Irving v. Lipstadt

Transcripts

Holocaust Denial on Trial, Trial Transcripts, Day 10: Electronic Edition

Pages 196 - 200 of 215

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     Very well. Is it not a pity that the letter did
 1pointers to historical records that would have been of the
 2utmost most information and assistance to you?
 3 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      The book was published in 1996. So your letter is a year
 4late after that. I do not know which particular documents
 5you point to. If you want to provide me with a copy of
 6the letter I will comment on these points.
 7 Q. [Mr Irving]      There is a copy of the letter in the bundle which I gave
 8his Lordship yesterday. If I can summarize without
 9looking for it, it drew your attention, for example, to
10the interrogations of Rudolf Hirst which up to that point
11you had made no attempt to read in the national archives
12in Washington. You had written the book about Auschwitz
13but you made no attempt to read the verbatim
14interrogations of the commandant of Auschwitz?
15 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      May I point to your Lordship that these transcripts of the
16interrogations Rudolf Hirst were actually published in
17facsimile I think in 1970 and I did read those facsimile
18reproductions.
19 Q. [Mr Irving]      And yet there is not a trace of them in your published
20volume?
21 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      But it seems to be that as one would want to use Rudolf
22Hirst as a source, and I did not use every single word
23Rudolf Hirst said. There are much better sources than the
24interrogations. For example, his later memoirs and his
25essay on the Final Solution which he wrote in Poland are,
26in fact, places where he himself tries to put he whole

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 1thing together. Certainly the Auschwitz book was not a
 2history of what happened to the formation of knowledge
 3about Auschwitz after the war. I do not deal with hat in
 4the book. I did deal with it in this book, as you know.
 5So I do not think that you can draw any conclusion of what
 6is included in the book of what I consulted or not
 7consulted.
 8 Q. [Mr Irving]      Well, you gave very detailed footnotes indeed, did you
 9not? You are writing a book about Auschwitz and yet you
10make no reference at all to having had in front of you, as
11you say, the entire transcripts of the integration of the
12Commandant?
13 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      Mr Irving, I just want to ask you, if at a certain
14moment -- I have looked in making this book at 10,000
15documents and ultimately I used 1,000 of them in the
16book. You are not going to write 9,000 footnotes of
17actually mentioning the documents which you have not used.
18 Q. [Mr Irving]      I can sympathise with you because I am frequently in the
19same position, but sometimes there are collections of
20documents that are so important that I have to say you
21ought to have used them?
22 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      Then I am very happy I am not your graduate student.
23 MR JUSTICE GRAY:      Let me try to break into this. My
24recollection is, I am probably wrong about, is that when
25you deal with Rudolf Hirst in your report you deal with
26the interrogations as well as what he says?

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 1 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      Yes.
 2 Q. [Mr Justice Gray]      So where is this getting us? He was careless in the old
 3days. That is the worst that can be said.
 4 MR IRVING:      Careless in the old days?
 5 MR JUSTICE GRAY:      Before his report. His report takes account
 6of the integration of Rudolf Hirst.
 7 MR IRVING:      But it also addresses the point of what attempts
 8did I make to get further information. Here I have
 9written a letter to one of the world's leading historians
10on Auschwitz and the Holocaust, inviting comments, asking
11his assistance, drawing his attention to documents, in the
12way that colleages do, and Professor van Pelt says he
13never received the letter.
14 MR JUSTICE GRAY:      I can see that your sending the letter may
15have some limited relevance, but his response to it seems
16to be me absolutely irrelevant.
17 MR IRVING:      I must admit, my Lord, that in asking these
18questions I was totally unprepared for the response that
19he had not received the letter.
20 MR JUSTICE GRAY:      Even if he said he had I do not think that it
21really matters what he did or did not do. Your point is,
22as I understand it, you wrote the letter, that shows that
23you were taking trouble to get your facts right.
24 MR IRVING:      There is one residual point, my Lord, and this that
25your Lordship will remember from the expert evidence
26I think of Professor Evans, or possibly even from the

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 1expert evidence of this witness, that I am accused of
 2having concealed the Altemeyer report until the solicitors
 3for the Defendants went and investigated, and once I knew
 4that they were on the trail I therefore blurted out the
 5fact that I had it, which is of course an imputation that
 6I find repugnant and I wish to try to investigate that
 7allegation in view of the fact that I drew his attention
 8to the Altemeyer report in this letter back in May 1997.
 9 MR JUSTICE GRAY:      Then you ought to produce a copy of it.
10 MR IRVING:      Of the letter? My Lord, it was in the little
11bundle I gave your Lordship yesterday or the day before.
12 MR RAMPTON:      I think it is in J11 of your Lordship's bundle.
13 MR JUSTICE GRAY:      J11.
14 MR RAMPTON:      Yes. I do not have a J so I cannot help.
15 MR IRVING:      I think your Lordship is going to have the
16advantage on me. I can only rely on the letter as a fact
17because I do not have a copy here with me.
18 MR JUSTICE GRAY:      Yes, it is in J11. I am just going to find
19the reference to Altemeyer. I have flipped through it and
20I have missed it.
21 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      I think Mr Irving is right.
22 MR JUSTICE GRAY:      I am sure he is right.
23 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      I think he is right. Actually again I will only say after
24I actually see it, but I think that indeed I remember him,
25when I finally read the letter, since I wrote something of
26a response to it, I think he actually mentioned Altemeyer,

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 1but I do not see it either in this copy.
 2 MR IRVING:      Will you now withdrawn the suggestion that I only
 3made it known to people once it became known that the
 4solicitors to the Defendants were on the trail.
 5 MR GRAY:      That contains within it a number of assumptions, one
 6of which is the assumption they were not on the trail as
 7of May 1997. You are probably right.
 8 MR IRVING:      My Lord, the imputation is that I was going to sit
 9on that document and look at the wall and whistle until
10I realized that Mishcon de Reya had got on the trail of
11that document.
12 MR JUSTICE GRAY:      Yes, I understand what the allegation is, but
13when did they get on the trail of Altemeyer?
14 MR IRVING:      As a result of the evidence they found out about
15Altemeyer.
16 MR JUSTICE GRAY:      So long after May 1997?
17 MR IRVING:      Presumably, my Lord, yes.
18 MR JUSTICE GRAY:      I cannot find Altemeyer.
19 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      I found it. It is not numbered, but it is page 1. I do
20not know if we have the same format, 8: "Had you after
21visiting Washington", the eighth page, second paragraph.
22 MR JUSTICE GRAY:      I think I must have a different version.
23 MR IRVING:      It is the same version.
24 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]      I can read it to you.
25 MR JUSTICE GRAY:      Could you.
26 A. [Professor Robert Jan van Pelt]     

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