Irving v. Lipstadt

Transcripts

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

Pages 76 - 80 of 222

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 1     To summarise, in Hitler's War I differed from
 2the other historians in suggesting that the actual mass
 3murders were not all or mainly initiated by Hitler.
 4I pointed out that my sources were consistent with another
 5explanation: A conscious desire "not to know" (a kind of
 6Richard Nixon kind of complex) to which I referred, I
 7believe, on three occasions during the hearings here.
 8     I submit that I have not distorted, manipulated
 9and falsified. I have put all the cards on table; I made
10the documents available to all comers, on microfilm and in
11the archives, and I have pointed to various possible
12explanations.
13     I further submit that, while certainly "selling"
14my views, I have been much less manipulated that those
15historians, including some whom you heard in this court,
16my Lord, whose argument has an important part been simply
17this -- that I ought not to be heard, because my views are
18too outlandish or extreme. Disgracefully, these scholars
19cleared from the sidelines as I have outlawed, arrested
20harassed, and all but "vernichtet" destroyed as a
21professional historian; and they have put pressure on
22British publishers to destroy my works. This is a
23reference to MacMillan Limited, to which we will come
24later.
25     To assist your Lordship in deciding how
26outlandish and extreme these views of mine are, I allow

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 1myself to quote from AJP Taylor's The War Lords, published
 2by Penguin -- the First Defendants in this action -- in
 3London in 1978. Of Adolf Hitler Taylor wrote.
 4
 5     "... it was at this time that he became really a recluse, settling down in an
 6     underground bunker, running the war from the front. (at pages 55-57).
 7
 8     Precisely same kind of image I generated from my
 9own sources.
10
11     "He was a solitary man, though he sometimes accepted, of course, advice from
12     others, sometimes decisions [my emphasis]. [he accepted decisions from others] It is,
13     I think, true, for instance, that the terrible massacre of the Jews".
14
15     This is AJP Taylor who "was inspired more by
16Himmler than by Hitler, though Hitler took it up". (At
17pages 68-70).
18     These quotations are from the foreword of AJP
19Taylor's own flagship work, The Origins of the Second
20World War, published in 1963:
21
22     "Little can be discovered so long as we go on attributing everything that happened
23     to Hitler. He supplied a powerful dynamic element, but it was fuel to an existing
24     machine... [later on he writes] He have counted for nothing without the support and
25     co-operation of the German people. It seems to be believed nowadays that Hitler did
26     everything himself, even driving the trains and filling the gas chambers unaided. This

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 1     was not so. Hitler was a sounding-board for the German nation. Thousands. Many hundred
 2     thousand, Germans carried out his evil orders without qualm or question."
 3
 4     What I wrote, with less felicity of style than
 5Professor Taylor, was a reasonable interpretation of the
 6information available to me at the time. I might add that
 7my words are often accepted, quoted, and echoed by other
 8historians far more eminent than me. (including the
 9government's Official Historians like Professor Frank
10Hinsley, in his volumes on British intelligence) who
11specifically footnotes and references my works. Some may
12regard my interpretations as not the most probable. But
13they are never perverse. For the Defendants to describe me
14as one who manipulates, distorts, and falsifies it would
15be necessary for them to satisfy your Lordship that
16I wilfully adopted perverse and ridiculous
17interpretations. But I have not and they have not
18satisfied your Lordship either, I submit.
19     The Defendants' historiographical criticisms
20     I now turn to some of the particular matters
21which exercised your Lordship, in the list of points at
22issue.
23     As a preamble I would say that I trust your
24Lordship will be bear in mind that the task facing an
25historian of my type -- what I refer to as a "shirtsleeve
26historian", a shirtsleeve historian working in the field,

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 1from original records -- is very different from the task
 2facing the scholar or academic who sits in a book-lined
 3study, plucking handy works of reference from his shelves,
 4printed in large type, translated into English, provided
 5with easy indices and often with nice illustrations too.
 6     Your Lordship will recall that while researching
 7the Goebbels Diaries in Moscow for the first week in June
 81992 I had to read those wartime Nazi glass microfiches
 9plates through a magnifier the size of a nailclipper, with
10a lens smaller than a pea. The Court will appreciate that
11reading even post-war microfilm of often poorly reproduced
12original documents on a mechanical reader is tedious, time
13consuming, and an unrewarding business. Your Lordship
14will be familiar with the reason why I saying this. There
15were certain matters which we dealt with. Notes have to be
16taken in handwriting when are you sitting at a reader.
17There are no "pages" to be xeroxed. In the 1960s xerox
18copies were nothing like as good as they are now, as your
19Lordship will have noticed from the blue-bound volumes
20brought in here from my own document archives. Mistakes
21undoubtedly occur: the mis-transcription of difficult
22German words pencilled in Gothic or Sutterlin-style
23handwriting, a script which most modern German scholars
24find unreadable anyway; mistakes of copying are made;
25mistakes of omission (i.e. a passage is not transcribed
26when you are sitting at the screen because at the time it

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 1appears of no moment). These are innocent mistakes, and
 2with a book the size of Hitler's War which currently runs
 3to 393,000 words, they are not surprising.
 4     Your Lordship may recall another exchange I had
 5with Professor Evans: may I emphasise here that there is
 6no personal animus from me towards Professor Evans at all.
 7I thought he gave his evidence admirably.
 8     IRVING: Professor Evans, when your researchers
 9were researching in my files at the Institute of History
10in Munich, did they come across a file there which was
11about 1,000 pages long, consisting of the original
12annotated footnotes of Hitler's War which were referenced
13by a number to a every single sentence in that book?
14     ANSWER: No.
15     IRVING: It was not part of the original corpus,
16it was part of the original manuscript, but it was chopped
17out because of the length.
18     EVANS: No, we did not see that.
19     IRVING: Have you seen isolated pages of that in
20my diary (sic) in so far as it relates to episodes which
21were of interest, like the Reichskristallnacht?
22     EVANS: No, I do not to be honest, recall, but
23that does not mean to say that we have not seen them.
24     IRVING: You say my footnotes are opaque
25because they do not always give the page reference. Do you
26agree that, on a page which we are going to come across in

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