Irving v. Lipstadt
Holocaust Denial on Trial, Trial Transcripts, Day 23: Electronic Edition
Pages 81 - 85 of 237
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1 MR IRVING: It is the other half of the word I am looking at,
2"Volks". Would you call a Volkswagen a race car, racial
3car? A Volkskuche is a racial kitchen? A Volksseele is a
5 A. [Professor Richard John Evans] A Volkswagon is a post 1945 term, even though the car was
7 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Do not let us worry about Volkswagons. Would
8you like to put what you think the correct translation of
9"Volksschadlinge" would be, Mr Irving? It is marrying up
10two concepts and I think it would be helpful.
11 MR IRVING: Public pest.
12 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Public pest?
13 MR IRVING: It is a reference to a public pest. Is this not
14because Adolf Hitler was constantly issuing death
15sentences with summary procedures against rapists and
16train robbers and people like that, and you refer to them
17as the "Volksschadlinge"?
18 A. [Professor Richard John Evans] Yes. It is not a public pest. Public is "offentlich" and
19that word does not appear here. That is a totally
20tendentious mistranslation of this term. Volksschadlinge
21is a term which the Nazis used in indeed dealing with
22criminals, because they considered that criminality was
23basically racial in character. That is to say, either
24through inherited racial characteristics of some sort,
25whether the criminal was German or not. I think it is
26quite clear what they mean. How would one translate the
1word "Volkisch", which is the adjective? You
2would translate it as "public", I suppose? I think that
3is completely illegitimate.
4 Q. [Mr Irving] The word "Volkisch" is an extremely difficult word to
5translate, as you are familiar, is that not right.
6 A. [Professor Richard John Evans] It is the adjective of "Volk", and as used by the Nazis
7I think it means in most cases "racial".
8 Q. [Mr Irving] Is not the correct translation of "Eine Volksschadlinge
9totzuschlagen" to bump off a public pest?
10 A. [Professor Richard John Evans] No, it is not.
11 Q. [Mr Irving] He says, "if we are entitled to bump off a public pest,
13 A. [Professor Richard John Evans] No. To start with, almost everything is wrong there, Mr
14Irving, totzuschlagen is to beat to death, no ambiguity
15about that at all. "Volksschadling" I translate as a
16"racial pest". That is my view of what it means in this
17context as used by Hitler, and one comes across this in a
18lot of the legislation courts decisions and memoranda of
19the Ministry of Justice which I am familiar with. That
20word "Volksschadling" is legally defined, indeed, in the
21Second World War. It means, to my mind ----
22 Q. [Mr Irving] So this is another example ----
23 A. [Professor Richard John Evans] In my translation it is a "racial pest". To put a gloss
24on it, it is a pest who is damaging the German race. That
25is really what it means.
26 Q. [Mr Irving] It is another example of a euphemism, right? You have to
1translate it. It is a word which means one thing but you
2say this is euphemism for the Jews?
3 MR JUSTICE GRAY: No, I do not think that is what----
4 A. [Professor Richard John Evans] No. I do not mean that at all, no. Not necessarily at
6 MR IRVING: How you would you translate the words "public pest"
8 A. [Professor Richard John Evans] Something like "offentlich ergonist", something like
9that. Public nuisance is "offentlich Unfug". The use of
10the word "Schadling" comes from the racial ideology
11drawing a parallel between growing crops and farming and
13 MR JUSTICE GRAY: A sort of agricultural bacillus?
14 A. [Professor Richard John Evans] Yes, my Lord.
15 MR IRVING: You are aware that Adolf Hitler personally had to
16issue the death sentences against train robbers, rapists,
17and people like that. He would be the one who sent the
18word down the phone lines, saying "Execute"?
19 A. [Professor Richard John Evans] I do not think he had to, Mr Irving. What he tended to do
20was -- I cite this in the book that I wrote -- he quite
21frequently, on at least 18 occasions listed by the
22Ministry of Justice during the early part of war, was
23reading the Nazi newspaper, and would see a report of some
24criminal whom he considered had too lenient a sentence for
25robbery or whatever, would exclaim, "That person ought to
26be shot", and immediately Schaub or somebody else would
1leap up, get on the phone to Munich or wherever it was,
2and have the criminal shot while trying to "escape".
3 Q. [Mr Irving] Do not I say exactly the same in my book, Hitler's War,
4now that you have mentioned that fact, that a simple phone
5call to Schaub sufficed and the man was already sent to be
6executed. Do you remember the passage in my book,
7Hitler's War, where I said that in the Kaiser's time the
8condemned man had the right to see the Kaiser's signature
9on the death warrant, but in Hitler's time it was done
11 A. [Professor Richard John Evans] Yes, I remember that.
12 Q. [Mr Irving] Not a very flattering passage about Hitler, is it?
13 A. [Professor Richard John Evans] In order to comment on that I would have to see the
15 Q. [Mr Irving] Yes, I thought you would say that. Will you now go to
17 A. [Professor Richard John Evans] I am sorry, I would have to.
18 Q. [Mr Irving] At the foot of page 408, the very last line of the
19footnote, you criticise me for failing to translate the
20last sentences. "In his translation of this passage,
21Irving fails to translate the last sentences".
22 A. [Professor Richard John Evans] Yes.
23 Q. [Mr Irving] If you look at the last sentences referred to, which is
24just above it in that footnote, it is not in the
25subjunctive, is it? So it is Goebbels, not Hitler.
26 A. [Professor Richard John Evans] No, I do not think that follows. You yourself said,
1Mr Irving, that Goebbels wrote a rather colloquial slangy
2sort of German so one would not expect him to stick
3absolutely consistently to the formal means of reported
5 Q. [Mr Irving] Does the last sentence add at all or subtract at all to
6the story? Is there some criticism? Is there some reason
7why you criticise me for leaving out those sentences?
8Obviously I have left out a huge number of sentences, I
9have left out millions of sentences in writing my books.
10It is part of being a writer.
11 A. [Professor Richard John Evans] It is not a major point, Mr Irving.
12 Q. [Mr Irving] Yes. "Absolute Ausrottung" on page 413 is offset against
13going of their own accord, is it not? Either they go off
14their own accord or there is going to be "absolute
16 A. [Professor Richard John Evans] Yes.
17 Q. [Mr Irving] So it is clearly a going and not a killing?
18 MR JUSTICE GRAY: You have cross-examined about that.
19 MR IRVING: Yes. I just came across my rather nice way of
20putting it in my notes, my Lord.
21 MR JUSTICE GRAY: It had struck me.
22 A. [Professor Richard John Evans] Yes. What he is saying is that he will totally
23exterminate them if they do not go of their own accord,
24which of course by this time, January 1942, they were not
25going of their own accord because the Nazis had forbidden
26emigration of Jews from Germany in the previous October.
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