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[verbatim trial transcripts | previous Radical's Diary]

February 16, 2000 (Wednesday)



Finally to bed at 3:30 a.m. Up at 7:45 a.m. to take Jessica to school. To the High Court at ten a.m. I begin by reminding His Lordship of the position as left yesterday: "When we adjourned, we had left the battlefield in the following condition: I had advanced with my tanks and infantry some 300 pages into Professor Evans' report [click to download download] but he had succeeded in laying several choking and suffocating smokescreens, confusing the issues; and I fear that some of them may still be lingering across the scene today. I propose to deal with his points on the Reichskristallnacht, and then to hand to the witness a bundle of documents on the 'chain of evidence' showing Hitler intervening to stop things happening to the Jews."

Things now proceed well, although Evans once again waxes garrulous; his hands are once more thrust deep into his pockets, or he stands with his arms obstinately folded. His body language is unmistakable, and several members of the public comment. I draw him across several little minefields of my own. I start by putting to him the cover sheet for the Wilhelm Brückner papers which I gave to the Irving Collection at the Institut für Zeitgeschichte. His two researchers have failed to find it: but, I say, Brückner ("Ovambo," Hitler's chief adjutant until 1940) was a key source for my statements on events in Hitler's residence during the Reichskristallnacht.

I then put to him a page translated from the papers of Julius Schaub another senior adjutant, which I gave to the same Collection. Finally, I show him the verbatim transcript of the taped Interview which I conducted with Colonel Nicolaus von Below, Hitler's airforce adjutant (one of ten or a dozen such interviews with him over the years). These sources agree convincingly on the blazing fury of Hitler, when he learned of the pogrom that had begun. Evans' response is predictable -- these are Nazis, pro-Hitler, trying to exculpate themselves, etc., etc. I ask how many of Hitler's private staff, all of whom I have interviewed, were sentenced as war criminals (none); and by contrast how many of the witnesses on whom he prefers to rely (e.g. Karl Wolff, Eberstein, etc) were given such sentences.

The judge becomes restless, and I explain that I rely on these interviews for several reasons: to show that Evans' researchers have failed, or not troubled, to uncover the sources I used, despite having total access to my own Munich collection (which I of course am now unable to access myself); that these documents provide the materials I relied on; and that my sources are better than his. Also that with 39 years of speaking German, my knowledge is somewhat better than his five years' ditto ditto

Evans admits that he mistranslated daran glauben müssen (a colloquial, sinister way of putting "will have to die" -- nothing to do with "believing". Being the pinko academic that he is, he hates the November 10, 1938 document from Rudolf Hess's staff, particularly when I ask (a) is it in his view significant, given its agreed reference to orders from Hitler ("the highest level"); and, that being so, (b) has any other historian than I, before or since, quoted this document, and if not why not?

The speeches from Evans become longer; he snaps at me to let him finish, then he wanders off course, and he declines to answer questions directly even when asked four times by me to do so. The judge seems to tolerate this unresponsiveness, even when I protest, and once he instructs me, using sharp words, to allow Evans to complete his remarks. That takes some five minutes of rambling, tortuous reading of pages of the Expert Report, while I now deliberately do not intervene. The judge sighs, when Evans finishes, and says: "I am sorry. I did not anticipate that he would go on quite so long."

During the lunch adjournment I decide that I must submit to the judge that I must now ask for several more days to cross-examine this witness in view of the length of his answers and his evasions. But Richard Rampton QC rises, from his end of the courtroom, to express concerns about much the same likelihood. Rampton says it is my fault for dwelling too long on the early pages; the judge points out that the defendants are to blame for submitting such a vast report, of which the first 200 pages are quite superfluous in his view, but on which I still have had to cross-examine. I state when asked that I will not agree to Friday being an extra court day: I am alone in this battle, against some 30 barristers, attorneys, trainees, and researchers arrayed on the defence side, and the physical burden will not allow me to sacrifice that day whch I need for preparation. The judge wholeheartedly agrees. Evans is instructed to rearrange his Monday academic timetable at Cambridge to allow for an extra day in the box, and he has only himself and his silvery tongue to thank for that.

The bundle of documents in the "chain" is rattled rapidly through. There is one Nuremberg document, November 15, 1941, which proves of unexpected value, since it shows the Reichskommissar f.d. Ostland (Lohse), asking Rosenberg what he is to do with the Jews: are they to be shot -- he is quite ready to do this -- but he can find no instructions to that effect, no directives either, even when looking in the (unidentified) "braune Mappe" (which appears to be a high-level dossier of invasion and occupation directives). The thus-documented lack of such a killing-directive is, the professor cannot avoid agreeing, highly significant for any argument about the "systematic" nature of the killings.

Himler, Heydrich in MunichThe Judge asks me to go over the November 30, 1941 episode again -- which I was proposing to skip -- since Evans has dealt with this in his report; Evans eventually agrees with most of my points on this and the related Bletchley Park decodes, though he rather quaintly argues that if Himmler is on the phone to Heydrich "from the bunker" at "the Wolf's Lair" (Hitler's headquarters, the FHQ) it is not necessarily Hitler's bunker. He produces a map of the FHQ showing many bunkers on the campus; I ask him its date, and it is 1944! By which time of course the numbers of bunkers had multiplied manifold.

Toward the end, faced with another unhelpful document in the chain, Evans suddenly launches into a now familiar tirade about my "tissue of lies," "manipulations," "distortions," etc., and the whole gramophone record suddenly begins to play: the needle is stuck; I allow him to reel off his now familiar list of insults until he runs out of steam, without interrupting, and then proceed to the next question without comment! The effect on the courtroom of his uncontrolled hostility and childish name-calling is as desired, as people tell me a few minutes later as we leave.

It is all rather odd. The opponents of the revisionists are yelping in newspaper articles around the world that the correct way to deal with these issues is by proper debate, and not in the courtroom with libel actions (as though that is what is going on here); but they have spent twenty years using violence and pressure to prevent such debates, and when the chance for debate comes, their powers of debate seize up and they turn into little Andrei Vishinsky's. Their no doubt powerful brains find it within them only to regurgitate language and arguments that could have come straight from a marxist-leninist history textbook of some pre-1989 state school in communist Köpenick. Every witness they don't like is a "neo Nazi" and "Hitler apologist"; and for every statement put to them that they cannot immediately explain, they demand to have the original shown to them in facsimile.

The session ends a few minutes earlier than usual, as His Lordship has an appointment elsewhere. Taxi back to Duke Street. I hit the sofa, and Jessica, who is now armed with Animal Hospital, spends the next three hours ensuring that I do not fall asleep. Tomorrow, to borrow a marxist phrase, la lotta continua.

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