Irving v. Lipstadt


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

Pages 161 - 165 of 214

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    He had joined and then been expelled from the Nazi Party
 1and then, at least in his own account, got back into the
 2SS because he had heard of the euthanasia programme and he
 3wanted to find out more.
 4 Q. [Mr Irving]     You say "in his own account", when was his account written
 5to which you are referring?
 6 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     The accounts that he gave that he writes are dated in late
 7April and early May 1945. He also had conversations with
 8others that have been related to us later, would be his
 9statements at a time earlier than 1945.
10 Q. [Mr Irving]     Would it be to his advantage after World War II to
11establish or to maintain the position that he had been a
12covert anti-Nazi?
13 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     Certainly, lots of people claimed that they were
14anti-Nazis who were not, and the question then is you have
15to look, is this a bona fide claim or not? Certainly,
16lots of people were claiming that, and that would be one
17question you would have to put to the evidence. If you
18have other people such as Bishop Dalias(?) who said
19Gerstein came to him in 1942 or '43 and corroborates his
20anti-Nazi stance, then you would lend more credibility to
21the 1945 statement as opposed to someone who had been
22killing Jews over the years and then suddenly poses as an
23anti-Nazi in 1945.
24 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Was he tried?
25 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     Gerstein? He was arrested and sent to a French prison
26where he died, and the French prison ruled it as suicide.

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 1Some have voiced suspicion that he was killed by fellow
 2prisoners as a traitor.
 3 MR IRVING:     Kurt Gerstein is used or relied upon as an
 4important eyewitness, or was relied upon as an important
 5eyewitness, for various camps or killing operations. Is
 6that right?
 7 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     He is relied upon, as far as I know, for Belzec and
 9 Q. [Mr Irving]     For Belzec and Treblinka, because he visited these camps?
10 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     This is the visits to the camps, yes, that he says he
11visited these camps and I am sure we will get into why
12I credit that.
13 Q. [Mr Irving]     What was his actual position in the SS?
14 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     One of the things he was doing was delivering Zyklon-B to
15places for fumigation.
16 Q. [Mr Irving]     He was head of the SS pest control office, can we say,
17their fumigation or hygiene department?
18 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     Their fumigation department, I think we can say that, yes.
19 Q. [Mr Irving]     I mean in the non-homicidal sense ----
20 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     Yes.
21 Q. [Mr Irving]     --- a straightforward meaning of the word. So he visited
22these camps. Was he delivering anything to these camps?
23 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     According to his account, he brought out Zyklon-B to
24Lublin to fumigate the clothing that was there and then
25went on to Belzec and Treblinka, and that in his account
26at Belzec, I think it is, he buries the rest of the

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 1Zyklon-B and does not deliver that to the camp.
 2 Q. [Mr Irving]     You talk about "in his account". How many accounts were
 3written by Mr Gerstein, to your knowledge?
 4 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     I think there are a number of drafts and notes, but, in
 5general, in terms of the finished product, we have the
 6French version and the German version and maybe even two
 7French versions, but how many -- I have not seen the
 8actual notes. I do not know how many drafts that we might
 9count as a version, but ----
10 Q. [Mr Irving]     There is no question as to the authenticity. He was the
11author of these ----
12 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     I do not believe that has been challenged.
13 Q. [Mr Irving]     Are you familiar with the work of a French academic called
14Henry Rocques? R-O-C-Q-U-E-S, I think it is.
15 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     I have not read his work. I have heard the name.
16 Q. [Mr Irving]     You have heard the name. Did he write a dissertation on
17the various reports by Kurt Gerstein in order to obtain a
19 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     I believe so -- I have heard that.
20 Q. [Mr Irving]     Was he awarded a doctorate on the basis of these,
22 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     I believe initially.
23 Q. [Mr Irving]     On the basis of his PhD thesis. Did he keep his
25 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     I believe not.
26 Q. [Mr Irving]     What was the problem?

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 1 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     I think somebody said the document did not deserve a PhD
 2and it was looked into and they withdrew it.
 3 Q. [Mr Irving]     So the university decided to knuckle under pressure, am
 4I right?
 5 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     I believe you could say that the university discovered
 6somebody had let through a very sloppy dissertation and
 7decided that they had better get their house in order.
 8 Q. [Mr Irving]     Do these things happen often? Are people often stripped
 9of their doctorates?
10 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     Not very often.
11 Q. [Mr Irving]     Does it happen very often in France?
12 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     I do not know.
13 Q. [Mr Irving]     Does it happen largely to revisionist historians?
14 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     I know of this case. I do not know of any other.
15 Q. [Mr Irving]     Professor Faurisson, are you familiar with the case?
16 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     I do not believe he has had his dissertation withdrawn.
17 Q. [Mr Irving]     Did he have his Professorship removed from him?
18 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     I believe he is suspended from teaching but I do not know
19that he had the position terminated. I do not know.
20 Q. [Mr Irving]     To get back to Gerstein, is it right that Henry Rock, in
21writing his dissertation discovered no fewer than seven
22different versions of the Gerstein report?
23 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     I cannot answer that.
24 Q. [Mr Irving]     And that he obtained also access in the French police
25files to all the private letters that Gerstein had

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 1 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     That I do not know.
 2 Q. [Mr Irving]     Not that either. Is it not surprising that your Holocaust
 3historian, you have not read his PhD dissertation which
 4relies on these papers?
 5 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     Well, I have not seen the PhD dissertation, and it is not
 6in circulation that I know of.
 7 Q. [Mr Irving]     Like most PhD dissertations, it can be obtained from the
 8university, can it not?
 9 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     If it has been withdrawn, I do not know.
10 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Mr Irving, I am not going to stop you, but
11this is all slightly Alice in Wonderland, is it not? For
12the reason we went through before, you accept there were
13gas chambers so criticising Gerstein for saying there were
14is slightly limited value, I think. Do not take it too
16 MR IRVING:     A well deserved reprimand, my Lord.
17 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     It is not a reprimand.
18 MR IRVING:     Can I take you to page 50 of your report, please?
19 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     Yes.
20 Q. [Mr Irving]     I want you to look at the second version of page 50, which
21contains the bold type on it. Your Lordship said in
22November you would interleave the pages?
23 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Yes, I have done that and I have crossed out
24the superseded one.
25 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     My account does not have bold type.
26 MR IRVING:     It does not have bold type?

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