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Did Six Million Really Die?


How Raul Hilberg shot himself in both feet

at the 1985 Zundel Toronto Trial

| 1 | 2 |

[p. 5]

[Raul Hilberg testified at the first trial of Ernst Zündel in 1985. Prior to the second trial in 1988, Hilberg was asked by Crown Attorney John Pearson to reattend in Canada to give expert historical testimony on the Holocaust. Hilberg refused. In a letter to Pearson dated 5 October, 1987, Hilberg wrote:

"I have grave doubts about testifying in the Zundel case again. Last time, I testified for a day under direct examination and for three days under cross-examination. Were I to be in the witness box for a second time, the defense would be asking not merely the relevant and irrelevant questions put to me during the first trial, but it would also make every attempt to entrap me by pointing to any seeming contradiction, however trivial the subject might be, between my earlier testimony and an answer that I might give in 1988. The time and energy required to ward off such an assault would be great, and I am afraid that the investment of time alone would be too much, given all the commitments and deadlines I am facing now."

As a result, Crown Attorney Pearson applied to the court to have Hilberg's 1985 testimony read to the jury. Defence attorney Christie objected to the reading in of the testimony, alleging that Hilberg had perjured himself in 1985 with respect to his views on the existence of a Hitler order or orders, and that this was the real reason he was refusing to reattend in Canada. Christie pointed out that in 1985 Hilberg had testified that he believed a Hitler order existed; within weeks of that testimony, however, Hilberg's second edition of his book The Destruction of the European Jews had been published, in which he excised all mention of a Hitler order in the main body of the work. Christie argued it would be gravely prejudicial to Zündel and an insult to the administration of justice to allow the evidence to go to the jury without benefit of cross-examination in person of Hilberg.

The application was nevertheless granted by Judge Ron Thomas and Pearson read Hilberg's previous testimony into the record over a four day period on February 4, 5, 8 and 9, 1988. What follows is the 1985 Hilberg testimony. All references are to the 1985 transcript.]

* * *

Raul Hilberg was born in Vienna, Austria, in 1926. He emigrated to the United States in 1939. He came alone, without his family. In 1944, Hilberg started service with the United States Army doing intelligence work. (4-680)

After the war, Hilberg obtained a B.A. degree in political science from Brooklyn College and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from Columbia University in public law and government. His doctorate was obtained in 1955. Hilberg subsequently took up a teaching post at the University of Vermont which he still held. A full professor, Hilberg taught international relations, American foreign policy, and the Holocaust. (4-681, 682)

Hilberg commenced his study of the Holocaust in 1948. For a year (from 1951 to 1952) Hilberg worked at the Federal Records Centre at Alexandria, Virginia, in a project for the United States government, exploring captured German documents. His main work with respect to the Holocaust, said Hilberg, was "writing, sometimes consulting with publishers that send me books, or manuscripts, to be reviewed, and things of this sort." (4-682)

Hilberg had written a major work on the Holocaust entitled The Destruction of the European Jews, "...which was first published in 1961, and has been re-printed a number of times. An enlarged edition came out in Germany two years ago, and a somewhat larger one that will come out in three months in three volumes in the United States. That will be a revised, expanded edition, but in between I have published other works, both articles and books." The Destruction of the European Jews was about 800 pages long with double columns of text and about 3,000 footnotes. The forthcoming second edition, said Hilberg, "will be larger. Some condensation of material, but much that's been added. It's hard to transfer percentages, because the format is a little different. It's not double columned anymore, but it is 30, 40 percent longer than the first, even though it comes out in three volumes." (4-683, 686, 687)

Articles which Hilberg had written included ones for the Encyclopedia Americana and Funk & Wagnalls Encyclopedia: "On the Americana, on concentration camps, as well as the entry in Dachau and Buchenwald, and in Funk & Wagnalls on the Holocaust as such." Almost everything that he had written, said Hilberg, pertained to the destruction of the Jews. (4-683, 684)

Hilberg was a member of the United States Holocaust Memorial Council by appointment of the President of the United States. He had also been a member of the President's Commission on the Holocaust by appointment of President Carter. His other memberships included the American Society of International Law and the Jewish Studies Association as well as being a sinecure on some editorial boards. (4 684)

Hilberg defined the "Holocaust" to mean "the annihilation by physical means of the Jews of Europe during the Nazi regime between the years 1933 and 1945." (4-686)

In carrying out his research, Hilberg testified, "My main research strategy is to look at documents, to rely primarily on documents, and secondarily on the statements of witnesses, all kinds of witnesses who have knowledge of or direct observation of any part of the subject matter that I am interested in... When I speak of documents, I mean primarily public documents. That is to say, records of the German Nazi regime, kept primarily during the years 1933 to 1945. The United States government in particular captured a large part of these records during the war and kept them physically in Alexandria, Virginia. I looked at some of them while they were located in that area. In addition, of course, I looked at the so-called Nuremberg documents which are, essentially, taken from this pile, for purposes of introducing evidence in the war crimes trials in Nuremberg - namely, 1946, 7, 8, 9. In addition to that, I have been to archives in foreign countries where smaller collections are available and looked at those, quite a few in the original... In the pre-Xerox age, one had to copy the documents by hand, and that is what I did for years." Hilberg believed he copied "a few thousand" by hand over the years. (4-685, 686)

In his methodology as a historian, Hilberg said, "I would describe myself as an empiricist, looking at the materials, particularly the small details, and trying to come to conclusions from these details about the larger processes and the larger issues." As an example, he would "look at railway transports from specific areas to death camps with a view to establishing the pattern of deportations and killings in Europe, or I would look at the manner in which clothing, or the lost belongings of the gassed would be collected and distributed to find out some, in some way, as to how thorough the process was, what the mentality behind it was, and how, indeed, it was financed." (4-687, 688)

What perspective did he take in his work? "I was mainly curious from the beginning," said Hilberg, "and I am still curious now about the details, about how this process was implemented from stage one to the last. I did not view it as a simple, massive, amorphous undertaking. I wanted to see it in its step-by-step procedure. Trained as a political scientist, I was interested in who made these decisions and in what order they were made. And on the whole, that is a perspective of a political scientist approaching a historical probe." (4-688)

Hilberg had seen Did Six Million Really Die?: Truth At Last Exposed and had had an opportunity to read it. Crown Attorney Peter Griffiths asked Hilberg to comment on the historical methodology used in the [7] pamphlet, considered as a whole. Hilberg replied, "It's a bit hard to use the word 'methodology' in connection with such a pamphlet. Methodology presupposes some honest look at material and conclusions drawn honestly from it. What I find here is concoction, contradiction, untruth mixed with half-truths as some ordinary statements which anyone can accept in order that it's hard for me to comprehend. It seems, at first glance, and also upon re- reading, to be a highly biased statement." (4-690, 691)

Griffiths directed Hilberg's attention to page 7 of the pamphlet where Harwood had written:

In the first place, this claim cannot remotely be upheld on examination of the European Jewish population figures. According to Chambers Encyclopaedia the total number of Jews living in pre-war Europe was 6,500,000. Quite clearly, this would mean that almost the entire number were exterminated.

ilberg testified that in the course of his studies he had tried to determine the total number of Jews in pre-war Europe and described his methodology: "In the first instance I would consult census statistics. In some countries there is a breakdown in the census by religion, and those areas, one must look at the date of the census and, obviously, one must, in certain instances, account for the difference of years, if it is a 1930 census to 1939 or to 1940, given the birth rates in the population as estimated. In those countries in which there was no census figure, and there are some like that, the data are a little bit more nebulous. They are based upon estimates made on the whole Jewish communities, but there are estimates made as well by the Gestapo and by German statisticians, and one can look at all of these, and I have done that. Not one which I would describe as highly precise, but one which, nevertheless, gives me a ballpark figure... About 9-1/2 million pre-war... There is quite a percentage of error in that figure because, however one wishes to define Europe, I look at the Jewish population of Poland for which there is a census figure for 1930, and a Polish estimate for 1935, and the figure is 3,350,000 just for one country, Polish. One looks at the census of the Soviet Union and sees in 1939, January 1939 census, a figure of 3,020,000. So here are two countries with 6 million and, roughly, 400,000 people. And that does not encompass Germany, France, Britain, and also other European countries, Hungary and Romania, which may be added." (4-692, 693)

Do you have any difficulty with defining what a Jews is in pre-war Europe?, asked Griffiths. Said Hilberg, "Basically, the census statistics take the definition to be religion. Anyone belonging to the Jewish religion at the time was considered to be Jewish. Needless to say, Nazi Germany wrote its own definitions of the term "Jew," so did satellite states such as Hungary, where the term "Jew" was defined in terms of grandparentage -- in short, an individual with four Jewish grandparents, even though born into the Christian religion, was considered Jewish, under the Nazi definition. Thus, there is a difference, depending upon the country involved, of several percentage points, based upon which definition is adopted." (4-693, 694) In summary, Hilberg indicated that his calculation was 9-1/2 million Jews in pre-war Europe, but that if one introduced different criteria of the definition of "Jew" as those belonging to the Christian religion, the numbers were slightly higher. "So these are ballpark figures," he concluded. (4-705)

Griffiths produced a copy of page 99 of the 1973 edition of Chambers Encyclopedia, a portion of which Hilberg read to the court:

On the continent of Europe apart from Russia, whose western provinces also suffered terribly, only a handful of numerically unimportant communities in neutral countries escaped and of the 6,500,000 Jews who lived in the Nazi dominated lands in 1939, barely 1,500,000 remained alive when the war ended six years later.

Hilberg testified that in this excerpt from Chambers, Russia was excluded from the calculation. "It refers to 6,500,000 Jews in Nazi-dominated lands in 1939... leaving aside the accuracy of this figure about which I wouldn't comment, the fact is that Nazi-dominated Europe widened as German armies marched into France, Belgium, Holland, and above all, the eastern regions of Poland and the Soviet Union... in 1940 and 1941..." (4-695, 696)

Griffiths returned to Did Six Million Really Die? and read from page 10:


It should be emphasized straight away that there is not a single document in existence which proves that the Germans intended to, or carried out, the deliberate murder of Jews.

"Leaving aside what the authors meant by the term 'document'," said Hilberg, "my interpretation of German records is that there are, indeed, many hundreds of documents dealing with death- dealing operations directly, and reporting upon them, and giving figures and details... for example, when the German armies crossed the border into the Soviet Union on June 22nd, 1941, they were accompanied by battalion-size units of Security Police and Security Service. These units called Einsatzgruppen reported back on a daily basis all their operations, above all, of course, the killings of people, and that is 90, 95 percent Jews, according to those reports, in various localities of the vast regions of the USSR from the Baltic to the Black Sea. That is just one example of direct reportage in the German documents." (4-697) These documents existed today, said Hilberg and he had seen them. "These documents were Nuremberg documents. They come from the pile of records that the United States captured, or they are photostatic copies, microfilm copies available from the National Archives of the United States. I would not describe them as rare." (4-698)

Griffiths returned to Did Six Million Really Die? and read from page 13:

The Wisliceny statement deals at some length with the activities of the Einsatzgruppen or Action Groups used in the [8] Russian campaign. These must merit a detailed consideration in a survey of Nuremberg because the picture presented of them at the Trials represents a kind of "Six Million" in miniature, i.e. has been proved since to be the most enormous exaggeration and falsification.

Hilberg testified that "of course" did not agree with this statement. Hilberg denied that he had seen anything in the documentation he had gone through that would prove that the evidence presented at Nuremberg dealing with the Einsatzgruppen was an enormous exaggeration and falsification. "I have seen repeated documentation, some of it in the original documents that I have seen in Alexandria, Virginia, which do indicate much larger figures for these mobile operations which involve shootings on a mass scale. They were not at all limited to the so-called commissars attached to the Red Army. There were extremely few of those. Indeed, there were not 34,000, as stated here." (4-699)

Griffiths returned to the pamphlet and continued reading:

The Einsatzgruppen were four special units drawn from the Gestapo and the S.D. (S.S. Security Service) whose task was to wipe out partisans and Communist commissars in the wake of the advancing German armies in Russia. As early as 1939, there had been 34,000 of these political commissars attached to the Red Army. The activities of the Einsatzgruppen were the particular concern of the Soviet Prosecutor Rudenko at the Nuremberg Trials. The 1947 indictment of the four groups alleged that in the course of their operations they had killed not less than one million Jews in Russia merely because they were Jews.

These allegations have since been elaborated; it is now claimed that the murder of Soviet Jews by the Einsatzgruppen constituted Phase One in the plan to exterminate the Jews, Phase Two being the transportation of European Jews to Poland. Reitlinger admits that the original term "final solution" referred to emigration and had nothing to do with the liquidation of Jews, but he then claims that an extermination policy began at the time of the invasion of Russia in 1941.

"What is correct in the statement," said Hilberg, "is that there were four Einsatzgruppen composed, as stated here. It is also correct that I, myself, have stated that the killings of the Jews in the path of the Einsatzgruppen was phase one, and that the deportations was phase two. I, myself, have stated this in my own work. Also it is true, not only Reitlinger has stated that, that the usage of the term 'final solution' is an old usage, and it did mean emigration or some other disappearance of Jewry from the scene in the early days, and it did not mean killing until 1941. The phrase was not altered. The meaning given to the phrase was, however, entirely different once it was used in connection with either Einsatzgruppen operations or deportations to Poland." (4-701, 702)

Hilberg testified that he was familiar with Gerald Reitlinger's book The Final Solution. "It appeared in the early fifties. It is one of the first studies made on the basis of what I would consider not an overwhelming number of evidentiary materials, but nevertheless, enough to sketch the large picture. It is actually a rather conservative work. It's written by an Englishman, Reitlinger, who tended to be skeptical, and especially with regard to numbers, tended to downgrade them rather than move them up." (4-702)

Griffiths continued reading from the pamphlet:

He considers Hitler's order of July 1941 for the liquidation of the Communist commissars, and he concludes that this was accompanied by a verbal order from Hitler for the Einsatzgruppen to liquidate all Soviet Jews (Die Endlösung, p. 91). If this assumption is based on anything at all, it is probably the worthless Wisliceny statement, which alleges that the Einsatzgruppen were soon receiving orders to extend their task of crushing Communists and partisans to a "general massacre" of Russian Jews.

