Irving v. Lipstadt

Transcripts

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

Pages 36 - 40 of 176

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    I do not want to explore this in any great depth, but
 1regard the Holocaust as their patch?
 2 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     No, I would not. I think, in fact, many of them were very
 3accepting of my coming into the field because it, in fact,
 4indicated that this was not their patch, if I can use
 5your phrase, but something that was not just important to
 6Jewish history but important to world history, and that
 7the fact that a non-Jewish historian would look at this
 8would be seen as a validation of the universal importance
 9of the topic, not just that it was a parochial ethnic
10history of a particular people and that no one else, this
11was not important to anyone else.
12     So I would say I have had for more
13re-affirmation of supports from Jewish historians than the
14very few cases in which I felt my work would have been
15seen in a negative way because I was not Jewish.
16 Q. [Mr Irving]     So you have not been disadvantaged in any way by being a
17non-Jewish historian?
18 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     There are one or two instances where that may have been
19the case, but far more prominent -- far more often that
20has not been the case.
21 Q. [Mr Irving]     You used to be Professor of History at Pacific State
22Luther University?
23 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     Pacific Luther University.
24 Q. [Mr Irving]     In Tacoma in Washington State?
25 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     Tacoma, Washington.
26 Q. [Mr Irving]     You are now currently a Professor of History at?

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 1 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     University of North California at Chapel Hill.
 2 Q. [Mr Irving]     At Chapel Hill. One of the most prestigious universities
 3to have held tenure at would have been Harvard, would it
 4not?
 5 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     Harvard would be a very prestigious university.
 6 Q. [Mr Irving]     So if a chair in Holocaust studies had been appointed in
 7Harvard, it is a position you would have applied for or
 8hoped to obtain?
 9 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     I was considered for a position there.
10 Q. [Mr Irving]     What militated against you, do you think?
11 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     No one received the position, Jewish or non-Jewish
12historians. At least one person on the Search Committee
13made a statement to the press that they felt that only
14someone deeply grounded in Jewish culture should be
15eligible.
16 Q. [Mr Irving]     What did he mean by that, do you think?
17 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     Well, in fact it was a she and the statement was applied
18to me and the other candidates because they were mainly
19working in German history, not in Jewish history, and
20I think this was meant that she did not like any of the
21candidates.
22 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     No. So no one was appointed, is that what
23you say?
24 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     No one was appointed.
25 MR IRVING:     In fact, the man who had put up money for this new
26chair then starting raising obstacles, is this not right?

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 1 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     I believe when they did try to make an appointment for a
 2semester per year, rather than a full-time, he refused to
 3release his money to support the appointment on that
 4basis.
 5 Q. [Mr Irving]     Yes. Is it right that the New York Times in July 1997
 6quoted you as saying that you felt that you had been ruled
 7out because, and I am quoting, "I am not Jewish. I come
 8from a small college"?
 9 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     That was a quote that was taken entirely out of context.
10In the letter to the editor published the following
11Friday, I explain what the full quote had been, and that
12is she had asked me why I had not, why did I think I had
13not been appointed, and I had said, "Well, I do not know.
14I am not on the committee, but I can read in the press
15what several people have said themselves", one of which is
16the one I gave you earlier, and having quoted this person
17on the Search Committee to the effect that someone only
18deeply grounded in the Jewish culture should get it,
19I then commented, "That would make me doubly ineligible
20because I do not work in Jewish history and I am not
21Jewish". She quoted the last four words and left out all
22of the context and totally distorted the meaning of the
23statement that I gave and that was explained in a letter
24to the editor at the end of the week.
25 Q. [Mr Irving]     Are you as deeply shocked as I am to hear that the press
26takes things out of context?

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 1 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     Not a surprise, no. It does happen.
 2 Q. [Mr Irving]     Professor Browning, just one more question on this
 3particular avenue: if you were to apply for a position of
 4Director of the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, do you think
 5you would be in the running there or would there be an
 6obstacle there too?
 7 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     My guess is in this generation it would be considered not
 8likely to happen, but that within another generation this
 9would be very different.
10 Q. [Mr Irving]     Changing the theme somewhat now, how long has there been
11talk of Holocaust, not necessarily that word, but just of
12this particular -- it appears to come to the fore again in
13the 1970s, the campaign, would you agree?
14 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     When I started work in the early '70s, very, very few
15people were working on it. By the end of the '70s there
16were academic conferences on it. So that was the decade
17in which I think there was a shift to a greater
18consciousness of the Holocaust as an important historical
19topic.
20 Q. [Mr Irving]     Were you here in the courtroom earlier when we examined a
21book published by the Memorial Museum, a passage written
22by Aberhard Jackel?
23 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     I was here, and yes.
24 Q. [Mr Irving]     Aberhard Jackel, would you agree in that passage, or as it
25was rendered here in the court, suggested that until my
26book 'Hitler's War' was published, there had been no real

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 1investigation of the Holocaust apart from the Reitlinger
 2and the Hilberg books?
 3 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     Yes, I think I would not agree with that statement.
 4I would say that there had been substantial study of the
 5Holocaust; the Trunk book, in terms of the Jewish
 6Council's, Hilberg in terms of the apparatus, Schloenus in
 7terms of the preHolocaust bureaucratic process. What had
 8not been studied before you published was a particular
 9focus on decision-making process and Hitler's role. That
10is one part and, in so far as we can confine ourselves to
11that, indeed, your publication of 'Hitler's War' was the
12impetus for the research in that area.
13 Q. [Mr Irving]     What was the reason for this 20 year, 22 year, lack of
14interest in examining whether the decision had been given
15or how the decision had been given for the Holocaust?
16 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     I think probably several things. One, the person who had
17focused mainly in the German documents, Raul Hilberg, was
18very interested in the bureaucratic structure, but not
19terribly interested in dating decisions. This happened to
20be his focus.
21 Q. [Mr Irving]     Have you discussed this matter personally with Raul
22Hilberg?
23 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     Yes and he is more interested in bureaucratic structure
24than he is in linear or chronological decision-making
25process. I am more interested in chronological process
26than bureaucratic structure.

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