Irving v. Lipstadt
Holocaust Denial on Trial, Trial Transcripts, Day 19: Electronic Edition
Pages 6 - 10 of 217
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1 A. [Professor Richard John Evans] Yes, I could have described that as "a" Holocaust, but
2I would, of course, make a distinction between that and
3"the" Holocaust as it has come to be known. One can use
4the term "Holocaust". It is, I believe, used for any
5event which involves large scale fire or burnings commonly
6used in every day reporting. That is a distinct thing
7from "the" Holocaust which I think has a special meaning.
8 Q. [Mr Irving] That is the etymology of the word. It means "consumed by
9fire" or "sacrificed by fire". Are you aware that in your
10report the phrase "Holocaust denier" occurs 261 times?
11 A. [Professor Richard John Evans] I have to confess I did not count.
12 Q. [Mr Irving] In fact, the words "denier" or "denial" occur 352 times,
13which is a degree of repetition, would you agree? Are you
14obsessed with Holocaust deniers?
15 A. [Professor Richard John Evans] I most certainly am not. I have to say I have not really
16confronted the phenomenon until this case but, of course,
17it is at the centre. It is perhaps the central issue in
18this case and so I think, since I was asked to write about
19it in my report, it is inevitable that that phrase occurs
21 Q. [Mr Irving] You say you were not confronted with it until this trial.
22Do you normally write about things you have not studied in
23any kind of depth?
24 A. [Professor Richard John Evans] I think that historians always need to move on to new
25subjects, face a new challenge, otherwise they would be
26endlessly repeating themselves.
1 Q. [Mr Irving] Can I draw your attention to page 206 of the book which
2you wrote? Do you recognize the book that you wrote?
3This is the American edition?
4 A. [Professor Richard John Evans] Yes, indeed.
5 Q. [Mr Irving] I will just read out a passage, if I may, of your own
6words from page 206: "Holocaust denier literature which
7declares that six million Jews were never murdered by the
8Nazis and that Auschwitz and similar extermination camps
9are fabrications of a postwar anti-German proJewish
10political lobby" -- is the way you still define Holocaust
11denial, the statement that Auschwitz and the other camps
12did not exist?
13 A. [Professor Richard John Evans] Could I have a look at that passage, please?
14 Q. [Mr Irving] Yes. It is on page 206 of the book.
15 A. [Professor Richard John Evans] Thank you very much.
16 Q. [Mr Irving] What I am asking you is has your position changed in view
17of the ----
18 A. [Professor Richard John Evans] Page and what?
19 Q. [Mr Irving] 206. It is the paragraph beginning "Extreme relativism"
20and towards the end of that paragraph, I repeat: "Thus
21'Holocaust denial literature' which declares that six
22million Jews were never murdered by the Nazis and that
23Auschwitz and similar extermination camps are fabrications
24of a postwar anti-German proJewish political lobby". My
25question is this. Is this the way you define Holocaust
26denial now or have you changed?
1 A. [Professor Richard John Evans] Yes. That is rather carelessly phrased, I am afraid.
2I think I was trying to say there -- "extermination" is
3the central word there, that such camps were used mainly
4or exclusively for extermination. I can see what you
5mean. It is slightly carelessly phrased, I have to admit.
6 Q. [Mr Irving] Is it possible to accept that the Nazis murdered in the
7most brutal manner very large numbers of Jews by whatever
8means and still be a Holocaust denier, in your view?
9 A. [Professor Richard John Evans] That depends on what you mean by "very large numbers".
10I think I defined in my report what I mean by Holocaust
12 Q. [Mr Irving] Like one or two million people. Would that be acceptable?
13 A. [Professor Richard John Evans] I think you have to take the different -- I have listed
14four what I think are central elements of the Holocaust
16 Q. [Mr Irving] Yes.
17 A. [Professor Richard John Evans] And those four elements I think go together, they do
18include a minimisation of numbers.
19 Q. [Mr Irving] So any reduction of the numbers, whatever, is a denial?
20 A. [Professor Richard John Evans] I think it is difficult to be very precise about this.
21I say in my report that the generally accepted number by
22historians is between 5 and 6 million, and there are a
23number of disputes about that, but it does go together
24with the three other conditions of Holocaust denial which
25I lay out in my report. Of course, I think I do say in my
26report that some people would, as it were, fall into one
1category of the four, but not into the others.
2 Q. [Mr Irving] Yes. Were these four categories arbitrarily set up by
3you, like to make them fit like a shoe the Claimant in
4this present case, or did you always have these categories
5in mind long you before you were commissioned to be an
6expert witness in this case?
7 A. [Professor Richard John Evans] Neither, to be honest. When I was commissioned to be an
8expert witness, of course the first thing I did was to
9study the literature on Holocaust denial, and from that
10literature, as you can see from my report, I go through it
11at some length. There are varying different definitions
12of conditions by the different political scientists and
13historians who have written about it, but those four
14I think are common to all of the definitions that I looked
15at in the course of preparing this report.
16 Q. [Mr Irving] Yes. They do vary, though, do they not, these four sets
17of definitions by the different authors?
18 A. [Professor Richard John Evans] I do not think these four sets really vary. Of course
19they are put in slightly different ways and different
20authors add on other conditions, some of them peculiar to
21the time at which they were writing.
22 Q. [Mr Irving] So, if somebody was to knock off two or three million
23arbitrarily from the figures, that would be Holocaust
25 A. [Professor Richard John Evans] If it is arbitrary, then I think it involves an element
26therefore of falsification of history, which then I think
1falls into that category, but I do want to stress that
2these four conditions should be taken together.
3 MR JUSTICE GRAY: It is not all or nothing, is it? You can get
4somebody who is an outright 100 per cent denier and
5somebody who perhaps does not deny it to the same full
7 A. [Professor Richard John Evans] Exactly, my Lord, it is not a hard and ----
8 Q. [Mr Justice Gray] I think arguing about definitions is not hugely
10 MR IRVING: I agree, my Lord. We should not really be asking
11an expert witness about meanings of words, I appreciate
12that, my Lord, but I am working towards something. You
13have a little bundle of documents in front of you, a loose
14bundle called F?
15 A. [Professor Richard John Evans] I do not, actually.
16 Q. [Mr Irving] Will you turn to page (it should be) 37, which is a
18 A. [Professor Richard John Evans] They are numbered on the bottom?
19 Q. [Mr Irving] They are numbered on the bottom, the one after that
21 A. [Professor Richard John Evans] Yes.
22 Q. [Mr Irving] Do you agree that that says it is a plaque, is that
23correct, a memorial plaque?
24 A. [Professor Richard John Evans] That is right, yes.
25 Q. [Mr Irving] Do you recognize that plaque?
26 A. [Professor Richard John Evans] I do not, to be honest, no.
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