Hilberg testified that he based his opinion on more than the Wisliceny opinion. "There are statements made by various commanders, not only of, but in these Einsatzgruppen, some of them testifying at Nuremberg. Their affidavits are on record. There are statements made by members of the armed forces. There are records, including one which mentions the Chief of Operational Staff... in the High Command of the armed forces. Now, these are short, very concise, almost cryptic statements, but they do refer to a Hitler order. As far as the written material is concerned, it only refers to commissars and Jewish Bolshevik chieftains, as Hitler referred to them, but so far as the comments and statements of the commanders of Einsatzgruppen who, after all, were in the field and who carried out these operations, were concerned, yes, there was a Hitler order. Surely they didn't want the impression to be created that they were doing all this on their own without the Hitler order." (4-703, 704)

Griffiths turned to the subject of the Nuremberg trials. Hilberg testified that he had read the Nuremberg transcript volumes and explained what the trials had entailed. "There was a trial of the so-called major war criminals headed by Goering. This was a trial under a Charter, actually a treaty, but it is called a Charter of the International Military Tribunal, to which some twenty- odd countries were a party. The judges at the trial were American, U.S., British, French and Soviet. The prosecution also was drawn from these four powers, and the defendants were the top leadership apprehended after the war, with some exceptions - a few lower-ranking individuals as well. This record produced twenty volumes of testimony and additional volumes of documentation. There were so-called subsequent trials which were conducted as U.S. military tribunal proceedings, but these proceedings were, although called 'military', and although deemed 'international' because under a Control Council which was passed by all four occupying council, these particular trials were headed by American judges drawn from the highest state courts and consequently proceeded along lines customary and usual in these courts. There were twelve subsequent trials involving Field-Marshals, top corporation executives, top ministerial bureaucracy representatives, and the like, also the high SS people. And these twelve subsequent trials produced yet [9] another much larger record of documentation and testimony... Only one trial had a single accused, Milch. The others had several accused, up to more than a dozen." (4-705- 707)

Griffiths read from page 11 of Did Six Million Really Die? concerning the Nuremberg trials:


The Rules of Evidence, developed by British jurisprudence over the centuries in order to arrive at the truth of a charge with as much certainty as possible, were entirely disregarded at Nuremberg. It was decreed that "the Tribunal should not be bound by technical rules of evidence" but could admit "any evidence which it deemed to have probative value," that is, would support a conviction. In practise, this meant the admittance of hearsay evidence and documents, which in a normal judicial trial are always rejected as untrustworthy. That such evidence was allowed is of profound significance, because it was one of the principal methods by which the extermination legend was fabricated through fraudulent "written affidavits". Although only 240 witnesses were called in the course of the Trials, no less than 300,000 of these "written affidavits" were accepted by the Court as supporting the charges, without this evidence being heard under oath.


With respect to this passage, Hilberg said, "The system of keeping records at Nuremberg was to give each document an accession number - that is, regardless of content, as a document is received, it would receive a consecutive number within a so-called document series. So we have a pretty good figure of the number of documents that there were. These documents were given numbers regardless of whether they were German correspondence or affidavits. It made no difference. They would just get a number. And if the previous number was 599, then the next number was 600. From this I could tell you that the prosecution documents at the first Nuremberg trial were approximately 4,500, 5,000, including affidavits, that the prosecution documents in all the subsequent trials which I have mentioned aggregated roughly 40,000 documents, including affidavits, but in addition, there were many defence documents... In fact, I would, without being able to give you exact figures, say that I have seen enormous quantities of defence affidavits which were received. Indeed, I used some of them, and they are in the footnotes of my work. But in no case can we speak of 300,000 affidavits. That would be, even if you include all of the defence affidavits, which are more than the prosecution affidavits, that would be excessive." (4-711, 712)

Griffiths continued reading from the pamphlet:

Under these circumstances, any Jewish deportee or camp inmate could make any revengeful allegation that he pleased. Most incredible of all, perhaps, was the fact that defence lawyers at Nuremberg were not permitted to cross-examine prosecution witnesses....Moreover, the majority of witnesses were also Jews.


Hilberg testified that in the subsequent trials at Nuremberg, "there were state judges quite used to the rules of evidence and the usual business of what is and is not a legitimate question... one could not make a statement in any way at all in whatever way one pleased. There had to be some relevance. That is not to say that the statement was necessarily correct or that it was given any great weight, any more than my testimony is to be given quite a lot of weight, but it was a statement, and it had to have some relevance."

It was "strictly falsehood" that defence lawyers were not permitted to cross-examine prosecution witnesses, said Hilberg. He had seen such testimony and used it. "I have gone through the trial testimony of these twelve subsequent trials and I can only state that defence lawyers used a lot of opportunities given to them, and they had these opportunities to cross- examine prosecution witnesses. They may, at some time, have elected not to do so because the testimony was too damaging and they just didn't want to cross-examine." (4-712, 713)

Hilberg also disputed that the majority of witnesses were Jews. "I can't give you numbers, but there was a fair percentage of Jewish witnesses, but there was a very large number of non- Jewish witnesses. Some were victims, and a very large number of witnesses from the defence side. People were testifying about their superiors on trial, or their friend on trial. And moreover, there were prosecution witnesses drawn from the German bureaucracy as well. Some of these were called turncoats, but nevertheless there were people testifying for the prosecution, even though they, themselves, may have been in the SS or some other capacity involved in acts of destruction. So as far as that goes, as far as the statement about witnesses is concerned, yes, there were Jewish witnesses. Of course there were Jewish witnesses. But in no sense do they stand out in my mind as being a majority. Not at all." (4-714, 715)

Griffiths referred to page 12 of Did Six Million Really Die?:

Altogether more disturbing, however, were the methods employed to extract statements and "confessions" at Nuremberg, particularly those from S.S. officers which were used to support the extermination charge. The American Senator, Joseph McCarthy, in a statement given to the American Press on May 20th, 1949, drew attention to the following cases of torture to secure such confessions. In the prison of the Swabisch Hall, he stated, officers of the S.S. Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler were flogged until they were soaked in blood, after which their sexual organs were trampled on as they lay prostrate on the ground. As in the notorious Malmedy Trials of private soldiers, the prisoners were hoisted in the air and beaten until they signed the confessions demanded of them. On the basis of such "confessions" extorted from S.S. Generals Sepp Dietrich and Joachim Paiper, the Leibstandarte was convicted as a "guilty organisation". S.S. General Oswald Pohl, the economic administrator of the concentration camp system, had his face smeared with faeces and was subsequently beaten until he supplied his confession.

Hilberg had heard of Senator Joseph McCarthy and indicated he was not a historian. "I think the reference here," said Hilberg, "was to a trial, so-called Malmédy trial. This, by the way, was not a Holocaust trial, but [10] concerned a trial of SS people charged with shooting American prisoners of war... It concerns prisoners of war, wanton shooting of American prisoners of war. That is what this is all about... And in any case, the facts alleged here are so mixed up and so -- it is hard to comment on it." (4-715, 716)

Griffiths continued on to page 13 of Did Six Million Really Die? where Harwood alleged that Otto Ohlendorf, the commander of Einsatzgruppe D in the Ukraine during the war, was tortured by the Allies. With respect to this section of the pamphlet, Hilberg said, "...I know nothing about such torture and really find it a bit incredible... It is, to me, a little bit inconceivable that by 1947 or 8 prisoners in a war crimes trial under American custody, American military police, would have been tortured in a physical sense. I am not talking about whether they conceived the questioning as torture, but whether they would be tortured in a physical sense - I speak here as an ordinary person, not an expert - it is a matter of being an American and having lived amongst Americans and looking at what is and isn't plausible, and I have never seen any document connected with this trial in which the defence alleged that there was torture." (4-717, 718)

Griffiths referred Hilberg next to the portion of Did Six Million Really Die? dealing with Oswald Pohl. Hilberg testified that Pohl was "a high-ranking SS officer in charge of the so-called Economic Administrative Main Office of the SS and police mechanism. In his jurisdiction, among other things, was the management of concentration camps - not all camps, but those labelled as concentration camps. He also managed so-called SS enterprises, utilizing prisoners for labour. He also dealt with purely financial matters pertaining to the organization known as the SS and Security Police. That was his job." (4-718)

Griffiths read a portion of the pamphlet's section on Pohl at page 14:

A peak point of hypocrisy was reached at the trial when the prosecution said to Pohl that "had Germany rested content with the exclusion of Jews from her own territory, with denying them German citizenship, with excluding them from public office, or any like domestic regulation, no other nation could have been heard to complain." The truth is that Germany was bombarded with insults and economic sanctions for doing precisely these things, and her internal measures against the Jews were certainly a major cause of the declaration of war against Germany by the democracies.

Oswald Pohl was an extremely sensitive and intellectual individual who was reduced to a broken man in the course of his trial. As Senator McCarthy pointed out, Pohl had signed some incriminating statements after being subjected to severe torture, including a bogus admission that he had seen a gas chamber at Auschwitz in the summer of 1944.

With respect to the allegation that Germany's treatment of the Jews was a major cause of the war, Hilberg commented that "it is common knowledge that Germany attacked Poland on September 1st, 1939, and that two days later Great Britain and France declared war on Germany." (4-719)

Hilberg continued: "The correspondence that I have seen conducted by Pohl, and I now speak of documents with his signature, his handwritten signature, deals with such matters as the construction budgets for concentration camps - where to finance the money, be it for barracks or other installations, where to finance the ammunition for the guards. He dealt with the death rates in the concentration camps. He dealt with Auschwitz to a very considerable extent, because that was one camp under his jurisdiction - not all of them were, but Auschwitz was. So his duties, if we may call them that, encompassed the management of the concentration camp system, roughly twenty full-fledged concentration camps and the numerous satellite camps around them which contained hundreds of thousands of people at any one time, in which death at Auschwitz and in other localities reached seven digits. And that was the man, Pohl. Now, by background, he was an accountant. He might have been mild mannered, although his correspondence is not mild- mannered." (4-720, 721)

Griffiths asked if there was anything, from Hilberg's examination of the documents, that indicated Oswald Pohl was tortured. Hilberg said, "No. I must make a comment here about Pohl that I made earlier about Ohlendorf or anybody else. I haven't seen any allegations of torture by the defence. The defence had every opportunity to raise such a statement, make such questions. I haven't seen any in the record. I have been through all the record. I am not even sure just what Senator McCarthy, even considering what he was and who he was, made a footnote in any of this material." (4-722)

Griffiths drew Hilberg's attention to a passage in the pamphlet at page 11:

Should anyone be misled into believing that the extermination of the Jews was "proved" at Nuremberg by "evidence," he should consider the nature of the Trials themselves, based as they were on a total disregard of sound legal principles of any kind. The accusers acted as prosecutors, judges and executioners; "guilt" was assumed from the outset.


Griffiths indicated that what interested him was the phrase "guilt was assumed from the outset." Were all the people that were tried in the various Nuremberg trials convicted?, asked Griffiths.

"Oh, no," said Hilberg. "Not all. Some were exonerated. Some were convicted on some count, but not other counts." There was no uniform penalty for those who were convicted. "There were short prison sentences, some long ones, some life, a few death sentences. I could spot no uniformity. There was, perhaps, a tendency to impose more severe penalties on the members of the SS engaged in shootings, and lesser penalties on diplomats or white-collar people generally. That was the only distinction I could find in the sentencing procedure." (4-723, 724)

Griffiths turned to the next chapter in Did Six Million Really Die? which dealt more specifically with Auschwitz and read the following sentence at page 16:


However, no living, authentic eye-witness of these "gassings" has ever been produced and validated.

