Irving v. Lipstadt

Transcripts

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

Pages 71 - 75 of 222

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    I submit that, in assessing whether I am an
 1after the year when the Defendants (wrongly) assert that
 2I "flipped over" to become what they call a Holocaust
 3denier.
 4     I have always differed from my colleagues in my
 5profession in insisting on using original documents,
 6including where possible the authors' drafts of books or
 7memoirs rather than the heavily edited West German
 8editions, later rewritings, or posthumous adaptations. I
 9also make use of many more unpublished original documents
10than my historian colleagues, in my belief. In the 1960s
11and 1970s, I must add, of course, that was much more
12difficult than it is today.
13     I differ too from others, in making copies- and
14I am going to emphasise this quite a lot- of the original
15documents which I unearth freely available to others
16as soon as my own works are complete, and in fact often
17before that time, as the panne, the accident, the mishap
18which Professor Harold Deutsch's book showed. Your
19Lordship will remember that Harold Deutsch got there first
20and used it before me, and I was accused of plageurising
21his book, because I gave him the materials before I used
22them. As page 14 of Hitler's War shows, I donate these
23records regularly to publicly accessible archives and
24I also make them available on microfilm. There are nearly
25200 such microfilms in my records, nearly half a million
26pages. I also devote time to corresponding with and

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 1assisting other historians and researchers. If,
 2therefore -- this is the important point -- some of my
 3interpretations are controversial, I also do all that is
 4possible to let other people judge for themselves. This
 5speaks strongly against the accusation, levelled against
 6me again today by Mr Rampton, that I distort, manipulate
 7and falsify history.
 8     On Hitler and the Holocaust I wrote these words,
 9and this is in the 1991 edition, after the time when
10I supposedly became a denier obsessed with Hitler and with
11exonerating him.
12     Page 2: My conclusions ... startled even me.
13Hitler was a far less omnipotent Fuhrer than had been
14believed, his methods and tactics were profoundly
15opportunistic.
16     Page 4: ... the more hermetically Hitler locked
17himself away behind the barbed wire and mine fields of his
18remote military headquarters, the more his Germany became
19a Fuhrer Staat without a Fuhrer. Domestic policy was
20controlled by whoever was most powerful in each sector -
21by Goring, Lammers, Bormann, Himmler.
22     Page 17: If this biography were simply a
23history of the rise and fall of Hitler's Reich, it would
24be legitimate to conclude "Hitler killed the Jews". He
25had after all created the atmosphere of hatred with his
26speeches in the 1930s; he and Himmler had created the SS;

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 1his speeches, though never explicit, left the clear
 2impression that "liquidate" what was he meant.
 3     At pages 17 to 18: For a full length war
 4biography, I wrote, I felt that a more analytical approach
 5to the key questions of initiative, complicity and
 6execution would be necessary. Remarkably, I found that
 7Hitler's own role in the "Final Solution", whatever that
 8was, had never been examined.
 9     At page 38: Every document actually linking
10Hitler with the treatment of the Jews invariably takes the
11form of an embargo, and I maintain that position, despite
12everything we have heard for the last two months.
13     This is the famous "chain of documents", of
14course, notwithstanding everything we have heard in court,
15I still adhere to this position.
16     At page 19 it is plausible to impute to him, to
17Hitler, that not uncommon characteristic of heads of
18state, a conscious desire "not to know", what the
19Americans now call, I believe, plausible deniability. But
20the proof of this of course is beyond the powers of a
21historian.
22     At page 21 I write: ... dictatorships are
23fundamentally weak ... I concluded, the burden of guilt
24for the bloody and mindless massacres of the Jews rests on
25a large number of Germans (and non-Germans), many of them
26alive today and not just on one "mad dictator", whose

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 1order had to be obeyed without question.
 2     The similarity with the thesis propagated by
 3Dr Daniel Goldhagen of the University of Harvard in his
 4worldwide best seller book, "Hitler's Willing
 5Executioners", will surely strike everybody in this
 6court. I am saying the burden falls on a large number of
 7Germans and not just on that one madman's. Note the word
 8"just". I do not say "not on the madman", I say not just
 9on him.
10     Allow me to rub this point in: What I actually
11wrote and printed and published in my flagship study
12Hitler's War was that Hitler was clearly responsible for
13the Holocaust both by virtue of being head of state and by
14having done so much by his speeches and organisation to
15start it off.
16     Where I differed from many historians was in
17denying that there was any documentary proof of detailed
18direction and initiation of the mass murders by Hitler,
19and I am glad to say two months in that respect has not
20brought us any closer. The view was considered to be
21heretical at the time. But this lack of wartime
22documentary evidence for Hitler's involvement is now
23widely accepted. Indeed, on the narrower matter of the
24lack of wartime documentary evidence on the gas chambers,
25your Lordship was already good enough to grant as follows
26in an exchange between your Lordship and myself and

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 1Professor Evans.
 2     I said: If his Lordship is led to believe by a
 3careless statement of the witnesses that there is a vast
 4body of wartime documents, namely about gas chambers, this
 5would be unfair, would it not, because you, Professor
 6Evans, are not referring to wartime documents, you are
 7referring to postwar documents?
 8     Professor Evans at this point replies: I am
 9referring to all kinds of documents.
10     I insist, this is me: You are not referring to
11wartime documents?
12     Evans says: I am referring to documents
13including wartime documents, the totality of the written
14evidence for the Holocaust which you deny.
15     Irving then says: Are you saying there is a
16vast quantity of wartime documents?
17     You see, I am a bit persistent on this matter.
18     Evans says: What I am saying is that there is a
19vast quantity of documents and material for all aspects of
20the Holocaust.
21     At this point your Lordship was good enough to
22say: I expect you would accept, Professor Evans, just to
23move on, the number of overtly incriminating documents,
24wartime documents, as regarding gas chambers is actually
25pretty few and far between?
26     That is how it was left.

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