Irving v. Lipstadt

Transcripts

Holocaust Denial on Trial, Trial Transcripts, Day 25: Electronic Edition

Pages 121 - 125 of 212

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    This is one reason of course why I mentioned
 1thousands of people on his conscience ...
 2 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Anyway, back to Dr Longerich.
 3 MR IRVING:     Back to the document, my Lord. The progress we
 4have made is we are now at page 40 or 45 of an 80 page
 5document approximately, so we have managed to chew our way
 6halfway through the document.
 7 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     But the bit that needs more chewing is the
 8latter part rather than the earlier part but there we
 9are. Let us press on.
10 MR IRVING:     Have I heard that before in connection with other
11documents?
12 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Yes.
13 MR IRVING:     Dr Longerich, are you familiar with a Canadian
14historian Michael Marrus?
15 A. [Dr Heinz Peter Longerich]     Yes.
16 Q. [Mr Irving]     He is a reputable historian, is he not?
17 A. [Dr Heinz Peter Longerich]     Absolutely.
18 Q. [Mr Irving]     He has written an article on the history of the Holocaust
19in the Journal of Modern History. I am just going to read
20one and a half sentences to you. He cautions that
21Hitler's rhetoric about the Jews should not be seen as
22what he calls a preview of Auschwitz. He adds "The Nazi
23leader always spoke in the most cataclysmic terms, was
24forever calling for the most drastic action, the most
25ruthless stroke". Would you like to comment on Marrus's
26view therefore that Hitler sometimes was a loud mouth?

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 1 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Have you read Marrus's book?
 2 A. [Dr Heinz Peter Longerich]     This was a quotation one and a half sentences from an
 3article, I cannot recall-----.
 4 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     It is a book, I think.
 5 A. [Dr Heinz Peter Longerich]     He has written a book and articles.
 6 MR IRVING:     It is the Journal of Modern History.
 7 A. [Dr Heinz Peter Longerich]     I cannot recall the content at the moment so I am really
 8hesitating to comment on a very short quote from either a
 9book or a lengthy article with about 25 or so pages.
10 Q. [Mr Irving]     Suppose I said it now. Suppose I said it and not Michael
11Marrus, that the Nazi leader Hitler always spoke in the
12most cataclysmic terms and was forever calling for the
13most drastic action, the most ruthless stroke, would you
14say that I was wrong?
15 A. [Dr Heinz Peter Longerich]     It is a very general statement. I would see more
16evidence. To which quotations are you referring? Can you
17give me some help here?
18 Q. [Mr Irving]     The famous quotation throughout the war where he said
19September 1st 1939, did he not? That one.
20 A. [Dr Heinz Peter Longerich]     If you refer, for instance, to speeches about vernichtung
21ausrotten which he repeated, yes, then it is of course
22true. Of course he was a politician and he made sure that
23he addressed the right audience. On some occasions he
24would just use drastic language, but on other occasions he
25would be very different. It always depends on the
26circumstances, on the audience he was addressing.

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 1 Q. [Mr Irving]     Like most politicians, they say what the audience wants to
 2hear. One of the basic rules of politics, is that right?
 3 A. [Dr Heinz Peter Longerich]     I cannot lecture on the basic rules of politics. I think
 4I should only refer to the Nazi regime.
 5 Q. [Mr Irving]     Just going back briefly to page 40, this general
 6statement, you said in the middle of the third paragraph
 7that, "In the fall of 1941 the Nazi regime began to deport
 8the Jews from central Europe to the Eastern European
 9ghettoes. From statements by leading representatives of
10the regime it becomes clear that at this point the
11intention was to deport the people further to the East
12upon a victory over the Soviet Union rather than
13exterminating them where they were".
14 A. [Dr Heinz Peter Longerich]     The fact that I said to deport them does not of course
15exclude that at the next step they were going to liquidate
16them.
17 Q. [Mr Irving]     Yes. Do you mean, by saying that, that at this time there
18were only orders for the deportation, there were no orders
19for extermination at that time, German government orders?
20 A. [Dr Heinz Peter Longerich]     When you refer to orders, then the orders were clear about
21the deportation. But of course it has to be seen in the
22context of a wider policy, and I think the aim of this
23policy was in the end to bring about a physical end of the
24life of these human beings.
25 Q. [Mr Irving]     You are familiar with the fact that your colleagues, for
26example Professor Browning, suggest that the German

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 1government had decided on extermination by the autumn of
 21941 and that deportation was for the purpose of
 3extermination?
 4 A. [Dr Heinz Peter Longerich]     There is a certain kind of disagreement among historians
 5about this. We are in a research process and there is an
 6agreement. Some historians would suggest summer 1941.
 7Christopher Browning among others would say autumn 1941.
 8I have a different theory about this decision making
 9process. I think some of the decisions were made, but not
10all decisions were made at this stage.
11 Q. [Mr Irving]     Do you reject the judgment in the Eichmann trial in
12Jerusalem which said that the deportation of the central
13European Jews to Riga and Minsk which began around this
14time was specifically for the purpose of extermination?
15 A. [Dr Heinz Peter Longerich]     I think if I should comment on the wording of the Eichmann
16trial, I should have the text of the wording in front of
17me. But, in general, it was not the intention, according
18to my research, to kill these people immediately after
19arrival. There is of course a difference. Of course, in
20the long term the intention was to let these people, let
21us say it this way, perish in these areas, but there was
22no policy, according to my research, at this relatively
23early stage to kill them immediately after arrival. We
24discussed yesterday the case of the six trains and
25Himmler's reactions to that.
26 Q. [Mr Irving]     To pick up something you said a few seconds ago, you said

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 1there is still something of a dispute, quite a genuine
 2dispute, between historians of one school and historians
 3of the other school, and it would be quite improper, would
 4it not, to call the people who disagree with you a
 5Holocaust denier?
 6 A. [Dr Heinz Peter Longerich]     Absolutely. There is a certain kind of disagreement but,
 7on the other hand, we all respect each other's views.
 8I would not call anybody, any of my colleagues like
 9Christopher Browning, a Holocaust denier. It would be
10absurd.
11 Q. [Mr Irving]     You save that phrase for somebody whose views you do not
12respect?
13 A. [Dr Heinz Peter Longerich]     No. That is for somebody who just makes general sweeping
14statements, just not accepting historical facts, not
15basing his expertise on thoroughly reading and analysis of
16documents. One has to make a strong point here. There is
17a strong difference between a discussion among colleagues,
18among historians, and between historians and Holocaust
19deniers, if you want to say so.
20 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Dr Longerich, am I right in understanding you
21to be saying that the disagreement between historians is
22as to when there was an transition from deportation to
23extermination?
24 A. [Dr Heinz Peter Longerich]     Yes.
25 Q. [Mr Justice Gray]     Not whether there was?
26 A. [Dr Heinz Peter Longerich]     No.

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