"Well, there is certainly such witnesses," said Hilberg, "and some who retrieved the bodies - they would be Jewish workers, inmates - from the gas chambers. Here and there an SS person who said that he would look through the peephole in the door and witnessed gassings in that fashion. In Russia, where there were gas vans, occupied Russia, where gas vans were used, there were many witnesses because it was an outdoor undertaking, as the bodies, particularly, were being unloaded. So I would say that there were a fair number of witnesses. Not a huge number, a fair number." (4-724, 725)

These witnesses had testified in the past in trial proceedings, said Hilberg. "Most recently I suppose, in the West German trials conducted in the course of 1960 against death camps located in Poland, not Auschwitz, but other camps." Hilberg had read the transcripts and the statements that were taken in these trials. Hilberg had also read the book Eyewitness Auschwitz by Filip Müller. "He was a person deported from Slovakia in 1942 and remained in Auschwitz through 1944." Hilberg had not read any testimony given by Müller in court proceedings but was familiar only with his book. (4-725)

Griffiths asked Hilberg to comment on a map on page 17 of the pamphlet which made a distinction between concentration camps and death camps. Hilberg said, "I would characterize a death camp as one which was set up for the specific purpose of killing people, one in which there was an ongoing operation designed to kill as many people as possible upon arrival. Under my definition, such camps were in Auschwitz. Not the whole of the Auschwitz camp, but in Auschwitz. Chelmno is indicated here [as a death camp]. Treblinka is indicated here. Sobibor is indicated here. Belzec is indicated here. And to a limited extent, Majdanek, which the Germans simply referred to as Lublin. I would not include Stutthof, although it is on this map, also as a death camp. There were shootings going on, but one must remember that the definition of 'death camp' versus 'concentration camp' is sometimes semantic. In Stutthof, too, there were systematic shootings. I would look for systematic killings in the numbers of tens of thousands, or hundreds of thousands or more before I would personally characterize the facility as a 'death camp'." (4-726, 727)

Griffiths returned to Did Six Million Really Die? and read from page 18:

In terms of numbers, Polish Jewry is supposed to have suffered most of all from extermination, not only at Auschwitz, but at an endless list of newly-discovered "death camps" such as Treblinka, Sobibor, Belzec, Maidanek, Chelmno and at many more obscure places which seem suddenly to have gained prominence. At the centre of the alleged extermination of the Polish Jews is the dramatic uprising in April 1943 of the Warsaw Ghetto. This is often represented as a revolt against being deported to gas ovens; presumably the alleged subject of Hitler and Himmler's "secret discussions" had leaked out and gained wide publicity in Warsaw. The case of the Warsaw Ghetto is an instructive insight into the creation of the extermination legend itself. Indeed, its evacuation by the Germans in 1943 is often referred to as the "extermination of the Polish Jews" although it was nothing of the kind, and layers of mythology have tended to surround it after the publication of sensational novels like John Hersey's The Wall and Leon Uris' Exodus.


Griffiths asked Hilberg to comment on the phraseology "an endless list of newly- discovered death camps" used in this passage. Hilberg replied, "Well, I would simply state that it is not an endless list, and it is not a case of newly-discovered death camps. Some of these camps were mentioned in the war. They were discovered to have existed by Polish underground personnel. One can find them mentioned in the New York Times during the war. So they are not as mysterious as is indicated here. That is not to say that much knowledge existed about these camps, because of the jurisdictional nature - that is to say, the reporting system from them. Not as many records have survived and, indeed, there have not been many people who survived these camps and, hence, also the testimony is less, and was not systematically gathered before the 1960s when the West German authorities conducted trials. Now, to the extent that the discoveries are 'new', yes, they were made in pursuance of several trials conducted by the West Germans against personnel of Treblinka, Sobibor, Belzec, Chelmno and, most recently, Majdanek." None of these trials, said Hilberg, were mentioned in the pamphlet. (4-729)

Griffiths turned to page 18 of Did Six Million Really Die? and read a long passage:

It has been established already that the 1931 Jewish population census for Poland placed the number of Jews at 2,732,600, and that after emigration and flight to the Soviet Union, no more than 1,100,000 were under German control. These incontrovertible facts, however, do not prevent Manvell and Frankl asserting that "there had been over three million Jews in Poland when Germany began the invasion" and that in 1942 "some two million still awaited death" (ibid, p. 140). In reality, of the million or so Jews in Poland, almost half, about 400,000 were eventually concentrated in the ghetto of Warsaw, an area of about two and a half square miles around the old mediaeval ghetto. The remainder had already been moved to the Polish Government-General by September 1940. In the summer of 1942, Himmler ordered the resettlement of all Polish Jews in detention camps in order to obtain their labour, part of the system of general concentration for labour assignment in the Government-General. Thus between July and October 1942, over three quarters of the Warsaw Ghetto's inhabitants were peacefully evacuated and transported, supervised by the Jewish police themselves. As we have seen, transportation to camps is alleged to have ended in "extermination", but there is absolutely no doubt from the evidence available that it involved only the effective procurement of labour and the prevention of unrest. In the first place, Himmler discovered on a surprise visit to Warsaw in January 1943 that 24,000 Jews registered as armaments workers were in fact working illegally as tailors and furriers (Manvell & Frankl, ibid, p. 140); the Ghetto was also being used as a base for subversive forays into the main area of Warsaw.


"Now, of course," said Hilberg, "this paragraph perhaps stands out for containing more errors, misstatements and some outright preposterous nonsensical matter. You know, it's hard to comment, but I'll try. The census of 1931 is incorrectly reproduced here. It was not 2,732,600. It was over 3 million. The error here is in attributing 2,732,600 to 1931 instead of to an earlier census in the 1920s. So we start out with an error that may have been an honest error, but it is incorrect. There is a statement that, 'after the emigration and flight to the Soviet Union, no more than 1,100,000 were under German control.' I have no idea where that number, 1,100,000, came from in this passage. All I could tell you is that there is a report that indicates, to a considerable degree of accuracy, how many Jews were located under German control at various times. We know that this number was approximately 2 million after Poland was divided - that is to say, in the western portion of Poland in 1939, and we know that, except for a quarter of a million that succeeded either in escaping to the Soviet Union or in being in the Red Army or in having been deported by Soviet authorities, except for that, roughly a quarter of a million, almost the entire Jewish population of Poland aggregating over 3 million, was caught between 1939 and 1941 under German control. So in short, not 1,100,000, but somewhat over 3 million." (4-732, 733)

Griffiths asked Hilberg to explain why he believed only 250,000 Jews escaped into the Soviet Union. Hilberg replied, "There is a report, and this is just one of several, by a statistician employed by the SS whose name was Korherr. This report was made with all the statistics gathered to the end of 1942, and a supplement for three more months to the period March 31st, 1943. In this report are detailed the figures of Jews under German control by region. And we know, therefore, how many of these people were under German control at given periods of time. But in addition there are detailed figures where specific districts, and where specific cities, some of them actually published in print by German authorities, others contained in German documents, that enable us to pretty accurately determine how many Jews were, indeed, under German control. And these are the figures that I just gave you. Now, how do we know how many people did escape to the Soviet Union? We do not know this directly. We have no figures from the USSR. We have only the data gathered after the war of those of the Jews who were able to escape who made it back. Since all these Jews were Polish citizens, they were given the opportunity to go back. They did not, of course, stay in Poland, but became displaced persons, and they were roughly 180,000 of them. I said perhaps a quarter of a million succeeded in escaping. I am attributing deaths to some of them. After all, they were fighting in the Red Army to some extent, or they perished while escaping, but the figures are within limits roughly a quarter of a million escapees. We know that, after the war, the number of Jews under German control in Poland, those that have been in Poland, was extremely few. The Korherr report, fewer than 300,000 Jews remaining in the so-called Government General, plus 80,000 that remained in the ghetto of Lodz, plus a certain number, not very many, sometimes thousands, in Bialystok, plus a handful in the eastern districts of Volhynia. By March 1943 a census was made by the Germans, and only 202,000 Jews were left in the General Government, indicating a further decline. Subsequent detailed reports indicate that this decline continued. Why 300,000, then 200,000, then fewer? Because the Germans were trying to retain Jewish labour, skilled labour, for as long as possible, with the proviso that also Jewish skilled labour had to disappear one day. Thus, as soon as there were Polish or Ukrainian or other replacements for this labour, Jewish labour was killed and replaced by non-Jewish labour. Thus we see a controlled process of reduction by shooting and by gassing in Poland with the result that of the pre-war population of roughly 3,350,000 as of September 1939, the death toll attributable to the Holocaust is close to 3 million, Poland alone, pre-war boundaries." (4-734 to 736)

Hilberg explained the make-up of the Government General of Poland during the war. "...the Government General consisted of five districts - the district of Warsaw, the district of Radom, the district of Lublin, the district of Cracow, and the district of Galicia. It didn't include territories of Poland included into the German Reich, and it didn't include certain other eastern territories inhabited by population attached to the Ukraine or, in the case of Russian population attached to the so called Ostland. But the so-called Government General did contain roughly two- thirds of the Polish Jews. Indeed, it contained perhaps two-thirds, or close to two thirds of the population of pre-war Poland." (4-736)

Griffiths asked whether there was any documentation indicating whether there were factories or someplace where Jewish labour could be used in the death camps of Treblinka, Sobibor, Belzec and Chelmno. Hilberg replied, "Belzec was a pure killing facility without any production of any kind whatsoever. Treblinka was a pure killing facility. There was a neighbouring camp by the same name which was much smaller which did have a very small SS- operated granite works. Sobibor was a pure death camp which did establish, late in 1943, a facility for making ammunition, or rehabilitating ammunition, very small. Chelmno had absolutely no facilities for production of any kind. These were extremely small camps in diameter. They were used exclusively for killing." (4-737)

Griffiths referred Hilberg to page 19 of Did Six Million Really Die? where Harwood dealt with the Warsaw ghetto uprising:

After six months of peaceful evacuation, when only about 60,000 Jews remained in the residential ghetto, the Germans met with an armed rebellion on 18th January, 1943. Manvell and Frankl admit that "The Jews involved in planned resistance had for a long time been engaged in smuggling arms from the outside world, and combat groups fired on and killed S.S. men and militia in charge of a column of [13] deportees." The terrorists in the Ghetto uprising were also assisted by the Polish Home Army and the PPR - Polska Partia Robotnicza, the Communist Polish Workers Party. It was under these circumstances of a revolt aided by partisans and communists that the occupying forces, as any army would in a similar situation, moved in to suppress the terrorists, if necessary by destroying the residential area itself. It should be remembered that the whole process of evacuation would have continued peacefully had not extremists among the inhabitants planned an armed rebellion which in the end was bound to fail. When S.S. Lieutenant-General Stroop entered the Ghetto with armoured cars on 19th April, he immediately came under fire and lost twelve men; German and Polish casualties in the battle, which lasted four weeks, totalled 101 men killed and wounded. Stubborn resistance by the Jewish Combat Organisation in the face of impossible odds led to an estimated 12,000 Jewish casualties, the majority by remaining in burning buildings and dug outs. A total, however, of 56,065 inhabitants were captured and peacefully resettled in the area of the Government-General. Many Jews within the Ghetto had resented the terror imposed on them by the Combat Organisation, and had attempted to inform on their headquarters to the German authorities.

Griffiths asked Hilberg whether any reports existed with respect to this event. Hilberg said, "Yes. There is a report by the highest SS and police officer in the area whose name was Stroop. He was in charge in 1943. He made a long report indicating clearly, in writing, where the Jews went in 1942. He said 310,000 were transported to Treblinka, which is a death camp. Now, of the population in this ghetto in 1942, sixty or seventy thousand were left over after that deportation, half of them registered, the other half more or less in hiding. The registered inmates were used in production. So in January yet another six or seven thousand were deported, and following that deportation yet another action began to liquidate the ghetto in its entirety, but that was the liquidation of a remnant." (4-738)

Griffiths asked whether Hilberg remembered Stroop giving a figure of 56,065 in his report. Hilberg replied, "Yes, he does. That's his figure of Jewish dead." (4-741)

So when Harwood spoke of peacefully re-settling that number from the Government General, what was he talking about?, asked Griffiths. Hilberg said, "Well, of course, this whole passage is a complete falsehood in that it converts figures of dead into figures of presumably living people. And the only correct statement in the entire passage is that the assault began on the 19th of April, and Stroop did report 101 casualties, 16 killed and 85 wounded. Everything else here is pretty wrong." (4-741)

Hilberg testified that he had checked other documents which indicated where Jews from the Warsaw ghetto were taken. "In Germany, as I mentioned... there was a trial of Treblinka personnel - that is to say, people who served in the German guard forces and its commanders - and there is, of course, a good deal of testimony in the trial record as to the arrival of the Jews of the Warsaw ghetto in Treblinka." (4-742)

Hilberg had also studied railroad schedules. These had become a particular interest of his and played a "very important role" in his study of the Holocaust, "because although there aren't very many of these railroad schedules, they indicate a great deal about the strategy of the German deporting agencies - for example, why the camps were located where they were located in Poland. The answer is that the Germans - that is, the Gestapo, as the shipping agents, the Security Police which is the larger element of Gestapo and police, had to pay the German railways for each transport of Jews, the one-way fare per person, third class, per track kilometre. The longer the trip, the heavier the bill. It was thus in the financial interests of the deporting agencies to make those trips as short as possible and to locate the death camps where Jewish population was most heavily, most densely found. The trip, for example, in kilometres from Warsaw to Treblinka is relatively short. That is to say, the bill could be met. It was met, as reported by an SS officer, by selling old clothes, belongings, the currency of those of the gassed, and thus the bill was paid with the belongings of the dead Jews. This is clearly stated in a final report... by a man in charge of collecting and distributing the final belongings of the dead, the personal belongings that were collected in the death camps. Everything was salvaged. Everything was routed to some final purpose and final route, and insofar as any money was to be gotten from it, the expenses of the death operations, including transport costs and the cost of the camps were defrayed. The rest of the money became part of the Reich budget. It was an income to the Reich. That is the way it was done. Now, these railway schedules make clear that the transportees, the deportees, had to be counted for the simple reason that payment had to be made for each one. The counting was necessary for financial purposes. This tells me a great deal about everything that transpired here. We see lots of trains going to a few small places like Treblinka and Sobibor which, on the map, are villages, which on the map are found to be places with a few hundred inhabitants nearby, and all of a sudden you find hundreds of thousands of people going to these places on one-way trips, and the trains returning empty... That is what the documents indicate." (4-743 to 745)

Griffiths turned Hilberg's attention next to page 28 and the pamphlet's treatment of Paul Rassinier:

Without doubt the most important contribution to a truthful study of the extermination question has been the work of the French historian, Professor Paul Rassinier. The pre-eminent value of this work lies firstly in the fact that Rassinier actually experienced life in the German concentration camps, and also that, as a Socialist intellectual and anti-Nazi, nobody could be less inclined to defend Hitler and National Socialism. Yet, for the sake of justice and historical truth, Rassinier spent the remainder of his post-war years until his death in 1966 pursuing research which utterly refuted the Myth of the Six Million and the legend of Nazi diabolism.

