Irving v. Lipstadt

Transcripts

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

Pages 141 - 145 of 214

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    Is there a passage in the protocol that reads: "The
 1treated accordingly"? This is what you were referring to
 2right, right?
 3 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     Yes.
 4 Q. [Mr Irving]     "Because this remnant representing a natural selection can
 5be regarded as the germ cell of a new Jewish
 6reconstruction", what are the next two words, do you know?
 7 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     "If released".
 8 Q. [Mr Irving]     "If released", that is the way you translated them, is it
 9not?
10 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     Yes.
11 Q. [Mr Irving]     And you are familiar with the fact that people accused you
12of having mistranslated that, people accused you of having
13translated the words "upon release" "as if released"?
14 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     What is the German?
15 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     "Abfreilasung".
16 MR IRVING:     "Abfreilasung". It is one of those German words
17which you can translate so oder so, as the Germans say,
18one way or the other.
19 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     And when you say people, quite specifically, Mr Christie,
20the attorney for Zundel ----
21 Q. [Mr Irving]     Precisely.
22 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     --- spent a great deal of time trying to make a great deal
23out that.
24 Q. [Mr Irving]     Trying to embarrass you, I agree. I certainly shall not
25try to embarrass you today with that, Professor. I
26just wanted to draw attention to the fact that we do have

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 1problems with words, do we not, in German? I know that
 2there are occasionally from the public ranks behind me
 3when I spend time going into these words, like "vie" and
 4"als" and so on, but it is a problem, is it not, how to
 5translate words with the right flavour?
 6 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     There are many areas where we could have disputes.
 7I think the context here does not leave a whole lot of
 8doubt in this case.
 9 Q. [Mr Irving]     Is it not possible, and have you in fact done it, to
10either interview those who were at the Wannsee conference
11or to read the interrogations of them which were conducted
12by the Allies after the war, people Stuckart and
13Kritzinger? Have you read the interrogations when they
14were questioned about their recollections of that and
15other conferences?
16 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     No, I have not read those systematically. I have seen
17excerpts of them, I believe, but I have not gone through
18the exercise of tracing all of those.
19 Q. [Mr Irving]     For once I have to express my astonishment that, as an
20Holocaust historian, knowing that in the national archives
21in Washington they have verbatim transcripts of the
22questionings of these half dozen or so surviving
23attendees, you did not read what they had to say about
24their recollections?
25 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     You are free to express your amazement.
26 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Well, what did Kritzinger have to say? Can

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 1you put that?
 2 MR IRVING:     As a question?
 3 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Yes, otherwise ----
 4 MR IRVING:     Can you justify why you did not do so?
 5 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     No, no. He has accepted he did not do so,
 6but that perhaps is only material if there is something
 7really significant he missed by not having consulted what
 8Kritzinger said, whoever Kritzinger may be, I do not know.
 9 MR IRVING:     He was a State Secretary in the Reichschancellory,
10I believe, under Lammers. Is it right -- well, I cannot
11ask him what he has not read, my Lord.
12 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Yes, you can.
13 MR IRVING:     Would you not expected to find that they would have
14been questioned about as to whether there was actually
15explicit reference to killing operations in the Wannsee
16conference and that this might have clarified the
17uncertainties from the text?
18 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     I think I have seen excerpt of the Stuckart one and, in
19general, they are denying that this had much significance.
20 Q. [Mr Irving]     Yes. So all of them denied that there had been any
21discussion explicitly of killing operations?
22 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     Yes, as far as I know all of them did.
23 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Does that influence your thinking about what
24Wannsee was about?
25 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     No. I think these people were shown the protocol and if,
26of course, their participation there made them more

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 1vulnerable legally, and here is one case where I would
 2invoke Mr Irving's practice that we look at oral testimony
 3very carefully, and ask what motive would they have to say
 4less than the full truth, and when I have a written
 5document, on the one hand, and a self-exculpatory
 6testimony post war, on the other hand, I put more weight
 7on the written document.
 8 MR IRVING:     But suppose this self-exculpatory testimony after
 9the war contained references, for example, by a man called
10Gottfried Buhle who attended the subsequent conference on
11March 5th 1942, and he says: "It was disgusting the way
12these SS officers treated the Jews like cattle", and
13referred to forwarding them here and shipping them there,
14"and when we protested, Eichmann's deputy said, 'We are
15the police and we do as we want'", would that be taken as
16self-exculpatory? Would you expect this man also to have
17remembered and testified if there had been decisions on
18killings?
19 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     I would take that as testimony that, in fact, they talked
20fairly openly about killing at these conferences, and a
21denial of others to the contrary should not be trusted.
22This is a non-self-exculpatory statement with much more
23specificity and would indicate, in fact, that Eichmann's
24indication that there were open in their discussion about
25killing than his euphemism has for their credibility.
26 Q. [Mr Irving]     Well, if I am more specific here and say that these

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 1interrogations referred only to the brutal nature of the
 2language used by the participants in the uncouth language,
 3but there was still no talk of killing, it was just
 4treating these people like cattle, does this not indicate
 5that probably there was no talk of killing at these
 6meetings, no open talk anyway?
 7 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     Well, there is no open talk of that at the second one, at
 8the March 6th. That is all that Buhle is referring to.
 9 Q. [Mr Irving]     But again neither in the interrogations nor in the records
10of the Wannsee conference, as far as you have seen them,
11have you seen any explicit references to killing only
12references by inference?
13 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     Except for Eichmann.
14 Q. [Mr Irving]     Except for?
15 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     Eichmann is a participant and he ----
16 Q. [Mr Irving]     What he said in Israel in 1963?
17 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     Yes. Or 1960/61.
18 Q. [Mr Irving]     '61. My Lord, do you wish to ask further questions about
19Wannsee?
20 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     No, thank you very much.
21 MR IRVING:     You referred to Hermann Goring's authorization to
22Heydrich dated July 31st, 1941. One very brief question
23on that: was it intended or taken by either party as
24being a blank cheque to kill?
25 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     I believe it was intended as a kind of authorization for a
26feasibility study, that what it says is, "Please study the

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