Irving v. Lipstadt
Holocaust Denial on Trial, Trial Transcripts, Day 16: Electronic Edition
Pages 56 - 60 of 176
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1 Q. [Mr Irving] Go to page 5.
2 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning] Yes.
3 Q. [Mr Irving] First of all, I would ask you to look at your main title,
4The Evidence For the Implementation of the Final
6 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning] Yes.
7 Q. [Mr Irving] What do you understand by the phrase "Final Solution"?
8 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning] I understand that is a programme to kill the Jews within
9the Nazi sphere of influence in Europe.
10 Q. [Mr Irving] Is that not a perverse translation of that phrase
12 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning] No. I think it is a translation that becomes very clear,
13in terms of that stage. The word Endlosung does appear
14with a less lethal meaning earlier, but I think certainly
15it comes into this meaning and a number of documents have
17 Q. [Mr Irving] A less lethal meaning in earlier documents. In other
18words, that does not necessarily mean killing? It can
19also mean other final solutions?
20 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning] They speak in different ways of an engilticus losung or a
21total or gazumpt losung. There is a different series of
22words. By 42 when you get folders, for instance, it will
23then say this becomes in a sense the accepted word, and
24I think at that time it also becomes the word that applies
25to a particular programme, not a general statement that
26has lots of different meanings.
1 Q. [Mr Irving] Professor Browning, would you accept that in the archives
2of the German Foreign Office the file title "Endlosung der
3Judenfrage" goes back to 1936, certainly to 1938?
4 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning] There are certainly documents that predate, but the file
5that I think is actually called that, I would have check
6and see what the earliest documents on that are. I do not
7recall at the moment.
8 MR JUSTICE GRAY: It is true, is it not, that Endlosung is used
9at a time when deportation rather than extermination was
11 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning] Yes, at the earlier period there will be a series of
12words. Sometimes it will be losung, sometimes it will be
13gazumpt losung, and sometimes total losung and sometimes
14endlosung. When we get to the period of the Wannsee
15conference on, it usually is expressed as Endlosung and
16you do not get nearly the same mix. That is just my
17impression. I have not done an actual count of how often
18that occurs, but my impression is that at that point, when
19it is referring to a specific programme, that is the word
20that is used almost consistently.
21 MR IRVING: In other words, you should really have called the
22report, this is no real criticism, not evidence for the
23implementation of the final solution, but evidence for
24implementation of a killing programme, or a systematic
25killing programme? Final Solution could have meant
1 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning] I think I define what I mean by it in the report, so
2I would say that it is perfectly fine to use the term that
4 Q. [Mr Irving] We are not denying the fact that Final Solution does come
5to mean killing, but it did not always mean that, did it?
6 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning] It will appear in earlier documents when it does not mean
8 Q. [Mr Irving] You are familiar with the event reports, are you not?
9 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning] Yes.
10 Q. [Mr Irving] You did not quote in your report the passage on the Jewish
11question from the event report No. 81 dated September 12th
121941. I am just going to quote to you three and a half
13lines from it. It is the operations of Einsatzkommando 6,
14and the quotation is as follows. It may be familiar to
15you. "The gratuitous evacuation of hundreds of thousands
16of Jews", what would "evacuation" there be?
17 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning] I have not seen the written ----
18 Q. [Mr Irving] "The gratuitous evacuation of hundreds of thousands of
19Jews may be considered to be an indirect success of the
20work of the security police. As we hear mostly from the
21other side of the Urals, the Ural mountains, this is a
22considerable contribution to the solution of the Jewish
23question in Europe". This is September 1941 and in your
24opinion are they are referring there to a geographical
25evacuation, or something more sinister?
26 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning] Not seeing the wider context, I think he is probably
1referring to the escape of Jews to the Soviet side, and
2that these were Jews that were no longer within German
4 Q. [Mr Irving] "The gratuitous evacuation of hundreds of thousands of
5Jews may be considered to be an indirect success of the
6work of the security police", in other words they had
8 MR JUSTICE GRAY: They did not want to get shot?
9 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning] They are Jews that do not have to be shot because they
10have left German custody.
11 MR IRVING: So at this time there was no plan to catch all the
12Jews you could and kill them?
13 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning] What the reports note as they go further East, there are
14fewer and fewer Jews in the areas the Germans get because
15so many have fled, and this is in a sense of a way of
16saying why his body count has not been maintained, that so
17many of these are have fled beyond the Soviet lines. We
18can consider this an indirect success. If the programme
19then was still expulsion, this would not be an indirect
20success, it would be a direct success. If it is an
21indirect success, that implies that it is something other
22than what the direct process is.
23 Q. [Mr Irving] You said something rather interesting there, the fact that
24his body count had not been maintained. What did you
25imply by that?
26 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning] Some of the Einsatzgruppen or Einsatzkommandos have a much
1lower count than some of the others?
2 Q. [Mr Irving] Did this reflect badly on them, do you think?
3 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning] In the sense that sometimes the commander says, well, the
4Jews have fled from this area in the sense he is
5explaining up the line why there is a discrepancy, or why
6there is an uneven pattern and some of his officers will
7not be reporting the same numbers as others. He does not
8go into detail but I would infer from that that he fears
9that they may be viewed as not zealous enough in the sense
10he is covering for them and giving an explanation to
11Berlin as to why some kommandos have much larger numbers
13 Q. [Mr Irving] You appreciate what I am getting at here, do you not? The
14fact that there may have been a tendency to bloat reports
15or to exaggerate figures, a temptation?
16 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning] There certainly is the possibility of that, but at the
17same time of course that means they know that Berlin wants
18big numbers, which would indicate that they perfectly
19realize they are part of that programme, the purpose of
20which is to get big numbers, that they report exact
21numbers when everything we know about how the killings
22were carried out, no one was sitting with a clicker giving
23a precise body count. So we would not take these as
24precise numbers, but they are ball park numbers.
25 Q. [Mr Irving] So, when somebody reports from the front to Himmler or to
26Berlin that 360,000 Jews have been killed in a three month
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