Hilberg had read the German translation of Rassinier's book but had never met Rassinier or [14] corresponded with him. Griffiths asked Hilberg to comment on the methodology used by Rassinier in his work. "I would characterize it in one word," said Hilberg, "as fabrication... Simply because Mr. Rassinier will say thus and thus must have happened, and attach figures to his opinion which come out of thin air. Thus and thus, notwithstanding any evidence, did not happen, and thereby attach figures to justify what he says." (4-746, 747)

Griffiths read from page 29 of the pamphlet:

With the help of one hundred pages of cross-checked statistics, Professor Rassinier concludes in Le Drame des Juifs européens that the number of Jewish casualties during the Second World War could not have exceeded 1,200,000, and he notes that this has finally been accepted as valid by the World Centre of Contemporary Jewish Documentation at Paris. However, he regards such a figure as a maximum limit, and refers to the lower estimate of 896,892 casualties in a study of the same problem by the Jewish statistician Raul Hilberg. Rassinier points out that the State of Israel nevertheless continues to claim compensation for six million dead, each one representing an indemnity of 5,000 marks.

Hilberg testified that "the only correct statement in the paragraph" was that his name was Raul Hilberg. Hilberg said he was "actually not" a statistician. He never gave an estimate of 896,892: "not in my book, not in any of my published work, not in any of my unpublished statements that I ever made, not of any kind." Hilberg believed the figure came from "a calculation, if we may call it a calculation, made by [Rassinier] in which he took two columns. Before and after columns, Jewish population in 1939, Jewish population in 1945, adjusted for anything such as migrations or war casualties. He did not subtract the last column from the first. He subtracted one column from the other, which gave him a number such as 5.4 million... And then he decided that he would have to proceed in this number in order to render it into something proper, so he deducted from it various figments of his imagination, numbers that he concocted, and came up with a bottom line, his, not my bottom line, of 896,892. Here the figure is attributed to me." (4-748, 749)

Hilberg indicated that his calculation of the Jewish death toll in the Holocaust was in fact over 5 million. "I have broken it down, particularly in the second edition. I can break it down by cause. I can break it down by locality, and now I could even break it down by time, by year... I would say that of this 5.1 million rounded figure in which the term 'Jew' is taken as the one adopted by the Germans, roughly up to 3 million were deaths in camps. The vast majority of them, of course, were gassed, but several hundred thousands in these camps were shot or dying of privation, starvation, disease and so forth; that a 1.3 million or a 1.4 million were shot in systematic operations... such as those of the Einsatzgruppen, but not limited to Einsatzgruppen operations, shot in primarily the occupied USSR, Galicia, but also Serbia and other localities, and that the remainder, deaths from conditions in the ghettos, which can also be calculated because the Korherr reports has numbers about such deaths, and because individual ghettos, Jewish councils in these ghettos sent reports to German agencies. We have these reports indicating the monthly death tolls in such places as Warsaw, which was the largest ghetto, and Lodz, which was the second largest ghetto. We also have data about Lvov, which was the third largest ghetto. Thus we do have a pretty good idea of the death rate in the ghettos which, at the peak, in 1941, was one percent of the population per month." (4-749 to 751)

January 16, 1985

Griffiths referred Hilberg to page 30 of the pamphlet and asked him to comment on the following paragraph:

Contrary to the figure of over 9 million Jews in German- occupied territory put forward at the Nuremberg and Eichmann trials, it has already been established that after extensive emigration, approximately 3 million were living in Europe, excluding the Soviet Union. Even when the Jews of German- occupied Russia are included (the majority of Russian Jews were evacuated beyond German control), the overall number probably does not exceed four million. Himmler's statistician, Dr. Richard Korherr and the World Centre of Contemporary Jewish Documentation put the number respectively at 5,550,000 and 5,294,000 when German- occupied territory was at its widest, but both these figures include the two million Jews of the Baltic and western Russia without paying any attention to the large number of these who were evacuated.

Hilberg testified that the Richard Korherr referred to in the passage was the chief statistician of the SS and police. Korherr's report, said Hilberg, "runs for something like ten, twelve pages, plus appendixes. It's a report packed with figures." In Hilberg's opinion, the figures quoted by Harwood bore "no resemblance to what is in the Korherr report. Obviously they are totally out of context and inaccurate." (4 755, 756)

Griffiths read from the top of the next column in the pamphlet:

It is very significant, therefore, that the World Centre of Contemporary Jewish Documentation in Paris now states that only 1,485,292 Jews died from all causes during the Second World War, and although this figure is certainly too high, at least it bears no resemblance at all to the legendary Six Million.

Hilberg was not familiar with any organization by the name of the World Centre of Contemporary Jewish Documentation in Paris and he doubted that it existed, "but possibly reference is made to a centre in Paris which has a similar name, but that centre has not published, to my knowledge, any figure resembling 1,485,292 as the total number of Jews that died from all causes during the Second World War." The centre in Paris was the Centre for Documentation of Contemporary Jewry. "It's not a world centre in any sense of the word," said Hilberg, "It's a small research organization, and from my knowledge of its [15] publications, it's never published any figure in the vicinity of 1,485,000 as the Jewish toll." (4-756, 757)

Griffiths returned to Did Six Million Really Die? and read from page 30:

Doubtless, several thousand Jewish persons did die in the course of the Second World War, but this must be seen in the context of a war that cost many millions of innocent victims on all sides. To put the matter in perspective, for example, we may point out that 700,000 Russian civilians died during the siege of Leningrad, and a total of 2,050,000 German civilians were killed in Allied air raids and forced repatriation after the war. In 1955, another neutral Swiss source, Die Tat of Zurich (January 19th, 1955), in a survey of all Second World War casualties based on figures of the lnternational Red Cross, put the "Loss of victims of persecution because of politics, race or religion who died in prisons and concentration camps between 1939 and 1945" at 300,000, not all of whom were Jews, and this figure seems the most accurate assessment.

With respect to this passage Hilberg said, "I am not familiar with any such statistics by the International Red Cross or, for that matter, any other organization, and I could not give you the source of it. I don't know whether it's an invented datum here or taken from some publication which I have never heard of." (4-758, 759)

Griffiths asked Hilberg how extensive the academic body studying the Holocaust was. Hilberg testified, "There are, no doubt, several... highly trained researchers still alive or, in fact, young, working in this area within the United States, here in Canada, in western Germany, in Israel, in other countries. It's not a very large group, but there are several dozen... I can give you some names without trying to say that these are the top researchers... In western Germany there is probably, by now, the largest single group researching the Holocaust. A young person, [Uwe Dietrich] Adam, an older person, Helmut Krausnick, who, incidentally, was in the German Foreign Office during World War II, but a very capable and objective historian of the Holocaust. He wrote, as co-author, a book numbering many hundreds of pages about the Einsatzgruppen and the Holocaust in print. In France the leading researcher is Leon Poliakov. In the United States, on the west coast, Christopher Browning. In Canada, at the University of Toronto, Professor Marrus in the Department of History. On the west coast in British Columbia, Professor Conway in the Department of History. In Israel, naturally, there are several historians - a Professor Bauer, Professor Gutman. I am not giving you all of the names. I am trying to pick names from several countries... They are all published, and this publication goes on, and one can pick up the newspapers and see reviews of books coming out concurrently. The most recent review is of that of an English researcher, Gerald Fleming." (4-759, 760)

Griffiths asked Hilberg whether any of these researchers denied that millions and millions - 5 to 6 million - Jews were annihilated as a result of Nazi German policy during World War II. "No," said Hilberg, "There is no such denial." (4-761)

When he began his research in 1948, there were not many people working in the field. "In fact, I believed myself to be alone. As it happened, Professor Poliakov was working in Paris, and Mr. Reitlinger was working in England, but I wasn't aware of the fact, and I did not know them." (4-762)

Griffiths concluded his examination of Hilberg by asking him whether he was a member of any conspiracy or hoax or fraud to falsify the scope and tragic proportions of the annihilation of the Jews. Hilberg replied, "I understand the question. I am not a member of a conspiracy or agreement, nor any of the combination of persons dedicated to finding conclusions in advance of research, and certainly no hoaxes." (4-764)

* * *

Defence attorney Douglas Christie rose to cross-examine Hilberg and commenced by asking him if he had criticized Did Six Million Really Die? for not having footnotes. Hilberg said, "Well, of course, I do not mean to say that every single publication must have footnotes, but when there is an allegation of purported facts such as appear in this pamphlet, which are so much at variance with the accepted knowledge, one is entitled to ask for a source in the form of a footnote, so that one may, as a reader, check the information." (4-764)

I simply put it to you, said Christie, that you have criticized the booklet for not having footnotes, sir. Correct or incorrect?

Hilberg replied, "Subject to my answer just before, you are correct in assessing my answer." (4-765)

And isn't it true, asked Christie, that in your entire evidence, today and yesterday, in your broad, sweeping statements of fact, you have not yourself produced one single document to support anything you have said?

"I have made verbal, oral references to documents. The matter of introducing documents in the form of pieces of papers I need hardly tell you, as an attorney, is a matter for the government to decide. I am not the person introducing documents at any time in any court whatsoever. I am simply a witness trying to explain what I know," said Hilberg.

Then you would agree, said Christie, that the simple answer is 'no', and the reason is because the Crown hasn't introduced them through you. Is that your evidence?

"Well, as you just restated the matter, I could accept it broadly, but I wish to remain with my words." (4-765)

I want to understand your words, said Christie. Very simply, that you have yourself, whether it's through the Crown's decision or yours, not produced one single document to support what you have said. Isn't that true?

Hilberg replied, "I have not presented pieces of paper, nor do I deem it my function to do so, but I have orally referred to pieces of paper."

Yes, said Christie, you have mentioned the existence of hundreds of orders and hundreds of train railway schedules and special trains but you have not produced one single example, sir. Have you?

[16] "I have given you oral examples, with leaving out only the document numbers. And if you wish, you can check them in a book I have written. Quite a few are in there."

Hilberg confirmed that he had testified that his methodology was that of an empiricist and that he tried to find out how, but not why, the 6 million were killed. Christie put to Hilberg that at no time did he ever inquire as to whether the 6 million did in fact die.

Hilberg replied, "The empirical method is one in which one must make certain initial determinations of what happened. In my case, these initial determinations were based upon a cursory examination of documentation pertaining to this event. By 'cursory', I don't mean one or two documents, but I mean a study, after some months, of the then available documentation. Without saying a word in the public or without printing anything, without writing anything, I then said to myself, 'Let us take this initial source pile and ask, what exactly happened here.' Now, the what and the how are the same, and it is in this method, and by these means, that I proceeded to construct the picture, step by step, detail by detail. That is not to say that my initial thoughts or findings were in all respects one hundred percent correct, but the fact of the Holocaust was certainly confirmed over and over." (4-768)

Christie indicated that he wanted a simple answer to his question so that he as a simple person might understand it. I asked you if your method was to find out how it happened, said Christie, not why it happened. Do you agree?

"That's correct," said Hilberg.

I asked you if you ever made an effort to determine if 6 million really died and your answer was you made an initial determination of what happened on the basis of a cursory examination of the available data. Right?, asked Christie.

"That, in order to decide for myself, and myself only, whether to invest my time, and as it turns out my life, in this project...Who would want to spend a lifetime in the study of something that did not happen?, " said Hilberg. He confirmed that he "made an initial determination" that 6 million died: "It would be called a presumption. That is rather rebuttable. It could be destroyed. It could be abandoned upon the finding of contrary evidence." (4-769)

Hilberg agreed that he had given his opinion on a wide range of subjects involving the concentration camps and what he called the death camps: "I have formed opinions," he said. (4- 770)

Have you ever visited Bergen-Belsen?, asked Christie.

"No," said Hilberg.

Have you visited Buchenwald?, asked Christie.


Have you visited Dachau?, asked Christie.

"No, I have not visited - I can tell you, to save your questions," said Hilberg, "I have visited only two camps... Auschwitz and Treblinka." (4-771)

Hilberg testified that there were three parts to Auschwitz, the first called Auschwitz, the second called Birkenau and the third called Monowitz. They were also sometimes called Auschwitz I, II and III. Hilberg had visited Auschwitz and Birkenau but not Monowitz. (4-771)

Hilberg had visited Auschwitz and Birkenau once and Treblinka once in 1979 after he wrote his first book. (4-772)

So you wrote a book about a place before you went there, suggested Christie.

"I wrote a book on the basis of the documents," said Hilberg, "...I did not write a book about the place. I wrote a book about an event in which a place is mentioned, albeit repeatedly."

Hilberg agreed that he had written about what happened in a place before he went there on the basis of what he had seen in documents. (4-773)

So we agree, said Christie, that you wrote the book before you ever went to the place you were writing about?

"That's correct," said Hilberg.

When you went to Auschwitz once in 1979, how long did you stay there?, asked Christie.

"One day," said Hilberg.

And to Birkenau?, asked Christie.

"That was the same day."

And to Treblinka?

"That was another day," said Hilberg.

