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Holocaust Denial on Trial, Appeal Judgment: Electronic Edition, by Lord Justice PillTable of Contents
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The shooting of the Jews in Riga
60. The judge concluded that a total of about 5,000 Jews were shot in Riga on 30 November 1941. General Bruns had then been a colonel stationed in Riga. In captivity in 1945, he was surreptitiously recorded as saying that a junior officer named Altemeyer had told him that the Jews were to be shot in accordance with the Fuhrer's orders but that Altemeyer showed Bruns another order "prohibiting mass shootings on that scale from taking place in future. They are to be carried out more discreetly". In Hitler's War, (American edition), the applicant referred to the order as Hitler's "renewed orders that such mass murders were to stop forthwith". No reference was made to the words "on that scale" or to the words "they are to be carried out more discreetly".
61. The judge concluded (13.24) that the applicant had "perverted the sense of Bruns's account". Mr Davies submits that the reason the applicant treated the evidence in the way he did was that there was contemporary corroborative evidence, for example a signal from Himmler and the fact that the shootings did stop for many months. There was corroboration for the first part of Bruns's statement but there was not a shred of corroboration for the suggestion that "the shootings are to be carried out [that is to continue] more discreetly". We are entirely unpersuaded by that argument. The judge held (13.24) that "an objective historian is obliged to be even handed in his approach to historical evidence: he cannot pick and choose without adequate reason". The alleged absence of corroboration for one part of an account which clearly bears upon and is related to the other part does not justify the selectivity involved in failing to mention the uncorroborated part at all. Had the applicant cited the whole of the passage, he may fairly have been able to add the comment now relied on in expressing his overall view. To fail to refer at all to one part is, as the judge found, a perversion of the sense of Bruns's account.