Irving v. Lipstadt


Holocaust Denial on Trial, Trial Transcripts, Day 3: Electronic Edition

Pages 131 - 135 of 204

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 1 A. [Mr Irving]     German SZ, things like that.
 2 Q. [Mr Rampton]     You have read it now, have you?
 3 A. [Mr Irving]     I read it and I disapprove of the translation, but we will
 4reach that moment.
 5 Q. [Mr Rampton]     We will come to that because that is over the page, but --
 6 A. [Mr Irving]     It is a tendentious translation.
 7 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     But nothing wrong with the German?
 8 A. [Mr Irving]     -- nothing wrong with German --
 9 MR RAMPTON:     I will come back, because the translation will be
10important many times during in the course of the case.
11Dr Longerich translates it at the top page 62.
12 A. [Mr Irving]     -- he is, of course, German translating into English.
13 Q. [Mr Rampton]     I know he is, but it may be, I know not, you can ask him
14when he comes to court. He had some help. His English is
15pretty good, but not perfect: "As concerns the Jewish
16question the Fuhrer is determined to make a clean sweep";
17what I suggest we do, Mr Irving, is to take out page 61
18and fortunately the German text is on a separate page.
19 A. [Mr Irving]     Right.
20 Q. [Mr Rampton]     As we go through the English you can tell me in answer to
21my questions where you think Dr Longerich has gone wrong
22in his translation.
23 A. [Mr Irving]     Yes.
24 Q. [Mr Rampton]     "As concerns the Jewish question the Fuhrer is determined
25to make a clean sweep" (German spoken)?
26 A. [Mr Irving]     Tabula rasa they say in Latin.

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 1 Q. [Mr Rampton]     Maybe, but this is fortunately in these courts we do not
 2speak much Latin any more.
 3 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     No, but it is closer actually, the Latin than
 4the English.
 5 MR RAMPTON:     Probably.
 6 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     That is the point are you making.
 7 A. [Mr Irving]     Yes.
 8 MR RAMPTON:     Yes, a tabular rasa is a blank surface.
 9 A. [Mr Irving]     So I am more accurate than yourself --
10 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     There is no distinction in terms of the sense
11of it, is there.
12 MR RAMPTON:     I do not know.
13 A. [Mr Irving]     -- does the word tabula rasa exist in English?
14 MR RAMPTON:     Yes. It is frequently used by people who do not
15know what it means, as so much Latin is. But if you wish
16tabula rasa is rather a perhaps stronger word than "clean
18 A. [Mr Irving]     Cleansing.
19 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Do you dispute clean sweep gives sense?
20 A. [Mr Irving]     Not at all, perfectly good line.
21 MR RAMPTON:     "He had prophesied to the Jews that if they once
22again brought about a world war they would experience
23their own extermination." The words in German are (German
24spoken); what do those words mean?
25 A. [Mr Irving]     Well, of course, to translate "vernichtung" as
26extermination is highly tendentious.

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 1 Q. [Mr Rampton]     Why?
 2 A. [Mr Irving]     If you look in your yellow dictionary, see what
 3"vernichtung" says.
 4 Q. [Mr Rampton]     I think I will.
 5 A. [Mr Irving]     I have no idea. I am prepared to say meaning No. one is
 7 Q. [Mr Rampton]     You do not have to say that, Mr Irving. The root of the
 8word is "making to nothing" annihilating, is it not? Let
 9us see what that says. I have very little knowledge of
10German, but it seems to me obvious, but it means,
11according to Langscheidt, annihilate, destroy,
12exterminate, eradicate-shatter.
13 A. [Mr Irving]     It is the third possible meaning and he has chosen the
14third meaning rather than the first.
15 Q. [Mr Rampton]     Did you see a distinction --
16 A. [Mr Irving]     Yes --
17 Q. [Mr Rampton]     In this context -- weight between annihilate and
19 A. [Mr Irving]     -- I am not going to put the words on the gold balance
20because this is not Hitler speaking, this is Goebbels
21reporting, am I correct?
23 MR RAMPTON:     Apparently --
24 A. [Mr Irving]     On the following day.
25 MR RAMPTON:     Unless it come from Goebbels diary?
26 A. [Mr Irving]     -- this is Goebbels diary. This is a third person report

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 1by Goebbels of what Hitler said the previous day.
 2 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     He is reporting what he recalls him having
 4 A. [Mr Irving]     Yes, so it is rather meaningless to attach too much
 5importance to the actual words contained in the diary.
 6 MR RAMPTON:     On the contrary, Mr Irving, often enough in the
 7course of your books you attach a kind of uncritical
 8credulity to the utterances of Dr Goebbels.
 9 A. [Mr Irving]     Yes.
10 Q. [Mr Rampton]     Notwithstanding he is merely reporting what somebody else
11has said. Furthermore why should -- Dr Goebbels in
12December 1941 misreport what his leader had said?
13 A. [Mr Irving]     Because if you had read my book with the assiduity that
14I am sure you have you will remember that Dr Goebbels is
15an evil little genius who is capable of lying in the most
16malicious and perverse verse way and he will translate
17every single statement through his own distorted brain.
18 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     In his own diaries?
19 A. [Mr Irving]     Yes.
20 MR RAMPTON:     Why?
21 A. [Mr Irving]     This is the way people do things. They have a tendency to
22write down things they wished they had heard. If he
23wished to heard Hitler talking about the extermination of
24the Jews, then he would prefer to use that word when for
25all we know Hitler may have used a different one. I have
26no objection at all, Mr Rampton, when you bring to me the

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 1verbatim transcripts of which there are any number of
 2Hitler actually said when he says things that are very
 4 Q. [Mr Rampton]     We do not have --
 5 A. [Mr Irving]     We should not rely on this kind of second order evidence
 6on matter of this importance.
 7 Q. [Mr Rampton]     -- you do it repeatedly when it suits your book,
 8Mr Irving.
 9 A. [Mr Irving]     You are accusing me of double standards.
10 Q. [Mr Rampton]     Yes, I am most roundly.
11 A. [Mr Irving]     I disagree. I am very careful with the criteria I apply.
12In a matter like this of such importance I look at the
13actual translations with greatest detail and if they are,
14I mean in law too you have to give somebody the benefit of
15the doubt when they are ambiguities. You certainly do not
16go for the third meaning of the word rather than first
18 Q. [Mr Rampton]     You see, you continually assume that I am using one
19document, one utterance, to prove the guilt of Adolf
20Hitler. In fact I am trying to do neither, Mr Irving.
21What I am trying to do is to suggest to you that the
22convergence of the evidence of which this is just one
23small example.
24 A. [Mr Irving]     Yes.
25 Q. [Mr Rampton]     Is that on the balance of probabilities, as though it were
26a civil case at court, the reasonable historian would say:

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