Hilberg agreed that he had spent "something like" one day in Treblinka, and perhaps a half day in Auschwitz and a half day in Birkenau. (4-774)

Hilberg found "one gas chamber, in good condition, but partially reconstructed, in Auschwitz I... In Auschwitz I there is only one gas chamber. There was never more than one, to my knowledge, in Auschwitz I." (4-774)

This knowledge was based on "documents," said Hilberg. "I have studied the documents... Including those pertaining to construction and, thus, was aware, many years before I ever set foot in Auschwitz, that there was a gas chamber in Auschwitz in the first old part of the camp which was in use prior to the establishment of additional gas chambers in Auschwitz II, known as Birkenau." (4-775)

In Birkenau, two gas chambers were established in 1942, said Hilberg. He knew this "on the basis of documents, not observation... Two so-called huts, bunkers, were established in Birkenau. They were temporary structures. There were no crematoria in these buildings. The bodies were first buried, subsequently disinterred, and burned... Not until 1943, after extensive building lasting many months, were four massive structures created in Birkenau. Those are labelled 1, 2, 3, 4 in a new enumeration... The structures contained gas chambers and crematoria." (4-776, 777)

So did you see them on the day you were there?, asked Christie.

"What I saw were the ruins," said Hilberg.

Christie produced a map and asked Hilberg if it was a map of Auschwitz I.

[17] "Well, it does bear the resemblance to what I recall as Auschwitz I," said Hilberg. "Nothing seems to be labelled here."

Christie agreed nothing was labelled. Is there anything there that you can see that is in any way different from what you saw?, he asked.

"Well, you are showing me a building plan and what's around in a place when one does not walk with a building plan, but there is no discernible difference from what I recall seeing there today and what's on this building plan, or this outline."

Have you ever seen a building plan of Auschwitz I before?, asked Christie.

"Oh, yes."

Does it look different than that?, asked Christie.

"No. It bears a resemblance. It may be exactly the same as what I have seen before, but I would have to have the two documents in front of me to be utterly precise. I mean, there are documents and there are documents. If you are going to show me building plans, photographs, diagrams, I do not have the same competence as I would with documents expressed in words." (4-777, 778)

Hilberg testified that he would accept the document as an accurate layout of the camp "within the limits that I have just stated, that is to say, I cannot be quite as confident as I would be with a document in words. It does, certainly, reveal the features that I recall having seen before." (4-778; Plan of Auschwitz I entered as Exhibit F)

Christie asked whether Hilberg recalled testifying the previous day that the figure of 56,065 in the Stroop Report was Stroop's figure "of Jewish dead" and whether he wanted to change that evidence in any way.

"That is a figure of Jewish dead," said Hilberg.

Christie produced the Stroop Report as reported in the transcript of the International Military Tribunal (IMT), Document 1061-PS and suggested to Hilberg that the figure of 56,065 did not say "killed" at all.

"They say annihilated, vernichten," said Hilberg.

It means "annihilate" to you, does it?, asked Christie.

"I dare say it means 'annihilate' to anyone familiar with the German language, and it is so written in any dictionary," said Hilberg. (4-779 to 781)

Christie put to Hilberg that the judgment of the International Military Tribunal did not agree with Hilberg's interpretation. Christie read from page 494 of the judgment:

Stroop recorded that his action at Warsaw eliminated "a proved total of 56,065 people. To that we have to add the number of those killed through blasting, fire, etc., which cannot be counted."

Christie put to Hilberg that the judgment used the word "eliminate" not "annihilate."

"My only answer is that in the judgment, the term 'eliminated' may have been used as a synonym for 'annihilated', because the German word vernichten leaves no doubt. It is not an ambiguous word. It means 'annihilate,'" said Hilberg. (4-781 to 784)

Christie asked Hilberg whether he was familiar with the historian, Hugh Trevor Roper. Hilberg testified that he did not know Trevor-Roper personally but knew he was a British historian who had published many books on this subject. (4-784) Trevor-Roper had provided the Introduction to a book entitled A Pictorial History of the SS, 1923-1945 by Andrew Mollo in which the author had written:

Jewish losses amounted to many thousands buried in the rubble, 57,000 taken prisoner, 22,000 were sent to various concentration camps, and between 5,000 and 6,000 escaped. German losses were sixteen dead and eighty-five wounded.

"That is not the account or the summary that I would give," said Hilberg. "It leaves ambiguities and holes. The figures don't quite add up, and I am somewhat hesitant to endorse this description, since we do have the original document and we can do better than that." (4-785, 786)

Hilberg denied that the word "eliminated" was a more accurate translation of the German word vernichten. He said, "People were taken and shot upon being taken prisoners, and this means annihilation, or they were...sent to Treblinka, where they were gassed, which means 'annihilation'... they were sent to Lublin to be annihilated." (4-786)

You have now interpreted the words as being annihilated, not at this time, but somewhere else now. Is that right?, asked Christie.

"Partially at this time, and partially in subsequent killings," said Hilberg.

Christie pointed out that his previous testimony was that the 56,065 were reported as "Jewish dead" in the Stroop report itself, but now he seemed to be interpreting that to mean some of them were killed later at Treblinka.

Hilberg denied this. "It wasn't my evidence today or yesterday. In the pamphlet - and this was what the question was about - the number was cited as people who were alive then, later, and presumably after the war... that is my interpretation of the pamphlet, and that is the nature and the thrust of what was said there." (4-787)

Christie suggested they return to Did Six Million Really Die? to see exactly what was said. Hilberg admitted it was true, as alleged in the pamphlet, that people in the ghetto opened fire on the armed forces under SS Lieutenant-General Stroop when they entered the Warsaw ghetto on April 19. (4-788, 789)

Are you familiar with the British and American rules of land warfare?, asked Christie.

"I'm familiar with the international law respecting land warfare," said Hilberg. "If you are going to be specific about British and American, I am not sure how familiar you wish me to be... I can say that I am somewhat familiar. I can't say that I am totally familiar, or totally unfamiliar." (4-789)

Hilberg admitted that he was familiar with the British and American rules of land warfare justifying reprisals against partisans or those in occupied territory who opened fire on armed soldiers. (4-790)

[18] Is it not true, asked Christie, that after the capitulation of Germany, the same process of taking reprisals was used by the British and Americans?

"I have no knowledge of any such event as you describe," said Hilberg.

You are unaware of threats to shoot fifty Germans for every American soldier shot?, asked Christie.

"Pardon me," said Hilberg, "but that is the first time I heard of it."

Hilberg admitted it was true, as stated in the pamphlet, that Stroop came immediately came under fire and that in the ensuing battle which lasted four weeks, German and Polish casualties totalled 101 men killed and wounded. (4-791)

Christie read a further statement from the pamphlet at page 19:

Stubborn resistance by the Jewish Combat Organisation in the face of impossible odds led to an estimated 12,000 Jewish casualties...

"The term 'casualties' here is a bit ambiguous," said Hilberg. "In other words, take the simple matter at face value of 101 dead and wounded on the German side, and then, whether you wish to say 12,000, 56,000 or 70,000, what kind of ratio is that?... 'Casualty' implies being wounded or killed in combat."

You don't think there was combat going on it the Warsaw ghetto at that time?, asked Christie.

"What I believe is that in no sense, [were there] 12,000 or 15,000 or 50,000 combatants on the Jewish side... I am well aware of the sources, and I have, indeed, spoken to members of those that survived in this battle in hiding and so on, and the estimates, my estimate was 1,500 combatants on the Jewish side, which was a high estimate, a very high estimate. I have since seen, in Gutman's book, an estimate of 750. He is a very well informed researcher who happened to have been there." (4-792, 793)

So you are trying to explain why there aren't 12,000 casualties. Is that right?, asked Christie.

"I am saying that it is mislabelling to say that someone gunned down an old woman, a child, without arms in his hands, as a 'casualty', because 'casualty' presumes in this context combat, that the person has been fired on because he fired," said Hilberg.

Hilberg agreed that guerrilla warfare involved people shooting from buildings without announcing their presence: "Yes, I am familiar with that. I was a soldier."

If 1,500 armed partisans are in a massive building structure then, asked Christie, can you decide who is a guerrilla and who is not? How do you figure that one out?

"It is not a simple matter to decide," agreed Hilberg, "but I would say to you, sir, that the entire enterprise of so-called 'clearing the ghetto' had been decided by German authorities prior to the commencement, with a view to liquidating this ghetto in its entirety... That is partially in the Stroop report. It is partially in other documents..."

Christie put to Hilberg that nowhere in the Stroop report did it say anything about liquidating the entire population of the Warsaw ghetto.

"Well, I can only read the report in its entirety," said Hilberg. (4-793, 794)

Christie pointed out that the report was in front of him and requested that he find the part that spoke of liquidating the members of the ghetto.

"On page 635," said Hilberg, "...There is mention made of a major action which was to last three days to forcibly, as they say, relocate the enterprises that were then in the ghetto, and then it goes on to describe how this Grossaktion, this major action, began on the morning of the nineteenth. The intention was, in short, to liquidate the ghetto."

So "relocate" to you means "liquidate"?, asked Christie.

"Absolutely. By 'liquidate' I mean the physical removal of everything in this ghetto. Not just people, but the enterprises, the machinery of these enterprises. Everything."

So relocating everything is what you mean by "liquidating the ghetto"?, asked Christie.

"Now, now, relocating," said Hilberg. "Machines were to be saved. Skilled labourers, to some extent, were initially to be saved. Everybody else was to be annihilated."

Christie pointed out that the word Hilberg had read out from the report was "relocated."

"That's correct. Yes, that is the correct..."

That doesn't indicated an intention to annihilate to me, said Christie. Does it to you?

"Yes," said Hilberg. "That is the difference between us, you see, because I have read thousands of German documents and you haven't."

In Hilberg's view, the word "relocate" meant "to relocate in certain contexts...I am not alone in knowing the context. I have mentioned colleagues and fellow workers who know the context also." In this case, the word "relocate" meant "liquidation...To encompass both people and goods and machinery... initially there was the view and the attempt and the purpose of saving some skilled labourers. This plan was not to come to fruition." (4-794 to 797)

Christie said he was not interested in Hilberg's interpretation of the plan but in what the Stroop report said about the plan and so far it was clear it said "relocate the ghetto."

"Well, actually the relocation refers specifically to the enterprises," said Hilberg.

Hilberg agreed again that the Germans were fired upon when they entered the ghetto by, in his opinion based on what he had read, "at most 1,500" partisans. (4 798)

Did they have guns?, asked Christie.

"To the best of my knowledge, judging from what the Stroop report itself states, they may have had three automatic weapons, one light machine gun, and possibly two other grease guns... Stroop mentioned something like fifty-nine rifles captured. There were not many more. The armament consisted of pistols, home-made [19] explosive devices, things of that sort. Anyone with any military experience knows that the total armament of the ghetto did not total then what was in the infantry company."

Christie suggested that it would be hard for a person in the street to know what was inside a building.

"Well, they had some idea," said Hilberg. But he agreed that he "would have to say that their intelligence wasn't very great in those days." (4-799)

Hilberg agreed that what occurred was a battle although he considered it a very uneven battle. In his opinion, the 12,000 were victims of, "If I may use a simple word, murder."

Christie put to Hilberg that people who shoot on soldiers from civilian hiding places were in breach of the rules of warfare and did not have the rights of prisoners of war.

"It is my understanding," agreed Hilberg. "Given as a soldier, going all the way back, that one uses necessary force. Now, necessary force is limited."

Christie pointed out that these people were shooting from inside buildings which collapsed when they were fired upon, and people were buried in the buildings.

"People also surrendered and were shot upon surrender, in large numbers," said Hilberg. (4-800)

Is that right?, asked Christie. Did you have something in the Stroop report to indicate that?

"Oh, I think the figures and the numbers and, may I add, the photographs, since they are abundant... indicate what happened. They show people surrendering," said Hilberg.

Christie pointed out that Did Six Million Really Die? alleged there were 12,000 casualties. Did Hilberg dispute that? Was it his evidence that more than 12,000 were killed?

"You are now mixing up several things," said Hilberg. "The figure 12,000 comes from your sources, and not the document. It comes from the one I am not familiar with... I would suggest to you, sir, that as I said before, the term 'casualty' has certain connotations... To me in the context of battle a 'casualty' is a person who falls in battle." Hilberg did not agree that "casualties" meant only dead people. (4-801) In Hilberg's view, "there was a battle, but I think that there was a much greater slaughter."

You feel, suggested Christie, that more force than was necessary was used.

"Excuse me, sir. You are trying again to put words into my mouth... Let me answer with the following qualifications, which... are very, very serious, because the term as you used it suggests a mode to this whole problem whereby the liquidation of the ghetto of Warsaw was 'necessary' as something I would accept as necessary, that the impartial observer would accept as necessary. And I would have to reject that, the notion, the idea, without going into the motivations whatsoever, that the Holocaust or any part of it was 'necessary.'" (4-802)

Was the statement in the pamphlet that there were 12,000 casualties true or false?, asked Christie.

"I would not accept the figure 12,000 out of context," said Hilberg, "nor do I accept the terminology 'casualty' for the occurrences in the ghetto of Warsaw during the spring of 1943 insofar as they appear to be attached to such large numbers."

Christie indicated that with the greatest of respect he did not understand this answer but would move to another question on the Warsaw ghetto. Christie referred to the following sentence at page 19 in Did Six Million Really Die?:

A total, however, of 56,065 inhabitants were captured and peacefully resettled in the area of the Government-General.

Hilberg testified that this was "absolutely" false.

Christie asked if Hilberg would not agree that other sources, such as the book A Pictorial History of the SS: 1923-1945 suggested that this number was indeed captured?

