Irving v. Lipstadt

Transcripts

Holocaust Denial on Trial, Trial Transcripts, Day 32: Electronic Edition

Pages 106 - 110 of 222

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    Kurt Aumeier dossier: Kurt Aumeier was like
 1receiving from Van Pelt a reply, I published that letter
 2in full in a 1997 newsletter, and I posted it on my
 3website. Numerous correspondents utilized an e-mail link
 4to Professor Van Pelt on that page, and the Defendants'
 5solicitors eventually asked me to "deactivate" the link.
 6My long letter to him in May 1997 had been mailed to
 7Professor Van Pelt from Chicago with proper postage,
 8addressed to his correct postal address at the university,
 9and it was never returned to me. Professor Van Pelt
10claimed here not to have received it, and he suggested in
11his report that I told people about it only when the
12Defendants' legal team of researchers found the file in
13the PRO quite recently. This is absurd. They found the
14Aumeier file not least because it was included in my
15Discovery (both in the general Judenfrage archive box, and
16as item No. 2066). I did not know until two years later
17that he was to be a witness in this case.
18     As for the Aumeier dossier's content, his
19manuscripts suggest, or confirm, the extent, or the
20existence rather, of limited-scale gassings at Auschwitz.
21The figures are unreliable, and many of the other details
22conflict with those provided by the equally flawed
23writings of the Auschwitz commandant Rudolf Heoss. This
24is, in my submission, the most likely reason why the
25Defendants have not relied heavily on either the source
26nature of the defence, because I would have cross-examined

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 1them on the flaws, my Lord, nor, for that matter, have
 2they made any use of the loudly trumpeted Eichmann memoirs
 3prised out of the Israeli Government archives. I submit
 4that the reason that they have not made any use of it is
 5because in the entire document, which of course only
 6recently came into our hands, although this former
 7SS-Obersturmbannfuhrer is writing with brutal frankness,
 8he describes the most appalling spectacles that he has
 9seen, including one instance where a child's brains that
10have been blown out by a bullet are splattered on his
11coat, he does not refer even once to being shown a gas
12chamber during the official guided tours as
13executioner-in-chief, so to speak, of the Auschwitz and
14Birkenau camps. So the Eichmann's memoirs are interesting
15not so much for what they do say as to what is not in
16them.
17     I heard what Professor Evans and learned counsel
18had to state about General Kurt Daluege, the chief of
19police in Germany, as a source for the criminal statistics
20of 1932. The Defendants have been unable to locate the
21figures that I quoted in the Daluege lecture which I used
22as one source. Nor did they appear to notice that it was
23in fact a lecture to the recently formed Interpol.
24Professor Evans not to have looked in the other three
25sources listed for that one sentence in my book, which
26included two reputable works of history, and so his

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 1strictures are really quite meaningless. For reasons
 2known to the court, since 1993 I have no longer had access
 3to the German Institute from which those sources are
 4housed. I do not invent statistics, and it is clear by
 5inference at least that the data which I gave came from
 6one of the other three sources and not from the lecture.
 7     That is the best that I can say on that matter.
 8     I now come to the thorny matter of Hitler's
 9knowledge of the Final Solution. This became the most
10controversial issue, both in this courtroom and stretching
11far back into my writing career, and I wish, just because
12of this, that I picked upon a different biographical
13subject. It certainly was not of my choice that this
14controversy arose. Your Lordship will remember that, when
15I wrote my first book, the Air Ministry advised me in
16future to write about the Zulu wars, because of the
17controversies that would arise.
18     Because of the inescapable conclusion that
19Hitler had probably not ordered, or been aware of until
20relatively late, of the ultimate fate of the European
21Jews, the ones who had been deported, I forfeited, as my
22US agent predicted, in that book Hitler's War, perhaps
23half a million dollars, or more, of lucrative sublicencing
24deals with major corporations, the Reader's Digest,
25paperback houses, reprints, the Sunday Times in this
26country and so on.

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 1     After I completed -- and this is important --
 2a first draft of that book in about 1969 or 1970,
 3I realized that there was this totally inexplicable and
 4unexpected gap in the archives, namely no evidence showing
 5Hitler's personal involvement. I hired a trusted friend,
 6a historian, well known to this court, Dr Elke Frohlich of
 7the Institute of History in Munich, to go through all the
 8then available German archives again, with the specific
 9task of looking for documents linking Hitler with the
10Final Solution. She did a conscientious and excellent
11job, working for me in the files of the Nuremberg State
12Archives, the Institut fur Zeitgeschichte, the Berlin
13Document Centre, the Bundesarchives and the military
14archives in Freiburg - in this connection I should have
15added, of course. Her resulting research materials, my
16correspondence with her, the index cards and photocopies,
17form a part of my Discovery in this action. It was she,
18for example, who produced for me the then unpublished
19diary entry of the Governor-General Hans Frank, the one
20that I just dealt with, it was actually a meeting
21transcript of December 13th, 1941. It was currently being
22edited by her colleagues at the Institute and she provided
23me with a privileged copy of that.
24     I would incidentally, my Lord, rely on this
25episode, namely hiring a historian to prove that I had got
26it wrong at my own expense as one further instance of my

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 1integrity as an independent historian. Inherently
 2dissatisfied with the results of my own research, I hired
 3and paid out of my own pocket for this second opinion,
 4acting as an avocatus diaboli, to trawl once more, and
 5with a net of finer mesh, across the same fishing grounds
 6for documents that might in fact destroy me, destroy my
 7then still tentative hypothesis. In a similar step, which
 8I think I took to appease the now worried American
 9publishers, I wrote in December 1975 to four or five of
10the major international Jewish historical research
11institutions -- I remember writing to the Institute in
12New York, and to the Wiener library in this country and to
13the equivalent bodies -- appealing for "evidence proving
14Hitler's guilt in the extermination of Jews". That is
15from the actual letter I sent. All of these enquiries by
16me drew a blank, except for one. As I summarised in a
17letter to the Sunday Telegraph on June 19th 1977, "all
18offered their apologies except Professor Raul Hilberg, who
19is the author of the standard history on the subject, who
20honourably conceded that he too has come to the view that
21Hitler may not have known". This actual letter is my
22discovery and was available to the Defendants. This
23letter to me was December 12th, 1975.
24     The other institutions stated that that too had
25no such evidence, or that did not reply.
26     So I did what I could to establish the truth of

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