Irving v. Lipstadt


Holocaust Denial on Trial, Trial Transcripts, Day 24: Electronic Edition

Pages 51 - 55 of 192

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 1 MR IRVING:     It is an American diplomatic despatch in the
 2Roosevelt Library.
 3 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Commenting on whether a word in a report
 4which we do not have has been correctly translated.
 5 MR IRVING:     It appears that this report may be based on
 6mistranslation of the words ausrottung and entjudung. Is
 7it possible therefore to mistranslate the words ausrottung
 8and entjudung?
 9 A. [Dr Heinz Peter Longerich]     I have to fully digest, just one second.
10 Q. [Mr Irving]     It is a bit of problem if you always have to produce the
11whole document or the original report, you do appreciate
13 A. [Dr Heinz Peter Longerich]     So your question is what, sorry?
14 Q. [Mr Irving]     The question, if you are prepared to answer a question on
15this summary, or extracts from an American diplomatic
16despatch, is it possible to mistranslate the word
17ausrottung and entjudung in a way which might go one way
18or might go the other. Even in 1944, in other words,
19there is no firm and fixed definition or translation?
20 A. [Dr Heinz Peter Longerich]     Well, somebody speculates about the issue whether the
21words ausrottung and entjudung were mistranslated.
22 Q. [Mr Irving]     Yes.
23 A. [Dr Heinz Peter Longerich]     And how shall I comment on that?
24 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     I find this frankly an absurd document
25because the report appears to refer to the extermination
26of European Jews at camps in Silesia?

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 1 A. [Dr Heinz Peter Longerich]     Yes.
 2 Q. [Mr Justice Gray]     It refers to a cyanide process and to German executions
 3and then Mr Harrison, whoever he may be, thinks that
 4ausrottung has been mistranslated. It is an absolute
 6 MR IRVING:     I am only relying on the mistranslation, the fact
 7that it is possible to mistranslate the word ausrottung.
 8That is all I can do with that particular document.
 9 A. [Dr Heinz Peter Longerich]     If you want me to comment on it, I should be able to know
10more about the facts than Mr Harrison did, shall I put it
11this way? At the moment I do not know what I should do
12with this document.
13 Q. [Mr Irving]     The final sentence, of course, "I spoke yesterday with one
14of the men who planted the report with the newspaper
15agencies". Did this kind of thing go on during the war
16years, that documents were planted with newspaper
18 A. [Dr Heinz Peter Longerich]     During the war documents were planted with newspaper
19agencies, yes. That happened.
20 Q. [Mr Irving]     You always want to see original documents. If you turn
21the page to the next one which is unnumbered, is this the
22kind of document you are familiar with from Himmler's
23files? You may actually know it, in fact, because it is
24addressed to your subject Martin Bormann, is it not?
25 A. [Dr Heinz Peter Longerich]     Yes. I became quite familiar with him, that is true.
26 Q. [Mr Irving]     It is dated 21st February or thereabouts, 1944?

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 1 A. [Dr Heinz Peter Longerich]     Yes. It says that the misstande, what is misstande in
 3 Q. [Mr Irving]     Bad conditions?
 4 A. [Dr Heinz Peter Longerich]     Yes something like that.
 5 Q. [Mr Irving]     Naff, as they say in America.
 6 A. [Dr Heinz Peter Longerich]     Can I ask the interpreter something?
 7 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Yes, of course.
 8 THE INTERPRETER:     Things which are not right, things which need
 9putting right.
10 A. [Dr Heinz Peter Longerich]     So he is not referring to people. He is referring to
11things which are not going right. He is saying that these
12misstande, these things which are not right, will be
13ausgerotet, so of course the term ausgerotet, you could
14give me thousands of documents which would show me that
15misstande ausgerotet were meant, ausgerotet, everything,
16every possible context.
17 MR IRVING:     It has been dictated by Himmler, has it not?
18 A. [Dr Heinz Peter Longerich]     Yes.
19 Q. [Mr Irving]     Himmler's use of the word ausrottung in a non homicidal
20sense, that is all I am relying on this document for.
21 A. [Dr Heinz Peter Longerich]     You can prove from this document so far that Himmler used
22the term ausrottung once, not referring to human beings
23but to misstande in a non-homicidal sense, yes, that is
25 Q. [Mr Irving]     Dr Longerich, all I am trying to establish here in the
26beginning of the 21st century is that back in the 1940s

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 1the word ausrottung did not have necessarily the meaning
 2that we now give it, with our knowledge of all the
 3atrocities that happened. Do you accept that?
 4 A. [Dr Heinz Peter Longerich]     I myself in my report made a little reservation here and
 5I said, well, not every time the word ausrotten means
 6killing, but if it refers to people, or to a group of
 7people, in the historical context of the Nazi period,
 8I did not find a single document in which one would not
 9translate the word ausrotten to kill in large numbers or
10to kill all as far as possible. This is my provisional
12 Q. [Mr Irving]     Wipe out?
13 A. [Dr Heinz Peter Longerich]     I think wipe out is a possible translation. Exterminate
14is another one. Kill off, or extirpate, which is the one
15I preferred. But I think for the German living at this
16time the term from a leading Nazi or national socialist,
17the term ausrotten applying to people means quite clearly,
18I mean for the average German at this time means quite
19clearly to kill in large numbers. It is a very cruel
20expression and of course there is a lot of violence in
21this word.
22 Q. [Mr Irving]     Yes. Can you not put yourself back in the mind set of the
231940 when the word possibly had a different meaning?
24 A. [Dr Heinz Peter Longerich]     I think particularly at this time, because at this time
25people lived in the time when people were killed on a
26massive basis, they were quite aware that the use of this

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 1vocabulary by leading Nazis referred to mass killing. Why
 2should I speculate in a general way? One could look at
 3the individual documents and establish the meaning. It
 4does not help us, I think, to look at documents which are
 5outside the context.
 6 MR IRVING:     You have to have some kind of guiding star to look
 7at, do we not?
 8 A. [Dr Heinz Peter Longerich]     That is fine.
 9 Q. [Mr Irving]     Go to the next page, page 11, which is a 1944 military
10dictionary. We are getting pretty close to the actual
11meaning of 1944 if we accept that the dictionary was
12probably printed a year or two earlier. No, it was
13actually printed in 1944. That is what page 10 shows us.
14 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Military dictionary?
15 MR IRVING:     Military dictionary, yes.
16 A. [Dr Heinz Peter Longerich]     Yes.
17 Q. [Mr Irving]     Which is a dictionary produced just for the use of the
18armies. It contains all sorts of things, too. There you
19have the meaning of the word ausrotten given in the
20following sequence: Wipe out, crush, annihilate. Wipe
21out is probably right.
22 A. [Dr Heinz Peter Longerich]     I again am not a linguist but, if I look at the other
23terms on this page, it is obviously that this is a
24dictionary for military terminology, so it refers I think
25particularly to the military sphere. But again I am quite
26convinced that you can present more dictionaries which

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