Irving v. Lipstadt


Holocaust Denial on Trial, Trial Transcripts, Day 13: Electronic Edition

Pages 101 - 105 of 186

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    This is before he has been supplied with a copy of
 1a copy, as a matter of fact, was it not, Mr Irving? It
 2was not an original copy?
 3 A. [Mr Irving]     It was the fourth or fifth carbon copy, yes.
 4 Q. [Mr Rampton]     But it was typed out by Frau Grosse?
 5 A. [Mr Irving]     If we are going to look at a letter as prejudicial as this
 6I think we should see the entire letter and not just the
 7sentences that Miss Rogers has picked out. Your Lordship
 8will remember that at this time, I said in my opening
 9speech at this time Mr Kimber was knee deep in the
10Auschwitz trial, the Dr Dering trial, and he was in a very
11sensitive and raw state.
12 Q. [Mr Rampton]     Let us see what was published in your William Kimber book
13first of all, Mr Irving.
14 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Tab 3, page 1, is that right?
15 MR RAMPTON:     Yes. I take it you take responsibility for what
16appears in your books, do you? Or are you going to tell
17me this was put in by some sub-editor?
18 A. [Mr Irving]     You probably know what I am going to say then, do you
20 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Can you let me in on this?
21 MR RAMPTON:     I am just going to read out what you wrote.
22 A. [Mr Irving]     What I wrote or what was published?
23 Q. [Mr Rampton]     Mr Irving, come on, let us have a nice gentle read of it
24together: "Now if a trifle belatedly in the weeks after
25the American and British destruction of Dresden, Dr
26Goebbels was also discovering the use to which bombing

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 1propaganda ..."
 2 A. [Mr Irving]     I do not know where are. What are we looking at?
 3 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     L1, tab 3, page 1.
 4 A. [Mr Irving]     Yes.
 5 MR RAMPTON:     In the middle of the page under, "They shall reap
 6the whirlwind" - "Now if a trifle belatedly in the weeks
 7after the American and British destruction of Dresden,
 8Dr Goebbels was also discovering the use to which bombing
 9propaganda could be put. At the beginning of fourth week
10in March he set in motion a cleverly designed campaign of
11whispers calculated to galvanize the German people into a
12last horrified stand against their invaders. For this
13purpose he appears deliberately to have started a rumour
14about the death roll in Dresden wildly exceeding any
15figure within the realms of possibility. On 23rd March a
16Top Secret order of the day, Tagesbefehl, was leaked to
17certain Berlin officials would could be relied on not to
18keep their tongues still." And it read: "In order to
19counter the wild rumours circulating at present, this
20short extract from the final report of the Dresden Police
21President on the Allied raids on Dresden of 13th to 15th
22February 1945 is reproduced: 'Up to the evening of 20th
23March 1945 altogether 202,040 bodies, primarily women and
24children, were recovered. It is expected that the final
25death roll will exceed 250,000. Of the dead only some 30
26per cent could be identified. As the removal of the

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 1corpses could not be undertaken quickly enough, 68,650 of
 2the bodies were incinerated. As the rumours far exceed
 3reality, these figures can be used publicly."
 4 A. [Mr Irving]     That is what I wrote in 1962. Yes, I wrote that.
 5 Q. [Mr Rampton]     I am going to finish it: "It was characteristic of the
 6highly advanced national and socialist propaganda experts
 7that they did not try to spread this figure through public
 8press announcements, but by means of this apparently
 9indignant denial of an exaggerated rumour. All
10responsible authorities placed the Dresden death roll
11considerably below this figure. Neither the Dresden
12Police President nor his report on the air raids survived
13the end of the war, the President dying by his own hand
14and the order never having been referred to outside this
15spurious order of the day."
16     Now that was the position in 1963, Mr Irving?
17 A. [Mr Irving]     1962, yes.
18 Q. [Mr Rampton]     1962. You received a copy of a copy, not even a
19photographic copy, but a typewritten copy of a
20pre-existing document in Dresden in November 1964.
21 A. [Mr Irving]     Yes. So this was not ----
22 Q. [Mr Rampton]     By which time ----
23 A. [Mr Irving]     But this passage is not based on the document of course.
24It is based on ----
25 Q. [Mr Rampton]     By which time you had on a number of occasions, quite
26properly, asked yourself whether the document was

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 1authentic and, more particularly, which is what matters,
 2whether the figures were reliable. You had yourself
 3raised the possibility in your introduction to your
 4memorandum of November 1964 that there might Nazi
 5propaganda, had you not? What was it, I ask you, that had
 6happened to eliminate that proper doubt about the
 7reliability of the figures by the time you wrote to the
 8provost of Coventry at the beginning of December 1964?
 9 A. [Mr Irving]     Right. Taking it in sequence, this passage which is in
10the book which I wrote in 1962 and was published on April
111st 1963, was based, to the best of my recollection, on
12the version of that document given in the book by Max
13Seydewitz, the Mayor of Dresden, who was, as I mentioned
14earlier, he was a leading Communist party official. So
15I accepted what he said in that book about the probable
16origins and motivation of the circulation of that document
17by the Nazis at the end of World War II.
18     In November 1964, as we see from Professor
19Evans' report, he has found among my papers a memorandum
20I wrote on my visit to Dresden where I obtained a copy, a
21carbon copy, a fourth or fifth carbon copy of the actual
22document, coming from a provenance where you would expect
23such a document to emerge, namely the Chief Medical
24Officer of Dresden from whom Dr Walter Hahn, the
25photographer Walter Hahn, had obtained it. This clearly
26gave me food for thought that this document which had been

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 1mentioned dismissively by the Communist Mayor of Dresden
 2apparently did exist and it is in the hands of the Deputy
 3Chief Medical Officer of Dresden who considered it to be
 4genuine. Does this sufficiently answer your question?
 5 Q. [Mr Rampton]     No. I want to know how between your receipt of that
 6document you are writing to on various occasions, though
 7of course one could not be certain that the figures were
 8right ----
 9 A. [Mr Irving]     Yes.
10 Q. [Mr Rampton]     --- thought the document was probably authentic, but you
11still thought that the figures might be unreliable.
12 A. [Mr Irving]     Yes.
13 Q. [Mr Rampton]     You said as much in the memorandum you wrote about this
15 A. [Mr Irving]     Yes.
16 Q. [Mr Rampton]     How it was that that doubt about the reliability of the
17figures had evaporated apparently by the time you wrote to
18Provost of Coventry on 6th November 1964?
19 A. [Mr Irving]     I have not actually in that letter to the Provost of
20Coventry said there is no doubt that the figure is
21correct. I said take the document with its shattering
22figures and use it to raise money for the cathedral.
23 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Your answer is that the document appeared to
24you to be authentic because of its provenance?
25 A. [Mr Irving]     Precisely, my Lord, and I was carrying out the proper
26enquiries at that time to try narrow, to focus in on the

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