Irving v. Lipstadt


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

Pages 61 - 65 of 176

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    So, when somebody reports from the front to Himmler or to
 1period -- you are familiar with the report I am referring
 3 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     Yes.
 4 Q. [Mr Irving]     And It is a very precise figure, accurate down to the last
 5digit, we should not expect that to be genuinely accurate
 6down to the last digit?
 7 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     No, because it is based on reports like Pressertoft, which
 8is a round figure of 20,000. So that is a false precision
 9in the report; that it is a ball park figure of the
10general area, I think is also the case.
11 Q. [Mr Irving]     They are mind boggling figures, are they not?
12 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     Indeed.
13 Q. [Mr Irving]     When you consider -- I do not know what your equivalent
14stadium in North California is, but Wembley Stadium here,
15for example, and you imagine shooting all that number of
16people in that space of two days, it is quite a daunting
18 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     It is a very large figure.
19 Q. [Mr Irving]     How large were the units that carried out these shooting
20operations? How big was an Einsatzgruppe?
21 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     Einsatzgruppen total about 3,000.
22 Q. [Mr Irving]     Yes. But in each one were they all the same size?
23 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     No, this is all four together. Einsatzgruppen A was
24I think the largest at 900, Einsatzgruppen B was probably
25the smallest at 600.
26 Q. [Mr Irving]     Their tasks were not just killing people, were they? They

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 1had tasks?
 2 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     Yes.
 3 Q. [Mr Irving]     Can you specify to the court what the other tasks of the
 4Einsatzgruppen were, apart from killing people?
 5 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     They were to, well, kill others than Jews. They were to
 6capture Soviet function areas, communist party members and
 7they were to be killed, they were to secure left behind
 8documentation, particularly trying to get NKPD documents
 9or communist government documents, so they were to take
10likewise what was called all preventative measures against
11potential enemies.
12 Q. [Mr Irving]     Rather like CIC after the Second World War?
13 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     Well to uncover if agents had been left behind the
14retreating armies.
15 Q. [Mr Irving]     Rather like the CIC, the Counter Intelligence Corps of the
16American Army after the Second World War, except for the
17killing operations, of course?
18 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     I do not know what the CIC was exactly.
19 Q. [Mr Irving]     Are you familiar with the Sonderkommando Kunsberg, for
20example, the operations they carried out raiding Foreign
21Ministry buildings after the fall of Prague and Belgrade
22and so on, capturing documents?
23 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     Securing documents was one function.
24 Q. [Mr Irving]     Quite an important function, was it not, of the
25Einsatzgruppen? They had an intelligence gathering

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 1 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     They do not refer too often in the documentation. This
 2does not seem to have been a priority, but it was
 3something, when they did it, they boasted about it.
 4 Q. [Mr Irving]     Professor, I disagree with you on that. If you were to
 5read the event reports of the Einsatzgruppen, you will
 6surely find that their killing operations are only one
 7paragraph, and that they have other paragraphs detailing
 8in some detail, describing in some detail, the
 9intelligence gathering operations in which they were
10involved and other routine police rear area operations?
11 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     The reports are very long and the killing of Jews is
12usually one section within that much longer report.
13 Q. [Mr Irving]     Dealt with in a very callous manner, just 20,000 Jews were
15 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     It is usually done fairly briefly.
16 Q. [Mr Irving]     Have you ever tried to do a back of the envelope
17calculation on the feasibility of these killing
18operations, given the limited number of personnel who
19would have been available and the limited number of trucks
20that they had and the primitive nature of their trucks?
21Do you remember reading in any of these reports about how
22their horse drawn carts had broken an axle and that kind
23of thing?
24 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     I do not remember a report on a broken axle, but I do
25remember reports where they deal with manpower problems,
26so that by late July they have gotten permission to raise

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 1auxiliary units in the area, that they often refer to the
 2co-operation of the Army in providing people for cordons,
 3that according to the preinvasion agreement between the
 4Army and the SS, the Army was to provide logistical
 5support so, when they needed extra trucks and this kind of
 6thing, the Army was expected to provide them. So that
 7when we say that an Einsatzgruppen operation involved a
 8kommando, that is not the only manpower that is involved.
 9What we have found from the newer documentation from the
10Soviet Union is the degree to which the Einsatzkommando
11has since wanted to hog all the credit. Now that we see
12more documents, we can see that others were involved too.
13 Q. [Mr Irving]     The Soviet archives have been very important, have they
14not, the former Soviet archives?
15 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     They have been important in fleshing out what happened in
16the Soviet Union. I do not think they have transformed
17our understanding of what happened elsewhere in Europe a
18great deal.
19 Q. [Mr Irving]     I have read your report with enormous interest, because of
20course I am not a Holocaust expert, but I have shown
21particular attention to the sources that have been used,
22the archives in Minsk you refer to?
23 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     Minsk, Riga, Moscow.
24 Q. [Mr Irving]     How long have these archives been available to the average
25run of the mill incorrigible revisionist historian who
26wants to go and do research in them, do you think? Ten

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 1twenty, thirty years or quite recently?
 2 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     I have not worked in them. Gerald Fleming, I believe, got
 3into the Riga archives very early on, and he has kindly
 4provided me with my first documents out of these areas.
 5So that it was possible to get into some of them. It was
 6also possible in the Zentralstellar in Germany to look at
 7copies of documents that they had gotten from the Soviet
 8Union much earlier.
 9 Q. [Mr Irving]     In Potzdam?
10 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     No Ludwigsberg outside Stuttgart.
11 Q. [Mr Irving]     West Germany?
12 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     Yes. They had gotten what we now see, in a sense the
13cream of the crop. They had in fact seen many of these
14documents and brought photocopies back to Ludwigsberg. We
15had seen a number of the documents that then we found out
16were either in the secret archives or somewhere else.
17Historians could now see the whole pack. What you had was
18the selection in Ludwigsberg of selected documents.
19 Q. [Mr Irving]     Let me try to zero in what you just said.
20 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Before you do that, Mr Irving, I am so sorry
21to interrupt because I am trying not to. It is difficult
22being interrupted, but I just want to see where we are
23getting with this. We know that you accept that the
24Einsatzgruppen killed probably hundreds of thousands.
25 MR IRVING:     We are looking at numbers, now, my Lord.

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