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David Irving vs. Deborah Lipstadt Libel Trial in London England
Part Seven: March 1 - March 16, 2000
Dates and sources are listed at the end of each respective report
The Times of London finally has something negative to report about David Irving in the proceedings of the Irving vs. Lipstadt trial and (predictably) the Times therefore now breaks its recent blackout of news about the trial testimony:
Irving was ally of neo-Nazis
David Irving used Germany as a "playground" for his right-wing extremism, the High Court was told yesterday.
For ten years, until he was banned from Germany in 1993, the court was told, the historian was in a political alliance with the German People's Union, an anti-Semitic party. The allegations were made by Hajo Funke, a professor at the Free University of Berlin, who compiled a 137-page report on Mr Irving's alleged extremist connections for the hearing.
He said: "Mr Irving committed himself wholeheartedly to the cause of revisionism, and thus neo-Nazism, in Germany." Professor Funke added: "By denying the Holocaust, he wilfully and persistently violated the criminal law in Germany."
He was giving evidence in the libel action that Mr Irving has brought against Deborah Lipstadt, an American academic, and Penguin Books, her publishers. Mr Irving, 62, is suing both for damages for saying that he is a Holocaust denier who has twisted history. The hearing continues.
Source: Times of London, March 1, 2000
In a London courtroom, Holocaust denier David Irving gets to argue the details of the persecution of the Jews against the world's leading experts.
The bland yellow courtroom in London's Royal Courts of Justice is an odd setting for a debate about the Holocaust. The questions sound like the start of tasteless jokes: How much hydrogen-cyanide gas does it take to kill a room full of people? How many corpses fit onto an elevator floor? How many people can one gassing van deliver to death in a day?
Yet the answers have become pieces of evidence in a British libel trial that litigants on both sides hope will define the parameters of debate about what many call the greatest moral crime of the 20th century.
On one side of the fluorescent-lit courtroom stands the British author David Irving -- revisionist historian, Hitler apologist or liar, depending on whom you ask -- who does not believe the Nazis systematically killed Jews in World War II. They died, he says, from disease or by the hand of "rogue Nazis." Irving stands alone on his side of the courtroom, for he has chosen to represent himself in a case that both sides agree is so complicated that a judge, and not a jury, should hear it.
On the other side of the room sits the target of his suit, Deborah Lipstadt, a professor from Emory University in Atlanta, Ga., who wrote "Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory." Lipstadt, Emory's Dorot Chair in Modern Jewish and Holocaust Studies, called Irving "one of the most dangerous spokespersons for Holocaust denial." She and others criticized his American publisher, St. Martin's Press, for picking up his latest book, "Goebbels: Mastermind of the Third Reich," in 1996. The book was dropped before it was published.
Lipstadt and a representative from her fellow defendant, Penguin Books Ltd. (UK), are surrounded by a team of black-robed English lawyers and university researchers, all paging through files, leafing through books, typing notes on laptop computers and writing messages to each other on Post-it notes.
British law divides the duties of attorneys in a courtroom, between the solicitor who gathers the evidence and builds the case, and the wig-wearing barrister who puts these arguments to the judge. Lipstadt has a star team: Her solicitor is Anthony Julius, who represented Princess Diana in her divorce. Her barrister is Queen's Counsel Richard Rampton, a big name in British libel circles.
Both sides plead their case to Justice Charles Gray, formerly a premier libel lawyer himself and a relative newcomer to the bench. Gray has given Irving great leeway in presenting his case, for fear of putting a person with no legal experience at a disadvantage. The trial, which began Jan. 11, is scheduled to last three months.
If this were an American libel court, the judge and barristers would not wear wigs and Irving would have the burden to prove he'd been defamed ("with malice" in his case, as with all public figures). But this is a British libel court, and the burden is on the defense to prove Lipstadt told the truth when she wrote that Irving bends historical evidence "until it conforms with his ideological leanings."
Barrister Rampton's job -- which he does while pacing, tying the sleeves of his robe behind his back and adjusting his wig -- is to prove Irving deliberately misread, misinterpreted or missed key historical documents.
