David Irving v Penguin
Ltd and Prof Deborah Lipstadt
Claimant's [Mr Irving's] Response to the Defendants' Closing Statements, March 21, 2000, continued...
Concessions about the Leuchter Report
35. My responses
A/4/11: I agree that I referred where appropriate to Fred Leuchter's engineering report as shown me as evidence in the Zündel trial in 1988, as having initially fired my scepticism; as other investigative reports were produced - particularly the Rudolf Report - references to these were also added where appropriate in my public talks, my website, and my newsletter.
Mr Rampton omits to point out that the reference to the The Leuchter Report being an "important historical document" immediately follows this passage of the Reply which I pleaded to their Defence:
The Defendants do not mention that the expert portion of Leuchter's investigation, namely the quantitative and qualitative chemical analysis of the samples taken, was delegated to Prof. Roth, Prof. of chemistry at Cornell University in the United States, whose forensic expertise is unchallenged.
Alleged concessions at trial:
36. "Day 6," page 123: the correct reference is no doubt to Day 7 at page 123.
Moreover this does not bear the meaning given to it by Mr Rampton. The passage beginning line 25 states, "I made the decision to change my mind on the percentages of hydrogen cyanide residues," i.e. not on the basis of any other research.
37. Day 8, page 44: Agreed.
38. Day 8, pages 47-51: at page 50, lines 17-18, I described the Beer letter in these terms, having heard Mr Rampton's points: "He calls it a critique. It is not an extermination or even an annihilation. It is a critique." Parts of the Leuchter Report are flawed, as I stated in my Introduction to it and in subsequent letters about it. The fundamental nucleus, the laboratory Reports, are not. While I acknowledged the Court's phrase, "fundamentally flawed," I would not have used it myself. Mr Beer had not been to Auschwitz or carried out any tests himself.
(i) (ii), I agreed that conditional on Mr Rampton's hypothesis the conclusions that he put about reduced ventilation requirements and less danger via the sewers would be logical. I twice put it that way: Page 52, lines 3-4 and 9-10: "That would be a logical conclusion to your hypothesis, yes."
My refusal (to "concede that [the] need of a far lower toxic concentration would explain the smallness of the traces found by Leuchter") was based partly on the fact that freshly cured concrete sweats alkaline fluids which would react more strongly with the acidic HCN gases, and leave greater-than-normal concentrations. (Page 52, lines 22ff).
39. Day 8, pages 112-113: Leuchter was not wrong on the porousness of brick to HCN. The Court was shown photographs of the stain going right through the bricks to the outside wall of a fumigation chamber at Auschwitz.
40. Day 8, pages 113-114: I made no such concessions and they are not shown in the transcript.
Besides this, at page 113 at lines 21-2: "One thing I have asked Prof. Van Pelt [in correspondence to the defendants' solicitors several weeks before trial] to produce from the Auschwitz records is the sewerage plans." These were not produced, and would have established greater certainty on this point - especially against me if there turned out to be no relevant sewers.
41. Day 8, pages 114-115: In writing "There were no exhaust systems to vent the gas after usage" Leuchter was referring to the high power ventilation needed to expel toxic gases from a gas chamber, not the rudimentary ventilation systems to which Mr Rampton is referring.
42. Day 8, pages 115-116: Agreed.
43. Day 8, pages 116-117: HCN is agreed to be "slightly" heavier than air. The other alleged statement ("posed no risk to those inserting Zyklon B into the gas chambers") is not conceded and is a gross exaggeration of what was said.
44. Day 8, page 120: My exact reply was, "I would not be surprised if he got it wrong. There are very widely different opinions. Even the experts cannot agree what the capacities were."
Adherence to alleged concessions:
45. Day 8, page 118. This was not a concession, but was a position that I always maintained, even to "revisionists," as the Court is aware, and as is plain from the full text: "What I have always said, Mr Rampton, is that the report is flawed and in my letters to associates I clearly said what a pity Leuchter started speculating about things that were beyond his ken when the chemical figures are all that can be relied upon." (Added emphasis.)
