Irving v. Lipstadt


Holocaust Denial on Trial, Trial Transcripts, Day 29: Electronic Edition

Pages 111 - 115 of 186

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    I will read this: "Following for Mr Sidney Silverman, SS
 1World Jewish Congress, Geneva. Received alarming report
 2stating that in the Fuhrer's headquarters a plan has been
 3discussed and is under consideration, according to which
 4all Jews in countries occupied or controlled by Germany
 5numbering three and a half to four millions should after
 6deportation and concentration in the East, be at one blow
 7exterminated in order to resolve once and for all the
 8Jewish question in Europe. Action is reported to be
 9planned for the autumn. Ways of execution are still being
10discussed, including the use of prussic acid. We transmit
11this information with all the necessary reservation as
12exactitude cannot be confirmed by us", that is Geneva.
13"Our informant is reported to have close connections with
14the highest German authorities, and his reports are
15generally reliable. Please inform and consult New York".
16     That message from Geneva is an authentic
17message, or was an authentic message, was it not,
18Mr Irving?
19 A. [Mr Irving]     Yes. I am very familiar with these documents.
20 Q. [Mr Rampton]     It was not an invention of the British propaganda machine,
21was it?
22 A. [Mr Irving]     No.
23 Q. [Mr Rampton]     So why do you maintain that the use of homicidal gas
24chambers employing prussic acid, hydrogen cyanide,
25Zyklon-B, was an invention of British propaganda?
26 A. [Mr Irving]     Because the following pages make plain the skepticism of

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 1the Foreign Office about this particular report.
 2 Q. [Mr Rampton]     Well, unless you want to go ----
 3 A. [Mr Irving]     Page 5, at the foot of it, says, "I do not think we should
 4be wise to make use of this story in propaganda to Germany
 5without further confirmation".
 6 Q. [Mr Rampton]     And the decision is made not to do so. Do you agree?
 7 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Can we take it in stages? The first thing
 8is, are you accepting you said that this was all an
 9invention of British propaganda?
10 A. [Mr Irving]     My Lord, you will be familiar with the document on which
11I rely, which is a year later than this, signed by
12Cavendish-Bentinck, saying, "we have no evidence
13whatsoever that these things" ----
14 Q. [Mr Justice Gray]     That is why I asked you. I am asking you about whether
15you agree that you have claimed that the lie about the gas
16chambers was an invention, underline "invention"?
17 A. [Mr Irving]     Yes. A propaganda story put out by the British in early
19 Q. [Mr Justice Gray]     Invented by the British? That is the point.
20 A. [Mr Irving]     And invented by the British propaganda agencies.
21 Q. [Mr Justice Gray]     What Mr Rampton is putting to you is that this is a
22message from Geneva that they have had a report.
23 A. [Mr Irving]     Yes. They are two separate ----
24 Q. [Mr Justice Gray]     I am not following at the moment why you say it is an
25invention of British propaganda.
26 A. [Mr Irving]     If we abandon gas chambers for a moment, and say, suppose

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 1a message came from Geneva, saying children were having
 2their hands hacked off, on the face of it an implausible
 3story, which the Foreign Office said, "We find this
 4difficult to believe", as it says later in this document,
 5"We find no confirmatory evidence" and so on, and then
 6later on the propaganda agencies send out reports by the
 7propaganda channels, the BBC, Voice America and the rest
 8of it, saying, "We have reliable stories that the Germans
 9are cutting off children's hands", that would be an
10invention, would it not?
11 MR RAMPTON:     Mr Irving, may we stick with history, rather than
12fantasy? Here we have a report from Geneva, from
13Mr Riegner, who is not an agent of the British propaganda
14machine, he is an element in the World Jewish Congress,
15that, as, indeed you might say, prophetically turned out
16to be the case, there was a plan reported to him from the
17Fuhrer's headquarters to exterminate the whole of the Jews
18in Europe, or most of them, at one blow by the use,
19amongst others perhaps, of hydrogen cyanide. Now, how can
20it be that that story is, to use your words, an invention
21of British propaganda?
22 A. [Mr Irving]     Which story?
23 Q. [Mr Rampton]     This story that you see reported on the page in front of
25 A. [Mr Irving]     That is two separate things. Riegner is sending a message
26to England to be passed on to Sidney Silverman, reporting

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 1a story which the Foreign Office clearly, from the
 2handwritten minutes, do not consider to be part of what is
 3actually happening. They say there is no doubt that large
 4numbers of Jews are dying. They even used the word
 5I think ----
 6 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     They may not believe it, but they did not
 7invent it. That is the point that I was asking about and
 8I think Mr Rampton is asking about.
 9 A. [Mr Irving]     I hesitate to use the words "hair splitting", my Lord, but
10I think it is quite plain that if in August 1943
11Cavendish-Bentinck, the head of the British Intelligence
12Service, says, "We have no evidence that these gas
13chambers exist", and yet by that time for 12 months
14already the British propaganda agencies have been pumping
15out the message, then that is an invention, and there is
16no other way of interpreting that.
17 MR RAMPTON:     Mr Irving, the story originated not with British
18propaganda. It originated with a personal organization in
19Geneva, a remarkably accurate story, as it happens. If
20you turn over to page 4, you see the comment at the time
21in August 1942: "Mr Silverman having asked if he could
22see somebody about the cable, Sir Beaugrave Beecham had a
23talk with him this morning, first, Mr Silverman said he
24would let us have some particulars about Mr Riegner -- I
25think it is misspelt -- "whom he regards as entirely
26trustworthy. Secondly, Mr Silverman stated that he had

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 1received reports of transportation of Jews from occupied
 2territories in Germany towards the East, which might be a
 3confirmation of the alleged plan".
 4     Then we see in the following pages -- turn to
 5page 5, for example. I do not know whose notes these are,
 6probably one of the Allens, but I am not sure about that.
 7Yes, it is David Allen. In the middle of the next page 5
 8he is talking about atrocious conditions in the East, and
 9he says: "Such stories do provide a basis for Mr Riegner's
10report, but they do not of course amount to extermination
11at one blow. The German policy seems to be rather to
12eliminate useless mouths, but to use able-bodied Jews as
13slave labour."
14     In the light of all of that, the Brits, bless
15their little cotton socks, I might say if I were Jewish,
16decide not to make use of this information. Is that not
17right? They put the kaibosh on it, do they not?
18 A. [Mr Irving]     No. You are overlooking one important detail, the
19chronology. Do you remember that I put to one of the
20witnesses, I forget which one it was, the diary evidence
21and other evidence of the propaganda broadcasts, some of
22which were in June 1942, about the use of poison gas, and
23some of which were earlier that year, about the
24deportation of the Dutch Jews to Mauthausen, using poison
25gas? So what is then reported back to us in August 1942
26is interesting, but no more.

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