Irving's differences with the vast body of Holocaust scholarship are not subtle. He does not think gas chambers existed for mass extermination. They were used, he says, to delouse clothes and disinfect corpses. He does not believe Hitler devised the Final Solution.
The word "Holocaust" was removed from the second edition of his book "Hitler's War," because he finds the term "misleading, offensive and unhelpful. It is too vague, it is imprecise, it is unscientific and it should be avoided like the plague."
Despite this, Irving claims Lipstadt defamed him by labeling him a "Holocaust denier," marking him with "a verbal Yellow Star."
But the British author is after what he sees as a bigger enemy, as well. He says his reputation has been destroyed by an "organized international endeavor," which, upon closer inspection, comprises mostly Jewish lobby groups like the Anti-Defamation League and the Board of Deputies of British Jews. Their members have prevented him from publishing his books, speaking at universities and traveling to certain countries, he says.
Irving is banned even from Germany, where he has done much of the 40-odd years of research for his 30 books, because he violated that country's law against denying the Holocaust.
This week the trial's big news was Israel's decision to release the pre-execution memoirs of Adolf Eichmann, to help Lipstadt with her case. The computer disk containing an estimated 600 pages was handed over to Irving after he promised not to publish it on his Web site.
Irving is good at sliding out from many of the accusations against him. It is true, as he has argued at the trial, that historians do "make mistakes" and can be "caught out by fresh documents that come into their purview." And in fact, scholars debate when the Final Solution became the Nazi answer to the "Jewish question" as well as other important facets of the Holocaust. Irving posits himself as a man taking part in these debates.
There is no "smoking gun" order from Hitler calling for the destruction of the Jews, he reminds the court often. There is no "smoking gun" blueprint for gas chambers at Auschwitz.
And, of course, he is right.
On the surface he sounds believable. His tall, square-shouldered frame reflects his inner confidence over a mastery of obscure Nazi documents and wartime history. He bounces on his feet as he fences verbally with Rampton.
His comments cause a flurry of scribbling, as Holocaust survivors, Irving supporters, tourists, law students, professors and scruffy courthouse regulars take notes on whatever is available: envelopes, small notepads, newspapers. Reporters from Germany, Israel, Australia and the United States sit nearby, filling notebooks with Irving's words and the arguments from the defense. Most days the stern court clerk places a "Court Full" sign on the door, barring entry to more who wait in the narrow corridor.
Sometimes the trial is a jousting match, with historical documents and incidents as the lances. "What do you take to be the meaning of the phrase found in Wetzel's letter to Lohse of 25th October 1941 ..." starts Rampton, and Irving shoots back: "I am familiar, you remember, with the Tesch trial ..."
Other times, the debate is more disturbing:
"They also retrieved a paper sack, marked on it a weight of 25.5 kilograms of hair, which they say was taken from the corpses of females after gassing and before burning in the crematorium ovens in Birkenhau," said Rampton. "Twenty-five point five kilograms of hair in total is the hair of about, what, 500 women?"
"I do not know," Irving answered. "I have not done any calculations. It seems to me you would have had to have a bag the size of an elephant to make it weigh 50 pounds of human hair."
The living faces of the Holocaust visit the trial as well. Michael Lee, a 76-year-old survivor of Auschwitz, comes every week.
"The whole thing is surreal to me," he said. "I can't believe they argue dates and translations of words when I actually witnessed the horror of the whole thing."
People like Irving worry him, he said, because they plant seeds of doubt. "Now there are a lot of witnesses still alive," he said, "but in 20, 30, 40 years there won't be anybody left."
But Irving argues that even the testimony of survivors and eyewitnesses is unreliable. He rejects all eyewitness testimony about gas chambers at Auschwitz, for instance, most of it presented during the Nuremberg trials after the war. He thinks former camp officials lied to cooperate with Allied investigators to save their necks, and former inmates trumped up stories as revenge on their captors. On the other hand, he accepts without skepticism accounts by Hitler's adjutants when they exonerate the Fuhrer.
