Irving v. Lipstadt


Holocaust Denial on Trial, Trial Transcripts, Day 20: Electronic Edition

Pages 31 - 35 of 215

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    Mr Irving, there is plenty of documentation to show that
 1encouragement of the SS unit and the Einsatzgruppen.
 2 Q. [Mr Irving]     But are you not by using the word "excusable" suggesting
 3that David Irving said that what had happened to the Jews
 4was right, that I am excusing it, whereas, in fact, I am
 5explaining it and there is a substantial difference. Do
 6you not agree?
 7 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]     No, I do not. I am afraid the tenor and tendency of your
 8explanations is to find excuses.
 9 Q. [Mr Irving]     So ----
10 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]     And you go on, and I go on to quote numerous places in the
11report at some length arguments which you put forward to
12try to suggest (and sometimes say in so many words) that
13the Jews were responsible themselves for the misfortunes
14which befell them.
15 Q. [Mr Irving]     You still do not appear to appreciate the difference
16between the word ----
17 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]     I think this falls into a pattern.
18 Q. [Mr Irving]     --- to excuse and to explain. Your use of the word
19"excusable" implies that David Irving welcomed the
20Holocaust, that I am excusing it; whereas I am explaining
21it by saying, "These people had a vengeance, these people
22had a grudge, these people felt wronged, these people took
23it out on the people they perceived as being the ones who
24did it". Is that an excuse or is that an explanation?
25 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]     I think given the fact that they not been bombed, that is
26an excuse.

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 1 Q. [Mr Irving]     I think we can abandon bombing for a moment and point to
 2other things. I do not want to go into the reasons why
 3the Baltic Jews had a particular grudge, but that is
 4neither here nor there.
 5 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]     Well, I think it is very much here or there. If you want
 6to use as an explanation of the massacres of Jews by
 7Baltic peoples, if you want to use in explanation of that
 8allegations that you want to make about their maltreatment
 9by Jews or justified -- or in some ways grievances that
10they had which were in some ways justified, that seems to
11me that you are excusing it.
12 Q. [Mr Irving]     In other words, what you are saying is that I welcomed the
13Holocaust, is that the way you are trying to put it to the
15 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]     I do not use the word "welcome", Mr ----
16 Q. [Mr Irving]     Well, I am trying to understand why you use the word
17"excusable". If something is excusable, then this
18implies that the person who is making the excuses thinks
19it is a jolly good thing.
20 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]     No, I do not think that is true actually. Those are two
21rather different things. Applauding something and
22excusing it are rather different things, Mr Irving, and
23I come back to this fact that you say, "These people had
24seen the bombing raids begin, they'd lost probably women,
25wives and children in the bombing raids". So these poor
26Estonians who had been subjected to allied bombings,

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 1therefore, felt so angry with the Jews that they took it
 2out on them. Now, I do not think there is evidence that
 3Estonians were heavily bombed by the Allies in 1941.
 4 Q. [Mr Irving]     Forget the bombing raids for the time being.
 5 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]     I am not forgetting the bombing raids because that is a
 6central passage -- a central part of this passage,
 7Mr Irving.
 8 Q. [Mr Irving]     My Lord, let me explain the reason why I am dealing with
 9this at length. This is one of the issues pleaded. In
10the pleadings one of the complaints is that I am accused
11by the Second Defendant of having, I think, applauded the
12incarceration of the Jews in the concentration camps.
13 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     I do not believe that she ever has made that
14accusation. What you are accused of in this part of the
15report is making excuses for those who took part in the
17 MR IRVING:     Finding something excusable rather than explicable,
18and there is a substantial difference there. I find the
19use of the word "excusable" which I hope the Professor
20will admit was a slip, but now he is trying to justify it?
21 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]     I will not admit it is a slip, no. I mean, I looked at
22this passage and it seems to me to excuse these massacres.
23 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Speaking for myself, I think I understand the
24point you are making, Mr Irving, and I understand the
25answer as well.
26 MR IRVING:     In that case, I will now wish to speak another

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 1paragraph about the explanation why the Baltic Jews took
 2revenge on their native Jewish population during the brief
 3interregnum between the time the Soviets moved out and the
 4German Army arrived. Did you appreciate that there were
 5substantial killings in that period?
 6 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]     I would have to be provided with evidence, I think, to
 7show that.
 8 Q. [Mr Irving]     So you make the allegations without the evidence then?
 9You say that the bombing raids and so on, you say they
10had, the Nazis, the Latvians and Lithuanians the Estonians
11had no ----
12 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]     Let me set the context here, Mr Irving, is that I am
13talking about your denial that there was a systematic
14element in the Nazi extermination of Jews.
15 Q. [Mr Irving]     You are going substantially further; you are saying that
16I am welcoming it, I am excusing it?
17 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]     I do not say you are welcoming it. Welcoming is different
18from excusing.
19 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Mr Irving, he is not saying you are welcoming
20it. He is saying you are making excuses for it.
21 MR IRVING:     And this is precisely the point that I have to
22challenge, my Lord, because, of course, what I am actually
23saying is there are explanations for these pogroms
24committed by the local population against the Jews, and
25that is not making excuses for them in any way at all.
26 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     I have already said, I understand the point

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 1you are making and I understand the answer.
 2 MR IRVING:     But it is a repugnant allegation to be made
 3either ----
 4 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     There is no point in just using this point as
 5a sort of punch bag and going on and on because I have the
 7 MR IRVING:     Well, I am beginning to feel like a punch bag when
 8I read this report with things being thrown at me the
 9whole time like that, and I find that allegation
10particularly repugnant. I have described the atrocities
11committed by the Nazis against the Jews and by their
12collaborators against the Jews in very much detail in my
13works and never at any time have I given even the
14slightest hint of relish or welcoming these things.
15 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]     That is not what I am saying, Mr Irving.
16 Q. [Mr Irving]     I have repeatedly tried to argue away the Wannsee
17conference, you say at the foot of page 137. I am not
18going to dwell at length on that. If you are an
19historian, you would, no doubt, know that there is a great
20debate raging among genuine historians and scholars -- to
21spare you any difficulties here -- as to whether the
22Wannsee Conference was important or not. Do you agree
23with that?
24 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]     There are arguments about how important it was, yes.
25 Q. [Mr Irving]     Yes, so if somebody tries ----
26 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]     

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