Irving v. Lipstadt


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

Pages 86 - 90 of 222

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    The allegation of the Defendants in connection
 1therefore was not an invented story. It may well be that
 2my critics were unfamiliar with the sources that I used
 3before they made their criticisms. The dishonesty lies
 4not with me, for printing the "inside" story of Hitler's
 5actions that night, as far as we can reconstruct them
 6using these and other sources; but with those scholars who
 7have studiously ignored them, and in particular the Rudolf
 8Hess "stop arson" telegram of 2.56 am, which was
 9issued "on orders from the highest level", which the
10Defendants' scholars are agreed or testified is a
11reference to Hitler.
12     Your Lordship may well have marvelled to hear
13the Defendants' witnesses dismiss this message from Rudolf
14Hess -- like the Schlegelberger Document, referred to
15later -- as being of no consequence.
16     The Kristallnacht diaries of Dr Goebbels, which
17I obtained in Moscow in 1992, some years after I first
18drafted the episode for my biography, substantially bore
19out my version of events, in my submission, namely that he
20and not Hitler was the prime instigator, and that Hitler
21was largely unaware and displeased by what came about, or
22by the scale of what came about, would be a fairer way to
23put that. Your Lordship will recall that Professor
24Phillippe Burrin, a Swiss Holocaust historian for whom all
25the witnesses expressed respect when questioned by me,
26comes to the same conclusion independently of me. Now he

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 1(and I have given the quotation at the foot of page).
 2Now, he is manifestly not a "Holocaust denier" either.
 3The Court will also recall that the witness Professor
 4Evans admitted that unlike myself he had not read all
 5through the available Goebbels Diaries. It is a massive
 6task. A mammoth task. He had not had the time, he said,
 7and we must confess a certain sympathy with that
 8position -- for an academic, time is certainly at a
 9premium. But reading all of the available Goebbels
10Diaries is however necessary, in order to establish and
11recognize the subterfuges which this Nazi minister used
12throughout his career as diarist, in order to conceal when
13he was creating what I call alibis for his own wayward and
14evil behaviour.
15     I drew attention to this historiographical
16conundrum several times in the book, my Goebbels
17biography, the fact that Goebbels Diaries were not
18trustworthy. I discussed both in my scientific annotated
19German language edition of the 1938 diaries and in my full
20Goebbels biography which your Lordship has read, a
21characteristic example from this same year, 1938, although
22the one episode which most deeply harrowed and unsettled
23him that year was his affair with the Czech actress, Lida
24Baarova, an affair which drove him to the brink of
25resignation, divorce, and even suicide, neither her name
26nor any of those events figures explicitly in the diary at

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 1all, unless the pages be read particularly closely, when
 2certain clues can be seen. That is an example ...
 3     The Goebbels diary is sometimes a very deceitful
 4document; it must be recognized as such and treated very
 5gingerly indeed. It is the diary of a liar, a
 6propagandist. The fact that it was evidently written up
 7not one, but two or even three days later, after the
 8Kristallnacht episode, calls for additional caution in
 9relying on it for chronology and content.
10     My Lord, your Lordship will notice that I have
11not dealt specifically with the number of the issues you
12put in your list. I hope your Lordship does not take
13umbrage with that, but I felt that I dealt with them
14adequately in my cross-examination.
15 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     It is entirely a matter for you.
16 MR IRVING:     If this was wrong of me then all I can say is
17culpa mea (sic) but I now continue with the various
18narratives of the Nazi shooting of the Jews in the East.
19     There is little dispute between the parties on
20what actually happened in my view. This is the shootings
21of the Jews in the East by the Nazis and their
22collaborators. There is little dispute between the
23parties on what actually happened in my view, and your
24Lordship is aware that I have given these atrocities due
25and proper attention in the various biographies I have
26written; I however add the one caveat, that they are not

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 1intended to be reference works on the Holocaust, but just
 2orthodox biographies.
 3     I believe that I was the first historian
 4anywhere in the world to discover and make use of the
 5CSDIC reports relating further details to these killings,
 6particularly the Bruns Report, and I made these reports
 7available to many other historians. I should explain to
 8the people who are not familiar with them that these CSDIC
 9reports are eavesdropping reports on Nazi prisoners that
10we British made using hidden microphones. It took -- it
11takes many days to read them. There are thousands and
12thousands of pages in these files. Over the last twenty
13years I have read these horrifying narratives out
14repeatedly to public audiences, they describe the killings
15of the Jews in the most horrifying detail, including
16"right-wing" audiences. This fact alone entitles me to
17express my contempt at those who would describe me as a
18"Holocaust denier".
19     We have seen the Defendants scrabbling around at
20the end of the Bruns Report for its seizing on its
21third-hand reference by this SS murderer and braggart in
22Riga, Altemeyer, to an "order" that he claimed to have
23received to carry out such mass shootings more
24circumspectly in future. But we know from the late 1941
25police decodes -- we British were reading the SS and
26police messages passing between Berlin and the front. We

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 1know from the late 1941 police decodes, which is a much
 2firmer source-document in my view than a snatch of
 3conversation remembered years later, in April 1945, we
 4know precisely what orders had gone from Hitler's
 5headquarters, radioed by Himmler himself to the SS mass
 6murderer, SS Obergruppenfuhrer Friedrich Jeckeln, stating
 7explicitly that these killings exceeded the authority that
 8had been given by himself, Himmler, and by the
 9Reichsssicherheitshauptamp (the RSHA). We know that the
10killing of all German Jews stopped at once, for many
11months upon the receipt of that message. When I first
12translated the word "Judentransport" a word which I
13emphasise again can mean "transportation of the Jews", as
14"transports of Jews", in the plural, in the 1970s, being
15unaware of the surrounding context of data which helps now
16to narrow down the purport to the one Riga-bound trainload
17from Berlin. I was thus inadvertently coming closer to
18the truth, not further from it; because the liquidation of
19all the trainloads from Germany was halted next day,
20December 1st 1941, by the order radioed from Hitler's
21headquarters (whether initiated by Himmler or Hitler seems
22hair-splitting in this context).
23     As I stated under cross-examination, I did not
24see the Schulz-Dubois document when I wrote my books and
25I have not seen it since; having now read Professor Gerald
26Fleming tells us about it, I confess that I would be

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