And while Irving accuses "establishment" historians of overlooking documents he has discovered, he rejects out of hand key documents that have been a foundation of mainstream Holocaust history. He ignores, for instance, the astounding death tolls listed in reports from the Einsatzgruppen, the mobile killing units that shot Jews and communists caught behind the German advance eastward. (One report listed 363,211 Jews killed in the last third of 1942.) Such figures are probably inflated, he said, to "show off."
Other times Irving defends himself by saying he just made mistakes. He misread an "order from Hitler" to SS leader Heinrich Himmler to spare one trainload of Jews from Berlin as an order to spare all Jews. Further probing by the defense showed Himmler issued the order before meeting with Hitler anyway.
But the defense says Irving's "mistakes" and interpretations point in one direction only: toward the exculpation of Hitler and the denial of the systematic slaughter of the Jews because they were Jews.
The defense has also tried to link Irving's mistakes to what it describes as his racism and right-wing ideological bent. For two days the court listened to Irving's past speeches in which he said black news anchors should be allowed to report only on muggings and drug busts, and that he "shuddered" to have his passport checked at British immigration control by a "Pakistani." The defense recited a rhyme Irving taught his 9-month-old daughter that made headlines in the British press the next day: "I am a baby Aryan/not Jewish or sectarian/I never will marry an/ape or Rastafarian."
He has also claimed that Jews bring misfortune upon themselves by virtue of their race. "If I was a Jew, I would be far more concerned, not by the question of who pulled the trigger, but why; and I do not think that has ever been properly investigated," Irving once said. "There must be some reason why anti-Semitism keeps on breaking out like some kind of epidemic."
Still, Irving thinks he is winning this case, as his Web site makes clear. He hides nothing: He posts full transcripts of the trial (until the transcript company forbade him to do so Feb. 7), he posts links to every press clipping (regardless of how unfavorable it is to him) and he writes a "Radical's Diary," in which he shares his take on the day's proceedings.
The loser of this trial must pay its entire cost, which could mean financial ruin for Irving. But in some ways, he could win no matter how the sober-faced Judge Gray rules. Deborah Lipstadt refuses to debate Holocaust deniers because "it would elevate their anti-Semitic ideology to the level of responsible historiography," according to the first chapter of the book at the heart of this lawsuit.
But through his lawsuit, David Irving has entered the ring with the world's leading Holocaust historians. He has had his day in court.
Source: Salon, March 1, 2000
Hoffman comments on the preceding Salon article: At least Salon has avoided the fanatically partisan, sneering tone of similar "think pieces" on the Irving-Lipstadt trial, and conceded a few key points to Irving: that he is outnumbered by his rich and powerful adversaries (Lipstadt's defense is funded in part by a $5 million subsidy from the American Jewish Committee), that he is right about there being no "smoking gun" implicating Hitler in genocide-by-gas-chamber, and that the word "Holocaust" is meaningless Orwellian Newspeak that obscures rather than clarifies historical realities.
But by this writer's standards, the Salon report still fails as journalism, from its very opening sentence. Irving is not a "Holocaust-denier" and pronoucing him one is the same as vindicating Lipstadt. Irving has not faced the "leading experts" in the courtroom. He has faced the leading mountebanks. The leading expert, former Max Planck chemist and PhD. candidate Germar Rudolf, is a fugitive sought by the German government for the thought crime of denying the holy of holies. Other revisionist experts like Carlo Mattogno and Prof. Robert Faurisson were rebuffed by Irving himself, a loner who could be described in the terms Homer reserved for Daedalus.
The Salon reporter notes the presence of journalists from all over the world but fails to remark upon the anomalous fact that from mid-February until the flap over the Eichmann "diaries," (Feb. 28 onward) the various newspapers, magazines and broadcasting outlets supposedly covering the trial blacked-out almost all coverage of it.
It must be a coincidence that this was the same period when Irving had Lipstadt's defense witnesses on the ropes and was battering them quite successfully and effectively.
Salon also omits the rather embarrassing fact that American "Holocaust denial expert" Prof. Deborah Lipstadt has refused to take the stand in the trial, whereas Irving has withstood the withering cross-examination of Lipstadt's defense attorney time and again.
