Irving v. Lipstadt

Transcripts

Holocaust Denial on Trial, Trial Transcripts, Day 19: Electronic Edition

Pages 106 - 110 of 217

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    Even in that case, and when one goes into it (as I did)
 1reputation as an expert historian of the Second World War,
 2and that is I think what Professor Lipstadt meant by
 3saying that you were a dangerous spokesperson for
 4Holocaust denial. You did change your views -- you
 5describe yourself how you changed your views as a result
 6of the Leuchter report at the end of the 80s and the court
 7has been into that over the past few weeks.
 8 Q. [Mr Irving]     Yes, but the word "dangerous" is what I am looking at.
 9Why is the word "dangerous" used instead of "formidable"
10or "one to be taken seriously"? The word "dangerous"
11implies that I am a danger to something, does it not? It
12presupposes that I am a danger -- would you say I am a
13danger to somebody's interests? Is this what is implied
14by that?
15 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]     No, I do not think that is what that means. It is
16difficult to second guess why the word "dangerous" is used
17here rather than, as you say, "persuasive" or
18"formidable", but I think, in the context of Professor
19Lipstadt's book, that means that you are more likely,
20indeed, to be persuasive than some of the other figures in
21this scene.
22 Q. [Mr Irving]     I am dangerous to the whole of existing history of the
23Holocaust? Is that what is implied by that?
24 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Well, that is, in the end, a matter for me,
25what Professor Lipstadt would have been understood to
26mean, but it seems to me it is pretty clear that the

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 1danger is that a lot of people will -- I was going to use
 2the word "swallow", that is a bit offensive -- accept the
 3denial case.
 4 MR IRVING:     Yes, or take it seriously and start asking awkward
 5questions, my Lord.
 6 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Let us proceed on that footing.
 7 MR IRVING:     If you would now turn the page, my Lord, we now
 8come to page 67, and this is where I have to ask your
 9Lordship's guidance. The expert witness is here giving an
10opinion on the meaning of words, and all the authorities
11that I have consulted suggest that this should not be.
12 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Well, I am not sure I really agree with
13that. On the other hand ----
14 MR IRVING:     Your Lordship agrees there are authorities that say
15that expert witnesses cannot give evidence on the meaning
16of words?
17 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Yes, there are, but, I mean, not in this
18context. I think Professor Evans is perfectly entitled to
19say what he understands the Holocaust to be referring to,
20but is it going to help me because, in a sort of broad
21sense, everybody knows perfectly well what is referred to
22by the Holocaust.
23 MR IRVING:     I strongly disagree, my Lord, with the utmost
24respect. We were asked this very early on by Mr Rampton,
25your Lordship will remember. Your Lordship will remember
26that I said that, to my mind, the Holocaust is the visual

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 1image that people have. I, first of all, defined it as
 2being the immense tragedy inflicted on the Jewish people
 3by the Nazis and their collaborators during World War II
 4which I think is a very fine definition, but there are
 5countless other definitions.
 6 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     What I would suggest to you is that time in
 7cross-examination of Professor Evans is not going to be
 8well spent by discussing various meanings ----
 9 MR IRVING:     Meanings of words.
10 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     --- or definitions of the Holocaust. You can
11do that in submission, and I think it would be much more
12sensible to deal with it in that way.
13 MR IRVING:     Yes. On page 71, my Lord, you will find the vague
14footnote that I referred to earlier.
15 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Yes.
16 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]     That simply says: "If you want to know more about
17Auschwitz read Professor Robert Jan van Pelt's report".
18 MR IRVING:     All 770 pages of it?
19 MR RAMPTON:     My Lord, it is only fair to point out that this
20report is directed at the court and the author of this
21report, Professor Evans, is entitled to assume that the
22court will read the whole of van Pelt's report.
23 MR IRVING:     It is a rather superfluous kind of footnote, is it
24not?
25 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Well, I understand it is a general reference
26to van Pelt.

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 1 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]     I am simply trying to say there I really am not --
 2I really do not, I want to save space, I do not want to
 3say too much about Auschwitz because that is a subject
 4dealt with by another report. That is really all that
 5footnote is trying to say.
 6 MR IRVING:     Page 74 -- are we making fast enough progress, my
 7Lord, now?
 8 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Faster.
 9 MR IRVING:     3.1.14, line 2, you say: "The essential point is
10that there is wide agreement that there was a systematic
11attempt".
12 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]     Yes.
13 Q. [Mr Irving]     Now, I am nervous. As soon as we have the word
14"systematic" coming in, of course, then the court pricks
15up its ears?
16 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]     Yes.
17 Q. [Mr Irving]     Is "wide agreement" sufficient proof, in your view, or do
18you want to be more rigorous with our methods?
19 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]     I am trying to summarize here what the concept of the
20Holocaust or, well, what I am saying actually is that the
21term, the word "Holocaust", is a secondary issue. I think
22in order to ----
23 Q. [Mr Irving]     Are wide agreements always right? There was wide
24agreement that the earth was flat ----
25 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     We had this almost exact exchange on
26Thursday.

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 1 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]     We have had this before.
 2 MR IRVING:     I am glad that your Lordship is familiar with
 3that. In other words, "wide agreement" is not sufficient
 4evidence alone; we do need more rigorous support, do we
 5not?
 6 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]     What I am saying, of course, is that there is wide
 7agreement based on an enormous amount of research into a
 8very large quantity of documentation ----
 9 Q. [Mr Irving]     Well, did you say three lines from the bottom ----
10 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]     --- which I do not think you can say is true of the belief
11that the earth is flat.
12 Q. [Mr Irving]     You do say three lines from the bottom: "The Nazi
13authorities also left an enormous quantity of
14documentation providing detail of the policy of
15extermination".
16 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]     Yes.
17 Q. [Mr Irving]     Have we not been hearing now for four weeks that there is
18no such documentation?
19 MR RAMPTON:     No, my Lord, that is simply not right. I do not
20know if Professor Evans has been in court all the time,
21I am sure he has not, but your Lordship will recall that
22Mr Irving himself, on the basis of a very considerable
23volume of documentation, has conceded -- I use that word
24advisedly -- not only that the systematic shooting of vast
25numbers of Jews in the East, in Russia, happened, but that
26it happened on Hitler's authority.

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