After indicating that he had "never heard of" Andrew Mollo, the book's author, Hilberg agreed that, "That's what it says on this paper." (4-804, 805)

Hilberg also agreed that the International Military Tribunal in its judgment used the word "eliminated" instead of the word "annihilated" to describe what happened to the 56,065 people. (4-807)

"The word 'eliminated', in the ordinary sense," agreed Hilberg, "does have ambiguity. One can eliminate people by killing them or one can eliminate them by other means."

Christie suggested that one could eliminate those in guerrilla actions by capturing them.

"One can eliminate by various means," repeated Hilberg. He believed that his translation of the Stroop report in this respect was more accurate than the translation used by the International Military Tribunal in its judgment. He "would have preferred a more accurate translation, but we get what we get." (4-808)

Christie put to Hilberg again that he chose to define the word "relocate" as "liquidate."

"No, no," said Hilberg. "Not the word. The entire description... because the word 'relocate' in the report is attached to the enterprises and I was referring to the entire liquidation of the entire ghetto."

Does that mean the killing of all the people in it?, asked Christie.

"It means the killing of the largest number of people in it, yes," said Hilberg. "...It does not mean every last one. We do know of several thousand survivors." (4-809)

In Hilberg's opinion, "a lot of people who didn't" resist were killed including "quite a few" who were shot when they surrendered with their hands up. He admitted he himself was never in the ghetto. (4-810)

How many were shot?, asked Christie.

"The Stroop report mentions in some detail the final figures, and they are here in this report in front of me, and if you prefer, I will read them to you."

I asked you a specific question, said Christie. Did the Stroop report say how many people were shot after they held their hands up?

[20] "The Stroop report did indicate how many people were shot," said Hilberg. "It did not make the distinction you are trying to make - those that had their hands up and those that didn't have their hands up."

Christie pointed out that he had not made the distinction. The distinction was made by Hilberg, although he was never in the Warsaw ghetto, and the Stroop report didn't make reference to people being shot who had their hands up.

"At the beginning of this section, answering your questions, I made reference to the disparity of 101 casualties included dead and wounded on the German side, and the five digit figures of Jewish dead on the other side," said Hilberg.

You said very clearly that 56,065 were all dead, didn't you?, said Christie. (4-811)

"I was saying to you, sir, in answer to the original peaceful evacuation as is mentioned in the pamphlet, that it was the contrary matter, that these people were all dead. Perhaps not all last single one of them, but many thousands were shot immediately, several thousand were sent to Treblinka, several thousand were sent to Lublin. By 1943, by the end of the year all but a handful were all dead," said Hilberg.

Oh, said Christie, so now you say that the figure 56,065 means Jewish dead, you mean that within a year they were Jewish dead. Is that right?

"Well, you have to remember that the Stroop report makes reference to precisely this phenomenon. In other words, Stroop, when he says people were transported to Treblinka, is well aware that at Treblinka people are gassed... I would say to you, sir, that when Stroop made his report in which he used 'capture' and 'annihilation,' he used the word vernichten, annihilation, with respect to this 56,000, that his meaning was opposite of the one in the pamphlet, and that is the only thing I was trying to point out yesterday."

Christie pointed out again that Hilberg had said the figure was Stroop's figure of Jewish dead. He did not say that the figure represented people who were captured and then sent to Treblinka whom Stroop knew were going to die.

"Well," said Hilberg, "had additional questions been asked, I would have made these additional answers."

Your simple answer given at the time, said Christie, very clearly indicated that that was Stroop's figure of Jewish dead and not a year later, but at the time.

"We are not talking about a year later. We are talking about 1943... I did not break down the figure of 56,000," said Hilberg.

You left a very clear impression with me, with the jury, with reasonable people, that that figure was dead people, said Christie.

"That figure meant that these people were either shot on the spot or sent to gas chambers or to death camps, to the two of them, Treblinka and Lublin. So that way we are discussing where they were shot -"

Christie interrupted. No, we are not discussing where they were shot. We are discussing what you said yesterday, and the simple meaning of what you said yesterday. How many of the 56,000 do you say were shot at the time?, he asked.

"Well, I would say that the number was somewhat over 12,000," said Hilberg. (4-813, 814)

Why do you use the figure 12,000?, asked Christie.

"I didn't," said Hilberg, "You used it."

A surprised Christie said, Oh, I see. I used it, did I?

"Well, you quoted from the Pictorial History that I was not familiar with," said Hilberg. At any rate, added Hilberg, the 12,000 was "not my figure... we are talking a few thousand this way or that way."

Hilberg continued: "A certain number of people were killed by the fire, including the artillery fire of German, SS and army forces in action in the Warsaw ghetto. A much larger number of people were killed after, in particular districts or particular houses. Resistance ceased, people came out with their hands up. Very many of them were shot on the spot as Stroop himself states." (4-815, 816)

Christie asked whether there was any reference in the Stroop report to the number of people shot with their hands up.

"There are references to people shot, and unfortunately, in the document you gave me, the parts in which these references are made are not included. You have given me a fragment," said Hilberg.

You mean to say, asked Christie, that in other parts of the Stroop report you recall that there were figures for people shot with their hands up?

"There were figures for people that were shot," said Hilberg. "...the clear meaning is that they were shot upon capture... Since there was no counting, as he himself states, the people who were buried in the rubble of the buildings." (4-817, 818; Stroop report filed as Exhibit G)

Christie next moved to the subject of Birkenau and showed Hilberg a plan of the camp. Hilberg agreed that the document seemed to be the 1944 depiction of Birkenau. Hilberg agreed with Christie that the markings on the plan of "K2" and "K3" meant Crematorium II and Crematorium III and that the other two crematoriums, IV and V, were also marked. Christie suggested that the area immediately to the left of Crematoriums III, IV, and V was the area known as "Kanada."

"I don't quite recall," said Hilberg, "It could be correct."

"F" was the bathhouse; was that correct?, asked Christie.

"I could not give you any recollection of what 'F' means. This plan is not equipped with any legends," said Hilberg.

Christie agreed there was no legend on it but indicated he understood Hilberg had been there.

"I had been there," agreed Hilberg, "but not with a plan in my hands. That was not the purpose." (4-819)

So you are not familiar with the plan of Birkenau?, asked Christie.

"I am familiar with it, but you are not asking me to describe the buildings in it other than the crematoria, [21] which are clear, and the railway tracks, which are clear."

I thought perhaps you might be familiar, from your expertise, with the layout of the camp, suggested Christie.

"I am sufficiently familiar with the layout for the purposes, and if I need the use of any plans, I have them in front of me, but they are not reproduced in any of my works, in my books, and so if I do make reference to these particular building plans, I have them with the German legends," said Hilberg.

Christie pointed out that without the legends, Hilberg didn't seem able to identify the area.

"Well, I do seem to be able to identify substantial and necessary portions of it," said Hilberg. "You are asking me about an adjacent building, and I don't wish, under oath, to state for sure what is possible. It may not be." (4-820)

Christie pointed to an area to the left of the railroad tracks. Was this the women's camp?

"Now you're giving me a quiz about the individual blocks of this particular camp," said Hilberg. "...I believe so, but I cannot be entirely certain of that from sheer memory."

Christie suggested that the "A" block on the map was a quarantine block.

"There was a quarantine block, yes," agreed Hilberg.

Do you know where it was?, asked Christie.

"No," admitted Hilberg. "That again, I can tell you that there was a block for women. There was a quarantine block. There was a so-called gypsy camp here. I know the designations, but I must also say to you that when it comes to north, east, south, west and building plans, that is not my field. When I use these things, I use them very carefully with legends and clear-cut --"

Christie suggested that the circular objects on the map to the right of Crematorium III was a filtration plant for water. Did Hilberg agree?

"I cannot testify to that," replied Hilberg. (4-821, 822; Plan of Birkenau filed as Exhibit H)

Christie suggested to Hilberg that when he visited Auschwitz in 1979 he was actually there as part of a trip made by the President's Commission on the Holocaust.

"That's correct," said Hilberg, "...I was a member of a group consisting of not all but some of the members of the Commission, certainly." (4-822)

Hilberg testified that he was a member of the Commission, of which Elie Wiesel was the chairman. Other members included a Mr. Lautenberg (a U.S. Senator from New Jersey) and Mr. Bookbinder from Washington D.C. All three went on the same trip with Hilberg. (4-823)

You were guests of the Polish government, I understand?, asked Christie.

"We were not guests, if you mean by that any payment by the Polish government," said Hilberg.

Christie indicated he meant guest in the sense that they led you around and explained to you what the areas were all about.

"I need not be led around by the hand -," said Hilberg.

Did you know the area without the plans?, asked Christie.

"No. I asked, as did other members of the group, to be shown certain parts of Auschwitz, in particular the gas chambers... We saw, not ruined, but a partly reconstructed gas chamber in Auschwitz I, and we saw the facilities in this plan [of Birkenau]... Which are demolished, that's correct. They are ruins. They are untouched ruins, I should say. They are left as the Germans left them." (4-824)

Hilberg admitted that he "was not present when these buildings were blown" but believed the Germans blew them up on the basis of "some evidence of what happened in January 1945."

Hilberg testified that he had looked at the plans of Crematoriums II, III, IV and V in Birkenau which plans were available from the Auschwitz Museum. "One can obtain copies, and there are copies published in various books." (4-825)

Hilberg had also seen the monument at Birkenau. "Yeah, it says something like, 'Four million victims'... I cannot recollect what is said on that particular gravestone there." [Footnote1: 1 At the time of Hilberg's testimony in 1985, the monument at Birkenau read as follows: "Four Million People Suffered and Died Here at the Hands of the Nazi Murderers Between the Years 1940 and 1945". These words were removed from the monument in 1990 while international controversy raged over the correct number of victims. End footnote]

How many do you say died at Auschwitz?, asked Christie.

"My own figures are, Jewish, a shade over one million. Non-Jewish dead, perhaps 300,000 plus," said Hilberg.

So the monument, pointed out Christie, was more than twice that number.

"I did not, frankly, look at the monument closely enough to notice what it said," said Hilberg, "but any figure in multiple millions is off the mark." He agreed that this type of information was available from the Polish government. (4-826)

Isn't it true that you are familiar with the fact that the Warsaw ghetto survivors frequently meet as a group at times to celebrate their reunion?

"Well, I really don't know what they do to celebrate their reunions," said Hilberg. "I have no information on what they do."

Christie turned to the subject of the alleged Hitler order to exterminate the Jews. Hilberg agreed that in May of 1984 in Stuttgart, West Germany, he attended a conference on this subject attended by Holocaust researchers. "I am talking about people, all of whom present, to my knowledge, had done extensive research over a period of years and have published work."

In your opinion, asked Christie, was there an order of Adolf Hitler for the extermination of the Jews?

"That is my opinion, my conclusion," said Hilberg.

[22] Well, yesterday, I think you told us you were very sure there was an order, suggested Christie.


Okay. Is that an important order?, asked Christie.

"I would say so."

Is it a specific order?, asked Christie.

"Well, that was, of course, another matter. How specific it was, and in what form it was given, to how many people it was relayed was, in fact, a considerable subject of discussion at Stuttgart," said Hilberg. (4-828)

Christie produced Hilberg's book The Destruction of the European Jews published in 1961 and turned to page 177:

How was the killing phase brought about? Basically, we are dealing with two of Hitler's decisions. One order was given in the spring of 1941...

Is there a footnote there?, asked Christie.

"No. This is an introductory passage to a chapter... This is an introductory passage to an eighty page chapter," said Hilberg.

I didn't ask you what it was, said Christie. I asked you if there is a footnote.

"No, there is no footnote there," admitted Hilberg. (4-829)

What order were you referring to?, asked Christie.

"In this particular case I have elaborated, in my second edition, since there is so much discussion and controversy over the nature of this order. So I could tell you not solely on the basis of what was published here in 1961, if you wish to hear it, but on the basis of all my knowledge to this date, to what I am referring to."

What was the order?, repeated Christie.

"Within the high command of the armed forces a plan was made for 'treatment of populations' inside the territories that were to be occupied following the invasion of the USSR. That order was submitted through channels to Adolf Hitler for his approval. He indicated that he wanted certain editions and changes made in this directive. We have, and I have quoted here, the directive dated March 1941. Excuse me, I am speaking of a directive, not a Hitler order," said Hilberg.

Christie repeated that what he was interested in was the one order referred to by Hilberg in his book. (4-830)

"If you allow me," said Hilberg, "I will explain the changes in the directive... I know what you are interested in, but you are raising a question, a question complicated enough to have caused a distinguished historian in Germany to invite people from all over the world to pool their knowledge in order to figure out what happened."

Judge Hugh Locke interjected: "Let's get on with the answer. What is the answer to counsel's question?"

"The question was about the Hitler order," said Hilberg. "There was a draft directive. Hitler wanted changes made in it. The changes were subsequently made in April and were then resubmitted to Adolf Hitler's approval."

Okay, said Christie. So there is a Hitler order you say that was approved by Adolf Hitler in 1941 in April?

"By April, yes," said Hilberg.

By April, or in April?, asked Christie.

"Now you want the exact date."

No, I don't, said Christie. I want to know whether it was in April.

"We are talking about several weeks at the end of March when these discussions took place," said Hilberg. (4-831)

What were the words in the order?, asked Christie.

"According to General Jodl, who wrote this document I am now citing, the words were - ...Adolf Hitler said that he wanted the Jewish-Bolshevik commissars to be liquidated... that was the first part of it... He said that for this task he wanted organs of the SS and police to be directly involved and responsible. He then pointed out that for this purpose the military should discuss with the SS and police the details. Now, that was the content of the order as described by General Jodl." (4-832)

So we don't have the order?, asked Christie.