Salon concludes by claiming that Irving "has had his day in court." But this can only be true when the courtroom proceedings have been fairly and consistently reported in detail by the major communications outlets. This has not been the case in the Irving-Lipstadt trial. The truth about the proceedings is available only to those who attend the trial or obtain the transcript.
Since the majority of the public depend upon the media for their version of the trial, based on what must be the perceptions of that vast multidude, Mr. Irving has not had his day in court, because the media have not told the public even half the story of what has actually transpired at the Royal Court of Justice in the Strand.
Should the judge rule against Irving, the media will crow in boldface headlines that the case was a predictable, easy victory for the omniscient and infallible establishment side that "trounced" the "Holocaust" deniers' leading "Hitler apologist." But an opinion like that can only be sustained upon the twin pillars of ignorance and omission, the engines that drive that titanic vessel, HMS Media.
Irving denies raising glass to Hitler
The after-dinner toast was to the memory of a "certain statesman" to mark what would have been his 101st birthday. But, unlike the 16 other guests at the hotel in Munich on April 20, 1990, the British historian David Irving declined to join in. The trinkspruch (toast) was to Adolf Hitler and the guests were neo-Nazis.
The cosy scene was painted at the High Court in London yesterday when Mr Irving, 62, denied taking any part in the tribute to the Führer. The author referred to his private diary recording the event in which he wrote: "All rose, toasted; I had no glass as I don't drink."
He was in Munich as the "star speaker" at a revisionist conference organised by Ewald Althans, an alleged leading neo-Nazi in the city who also sells and distributes the historian's books, videos and cassettes. Pressed on whether he did raise a glass when Herr Althans proposed the toast, Mr Irving responded: "Did I join in or not in this very tasteless toast? If one has no glass and does not drink, how can one toast anyone?"
Mr Irving is suing the American academic Deborah Lipstadt and Penguin Books for libel over claims that he is a Hitler partisan who denies that the Holocaust took place.
The story of the night of Hitler's birthday was disclosed by Hajo Funke, a Professor of Politics and Culture at the Free University of Berlin, during cross-examination by Mr Irving.
Professor Funke, who has produced a 137-page report for the hearing on Mr Irving's alleged extremist connections, told him: "You are an admirer of Adolf Hitler."
Later, Mr Irving was referred to a letter that he had written to Gerhard Frey, the leader of the far-Right anti-Semitic DVU party, on January 30, 1991, prophesying the emergence of a new German empire. He forecast a huge expansion of the German economy with a political drawing together of the German- speaking peoples of Europe, with incredible potential for the mark.
In the letter, which outlined the contents of a speech that he proposed making, he said: "Germany would use this economic power in order to help the backward countries in the east of Europe - therefore expand a kind of German empire in the east. "The German economic hegemony would then, in the course of ten to 20 years, expand to Poland, the Ukraine, White Russia and the original German sphere of interest, the Baltic States. "Within the framework of a just settlement with Warsaw, in which the partial repayment of the Polish debts should play a not insignificant role, it would result in a return of the German eastern territories, only sparsely settled by Poles anyway.
"In the framework of a partnership with the Russian people (but, mind you, not the criminal Soviet Government), it would also result in a blossoming of the Russian economy, and a return of Kaliningrad and north-east Prussia to Germany."
Mr Justice Gray, who is sitting without a libel jury, was also told about a speech that Mr Irving made in Alsace in which the author denied suggestions that the Germans used portable gas chambers to exterminate the Jews in countryside areas of Poland. Mr Irving denies that gas chambers were used for the mass extermination of Jews.
Source: Times of London, March 2, 2000
Irving holds court on Eichmann
London -- Sitting in his comfortable flat after another day of fighting to protect his reputation, such as it is, David Irving doesn't hesitate to speak in apocalyptic terms about how people are out to bring him down. "I don't talk about a global Jewish conspiracy because that's paranoid," Britain's most controversial historian says. Then, without missing a beat, he makes it clear who he believes is working against him.
"It's a networking by the Board of Deputies of British Jews, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre in Toronto, the American Jewish Committee, the Anti-Defamation League in New York, the Australian Jewish Congress . . . Using various legal means in Canada, the United States and Australia, they have been involved in a joint endeavour to destroy my career."