46. Day 8, pages 184-186:
(i) As stated, in percentual terms the Leuchter Report hardly figured significantly in the totality of the many speeches and talks I gave over the years since 1988. In talks in which the Holocaust figured, it featured more prominently, of course. Of five lectures delivered to the Institute of Historical Review (IHR), in seventeen years, not one had the Holocaust as a theme, though questions afterwards sometimes touched on that topic.
47. On page 12 of this section (5(ix)) Mr Rampton makes a number of general charges about my standards as an historian. Without specific examples or references it is impossible to make a detailed response. The Court will have formed its own impressions during the evidence phase at trial. I comment below on the "hyped" etc. documents listed on page 13.
48. Allegedly hyped documents
This is a document generated at a crucial point in the history of the Holocaust. (Mr Justice Gray advised Mr Rampton on Day 6, at page 168: "Mr Rampton, does it simplify matters if I say I am prepared to accept that there is good internal evidence that it is March or thereabouts 1942?") It is brief. It is genuine. It is precisely worded (drafted by a lawyer). It mentions the Führer, the Final Solution, and decisions all in one breath. The Defendants have produced nothing whatsoever of this documentary and evidentiary value that relates to the all important issue before this Court, the role of Hitler himself.
(ii) Hess Anordnung, 2:56 a.m. on Reichskristallnacht.
As with the Schlegelberger document, this is a document generated at a crucial point in the history of the Kristallnacht. It is brief. It is genuine. It is precisely worded (drafted by a lawyer, Opdenhoff). It mentions orders from the Führer, acts of arson, and Jewish Geschäfte, in its less than three lines. The defendants' experts had never even mentioned it in their books.
(iii) Himmler telephone log, November 30, 1941, entry of 1:30 p.m.
As with the above documents. This is a document generated at a crucial point in the history of the Holocaust (the run-up to the Wannsee conference). It is brief. It is genuine. It is in Himmler's own handwriting. It is from Hitler's bunker at the Wolf's Lair. It is to the murderer in chief, Heydrich. It mentions Jews, transport from Berlin, liquidation, in two of its four lines. Again, until I publicised it, the defendants' experts had never even mentioned it in their books.
(iv) Cavendish-Bentinck memorandum.
Cavendish-Bentinck (later the Duke of Portland) was chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee of the War Cabinet, with automatic access to all Intelligence materials, including the highest grades such as ULTRA intercepts and CSDIC interrogations. He stated in August 1943 that the British had no evidence of the existence of gas chambers. The document dated August 27, 1943, is authentic, signed in his handwriting, from British (PRO) files.
"Mr. Allen and myself have both followed German atrocities quite closely. I do not believe that there is any evidence which would be accepted in a Law Court that Polish children have been killed on the spot [...]. As regards putting Poles to death in gas chambers, I do not believe that there is any evidence that this has been done. There have been many stories to this effect, and we have played them up in P.W.E. rumours without believing that they had any foundation. At any rate there is far less evidence than exists for the mass murder of Polish officers by the Russians at Katyn. [...] I think that we weaken our case against the Germans by publicly giving credence to atrocity stories for which we have no evidence. These mass executions in gas chambers remind me of the story of employment of human corpses during the last war for the manufacture of fat [...].
49. Allegedly dismissed documents:
(i) Bischoff letter, June 28, 1943, on crematorium capacity at Auschwitz.[*]
The integrity of this document is challenged on the following grounds:
(a) Letter-register number ("31550/Je./Ne.-") lacks the year ("/43/")
(ii) Himmler note of December 10, 1942
I was the first person to use, find, and quote this document, in HITLER'S WAR (1977), page 462, and (1991), page 511. I do not dismiss this document as such, but challenge that the word abschaffen ("remove, extract, abolish, dispose, get rid of") has a primarily homicidal meaning in this context; in the version of the memorandum typed by Himmler's staff it is rendered as abtransportieren ("transport away, cart off").
