Irving v. Lipstadt

Transcripts

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

Pages 171 - 175 of 214

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 1 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     Then let me phrase it this way. I write in many drafts.
 2I would expect any careful author would write a number of
 3drafts, the second and third drafts would not be
 4identical, or one would not write numerous drafts.
 5 Q. [Mr Irving]     Out of your own mouth, Professor, you are condemning
 6yourself. That implies that in your first draft you chose
 7to leave all these passages out, and only later did you
 8decide to put them back in again for whatever reason.
 9 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     It is not a matter of having decided to leave out, I was
10constructing it. I said in the initial draft there were
11many exaggerations. Looking at it, I said let us spell
12that out more clearly.
13 Q. [Mr Irving]     Does it not indicate in fact, if you read these monstrous
14exaggerations by Gerstein, that he was a man with a
15severely disordered mind, which finally crashed when he
16committed suicide in prison?
17 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     I think he was a man that was utter traumatised and
18unstable.
19 Q. [Mr Irving]     Yes. In other words, totally unreliable and undependable
20and it was responsible to base an important piece of
21history just on the eyewitness testimony of this man
22because -- is there any other eyewitness testimony of
23equal colour?
24 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     Two things wrong. To say he is unstable is not identical
25to saying unreliable. To say that it is the only
26testimony is false because we have lots of other

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 1testimony.
 2 Q. [Mr Irving]     Are you referring to Pfannenstiel?
 3 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     We certainly are.
 4 Q. [Mr Irving]     Are you referring to what Gerstein is alleged to have said
 5to a Swedish diplomat?
 6 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     Yes.
 7 Q. [Mr Irving]     When did this conversation with a Swedish diplomat take
 8place?
 9 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     August 21, 22, coming back from Warsaw.
10 Q. [Mr Irving]     In 1942?
11 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     Yes.
12 Q. [Mr Irving]     What date is the Swedish diplomatic memorandum on that
13conversation? Was it contemporary or was it written years
14later?
15 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     The one that is in the file of the Swedish Foreign Office
16was written after the war.
17 Q. [Mr Irving]     Three years later. Was there any opportunity for that
18Swedish Foreign Office gentlemen to have cross-pollinated
19his knowledge with what he had read in the Allied and
20Swedish newspapers about what had been discovered?
21 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     I have no idea on that.
22 Q. [Mr Irving]     No, but you agree that, if this Swedish diplomat had
23written a contemporary memorandum dated August 1942, that
24would have very strong evidentiary value?
25 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     That would have been much stronger.
26 Q. [Mr Irving]     Something written after the war in 1945, for various

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 1reasons, is less dependable?
 2 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     It is evidence of less strength than one written at the
 3time.
 4 Q. [Mr Irving]     Why did this man Pfannenstiel accompany Gerstein on his
 5visits to these extermination camps?
 6 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     I do not know why he went.
 7 Q. [Mr Irving]     What was his position?
 8 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     He was a Professor.
 9 Q. [Mr Irving]     Was he a Professor at the Institute of Hygiene in Berlin?
10Yes, not in Berlin, Mabuch on the Lan.
11 Q. [Mr Irving]     And why did he accompany Gerstein?
12 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     I do not know.
13 Q. [Mr Irving]     Was that the kind of position where a Professor would
14accompany an SS officer in connection with controlling
15epidemics?
16 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     It could well be that he would be invited along as an
17expert or someone who wanted to learn, or that the SS was
18trying to bring in, I do not know. There are a number of
19possible explanations.
20 Q. [Mr Irving]     Pfannenstiel, of course, after the war, am I right,
21testified broadly in accordance with what Gerstein had
22stated?
23 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     Yes.
24 Q. [Mr Irving]     He confirmed that he had seen these things happening?
25 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     Yes.
26 Q. [Mr Irving]     What did Gerstein testify that he had seen happening in

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 1two or three sentences? He had seen gassings?
 2 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     Gerstein testified that he went to both Belzec and
 3Treblinka and saw gassings at each. I am not sure -- yes,
 4I think he said he saw them at each. Pfannenstiel said
 5that he only went to Belzec, that he did not go to
 6Treblinka, it could well be that Gerstein went on and he
 7did not. Pfannenstiel only confirms being with Gerstein
 8in Belzec and seeing the Belzec gassing.
 9 Q. [Mr Irving]     Take these two people separately. Gerstein went to these
10two camps, carrying with him a hundred kilograms of Zyklon
11or some fumigating agent and his story is that, after he
12had delivered the goods, which was for fumigation of
13clothing -- and he himself states that am I right?
14 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     Yes.
15 Q. [Mr Irving]     That the local SS people then gave him a treat and let him
16watch a gassing on the following day. Is that plausible
17in your view?
18 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     Well, I think they said they did some of the work in
19Lublin and then they took him up, and of course, by his
20account, he had gotten into the SS to find out what he
21could. So he would have taken this opportunity.
22 Q. [Mr Irving]     Is there any reason why they should have shown him
23something that was top secret?
24 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     To people in Lublin this was not top secret, and he was a
25member of the SS.
26 Q. [Mr Irving]     What about Pfannenstiel? Why should they have shown to

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 1this Professor of Hygiene one of the most secret and
 2deadly operations going on, namely the Final Solution and
 3operation? Why should they have done that?
 4 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     I do not know why they should have done that.
 5 Q. [Mr Irving]     Can you think of any reason why Pfannenstiel, testifying
 6in a West German court after the war, would have said that
 7he had seen these things?
 8 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     It led to a lot more interrogations. If he had denied it
 9entirely, I think nothing would have happened, and, when
10he said this, nothing happened either, because witnessing
11it was not committing a crime.
12 Q. [Mr Irving]     You are absolutely right. Witnessing was not committing a
13crime and Mr Gerstein, was he still alive at that time?
14 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     No.
15 Q. [Mr Irving]     He was dead. So, by saying that Gerstein had witnessed it
16and was involved bringing Zyklon and so on, that did not
17hurt Gerstein either, did it?
18 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     Gerstein was dead.
19 Q. [Mr Irving]     There was no skin off Pfannenstiel's nose to accept
20whatever was put to him?
21 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     I think it led to a series of interrogations and, if it
22had not happened, he would have said it. He had no reason
23to incriminate, not incriminate but to involve himself in
24supporting Gerstein's account if it had not occurred. To
25me, it would have been much more likely that he would,
26even if it happened, have denied it than vice versa.

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