Day 28 of his libel trial against American professor Deborah Lipstadt has just ended. It is the first day of proceedings since Israel released the 1,300-page diary of Holocaust overseer Adolf Eichmann in an effort to help Prof. Lipstadt's case.
At issue in the trial is whether she defamed Mr. Irving in her 1994 book "Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory."
Mr. Irving, who has written a series of books on Nazi Germany and is a favorite on the far-right lecture circuit, dismisses the importance of the Eichmann diary with obvious disdain. Eichmann, he says, was just a "very pathetic worm of a man." The Nazi wrote the diary while on trial for war crimes. He was executed by Israel in 1962.
The only "troublesome passage" in it, Mr. Irving says, is the recounting of a conversation Eichmann had with a senior Gestapo chief in 1942 to the effect that Hitler had ordered the physical destruction of the Jews. But Mr. Irving is quick to characterize the passage as nothing more than a "fourth-hand statement being reported by Eichmann 20 years after the event."
Mr. Irving's own views are clear enough -- Hitler knew nothing about the Final Solution for Europe's Jews. Jews were killed by firing squads on the Eastern Front but not en masse in gas chambers. For Mr. Irving, a beefy 62-year-old whose best-known book is a biography of Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels, the Holocaust has been turned into a "legend."
Mr. Irving has not yet read the full Eichmann manuscript but says that in 1991 he saw a 600-page excerpt obtained from one of Eichmann's friends in Argentina, where the Nazi was captured by Israeli agents 40 years ago.
Eichmann wrote that the Holocaust was the "most enormous crime in the history of mankind." But Mr. Irving suggests that Eichmann may simply have been hoping to please his captors as he awaited the death penalty.
The libel case has resulted in vast international attention. Courtroom 37 at the Royal Courts of Justice was packed with journalists and other spectators yesterday. Still, despite the subject matter, it is at times a tedious affair.
Mr. Irving spent almost five hours on his feet during yesterday's proceedings, attacking a report on speeches he made on behalf of neo-Nazi and other extreme German organizations in the early 1990s. The report was prepared by a Berlin professor, Hajo Funke.
Acting as his own lawyer, Mr. Irving utilized a scattershot approach, questioning footnotes in Prof. Funke's study, attacking the accuracy of translations and denying he knew the prominent neo-Nazis who organized the rallies he addressed.
Dressed in a blue pinstriped suit, he stood before a table lined with his works on Hitler and Goebbels, a leather-bound copy of Mein Kampf to one side.
At times, his views came clearly to the fore. Referring to one interview cited by Prof. Funke, Mr. Irving denied that Auschwitz was an extermination camp, adding that "it is a defamation of the German people if one talks of extermination camps or death camps." Mr. Irving insisted that he has been misquoted, saying that he was referring only to Auschwitz, not to all concentration camps.
Lawyer Richard Rampton, who represents Prof. Lipstadt, countered that Mr. Irving isn't just denying the Holocaust but also is trying to absolve Nazi Germany of responsibility for the outbreak of the war and to equate Allied bombing of Dresden with Nazi war crimes -- all favourite themes of the extreme right in Germany.
"Our case is not just that he's a racist and an anti-Semite, but a right-wing extremist with deep sympathies for the Nazi regime," Mr. Rampton said.
Prof. Lipstadt declined to be interviewed, saying she won't speak with the press during the trial. But Mr. Irving operates under no such compunction and readily invited several journalists to his apartment near the Canadian High Commission after the day's hearing.
In his cluttered study, he railed against his detractors. He said he has a 65-per-cent chance of winning the case. In the next breath, though, he made it clear that he is preparing himself for defeat. "It's David versus Goliath and this may be the one case where Goliath wins," he conceded. If he loses, he will face financial ruin, he said, even losing the apartment where he has lived for 32 years. "Everything I have goes."
There's one artifact, however, he clearly does not want to lose. He showed a journalist a pencil drawing -- by Hitler, he said, a gift from the Fuhrer's secretary. He said he will never give it up, even if forced to sell it to pay legal costs.