(iii) Meldung (Report) No. 51
See Hitler's War (1991) page 492, page 817: "His report to Hitler for the same period listed 16,553 'partisan accomplices and suspects' captured of which 14,257 were executed; and additional 363,211 Russian Jews were claimed to have been executed under the same heading.' I also give the proper file and microfilm number.
It is conceded that Meldung 51 was submitted [vorgelegt] to Hitler. It is not conceded that it was read by Hitler. As I stated under cross-examination on Day 2, page 264: "Firstly, I accept the document was in all probability shown to Hitler. Secondly, I think in all probability he paid no attention to it. The reason being the date. This is the height of the Stalingrad crisis.[...]" Other Meldungen of the same period had to be shown to him more than once, which indicated he had not read them on the first occasion. This item is marked as being vorgelegt only once.
(iv) Hitler/Horthy meetings April 1943
I quote this document adequately on HITLER'S WAR (1977) at pages 508-10, and in the abridged 1991 edition at pages 541-2. The mix-up over the date of one reference is acknowledged.
50. Allegedly "hyped" eye-witnesses
Hans Ficker attended the Wannsee and subsequent conferences, is therefore an eye-witness of them, and was a credible source on what actually happened as opposed to the official recorded version.
Karl Wolff was adjutant to both Himmler and Hitler at various times.
Christa Schroeder was Hitler's private secretary 1933 to 1945.
Hanns Voigt was head of the dead persons department of the Dresden Missings Persons Bureau.
The significance of the above people needs no further explanation.
51. Allegedly dismissed eye-witnesses
All of these were dealt with adequately under cross examination. Invited to list further eye-witnesses he relied on for the Crematorium II "gas chamber", Pelt did not list Höss, Wisliceny or Vaillant Couturier.
Höss was captured in March 1946 and taken to Nuremberg where he was interrogated frequently. He is a very unreliable and inaccurate witness. His interrogations (and his later death-cell "memoirs" bristle with wrong and contradictory facts, figures, dates, and places. I have placed summaries of Höss's interrogations on my website three years ago and drawn Prof. Van Pelt's attention to the complete file of these in my letter to him of May 1997. Far from being a star witness, even the Allied prosecutors decided to make no use of Höss as a witness at Nuremberg. (He was called briefly by the defence). I put to the witness Christopher Browning the printed version of Höss memoirs in which even Eichmann had spotted glaring errors. (Day 17, pages 65-6).
Wisliceny: He is referred to in the book NUREMBERG, THE LAST BATTLE and there is a photograph of him as a witness in that book. Mr Rampton stated (Day 3, at page 190) that Wisliceny had written: "In this period of time, after the beginning of the war with the USA, I am convinced must fall the decision of Hitler which ordered the biological annihilation of European Jewry". Questioned about the worth of this so-called evidence, I pointed out that Wisliceny was writing this in November 1946, just weeks after the executions at Nuremberg, and awaiting trial himself in a prison cell in Bratislava, to which the Americans had extradited him as a war criminal. Mr Rampton attaches greater weight to such admitted speculation than I shall.
Vaillant Couturier: The worthlessness of this witnesses' statements becomes evident to anybody studying her testimony in full, or hearing it as Judge Biddle did in 1946. The Court will recall her testimony of the SS beating-machine at Auschwitz.
Theo Miller. Miller's letter, interesting though it was, arrived four years after the book THE DESTRUCTION OF DRESDEN was delivered to the publishers (1961). His letter (like those from the medical doctor Dr Max Funfack, which counterbalanced it with authoritative figures from the wartime city commandant and the city's ARP chief) was then donated to the archives in Dresden, in the Soviet Zone of Germany. An author has virtually no control over the editorial content of later editions of his works, as publishers do not want to incur the cost of resetting (in those days resetting meant just that). When the revised and updated Focal Point edition of the book was published under my own control in 1994, I brought all the deathroll figures down.
Thursday, March 23, 2000
Attached (not posted here): page 426 of HITLER'S WAR (1991)