Irving v. Lipstadt

Transcripts

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

Pages 46 - 50 of 212

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 1 Q. [Mr Irving]     And the kommandant of the infamous camp at Pleskau which
 2figured in the film Schindler's List, was he also
 3penalised, punished, by the SS for committing atrocities?
 4 A. [Dr Heinz Peter Longerich]     I do not recall the details.
 5 Q. [Mr Irving]     Did Conrad Morgan report back to Berlin that large numbers
 6of illegal killings had been carried out by these
 7Kommandants?
 8 A. [Dr Heinz Peter Longerich]     Yes, I remember that.
 9 Q. [Mr Irving]     Is this not an extraordinary business, in the light of the
10whole story of the Holocaust now, that the SS was
11conducting its own internal enquiries within its own
12jurisdiction?
13 A. [Dr Heinz Peter Longerich]     Well, Himmler himself refers to this incident in his
14speech in Posnan. He said actually, "We are proud that we
15carried out this operation in a proper way, except some
16exceptions", and he is clearly referring to these people.
17So they had an idea that one had to kill people properly,
18and what, you know, they did not hang Koch because he
19killed prisoners in the camp. They were extreme, the
20conditions in the camp were extremely, for instance, the
21amount of looting and the amount of actually -- what is
22the expression in German? [German]
23 MR IRVING:     Embezzling, corruption?
24 A. [Dr Heinz Peter Longerich]     Corruption. "Corruption" is the key word here. These
25things played a role in the particular circumstance in
26these camps, I mean, it is clearly that the SS did not

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 1prosecute Koch because he was killing prisoners. This was
 2not, I mean, we have extraordinary, I mean, kommandants of
 3concentration camps like, for instance, Ikant(?),
 4extremely cruel and sadistic persons, but they were not
 5prosecuted because they were killing prisoners in the
 6camp.
 7 Q. [Mr Irving]     Was Rudolf Hoess, the Kommandant of Auschwitz, under
 8investigation by the Conrad Morgan also?
 9 A. [Dr Heinz Peter Longerich]     I do not recall this now.
10 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Well, even if he was, did anything happen to
11him as a result of Morgan's investigation?
12 MR IRVING:     My Lord, the witness said he does not know.
13 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     I was just wondering what the point of the
14question was.
15 MR IRVING:     I know, but, I mean, I cannot really give evidence
16on that.
17 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Well, again I am not really sure you are
18putting your case. Are you suggesting, Mr Irving, and
19please say so if you are ----
20 MR IRVING:     This was going to be the next question.
21 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     --- please listen to the question. That the
22SS conducted a serious investigation and anyone who was
23found to have illegitimately killed any inmate in any
24concentration camp was punished by the SS. Is that the
25suggestion?
26 MR IRVING:     A number of the Kommandants were prosecuted and

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 1severely punished for carrying out wild killings.
 2 A. [Dr Heinz Peter Longerich]     May I draw the attention to this document, to the
 3statistics. We have here the initials of Heinrich
 4Himmler, and statistics say that we have a death rate in
 5the camp in the second half of 1942 of 8.5 per cent in
 6July, 10 per cent in August, more than 10 per cent in
 7September. So Himmler was prepared to accept this high
 8death rates with his own initials here. So he knew about
 9it and he then, well, tried in a way to keep the death
10rate down to a certain extent. But, as we said, as we
11heard, you know, they accepted at a success, you know,
12actually to keep the monthly rate down from 10 to 8 per
13cent. So this is a kind of...
14 MR IRVING:     Dr Longerich, you are not suggesting that these are
15homicidal killings, are you? These statistics here are
16non-homicidal.
17 A. [Dr Heinz Peter Longerich]     I think killings are always -- I mean, I think a killing
18is a killing.
19 Q. [Mr Irving]     These are people who died from the reasons stated in the
20covering letter, bad conditions?
21 A. [Dr Heinz Peter Longerich]     But there is something like a system of concentration camp
22invented by the Nazis in the 1930s and ----
23 Q. [Mr Irving]     Now, this is the word that I was going to pick on
24before ----
25 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     I think you interrupted the witness. Just
26finish your answer.

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 1 A. [Dr Heinz Peter Longerich]     Here, this system was more and more, well, they worked on
 2this system and elaborated the system. They introduced
 3this idea of extermination through work at the beginning
 4of 1942. So it was actually -- the purpose of the
 5concentration camp was not to keep prisoners alive and to,
 6like -- the purpose of the concentration camp here was,
 7clearly, to put people to death and to use their ability
 8to work for a certain period of time. This is the idea
 9behind this system. It was not, you cannot compare it
10with a prison or anything in a civilized country.
11 MR IRVING:     Now, I want to ask two questions, one of which
12I was about to ask when his Lordship ----
13 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Asked you not to interrupt the witness.
14 MR IRVING:     No, I am one stage before that actually.
15 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Yes, anyway, ask it now.
16 MR IRVING:     The first question -- the second question is going
17to be about your system. The first question -- oh, dear!
18Winston Churchill once said, "Never say there are three
19important things". I was going to ask about system. You
20have used the word "system". Does not what I said about
21Conrad Morgan indicate that the whole system was
22ramshackle from start to finish? If I can ask you to
23recall that yesterday we saw that Jackeln had obviously
24overstepped the guidelines and he is called back to
25headquarters, but he does get some mild reprimand. He is
26sent back and nothing else happens. Is this not an

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 1indication of a totally ramshackle system with lack of any
 2real discipline?
 3 A. [Dr Heinz Peter Longerich]     Well, I do not feel very happy in this situation. I think
 4if you want to discuss seriously, let us say, the limits
 5of the system that Conrad Morgan saw, then we have to
 6discuss the document, we have to read, for instance, the
 7evidence about, you know, in Koch's case and so on. But
 8I am not really prepared to make these general statements
 9about single incidents. You see, I do not have the
10evidence in front of me. I am not prepared to do it.
11There was no indication that I ----
12 Q. [Mr Irving]     You are quite right. I am not going to ask you about
13things you do not know about because that would not help
14the court.
15 A. [Dr Heinz Peter Longerich]     Yes, but the system, the SS, as you are trying to say
16here, the idea that the SS had their own, had their own
17disciplinary measures, and they, of course, punished at
18the concentration camps, this has to be seen in a context,
19and I am very unhappy about the idea that I should comment
20on that without actually having a chance to look at the
21wordings and so on.
22 Q. [Mr Irving]     Very well. Let me ask you about this phrase you have used
23twice this morning now, "vernichtung durch
24Arbeit", destruction by labour?
25 A. [Dr Heinz Peter Longerich]     Yes.
26 Q. [Mr Irving]     

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