Irving v. Lipstadt


Holocaust Denial on Trial, Trial Transcripts, Day 14: Electronic Edition

Pages 31 - 35 of 175

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    You write to Mark Weber: "Working in the Public
 1to be a problem for revisionists and need analysing now in
 2advance of our enemies and answering. I attach my
 3transcript of a few pages and you will see why. It
 4becomes more lurid with each subsequent version. At first
 5no gassings, then 50, then 15,000 total. Brute force by
 6interrogators perhaps".
 7     Now, I have a number of questions about that
 8little message, Mr Irving.
 9 A. [Mr Irving]     Yes.
10 Q. [Mr Rampton]     Why are the manuscript notes, or whatever they are,
11memoirs of Almeyer going to be a problem for revisionists?
12 A. [Mr Irving]     I think because they refute a number of the tenets of the
13revisionist Bible, if I can put it like that.
14 Q. [Mr Rampton]     What is the revisionist Bible?
15 A. [Mr Irving]     Well, the revisionist credo.
16 Q. [Mr Rampton]     Which is?
17 A. [Mr Irving]     Oh, at its most extreme, it is that not a hair was harmed
18on the head of the Jews which was the most extreme and
19indefensible position.
20 Q. [Mr Rampton]     Does that include Mr Marcellus and Mr Weber?
21 A. [Mr Irving]     Obviously not, otherwise I would not be writing this kind
22of letter to them, but the Almeyer manuscript, as I would
23call them, just like the Adolf Eichmann manuscripts that I
24had found the previous October in Argentina, raised
25serious questions. They helped to do somewhat more than
26dot i's and cross t's.

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 1 Q. [Mr Rampton]     "... and need analysing now in advance of our enemies"?
 2 A. [Mr Irving]     Yes.
 3 Q. [Mr Rampton]     Who is the "our" referred to there?
 4 A. [Mr Irving]     Well, the enemies of myself and Mr Weber and, presumably,
 5Tom Marcellus.
 6 Q. [Mr Rampton]     Who are those enemies?
 7 A. [Mr Irving]     Irresponsible historians who will leap on any document and
 8use it to inflate the untenable position at the other end
 9of the spectrum.
10 Q. [Mr Rampton]     What you were worried about, Almeyer tells a tale,
11accurate in parts, inaccurate in other parts, according to
12the traditional or the orthodox view of these matters,
13about his time at Auschwitz, does he not?
14 A. [Mr Irving]     It is a very inaccurate tale which is, presumably, one
15reason why -- which is, presumably, one reason why the
16Defence has not relied on him so far.
17 Q. [Mr Rampton]     You will find him in extenso in Professor van Pelt's
18report. You will also find precise observations about
19what is accurate and what is not.
20 A. [Mr Irving]     Well, you remember when we asked the witness van Pelt who
21his important eyewitnesses were, there was no mention of
23 Q. [Mr Rampton]     No, there is not because Almeyer is, in certain respects,
24plainly wrong.
25 A. [Mr Irving]     Yes, exactly what I said.
26 Q. [Mr Rampton]     Yes, it may be what you said. What I am wondering about,

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 1Mr Irving, is why you were so frightened of Hans Almeyer's
 2handwritten notes?
 3 A. [Mr Irving]     I do not think I am frightened about him. I am just
 4concerned for several reasons. Let me explain. As an
 5independent historian, with no tenure Professorship to
 6fall back on and, as I explained in my opening statement
 7to this court, no pension to rely on, I have to rely on
 8what find in the archives to sustain myself and my young
 9family. In order to do that, I rely on finding what might
10be commonly called scoops, and when you have found a
11scoop, it would be very foolish if you put it straight in
12the shop window and say, "Come on and help yourself".
13This was clearly a scoop.
14 Q. [Mr Rampton]     Mr Irving, that is not what you mean by the little phrase
15"our enemies", is it? What you are frightened of is that
16somebody will find it or see it and will say: "Well, here
17is another little piece of information. It does not fit
18in every respect, but the bits which are consistent with
19what we have already got fit neatly into the Auschwitz
20jigsaw". That is what you are afraid of, is it not?
21 A. [Mr Irving]     They do not fit neatly into Auschwitz jigsaw. It is quite
22plain. If he only refers to 15,000 dead or 15,000 gassed,
23then that fitted more into our jigsaw than into the jigsaw
24of our opponents.
25 MR RAMPTON:     I will not ask you to look at it now, my Lord.
26I give in the reference a very full account of Almeyer,

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 1warts and all ----
 2 A. [Mr Irving]     Well, let me just draw your attention to that letter.
 3 MR RAMPTON:     I am sorry, I am speaking to his Lordship.
 4 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Let Mr Rampton finish. Then you say what you
 5want to say. Mr Rampton, yes, where do we find it?
 6 MR RAMPTON:     May I finish what I am saying to his Lordship?
 7 A. [Mr Irving]     His Lordship has just said the same.
 8 MR RAMPTON:     On pages 260 to 266.
 9 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Of Professor van Pelt?
10 MR RAMPTON:     Not the whole of it, I am sure it is not the whole
11of it, but a good deal of what he said is set out there.
12At various points in the footnotes, my Lord, Professor van
13Pelt, and probably also in the text, though I do not have
14the whole of it here, Professor van Pelt draws attention
15to passages in Almeyer which cannot be right.
16 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     But the point on Almeyer was not really so
17much the number of Jewish prisoners who were gassed, but,
18rather, the detailed nature of the description of the gas
20 MR RAMPTON:     Precisely, my Lord.
21 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Is that fair?
22 MR RAMPTON:     Absolutely right.
23 A. [Mr Irving]     Right.
24 Q. [Mr Rampton]     That is what you and your revisionist friends were afraid
25of, was it not, Mr Irving?
26 A. [Mr Irving]     Let me explain. I saw the Almeyer file on three

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 1occasions, as you now know, because I went to the Public
 2Record Office and asked if they would give me a print out
 3of all the occasions on which I saw the file. I saw it
 4once for afternoon on June 3rd 1992, and I saw it
 5subsequently four years later -- I have the actual print
 6out here which will tell you the precise days when I saw
 7it -- on May 29th 1996, and again probably in connection
 8with preparation of this action on 6th September 1997. So
 9I have seen it three times.
10     I am not a Holocaust historian. My time in the
11archives is limited. If I am not writing about the
12Holocaust in 1992, I am not going to spend the entire
13afternoon analysing a file of what looks like 200 pages.
14I skimmed through it, looked at the various versions,
15spotted the obvious discrepancies and immediately sent
16this, what you quite rightly described, I suppose, as an
17alarm signal to other people saying, "There is this report
18in the archives which is going to cause problems, and we
19are going to have to face up to it and it is better that
20we are the ones who publish it, rather than the people at
21the other end of the extreme, of either end of the two
22extremes, who will put spins on it which are quite
24 Q. [Mr Rampton]     But, you see, Mr Irving, before ever having analysed it,
25thought about it, compared it with the rest of the great
26corpus of evidence about Auschwitz, you are already

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