"The order was oral," said Hilberg, "and all we have are the reflections of Adolf Hitler's words as described by Jodl. We have, however, the words also of other people who were talking to Adolf Hitler which were more direct and more specific, but those words occurred in different contexts, such as Henry Himmler's words, and words spoken by other people. In any case, the order was oral."

The order was oral, and you don't know what the exact words were?, asked Christie.

"You are quite correct. No one knows the exact wording... When I say that we do not know the words, I do not mean the general content. I meant the specific words." (4-833) In Hilberg's opinion, the order referred to "Jewish dash Bolshevik commissars... because there was a document and I am quoting Jodl." This document was in the West German National Archives but Hilberg admitted that he had not included it in his book, Documents of Destruction, published in 1971: "No. It is a small book and it contains a variety of documents, but not this one."

Christie pointed out that the book appeared to contain the documents Hilberg thought were important.

"No," said Hilberg. "As I explained in my preface, it is a mixture of some important and some, shall we say, descriptive items of what went on locally."

Can you think of a more important order?, asked Christie. (4-834)

"You see, sir," said Hilberg, "in preparing a very small book such as this one, which is a collection of documents aggregating a couple of hundred pages, one must make some choices. And even if the topic is very important, if it requires, since no document is really self- explanatory, a group of documents with additional explanations, I might have had to use a rather substantial portion of space for this one point."

Is this a long order?, asked Christie.

"It is not that the words are that long, but that the explanation, the history, the... nature of the directive, the explanation of who originally drafted the directive, what the channels were - this is not a simple matter."

[23] So, said Christie, really we don't have an order in existence in any written form. We have from you an interpretation of what Mr. Jodl is supposed to have said Adolf Hitler is supposed to have said, which you say was in the archives in West Germany, and which you say has a dash between Jewish and Bolshevik. (4-835)

"That is my best recollection," said Hilberg.

So it wasn't just Jewish-Bolshevik commissars that had to be killed. It was Jewish people, was it?, asked Christie.

"Well, this particular problem is the one that caused a lot of discussion," said Hilberg. "There is no precise, clear answer as to what the exact wording was. We could only deduce from subsequent explanations by lower ranking individuals who passed on this particular command, particularly to the Einsatzgruppen, what it was that was being ordered."

This was the commissars order to the Einsatzgruppen, was it?, asked Christie.

"Ultimately it was the order not only to the Einsatzgruppen, it was to the armed forces as well."

I want to understand clearly, said Christie. This order says, 'Annihilate Jewish Bolshevik commissars', right?

"Mm-hmmm," said Hilberg. (4-836)

And you interpret that to mean 'Annihilate Jewish people and Bolshevik commissars', right?


But it doesn't say 'Jewish people and Bolshevik commissars', said Christie.

"No, it does not," said Hilberg. "And obviously, one would not call a conference and one would not discuss in great detail, and one would not have extensive articles if the matter were clear-cut. There is such a thing as a gap in knowledge of history, and we are dealing here with one of the more complex problems of what the Germans called decision-making in this case." (4- 837)

Christie pointed out that from Hilberg's brief and unfootnoted statement on page 177 of his book it did not appear to be a very complex subject. He reread it to the jury:

Basically, we are dealing with two of Hitler's decisions. One order was given in the spring of 1941, during the planning of the invasion of the USSR; it provided that small units of the SS and Police be dispatched to Soviet territory, where they were to move from town to town to kill all Jewish inhabitants on the spot.

"Yes, these are introductory words to a chapter," said Hilberg. "And in the subsequent pages you will find in the footnotes that you are looking for reference to particular sources, including the directive that I mentioned by General Warlimont and other commanders, including above all the commanders of Einsatzgruppen who, to the extent that they were around in Nuremberg, made statements about what it is they were told to do."

What they were told, pointed out Christie, even according to you, was not to kill all Jewish inhabitants but to kill Jewish-Bolshevik commissars. Correct?

"What I am saying is that the original wording justifying the establishment of special units called organs in this particular language of the SS and police was the killing of Jewish- Bolshevik commissars. This was the justification. The units to be established for this purpose belonged to the SS and police, which was deemed to be the type of organization to carry out such a political task, rather than the armed forces. This, of course, does not exhaust the problem. One would not set up four units aggregating three thousand men to kill a small handful of people, Bolshevik commissars, who were extremely few, and who were not often captured since they tried to avoid capture, naturally, and there would be little point in establishing, with high- ranking personnel, three thousand men, such, you know, for such a single small purpose, relatively small purpose."

There is no order from Adolf Hitler to the Einsatzgruppen or anybody else to kill all Jewish inhabitants on the spot, right?, asked Christie.

"Now, I would say that the order, as for example Himmler pointed out, was given to him. He was invested with the responsibility to solve this problem. So in other words, one must put - "

What problem?, asked Christie.

"The Jewish problem," said Hilberg, "as they called it." (4-839)

I thought, said Christie, that we were referring to the Jewish-Bolshevik commissars order. That is not the Jewish problem, is it?

"This is the problem," said Hilberg, "of teaching complex history in such a small setting, but what I am telling you is that the initial problem was administrative. One had to establish battalions of SS and police that had to move with the armies that exercised military jurisdiction, military territorial jurisdiction within their sphere of operations. A justification had to be given for the establishment of such units. Adolf Hitler said this was a war unlike any other war. This was a war in which there would be a showdown, and the Jewish-Bolshevik commissars, as the bearers -"

Showdown of who?, asked Christie.

"Two world views -- Nazism and Communism."

So there was a war between Communism and Nazism, according to Adolf Hitler?, asked Christie.

"Yes. And commissars, as the carrier of this system, would have to be shot. This was not a task for the army. For this reason they were going to establish this Einsatzgruppen. So --" (4-840)

Christie interrupted him and indicated he wanted him to get back to the question. Christie put it to Hilberg that what he was really saying was that it was his interpretation of the commissar order to mean that Jewish inhabitants were to be killed on the spot, even though there was nothing in writing to that effect and, in fact, that was not what it was reported to have said.

"Well, I am saying a little bit more than that," said Hilberg. "I am saying, and I will say that this is a matter which one can dispute honestly, that it was the intention from the beginning, that is to say, the months prior to June 22 1941, to annihilate the Jews in the territories [24] that were about to be overrun. The difference of opinion, the difference of view that was expressed in Stuttgart was whether that particular decision was made in March, in April or at the latest in August." (4-841)

Christie asked whether Hilberg had been quoted to say that there was no order, no plan, no budget.

"Well, I don't know out of what context you are reading these words," said Hilberg. "... Do you have a tape recording?... it doesn't seem like how I would put it. I am very careful in my words, even when I speak extemporaneously."

Christie produced the French edition of Leon Poliakov's book Harvest of Hate. Hilberg testified that Poliakov "is an authority. He is certainly one of the first researchers. He was working with limited source material, limited in today's term. I would regard that what he says is generally reliable." (4-842) When Christie later referred to Poliakov as Hilberg's confrere and associate, Hilberg protested, "He is not a confrere, and he is not an associate... He is one of the people who I regard as a competent researcher and an expert and he is one of the very first." (4- 845)

Hilberg refused to translate a portion of the book as requested by Christie. "I must say that I am not a qualified translator from the French into English." Christie, reading from a translation, asked whether the paragraph said, generally:

Certain details will be forever, however, unknown as far as total extermination is concerned. The three or four principal actors committed suicide in 1945. No document was left behind, as perhaps none ever existed. Such is the [secrecy] with which the masters of the Third Reich, however boastful and cynical on other occasions, surrounded their major crime.

Hilberg agreed this was "an adequate translation" of what the paragraph said, but that "here again, you see, you are taking an introductory paragraph to a chapter." (4 843 to 845)

Christie pointed out that Poliakov did not seem to think there was any document.

"I think that he meant - now you are asking me what I think he meant, but I think that he meant that there was no written document signed by Adolf Hitler, that in short, we do not have a written order. And he said that if we wanted to ask questions after the war of men like Himmler, we can't, because Himmler committed suicide immediately after capture, and because Heydrich was assassinated in 1942, and so that means that some of the principal figures could not be questioned," said Hilberg. (4-845)

Christie produced an article entitled "The Holocaust in Perspective" by George DeWan; beneath a photograph of Hilberg, the caption read: "Panelist Raul Hilberg, a Vermont University political science professor, ponders a question on the Holocaust."

Hilberg said, "It is a question asked by the audience. I was listening."

Christie read out a portion of the article in which it quoted Hilberg:

"If one looks at origins, one may go back through the centuries into antiquity to discover the building blocks of the destruction of the European Jews," Hilberg said. "But what began in 1941 was a process of destruction not planned in advance, not organized centrally by any agency. There was no blueprint and there was no budget for destructive measures. They were taken step by step, one step at a time. Thus came about not so much a plan being carried out, but an incredible meeting of minds, a consensus-mind reading by a far-flung bureaucracy."

"I said that," admitted Hilberg. "I said nothing about any order not existing."

No, said Christie, nothing there about any order. Right.

"Well, you had previously said that I had, at that meeting, in conjunction with these other phrases, also indicated that there was no order, and I said I recall no such word and, indeed, what you showed me does not indicate that I said anything about an order."

I agree you didn't say anything about an order, said Christie. In fact, you said it was an incredible meeting of minds.


Does that imply the existence of an order?, asked Christie.

"It does not exclude the existence of an order," said Hilberg. "... If an order is given orally and passed on, and especially if wording is couched in such a way that the order giver relies on the understanding of the subordinate, then it does become important for those subordinates to understand, indeed, and to have the same understanding of what was expected. And this is what I said."

Was there an order or wasn't there?, asked Christie.

"I believe that there was a Hitler order," said Hilberg. "... Professor Krausnick believes this. Others believe that there was not." (4-846 to 849)

So it's an article of faith based upon your opinion?, asked Christie.

"No, it is not an article of faith at all. It is a conclusion. One can come down one way on it or the other."

Because there is no evidence to prove one side or the other, right?, asked Christie.

"There may be evidence, but there is a question in this case of what is sufficient evidence," said Hilberg.

One order was given in the spring of 1941 is what you said in your book, said Christie.

"That is one man's opinion - mine."

It doesn't say it is an opinion, said Christie. It states it as a fact, sir, I suggest.

"Look," said Hilberg, "how often must I reiterate that wording? It is in the beginning of a chapter. It is in the nature of saying, here is what I am laying out. Now, keep reading. You don't have to agree with what I say after you have seen the footnotes, after you have seen the evidence."

The same is true about Did Six Million Really Die?, said Christie. You don't have to believe it. You don't have to accept it without verifying it. (4-850)

[25] "Oh, no. Oh, no, that's not the same thing. I'm sorry, very sorry," said Hilberg.

Christie returned to page 177 of Hilberg's book where he had written:

This method may be called the "mobile killing operations." Shortly after the mobile operations had begun in the occupied Soviet territories, Hitler handed down his second order. That decision doomed the rest of European Jewry.

Where is this second order?, asked Christie.

"The problem," said Hilberg, "with that particular order is the same as it is with the first. It is oral... And there are people who say, no, it was not one order at all. It was a series of orders that were given to various people at various times... This is a matter for dispute and for argument among historians, and for this purpose one has meetings and second editions of books, too." (4- 851)

I see, said Christie. So you have to correct that statement in your second edition. Right?

"No," said Hilberg, "I am not saying that I have to correct this statement, but there are corrections in the second edition, of course."

Christie pointed out there were no qualifying words in the text such as the ones Hilberg had added in his testimony which indicated it was a matter of opinion subject to dispute.

"No, there is no qualifying word there," said Hilberg. "...I agree with you that in this introductory statement I stated my conclusions ahead of the treatment to follow."

I see, said Christie. So if Mr. Harwood had been able to write a book and give you more evidence, he would have been able to follow up his statements with more information, too?

"That would be a tall order, wouldn't it?," asked Hilberg. (4-852)

I wonder, sir, said Christie. Can you show me where the second Hitler order is?

"That is not the question."

It is now, said Christie.

"But the major question as I understood it all along is whether there was a Holocaust, not --"

That is not the question from me, interrupted Christie. The question from me is whether or not you can verify, as you say one ought to, as--

Hilberg interrupted, "One certainly ought to, I completely agree, but certain matters can be shown up to a point and not beyond."

Can you show any evidence of the existence of a second Hitler order at all?, asked Christie. And if so, what is it?

"I indicated to you," said Hilberg, "although I have revised my judgments, but if you want to look, I don't say that everything I expressed in this book I retain. I am entitled to change my mind about something I do."

And is Mr. Harwood also entitled to change his mind?, asked Christie. (4-853)

"He may change his mind, but I am talking about what I thought then to have been a pivotal Hitler directive as stated by Goering to Heydrich on July 31, 1941... it was the letter that set in motion the train of events that eventuated in the Wannsee Conference."

I put to you, said Christie, that the letter from Goering to Heydrich talked about resettlement in the east of Jewish people, didn't it?

"Well, the term 'resettlement' became the word used throughout the correspondence in World War II in German records to refer to the process of deporting people to killing centres. In short, this was to be distinguished from bringing the killers to the victims. Here the victims are being brought to the killers... That was my interpretation, and it still is now." (4-854)

But it wasn't an order or a letter from Hitler at all, suggested Christie.

"No, it is not," agreed Hilberg.

Christie returned to Hilberg's book and pointed out that Hilberg had written; "Hitler handed down his second order..." Correct?

"That is correct."

That could be a little misleading, couldn't it, asked Christie.

