Irving v. Lipstadt

Transcripts

Holocaust Denial on Trial, Trial Transcripts, Day 18: Electronic Edition

Pages 151 - 155 of 181

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    Let me put it in question form. If German historians have
 1existed from 1945 to approximately 1970, 25 years without
 2visiting the widows of these well-known Germans, who might
 3very well have the private diaries of their late departed
 4husbands, is this not laziness on the part of the entire
 5body of German historians, academics or otherwise, not to
 6have made such visits to these people?
 7 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]     No, I do not accept that. Historians are constantly
 8discovering new sources. There are many historians who
 9have discovered sources that you have not discovered, but
10I would never accuse you of being lazy.
11 Q. [Mr Irving]     Is it not remarkable that not one single German historian
12had visited the widow of Ribbentrop's state secretary to
13ask, do you have your husband's diaries in 25 years?
14 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]     The normal procedure with papers and files is that
15archivists approach people whom they think might have them
16and that is what is normally done. That has of course
17taken place.
18 Q. [Mr Irving]     In this case clearly they had not. The Institut fur
19Zeitgeschichte had not bothered to visit them. The
20Bundesarchives had not bothered to visit them?
21 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]     However the Institut fur Zeitgeschichte had a great number
22of former leading Nazis in to give interviews, collected a
23great deal of material, so it is very difficult to
24criticise them, particularly since you have described them
25in your own work as being an admirable institution.
26 Q. [Mr Irving]     Commendable, yes. Would you go to the next paragraph,

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 1please, which is paragraph 2.3.4? I am trying to make
 2forward progress. On line 3 you criticise the fact that
 3I constantly say the German historians have just quoted
 4each other and it is the biggest active incest since 1945,
 5I have occasionally said, they just run around quoting
 6each other.
 7 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]     Yes.
 8 Q. [Mr Irving]     Each one assuming that the other one had the source.
 9 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]     Yes.
10 Q. [Mr Irving]     You have said, give me one example or justify this have
11you not, in that paragraph?
12 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]     Yes.
13 Q. [Mr Irving]     You were not here two or three days ago when we read one
14page from the history published by Michael Berenbaum. Do
15you know who Michael Berenbaum is?
16 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]     Yes, I do.
17 Q. [Mr Irving]     The ex director of the US Holocaust memorial museum. Do
18you know who Professor Aberhard Jackeln is?
19 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]     Yes, indeed I do.
20 Q. [Mr Irving]     Are you aware that Aberhard Jackeln wrote a paper in a
21book recently published by Berenbaum in which he looks at
22the historiography of the Holocaust?
23 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]     I am not familiar with that one, no.
24 Q. [Mr Irving]     If I tell you that that paper contains -- I know what
25your answer is going to be -- a statement by Aberhard
26Jackeln that, until my book Hitler's War was published,

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 1historians had just quoted each other, or they had not
 2bothered to do the research, they had only started
 3researching once my book was published with my outrageous
 4opinions, as he calls them, does that not justify my
 5statement that until that time, 1977, there had been no
 6independent research?
 7 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]     Well, first of all, I would have to see that statement by
 8Jackeln to make sure that it says what you say it says
 9and, secondly, then I would have to check it to see if he
10justifies it by reference to the work of other historians.
11 Q. [Mr Irving]     If, since 1955, approximately, the American National
12Archives in Washington had on microfilm available freely
13in the public domain microfilm copies of all Heinrich
14Himmler's papers, and all his handwritten telephone notes
15and all his handwritten diaries so far as they were in
16United States hands, is it not to be criticised that not
17one single German historian or scholar or any other
18historian or scholar had made any use of them until I came
19along and used them?
20 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]     There are two points there. First of all, it depends on
21what historians actually are researching as to what
22sources they consult. Secondly, of course, it depends on
23the use they make of them. Trying to cut this discussion
24short, I do not dispute that you have been the first
25person to read and discover many documents. I am not
26disputing that at all. What I am disputing is the fact

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 1that you criticise other historians for relying on weak
 2and unprofessional evidence, and quoting each other for
 3the last 45 years, without providing any substantiation of
 4those statements whatsoever.
 5 Q. [Mr Irving]     Professor, I agree with you, but is it not true that at
 6the time I wrote Hitler's War in 1977, this was a
 7perfectly justified criticism to make, and that nobody had
 8done the research until I came along?
 9 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]     Research on what, Mr Irving?
10 Q. [Mr Irving]     Heinrich Himmler's handwritten telephone notes, for
11example. We have 300 pages of Heinrich Himmler's
12handwritten telephone notes; you would imagine that one
13historian would have bothered to transcribe them.
14 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]     Yes, but you state in 1991 that conventional historians of
15the Jewish Holocaust have not consulted the Himmler
16telephone notes and pocket diaries, and historians have
17certainly used them between 1977 and 1991.
18 Q. [Mr Irving]     By that time they had come along and started using them,
19that is correct, but I published the original introduction
20with an addendum. But, in the light of what we have been
21saying in the last 20 minutes, is not your judgment that
22I do not deserve the title of historian and do not deserve
23the title of scholar rather harsh and unjustified? Would
24you be prepared to reconsider that opinion now?
25 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]     I think it is harsh, but I do not think it is
26unjustified. It is not a question of what you discover or

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 1what you bring to light, it is a question of what you do
 2with the material that you have got.
 3 Q. [Mr Irving]     If what I did with it was make available my transcripts of
 4the Himmler telephone notes immediately to all other
 5historians by placing them in the archives in Munich, is
 6that reprehensible?
 7 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]     No, it is thoroughly commendable but that is not what I
 8mean. What I mean is what you do with it in the way that
 9you interpret it, which we still have not got on to.
10 Q. [Mr Irving]     But, if I deliberately and duplicitously misinterpret or
11distort a document and simultaneously place the document
12in the public domain in easily legible form, it is rather
13self-defeating because then all the good historians and
14all the scholars, as they call themselves, will come along
15and point out the fact that I have been duplicitous. Is
16that not so?
17 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]     Ultimately yes, but, as I have said, it does require a
18considerable research effort to do this.
19 Q. [Mr Irving]     That presupposes that I have done it deliberately, that
20duplicity is deliberate, does it not?
21 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]     Yes indeed.
22 Q. [Mr Irving]     If the duplicity is there but has been inadvertent, then
23that is precisely what an inadvertent duplicitous deceiver
24would do. He would put stuff in the public domain without
25realising that he had inadvertently mistranslated
26something or distorted something. That would be the

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