Irving v. Lipstadt

Transcripts

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

Pages 46 - 50 of 201

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 1 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]      Yes.
 2 Q. [Mr Irving]      "Those of us who were on duty with Hitler always lived at
 3that time in the Four Seasons Hotel and on this day we
 4were billetted in rooms that were quite high up. The
 5staff phoned to us". Where was he then at this time?
 6 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]      In Hitler's residence.
 7 Q. [Mr Irving]      "The staff phoned us to say we ought to come right over
 8and pack our bags as in a neighbouring building the
 9synagogue was on fire and the sparks were flying right
10over the building". Does this sound like he is recalling
11the actual conversation?
12 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]      Yes, sounds like that.
13 Q. [Mr Irving]      It is verisimilitude, is it not?
14 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]      Sounds like that.
15 Q. [Mr Irving]     "It was just a matter of security. Brandt", he is the
16doctor, "always lived in that hotel too. He said, 'Ought
17we to drive over or not? Somebody" and this is the
18adjutants speaking to each other, is it not?
19 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]      Yes.
20 Q. [Mr Irving]      "Somebody said then, 'Well, one of us ought at least to go
21and take a look'. Whether anybody did drive over, I don't
22know. Then further reports came. I don't know on the
23basis of what facts, whether it was Schaub asking or the
24fire brigade or the Gaul headquarters. Shortly after that
25it became known that the synagogue had not cut fire by
26itself, but had been set on fire and that there was a

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 1demonstration going on. Thereupon that was immediately
 2passed on by Schaub to Hitler. Thereupon the Police
 3President of Munich, von Aberstein, was immediately sent
 4for. Herr von Aberstein then appeared soon after at the
 5Fuhrer's residence. He was an SS Obergruppenfuhrer. He
 6was now interrogated by Hitler. Then there was a
 7conversation between Hitler and Goebbels by" -- has he
 8been led with any of this by me, to your knowledge?
 9 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]      Yes, by the opening question. "You were with Hitler in his
10home when the news of the Reichskristallnacht arrived
11there in Munich and he was rather surprised by that. Can
12you depict that?" and that is what he is doing here.
13 Q. [Mr Irving]      Have I mentioned in my opening question Aberstein or
14telephone conversation with Goebbels?
15 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]      "Can you depict that, who else was there?" That is your
16question.
17 Q. [Mr Irving]      Then the we carry on now from the bottom of the page when
18I asked, "What was Hitler' reaction to the first news
19report?" Is that a leading question?
20 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]      Well...
21 Q. [Mr Irving]      And then does he answer?
22 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]      Well, it depends. I mean, it makes the assumption, of
23course, that these were the first news reports. But if it
24refers just to reports of the synagogue burning in Munich,
25then it is not a leading question.
26 Q. [Mr Irving]      "Then Below admittedly recalling the events 30 years

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 1later", because it is, it is 1968 this interview with von
 2Below, is it not?
 3 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]      That is right.
 4 Q. [Mr Irving]      He records Hitler's reaction as being, "What is going on?
 5Please find out. I have to know what the game is."
 6 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]      I cannot find this in the German, I am sorry, for the
 7moment.
 8 Q. [Mr Irving]      "It was my impression that we all and even Hitler"?
 9 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Pause a second, would you mind, mr Irving?
10 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]      Yes.
11 MR IRVING:     "It was my impression"?
12 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]      Yes, "What is going on?" Yes.
13 Q. [Mr Irving]      "Please find out. I have to know what the game is". Is
14that a fair translation, admittedly it is ----
15 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]      Yes -- no, it is fine.
16 Q. [Mr Irving]      --- obviously not a verbatim recollection, but that was
17his impression.
18 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]      That is fine.
19 Q. [Mr Irving]      "It was my impression that we all and even Hitler himself
20were totally in the dark". I assume that is what he means
21by "musspot". "Nobody knew anything about anything.
22I can only say", and then he continues with his own
23impression: "Form my many years with Hitler and on his
24staff, if that had been organized by Hitler and with
25Hitler's knowledge, a charade on that scale would have
26been impossible. I would not put it past Goebbels,

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 1absolutely not". And then what does he say? "Then Hitler
 2became angry and raised his voice quite loudly to
 3Aberstein and said: 'I demand that order is restored at
 4once'." Is this now another source saying the same thing
 5that Schaub said?
 6 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]      It seems to be, yes.
 7 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Would you like to read the next sentence?
 8 MR IRVING:     "That was, however, limited just to Munich.
 9I overheard that because the conversation took place as
10I was on the way out". In other words, von Below was
11returning to his own quarters -- [German] as they say in
12German. Then he quite frankly admits what happened with
13regard to the "directive to Goebbels or to Himmler for the
14rest of the Reichs territory, that, I do not know". Then
15comes a bit of hearsay: "I spoke once more with Aberstein
16about this business in Nuremberg prison in 1948 and
17I asked him: 'Did you know anything about it before you
18came to Hitler's?' He described it to me just as I had it
19in my own recollection". Is that significant? Do we
20derive from that that it came as a surprise to Aberstein
21too?
22 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]      It is unclear what time he is talking about here, and
23I find that difficult to accept.
24 Q. [Mr Irving]      Is it significant, in other words?
25 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]      I mean, this is 30 years after the event, Mr Irving. He
26has had an enormous amount of time to concoct a story

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 1which will exculpate himself from involvement in these
 2events which is in his clear interests to do.
 3 Q. [Mr Irving]      How could von Below had been implicated in any way
 4himself?
 5 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]      Because he was with Hitler.
 6 Q. [Mr Irving]      But how would that in any way have made him into an
 7accomplice?
 8 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]      Because Hitler ordered this pogrom.
 9 Q. [Mr Irving]      Why would he have invented this conversation with
10Aberstein in Nuremberg prison where Aberstein confirms 10
11years after the event, "It was surprise to me too"? Was
12there any reason? Does it not look like a piece of
13verisimilitude again then? A random scrap of something
14that stuck in his memory over the years that he then
15repeats to me 20 years later on as something that
16always ----
17 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]      It is extraordinary, is it not, Mr Irving? All these old,
18all these police officers and SS men have been with Hitler
19during the appalling violence against the Jews in 1938,
20many years afterwards when it has become clear that
21society and the world disapprove very strongly of these
22events, all tell each other, "Well, I did not know
23anything about it. I had not heard about it"?
24 Q. [Mr Irving]      Can we just look finally on the von Below and if we just
25on the final page, at the end of the first paragraph on
26that page, there is just one little passage that I am

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