Irving v. Lipstadt

Transcripts

Holocaust Denial on Trial, Trial Transcripts, Day 21: Electronic Edition

Pages 41 - 45 of 201

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    My Lord, with respect this witness has laid a
 1terrible choking suffocating smoke screen across the
 2courtroom and across the points that I was trying to
 3arrive at.
 4 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Mr Irving, let me explain why I think it is
 5helpful. You say, and I quite understand, and I think
 6there are three of them, Schaub, Eberstein and
 7Bruckner , as supporting evidence for Hitler's angry
 8reaction in the middle of the night. Now, they may be
 9right, they may be wrong. What Professor Evans was doing,
10and it was a long answer, was summarizing all the
11considerations that should weigh with an objective
12historian in deciding whether to attach credence to what
13the individual witnesses say. Now, what is wrong with
14that?
15 MR IRVING:     With respect, I should have been permitted to
16conduct the cross-examination my way, which would have
17been to go over those documents, having dealt with this
18central issue, and then looked at those documents which
19were prior to that.
20 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Well, I am afraid I see nothing wrong with
21that answer and I tried to explain why I found it helpful.
22 MR IRVING:     Well, we have had all of that. The whole of that
23little speech -- little is not the right word -- we have
24had several times in this courtroom. What I am
25introducing here is material going to the issue, which is
26whether I had no basis for writing what I did.

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 1Unfortunately, the witness, by his smoke screen, has
 2interrupted my cross-examination.
 3 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     No. What the witness was saying was yes, you
 4have records of what these Adjutants told you, but you
 5were in dereliction of your duty as a historian in
 6forgetting to weigh that evidence against the background,
 7the context.
 8 MR IRVING:     Should he not have waited until he heard the third
 9witness and then started off with his little speech?
10 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Go on with your third witness.
11 MR IRVING:     Yes. Would you now turn finally, preferably
12without five-minute speeches, to the translation of the
13tape recorded interview of Colonel Nicholas von Below?
14 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]      Could you point me to the original German, please?
15 Q. [Mr Irving]      The original German is here. Am I right in saying --
16I am trying to save time now -- that Colonel Nicholas von
17Below was Hitler's air force adjutant from 1937 until the
18last day of his life?
19 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]      Yes.
20 Q. [Mr Irving]      He was an air force professional officer?
21 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]      The last day of whose life, Hitler's life, you mean?
22 Q. [Mr Irving]      I beg your pardon?
23 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]      Last day of Hitler's life?
24 Q. [Mr Irving]      Yes. He was a professional German air force officer, he
25was not a Nazi Party member, is that correct?
26 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]      I think that is right, yes.

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 1 Q. [Mr Irving]      On this occasion, on this night, he was in Hitler's home?
 2 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]      Yes.
 3 Q. [Mr Irving]      In Munich?
 4 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]      Yes.
 5 Q. [Mr Irving]      Is he a source whose recollections have been rightly
 6impugned on any other occasion, to your knowledge, of any
 7other historical event?
 8 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]      My memory fails me here, Mr Irving. They are a source of
 9variable quality but it is a valuable source.
10 Q. [Mr Irving]      Professor, you have held yourself out to this court as an
11expert witness on the Third Reich. You have spent 18
12month in investigating these sources in particular, and
13I am just asking you if you have any impression about
14colonel von Below?
15 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]      I think Colonel von Below gave a number of different
16testimonies, parts of which are valuable and parts of
17which are not so valuable, is that enough?
18 Q. [Mr Irving]      Is right that in general you are inclined to criticise my
19interview technique and suggest that I may have asked
20leading questions, or in some way browbeaten my Nazi
21sources?
22 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]      Where do I use the word "browbeating".
23 Q. [Mr Irving]      You know what I am getting at, that in fact I used
24improper techniques?
25 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]      I know what you mean by attempts to browbeat, Mr Irving,
26but I do not say that you do that with people cited in

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 1this report.
 2 Q. [Mr Irving]      Browbeating is part of the job of somebody in
 3cross-examination, is it not, obtaining information from a
 4reluctant witness, shall say? Is there any sign here ----
 5 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]      I thought you were complaining I was not reluctant, I gave
 6too much information, Mr Irving.
 7 Q. [Mr Irving]      Is there any indication from this transcript? Would you
 8agree it is a verbatim transcript?
 9 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]      Yes.
10 Q. [Mr Irving]      From a tape recording?
11 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]      Yes, it appears to be such.
12 Q. [Mr Irving]      Is there any indication that I am asking leading
13questions?
14 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     The first one is a leading question, but let
15us move on.
16 MR IRVING:     My Lord, my interview technique is part of the
17criticism against me, that I have distorted history.
18 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Yes, but you asked whether there were any
19leading questions and the first question is a leading
20question, Mr Irving. Let us get to his answer.
21 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]      "You were with Hitler at his home when the news of the
22Reichskristallnacht arrived there in Munich and he was
23rather surprised by that, can you depict that who else was
24there, suggest to the witness that he was surprised".
25What you should have asked was, "you were with Hitler in
26his home on the eve of Reichskristallnacht, can you say

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 1what happened", something neutral like that?
 2 MR IRVING:     Is it not likely----
 3 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]      You are suggesting things here.
 4 Q. [Mr Irving]      Is this an extract from an interview or is it the whole
 5interview?
 6 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]      It is an extract. It starts with one question as well.
 7 Q. [Mr Irving]      Is it likely that there had been some discussion of this
 8before this extract begins therefore?
 9 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]      You will have to show me documentation of that previous
10discussion if I am to answer that question, Mr Irving.
11 Q. [Mr Irving]      Would you look at the second question from the end,
12please? Irving asked, "back to the Reichskristallnacht",
13is that a leading question, "back to the
14Reichskristallnacht"?
15 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]      Sorry, I cannot find it.
16 Q. [Mr Irving]      On the first page.
17 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]      First page, yes.
18 Q. [Mr Irving]      At the bottom of the page, Irving asks, "back to the
19Reichskristallnacht"?
20 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]      Yes.
21 Q. [Mr Irving]      Is that a leading question?
22 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]      No.
23 Q. [Mr Irving]      And the answer comes, "the first thing that came to us was
24a phone call from the Four Seasons Hotel". Do you wish to
25follow this in the German original and correct me if I am
26wrong in the translation?

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