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Holocaust Denial on Trial, Trial Transcripts, Day 19: Electronic Edition

Pages 11 - 15 of 217

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 1 Q. [Mr Irving]     Will you agree that it says: "4 million people suffered
 2and died here at the hands of the Nazi murderers between
 3the years 1940 and 1945"?
 4 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]     Yes, that is what it says.
 5 Q. [Mr Irving]     Will you now turn the page please? Is that another
 7 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]     Yes, that is right.
 8 Q. [Mr Irving]     Do you recognize that plaque?
 9 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]     I do not now that I can see what it is.
10 Q. [Mr Irving]     Does it appear to be in the same place as where the
11previous plaque was?
12 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]     I will take your word for it.
13 Q. [Mr Irving]     Do you agree this one says: "Never let this place be a
14cry of despair and a warning to humanity where the Nazis
15murdered about one and a half million men, women and
16children, namely Jews from various countries of Europe"?
17 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]     That is right.
18 Q. [Mr Irving]     Is this also Auschwitz?
19 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]     They are both in Auschwitz, yes.
20 Q. [Mr Irving]     So somebody has arbitrarily reduced the figure from 4
21million to about 1.5 million? Is that Holocaust denial?
22 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]     No, I do not agree that the reduction was arbitrary.
23I think inevitably in the immediate aftermath of the war
24there was an enormous amount of uncertainty about the
25numbers who had died. This does not have a date on it,
26but I think the 4 million is a plaque which was erected

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 1very shortly after the war and, as research progressed,
 2then the true number of people who died in Auschwitz was
 3more closely approached, so it is an arbitrary reduction.
 4 Q. [Mr Irving]     Is the first figure, which is the figure of 4 million, in
 5any way associated with the figure of 4 million that was
 6propagated by the Soviet Union in the first postwar years
 7for the victims in Auschwitz, in your opinion?
 8 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]     I have to say I do not know enough about Auschwitz. I am
 9not an expert on Auschwitz. You had an expert on
10Auschwitz here.
11 Q. [Mr Irving]     We will keep it in general terms. If you were told (as we
12have heard) that Dr Piper, the director of the Auschwitz
13State Museum at the time that first plaque was in
14existence, and who arranged for it to be removed and
15replaced by the second plaque, has stated that the first
16plaque was purely propaganda, would you accept that this
17is evidence of politicization of the Holocaust and the
18figures connected with it?
19 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]     I think, well, I would have to see Dr Piper's statement
20before I could accept that is what he said, of course. I
21mean ----
22 Q. [Mr Irving]     Can I draw your attention back we -- will leave that
23subject. Can I now take you back to your book, please?
24 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     You have not got your answer yet. I think
25the object of the exercise is to get the answer to the
26question, Mr Irving.

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 1 MR IRVING:     My Lord, his answer was the now familiar one that
 2he has not seen the document.
 3 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     No, well, he was actually going on to say
 4something else. Would you like to complete it?
 5 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]     Yes. Obviously, I accept that there is an element of
 6propaganda in the official memorialization by the Soviet
 7Union and its satellites in the period of Communism. That
 8is particularly evident, for example, in the absence of
 9any mention of Jews in this first plaque, whereas in the
10second one it does say mainly Jews. I think it is the
11case that in the postwar years the Soviet Union and the
12authorities in Communist Eastern Europe did want to
13minimise the element of Jewish dead amongst the ----
14 MR IRVING:     As evidence of general Polish anti-semitism or?
15 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]     No, I do not think that is true. I think it is a number
16of different things. It is not that.
17 Q. [Mr Irving]     While you have your book in front of you, Professor Evans,
18will you remain on page 206 and look at the next paragraph
19briefly, which begins with the words: "A leading
20authority". I am sorry, my Lord, that I should have
21provided your Lordship with the lines I am going to refer
22to, but it is very brief.
23 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]     Yes.
24 Q. [Mr Irving]     I will read it out: "A leading authority on this
25literature, which is Holocaust denial literature,
26Professor Deborah E. Lipstadt", that is the Second

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 1Defendant in this case?
 2 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]     That is right.
 3 Q. [Mr Irving]     "... of Emery University, Atlanta, Georgia, consistently
 4refuses to take part in public debates with the deniers on
 5the ground 'to do so would give them a legitimacy and a
 6stature that they in no way deserve"?
 7 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]     Yes.
 8 Q. [Mr Irving]     Have you any comment on this refusal to debate? Is it a
 9position of strength or a position of weakness, do you
11 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]     I think it is a position of principle.
12 Q. [Mr Irving]     A position of principle?
13 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]     I do not think it is a tactical consideration, in my
14understanding of it.
15 Q. [Mr Irving]     Is it a principle that you, as an academic, would
16willingly adopt?
17 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]     I think, yes, I do not think that Holocaust deniers are
18academics or scholars or academically or scholarly
19respectable, and I would not take part in seminars or
20discussions with them on that basis.
21 Q. [Mr Irving]     So Holocaust deniers, as you once again use this favourite
22phrase of yours, are a form of low academic life or low
23life, in fact, because most of them who have not been
24academics find themselves cast out? Is that your
26 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]     I do not agree with any of those statements. First of

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 1all, it is not a favourite phrase of mine. It is a phrase
 2which I have to use because it is at the centre of this
 3case, as I make no apology for that. I do not like using
 4phrases like "low life" or "low form of life" and, to my
 5knowledge, I have never used those phrases. The problem
 6is not that they are not academic; the problem is what
 7they are engaging in, in my view, is a politically
 8motivated falsification of history, and that is why
 9I think, on the whole, I would endorse and accept
10Professor Lipstadt's position.
11 Q. [Mr Irving]     But is it not equally arguable that the use that is made
12of the Holocaust and that immense tragedy inflicted on the
13Jews during World War II has just been equally politicized
14for other purposes, whether good or bad?
15 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]     I think there is, obviously, a political element in a
16great deal of historical writing, if not all historical
17writing, to some measure or other, but I would distinguish
18between the historians', as it were, control of that
19through reference to the documents and through the attempt
20to arrive at an objective interpretation which is in
21accordance with the documents, on the one hand, and
22deliberate falsification and invention on the other.
23I think the Holocaust deniers belong to the latter
25 Q. [Mr Irving]     Would you consider ----
26 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]     

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