Irving v. Lipstadt


Holocaust Denial on Trial, Trial Transcripts, Day 5: Electronic Edition

Pages 126 - 130 of 187

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 1 Q. [Mr Justice Gray]     So the answer to my question is, yes, that was an
 2operation and it did have the wholesale killing of
 3Jews ----
 4 A. [Mr Irving]     It was an element.
 5 Q. [Mr Justice Gray]     --- as part of its objective?
 6 A. [Mr Irving]     It was a part of the whole, my Lord, which possibly later
 7on may then have become regarded as the whole.
 8 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Right. Sorry, Mr Rampton, just to get the
 9general position.
10 MR RAMPTON:     No, your Lordship, as so often, and I do not say
11this in any sycophantic way, just bad luck on me, has
12asked a question that I am about to ask and it has several
13times and, in a sense ----
14 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     I am sorry.
15 MR RAMPTON:     --- I am grateful, no, because ----
16 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     It saves your voice.
17 MR RAMPTON:     --- for (1) it has the reassuring effect that one
18knows the judge is up to speed with the case.
19 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     It happens occasionally.
20 A. [Mr Irving]     Mr Rampton, please do not hesitate to ask it again
21yourself and you will probably get the same answer.
22 Q. [Mr Rampton]     No, I will ask you a much, much simpler question, not that
23his Lordship's question was in the very slightest bit
24complicated. Do you accept or do you not accept because
25if you do we can go on to something else, Mr Irving, that
26hundreds upon thousands of Jews were from, let us say, the

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 1spring of 1942 and in Chelmno earlier and probably Belzec,
 2deliberately killed in Sobibor, Treblinka and Belzec?
 3 A. [Mr Irving]     I think, on the balance of probabilities, the answer is
 4yes. But I have to say on the balance of probabilities
 5because the evidentiary basis for that statement is
 6extremely weak, even now, 55 years later. The Russians
 7captured the camps, they captured the documentation of
 8many of these camps, and we are still short of the actual
 9smoking gun, shall I say.
10 Q. [Mr Rampton]     We are also short of factory buildings and such like, are
11we not?
12 A. [Mr Irving]     What kind of factory buildings?
13 Q. [Mr Rampton]     Well, Sobibor, let us take them north to south, Treblinka,
14Sobibor and Belzec were not factory or work camps, were
15they, whatever they were?
16 A. [Mr Irving]     My understand and, once again, I have to keep on
17emphasising I am not an expert on the Holocaust and I do
18not intend to become one for the purposes of this trial.
19My understanding is that those camps also had a transit
20camps aspect, that people would arrive there and they
21would be shipped elsewhere.
22 Q. [Mr Rampton]     Where?
23 A. [Mr Irving]     For example, from Mydonek -- from Treblinka they were
24shipped to Mydonek, for example. There is a ----
25 Q. [Mr Rampton]     Maybe somewhere?
26 A. [Mr Irving]     I beg your pardon?

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 1 Q. [Mr Rampton]     Maybe somewhere.
 2 A. [Mr Irving]     60,000.
 3 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Very late on, I recollect, is that right?
 4 A. [Mr Irving]     May 1943, my Lord, the Jews from the Warsaw ghetto,
 5according to the standard work by the Soviet historian,
 6Grossmann, published very early in the war, they had the
 7access to the records in Mydonek. They traced 60,000 Jews
 8from the Warsaw ghetto who had been sent to Treblinka and
 9then sent off to Mydonek. This kind of thing happened and
10one wonders how often where we do not have the records of
12     But I have to state that I am not an expert on
13this, and I am willing to go along with any hypothesis
14that Mr Rampton can ----
15 MR RAMPTON:     No, not an hypothesis. I want to know what you
16accept and what you do not accept. If you accept, on a
17balance of probabilities, that Operation Reinhard, whether
18it had other aspects to it or not, was a killing operation
19in the course of which hundreds of thousands of Jews were
20deliberately killed by the Nazis, we can close this
21chapter and go on to something else.
22 A. [Mr Irving]     No, I do not accept that. I say the that Operation
23Reinhard was frequently something very definitely only a
24sub-operation. It was the looting part, the looting
25element, and the recycling element, which is where the
26name originally came from.

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 1 Q. [Mr Rampton]     I am getting terribly confused. I sometimes feel that
 2either I am not asking the right question or ----
 3 A. [Mr Irving]     This is partially the reason for the secrecy that was
 4attached to the people operating in it. They were
 5required to sign these forms saying they had not seen the
 6looting going on and the stealing going on.
 7 Q. [Mr Rampton]     I am confused. I had asked you a couple of minutes ago
 8whether you accepted, on the balance of probabilities,
 9that in Treblinka, Sobibor and Belzec whether you accepted
10that hundreds of thousands of Jews were deliberately
11killed by the Nazis and I thought you said yes.
12 A. [Mr Irving]     Yes, but then you tried to say this was Operation Reinhard
13and that I do not go along with.
14 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Does the label matter in the end, really?
15 A. [Mr Irving]     I do not think so.
16 MR RAMPTON:     No, of course it does not. One sees a document
17saying whatever it is, 100,000, it does not matter what it
18is, and then one sees a document saying "greater secrecy"
19and then one has the concession from the witness, that is
20the end of that story, so it seems to me?
21 A. [Mr Irving]     It is not a concession, Mr Rampton. It is a simple
22statement of fact on the balance of the evidence, balance
23of possibilities.
24 Q. [Mr Rampton]     Does it matter what the means of killing were?
25 A. [Mr Irving]     Well, apparently it does because apparently we are going
26to waste a lot of our time over the coming weeks looking

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 1at certain buildings.
 2 Q. [Mr Rampton]     Can I read something that you said -- you can look at it
 3in a moment -- on 21st May 1989 in a letter to somebody
 4called Zitelmann?
 5 A. [Mr Irving]     Dr Reine Zitelmann, a West German historian, yes.
 6 Q. [Mr Rampton]     You wrote this: "As for what did unquestionably happen to
 7the Jews, the CSDIC report, of which I also enclose a
 8copy, shows with reliability beyond question the manner in
 9which the killings occurred, that is to say, shooting"?
10 A. [Mr Irving]     That is, of course, the Bruns Report which I have just
11sent to yet another historian.
12 Q. [Mr Rampton]     Exactly. "Random, haphazard, criminal in nature,
13occurring without Hitler's knowledge and immediately
14forbidden by him when he learned of them but going
15unpunished by him too."
16 A. [Mr Irving]     I still stand by that statement today.
17 Q. [Mr Rampton]     So, although it was hundreds of thousands of people that
18were killed in these three small villages in Eastern
19Poland, it was wholly random; is that right?
20 A. [Mr Irving]     If it had been systematic to the degree that you are
21hoping to establish, industrialised, shall we say, it
22would have been done by far more ruthlessly efficient
23means with all that efficiency we come to associate with
24the German name.
25 Q. [Mr Rampton]     That means we will have to look at some of the documents.
26I had hoped to avoid that.

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