Irving v. Lipstadt


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

Pages 156 - 160 of 214

<< 1-5211-214 >>
    Yes. All I am getting at this is -- I am
 1Is that unfair?
 2 MR IRVING:     It is a general attack on eyewitness evidence which
 3is important for the main plank of my case which is
 4Auschwitz where we have established, I think ----
 5 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     I see.
 6 MR IRVING:     --- from Professor van Pelt that the only evidence
 7one can really rely on is the eyewitness evidence.
 8 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     So you are using Gerstein as a sort of
 9example of the fallibility?
10 MR IRVING:     Rather like Rommel, I am coming round from the rear
11and attacking am attacking the eyewitnesses.
12 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     All right.
13 MR IRVING:     It is an indirect attack. (To the witness): One
14of the eyewitnesses that you rely on is, of course,
15Eichmann. He saw, he visited, some of these camps, did he
17 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     Yes.
18 Q. [Mr Irving]     Yes. We have talked a bit about his reliability. Does he
19ever have a tendency to exaggerate, do you think?
20 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     Much less than others and I think sometimes he probably
21understates, but, in general, his memory of sequence of
22events and things seems to be better than most witnesses.
23 Q. [Mr Irving]     Did he describe once visiting a scene of executions and
24seeing blood spurting from the ground like in geysers?
25 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     Yes, and then when we have the -- when you have lots of
26bodies like that, I believe that coming up of blood was

.   P-156

 1testified to by others as well.
 2 Q. [Mr Irving]     Did he once testify or write in his papers -- in fact, in
 3my collection of papers too -- did he write that he got so
 4close to one shooting that bits of babies' brain were
 5splattered across his nice leather coat?
 6 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     He complained that at Minsk that happened and, of
 7course ----
 8 Q. [Mr Irving]     Is that credible in your view?
 9 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     I have written on police battalion 101 where the men came
10routinely with their uniform saturated in blood. When you
11shoot people at point blank range, you get bloody.
12 Q. [Mr Irving]     Eichmann, of course, testified that he was told there was
13a Hitler order, and perhaps we ought to ask your views on
15 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     He consistently says that he learns from Heydrich, so this
16is second-hand, that he learns from Heydrich that Hitler
17has issued the order for the physical annihilation of the
18Jews of Europe.
19 Q. [Mr Irving]     Is it second-hand or third-hand or fourth-hand? If Hitler
20has Himmler who has told Heydrich or Himmler has told
21Muller who has told Heydrich or Himmler has told Heydrich
22who has told Muller?
23 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     We only know that it goes from -- all we know is what he
24says and that is that Hitler -- that Heydrich tells him
25Hitler has ordered. Heydrich does not give details of
26what may or may not have intervened.

.   P-157

 1 Q. [Mr Irving]     What importance do you attach to that particular piece of
 3 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     He says that from beginning to end, and I think that he is
 4probably accurately relating a meeting with Heydrich in
 5which this issue was clarified.
 6 Q. [Mr Irving]     The end was, presumably, 1963 when he was hanged, and when
 7was the beginning in the 1950s, late 1950s?
 8 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     Certainly from the ----
 9 Q. [Mr Irving]     The Sassen papers?
10 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     I am not sure what he says in the Sassen papers except
11I think it must be included because Aschenal wrote a bunch
12of footnotes saying that the person he was publishing was
13mistaken on this -- a strange thing for the editor to do.
14So I believe that -- sometimes I do not remember exactly
15which one says which, but my recollection is that the
16published Adolf Eichmann which based on some Sassen papers
17does stipulate that he was told there was a Hitler order.
18 Q. [Mr Irving]     I secured the publication of those actually. I am the one
19who found a publisher because I thought they needed a
20publication, a publisher. I insisted that they should be
21published in their original form because they did contain
22these very odd passages. But can you see any reason why
23Adolf Eichmann in the 1950s, living in the underground in
24Argentina, should have wanted to state in his writings
25that he remembered a Fuhrer order in that way? Can you
26think of any reason why should he have written that?

.   P-158

 1 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     I think he was absolutely convinced there was an order,
 2that he was carrying out state policy.
 3 Q. [Mr Irving]     Yes, would the existence of a Fuhrer order in his mind
 4have let him off the hook? "I was only acting on orders",
 5would that have let Eichmann off the hook in his own mind
 6if there was a Fuhrer order?
 7 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     It would have been a defence after being arrested, but if
 8he says it before that, I think it is a reflection of his
 9feeling that he had been carrying out a very major Hitler
11 Q. [Mr Irving]     Is it evident from these papers that he wrote or dictated
12to the journalist, Sassen, while in the underground in
13Argentina while hiding that he was aware that there was a
14worldwide hue and cry searching for him?
15 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     I do not know how much he was aware of. It is very
16strange that the man who, obviously, had fled to Argentina
17because he knew he was hunted would talk to a journalist.
18What sort of self-destruction wish he had, I do not know,
19but it was very strange behaviour for someone, but
20certainly not an indication that he would then take the
21opportunity to lie.
22 Q. [Mr Irving]     Would you not agree that it is possible that he was either
23consciously or unconsciously creating an alibi for
24himself, rehearsing the alibi he would used when he was
25caught or if he was caught?
26 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     No, I do not think he would be increasing his chances of

.   P-159

 1getting caught by trying to establish an alibi when if you
 2kept your mouth shut he would not be caught in the first
 4 Q. [Mr Irving]     Is it not evident that Sassen had a commercial interest in
 5marketing these papers and that he sold them to a major
 6New York magazine?
 7 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     He did sell them to Life magazine. What his motive was
 8earlier, I do not know.
 9 Q. [Mr Irving]     So, in fact, we do not know whether Eichmann actually made
10that confession or whether it was incorporated by the
12 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     Well, we do have -- the Israelis have the transcripts of
13the tapes in which he made handwritten notations, and
14I would have to look at those to find if there was a huge
15discrepancy. I think the one discrepancy in the Life
16magazine report, as opposed to what he consistently says
17in his other testimony, is that they portray his visit to
18Belzec where he talks about there is a camp in a sense
19under construction, I think the Life magazine account
20talks of this being already in operation. My guess is
21that that is a Sassen invention to make it more spiffy.
22 Q. [Mr Irving]     Who was Kurt Gerstein?
23 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     Kurt Gerstein was a covert anti-Nazi in the SS who was in
24the hygienic department.
25 Q. [Mr Irving]     What makes you suggest that he was a covert anti-Nazi?
26 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     

.   P-160

<< 1-5211-214 >>