Irving v. Lipstadt

Transcripts

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

Pages 66 - 70 of 192

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    So we have documents from 42, where Himmler said, "the
 1occupied Eastern territories have to be made free of Jews,
 2this is a burden on my shoulders, it was laid as a burden
 3on my shoulders". We have more documents like this, which
 4gave us a kind of insight into the relationship. They
 5actually were discussing the issue of the Holocaust among
 6them.
 7 MR IRVING:     Is it not a danger you refer to the December 18th
 81941 document. That of course only turned up two years
 9ago. Does that mean to say that for 53 years people were
10really reaching these conclusion without such a document,
11finally like a drowning man they found a straw?
12 A. [Dr Heinz Peter Longerich]     No. The other documents are not known, and it added to
13our picture. As you suggested yourself, it is luck that
14we actually opened, that we have access now to Eastern
15European archives, but they were not in the dark before
16that. It adds to our knowledge.
17 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Just so I am clear, you say that the informed
18speculator would draw the conclusion that Hitler and
19Himmler were discussing the Holocaust. By the Holocaust
20in that connection you do not just mean the shootings by
21the Einsatzgruppen?
22 A. [Dr Heinz Peter Longerich]     No, I mean the systematic killing of European Jews.
23 Q. [Mr Justice Gray]     By whatever means?
24 A. [Dr Heinz Peter Longerich]     By whatever means, yes.
25 MR IRVING:     What would you say to the historian who says that
26such speculation is without foundation if one looks at it

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 1objectively?
 2 A. [Dr Heinz Peter Longerich]     I would reject this view.
 3 Q. [Mr Irving]     Yes. Would you say that one's personal political
 4viewpoint come into it, that the extreme right-winger
 5would adopt one view and the cautious German historian,
 6aware of the laws in Germany, would adopt a different
 7view?
 8 A. [Dr Heinz Peter Longerich]     I do not know to which laws are you referring. I publish
 9all my books in Germany. I never felt any restrictions on
10publishing books.
11 Q. [Mr Irving]     I am sure.
12 A. [Dr Heinz Peter Longerich]     As far as the own political viewpoint is concerned, the
13ideology, I think we have to rely on our professional
14work. So we have to just try to exclude this fact as far
15as it is possible. We have some rules how to interpret
16sources, how to deal with material, and I think what we do
17is, generally speaking, reliable. You can rely on that.
18 Q. [Mr Irving]     Would you classify the great body of German historians as
19being diligent and applying themselves to the task?
20 A. [Dr Heinz Peter Longerich]     Yes.
21 Q. [Mr Irving]     Why did they wait for 25 years before looking at Heinrich
22Himmler's handwritten notes of his telephone conversations
23with Hitler?
24 A. [Dr Heinz Peter Longerich]     Which ones are you referring to?
25 Q. [Mr Irving]     The notes in Himmler's handwriting which were in the
26National Archives in America and available on microfilm

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 1since the 1950s and I was first person to use?
 2 A. [Dr Heinz Peter Longerich]     If you give me a specific reference to one quote, and you
 3can go through the works of my colleagues and find out
 4whether they left something out, I think that -- well,
 5stop here.
 6 Q. [Mr Irving]     Yes. Let me put the question this way round. I do not
 7want to go too far down this avenue, but are you aware of
 8any other German historian who, before 1975, made any use
 9of Heinrich Himmler's handwritten notes on his telephone
10conversations or meetings with Hitler?
11 A. [Dr Heinz Peter Longerich]     Before 1975?
12 Q. [Mr Irving]     Approximately, when my book Hitler's War was published.
13 A. [Dr Heinz Peter Longerich]     Actually, I cannot recall that.
14 Q. [Mr Irving]     Yes.
15 A. [Dr Heinz Peter Longerich]     I cannot actually answer this question because I cannot
16recall every word which was published before 1975. But,
17if you are making the point that you were one of the
18first, or probably the first, who was using the documents,
19I agree.
20 Q. [Mr Irving]     That is not the point I am trying to make. I am
21suggesting that, if an historian has not shown proper
22diligence in turning up and using the sources, then how he
23cares to speculate is not worth the paper he writes his
24speculations on.
25 A. [Dr Heinz Peter Longerich]     I am reluctant to make a general statement about the
26historians. If you talk about a certain person, a certain

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 1author, you can discuss his books, whether the sources are
 2available or not, but I am really hesitant to make a
 3general sweeping statement about all my colleagues in
 4Germany.
 5 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     The answer you gave me just now about what
 6the informed speculator would infer was based on all the
 7now available evidence including the Himmler diaries?
 8 A. [Dr Heinz Peter Longerich]     One would try to include these documents into one's own
 9interpretation, yes.
10 MR IRVING:     It is right that we are learning the whole time,
11are we not, that more and more documents become available,
12particularly from the Moscow archives and from your own
13work, for example, on the Martin Bormann papers? We are
14constantly adding to our information, so we are correcting
15misinterpretations, we are correcting even mistranslations
16sometimes, or misreadings?
17 A. [Dr Heinz Peter Longerich]     Yes. It is a research process, that is true.
18 Q. [Mr Irving]     You rightly point out the fact that Muller in January 1942
19said the word liquidierung was not to be used?
20 A. [Dr Heinz Peter Longerich]     Yes.
21 Q. [Mr Irving]     Which is understandable. If you are familiar with my
22Goebbels biography, do you know that it was Dr Goebbels
23who first issued that order?
24 A. [Dr Heinz Peter Longerich]     No.
25 Q. [Mr Irving]     Sometime in November or December 1941, Goebbels issued a
26propaganda directive that the word liquidate is only going

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 1to be used in connection with the Soviet killings?
 2 A. [Dr Heinz Peter Longerich]     Interesting. I am not aware of that, no.
 3 Q. [Mr Irving]     But liquidierung is quite plain. We do not have to argue
 4about the meaning of that word of course.
 5 A. [Dr Heinz Peter Longerich]     No, definitely not.
 6 Q. [Mr Irving]     But on paragraph 2 we now come to Umsiedlung and the
 7various other words with this settlement route.
 8 A. [Dr Heinz Peter Longerich]     Yes.
 9 Q. [Mr Irving]     It is correct to say that these words are used in both
10homicidal and non-homicidal senses throughout the
11documentation. Sometimes Umgesiedlung means they are
12going to be literally, as we saw in one document, in the
13same paragraph concerning Brestitovsk Jews in October
141942, we saw one document where at the beginning of the
15paragraph it referred to, I think, 15,000 Brestitovsk Jews
16had been Umgesiedelt, which is shot, and then at the end
17of the same paragraph it said, "The village of A, half the
18Jews had been shot and the rest had been Umgesiedelt to a
19neighbouring village", and that is a typical case of the
20problem facing us, is it not, with this particular word?
21 A. [Dr Heinz Peter Longerich]     I do not have this document in front of me but in general
22I could agree.
23 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Assume it is true because we have been
24through it more than once.
25 A. [Dr Heinz Peter Longerich]     That makes it so important to look at the context.
26 MR IRVING:     

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