Irving v. Lipstadt


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

Pages 81 - 85 of 222

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    IRVING: You say my footnotes are opaque
 1the course of this morning, of your own expert report, you
 2put a footnote in just saying "see Van Pelt's report", and
 3that expert report is 769 pages long, is it not?
 4     So from this exchange it is plain that I was not
 5just a conjurer producing quotations in my books,
 6producing quotations and documents out of a hat; I made my
 7sources and references available in their totality to
 8historians, even when they were not printed in the book.
 9     The allegation that the mistakes are
10deliberate -- that they are manipulations, or
11distortions -- is a foul one to make, and easily disposed
12of by general considerations, which I ask your Lordship to
13pay particular attention to. If I intended deliberately
14to mistranscribe a handwritten word or text on which the
15defence places such reliance, I would hardly on the
16deliberate nature of the mistranscription, I would hardly
17have furnished copies of the original text to my critics,
18or published the text of the handwritten document as a
19facsimile in the same work (for example, the famous
20November 30th 1941 note, which is illustrated as a
21facsimile in all editions of Hitler's War); nor would
22I have placed the entire collection of such documents
23without restriction in archives commonly frequented by my
25     If I intended to mistranslate a document, would
26I have encouraged the publication of the resulting book,

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 1with the correct original quotation in the German
 2language, where my perversion of the text would easily
 3have been discovered? Yet like all my other works both,
 4Hitler and Goebbels have appeared in German language
 5editions with a full and correct transcription of the
 6controversial texts. Is that the action of a deliberate
 8     As for the general allegation that the errors of
 9exaggeration or distortions that were made were "all" of a
10common alignment, designed to exonerate or exculpate Adolf
11Hitler, the test which I submit your Lordship must apply
12should surely be this: if the sentence that is complained
13of be removed from the surrounding paragraph or text (and
14in each book there are only one or two such sentences of
15which this wounding claim is made) does this in any way
16alter the book's general thrust, or the weight of the
17argument that is made?
18     An example of this test is the wrong weight
19which I gave to the contents of the 1.20 am telegram
20issued by SS-Gruppenfuhrer Reinhard Heydrich on
21Kristallnacht. I think Mr Rampton referred to that this
22morning. It is a famous telegram, printed in the Nuremberg
23volumes, five pages long or so. Would such an error have
24been committed wilfully by me, given the risk that it
25would inevitably be exposed? Is it not far more likely on
26the balance of probabilities that in the process of

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 1writing and rewriting, and of cutting and of cutting and
 2condensing, the Goebbels manuscript, the author, that is
 3me, gradually over the eight years lost sight of the full
 4content and the thrust of the original document? Your
 5Lordship should know, if not then I say so now, that that
 6book witness through five successive drafts and retypes
 7over eight years, filling eventually four archives boxes,
 8a total of eight cubic feet of manuscript, all of which I
 9disclosed to the Defendants by way of discovery. St
10Martin's Press, my American publishers, particularly asked
11that these early chapters of the book should be trimmed
12back in length.
13     These general considerations disposed of the
14defence arguments on the "Policeman Hoffman" evidence as
15rendered in the 1924 Hitler treason trial. For the
16limited purposes of writing a biography of -- my Lord,
17these are points you have asked me to address specifically
18in your list of issues. I say that because those who
19listen to Mr Rampton's speech will not have heard them
20referred to and may be puzzled as to why I am addressing
21them. For the limited purposes of writing a biography of
22Hermann Goring -- not of Hitler -- I relied on the
23thousands of typescript microfilmed pages of the
24transcript of this trial. So far as I know, nobody had
25ever used them before me at that time. Now the handy,
26printed, bound, indexed, cross-referenced edition, which

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 1Professor Evans drew upon had not appeared at that time.
 2The printed edition appeared in 1988, two years ago.
 3Eleven years after my Goring biography was published. In
 4other words, even more years after I wrote it by Macmillan
 5Limited. I extracted -- with difficulty -- from the
 6microfilmed pages of the original transcript the material
 7I needed relating to Hitler and Goring and I was not
 8otherwise interested in that man Hofmann at all. I do not
 9consider the printed volume on the trial which is now
10available shows that I made meaningful errors, if so, they
11certainly were not deliberate.
12     The Kristallnacht in November 1938 is a more
13difficult episode in every way. I do not mean in that
14sense, my Lord, that it is difficult for me personally.
15It is a difficult episode to reconstruct from the material
16available to us. As said, I clearly made an error over
17the content (and reference number) of the 1.20 a.m.
18telegram from Heydrich. It was an innocent error. It was
19a glitch of the kind that occurs in the process of
20redrafting a manuscript several times over the years. The
21Court must not overlook that by the time was completed in
221994 and 1995 and as I described in the introduction to
23that book, Goebbels, the Mastermind of the Third Reich, by
24that time I had been forcefully severed from both my own
25collection of documents in German institutions and from
26the German Federal archives in Koblenz. On July 1st 1993,

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 1my Lord when I attended the latter archives in Koblenz
 2explicitly for the purpose of tidying up loose ends on the
 3Goebbels manuscript, I was formally banned from the
 4building in the interests of the German people I was told,
 5for ever on orders of the minister of the interior -- that
 6is one of the gravest blows that has been struck at me in
 7my submission by this international endeavour to which
 8I shall shortly refer.
 9     The allegation of the Defendants in connection
10with the Kristallnacht is that in order to "exonerate
11Hitler" I effectively concocted or invented, a false
12version of events on that night, namely that Adolf Hitler
13intervened between 1 and 2 a.m. in order to halt the
14madness. I think that is a fair summary of the charge
15against me. I submit that their refusal to accept this,
16my version, is ingrained in their own political
17attitudes. There is evidence both in the archives and in
18the reliable contemporary records like Ulrich von Hassell,
19the diaries of von Hassell, Alfred Rosenberg and Hellmuth
20Groscurth, and in the independent testimonies. By which I
21mean independent from each other, testimonies of those
22participants whom I myself carefully questioned, or whose
23private papers I obtained -- I mention here Nicolaus von
24Below, Hitler's adjutant. Another adjutant, Bruckner,
25Julius Schaub, Karl Wolff and others -- which the Court
26has seen, to justify the versions which I rendered. It

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