Irving v. Lipstadt

Transcripts

Holocaust Denial on Trial, Trial Transcripts, Day 16: Electronic Edition

Pages 106 - 110 of 176

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 1 MR IRVING:     The question is, if the train is not only taking
 2Verpflegung (food) which is set out, how many tonnes of
 3bread and so on, but they are also taking Gerat with
 4them. What would you understand by that word? What are
 5they taking?
 6 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     Utensils and cooking pots and that sort of thing.
 7 Q. [Mr Irving]     Things for a new life?
 8 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     That they would need to use when they got there.
 9 Q. [Mr Irving]     To use when they got there. So the people who are at the
10sending end are unaware of what is likely to happen to
11this train load of Jews at the other end if they are all
12going to be killed? They think they are going to a new
13life, in other words not to their death?
14 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     I think you think you got an answer that you
15did not get. It is important sometimes to make sure that
16there is no misunderstanding. The translation that was
17given by Professor Browning was utensils and cooking
18pots. You then things for a new life, and I am not that
19that is something that the Professor has agreed with yet,
20but perhaps he does agree with that.
21 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     I believe they were allowed to bring tools as well. I am
22recalling from memory what the Eichmann guidelines to the
23various police stations creating the transports, that the
24fall guidelines are remarkably different than the spring
25ones in terms of how much people were allowed.
26 MR IRVING:     Spring 1942?

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 1 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     Yes. In the fall of 41 which begins with them going to
 2Lodsch and begin with them going to Minsk.
 3 Q. [Mr Irving]     I am indebted to you. You are certainly adding to the
 4court's knowledge and this is helping to flesh out the
 5picture immensely.
 6 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     Were allowed bring a fair amount of luggage.
 7 Q. [Mr Irving]     So these early transports of Jews going to the Eastern
 8Front, they were going effectively to a new life, wretched
 9though it would be?
10 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     They were going to a temporary stay from which, as Himmler
11put it, they would be moved on further East the next
12spring.
13 Q. [Mr Irving]     Booted on somewhere else?
14 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     Well, we do not know. He does not say what "further East"
15means, but he was telling Greiser, do not worry, they will
16not be there for more than a few months.
17 Q. [Mr Irving]     So, when the word came back to Hitler's headquarters that
18the first train load or several train loads had been shot,
19why would therefore Himmler have had to send a message to
20Jackeln, saying you have exceeded the guidelines?
21 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     Since nothing happens to Jager, my interpretation, because
22the documentation is incomplete, but my interpretation was
23that Himmler, after sending Jews to Lodsch and to Minsk,
24was sending them to Kovno, and he tried an experiment, we
25will shoot those when they arrive.
26 Q. [Mr Irving]     Who is this?

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 1 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     We do not know, Jager. They are not shot immediately.
 2Jager reports this. In the Einsatzgruppen reports he says
 3very explicitly, "We shot these five transports". He is
 4not trying to hide anything. My guess, and again this is
 5just construing the documents, they found out that this
 6caused more of a sensation than killing Russian Jews, and
 7that, when the six transports left, Himmler says, back
 8off, we will not do this any more, tells Jackeln do not,
 9that message does not arrive in time, the six transport is
10liquidated. Then Jackeln is brought back and there are no
11more liquidations until the next spring.
12 Q. [Mr Irving]     So we know what happened to Jackeln because the messages
13are there.
14 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     Yes.
15 Q. [Mr Irving]     But we do not know what happened to Jager, if anything,
16because there are no messages to inform us?
17 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     We have no messages to inform us, but we do know that he
18reported it quite openly and clearly did not think he was
19doing something that he should not boast of.
20 Q. [Mr Irving]     It tells us something ugly about the Nazi mentality, is
21that correct?
22 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     No. I think it shows that he thought he was carrying out
23orders and was doing this according to what he had been
24told to do, and he was reporting that he had carried out
25policy.
26 Q. [Mr Irving]     He then learned that in fact he had upset people?

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 1 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     I do not think Jager learned he had upset people because I
 2think he was doing what he had been told to do. Jackeln
 3caught the flak because the message did not reach him in
 4time, that Himmler decided we were not going to start
 5liquidating German Jews yet. Then, when he calls Jackeln
 6back, Jackeln's memory of the conversation, in the
 7testimony he gave after the war in the Soviet Union, was
 8that he and Himmler discussed it and Himmler said, "I am
 9trying to decide how we will get rid of the German Jews",
10and he uses this phrase that occasionally pops up, "shall
11we send them into the swamps or shall we shoot them"? So
12he is still uncertain how this can be carried out.
13 Q. [Mr Irving]     This Jackeln conversation you refer to is in Soviet
14custody?
15 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     Yes.
16 Q. [Mr Irving]     Would he have been under any kind of duress there, do you
17think? What happened?
18 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     He may be under duress for certain things. I do not know
19why someone would want to coerce a statement to the effect
20that Himmler had not yet made up his mind as to how he was
21going to get rid of German Jews.
22 Q. [Mr Irving]     What happened to Jackeln? Did he meet his just desserts?
23 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     Jackeln was executed.
24 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     If you had to say in a single phrase what it
25was that upset people about the Riga shootings, what was
26it?

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 1 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     I think that word spread very quickly. It was a sensation
 2when German Jews were being killed. We know, for
 3instance, that, when Lohse in the Ministry of the Interior
 4hears, he goes to his superior and says, I cannot do this
 5any more, I want another job. We know, for instance, on
 6the day of the 30th, Himmler meets with Dobtell, who has
 7had to travel through the East, and immediately thereafter
 8he sends out to Jackeln, do not liquidate this transport.
 9My feeling is that they were discovering that they had a
10PR problem, that one had to be more careful. Thereafter,
11for instance, they decide Theresienstadt will be a ghetto
12for the elderly Jews and the medal wearing Jews, that they
13will be more careful about how they deal with German Jews
14as opposed to non-German Jews.
15 Q. [Mr Justice Gray]     It is the fact that they are German Jews?
16 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     Yes.
17 MR IRVING:     Who is making these decisions then?
18 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     In this case I think it is Himmler because Himmler, again
19it is just a guess, is going to see Hitler in two hours
20and that he wants to be able to say, we have taken care of
21it, it is settled, we are not going to have problems with
22this.
23 Q. [Mr Irving]     He expects to take some kind of flak now from Hitler for
24what happened?
25 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     I do not think he is going to take flak. I think he is
26going to assure Hitler that the PR problem is solved, at

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