Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Denying Hitler's role in the Holocaust

Historian David Irving, Holocaust historian Christopher Browning, British judge Charles Gray and barrister Richard Rampton

On day seventeen of the Irving vs. Penguin & Lipstadt trial at the High Court in London, American Holocaust historian and defence expert Christopher Browning spent his second day in the witnesses box. During cross-examination by Irving, Browning stated that denying Hitler ordered the Holocaust is not a form of Holocaust denial, and Lipstadt's barrister quickly stepped up to clarify that they (Lipstadt's legal team) did not consider denying Hitler instigated the Holocaust to be Holocaust denial.

BROWNING: In so far as the issue of the Hitler order, Mommsen and Broszat have argued for a long time, as you [David Irving] have, they do not think that Hitler gave an explicit or formal order.
IRVING: It would be a grave injustice to call either of those two professors Holocaust deniers, would it not?
BROWNING: Yes. The argument over whether Hitler gave an order or not is not commonly part of the issue of Holocaust denial.
IRVING: Thank you very much for saying that. Hans Mommsen, would you identify him? Is he a Professor at the Royal university in Bochum?
BROWNING: Yes, he was. He is retired.
IRVING: A very eminent historian, is that correct?
IRVING: Very well. I hope your Lordship pardons me for having made that little excursion?
JUSTICE GRAY: Yes. You picked up the answer that Professor Browning gave about whether denying Hitler's having given an order was an aspect of Holocaust denial, but I do not think the Defendants really say that it is.
RAMPTON: We do not.
JUSTICE GRAY: I was checking your summary of case.
RAMPTON: The Hitler exculpation, exoneration, apology part of the case has nothing to do with Holocaust denial at all. They may have a similar motive at the end of the day but that is completely different. We have focused on Hitler's exoneration to prove what we call distorted history.
JUSTICE GRAY: Yes. I think what you do say is that it is part of Holocaust denial to deny that there was a systematic programme.
JUSTICE GRAY: That is not the same as denying that it was Hitler who instigated that programme.
RAMPTON: That is right. It is number 3, no systematic programme of exterminating Europe's Jews, whether on the part of Hitler or the Nazi leadership.

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