Irving v. Lipstadt

Transcripts

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

Pages 56 - 60 of 215

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 1 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]     Very difficult to say. The evidence seems to be that he
 2did not in fact.
 3 Q. [Mr Irving]     That he did not?
 4 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]     Yes. As I understand from what I have read, this is
 5someone who claimed in a book, or wrote a book, called
 6I think "Fragments", a Swiss gentleman, which was
 7purported to be a story of his incarceration as a child in
 8various concentration camps, and subsequently he was
 9revealed to be an imposter.
10 Q. [Mr Irving]     He was totally spurious, was he not?
11 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]     He was completely spurious. He was not in the
12concentration camps. Indeed, I think he was born after
13the war and brought up in Switzerland. He was not Jewish
14and was not a victim in any sense.
15 Q. [Mr Irving]     He was a spurious survivor of the Holocaust?
16 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]     That is indeed correct, yes, as I understood it.
17 Q. [Mr Irving]     He had a tattoo, did he?
18 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]     I have no idea.
19 Q. [Mr Irving]     Did he maintain that he had been in Auschwitz?
20 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]     He maintained all these things, I have already said that.
21 Q. [Mr Irving]     He described all the grisly horrors that he had seen?
22 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Mr Irving, you have your answer. He made it
23all up.
24 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]     What seems to have been the case is that he had read an
25enormous amount about the Holocaust, and somehow persuaded
26himself that he had gone through it. That is a very

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 1unusual case and that is precisely why, of course, it has
 2given rise to such widespread debate and such a number of
 3essays, investigations, writings and so on.
 4 MR IRVING:     Was not the reason why it attracted widespread
 5attention the fact that he was awarded literary prizes for
 6his work, and that he was then found out to be spurious?
 7Was that not the reason for the widespread attention?
 8 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]     It was widely praised when it came out, yes, and therefore
 9the shock when it was discovered to be spurious was all
10the greater.
11 Q. [Mr Irving]     You think that he is the only such case, do you?
12 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]     The only one of which I am aware. It is a rather unusual
13thing to do. I think one has to admit.
14 Q. [Mr Irving]     But he made a lot of money out it, did he not?
15 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]     That I cannot say.
16 Q. [Mr Irving]     Well, if he won major literary prizes for his book?
17 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Mr Irving, I am conscious we are still on
18page 152. We have about 600 pages to go. It is not a
19race, but we have to keep an eye on what matters and what
20does not.
21 MR IRVING:     I have said I will finish with the witness in two
22and a half days, my Lord.
23 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     I want you to take your time when we get to
24what matters. We have not started on what matters, in my
25view.
26 MR IRVING:     What matters is this witness's credibility, my

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 1Lord, and your Lordship may or may not have formed
 2opinions about that. On page 153, half way down, line 4
 3of paragraph 26, you refer to the fact that I evade the
 4question by pointing minor inaccuracies in details of
 5these reports. Would you say that the inaccuracies that
 6we have pointed to in the reports by Hoess and Gerstein
 7and Verba and Bimko and Tauber were all minor?
 8 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]     I am referring here to a radio interview in June 1989.
 9 Q. [Mr Irving]     Yes. But what you are saying is that I pointed to minor
10inaccuracies in the reports of people on whom the
11Holocaust historians rely, the eyewitnesses, and I am just
12challenging whether these inaccuracies are in fact so
13minor. Are they not sufficiently large, in fact, to
14disqualify any reasonable historian from wanting to rely
15on that source?
16 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]     No, I do not think on the whole they are sufficiently
17large. One has to reach a balanced judgment, in dealing
18with testimony after the event, sometimes many years after
19the event, as to how reliable it is. Of course, that kind
20of testimony usually contains some inaccuracies. The fact
21is that one should not use that as a basis for a sweeping
22dismissal of all this testimony.
23     Of course, there is a larger point here, that
24you yourself rely quite heavily on the postwar testimony
25sometimes obtained in interviews which were conducted by
26yourself of members of Hitler's entourage, which you do

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 1not approach in this critical way. You do not point to
 2inaccuracies, and generally speaking accept it as the
 3truth. So I think you have a double standard. You wholly
 4dismiss all the evidence of postwar testimony from the
 5victims of Naziism and you accept the postwar testimony of
 6the perpetrators.
 7 Q. [Mr Irving]     I am not going to answer that point because this was not a
 8question you were asked. Would you now go to paragraph 29
 9please? You deal there with a French woman called
10Marie-Claude Vaillant Couturier. Did you read her
11testimony at Nuremberg? Did you form an impression of her
12credibility?
13 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]     Yes. This is dealt with at some length on the basis of
14Professor van Pelt's report.
15 Q. [Mr Irving]     What was her maiden name?
16 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]     I cannot recall that.
17 Q. [Mr Irving]     Was she the daughter of Lucienne Vogal, who was one of
18Willi Muntzenberg's closest collaborators?
19 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]     I will accept that, if you say that.
20 Q. [Mr Irving]     You know who Willi Muntzenberg was?
21 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]     Yes.
22 Q. [Mr Irving]     Was he one of the leading commentators and agents and
23propagandists in, first of all, Russia and then in France?
24 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]     Indeed, yes.
25 Q. [Mr Irving]     So she came from these propagandist circles -- is that a
26reasonable derivation?

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 1 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]     No. I do not think, because you are a daughter of a
 2propagandist, that makes you a propagandist.
 3 Q. [Mr Irving]     Did she then marry somebody called Paul Vaillant
 4Couturier, who was the editor of Humanite?
 5 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]     I will accept that that is the case.
 6 Q. [Mr Irving]     Which is the Communist Party newspaper in France?
 7 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]     Indeed.
 8 Q. [Mr Irving]     When she was examined or cross-examined in Nuremberg by
 9one of the defence counsel, Hans Marks, did he ask her
10whether she had any literary background or any training as
11a journalist?
12 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]     You would have to present me with the documentation, I am
13afraid.
14 Q. [Mr Irving]     What inference would you gather Mr Marks was trying to
15make from this question?
16 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]     I really cannot comment without actually seeing a
17transcript.
18 Q. [Mr Irving]     Is there any proof that this woman was ever in Auschwitz
19at all?
20 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]     Her testimony.
21 Q. [Mr Irving]     In other words, purely what she said?
22 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]     There may be some other evidence, but I am not really an
23expert on Auschwitz.
24 Q. [Mr Irving]     I am not only going to ask one more question. In view of
25that fact that she testified that at the time she was in
26Auschwitz she obtained records showing that 700,000

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