Irving v. Lipstadt

Transcripts

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

Pages 96 - 100 of 186

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    Obviously, it is of some importance to determine,
 1whether the 202,040 figure is itself an accurate and true
 2detail or whether it was deliberately falsified at this
 3time. By the time you write to the Provost of Coventry on
 46th December 1964, that last enquiry, that last doubt,
 5equivocation seems to have disappeared, am I right?
 6 A. [Mr Irving]     Have I specifically said to the Provost of Coventry there
 7is no doubt that these figures are accurate?
 8 Q. [Mr Rampton]     No, but, Mr Irving, bear with me; you could hardly invite
 9the Provost of Coventry to include, with maximum impact,
10in his exhibition these figures, if you did not think that
11they were reliable -- if you were an honest man, I mean?
12 A. [Mr Irving]     But you are familiar with the fact that the document does
13not just refer to death or casualties; it refers to the
14entire damage which was inflicted on that city.
15 Q. [Mr Rampton]     "Casualties", Mr Irving, is your word, the casualties, it
16mentions, have a shattering impact. Of course they will
17do if they are authentic and reliable. But, Mr Irving,
18what if they are not?
19 A. [Mr Irving]     Are you suggesting that the people of Coventry would have
20been any less dismayed or shocked if the figure had been
2135,000? I do not think so.
22 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     You are saying in your letter to the Provost,
23you are saying this figure of 200,000 plus is going to
24have a shattering impact. That is the very point you are
25making, is it not?
26 A. [Mr Irving]     Well, my Lord, we have not been shown the order of the day

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 1No. 47 which in everything that it contains, part of which
 2is the death roll, is the document, and the nonchalance of
 3the document to which I am referring saying this is going
 4to have a shattering impact on people who visit your
 5exhibition, and I have no reason at this time to doubt the
 6overall authenticity of the document, although I was
 7making enquiries to investigate that actual figure because
 8I obviously wanted to make very much more of the figure
 9when the time comes. But before I went ahead, I wanted
10to know who had signed the document could I speak to him,
11for example. This is 1964 and there was every chance that
12the man who signed the document, Colonel Groesse, was
13still alive. In fact, I eventually tracked down his
14widow.
15 MR RAMPTON:     Yes, Mr Irving. Could we now turn ----
16 A. [Mr Irving]     And if I can also refer to that memorandum you were
17dealing with on page 27. In paragraph 3 I gave reasons
18why the figure did not seem outlandish. I looked at the
19death rolls in Hiroshima and the other major air-raid
20disasters of World War II, so there was less reason than
21might now seem apparent, to question the final
22authenticity of the figure. But you did not read out that
23paragraph.
24 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     I am reading it now.
25 A. [Mr Irving]     It is probably also appropriate here to mention that the
26figure of 200,000 by no means orphaned very many people

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 1referred to that death roll for Dresden, including members
 2of Hitler's private staff, including Hermann Goring's
 3personal Liaison Officer Budenschatz who visited Dresden
 4and came back and spoke of that figure.
 5 MR RAMPTON:     It was a jolly good propaganda figure, was it not?
 6 A. [Mr Irving]     They used it for propaganda, yes.
 7 Q. [Mr Rampton]     Of course they did, and it was totally false, was it not?
 8 A. [Mr Irving]     It is easy to say in retrospect that that document is
 9fake. But I am looking at this in 1964. The document has
10been given to me by Dresden's Deputy Chief Medical
11Officer. The document itself is authentic as we now know,
12but this figure has been inserted for propaganda reasons.
13 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     What I am not really clear about is when you
14first saw this document, whether your reaction was that
15the figure does look amazing high; I really am rather
16suspicious about it?
17 A. [Mr Irving]     My reaction on seeing a figure as high as that was to say,
18if true, this is sensational. Clearly one has to carry
19out proper enquiries which I then began with the archives
20and trying to track down the people who signed the
21document and through whose hands it passed in 1945. In
22the meantime, I began making cautious use of it on the
23assumption it was genuine, for example showing it to the
24Provost of Coventry, mentioning it to newspaper editors,
25contacting my publishers, saying we may have to put this
26in as an appendix and so on. One does not know how long

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 1it is going to take to make the enquiries. The German
 2archives might have responded a week later and said yes,
 3Colonel Grosser is now living in Cologne at such and such
 4an address.
 5 Q. [Mr Justice Gray]     Well now, it was not exactly moderate or reserved and in
 6accordance with the need to make careful enquiries to
 7place these figures before the public in Coventry, and no
 8doubt for other parts of this country and abroad, so that
 9they shall have a shattering impact, was it, Mr Irving?
10 A. [Mr Irving]     I did not hear the adjective. It was not what?
11 Q. [Mr Justice Gray]     It was not in accordance with what one might call the need
12to make careful enquiries, and to take stock of this
13figure, to place it with shattering impact before the
14public in Coventry the rest of this country and perhaps
15other parts of Europe?
16 A. [Mr Irving]     I think it was a proper usage of that telegram for the
17purposes of the charitable fund raising of the Coventry
18Cathedral, yes.
19 Q. [Mr Justice Gray]     Tell a lie if it raises money, is that it?
20 A. [Mr Irving]     I do not think I said that. It would have been a lie
21if -- if I had known that the figure was untrue then it
22would have been a lie.
23 Q. [Mr Justice Gray]     You had no idea whether it was untrue or not, back in 1963
24you told your publisher Mr Kimber that you thought it was
25probably a piece of Nazi propaganda, did you not?
26 A. [Mr Irving]     I did not have it in 1963.

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 1 Q. [Mr Justice Gray]     Now I want to turn a year on to early 1965.
 2 A. [Mr Irving]     Do you wish to dwell on that statement? Do you want to
 3find the actual reference?
 4 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     I do not think that is right.
 5 MR RAMPTON:     It is right.
 6 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     It is?
 7 MR RAMPTON:     Yes.
 8 A. [Mr Irving]     Can we look at the actual reference.
 9 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Page 39.
10 MR RAMPTON:     No, it is page 2 of the table.
11 A. [Mr Irving]     Page 2 of?
12 Q. [Mr Rampton]     April 1963, it is in the Kimber edition of the Destruction
13of Dresden. What is written here is: "In the 1963 Kimber
14edition", second box, my Lord, "edition of Destruction of
15Dresden" ----
16 A. [Mr Irving]     Can I halt you there and point out that at this time I did
17not have this document. So we cannot possibly be
18referring to this document.
19 Q. [Mr Rampton]     Let me read on, will you, Mr Irving?
20 A. [Mr Irving]     I know the reasons why you want to read this out, because
21you want to confuse the court and confuse members in the
22public gallery.
23 Q. [Mr Rampton]     No, I do not at all.
24 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     It is a bit confusing to me. Can we
25understand the sequence?
26 MR RAMPTON:     

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