Irving v. Lipstadt


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

Pages 156 - 160 of 212

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 1 A. [Dr Heinz Peter Longerich]     So it is not so easy, you do not have the daily or the
 2weekly records of the conversations between Himmler and
 3Hitler about the Holocaust. We have to use these bits and
 4pieces and put it together and to come to our
 6 Q. [Mr Irving]     Very interesting.
 7 A. [Dr Heinz Peter Longerich]     Of course, I made here, of course, these kind of
 8reservations when I am not absolutely sure that they
 9decided this day, it is an assumption based on documentary
10evidence that they probably at this day as I think made
11the decision to build an extermination camp for the
12district of Lublin which then existed, and there were
13people killed in this extermination camp which I think is
14also part of the evidence.
15 Q. [Mr Irving]     Now just a minor diversion here. Am I right in saying it
16is a perfectly reasonable process as historian or writer
17you get fragmentary documents, sometimes only half a line,
18sometimes a scrap of handwriting. You add your own
19knowledge, you add your experience, the 30 years you have
20worked in the archives, your general body of information,
21and on the basis of that you try to represent, in as
22accurate and genuine a form as possible, what, on the
23balance of probabilities, those fragments of information
25 A. [Dr Heinz Peter Longerich]     And you have to include, of course, every piece you find.
26You cannot neglect anything.

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 1 Q. [Mr Irving]     Yes, but here you had very little that you could have
 2neglected, because your result said it is very
 3fragmentary, is it not?
 4 A. [Dr Heinz Peter Longerich]     Sometimes these things are very fragmentary.
 5 Q. [Mr Irving]     What I just described is the normal process of writing
 6history on the basis of very scant records?
 7 A. [Dr Heinz Peter Longerich]     If the record is fragmented, yes.
 8 Q. [Mr Irving]     Are you familiar with the writings of Jan Karski? I will
 9ask you about one particular one, page 56, paragraph 2.7.
10Are you aware of the first report that a Polish emissary
11called Jan Karski wrote? He gave it to the Polish
12government in exile early 1940, in which he described a
13visit in December 1939 to a transit camp for Jews at
15 A. [Dr Heinz Peter Longerich]     Yes. A camp existed at Belzec before this. There was a
16large slave labour camp in Belzec before this time.
17Belzec was just on the demarcation line between the Soviet
18and the German sphere of influence in Poland. They
19employed Jewish slave labour in 1939 and 1940 to build
20what they called the Buchgraben, the fortification at the
21river Buch. So there was a camp there and the living
22conditions in the camp were quite horrid.
23 Q. [Mr Irving]     Jan Karski describes this ----
24 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Mr Irving, before you go on about Mr Karski,
25I had thought you accepted that at Belzec there were many
26thousands, tens if not hundreds of thousands, of Jews

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 1killed by gassing. What is the point of putting that
 2Mr Karski took the view it was a transit camp?
 3 MR IRVING:     I am looking at the quality of the sources.
 4I appreciate this point. We will just concentrate on the
 5figures then. Is your primary source on Belzec Michael
 6Tregenza article published in the Wiener Library bulletin?
 7 A. [Dr Heinz Peter Longerich]     No, my primary source is the Belzec verdict in German the
 8court. Of course I am familiar with the article.
 9 Q. [Mr Irving]     It is in your footnote 259.
10 A. [Dr Heinz Peter Longerich]     Yes, it refers to it but it refers first of all to
11evidence from German court material.
12 Q. [Mr Irving]     So you accepted in your footnote 259 that Tregenza is
14 A. [Dr Heinz Peter Longerich]     No, I just quoted him here. The footnote is about an
15attempt to reconstruct the history of the setting up of
16Belzec. So I quoted here different statements from
17actually people who participated, worked, who actually
18built this up, and then I said in the footnote Tregenza as
19well confirmed the statement. He accepted the statement
20as a kind of additional source, but I am primarily relying
21on the Polish workers who built there, and who gave us
22evidence about the history of the camp itself.
23 Q. [Mr Irving]     Have you disregarded anything that Tregenza wrote in his
25 A. [Dr Heinz Peter Longerich]     I only referred, I think, to his article here. This does
26not mean I accepted every line that he has written about

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 1the camp.
 2 Q. [Mr Irving]     So, if he had written a number of totally absurd
 3statements that would have implied to you that he had
 4never been anywhere near the place?
 5 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     There is no doubt that Belzec was
 6constructed, is there?
 7 MR IRVING:     Unfortunately, he is the source for one million
 8being killed apparently?
 9 A. [Dr Heinz Peter Longerich]     No, not in my report.
10 Q. [Mr Irving]     Do you endorse Tregenza's claim that more than a million
11Jews were killed at Belzec?
12 A. [Dr Heinz Peter Longerich]     We do not know the exact number. I think best estimations
13were given in the German Belzec trial. They said between
14500 and 600,000 people. So I would assume that the number
15one million could be seen as exaggerated. I am only
16quoting this article one time and, if he made an absurd
17statement there, I would not quote the article of course.
18 Q. [Mr Irving]     If he made a dozen absurd statements, would you have
19quoted it?
20 A. [Dr Heinz Peter Longerich]     Please criticise me if I quote him. I think I only quoted
21him one once and I only quoted that he actually confirms
22these statements of documents which I found elsewhere.
23 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     I am sorry to keep interrupting but, if I do
24not understand, I may as well say so. You quote whatever
25he is called, Tregenza, simply for the date when the
26construction of Belzec started. You do not rely on him,

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 1as I understand it, am I right, Dr Longerich, for the
 2number killed there?
 3 A. [Dr Heinz Peter Longerich]     No, exactly.
 4 Q. [Mr Justice Gray]     You rely on the German court documents for that and they
 5give a different figure. So why are we spending a long
 6time on whether he is a reliable witness?
 7 MR IRVING:     We are going to spend a short time. I could have
 8spent much longer describing all the absurd statements
 9which make it quite plain that Tregenza was never anywhere
10near the place and that any reasonable historian, reading
11Tregenza's report, would have disqualified that source
12completely. Paragraph 2.8, page 57, your only source for
13the claim that Globocnik had an assignment to kill the
14Jews of the Lublin and Galicia districts is a secondary
15work again, Pohl's Lublin?
16 A. [Dr Heinz Peter Longerich]     I am stating here that Globocnik had not yet received the
17order to prepare for the killing of all Jews in the
18Generalgouvernement, so this is the key sentence here.
19I came to the conclusion actually by looking at the
20history of Belzec because Belzec was obviously too small,
21put it this way, to kill all the Jews of the
22Generalgouvernement. So I think in my attempt to
23reconstruct events, Belzec was first of all designed to
24kill the Jews non-fit for work in the district of Lublin,
25and in the district of Galicia, but not the killing centre
26for the whole Generalgouvernement. I came to this

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