Irving v. Lipstadt


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

Pages 36 - 40 of 214

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    Yes. I think, if we look at the very first one, in fact
 1result of that, if one looks at the Einsatzgruppen
 2reports, the overwhelming bulk of the victims who were
 3shot in the first five or six weeks are ----
 4 Q. [Mr Irving]     Described as Jews?
 5 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     --- as male Jews. They kept some communist
 6functionaries. They regret, in a sense, most of the
 7communist functionaries seem to have disappeared, the Jews
 8have not, and that these then are the main target group.
 9 Q. [Mr Irving]     If this document refers to the Judao-Bolshevik
10intelligentsia, this does not explain why large numbers of
11thousands of ordinary Jews are being taken off trains or
12taken out of the towns and taken out of the country side
13and machine gunned into pits They are not the
14intelligentsia in any way. This document covers the
16 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     No one is saying that this is a hands on micromanaged
17order. This is a speech by Hitler in which he is
18declaring a set of expectations, and then there are
19various preparations made and proposals brought forward
20that, in a sense, cast his vision of a war of destruction
21into concrete terms.
22 Q. [Mr Irving]     If I could rephrase that document, if this was going the
23other way and the Russians were saying, we are going to
24invade Washington and we are going to destroy the
25capitalist intelligentsia, and subsequently very large
26atrocities took place and millions of ordinary Americans

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 1being machine gunned into pits, you would not link those
 2two facts, would you?
 3 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     I think one could, in the sense that one would say ----
 4 Q. [Mr Irving]     Just Americans with bank accounts or otherwise fitted?
 5 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     Well, one, it sets a mood in which destruction of civilian
 6populations, killing will not be limited to armed
 8 Q. [Mr Irving]     Would I be right in suggesting that this order
 9effectively created a killing field, and that anybody else
10who fitted the title of Jew who came within that killing
11field was therefore at risk, put it that way?
12 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     This certainly creates an atmosphere in which clearly
13there will be lots of killing and it will not be
14restricted to military combat, that there will be killing
15of those that are seen to be an ideological and racial
16enemy, as well as military. I think, when we look at, in
17a sense, the kinds of proposals that are brought forward,
18very revealing are not only the Kommissar order and the
19agreement between the military and the Einsatzgruppen, but
20the economic plans that come forward, such as the May 2nd
21meeting of the State secretaries, in which they say, for
22Germany to be blockade proof, we must take lots of
23material out of the Soviet Union, and we must be very
24clear that, when we do this, umpteen million Russians are
25going to starve to death. So we have an atmosphere of a
26war of destruction in which civilian life is going to be

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 1totally cheap.
 2 Q. [Mr Irving]     He does not say, as a result of our taking economic goods
 3out of the country, millions of people, preferably Jews,
 4are going to die. That is just any Russians?
 5 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     This is that lots of Russians will die, lots of civilians
 6will die. Then, of course, if we cast that, as an
 7historian, to put it into the wider context, you would not
 8disagree with that, I think.
 9 Q. [Mr Irving]     Yes.
10 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     The wider context basically is where people have been
11shot, Jews have been shot in larger percentages than
12others, where people have starved, the Jews have starved
13first. So, if you have a programme of shooting and
14starving, one can begin with the fact that there is going
15to be a large loss of Jewish life, that this would be
16clear to anyone in the context of Nazi Germany in the
17spring of 41. That is not yet. That is not yet an
18explicit order for the killing of Soviet Jewry. It is a
19creation of, we might say, a hunting licence. No one will
20get into trouble killing Jews. One will get credits
21rather than anything against them.
22 Q. [Mr Irving]     I agree entirely, but the focus is at this stage on this
23document strictly, shall we say, the upper 10,000? It is
24the Judao-Bolshevik intelligentsia and their hierarchy,
25all the way down to the Kommissars, is that right?
26 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     The focus is selective killing and indiscriminate

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 2 Q. [Mr Irving]     The emphasis is on this as a measure of war? This is the
 3kind of war we are going to be fighting?
 4 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     No. The emphasis is on measure of a war that is
 5understood to be both military and ideological and racial.
 6 Q. [Mr Irving]     A war to the death, yes.
 7 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Professor Browning, where do you get
 8indiscriminate starving from?
 9 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     That is a document I believe is not one that I cited. It
10is a protocol of a meeting of the State secretaries on May
112nd 1941. It is a Nuremberg document, in which the
12protocol is that we all agree that, when we take out of
13the Soviet Union what is necessary to make Germany
14blockade proof, we must be perfectly clear that this will
15mean the mass starvation of umpteen million Russians. So
16it is a document that speaks to what was clear to
17everybody involved in the planning process, that this war
18of destruction was going to mean a vast loss of life.
19Given what had happened in Poland, I would argue, everyone
20understood that, in a vast loss of life, Jewish life was
21even cheaper than other life. That is what I would call
22the beginning of this first phase of the decision making
23process. It sets up a genocidal atmosphere, it does not
24yet set up a systematic plan for total liquidation.
25 MR IRVING:     Can I leap forward ----
26 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Mr Irving, I am going to highlight that.

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 1I am also going to suggest -- the questions have been fast
 2and furious this morning. That is not a criticism.
 3I suspect you would quite welcome a break and I am sure
 4the transcriber would. It has been actually quite
 5intensive this morning.
 6 MR IRVING:     Can I have one short question? On that point we
 7shall round it off and let us say that this kind genocidal
 8order, is it not almost identical to the Morgantower
 9decision of September 1944, where the Americans said, let
10us do this to the Germans, we do not care how many starve?
11 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     I would have to look at that document before I could say
12whether it was similar or not. What we do know of course
13is that that document never was implemented.
14 Q. [Mr Irving]     It was signed by both Roosevelt and Churchill, was it
16 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     I would have to see such a document.
17 MR IRVING:     Thank you.
18 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     I think five minutes is enough just to have a
19breathing space.
20 (Short Adjournment).
21 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Mr Irving, can we just identify the Kommissar
22document you refer to? I am not sure I know where that
24 MR IRVING:     The Kommissar order is in May 1941, I believe,
25about May 7th or May 5th. These March 1941 documents,
26I believe I am right in saying, are the kind of working

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