21, 2000 (Monday)
One of my readers has sent an email to the radio show of Lynn Samuels which can be heard on New York radio station WABC on Sunday evenings just before the Drudge report. "Why not," he asks her, "give a little coverage to the libel case going on in Great Britain. The main stream media wouldn't." Lynn Samuels replies: "There is too much about it in the media. To cover it would be to give too much publicity to the holocaust deniers."
The British press comment has totally dried up while I have been cross-examining Lipstadt's experts. I am surprised!
I begin by asking that the Judge direct the defence to serve a skeleton argument on me setting out the statutes and authorities on which they rely in presenting the expert reports of Professor Levin and Eatwell without the experts themselves being presented for cross-examination. Judge Gray at first gives a vague ruling, but I ask firmly for a direction which he then gives. I think that that knocks both Levin and Eatwell out, and their expert reports. Rampton, who is a chain smoker and suffers accordingly in the non-smoking courtroom, states that he expects to be able to get sufficient from my statements in speeches and the like; I doubt it - these will explode in his own hands when the time comes for my submissions.
I finish cross-examining Professor Richard Evans at 4 p.m. on the nose. The judge compliments me: "Well done. You have completed everything just as you promised."
During the day he has picked up on a number of points which I consider strong elements of my counter-attack, which I shall not list in public but they are: [...]; in re-examination Rampton was necessarily brief, going only to the Hess Anordnung of November 10, 1938, which he seeks to limit to the Jewish "shops"; and to the Heydrich 1:20 a.m. message of the same night, where it seems that in the process of drafting and redrafting my book six times over eight years a mix-up may indeed have occurred for which I must take the blame. It does not in my view change the main thrust of the events of that night, the Kristallnacht, but it is the kind of straw that drowning men clutch at in their final delirium.
Up until about 2:30 a.m. (I think) designing a donations form on the website (it was uploaded at 2:19 a.m.): people can send donations by credit card by email just by clicking.
22, 2000 (Tuesday)
[No court hearing]
23, 2000 (Wednesday)
Up at 8:30 a.m. Jessica's school has half term. She asks me to take her to her little friend Grace's "on the way to" the Court (it is in the opposite direction), and I arrange to leave at 9:45 a.m.
I am receiving large numbers of faxes from around the world, many from total strangers with largely useless advice, sometimes fifty pages at a time. Many helpful "friends" quote wads of the Talmud to me, and earnestly advise me to submit them to his Lordship. Not many brownie-points to be earned there, I think. [...]
10:20 a.m. Channel Four film crew film as I arrive at court. Richard Rampton QC has one or two items; I ask the judge if he will allow a day clear before final speeches, and he says that he thinks three or even four days should be left clear before final speeches, which is more like it.
I begin cross-examination of Dr Peter Longerich around 10:40 a.m. Longerich admits that after his lecture at the German Historical Institute here in London on October 27, 1998 he invited questions from the audience, but then refused to answer my question about the Schlegelberger document, and he states that he considers this wartime document (which quotes Hitler as "repeatedly" ordering the solution of the Jewish problem postponed until after the war) to be insignificant; that is nice. He suggests that the reason he refused to answer my questions then is that he already knew that he was to give evidence against me (Nov 1998?) but when I ask him if he informed the Institute's chairman of that reason at the time, he admits that he did not.
I do not press the point. I take him very gently all day, compliment him on his English, and lay no real traps for him. He is relatively easy to corner and manoeuvre into making useful statements -- so easy that I have to urge him not necessarily to agree with the points I make, but to think carefully first, as otherwise any concessions he does make are probably valueless.
For a while I ask him about Hitler's antisemitism. Mr Rampton is edgy, suspects a trap, and leaps to his feet to protest that I have "conceded" that Hitler was anti-Semitic from the very outset. That in turn puts me on my guard, and I narrow down this "concession" as far as possible. I then ask Longerich amiably whether Hitler was indeed that much of an anti-Semite, if he tolerated a half Jewish chauffeur (Emil Maurice: see Peter Hoffmann's book on Hitler's security), and a Jewish dietician, Marlene Exner (or do I mean Frl. Manziarly? It occurs to me now that I got the wrong name).
We finish the expert's Glossary on "euphemisms" relatively swiftly; the judge does not like the document, and urges me to speed through it. I have already announced that I shall concentrate on Hitler's usages, and on his use of the words Ausrottung and Vernichtung.
Richard Rampton QC is a tough old boot; he must have been through battles like this a hundred times, and with far more capable adversaries than me. He rises once again to object that I have already conceded, as he claims, with references to Days 2 etc., that Hitler knew of and had ordered the shootings of Jews by the Einsatzgruppen in 1941. I cannot be hurried on this point, and I say I must review the matter in peace; I refuse to state a position "on the hoof," as I put it, and say I will submit a written statement tomorrow, which may well agree with his claim. I refuse to be rushed into concessions, alleged or otherwise.
On the December 29, 1942 Meldung Nr 51, I again point out that my present position is that because a document is vorgelegt (submitted) does not mean it is read by Hitler, particular as other documents at this time were vorgelegt not once but twice, indicating that they had not been read either: I mention that I hear rumours that some briefs are submitted to leading counsel (I mention the name of George Carman QC) but never get read, and this evidently strikes a resonant chord with both Mr Rampton and his Lordship.
Rampton mutters in a loud sotto voce (which is beginning to get irritating) about the expense of allowing me to continue to question Longerich about matters that, he says, I "have already conceded": I should have pointed out there and then that the trial could have been curtailed two or three weeks ago, when I offered to end it forthwith if they could scrape away the gravel in the roof of Krema II, and find that the Zyklon-B introduction holes have been there all the time (there are no holes however, and we know it -- apart from the hole that the defence is in, in this respect).
