Irving v. Lipstadt
Holocaust Denial on Trial, Trial Transcripts, Day 17: Electronic Edition
Pages 26 - 30 of 214
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1 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes. I think what you do say is that it is
2part of Holocaust denial to deny that there was a
4 MR RAMPTON: Yes.
5 MR JUSTICE GRAY: That is not the same as denying that it was
6Hitler who instigated that programme.
7 MR RAMPTON: That is right. It is number 3, no systematic
8programme of exterminating Europe's Jews, whether on the
9part of Hitler or the Nazi leadership.
10 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning] I think that Professors Monson and Broszat would say that
11Hitler instigated it in various ways. They would simply
12say there was no formal order or decision in the sense
13that we understand that is the way ----
14 MR JUSTICE GRAY: You say that yourself.
15 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning] Yes.
16 MR IRVING: Is this the debate between the intentionalists and
18 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning] It is one aspect of that debate.
19 Q. [Mr Irving] By instigating it, would you say that Hitler instigated it
20by raising the climate of anti-semitism in Germany, or was
21it more specific than that?
22 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning] I think that was the beginning of it, but it gets also
23more specific than that when one continually indicates
24that you want this whole problem to disappear, that you
25want a settlement to this. You prophesy a disappearance
26of the Jews, which is in a sense to set the climate in
1which people are to come forward to you with proposals
2which you then can approve or not. We know the pattern
3that Himmler comes to Hitler in mid September with the
4proposals for the ethnic cleansing of western Poland.
5 Q. [Mr Irving] September 1939?
6 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning] He comes to Hitler. They bring the Madagascar plan to
7Hitler. They bring proposals about marking and
8deportation to Hitler. In terms of concrete proposals
9Hitler is not the micromanager, but the proposals are a
10response to the signals that he gives of what he wants and
11wants done, and this is what I would say we would call
13 Q. [Mr Irving] You refer to his prophesy, that was the speech of January
15 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning] That is one example.
16 Q. [Mr Irving] That was January 30th 1939. Did the killings start
18 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning] No. That is a prophesy that could be realised in a number
20 Q. [Mr Irving] Nothing really happened for about three years, did it?
21 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning] No. I would not interpret that as understood yet as total
22destruction. But when this does not work and there still
23needs to be -- that is, expulsion, ethnic cleansing, does
24not work, the reservation plans prove to be impractical,
25then the demand that something be done is still there, and
26then one brings more extreme points.
1 Q. [Mr Irving] How realistic was the Madagascar plan to which you just
3 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning] Do I think they took it seriously? Yes, I do think they
4took it seriously. It is fantastic but of course
5Auschwitz is fantastic, too.
6 Q. [Mr Irving] In what way is Madagascar a fantastic plan?
7 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning] Fantastic in the sense that one is bizarre, the notion
8that you could take 4 million Jews and put them on ships
9and send them to Madagascar, and that anything other than
10the vast bulk of them would die under the conditions of
11being dumped into the jungle of Madagascar. Even that a
12plan that clearly in its implications involved vast
13decimation, they still talked in these words of
15 Q. [Mr Irving] Is this not exactly what happened with the state of
16Israel? Millions of these people were taken and dumped in
17Israel, so to speak, although they did it voluntarily? It
18was an uprooting and a geographical resettlement.
19 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning] The number of people coming into Israel of course came in
20gradually and there was a structure and an organization to
21arrange for and assist their reception.
22 Q. [Mr Irving] Have you seen in the German files references to the
23planning for the Madagascar settlement? In other words,
24the necessary retraining, the agricultural specialists and
25everything being set up by the Foreign Ministry and by the
26German Navy, the Naval staff?
1 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning] No. I did not see some setting up retraining. I saw them
2planning to take all the property and who would be in
3charge of gathering the Jews, and that it would be an SS
4state at the other end, but I certainly did not see, as
5part of the files on Madagascar, retraining. There was
6some toleration of Zionist groups in Germany setting up
7agricultural camps in the prewar period when they were
8trying to encourage the emigration of Jews, be it to
9Palestine or anywhere else.
10 Q. [Mr Irving] Adolf Hitler repeatedly referred to the Madagascar
11solution, did he not, from 1938 in the Goebbels diaries
12right through until July 24th 1942 in the table talk?
13 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning] The Madagascar plan is a concrete plan, in which people
14are actually working on it. It is the period of June to
15September 1940, but there are references to Madagascar
16earlier and later. It is an idea that had floated in a
17number of anti-semitic pamphlets and the Jewish expert of
18the German Foreign Office in fact, who sort of arrived at
19this on his own, claimed that he got the idea from reading
20one of these pamphlets, so it was an idea in the air.
21This was one of the sort of anti-semitic fantasies that
22this problem would disappear if all of these Jews could be
23sent to the most distant island they could conceive of.
24 Q. [Mr Irving] Out of mind, out of sight. Would you agree that it was
25Hitler's pipe dream?
26 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning] I would not call it pipe dream, because I think, if
1England had surrendered, they would have tried to do it.
2They would have tried to implement it just as they tried
3to implement the Lublin reservation plan and just as they
4tried and succeeded in implementing the death camp plans.
5 Q. [Mr Irving] Have you seen indications in the negotiations with France
6over the peace settlement with France, the armistice
7negotiations, that there was an attempt by the Germans to
8secure permission for the Madagascar plan because
9Madagascar was a French territory?
10 MR JUSTICE GRAY: I thought it was British.
11 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning] No, French.
12 MR IRVING: Madagascar was French but it became British after
13May 26th 1942, my Lord, or thereabouts, when we did the
15 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning] They sent people to the French colonial ministry to get
16information on Madagascar. They certainly did not need
17French permission, and I am not sure how much this was a
18topic in armistice negotiations that were going on after
19the armistice, I do not know how much that was a topic
21 Q. [Mr Irving] You think it was a totally impracticable proposition, the
22idea of sending 6 million Jews, or whatever it was, to an
23island the size of Madagascar?
24 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning] I think they would have attempted it, and I think the
25results would have been disastrous.
26 Q. [Mr Irving] Why would they have been disastrous?
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