"I'll tell them it's totally fake."
Source: The Globe and Mail, March 2, 2000
Irving challenged over 'cynical anti-Semitism'
David Irvingg, the controversial Hitler historian, faced accusations at the High Court of mocking the victims of the Holocaust as the evidence in his long-running libel action concluded yesterday.
The case was adjourned until March 13 when the two sides will make final speeches. Amid acrimonious exchanges, Mr Irving, 62, was accused by Richard Rampton, QC, of "feeding and encouraging the most cynical anti-Semitism" in his audience during public speaking engagements.
Mr Rampton is representing the American academic Deborah Lipstadt and her publisher, Penguin Books, which Mr Irving is suing over her claims that he poured doubt on the Holocaust and was a Hitler partisan who twists history. Mr Rampton said: "What you are doing is feeding the anti-Semitism in your audience by mocking the survivors and dead of the Holocaust." Mr Irving said he was actually "mocking the liars" who he said had told lies about what had happened to them.
Mr Rampton queried why he got so much applause from his right-wing extremist audiences. Mr Irving: "I am a good speaker." Mr Irving, who denies that gas chambers were used for the mass extermination of Jews at Auschwitz, was referred to a speech he gave in Alberta, Canada, in 1991.
He told his audience: "I don't see any reason to be tasteful about Auschwitz. It's baloney, it's a legend. Once we admit the fact that it was a brutal slave labour camp and large numbers of people did die, as large numbers of innocent people died elsewhere in the war, why believe the rest of the baloney? There are so many Auschwitz survivors going around, in fact the number increases as the years go past, which is biologically very, very odd to say the least. I'm going to form an association of Auschwitz Survivors, Survivors of the Holocaust and Other Liars, or the ASSHOLS."
Defending his remarks on the victims of the camp, Mr Irving told the court: "It's become an important part of their social and religious awareness and it is almost blasphemy to them to tread on that holy ground. There have been increasing numbers in recent years who have capitalised on the Holocaust."
Mr Irving says he has been the victim of an international conspiracy to destroy him and rejects the claim in Professor Lipstadt's book, Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory, that he has distorted history in order to exonerate Hitler.
Source: The Times of London, March 3, 2000
Doug Collins: The Irving Holocaust Trial, March 7, 2000
How the great Irving-Lipstadt libel trial in London will turn out I don't know. Neither does anyone else. But one thing is certain. Professional Holocausters have been given a black eye. They have been forced to debate what they have always refused to debate, namely, whether their version of the "Holocaust" is true.
As could be expected, Canadian coverage of this fascinating event has been abysmal. It would warrant daily reports, but we are more concerned with important matters like hockey fights. Still, you can get the news from the Internet and the international press.
Historian David Irving has been a target of Jewish invective ever since he testified for the defence in the second Zündel "false news" trial in 1988. Now, in one of the longest libel cases ever, he is suing Deborah Lipstadt (and Penguin Books) for claiming that he is "one of the world's most dangerous Holocaust deniers", that he is a falsifier of history, that he applauds the internment of Jews in Nazi concentration camps, and much else.
Lipstadt is professor of modern Jewish and Holocaust studies at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, and her statements on Mr. Irving were in her book, "Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault On Truth And Memory."
As far as most Jews are concerned, what she has to say about Irving is a bit like Moses bringing those tablets down from the mountain. As for his being "dangerous", he has thrown no bombs - apart from the bombs he has thrown at the profitable Holocaust Industry.
About that black eye: professional Holocausters hold to the view that the story of six million Jewish deaths at the hands of the Nazis is both self-evident and sacrosanct. Hence their refusal to discuss it except in proclamatory terms, a line that is laid down from the top and followed by the media.
An example: when Charles Maclean, lawyer and open liner, asked Bernie Farber of the Canadian Jewish Congress to debate Mr. Irving on air, Farber refused. Sol ("Oliver is the hate capital of Canada") Littman of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre and the rest of the Jewish prominente take the same tactic, here and in the U.S. They won't debate "the obvious".
