Irving v. Lipstadt


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

Pages 166 - 170 of 214

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 1 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     No.
 2 Q. [Mr Irving]     In the new version you interpolated certain sentences.
 3 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     I can get my own version and I believe I may be able to
 4use that.
 5 MR IRVING:     My Lord, I shall be another half hour at most.
 6 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Do not hurry. I really mean that. I am not
 7seeking to hurry you, just to guide you to the areas which
 8I think are of greater significance.
 9 MR IRVING:     Is it fair to say that, after you wrote your report
10initially, you realized that you had omitted, either
11accidentally or wilfully, certain passages which, if
12included, would have cast grave doubt on the reliability
13of this man as a witness?
14 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     What happened is that I in fact sent a draft, mistakenly
15you were sent what was not my final report, and, when
16I got back, it was clear that things that I had put in
17were not included. One of the things was that I was able
18to look at both the French and the German reports and the
19French has some exaggerations not included in the German,
20and I then amended mine and I emphasised further the
21elements ----
22 Q. [Mr Irving]     I do urge you, before you continue, to consider your
23replies carefully, because the tenor of each of these
24interpolations is very much material that has been
25previously left out or not included which, if left in,
26would have totally destroyed the veracity of this report

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 1or certainly tended to undermine it. In other words, it
 2all tends the same way. It is not random omissions. It
 3is all that kind of document, right? That kind of
 5 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     The ones that were added were the cases that highlighted
 6exaggerations in Gerstein, that on reflection I felt
 7should go in.
 8 Q. [Mr Irving]     According to Gerstein, I am reading from the middle of
 9paragraph, new version, this is the sentence which
10you omitted but have now put in: "According to Gerstein
11Globocnik also claimed with great exaggeration Belzec
12Treblinka and Sobibore respectively 15,000, 25,000 and
1320,000 Jews were killed daily with diesel exhaust gas".
14 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     Yes.
15 Q. [Mr Irving]     Do you consider those figures to be reliable?
16 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     No. I think they are not reliable at all.
17 Q. [Mr Irving]     Rather lower down that same paragraph, we have a 45 wagon
18transport arriving from Woolf with 6,700 Jews, of whom
191,450 were already dead. That is about the same kind of
20proportion, is it not, 20 per cent?
21 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     That is similar to the Versterman report and, given the
22conditions under which the Galetian transports were
23coming, I do not consider that to be an exaggeration or,
24on the face of it, outrageous.
25 Q. [Mr Irving]     This was in your original report. What would have
26happened to those 1,450 corpses? Would they have been

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 1dragged into the camp and disposed of?
 2 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     I can only speculate, but my guess would be that after the
 3entire operation was over they would then bring the dead
 4bodies from the transports. That would have been the last
 5clean up item when they had finished liquidating the
 7 Q. [Mr Irving]     Now we have, "The Jews were forced to undress who arrived
 8on this transport", and then comes a parenthesis that you
 9originally left out, "the piles of shoes were allegedly 25
10metres high". Is that from the Gerstein report?
11 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     That is from Gerstein report.
12 Q. [Mr Irving]     25 metres is, what, 80 feet?
13 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     Yes, it would be.
14 Q. [Mr Irving]     About as tall as that building out there, probably?
15 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     I do not know, but it clearly is an exaggeration.
16 Q. [Mr Irving]     It clearly is an exaggeration, but you left it out because
17of space reasons, or was there some other reason why it
18got left out?
19 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     It was not a matter of left out, it is a decision of
20putting something in. I had said in the original working
21draft that there were many exaggerations and I felt we had
22better be specific about what they were.
23 Q. [Mr Irving]     Then over the page, my Lord, page 51 of the new version,
24with bold face on the third line, you say: "Approximately
25750 Jews were driven into each of four gas chambers,
26measuring 5 metres by 5 metres each." Is that a

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 1reasonable kind of estimate of the number of people? Why
 2did you leave out the phrase "measuring by 5 by 5 metres
 3each or apiece"?
 4 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     As I said, it was question of putting it in when I felt
 5I had to be more specific about what I meant in terms of
 6Gerstein's exaggerations.
 7 Q. [Mr Irving]     Would it be perverse to believe that, if that measurement,
 8the dimensions had been left in, that would have tended to
 9undermine the credibility of that sentence?
10 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     Well, given that later I have 200 Jews per gas chamber and
11in another the 750 figure was already considerably out of
12line with other stuff that I put, I make clear in this
13from beginning to end that there are exaggerations and
14that Gerstein does exaggerate.
15 Q. [Mr Irving]     But he does not exaggerate just on an amateur scale, does
16he? He exaggerates on a Munchhausen scale.
17 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     There are some extraordinary exaggerations, yes.
18 Q. [Mr Irving]     Can I draw your attention to the next paragraph,
19This is one you left in, I believe?
20 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     This was there.
21 Q. [Mr Irving]     "The following day Gerstein drove to Treblinka where the
22gassing facilities were larger and he saw, you quote,
23veritable mounds of clothing and underwear 115 to 130 feet
25 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     Yes, which I would suggest was that I was putting in
26already in the first draft considerable materials that

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 1were demonstrating my conclusion that much of his report
 2was exaggerated. I added further material. Certainly in
 3the working draft there was no attempt to hide that fact.
 4 Q. [Mr Irving]     But would you agree ----
 5 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     You suggest that there was some sort of cover up or
 6sinister attempt to sanitize Gerstein, I do not think that
 7is borne out by looking at either first and second draft.
 8 Q. [Mr Irving]     I am not trying to suggest that you tried to cover up or
 9sanitize, but merely to make passages you wanted to rely
10on seem more plausible. I put it to you that, if you had
11left these passages in, it would have totally demolished
12the veracity of this witness, and no responsible historian
13would have dreamed of using Gerstein as a source.
14 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     They are in, and I use him, and others have used him, and
15we use him with caution.
16 Q. [Mr Irving]     They are in now, of course, because you subsequently
17amended your report to include them.
18 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     Well, "amend" is not the right word. As I have said, it
19was a mistake by Mishcon de Reya to have turned over what
20was not the final draft.
21 Q. [Mr Irving]     In other words, in your first draft?
22 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     Do you write one book in one sitting, or do you revise
23things as you go, and do you reflect about what you are
24writing? I have things in a number of drafts.
25 Q. [Mr Irving]     I quote Mr Rampton and say you are not allowed to ask me
26questions. I am the one who asks the questions.

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