Irving v. Lipstadt


Holocaust Denial on Trial, Trial Transcripts, Day 4: Electronic Edition

Pages 116 - 120 of 207

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    It becomes quite plain that there was a co-ordination,
 1winking going on in a degree that quite clearly indicates
 2a systematic direction going on between Berlin and the
 3Eastern Front where the killings were taking place.
 4 Q. [Mr Rampton]     I missed the last part of that answer, it ended systematic
 5direction, you are saying --
 6 A. [Mr Irving]     Systematic direction going on between the Eastern front
 7and Berlin in connection with these killings.
 8 Q. [Mr Rampton]     -- I am grateful to you. It is in this same speech is one
 9of places where you refer to the Bruns evidence, is it
11 A. [Mr Irving]     I believe so, yes.
12 Q. [Mr Rampton]     I am sorry, I am being harassed from all sides. I will
13try to make both points at once if I possibly can but I do
14not think I can. Can you turn back, please, to, where is
16 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Page 24. Are you on Bruns?
17 MR RAMPTON:     Sorry.
18 MR RAMPTON:     You were asked a question on page 23, you will
19find right hand column under "Questions": "What do we
20know about the people who are responsible for the
21massacres of Jews by firing squad in Minsk and other
22areas? How high did the responsibility go?" Were you
24 A. [Mr Irving]     Yes.
25 Q. [Mr Rampton]     And it was at that point we come to Bruns, is it not?
26 A. [Mr Irving]     Yes.

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 1 Q. [Mr Rampton]     And as I think we have been through already so I am not
 2going to go through it again, you do not when reporting
 3Bruns' evidence make any reference to the order which
 4Altemeyer said he had, which were Fuhrer orders, that it
 5should happen, nor to the qualifications and the second
 6conversation that must happen more discreetly?
 7 A. [Mr Irving]     If I read it here says, one particular Bruns described to
 8his pals in appalling detail the massacre he himself saw
 9near Riga on November 30th 1941, I am not going to read
10that out one here, so I did not read out any of it
12 Q. [Mr Rampton]     But the direct answer to the question, would it not,
13difficult for you when you said these were "Mi Li type
14massacres". This chap Bruns actually said he had been
15told it was a Fuhrer order? "But I do not think it is
16probably right" you could have added, of course?
17 A. [Mr Irving]     I think we have gone over this point in some detail on a
18previous occasion.
19 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Yes, we have.
20 MR RAMPTON:     I rather agree. I had not spotted the question
21before, that was all.
22 A. [Mr Irving]     My Lord, might I just read out ten lines of continuation
23of that particular speech, because it goes to
24how unreliable a lot of this evidence is?
25 MR RAMPTON:     Where are you, Mr Irving?
26 A. [Mr Irving]     At the top left of page 24. It is just a typical --

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 1problem we have with eyewitness evidence where apparently
 2equally credible document gives a version of a story which
 3is on the face of it highly unlikely.
 4 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Well, yes, if you want to read it out.
 5 A. [Mr Irving]     If it would be a useful exercise, or if your Lordship so
 6directed I would not, of course.
 7 MR RAMPTON:     I do not object.
 8 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     There is no objection taken, if you want to,
 9then do.
10 A. [Mr Irving]     Purely as an exercise in how unreliable evidence can be
11from prisoners of war. Here is a prisoner of war in a
12conversation on December 20th. A man called Obergaufreiter
13Till, who was captured in August 1944. He claimed to have
14been guarding the railway at Auschwitz in July 1943 when a
15train load of Greek Jews arrived. This again is an
16intercepted and overheard conversation. Till said: "The
17SS man kicked a Jewish woman who was highly pregnant. He
18kicked her right in the stomach and knocked her down and
19the unborn baby came almost out. He took hold of it
20pulled it out, threw it on the ground and told the woman
21to get up. He put that child on the truck that was
22standing there to take away the dead people to be
23burned." The British officer is then heard asking: "The
24child was dead, of course?" Till then said: "Yes, and the
25woman could not get up she was hardly dressed and he
26grabbed her by the breast. He wanted to pull her up. He

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 1just ripped her skin and everything out of her breasts.
 2There was a captain there from the army. I think his name
 3was Captain Klug. He went after that SS guy, he took him
 4by the shoulder, turned him round and said: "Are you
 5crazy to do something like that, are you not ashamed of
 6yourself?" And so on.
 7     As I comment this is the kind of rubbish that
 8gets into these interrogation reports and part of the job
 9of being a responsible writer or researcher is to sift the
10wheat from the chaff and try evaluate which ones are
11credible. It may be that this is an entirely true story,
12but on the face of it I considered it was not. That is the
13kind of problem we have, it is all very well in court look
14at documents which have been singled out by the
15Defendants, and say, look at this one, look at that one,
16why have you ignored this? As an historian working in the
17archives you are confronted with tens of thousands of
18documents and you have to make your own choice.
19 MR RAMPTON:     Yes, Mr Irving. You made a statement to -- why
20did you want to read that out, as opposed to just drawing
21attention to it, saying this is something you could not
23 A. [Mr Irving]     Why did I wish to read it out?
24 Q. [Mr Rampton]     Why did you want it read it out?
25 A. [Mr Irving]     It is self- evident. It is material of precisely the same
26quality as General Brun's eyewitness account; it comes

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 1from precisely the same provenance, from the Combined
 2Services Detailed Interrogations Centre transcripts and
 3yet we have to make a value judgment and say this document
 4I believe, that document I do not believe or this document
 5I believe this much, that portion I am less inclined to
 6believe. And on balance, as I think I explained to the
 7court earlier, when it came to Bruns' recollection of what
 8Altemeyer said about, "we have got the Fuhrer's order but
 9we are going to disregard it", I am afraid I attach the
10value to it which I consider to be proper.
11 Q. [Mr Rampton]     Mr Irving, if I put General Bruns' Report of Lieutenant
12Altemeyer's words in those terms you would have given me
13the most terrible rocket, would you not? "We are going to
14disregard it"; he did not say that at all, did he?
15 A. [Mr Irving]     I beg your pardon? Disregard --
16 Q. [Mr Rampton]     He did not say "we are going to disregard it"?
17 A. [Mr Irving]     -- no, discount certain elements of it.
18 Q. [Mr Rampton]     Yes, I see.
19 A. [Mr Irving]     Which on -- prima facie less likely than others. We can
20believe the part where he says he can see the girl in the
21flame red dress in his mind's eye because all experience
22tells us that is the kind of detail people do report.
23 Q. [Mr Rampton]     We have done it before --
24 A. [Mr Irving]     We have also dealt with SS braggarts who shoot their
25mouths off --
26 Q. [Mr Rampton]     

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