Irving v. Lipstadt
Holocaust Denial on Trial, Trial Transcripts, Day 16: Electronic Edition
Pages 6 - 10 of 176
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1 Q. [Mr Irving] Thank you very much. Were you expressing your true
2opinion in that conversation with Mr Wilmott?
3 A. [Sir John Keegan] Of course.
4 Q. [Mr Irving] Has he accurately reflected in this letter what your
5opinion was at that time?
6 A. [Sir John Keegan] Yes. Alan Williams and I were great friends.
7 Q. [Mr Irving] Yes, he was a man of insight and perception. In fact,
8I gave him a silver tray from Harrods inscribed for his
9bravery in publishing my book. He had it displayed in his
10office. Would you turn to page 5, Sir John?
11 A. [Sir John Keegan] Yes.
12 Q. [Mr Irving] Is this a panel from the Sunday Telegraph of August last
14 A. [Sir John Keegan] Yes.
15 Q. [Mr Irving] Is it headed "Book of the Century"?
16 A. [Sir John Keegan] Yes.
17 Q. [Mr Irving] Do you there make your choice of which book you considered
18to be the book of the last century?
19 A. [Sir John Keegan] Yes.
20 Q. [Mr Irving] Can you remember what book that was?
21 A. [Sir John Keegan] Of course, it is a 'Struggle for Europe'. I regard it as
22a slightly odd choice, and I do not expect many people to
23support me, but it happens to have been an enormously
24informative influence on me.
25 Q. [Mr Irving] I also read it. I agree with you, for what it is worth.
26It is a very fine book indeed. So your opinion on the
1Chester Wilmott book had not at that time changed?
2 A. [Sir John Keegan] No.
3 Q. [Mr Irving] You still rank it among the highest. Finally, would you
4turn to pages 6 and 7 which, I am afraid, is the only copy
5I have of a two page extract from your recent book 'The
6Battle for History'.
7 A. [Sir John Keegan] Yes.
8 Q. [Mr Irving] Will you agree that in that you repeat once again, 16
9years after the first time you expressed this opinion ----
10 A. [Sir John Keegan] Yes, I do.
11 Q. [Mr Irving] --- that Hitler's War was a valuable book?
12 A. [Sir John Keegan] Indeed, you are honest enough to include a message on the
13Internet which points out that you omitted ----
14 Q. [Mr Irving] One sentence, yes, in the bundle. Would you read out that
15sentence too perhaps, for the record? This is somebody
16writing an e-mail to me, chiding me.
17 A. [Sir John Keegan] Could I quote the whole thing?
18 MR JUSTICE GRAY: It would help me if you did because I am not
19sure which sentence has been omitted from what.
20 MR IRVING: I am not sure if it is in your Lordship's bundle.
21It would be page 10 if it is in your Lordship's bundle.
22Do you have page 10?
23 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes, I do.
24 MR IRVING: Would you read out that brief message on page 10
25from a correspondent?
26 A. [Sir John Keegan] It is a message from somebody called Graham Broad on a web
1site, dated 28th December 1999: "If Mr Irving is going to
2quote John Keegan when Keegan supports him, he might as
3well have the integrity to quote him when Keegan does
4not. He cites at length from Keegan's'The Battle for
5History', but does not, to my knowledge, anywhere on this
6web site quote Keegan's remark on page 10 of that book.
7Some controversies are entirely bogus, like David Irving's
8contention that Hitler's subordinates kept from the fact
9of the Final Solution".
10 Q. [Mr Irving] That is, of course, still your opinion, is it not?
11 A. [Sir John Keegan] I am sorry?
12 Q. [Mr Irving] That is, of course, still your opinion, is it not, that
13I am wrong on the Holocaust, or that my opinion on that is
15 MR JUSTICE GRAY: That Hitler did not know.
16 A. [Sir John Keegan] Well, I read Hitler's War, the appropriate passages, very
17carefully over the weekend, and I continue to think it
18perverse of you to propose that Hitler could not have
19known until as late as October 1943 what was going on to
20the Jewish population of Europe, and indeed many other
21minority groups as well, not only minority groups.
22 Q. [Mr Irving] I do not accept your word "perverse", of course. We have
23spent many weeks here in this very room, examining how
24perverse or otherwise it is to put forward that
25proposition. Would you accept that, to somebody who has
26not had complete access to all the records that are now
1correctly available, it may still seem an unusual opinion?
2 MR JUSTICE GRAY: That is almost by definition an impossible
3question for him to answer.
4 MR IRVING: It became rather tortuous in the utterance, I am
6 MR JUSTICE GRAY: I think, bringing yourself up to date with
7historical knowledge as it has been emerging, do you still
8retain the view that it is perverse to say that Hitler did
9not know about the Final Solution?
10 A. [Sir John Keegan] I think, my Lord, that it defies common sense.
11 MR IRVING: It does indeed defy common sense, and this is what
12makes it such a fascinating subject to investigate. Would
13you agree with that? If it turned out to be against all
14common sense and yet not demonstrable, would it be worth
16 A. [Sir John Keegan] It would be so extraordinary that it would defy reason.
17 Q. [Mr Irving] I agree, "extraordinary" is possibly a better description
18of this conclusion than "perverse". Perverse, would you
19agree, implies a wilfulness, a deliberate tendentiousness
20in the way one looks at the documentation?
21 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Well, wrong headed, I think is the meaning.
22 MR IRVING: Wrong headed, yes. Can I ask you finally to turn
23to pages 8 and 9? My Lord, the only reason this is
24included is this is one way of putting this before your
26 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes.
1 MR IRVING: Are you familiar with the United States Holocaust
3 A. [Sir John Keegan] Well, I have passed it. I have not been in.
4 Q. [Mr Irving] Would you accept that this is an official history
5published by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
6by its former director, Michael Berenbaum?
7 A. [Sir John Keegan] Yes.
8 Q. [Mr Irving] I am sure I will be corrected by Mr Rampton if that is
9wrong. Would you turn to page 9?
10 A. [Sir John Keegan] Yes.
11 Q. [Mr Irving] Would you accept that Professor Aberhard Jackel is a
12leading German historian?
13 A. [Sir John Keegan] I am never heard of him, but then I am a military
14historian of a rather technical sort and it is not
15necessary that I should have heard of him.
16 Q. [Mr Irving] Could I ask you briefly to read the paragraph number 5,
17beginning with the words "rehearsal for destruction" and
18I will ask you a question about it. Just read it to
20 A. [Sir John Keegan] (Pause for reading) Yes.
21 Q. [Mr Irving] Would you agree that the tenor of that passage is that
22this German Professor is stating that, until my biography
23of Hitler was published in 1977, there had been no worth
24while research on the Holocaust, and that the publication
25of my book provoked the historians of the world into
26finally doing the research on that subject?
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