"Yes, it could be misleading, and for that reason we write second editions," said Hilberg. "...The belief I had then was that the order written by Goering was written at the behest of Adolf Hitler, since Goering was the number two man and could speak on any matter whatsoever. It is not a belief I hold as firmly right now, because I have since discovered additional information to indicate the draftsmanship of this order, who drafted it, and the circumstances under which it was given, and this leads me to the conclusion that the order was initiated by Heydrich."

Christie returned to the meaning of "resettlement in the East"; did this mean an order to kill all Jewish persons? Was that Hilberg's interpretation? (4-855)

"It was then and it is now my opinion that resettlement was the synonym used for deporting Jews to death camps," said Hilberg.

Was there not a Madagascar plan to deport Jews to Madagascar?, asked Christie.

"There was such a plan and it was popular for a while in 1940, and to the best of my knowledge it was considered at the highest level, as late as but no later than February 2, 1941."

Was there not a plan also to deport Jews out of Europe into the area of Latvia?, asked Christie.

"Now, this is a different matter," said Hilberg. "...When you are referring to deportations of Jews to Riga from Berlin and from other German cities, in the late fall of 1941, following the operation of the Einsatzgruppen, the idea was, to the best of my reconstruction of events, that these Jews were to be shipped there in order to be shot upon arrival by Einsatzgruppen personnel stationed in Riga. This was not colonization... we do know what happened to these transports [to Riga]." (4-856)

I suggest to you, sir, said Christie, that there is no evidence whatsoever that 'resettlement in the east' referred to in Goering's letter had any other meaning than what it said on the paper.

[26] "No, no," said Hilberg. "In a way there are some conclusions one may come to and there are other conclusions one may not come to, because there is such a thing as a body of evidence... And the fact of the matter is that orders went out to no longer permit the emigration of individual Jews. The fact of the matter is that the whole number of Jews under German control was now so great that emigration, other than to Madagascar, which was being considered up to but not beyond February 1941, was considered a manifest impossibility in the middle of a war." (4-857)

And the second Hitler order we don't really believe any more existed, right?, asked Christie.

"No, I didn't say that. Quite the opposite. I said there was a divided opinion on whether there was one or whether there were several orders. I might say to you, just to make the point in your favour, there is a minority opinion that states - two German historians - that there was no need for a Hitler order... That the process went on without it, but this is a minority opinion and very much in dispute." (4-858)

Christie asked Hilberg if he knew the definition between exterminationists and revisionists. Hilberg indicated that "This vocabulary is something else." He denied ever having used this vocabulary and did not use the word "exterminationist" to define those people who believed in the Holocaust. "No. I don't know the source of your statement, but that is pretty well off the mark... I don't write about this whole school of thought as defined by the defendant."

They are beneath your dignity?, asked Christie.

"Not beneath my dignity, but I do not devote my efforts in discussions such as we have here," said Hilberg. (4-860)

Christie returned to The Destruction of the European Jews at page 631 where Hilberg had written:

In November, 1944, Himmler decided that for all practical purposes the Jewish question had been solved. On the twenty-fifth of that month he ordered the dismantling of the killing installations. (Affidavit by Kurt Becher, March 8, 1946, PS 3762)

How do you explain the fact, asked Christie, that the affidavit of Kurt Becher provides no basis for your statement, neither as to the date or any mention of killing installations?

"Again," said Hilberg, "this is a question of treating statements in context. Look, no document is self-explanatory, and every rendition of it involves some interpretation, unless the text is reprinted in its entirety."

Christie produced a copy of the Becher affidavit (3762-PS) dated March 8, 1946. Hilberg agreed that he recognized it. Christie read a prepared translation:

I, former SS-Standartenführer Kurt Becher, born on 12 September, 1909, in Hamburg, wish to make the following statement in lieu of another:

1. Approximately between mid-September and mid-October 1944 I induced the Reichsführer-SS Himmler to give the following order which I then received in two original copies, one for the SS- Obergruppenführer Kaltenbrunner and Pohl, and one copy for myself:

"Effective immediately, I forbid any extermination of Jews and order to the contrary that care be taken of the feeble and sick. I hold you [Kaltenbrunner and Pohl] personally responsible for this, even if this order should not be strictly complied with by my subordinate quarters."

I personally took the copy destined for Pohl to his office in Berlin and handed up one meant for Kaltenbrunner into his secretary's office in Berlin.

I feel that after this date Kaltenbrunner and Pohl should, therefore, be held personally responsible for any killings of Jews that took place afterwards.

2. On the occasion of my visit to the concentration camps of Mauthausen, 27 April, 1945, at nine o'clock in the morning, the camp commander, SS-Standartenführer Ziereis informed me in strict confidence as follows:

"Kaltenbrunner has instructed me that at least 1,000 people still have to die in Mauthausen every day."

The facts mentioned above are in conformity with the truth. These statements are submitted by me of my own free will and without any duress. I have read them through, signed and affirmed them with my oath.

[signed] Kurt Becher

Subscribed to and sworn before us at Oberursel, Germany this 8th day of March, 1946.

[signed] Richard A. Gutman, 1st Lt., AUS

Is that what you say justifies your statement that in November 1944, Himmler decided that for all practical purposes the Jewish question had been solved and ordered the dismantling of the killing installations?

"Yes," said Hilberg. "...I am not going to say that the document speaks for itself because it is a complicated thing..." He agreed that the document was not an order from Himmler; it was an allegation by Becher that there was an order by Himmler. (4-861 to 864) "He [Becher] produces it, presumably from memory, in this affidavit. It need not, may not have been the exact language used by Himmler, but the substance of it, to me, seemed plausible and believable," said Hilberg.

So your statement on page 631 of your book, said Christie, is false as to date and false as to the existence of an order; the document in fact was an affidavit that said that an order existed, was that right?

"Not necessarily," said Hilberg, "because Becher does not recollect precisely when he acted. He said that sometime between the middle of September and the middle of October he approached Himmler. He was successful in convincing Himmler. That doesn't mean that Himmler carried out the order, gave the order the next day."

With the greatest respect, said Christie, it doesn't say "approached Himmler." It says, "induced Himmler."

"Induced, fine. Induced Himmler... it doesn't mean he got the order on the precise date."

So you know when the precise order was?

"No, I wouldn't say that I know very precisely. I would say that it is November, because I do believe, knowing how long it takes for orders to be written, to be [27] filtered down and to be carried out, that the great likelihood was for the order to have been given in November -- not September or October, particularly because gassings were going on in Auschwitz in October. And here we would be implying gassings going on despite specific orders already having been received," said Hilberg. (4-865)

You say that Himmler decided that "the Jewish question had been solved." But this affidavit, said Christie, seems to indicate that the author made a decision and induced Himmler to sign the order, right?

"Fine," said Hilberg.

That certainly puts a little different light on it, do you think?, asked Christie.

"Not really, because don't you see, this was an SS colonel. He was trying, in making this affidavit, as so often happens with SS colonels who were prospective witnesses in war crimes trials, to put the best face on himself. Here is something he could claim credit for, so he came forward with this affidavit. The question is, was he the only one to have made this suggestion? Perhaps not. Was he making it precisely in the form in which he said? Perhaps not. But that the order was given, I do believe."

You have explained that these types of affidavits were often false, but you choose to believe this one, right?, asked Christie.

"No, no, no. Here again you are trying to put words in my mouth," said Hilberg. (4 866)

That's right, said Christie. I am trying to suggest to you that there is a short, simple answer to this convoluted explanation you gave, and it is this, that some SS colonel doesn't force someone by the rank of Mr. Himmler to make an order, and that this affidavit was an exaggeration for self-defence purposes by Kurt Becher, and you should know that as an expert. I'm suggesting to you, sir, that this affidavit was highly dubious as a source.

"But you see," said Hilberg, "we know when the last gassings took place. We know, you see, the sequence of events pretty well. Of course, when one does not have, as I explained at the outset, the proper documentation, that is to say, the original correspondence, one must have recourse to testimony. One must have recourse to statements made by people who made assertions. One must weigh these assertions. In this case, the historian is not different from a jury, is no different from a judge. One must weigh. Now, I weighed, to the best of my ability, and I would still weigh it much in the way in which it is described here in the book published in 1961."

In this 1961 book, said Christie, you didn't say that we don't have a Himmler order. You said we have an affidavit from a colonel in the SS who says he managed to convince Himmler to make an order. Did you? (4-867)

"Well, I have given a footnote stating plainly, 'Affidavit by Kurt Becher'... In this affidavit is the purported text of Himmler's order," said Hilberg.

Christie suggested again that the affidavit was dubious in its contents.

"Well, I don't agree with you," said Hilberg. "...I seem to have to repeat it fifty times."

Christie produced an interview which Hilberg had given to Le Nouvel Observateur published on 9 July 1982. Hilberg recalled the interview and article. He denied that he spoke French in the interview: "No, no. As a matter of fact I was speaking in English. This is a translation of my remarks." (4-868)

Hilberg agreed that in the interview he had made the following comment:

I would say that, in a certain way, Faurisson and others, without having wanted to do so in the first place, have rendered us a good service. They have come up with questions which have the effect of engaging the historians in fresh research work. The historians are obliged to come forward with more information, to scrutinize the documents once again, and to go much further in the understanding of what has really happened.

Hilberg agreed that he was referring to Professor Robert Faurisson of France. "I know him only through some of his publications. I don't know him personally. He once wrote me a very nice letter. We have not met."

Christie put to Hilberg that the article showed that due to questions asked by people like Faurisson, Hilberg had had to do some fresh research work. (4-869)

"No, no," said Hilberg. "I think you are somewhat overstating the matter."

I thought it was a pretty clear quote, said Christie.

"Yes, but here again, please keep in mind the context. The question was supposed to be from a journalist for a French publication who wanted to have my opinion, particularly, I suppose, with regard to my personal feelings and reactions towards people who deny the Holocaust - and incidentally, in the process several of them use insulting language about me personally. Now, given this insulting language, one might think that I might be very angry or something of this sort, but I am not. Quite the opposite."

Well, said Christie, you are not accusing Dr. Faurisson of --

"I am not accusing him, but the question was a broader one. It included this whole group of people who say that the Holocaust did not happen, or Butz, or people of that sort, and of course, Rassinier and Butz are quite insulting in their language about me... Well, I said that, nevertheless, I will consider what anyone says about anything in such a way as to re-think something. Just because I believe that something happened does not mean that I have explained it adequately. I am a classroom teacher for three decades, and I have learned the hard way that one must explain everything, that nothing is obvious, that one may take certain things for granted as being understood immediately; they are not. So in this rather peculiar roundabout way I have said, fine, I will be willing to look at anything said by anybody, no matter what his motivation may be, and if this leads me to re-state anything, to substantiate anything, to look for anything, that's fine." (4-870)

[28] So it does cause you to do fresh research work, as you said here?, asked Christie.

"Well, I think - please don't exaggerate," said Hilberg, "I am always doing research. I am always doing research, of course."

These are your words, sir, said Christie.

"Absolutely. If there is something requiring more substantiation, I will, necessarily, have to go and find it."

I put it to you, sir, said Christie, that as far as researching the scene of Auschwitz, Treblinka, Sobibor, Chelmno, Stutthof, you didn't do any firsthand, on-site research whatsoever until after you wrote your book.

"What I did in the case of Sobibor, Belzec, Chelmno and Treblinka was to look at the German, West German court records. I have testified repeatedly that I learned about these camps from documentation and from testimony. I am not a person who will take in a particular scene and be able to describe it in such a way that a professional policeman does. I am not that kind of individual, and this is not my research method. In short, I have, in the 1960s and '70s, looked for and at documentation, [testimony] about these particular camps. It was not necessary for me to go there because going there would not have helped me substantially."

It might, in fact, have disproved your theory sir, said Christie.

Christie returned to page 631 of Hilberg's book:

In November, 1944, Himmler decided that for all practical purposes the Jewish question had been solved. On the twenty-fifth of that month he ordered the dismantling of the killing installations. (Affidavit by Kurt Becher, March 8, 1946, PS 3762)

How did you come to the conclusion, asked Christie, that on November twenty fifth, Himmler ordered the dismantling of the killing installations?

"That is, perhaps - I should perhaps include one or two other sources," said Hilberg. "It is sometimes difficult to present all of them when they happen to be testimony... There were several other sources, and one of these was from a man who also talked to Becher and got that information." Hilberg agreed that the other source didn't talk to Himmler but talked to Becher and that this source was not referred to in his book. (4-873)

Christie returned to the subject of the alleged first Hitler order to shoot the Jewish- Bolshevik commissars. Would you agree, he asked, that there was a belief in Germany at that time that Bolshevism had Jewish origins and all commissars would be Jewish?

"No. That is not something that I would assume," said Hilberg. "...I am familiar with the theories of the day. I am also familiar with the manner in which these theories were received by the population, including even the SS people. I don't think they are unsophisticated people."

I am suggesting, said Christie, that a prevalent theory of the Nazis was that Communism and Bolshevism were Jewish.

"That was propaganda."

But they claimed it was their belief at the time?, asked Christie.

"They claim."

They said that Trotsky was Jewish and Zinoviev was Jewish and Karl Liebknecht was Jewish?

"There are all kinds of people labelled as Jews, whether they are or not."

Hilberg had to agree, however, that both Trotsky and Zinoviev were Jews and were both very important in the Communist movement. (4-874)

So they had this belief and assumed the commissars were Jewish, right?, asked Christie.

"Well, I would not go so far as to say that. Not even Hitler had that thought. I don't think even Hitler may have thought that."

Oh, it's hard for us to perceive what Hitler thought, isn't it?, asked Christie.

End Part 1


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