I ask Longerich if he is familiar with the police decodes; he agrees that he has studied those in Washington and (evidently less intently) those in the Public Record office. He had not seen the December 1, 1941 decodes, and clearly thinks them important. He tries to suggest that they are only from the Ordungspolizei, and do not contain high-level materials; but even the judge knows that this is wrong -- there are scattered examples of intercepted messages from Himmler himself, and to the Einsatzgruppen commanders.
3:45 p.m. I finish cross examining Longerich on his Glossary and on Part 1 of his report. We do not sit on Friday, so tomorrow is the last day this week. [...]
Back home, by bus this time. I fall asleep on the bus, I am so tired. The flat is in darkness. [...]
Long call from him at 10:36 PM with suggestions; ponders whether I can apply for an order that Professor Lipstadt should present herself for cross-examination on her affidavit. That would be a firework. Davies suggests that Rampton as a QC is probably well informed on the reports business, and that he probably does have the right to produce them after all. He would not argue otherwise if not. That seems lame to me, but I shall let the matter drop.
24, 2000 (Thursday)
I work until 3:10 a.m., and am up again 7:50 a.m. before I remember that Jessica has half-term. [...] My efforts to get the full text of the diary of Auschwitz doctor Kremer seem to have been stalled; the Rijksinstituut in Amsterdam does not respond; the public prosecutor's office in Münster has not replied since their first letter; the Zentralstelle in Ludwigsburg apologise by fax that they have only illegible extracts.
I finish the latest bundles and take them to the High Court at 10 a.m. The [...] family are there, all five of them; and [...] from Boston. A packed house, and twenty people waiting patiently outside for seats to get in.
I straight away put the Karl Wolff document [a Zeugenschrift, written in 1952] to the court and to the witness Dr Longerich. The passage I am interested in has Wolff saying this (in my translated extract):
Himmler was in his way bizarre and religious and held to the view that for the Greatest Warlord in the Greatest War of all times he had to take upon himself tasks, which had to be solved to put Hitler's ideas into effect, without engaging him personally. Around August 1942 the Reichsführer SS dropped some dark hints: Wolff could have no idea what one had had to take on ones self for the Messiah of the Next Two Thousand Years, in order that this man personally remain free of sin.
Peter Longerich primly, perhaps even over-properly, says he will not comment without seeing the whole document, including the bits left out. Okay by me, but I say that I have not had the whole document in my hands since the 1960s. It is at the Institut für Zeitgeschichte. I will try and get it, I say, before Monday. The judge asks the defence solicitors to use their good offices to get the document from Munich. By midday the institute have replied that the date on it is wrong; more delay. How did that happen?!
I cross examine somewhat better all afternoon, on the basis of the brief provided by Michael [...], an expert, of Australia. A very useful brief it is too, and it helps to narrow down the issues, though it lengthens the cross-examination and I am still unfinished by 4 p.m. I apologise that Dr Longerich will therefore have to return on Monday for half a day. The judge pulls a face, but everybody resigns themselves to it. [*]
Meanwhile to my surprise Munich has already supplied by four p.m. to the defence lawyers the entire Karl Wolff document: it is five pages long, and the judge, after glancing at it, rather ominously invites me to agree that I stated this morning that I rely on the whole document. I wonder what his eagle eye has spotted as he scanned rapidly through its pages! Longerich is still reluctant to comment on it without reading it in full, and I volunteer to translate the whole thing this weekend. I think that will be worth it, as it does seem to suggest a really bizarre relationship between Himmler and Hitler over the Holocaust -- a word that did not even exist in this context when I last had the document in my hands.
I use up the remaining ten minutes by putting to the witness first the Danneker, (June 1942); then the Ahnert (September 1942) document, and finally the Foehl (June 1942) documents. I do not have spare copies of one of the items, and I apologise to the judge for my disorganised condition. He praises me: "Normally you are exceedingly well organised." But that is the only praise from His Lordship this day.
The witness meanwhile cavils over each item, even suggesting that the paragraph of Foehl which Götz Aly quotes verbatim in Endlösung may have left out more vital, incriminating stuff proving that the letter is baloney. I point out that Aly, an "exterminationist" historian of whom he has only this morning spoken very highly, is unlikely to have left out even a comma that speaks in his favour. True, Aly in Endlösung dismisses the document as "camouflage", but the evidence we have suggests that it is not. It has Walter Foehl, a leading Krakow resettlement organizer, writing to his SS comrades in June 1942. (Aly: "Only in retrospect can this be seen as an intermediate step on the road to the Holocaust.") In the 1942 letter, Foehl wrote:
Every day, trains are arriving with over 1000 Jews each from throughout Europe. We provide first aid here [he was writing from Krakow, so probably Auschwitz], give them more or less provisional accommodation, and usually deport them further towards the White Sea to the White Ruthenian marshlands, where they all - if they survive ( and the Jews from Kurfürstendamm or Vienna or Pressburg certainly won't) - will be gathered by the end of the war, but not without having first built a few roads. (But we're not supposed to talk about it.)
I offer to let Longerich brood on these documents over the weekend; I wonder what alibi he will think up for each one when the hearing resumes on Monday!
E-mail from James B.: "I have been asked by the New York Times Sunday magazine to write a longish piece about your libel action. [...]"
That's nice. The entire East Coast newspaper industry has so far acted as though this historic trial is not proceeding; while the L.A. Times, which did carry a major story, has been severely rapped across the knuckles by the usual suspects. I agree to see him, any weekend.
[* See the fury of the Australian and US Jewish community at this assistance from Michael --, expressed in The Forward, New York, March 10, 2000]