Irving v. Lipstadt


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

Pages 51 - 55 of 215

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    The fact remains that he states in August 1943, when
 1Office officials, saying, "We weaken our case by publicly
 2giving credence to atrocity stories for which we have no
 3evidence". He then goes on to say, "These mass executions
 4in gas chambers", in other words the story of the mass
 5executions in gas chambers, "remind me of the story of the
 6employment of human corpses during the last war for the
 7manufacture of fat, which was a grotesque lie and led to
 8true stores of German enormities being brushed aside as
 9mere propaganda". He is not pussy footing around with
10the way he is describing the state of British knowledge on
11gas chambers in August 1943, and yet you have accepted
12that during 1942 the BBC and the Americans repeatedly
13broadcast in German these stories of gas chambers, which
14must therefore have been invented.
15 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]     I do not think that last statement follows at all.
16 Q. [Mr Irving]     He says we have no evidence, so where else could it have
17come from?
18 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]     He is talking about mass executions of Poles in gas
19chambers. He says: "We do know that the Germans are out
20to destroy the Jews of any rage unless they are fit for
21manual labour." I think this is a good example, which you
22have just quoted, of the scepticism which unfortunately
23was engendered by the belief in many Foreign Office and
24other officials that a lot of the atrocity stories in the
25First World War were mere inventions of allied propaganda.
26 MR IRVING:     My Lord, this now goes back to the reason for this,

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 1which is page 141, where the allegation is that I said
 2this with no justification.
 3 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     You have to grapple at some stage, and
 4I think you are inviting my comment, with this, that,
 5whatever may have been the state of knowledge within
 6British Intelligence in 1942 or even 1943, the Defendants
 7say that you have been alleging that the Holocaust is an
 8invention by British Intelligence after all that we now
 9think we know about what went on in the concentration
10camps has come to light. I think that is really the
11thrust of their case. You have established, I think, if
12I may say so, Mr Irving, that propaganda use was made of
13alleged gassing in gas chambers at a time when the senior
14officials in British Intelligence had no evidence for it.
15But you have to grapple with the next stage of the
16Defendant's case on this and I am sure you are coming to
18 MR IRVING:     I appreciate, and this is not the time to do that,
19but I can only tackle each particular part of the
20allegations against me piecemeal. I think I have shot
21that one right out of the water, if I may put it like
22that, that the allegation was that I had no foundation for
23saying that the Political Warfare Executive started the
24gas chamber stories running long before we had any proof
25for it.
26 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     No. I think you are failing to understand

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 1the Defendants' point.
 2 MR IRVING:     I appreciate fully what your Lordship is saying.
 3 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     No, please listen. What the Defendants say,
 4and Mr Rampton will correct me if I have this wrong, is
 5that you are saying that the whole Holocaust story is a
 6lie invented by British Intelligence. You have, as it
 7were, part of the way along your line of argument, but you
 8have to grapple, as I say, with the fact that the
 9Defendants are contending that you have been making the
10allegation that the whole thing is a lie invented by
11British Intelligence in the teeth, they say, of all the
12evidence that it was nothing of the kind.
13 MR IRVING:     The gas chamber lie, if I can put it like this, is
14the story that the Germans gassed to death millions of
15people in factories of death. I am going to deal with
16that in a separate manner. We dealt with it partly with
17the witness van Pelt and I shall deal with it also by
18submissions on documents, and with further questions,
19either through this witness or other witnesses. But I can
20only tackle each element of this piece by piece. It may
21well be that there are bits of the story that I cannot
22bridge, rather the same as there are bits of the story in
23this systematic nature of the killing that the defence
24cannot bridge. The convergence of evidence here is, if
25I can establish there were no factories of death and that
26there were no holes in that roof, to put it bluntly, and

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 1if I can establish that PWE started the story of the gas
 2chambers running in 1942, then I have got a substantial
 3part of the way towards justifying what I claim, even if
 4there are one or two bricks still left out of the wall, if
 5I can put it like that.
 6 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Yes.
 7 MR IRVING:     Moving to page 150 please -- we have now dealt
 8with that, my Lord -- paragraph 21, witness, do you take
 9exception to my suggestion that witnesses and survivors,
10by virtue of the ordeal they have been through, have been
11subjected to some kind of traumatic stress which would
12affect their powers of recollection?
13 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]     Let me see what I say here.
14 Q. [Mr Irving]     It is the final sentences on that page, really.
15 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]     Yes, where you are asking a question about how you judge
16the credibility of Holocaust survivors, and you say,
17"I say that psychiatrists should concern themselves with
18this matter some time. There are many cases of mass
19hysteria". So I do take exception to the view which you
20put there that all the recollections of Holocaust
21survivors are the outcome of mass hysteria.
22 Q. [Mr Irving]     Have I had said all the recollections of Holocaust
23survivors or just a part of them?
24 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]     I think that is the clear implication of that.
25 Q. [Mr Irving]     Are you aware, witness, that there is a body of medical
26expertise assembled over the last 50 years into precisely

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 1these matters of the ordeals suffered by concentration
 2camp and slave labour camp survivors, what they have been
 3through, the undernourishment, the effect this has on the
 4powers of the brain, the bad nutrition, the post traumatic
 5stress and all the rest of it and there have been very
 6many learned disquisitions into this? The sentence which
 7you have quoted was not intended to be some kind of slur
 8on the character of people, the fact that somebody has a
 9psychiatric disorder is in no way to be interpreted in a
10derogatory manner. It is just an attempt to analyse why
11sometimes they say things that do not exactly fit in with
12what the documents show.
13 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]     I think you are saying it is more than sometimes,
14Mr Irving. I am not familiar with the literature you
15refer to.
16 Q. [Mr Irving]     So, in analysing all the eyewitnesses and the sources that
17one is going to use in writing this kind of history, you
18cast aside the possibilities of medical problems or
19medical objections to relying too heavily on these
21 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]     I think you would have to look at each case in turn
23 Q. [Mr Irving]     Are you familiar with the case of Benjamin Gilcormesky?
24 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]     I am indeed, yes.
25 Q. [Mr Irving]     How you would assess his motivation, shall we say?
26Obviously he went through some kind of wartime ordeal?

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