Irving v. Lipstadt


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

Pages 86 - 90 of 189

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    My Lord, I aver that if I get that kind of
 1information out for the first time from a man who has not
 2even told it to his own wife, then I have succeeded in
 3extracting information, even from Hitler's Adjutants.
 4     There is another episode of exactly the same
 5character. I persuaded a man to talk to me who had been
 6the Adjutant, not of Hitler, but the Adjutant of Hitler's
 7Adjutant, his SS Adjutant. Hitler's SS Adjutant was an SS
 8general named Hermann Fegolein. He subsequently married
 9the sister of Eva Braun. Hermann Fegolein's Adjutant was
10Johannes Gohler, who lived in Stuttgart
11 Q. [Mr Justice Gray]     May I interrupt you, it is going to be helpful to the
12transcriber, who is having a fairly massive task with all
13these names if you when you mention a fresh name just
14spell it out
15 A. [Mr Irving]     I have given her a list of 5,000 names. His Adjutant was a
16man I am going to speak of SS Colonel Gohler. I will not
17bother with the accents. Johannes Gohler told me that in
18the last days of the War, in April 1945, he was present
19when Heinrich Himmler, the chief of the SS came to see
20Hitler and reported that there was a concentration camp in
21Turinier (?), probably the Buchenwald Concentration Camp,
22about to be captured by the American forces, and what they
23should they do with the inmates, because they could not
24evacuate them all in time, Gohler said to me, Mr Irving,
25Hitler said, Herr Heiss Fuhrer, stay over until the end of
26the conference. After the conference Gohler said, after

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 1the conference Hitler sat on the edge of the conference
 2table with his legs dangling and said, "Herr Himmler,
 3those convicts are to be liquidated if they cannot be
 4evacuated in time". I asked Mr Gohler about that episode
 5on three separate occasions, spread over several years
 6just to see if there were discrepancies in the different
 7versions, rather like a stereoscopic picture of the
 8episode. The narrative remained the same. You will find
 9that particular episode in my books on Adolf Hitler. That
10is an episode recounted to me by an SS officer against the
11reputation and honour of the SS and against the honour and
12reputation of Adolf Hitler, yet I extracted it from
13Hitler's Adjutants, or the person who I would certainly
14put in this category. This is what entitles me to aver
15once again that I have not failed in my duty as an
16historian in so far as the Adjutants are concerned
17 Q. [Mr Justice Gray]     That conversation, which I am bound to say I do not
18remember, is in "Hitler's War"
19 A. [Mr Irving]     Certainly in "Hitler's War"
20 Q. [Mr Justice Gray]     Cited in a way that accepts it did happen
21 A. [Mr Irving]     Unquestionably, my Lord, yes
22 Q. [Mr Justice Gray]     I am afraid I have not got that in my mind. Yes. I think
23you were on the..
24 A. [Mr Irving]     That was number 2
25 Q. [Mr Justice Gray]     Yes. That is illustrative, is it really, about what you
26are saying about that criticism

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 1 A. [Mr Irving]     Well, the plaintiff, that is myself, is tendentious in his
 2choice and interpretation of documents, rejecting out of
 3hand the greater wealth of statements. My Lord, you will
 4have noticed the subtle difference between statements and
 5documents, I am sure. Directly implicating Hitler in the
 6Final Solution and adopting as persuasive the few
 7statements exculpating Hitler without any proper
 8explanation for so doing.
 9     My Lord, in your former incarnation as a
10barrister I am sure you have also had to weigh statements
11and documents and decide which you attach more importance
12to. Documents in this connection are anything from a
13wartime document, a microfilm, a tape recording, an aerial
14photograph, a deciphered intercept, or even a building as
15document in this connection; where a statement made by
16somebody for whatever purpose, usually to exculpate
17himself and pass the blame on to somebody else, as
18frequently happened in the war crimes trials, is to be
19viewed with the utmost suspicion.
20     Statements in my submission are usually relied
21upon by people who have not got enough documents, they
22have not got enough documents because they have not gone
23out and done the fieldwork. They like using the
24statements because they fit in with their preconceived
25notions, whereas the documents like the ones I have
26I mentioned, the Schlegelberger document and the Himmler

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 1telephone notes are inconvenient. They find no
 2explanation for them. So they prefer their statements to
 3my documents, my Lord. This may seem a trite answer, but
 4it is the answer which I shall give until they come at me
 5with chapter and verse in cross-examination
 6 Q. [Mr Justice Gray]     Yes, I think this is another example of an allegation that
 7is really only capable of being dealt with by looking at
 8the individual cases relied on
 9 A. [Mr Irving]     I think the choice of words between their statements and
10my documents is not by happen chance, I think they have
11chosen the word "statement" deliberately because they
12intended to put to me self-serving statements made by
13people in various war crimes trials under whatever
14conditions against the documents which I have obtained
15 Q. [Mr Justice Gray]     Yes. Now the next criticism really relates, I think, to
16mainly to the way in which you dismiss some sources which
17do not say what you want them to say
18 A. [Mr Irving]     I am sure your Lordship is also a bit baffled as to what
19they are getting at here, I am sure Mr Rampton will assist
20us when he comes to the cross-examination. If they are
21saying I do not put in adequate apparatuses in my book
22saying what sources and archives I have used there are
23several reasons for that
24 Q. [Mr Justice Gray]     I think the key phrase in that criticism is "double
25standards"; I think what is said against you is that you
26are inclined to adopt uncritically some source material

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 1because it suits your agenda, as they put it, whereas you
 2dismiss -
 3 A. [Mr Irving]     I accept -
 4 Q. [Mr Justice Gray]     -- more reliable evidence because it does not fit in with
 5your agenda
 6 A. [Mr Irving]     -- I accept that that is a valid criticism, my Lord. AGP
 7Taylor said the same to me once. He said, when you are
 8looking at the Final Solution you are asking for a
 9document, when you looking at what happened to General
10Sikorski you are quite happy to make allegations without a
11document. There are answers you can give. It is a valid
12criticism, but I am not going to say it is a "correct
14 Q. [Mr Justice Gray]     Can you explain what you mean by that
15 A. [Mr Irving]     They are entitled to make that criticism on their
16perception of the way history is written. If I take that
17specific example, that there is no document -- I point out
18there is no document showing that Hitler even knew about
19Auschwitz, whereas when I wrote about the death of General
20Sikorski in a book published in 1967 I am accused of
21having said it was probably sabotage even though there is
22no documentary evidence to suggest it was. This is
23I think an acceptable distinction because we are after all
24the victor nation; all our records are intact. We lost
25none of our records through World War II. We were not
26invaded by the Red Army; our archives were not bombed and

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