Irving v. Lipstadt


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

Pages 51 - 55 of 176

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    Will you accept that -- and I can be proved wrong by
 1September and October 1939 conferences at which the Jews
 2were to be killed and the orders were given?
 3 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     I cannot answer that because I have not read that
 5 Q. [Mr Irving]     Very well. Have not the Jewish people throughout this
 6century, in fact long before World War II and since World
 7War I, constantly proclaimed that they were in danger of
 8being exterminated, or indeed that they were already being
10 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     I could not say yes to that.
11 Q. [Mr Irving]     It has been a kind of an ongoing story, has it not?
12 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     No. When you say "the Jews have said", I am afraid that
13is the kind of formulation that it is impossible to
14answer. You may find one Jew or another, but that does
15not mean "the Jews" have constantly said that.
16 Q. [Mr Irving]     Can I hand you this book to have a look at? Can you read
17the title on the jacket of that book?
18 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     "The Yellow Spot, the Extermination of the Jews in
20 Q. [Mr Irving]     Can you see who has published it?
21 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     With an introduction by the Bishop of Durham.
22 Q. [Mr Irving]     If you look on the back of the spine, you will see the
23initials VG, Victor Gollantz.
24 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     I see the Gollantz written at the bottom.
25 Q. [Mr Irving]     So the book has been published by a reputable English
26publisher. Can you rapidly flutter inside and see what

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 1year that book called "The Extermination of the Jews" was
 3 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     In 1936.
 4 Q. [Mr Irving]     Three years before World War II we are already hearing
 5books on this subject.
 6 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     If one looks right below the title page, it says "The
 7Yellow Spot, the outlawing of half a million human
 8beings". It does not say the murder of them, but it does
 9say "the outlawing".
10 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Is it confined to 33 to 36?
11 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     It is published in 36.
12 Q. [Mr Justice Gray]     I wonder what the events are it describes. It may be it
13is only the last three years?
14 MR IRVING:     It is a very good history, actually, of the Nazi
15persecution of the Jews up to that time.
16 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     You mentioned the first world war. It does
17not go that far back?
18 MR IRVING:     I could have gone back to similar publications back
19at the First World War but it is a rather arcane
20exercise. It is an odd thing that the word
21"extermination" at that time can be taken to mean
22something which means something totally different to the
23way we understand it now, is it not?
24 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     It seems a fairly hyperbolic title.
25 Q. [Mr Irving]     Do we have the same problems with word in German? Words
26like umsiedlung and ausrotung?

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 1 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     The conventional use is turned into a specialised use.
 2Language changes that way all the time. Before 1971
 3"destabilization" meant one thing. After Kissinger uses
 4it, it takes on a second meaning because of historical
 6 Q. [Mr Irving]     Of course, "pot" and "grass" and things like that change
 7their meaning, do they not? Is there any indication that
 8words used even at the same time in the Third Reich can
 9have totally different meanings depending who is using
10them, who they are speaking to? For example, an
11apparently innocent word like umsiedlung, which means
12resettlement, can take on a totally different sinister
13meaning when uttered by Heinreich Himmler?
14 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     Yes. If you are referring to ethnic Germans, it generally
15means that you are removing them from one place to
16another. In documents referring to Jews after 1942 it
17usually means sending them to a camp.
18 Q. [Mr Irving]     Without wishing to pre-empt the logical flow of this
19examination in a way, can I direct your attention to one
20document in the bundle which is probably next to you,
21H3(i)? Footnote 54 is the one I am after.
22 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     Where do I turn?
23 MR IRVING:     If you look at the bottom there is FN 54 in black
24felt pen.
25 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     Which tab? FN 54.
26 Q. [Mr Irving]     You will remember the episode because it is the umsiedlung

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 1of 20,000 Jews at ----
 2 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     Yes, and then two pages later it becomes a different word.
 3 Q. [Mr Irving]     You have got it. You are absolutely right. Two pages
 4later they are quite plain that they were shot?
 5 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     Yes.
 6 Q. [Mr Irving]     So in this document umsiedlung refers to killing?
 7 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     Correct.
 8 Q. [Mr Irving]     And you can see the word umsiedlung. My Lord, you will see
 9it in line 7 of the first paragraph. Does your Lordship
10have the document?
11 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     I am still making my way there.
12 MR IRVING:     In 54 (i), document November 8th, 1942. Actually,
13there is no dispute about this. The Nazis killed 20,000
14Jews in two days in the middle of October 1942. We are
15just looking at words.
16 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Where is umsiedlung?
17 MR IRVING:     Seven lines down my Lord "Umsiedlung der Juden".
18Then in the following line you have umgesiedelt. So quite
19clearly it means killing, does it not?
20 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     Yes.
21 Q. [Mr Irving]     So in this man's mouth at this time, in this document,
22umsiedlung and umgesiedelt means killing?
23 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     Yes.
24 Q. [Mr Irving]     Now would you look at the last line of that paragraph,
25Professor? This is the only trap I have got prepared for
26you today. Would you translate into English the last

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 1sentence please?
 2 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     Let me read the whole first.
 3 Q. [Mr Irving]     The sentence beginning with the words "Die helfter...
 4 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     Yes. They are referring to village which had had contact
 5with the partisans and they say half the inhabitants were
 6shot and the other half umgesiedelt to a neighbouring
 8 Q. [Mr Irving]     So there you have in the same paragraph two totally
 9different meaning of the word umsiedlung?
10 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     And the context making it fairly clear.
11 Q. [Mr Irving]     Otherwise it would have been no use to us, but it is an
12illustration, is it not, of the pitfalls we have and how
13easy it is to adopt what Mr Rampton might call a
14translation of a word, purely because we do not have the
15context, the surrounding country side, to tell us what
16this particular word means?
17 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     There are different meanings to the same word, yes.
18 Q. [Mr Irving]     So, in fact, if somebody accused you of using the word
19wrongly and perversely and doing it deliberately, and you
20did not have the surrounding country side to help you,
21that would be a bit unfair, would it?
22 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     It would depend upon the broader context of the
24 Q. [Mr Irving]     Would you now please take your expert report? You say
25your pagination is different from ours?
26 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     I believe they have my court formatted one here as well.

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