Irving v. Lipstadt


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

Pages 6 - 10 of 214

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 1 Q. [Mr Irving]     Thank you. And on the page 12 -- I am sorry, it is the
 2same document. So, if these items come from an SS folder
 3which is called Operation Reinhardt and these particular
 4documents have the initials "Reinh." on them, and they
 5appear to be items stolen from the Jews or from victims,
 6Jewish victims in fact, depending on the subject line, on
 7the face of it, this is a list provided to Himmler of
 8items that have been stolen from the Jews up to April 30th
 91943. Is that a reasonable interpretation?
10 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     In terms of the inventory in the first document where we
11do not have the reference to Reinhardt, it is at least
12conceivable this was property taken from German Jews about
13to be deported, and could easily have been stuck in the
14same folder. I do not see anything there that would
15necessarily lead us to conclude that the first inventory
16came from camps in Poland. It could well be that this was
17possessed Jewish property taken while Jews were being in
18the process of being deported from Germany, but stuck in
19the same folder because it always was relating to Jewish
21 Q. [Mr Irving]     Do you know what happened to these valuables that were
22collected in Operation Reinhardt? Where did they go
24 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     I have seen documents that show a wide variety of
26 Q. [Mr Irving]     Where they overhauled, were they recycled in some way

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 1before they were parcelled out?
 2 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     Once collected at the three camps in Poland they are taken
 3to Lublin where you have several camps, the old airport
 4camp, for instance, where some sorting and reconditioning
 5was done. Some of the properties were distributed there
 6to ethnic Germans and any German unit that needs something
 7can come and ask to be given something.
 8 Q. [Mr Irving]     Can I take you to document 10?
 9 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     Yes.
10 Q. [Mr Irving]     Does this say that they have a number of, 20,000, pocket
11watches and various other valuables at present at
12Oranienburg, and does the next paragraph say that the
13watches and fountain pens have been overhauled and are
14ready to be dispatched?
15 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     The topic of the document is watch distribution to members
16of the SS.
17 Q. [Mr Irving]     Yes.
18 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     And then below they give you the different kinds. Would
19you allow me a moment to read the document?
20 Q. [Mr Irving]     Would you read the paragraph beginning with the word
22 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     Yes. At the moment in Office D there are for repair
23100,000 hand wristwatches, 39,000 pocket watches, 7,500
24alarm clocks, 37,000 pens and so forth.
25 Q. [Mr Irving]     There is no indication of any other stocks of valuables of
26this nature being processed by this central processing and

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 1overhauling department?
 2 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Do we have all the files, all the documents
 3in the files? I take the point you are making.
 4 MR IRVING:     This was all the documents in this file. I picked
 5them in California about five or six weeks ago.
 6 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Is the file complete? Is it intact?
 7 MR IRVING:     I have no way of knowing, of course, my Lord.
 8 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     That is the problem. I see what are you
 9getting at. Professor Browning, can you help on that? Is
10this likely to be a complete record? We have only looked
11at three documents.
12 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     Since so much was destroyed I think we presume a lot of
13them are not complete records. I have seen fragmentary
14records from the archive in Lublin where less valuable
15materials is distributed there. I think very valuable
16things like watches and whatever do have to be sent in
17but, if somebody wants furniture or wants clothing, they
18can requisition that in Lublin from these camps and they
19are never sent back to Berlin. Small volume high value
20items would be sent back. It would be something that
21would be worth shipping back, such as these particular
23 MR IRVING:     Do you agree that this document on page 10, which
24is dated November 29th 1944, and has the heading or
25subheading Operation Reinhardt in its address list, says
26that altogether at present there are at Amtsgruppe D at

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 1present being repaired 100,000 wristwatches, presumably a
 2rounded off number and various other valuables?
 3 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     Yes.
 4 Q. [Mr Irving]     That gives an order of magnitude. It does not indicate
 5there are any other treasure troves of such valuables
 6anywhere else in the SS system, does it?
 7 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     It says these are the ones that are available for
 8distribution. We have no idea if there are lots of other
 9kinds of valuables that have been sent elsewhere, but at
10least that much has been taken out for purposes of
11distribution to the SS.
12 Q. [Mr Irving]     Can I take you back to page 1 again, which is about 18
13month earlier, is it not, 13th May 1943?
14 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     Yes.
15 Q. [Mr Irving]     That says that by April 30th 1943 we have received,
16effectively there have been delivered to us, 94,000 men's
18 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     Yes.
19 Q. [Mr Irving]     Is it likely that these were taken from the victims in the
21 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     Again, it may well be that these were taken in Germany.
22It could be possible they were taken from the camp. In
23both, at least in the second case, I would presume that
24there was a selection of the best ones that they were
25sending back for repair for the Waffen SS. Cheaper goods
26in general would not have been worth doing that.

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 1 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Does page 10, Professor, relate entirely to
 3 MR IRVING:     Oranienburg, my Lord, was the headquarters was it
 4not? Witness, was not Pohl actually based at Oranienburg,
 5the head of this particular section?
 6 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     The part of the administrative and economic main office
 7that dealt with concentration camps is in Oranienburg, so
 8Ampt D, which is here, is stationed in Oranienburg, or at
 9least part of it. It says by the Office D in Oranienburg
10so we know at least they have one office there.
11 Q. [Mr Irving]     All the wealthy Holocaust victims, either at the time they
12were dispatched from their places of residence or upon
13their arrival in the camps, were systematically robbed of
14their valuables by Operation Reinhardt, or as part of
15Operation Reinhardt? Is that correct?
16 A. [Professor Christopher Robert Browning]     Operation Reinhardt, in a sense, is the last stage of a
17long process of dispossession because the Jews in Germany
18were disposed of much of their property for that. When
19they were put on the trains the last things like rings and
20valuables and jewellery are taken. These are the small
21personal possessions they would still have been allowed.
22Again in Poland Jews are dispossessed of their property
23and moved into ghettoes and, when they are taken to the
24camps, the last remaining possessions are taken by
25Operation Reinhardt. Operation Reinhardt, in a sense, is
26the last cleaning up of whatever property had not been

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