Irving v. Lipstadt

Transcripts

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

Pages 21 - 25 of 214

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 1     So with some rough estimate of how many would
 2have been selected for labour, he came to a figure for
 3Lodz as a minimum figure and then a more probable but not
 4putting forward as necessarily a somewhat higher figure.
 5He did the same calculations for the other camps.
 6     We know how many Dutch transports went to
 7Sobibor. We know which regions were cleared that were
 8directed to Sobibor. We had the figures of the Jewish
 9populations in those ghettos before the liquidation and
10the number of workers that were shifted to some of the
11work camps, and it was on the calculation, on that basis
12that he arrived at his figures.
13 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     That is very helpful.
14 MR IRVING:     Yes.
15 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Do ask anything you want, Mr Irving.
16 MR IRVING:     I think this is probably an appropriate point to
17ask the witness about the atmosphere in Germany for
18historians. Is it possible for an historian in Germany
19now, whether reputable or disreputable historian, to
20advance opposing hypotheses in any degree of safety?
21 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     Oh, absolutely. For instance, in this court earlier I saw
22in the transcript you said that no one could refer to the
23Himmler guidelines without risking that -- the intercept
24of the Himmler guidelines, and, of course, Christian
25Jerloch has published that in Germany, and has suffered
26absolutely no repercussions and there is no question that

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 1he would, that there is a very vigorous discussion among
 2German historians on the Holocaust.
 3 Q. [Mr Irving]     But would I be right in saying this discussion is skewed
 4or distorted by the fact that anybody who goes to the
 5other end of the spectrum, shall we say, and starts
 6saying, "I think the figures are much lower because, for
 7example, it was not a systematic liquidation" or anything
 8like that, anybody who accidentally says one of the taboo
 9phrases in Germany is going to end up in trouble, in
10prison, and that this must certainly cast apprehensions in
11the mind of somebody about which side of the debate he
12takes?
13 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     I think that is nonsense. For instance, Hans Monson
14shares your view that Hitler did not give an order.
15 Q. [Mr Irving]     Would you tell the court who Hans Monson is?
16 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     Hans Monson is a very notable historian at the University
17of Bochum, now retired boss tonne.
18 Q. [Mr Irving]     He is not a Holocaust denier, is he?
19 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     You asked me with taboos and one of the things that has
20generally been seen that you have been identified with is
21the argument that Hitler did not make the decision. Hans
22Monson and Martin Broszat have accepted or have argued
23that Hitler did not give an order or a decision----
24 Q. [Mr Irving]     Can I just halt you there? It would be useful if you
25would----
26 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     I am still talking.

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 1 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     You are interrupting a little bit,
 2Mr Irving. Try and restrain yourself until the end of the
 3answer.
 4 MR IRVING:     Your Lordship will know why I want to interrupt
 5there.
 6 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     Far from being thrown in jail or fearing, Hans Monson
 7currently is the Shapiro Visiting Scholar at the United
 8States Holocaust Museum. There is a wide of range of
 9debate covering a wide spectrum of opinion. There is in
10Germany a law that outlaws Holocaust denial, but I know of
11no German historian that I have come across that has lost
12a night's sleep worrying that this prevents him from
13arguing from documents and from carrying out a full
14academic discussion.
15 Q. [Mr Irving]     Have you heard of Dr Reinhard Seitelmann?
16 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     I have heard of Dr Reinhard Seitelmann. I know him.
17 Q. [Mr Irving]     Are you familiar with the course of his career after he
18made certain statements? Was he originally a historian at
19the free university in Berlin?
20 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Mr Irving, I think this is a digression
21really.
22 MR IRVING:     Very well. Would you explain to the court then who
23Professor Martin Broszat was? Was he an eminent German
24historian?
25 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     Yes. He was the head of the Institute for Contemporary
26History in Munich.

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 1 Q. [Mr Irving]     His opinion on my hypothesis that Hitler did not issue an
 2order or that there is no Hitler order, are you familiar
 3with that?
 4 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     He takes your view that Hitler did not know of this, or
 5that it was kept secret from him, or he would not have
 6authorized it. That it was done by others behind his back
 7he does not accept. He does not think that Hitler gave an
 8order for or made a decision for the Final Solution, but
 9that rather he ----
10 Q. [Mr Irving]     It just happened?
11 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     He encouraged it, he instigated it in the sense that he
12made known his feelings and that others clamoured, or
13strove to gain Brownie points to get credit by realising
14the programme that Hitler hinted that he wanted to see
15done.
16 Q. [Mr Irving]     Are you familiar with the word Verliegenheitslosung, a way
17out of an awkward solution, a way out of an awkward
18problem?
19 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     He used the phrase that it was a way out of a Sackgasse,
20out of a dead end.
21 Q. [Mr Irving]     He picked up this word from the introduction to my book
22and said this was probably correct. Are you familiar with
23that?
24 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     I do not know if he picked that expression up from your
25book, but he did. In so far as the issue of the Hitler
26order, Monson and Broszat have argued for a long time, as

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 1you have, they do not think that Hitler gave an explicit
 2or formal order.
 3 Q. [Mr Irving]     It would be a grave injustice to call either of those two
 4professors Holocaust deniers, would it not?
 5 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     Yes. The argument over whether Hitler gave an order or not
 6is not commonly part of the issue of Holocaust denial.
 7 Q. [Mr Irving]     Thank you very much for saying that. Hans Monson, would
 8you identify him? Is he a Professor at the Royal
 9university in Bochum?
10 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     Yes, he was. He is retired.
11 Q. [Mr Irving]     A very eminent historian, is that correct?
12 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     Yes.
13 Q. [Mr Irving]     Very well. I hope your Lordship pardons me for having
14made that little excursion?
15 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Yes. You picked up the answer that Professor
16Browning gave about whether denying Hitler's having given
17an order was an aspect of Holocaust denial, but I do not
18think the Defendants really say that it is.
19 MR RAMPTON:     We do not.
20 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     I was checking your summary of case.
21 MR RAMPTON:     The Hitler exculpation, exoneration, apology part
22of the case has nothing to do with Holocaust denial at
23all. They may have a similar motive at the end of the day
24but that is completely different. We have focused on
25Hitler's exoneration to prove what we call distorted
26history.

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