Irving v. Lipstadt

Transcripts

Holocaust Denial on Trial, Trial Transcripts, Day 7: Electronic Edition

Pages 31 - 35 of 199

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    Professor Watt, can I ask, when was this
 1unstitching done? Are you suggesting after the war or
 2during the war?
 3 A. [Professor Cameron Watt]     No, no. It was done by the political archive in the late
 420s and 30s.
 5 Q. [Mr Irving]     But not relating to the Third Reich records?
 6 A. [Professor Cameron Watt]     No, because the issue of anybody looking at them from
 7outside would not have arisen at that stage.
 8 Q. [Mr Irving]     Thank you. So, by and large, the records of entire
 9departments are there, but sometimes there are gaps where
10individual accidents happen, trucks colliding, buildings
11burned down, but then there would have been copies
12elsewhere?
13 A. [Professor Cameron Watt]     Not necessarily, no. We were helped by the gentleman
14called Leursche who had filmed a great many of the
15important documents before the originals were destroyed
16and, indeed, there was a great deal of dispute over the
17genuineness of the text of the Nazis in 1939 discovered
18that this was photostat.
19 Q. [Mr Irving]     How safe is it to draw negative conclusions in the way
20that I sometimes do (if I may ask a leading question) on
21the basis of the fact that there is in the body of
22documents now existing 55 years later, after we have
23access to just about everything, including the Bletchley
24Park intercepts which are enormous, how safely can one say
25because there is not a document there, in your expert
26view, Professor Watt, would it be perverse to say the fact

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 1that there is no such document after 55 years, it would be
 2perverse to say that, therefore, this document probably
 3did not exist?
 4 A. [Professor Cameron Watt]     I think there are two problems with that argument. One is
 5that the range of the destruction is something which we
 6cannot know because Nazi principles of registration of
 7documents were, to put it mildly, somewhat amateurish.
 8Secondly, the distribution of documents within the offices
 9over which the Nazi amateurs had taken control was very
10peculiar; and, thirdly, as with other major leaders of
11other countries at that time, there are periods in which
12they did not confide their thoughts to anybody else, or to
13anybody else who might have recorded them.
14     That was, I think, the reason why the first
15sight or the first news about the Hitler diaries, alleged
16Hitler diaries, was for a moment so uplifting a piece of
17information. I came to hear about it when I had just come
18back from Finland and I had missed all the previous
19kerfuffle about it. My first reaction was at last
20something is going to fill in the gaps, but then, of
21course, I realized that it was not.
22 Q. [Mr Irving]     Professor Watt, you are familiar with the way the German
23documents look, Civil Servant documents. They had a kind
24of standard layout, did they not?
25 A. [Professor Cameron Watt]     Those that came from professional offices, yes.
26 Q. [Mr Irving]     How would you classify the SS in this respect? Would the

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 1documents of the SS that came into Abteilung in
 2Langswei ----
 3 A. [Professor Cameron Watt]     I think there it depended very largely whether the SS man
 4concerned was a trained bureaucrat or not.
 5 Q. [Mr Irving]     There was actually a Civil Service regulation, a manual,
 6I believe, on how documents had to be laid out, the
 7reference number, the address, the location of the address
 8list, and so on?
 9 A. [Professor Cameron Watt]     That is true, but there was also a very, the sort of macho
10SS type who says, "Do not bother me with all this
11nonsense". So that one cannot, I think, read anything out
12of this one way or another.
13 Q. [Mr Irving]     Are you familiar with German security classifications?
14 A. [Professor Cameron Watt]     Yes, up to Top Secret and so on, yes.
15 Q. [Mr Irving]     If a document is marked "Vertraulich", is that round about
16the lowest security classification, "Confidential"?
17 A. [Professor Cameron Watt]     I suppose so, yes. It is somewhere between "Restricted"
18and "Confidential" in the British classification.
19 Q. [Mr Irving]     We will stick to the British classification because the
20American classifications are different, are they not?
21 A. [Professor Cameron Watt]     Yes.
22 Q. [Mr Irving]     For example, American "Top Secret" is our Most Secret. If
23we go up the next rung in the ladder "Geheim"?
24 A. [Professor Cameron Watt]     "Geheim" is" Secret.
25 Q. [Mr Irving]     The one above that, we then divide?
26 A. [Professor Cameron Watt]     "Streng geheim", "hochts geheim". The problem with that

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 1kind of document is exactly the same as one has in the
 2British system, that there is a tendency to overclassify
 3simply to emphasise the importance of the individual and
 4of the post that he has occupied. It is not a very good
 5guide.
 6 Q. [Mr Irving]     If you were to be shown a document in which the
 7classification "Geheim" had been upgraded manually to
 8"Geheim Kommandosache"?
 9 A. [Professor Cameron Watt]     Yes.
10 Q. [Mr Irving]     Then that would apply that somebody attached importance to
11the increased security rating?
12 A. [Professor Cameron Watt]     It would certainly imply that somebody did, yes.
13Whether ----
14 Q. [Mr Irving]     Conversely, if somebody had crossed out the
15"Kommandosache" and left it just as "Geheim", that would
16imply that they thought it was overclassified?
17 A. [Professor Cameron Watt]     That is certainly true.
18 Q. [Mr Irving]     And this would indicate that the person who wrote that
19document did attach importance to security
20classifications; he was being pernickety?
21 A. [Professor Cameron Watt]     Either that or he was engaged in a feud with the person
22who had first put the original grade on. I do not think
23you could arrive at any distinct generalization without
24looking at the document concerned.
25 Q. [Mr Irving]     There is a parting of the ways, is there not, in this top
26security classification of Geheim Kommandosache on the

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 1Army documents, roughly speaking, and Geheim Reichsache on
 2the political documents?
 3 A. [Professor Cameron Watt]     Those were classifications which go back before the Nazi
 4period, yes.
 5 Q. [Mr Irving]     But normally you find Geheim Reichsache --
 6R-E-I-C-H-S-A-C-H-E ----
 7 A. [Professor Cameron Watt]     Yes, that would be -- certainly if one found that from the
 8Wehrmacht(?) period, one would regard that as the top
 9classification.
10 Q. [Mr Irving]     Then there another one on top of that which is "Nur durch
11offizier", "Only by officer's hand"?
12 A. [Professor Cameron Watt]     No. That is an instruction as to how the documents should
13be handled. It is a bit like the -- there are very
14similar classifications in the British and it has to do
15with the handling of the document in transition, not with
16the actual -- I would have expected to find "Nur durch
17offizierhande" on a document which was already classified
18as "Geheim" or "Hochstgeheim" or "Sprengheim" or one of
19the classifications of ...
20 Q. [Mr Irving]     One of the highest -- "hochstgeheim" is H-O-C-H-S-T?
21 A. [Professor Cameron Watt]     Yes, that means "Highest Secret".
22 Q. [Mr Irving]     Very rare. I have to admit, I have not seen that. To our
23surprise, we found another secret classification,
24Professor Watt, in the last day or two, on some of the
25documents, "AR". We have come to the conclusion, I think,
26although this speaks against me, that this is the

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