Irving v. Lipstadt


Holocaust Denial on Trial, Trial Transcripts, Day 17: Electronic Edition

Pages 101 - 105 of 214

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 1 Q. [Mr Irving]     But if you take one specific matter, for example, the
 2deportation of the Jews from France, is it right to say
 3that there is a broad measure of disagreement on what the
 4total number involved was, ranging from 25,000 at one end
 5of the scale (which I think Pierre Vidal Nacette supports)
 6right up to the high 200,000s?
 7 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     Of how many in France or how many deported?
 8 Q. [Mr Irving]     How many Jews were deported from France?
 9 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     I think most historians accept the figure of around
1075,000. I have not been aware of a huge difference
11because we have references to most of the trains and when
12they left, and we can add up the trains. So I did not,
13I do not think -- it is not my -- I am not aware that
14there is a vast discrepancy of interpretation concerning
15the number of Jews deported from France.
16 Q. [Mr Irving]     Why would Himmler have discussed with Hitler the
17deportation of 200,000 or 300,000 Jews from France when
18that figure was not in France at that time?
19 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     In mainland France there is roughly about 300,000 Jews.
20 Q. [Mr Irving]     Yes.
21 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     The number in North Africa, I have no idea, but it is ----
22 Q. [Mr Irving]     This is a discussion on 10th December 1942. Do you
23remember what happened one month before that?
24 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     Well, the Germans were pouring troops into Tunisia.
25 Q. [Mr Irving]     And we had seized control of most of French North West
26Africa, had we not, so that the Germans could not have

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 1done anything with the Jews in that part of the world, so
 2those figures could not have been included, could they?
 3 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     Not in the 2 or 300,000, but if you are working -- the
 4question is why -- let me back up so we do not get totally
 5lost. There is a figure in the Wannsee conference
 6protocol that has mystified historians because it is
 7listed I think 600,000. It is a number well beyond what
 8any historian believes of Jews in France. Puzzling, some
 9people have speculated, purely speculated, that this may
10include the Jews of French North Africa too.
11 Q. [Mr Irving]     But on December 10th 1942 that can no longer have
13 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     No, but we do not get that figure. We get the 2 to
14300,000 that is ----
15 Q. [Mr Irving]     Still wrong?
16 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     No. That is still approximately right. If you started
17with 300,000 and 40,000 were deported in 1942, you would
18be at 260,000.
19 Q. [Mr Irving]     But there were not two or 300,000 Jews in mainland France
20on December 10th 1942, were there?
21 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     Oh, there were. 300,000 is the figure that I have seen
22for the population in all of France and, of course,
23Germany occupies the southern part of France and thus
24would have the Jews of all of France in December 1942.
25 Q. [Mr Irving]     Where have you seen these figures?
26 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     This would come from Michael Merris and Paxton's book on

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 1the Vichy France and the Jews.
 2 Q. [Mr Irving]     Would you turn to page 25 please? I am looking at
 3paragraph 5.1.1 which I suppose is your topic paragraph.
 4You are setting out what you are going to be saying. You
 5say, the final sentence in that paragraph, you are
 6referring to the fact that there are disagreements over
 7historical interpretation?
 8 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     Absolutely.
 9 Q. [Mr Irving]     They are not at all unusual, you say?
10 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     We have seen several of these, the questions of
11interpretation from circumstantial evidence about what
12date decisions were made ----
13 Q. [Mr Irving]     You do not have to have a Professor's title to be entitled
14to have a different opinion, do you, or to be Lord
15somebody or Sir John somebody, do you? You are entitled
16to have a different opinion?
17 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     There is a range of opinion and one does not have to have
18a PhD to hold an opinion.
19 Q. [Mr Irving]     Yes. You do not have to be rocket scientist, as they say
20now. You say: "On the contrary, it is quite a normal
21occurrence" to have different opinions about how the
22programme for murder of the Jews came about?
23 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     Yes.
24 Q. [Mr Irving]     You finish that paragraph by saying: "What follows is my
25interpretation concerning the emergence" of what you call
26"the Final Solution" by which you are referring to the

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 1murder of the Jews, are you not?
 2 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     Correct.
 3 Q. [Mr Irving]     "It is not shared in every aspect by other able and
 4learned historians of the Holocaust".
 5 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     Correct.
 6 Q. [Mr Irving]     But it would be wrong to call them Holocaust deniers,
 7would it not, just because they disagree with the
 8established view?
 9 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     As I have said, there is a large body of interpretation on
10a number of issues, including the issue of whether Hitler
11gave an order or not, that is within the historical
13 Q. [Mr Irving]     What is permissible, in your view, and his Lordship may
14interrupt this discussion, to debate and what is
15impermissible to debate? Where is the line drawn?
16 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     Where we draw the line? I would say ----
17 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     In relation to these death camps, do you
18mean, or more generally?
19 MR IRVING:     The Final Solution -- the mass murder of the Jews.
20 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     I would say if interpretations are based upon evidence
21such as you invented yesterday when you added the lines to
22the Himmler notation, and that becomes the basis of an
23interpretation, that would be one that we could say, "This
24is flawed".
25 Q. [Mr Irving]     Over the line?
26 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     "This is over the line".

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 1 Q. [Mr Irving]     Yes, we are talking about December 18th 1941 note?
 2 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     Yes.
 3 Q. [Mr Irving]     We put things in square brackets saying, if you remember,
 4Jewish problem to be treated as partisans or to be wiped
 5out as partisans ----
 6 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     And when you added "that they were" ----
 7 Q. [Mr Irving]     Yes, in square brackets?
 8 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     --- I said that was invention, and if one is using
 9invented evidence, this would be one example of where we
10would say, "This person is no longer taking part in the
11debate. He is fantasizing evidence".
12 Q. [Mr Irving]     That is a very good example. Suppose the person who did
13the inventing put the invented words in square brackets,
14which is the accepted connotation for his assistance to
15the reader, and if he also then gave the German original,
16if there was any doubt, would that be over the line or
17within the line?
18 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     I would have to see the particular case to get a sense of
19whether it was clearly intending to help the reader or to
20mislead the reader. I mean, this would be a border line
21case and one would have to look at the individual
23 Q. [Mr Irving]     So the criterion then is if something has been changed or
24included with the intention of misleading, then that would
25be over the line?
26 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     

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