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[verbatim trial transcripts]

February 1, 2000 (Tuesday)


At 8 a.m. John Marshall of Australian Associated Press, London, phones about what's in today's press down-under. The Australian prime minister John Howard has this morning publicly condemned my announcement of plans to visit Australia this year. I say: "Then he's going to have to change the law a second time to keep me out!"

What a hoot! "Why do you want to go?" "Because there are hundreds of Australians whose hands I want to shake - they have been supporting me the last six years!" The power these enemies of the truth have, over prime ministers of entire continents: these gibbering freaks are willing to say anything.

All I have to do is name the date I shall submit my next visa application, and already they're pleading with me to lay off again. I say: "Australia has no problem with the character of an IRA terrorist and murderer who wants to visit; no problems with Konrad Kalejs, indeed, he's welcomed with open arms; no problems with the American arsonist Ervin - but huge problems with a British historian." Ho-ho.

To the High Court at 10 a.m. I get there early. As the morning session begins, I at once ask Judge Gray for permission to cross-examine the defence expert Professor Robert Van Pelt again, who is sitting with the defence researchers in the public gallery, saying I want to investigate further on one specific matter, namely the authenticity or otherwise of the June 1943 cremation-capacities document. I explain that I do not expect Pelt to come up with all the answers himself, but I will thus bring serious discrepancies in the document to the defences' attention, which they will be invited to address when their remaining experts are in the witness box.

I then put to Pelt seriatim (a) the discrepancies in the date, serial number, letter-register punctuation and codes, and above all the incorrect designation of Kammler (describing him just as "Generalmajor" instead of "Generalmajor der Waffen SS") which has previously not been mentioned; and (b) the facts that Krema I was about to go out of service for several weeks, and that Krema II had been out of service for several weeks at the time of the document.

Rampton cross-examines Pelt at some length and breadth until I finally rise and object that he is examining the witness on matters not contained in my renewed cross-examination, which objection Judge Gray at once allows. He agrees that it has been a useful interlude, given that this is the only document whose integrity I seriously challenge, and that it seems pivotal to part of the defence case on Auschwitz; Rampton at once objects that he does not regard it as pivotal!

I think that Judge Gray now seriously doubts the worth of that one piece of paper, on which so much rides. To my mind, it is totally phony.

mass cremation of Dresden victims, 1945

For the rest of the day I am cross-examined on (a) the 1938 Reichskristallnacht and (b) the 1945 Dresden death roll figures, on the basis of the report by their expert Professor Richard Evans. At one stage Rampton rather foolishly states that the reality is that the death roll is not 100,000 but "only 35,000". From the witness box, I point out that "only" is an extraordinary word to use when it concerns 35,000 innocent human beings whom we have burned alive in one night. I remind the Court that Rampton also dismissively expostulated "So what!" when I mentioned the Dresden atrocity two weeks ago -- whereupon I had shown the court the huge black and white enlarged poster photograph of the February 22, 1945 Altmarkt mass cremations; I had said: "That is why!"

The judge does not oppose these heated exchanges (I said I was "ashamed" of the Dresden episode), though he does mildly interrupt and ask us to move on. Rampton says today that I should "put away those ugly photos", and adds for the public benefit that he has tossed his glossy leaflet containing them into the wastebin. This does not go down well with the public gallery, methinks.

He does score one or two points: in GOEBBELS. MASTERMIND OF THE THIRD REICH I have muddled one source-note, identified there as PS-3052 plus Karl Wolff (it should have been 3051). I check with my handwritten original: the actual source is Karl Wolff, quoted by Werner Best. Rampton finds it hard however to explain away the urgent 2:56 a.m. Nov. 10, 1938 Halt Order, issued by Rudolf Hess as deputy Führer, if Hitler was fanatically behind the pogrom, and that is right so. He also makes much of the Oberstes Parteigericht report dated Feb. 1939 commuting sentences on 14 of the sixteen offenders, recommending that they should not be penalised, and comparing it with what I wrote in the book.

At lunchtime I do a filmed interview for Australian television outside the Law Courts commenting on their prime minister's outburst, and Tracey ... of Channel 9 asks me to go to their studio in Camden for a satellite link with Australia during the night (later fixed by phone for 6:30 a.m. tomorrow morning).

In the afternoon session the public flogging goes on, this time switching over to the Dresden death statistics issue. Here Lipstadt's defence lawyers are on shaky ground, and their expert Evans has suppressed a number of documents that are in my Discovery. Fortunately I have pre-emptively copied them in seven sets to make them available to the court, which rather flummoxes them. Judge Gray is clearly annoyed that (a) the documents are German (b) they are largely illegible (c) the defence have omitted these seemingly highly relevant items.

It is hard to see what the score is so far. I expect that the balance will shift firmly in my favour when I get their experts in my sights, and start cross-examining them, for which we are now well prepared thanks to The Gang. On Monday we shall start with Professor Christopher Browning, probably; followed by the others. Judge Gray reiterates that I can ask for days off between the experts, and I shall certainly do so before Evans come under our big guns. Rampton runs out of material again at 3:45 p.m.; my legs are aching from standing five hours in the box.

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