14photographs of Dresden after the air raid. There was not
15very much left standing. The building -- the city was
16pancaked. Nobody had excavated the city centre. The
17people who were living in the old town were still buried
18in the basements where they had been suffocated or crushed
19alive. So the figure that the Police Chief gave in his
20report of March 4th 1945 could still only be regarded as
22 Q. [Mr Justice Gray]     What is the figure in the current edition of "Destruction
23of Dresden"
24 A. [Mr Irving]     Can I just complete what I was about to say, I was just
25pausing for dramatic effect. The step which I then took,
26having received this document, was as follows:

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 1I discussed it with my publisher, and I said that it was
 2an important enough document that I had to draw it to the
 3attention of the reading public immediately, and he --
 4Mr Kimber -- and Mr Kimber, God rest his soul, he said:
 5David do not do that. If you do, it will come down on
 6your head. It will reflect on you in a bad way, and I said
 7this is an important document, and I have a duty to bring
 8it to the attention of reading public, and I sent it as a
 9letter to The Times, which is in the discovery, and The
10Times newspaper published it, I believe, on July 6th 1966,
11within a very true days of my actually receiving the
12document from the East Germans, the new figures, the fact
13that there was a considerably lower death roll estimated
14by the local Police Chief. I added my reservations, the
15fact that the city was still largely unexcavated, even
16then, in 1966 and the fact that local Police Chief was in
17charge of air raid civil defence measures. So he had no
18reason to give a bigger figure. He would prefer to give a
19lower figure
20 Q. [Mr Justice Gray]     This is Mr Grosse
21 A. [Mr Irving]     I cannot remember exactly which name it was, the man who
22wrote the final report. Grosse wrote the incorrect
23report, the propaganda report, my Lord. I emphasise the
24fact that I made this immediately known to the reading
25public and not only that but at my own expense I had a
26reprint made of that letter by The Times newspaper. I had

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 1500 copies printed and for the next few years I enclosed
 2that letter with all my correspondence to other
 4     Now I do not know any other historian who would
 5have taken action like that, my Lord. He would hoped
 6nobody found out, possibly. He certainly would not have
 7gone out of the way to draw the attention of other people
 8to an error or possible error that he had made in one of
 9his own books. To find myself now, 30 years later,
10defending myself against the allegation of manipulation
11and distortion beggers description, it is repugnant, my
13 Q. [Mr Justice Gray]     What is the figure in the current edition of "Destruction
14of Dresden" for the number of deaths
15 A. [Mr Irving]     I have reduced my best estimate to the region of 60,000.
16This is the edition which is called "Apocalypse 1945" the
17destruction of Dresden because it was not until three
18years ago that I sat down and analysed that Police Chief's
19report and compared it with the Grosse Report and saw the
20obvious similarities and the obvious discrepancies and
21decided that the Grosse Report had been deliberately
22issued by the Propaganda Ministry for propaganda
23purposes. But 60,000, my Lord, 35,000, 135,000, you may
24disagree with me, but I see no difference between these
25figures, any more than somebody whose says it was not 6
26million who died in the Holocaust, it was only one million

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 1which is the kind of sentence I would never utter because
 2each one of those people being killed is a crime and
 3I consider people being killed in saturation bombing air
 4raids, although I am British, I think it is wrong
 5 Q. [Mr Justice Gray]     Do you sometimes in your books make comparisons between
 6the number of deaths caused by Allied bombing raids with
 7the number of deaths caused by Nazi bombing raids
 8 A. [Mr Irving]     I think the word "comparison" would be wrong, my Lord, but
 9I have done it in a way that possibly a journalist would,
10I have mentioned the facts in successive sentences.
11     In my very first book "The Destruction of
12Dresden", if your Lordship were to turn to the very last
13page of that book, which I have with me, and it is in the
14bundles I distributed this morning, of "The Destruction of
15Dresden", the very last page says: "That this was
16undoubtedly a terrible crime. It was a crime committed
17against a city in Germany, a country which had carried out
18the most appalling massacres against helpless citizens."
19I forget the actual wording I used, but it is in that
20book. There was that kind of comparison. I do not
21consider it to be offensive to say too colloquially "you
22did it too" and when airmen say, as I asked them at the
23time, I would ask the Bomber Command airmen who pressed
24the button and dropped the bombs, I would say to them what
25were your feelings? They said they had no feeling because
26they could not see their victims. I consider this is not

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