Irving v. Lipstadt


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

Pages 96 - 100 of 201

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     Well, there appeared to be at least two different copies
 1my different version, so I found it easily enough. So is
 2there any reason you can suggest why historians have been
 3embarrassed about it and have preferred not to use it?
 4 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]      I do not think it is true that historians have been
 5embarrassed about it. There is nothing to be embarrassed
 6about here at all. It fits in perfectly well into the
 7other documents we have from that same disastrous and
 8ghastly evening.
 9 Q. [Mr Irving]      A document showing Adolf Hitler intervening at 2.56
10through his deputy, through the office of his deputy,
11ordering a halt to whatever, or a stop, a veto on however
12narrow a front you wish to portray it, did not deserve any
13kind of comment by the entire assembled body of historians
14around the world?
15 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]      Mr Irving, you have already said that the telex of
16Heydrich at 1.20 was the result of discussions between
17Hitler and Himmler, the Muller telex earlier in the
18evening was also on Hitler's orders, and all of these
19things say roughly the same thing. We can look at the
20other telexes, if you like. They all, taken together,
21represent the attempt by Hitler to make sure that German
22property was not damaged, and that foreign -- it is not in
23this one, but it is in the other ones -- that foreign Jews
24were not to be harmed because of the diplomatic
25consequences. None of these documents, certainly not
26this one, puts it in any way -- attempting to put the

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 1whole action to an end.
 2 Q. [Mr Irving]      So why have other historians not quoted it?
 3 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]      This is part of a stream of documents. There is nothing
 4surprising or new or novel or shocking about this one.
 5 Q. [Mr Irving]      Why have other historians not quoted a brief telegram
 6which is on the authority of the very highest level in a
 7matter of such importance?
 8 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]      You will have to ask them.
 9 Q. [Mr Irving]      Well, I am asking you as ----
10 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]      I do not think it surprises ----
11 Q. [Mr Irving]      --- the expert on historiography. You have written books
12on the way people write history.
13 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Professor Evans, can I just ask you this
14question? If, indeed, the telex or the message, whatever
15it is, had said, "Stop everything", would you then agree
16that it would be surprising that historians have ignored
17it, as Mr Irving suggests?
18 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]      I do not think that historians would have deliberately
19suppressed it, had it said that. I mean, I can only
20assume that ----
21 Q. [Mr Justice Gray]      That is not quite an answer to my question.
22 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]      I know.
23 Q. [Mr Justice Gray]      What I am really saying is that if, indeed, Hitler had
24decided at 2.56 in the morning that everything must
25stop ----
26 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]      Yes.

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 1 Q. [Mr Justice Gray]      --- would that be something that you would expect somebody
 2giving an account, an historian giving an account, of
 3Kristallnacht would include in his account or her account?
 4 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]      Yes, most certainly because it would change our entire
 5picture of the whole series of events, and you would then
 6have to explain, of course, why lower police officials
 7sent out orders for the actions to start later in the
 8morning, why the Reichskristallnacht events only really
 9began in the morning well after this of the 10th November
10in Vienna, for example, and this would cast very
11interesting light on why Hitler's orders were not followed
12if that was the case.
13     I mean, I should also say I am here simply
14accepting Mr Irving's suggestion that other historians
15have not quoted this, although he himself says he does not
16read other historians, so...
17 Q. [Mr Justice Gray]      Yes, well, assuming that.
18 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]      If may well be that if I had time to check up in detail
19through the literature of other historians, I might find
20that they had quoted this before 1977.
21 MR IRVING:     But we assume that you have read all the literature
22on the Reiskristallnacht because you are an expert witness
23on this.
24 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]      Well, I would have to -- this is one small document, and I
25would have to go back and check it all. I do not have a
26photographic memory.

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 1 Q. [Mr Irving]      It is small in as much as it contains only three lines,
 2but it does rely on the authority of the very top level in
 3the Third Reich in the middle of the night on the Night of
 4Broken Glass ----
 5 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]      Yes, but so ----
 6 Q. [Mr Irving]      --- and yet nobody else quoted it except me?
 7 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]      Well, how can you say that if you do not read other
 8historians' work, Mr Irving?
 9 Q. [Mr Irving]      Well, I am asking you as the expert on historiography.
10 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]      And you are just telling me, and I am telling you that you
11have no right to say that. You do not read what other
12historians have written on the subject. You have no idea.
13 Q. [Mr Irving]      Well, I believe that we would have had an echo by now.
14I have been waving this document in the air for the last
1525 years, saying, "Look what I found. Why have you not
16quoted it?" I remembered a mass meeting at the University
17of Bonn saying precisely this, and advising the students
18to ask their professors afterwards why they were hearing
19it from me for the first time. So, surely, somebody would
20have said, "Mr Irving, you are not first"?
21 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]      Yes, I am not sure I believe you, Mr Irving, I am afraid.
22 Q. [Mr Irving]      You are not sure you believe me?
23 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]      No. I would have to go up and check the literature to see
24whether this document was quoted and it would not surprise
25me if it was.
26 Q. [Mr Irving]      Will you accept the proposition that if my interpretation

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 1of the document is correct, that Adolf Hitler was hereby
 2acting on the information that he had received during the
 3previous hour as described by the Adjutants, the three of
 4whom I have related earlier this morning, he was
 5determined to stop this nonsense and he telephoned Rudolf
 6Hess and said, "Send an immediate message to the
 7Gauleiters", that if this signal meant that, this would be
 8an embarrassment to the historical profession?
 9 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]      Too many ifs there, Mr Irving. I do not accept a single
10part of your premises, I am afraid.
11 Q. [Mr Irving]      But that, in a way, answers my question, does it not,
12because it is an embarrassing document for the historians
13to have a look at?
14 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]      It is not an embarrassing document at all. It does not
15really say very much.
16 Q. [Mr Irving]      So it does not say all the things you said earlier, about
17"Go out and burn the synagogues and arrest the 20,000",
18you said that you could read all that into it.
19 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]      All it says, Mr Irving, is that there should be no arson
20in Jewish shops or similar premises under any
21circumstances. That is all it says. This is in the
22middle of the evening where all over the country
23synagogues are being burned down. Everybody knows that
24synagogue are being burned down. I do not see any mention
25of synagogues here, and I do not think you can describe
26them as being like shops, although I am not very familiar

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