Irving v. Lipstadt
Holocaust Denial on Trial, Trial Transcripts, Day 23: Electronic Edition
Pages 166 - 170 of 237
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1 MR IRVING: On October 6th 1943 the SS chief in Rome said we
2have received orders to transfer 12,000 Jews from Rome to
3northern Italy and liquidate them. This message went to
4Ribbentrop, who dashed across to Hitler's headquarters and
5back went the message from the Foreign Ministry down to
6Rome, saying they are not to be liquidated they are to be
7taken to Mauthausen and kept as hostages.
8 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes, I know. I have read about it but now
9you have reminded me, thank you very much.
10 A. [Professor Richard John Evans] My Lord that is Mr Irving's version.
11 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Wait for the question?
12 A. [Professor Richard John Evans] I make it clear I do not accept it.
13 MR JUSTICE GRAY: What is the question?
14 MR IRVING: Professor Evans, which part of that statement do
15you not accept?
16 A. [Professor Richard John Evans] Well, if I can just say that the actual context is that
17the German military diplomatic representatives in Rome,
18which had been occupied by the Germans, the local
19representative there wanted to stop the Jews of Rome being
20killed by proposing that they should be employed locally
21as forced labour in military installations. Hitler
22intervened via Ribbentrop to override them and ordered the
23Jews to be taken off and murdered, which eventually they
24were in Auschwitz. So that what Mr Irving is portraying
25as an intervention by Hitler in order to save the Jews
26was, when one looks at the documents and restores the bits
1which he suppressed, actually the opposite.
2 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Does it depend a bit what is meant by taking
3them to northern Italy and keeping them as hostages?
4 A. [Professor Richard John Evans] That does to some extent, my Lord, yes, but also
5Mauthausen of course is notoriously a concentration camp
6in a class of its own, where the purpose was essentially
7to kill the inmates off by working them to death.
8 MR IRVING: How would you keep 12,000 just as hostages, if you
9kill them off by working them to death?
10 A. [Professor Richard John Evans] Let us have a look at the document, shall we? We are
11getting down to business here.
12 Q. [Mr Irving] You have none of these documents in your head, Professor?
13 A. [Professor Richard John Evans] I need ----
14 Q. [Mr Irving] Have you noticed that throughout this cross-examination I
16 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Mr Irving, that is unhelpful. If he does not
17have it in his head, I, for one, would not criticise him
18for a second.
19 A. [Professor Richard John Evans] I want to be absolutely clear about what the documents
20said, say, and we must look at them in order to do that
21because your interpretations are so often wildly
22implausible. The problem with that is that there seems to
23be nowhere at this time where they could have been kept.
24There is a not a concentration camp there.
25 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Mauthausen does not sound as if it is
1 A. [Professor Richard John Evans] Mauthausen, no, it is...
2 Q. [Mr Irving] It is in southern Germany?
3 A. [Professor Richard John Evans] Yes -- as it was at that time. So, talk of "Upper Italy"
4seems to be camouflage language.
5 MR IRVING: Who was talking of "Upper Italy"? Hitler or the
7 A. [Professor Richard John Evans] Let us have a look.
8 Q. [Mr Irving] It was the SS, was it not? The SS said: "They are to be
9taken to northern Italy and liquidated" which is quite
10plain. They do not even use euphemisms, do they?
11 A. [Professor Richard John Evans] No, that not quite true.
12 Q. [Mr Irving] Well, "liquidated" does not appear to be a euphemism?
13 A. [Professor Richard John Evans] No, I do not think it is the SS who say that.
14 Q. [Mr Irving] "Liquidiert"?
15 A. [Professor Richard John Evans] Yes, I do not think that is the SS. I think it is the
16local consul in ----
17 Q. [Mr Irving] Consul Eitl Moellhausen?
18 A. [Professor Richard John Evans] Yes, it is the local Foreign Office official in Rome. It
19is not the SS who say that.
20 Q. [Mr Irving] Yes. He says: "The SS have told us they are going to
21take 12,000 Jews from Rome to northern Italy and liquidate
23 A. [Professor Richard John Evans] That is right, yes.
24 Q. [Mr Irving] And the message goes straight to Hitler's headquarters?
25 A. [Professor Richard John Evans] An extremely tactless use of language by this man.
26 Q. [Mr Irving] No euphemisms, no "auswanderung", no "umsiedlung",
2 A. [Professor Richard John Evans] No, but, of course, he was trying to stop this.
3 Q. [Mr Irving] What you cannot get around is the fact that the order
4comes back after Ribbentrop goes to see Hitler saying,
5"They are not to be liquidated. They are to be kept
6alive as hostages in Mauthausen". It could not be more
8 A. [Professor Richard John Evans] Yes.
9 Q. [Mr Irving] And all the other messages are irrelevant in that
11 A. [Professor Richard John Evans] No, I am sorry, that is not true at all. What you
12suppress is the fact that the local officials wanted to
13use them for, as it says, the telegram 201, "prefer to use
14the able-bodied Jews of Rome for fortification work
15here". So the local Foreign Office and military officials
16are proposing two telegrams, in fact, that it would be
17better business, says the other one, to use the Jews for
18fortification work rather than bringing them to Upper
19Italy where they are to be liquidated".
20 So, let us get this quite clear. We are not
21talking about hostages in Upper Italy. I will read this
22telegramme in full. "Obersturmbannfuhrer Kappler has
23received orders to arrest the 8,000 Jews resident in Rome
24and bring them to upper Italy where they are to be
25liquidated ... (reading to the words)... Please advise
1 Then another telegram, Field Marshal Kesselring
2has asked Oberstrunbannfuhrer Kappler to postpone the plan
3Juden Aktion for the time being, but if something has to
4be done, he would "prefer to use the able-bodied Jews of
5Rome for fortification work here".
6 So that is their proposal that they are making
7to the authorities in Berlin, particularly to Ribbentrop,
8and they, in other words, the idea, the notion of Upper
9Italy, since there is nowhere they could be taken there,
10is, I think, a euphemism for taking them off to somewhere
11like Auschwitz ----
12 Q. [Mr Irving] Can I help to cut through this verbiage and ask you ----
13 MR JUSTICE GRAY: No, that is unnecessarily offensive,
15 MR IRVING: Well, to cut through this particular line of
16argument and say were the ----
17 A. [Professor Richard John Evans] Yes, I know you want to cut through this particular line
18of argument, Mr Irving, because you do not like it.
19 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Please continue, Professor Evans?
20 A. [Professor Richard John Evans] Thank you, my Lord. There is an additional document where
21on, it says, the local officials in Rome get back the
22message in answer to these telegrams on the basis of the
23Fuhrer's instructions. The Fuhrer's instructions, "the
248,000 Jews resident in Rome are to be taken to Mauthausen
25as hostages. The Heireich Foreign Minister asks you not
26to interfere in any way with this affair but leave it to
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