Irving v. Lipstadt


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

Pages 176 - 180 of 207

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 1     "When the plaintiff", that is you, "thereafter
 2prepared the German edition and subsequently revised the
 3book, he was the only historian in world to whom the
 4original German texts were made available by their
 5physical owner, namely in October 1977."
 6 A. [Mr Irving]     That is probably from the date stamp on the documents that
 7I received, yes.
 8 Q. [Mr Rampton]     I do not know.
 9 A. [Mr Irving]     Yes.
10 Q. [Mr Rampton]     These are your words. I cannot tell you whether that is
11right or not.
12 A. [Mr Irving]     Well, if I have written that, then it is right.
13 Q. [Mr Rampton]     So you have had the original in your possession since
15 A. [Mr Irving]     Yes.
16 Q. [Mr Rampton]     You could not have used it for the first edition of
17Hitler's War?
18 A. [Mr Irving]     Yes.
19 Q. [Mr Rampton]     But thereafter, knowing you, am I wrong to assume that you
20would ordinarily go back to the original when you come
21back to this table talk in later books?
22 A. [Mr Irving]     If this had been a delinquent translation I would
23certainly have done so, but the translation was not so
24delinquent that I would have wanted to interfere with
25this. I should explain that one of the reasons the
26Professor Boischott attacked me very bitterly, as you are

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 1familiar, in a 50-page attack on the book in 1977 was
 2because he could not recognize my table talk translations,
 3and for this reason I decided it was important not to
 4interfere with the original English if it was in the
 5Trevor-Roper and Weidenfeld edition because I did not want
 6to be subjected to more unfair attacks like that.
 7 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     But really public rumour is not a correct or
 8even arguably correct translation of "schreiken". It is
 9fairly elementary that, is it not? It is a common word.
10 A. [Mr Irving]     It is not so widely deviant that I would have wanted to
11tamper with the original quotation and risk exposure to
12criticism from other historians who were familiar with
13Weidenfeld text which was the only one then available. In
14the German edition of course we used the original German.
15 MR RAMPTON:     In fact you did concede, or point out perhaps
16I should say, in a speech to the International Revisionist
17Conference in 1983 that, "the German original 'is
18completely different from the published English
20 A. [Mr Irving]     Of this particular one?
21 Q. [Mr Rampton]     Yes. Do you remember saying that?
22 A. [Mr Irving]     I notice that the English translator had actually allowed
23himself to put in an entire sentence that was not in the
25 Q. [Mr Rampton]     "Terror is a salutary thing" he put in?
26 A. [Mr Irving]     That is right.

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 1 Q. [Mr Rampton]     And it is not there at all?
 2 A. [Mr Irving]     That is not there at all.
 3 Q. [Mr Rampton]     Nor is the word "plan" in the German, is it?
 4 A. [Mr Irving]     Well, I think that this is a literary translation again.
 5You are faced with the problems of doing a literary rather
 6than a wooden translation.
 7 Q. [Mr Rampton]     Mr Irving, really. It is a question of absolutely crucial
 8substance. "There is a public rumour that we are planning
 9to exterminate the Jews". That is nasty enough, but
10consider this sentence: "The public are terrified because
11we are exterminating the Jews"?
12 A. [Mr Irving]     Does he say that? I do not think he says that. I think
13that the point I am about to make when you have finished
14chasing this particular hare is to point out that what
15matters in this quotation is not whether the
16word "schreiken" is translated as "public rumour" or
17"fright" or "shock", but the fact that once again this
18document shows quite clearly that Hitler had something
19completely different in mind, and he is telling it to the
20people who are actually doing it. How do we explain this
21kind of discrepancy? That is what matters in this
22document, not whether one word had been mistranslated by
23Hugh Trevor-Roper or not.
24 Q. [Mr Rampton]     It is good if the terror, fright, shock, fear, panic goes
25before "that we are exterminating Jewry"?
26 A. [Mr Irving]     This is the least important part of the document. Are you

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 1saying that if that sentence was taken out then that
 2paragraph collapses? On the contrary what matters ----
 3 Q. [Mr Rampton]     I am not saying that.
 4 A. [Mr Irving]     Excuse me, let me finish. What matters in this paragraph
 5is Hitler saying: "Let nobody tell us we cannot push them
 6out into the marshy parts of Russia", that is the first
 7part. The second part which matters is him saying:
 8"Anyway, let's leave the whole thing until the whole war
 9is over, we have enough problems".
10 Q. [Mr Rampton]     I am coming to that.
11 A. [Mr Irving]     That is what matters.
12 Q. [Mr Rampton]     Because that is not what it says either. You see, it does
13matter. It is not that it would have mattered if that
14part had been left out. It is that you wilfully used in
151991, if it is in Hitler's War, in that edition, I do not
16know, but in 1996 in Goebbels where it certainly is, you
17wilfully used a translation you knew to be rubbish,
18because it is softer in its effect than the original
20 A. [Mr Irving]     No, on the contrary. When I was writing the Goebbels book
21I would have taken Hitler's War in English as my source.
22 Q. [Mr Rampton]     Well, that is only to repeat your earlier error.
23 A. [Mr Irving]     No, not my earlier error, but to reuse the translation of
25 Q. [Mr Rampton]     But when you wrote Hitler's War in 1991 you had the
26original German, you had it since 1977?

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 1 A. [Mr Irving]     I did not write Hitler's War in 1991. I reissued Hitler's
 2War in 1991.
 3 Q. [Mr Rampton]     It is the second edition. It is much more than a reissue,
 4Mr Irving. You rewrote whole passages in that book?
 5 A. [Mr Irving]     No, I did not rewrite whole passages. I inserted a lot of
 6fresh material like the diaries of Hitler's doctor,
 7Hermann Goring's diaries, papers like that.
 8 Q. [Mr Rampton]     And the Holocaust disappeared hook line and sinker, did it
 9not? You had plenty of opportunity between 1977 when you
10got the original German and doing the rewrite of 1991
11Hitler's War to get this right?
12 A. [Mr Irving]     It was not wrong in the first place.
13 Q. [Mr Rampton]     We will stop arguing about that, Mr Irving. That sentence
14is plainly completely wrong.
15 A. [Mr Irving]     Even if that sentence is plainly completely wrong, it
16leaves the other two sentences which are the burden of
17that paragraph, namely who says we cannot push them out of
18Germany and park them somewhere nasty, and then he
19continues to say, "Anyway, let's leave it until the war is
20over. We have other more important things to do."
21 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Can we come back to the "we cannot park them
22in the marshier parts of Russia", because, this is pure
23supposition on my part, the phrase about sending them into
24the marsh looks as if it might be some sort of saying?
25 A. [Mr Irving]     That is what it looks like to me. It is rather like
26sending somebody, somebody going for a Burton, something

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