They must be losing some sleep now. The "Atlantic Monthly" magazine did a cover story entitled "The Holocaust On Trial" even before the case began. The Jewish writer, D.D. Guttenplan, while basically backing the Jewish line, pointed out a few truths right off the bat.
The story about soap being made from the fat of murdered Jews, he wrote, is now universally rejected by historians as a fabrication. Dachau had a gas chamber [it was there for delousing inmates] but he states it was never used. He also points out that there were no gas chambers at Bergen-Belsen.
I saw that place myself in 1945. The camp was captured intact and if there had been any gas chambers there they would be featured on TV every time the "Holocaust" is mentioned, which is practically every night. But that didn't stop the "Montreal Gazette" in 1993 from reviewing a book by Montrealer Moshe Peer in which he claimed to have been put through them six times when he was a child, managing to escape death every time. Miraculous!
Our media will print anything a "survivor" tells them. But I digress.
The London trial has led to enormous publicity on this issue, but one doubts that it will make any difference to the constant beating of the Holocaustomania drum by Jewish organizations and Hollywood. It may even increase it. What is important, though, is that they haven't been able to cast the Irving trial into the sea of silence, which is what they did when the second Zündel trial took place.
Headlines from the first one, like, "Gas chambers did not exist" gave them migraines. So, going along with Jewish demands, the media virtually blacked out the second one. In Britain, too, the media put their pens down during Mr. Irving's lengthy cross examination of the leading expert for the defence, during which Irving was scoring points.
In Britain, much of the coverage has been snidely anti-Irving. "Irving doesn't deserve title of historian", etc. On the other hand, the normally "correct" BBC has asked whether there might indeed be a "Holocaust industry", and on a related issue an "Evening Standard" writer stated before the trial began that "enough has been made of their Holocaust".
That Jews and others died in their thousands in the camps is beyond question. But Irving says that the Auschwitz gas chamber story is fiction and that no order from Hitler exists for the destruction of the Jews.
I expect Irving to lose. He has the courage of a lion but is fighting the case alone and is facing twenty lawyers for the defence, which has unlimited funds. The whole Jewish establishment is arrayed against him.
That establishment has a lot riding on this trial and it would be a brave judge who came down in his favor. But whatever the outcome, the trial transcripts will be there for the world to muse on and the fight for truth and free debate will go on.
Editor's Note: Doug Collins is a journalist and a World War II Canadian war hero who escaped from ten Nazi POW camps. His war record did not deter the Canadian establishment from prosecuting Collins when he wrote a newspaper column analyzing the flaws in Steven Spielberg's Academy-award winning film, "Schindler's List." The case is on appeal.
Holocaust trial about freedom, says Irving
David Irving, the controversial Hitler historian, said yesterday that if a judge ruled against him in his libel trial, academics could become too scared to discuss the Holocaust.
If judgment went in his favour, he said, it would not mean that "the Holocaust never happened", but that debating it could continue in the interests of freedom of speech.
Mr Irving was making his closing speech at the end of a two-month hearing in which he is suing the American academic, Deborah Lipstadt, and Penguin books over her claims that he is a dangerous Holocaust denier and "Hitler partisan" who has twisted history.
He said that the trial was not about the reputation of the Holocaust, but his own reputation as a human being and historian of integrity.
On the final day of the hearing, Mr Irving, 62, was accused by Richard Rampton, QC, for the defendants, of being a "rabid anti-Semite" who had falsified history on a "staggering scale in order to 'prove' Hitler's innocence" over Nazi persecution of the Jews. Mr Rampton alleged that Mr Irving had "prostituted his reputation for the sake of a bogus rehabilitation of Hitler".
Mr Irving retorted that Professor Lipstadt's book, Denying the Holocaust, was "malicious and deeply flawed" - and that it was the climax of a campaign against him.
He said a judgment in his favour would not mean "that the Holocaust never happened; it means only that in England today discussion is still permitted". Judgment against him would mean no one would dare discuss the Holocaust, as it should be by historians.
Mr Irving said that the defendants had, without justifying it, made one of the "gravest libels" that could be imagined for a respectable English citizen. This involved the "reckless lie" that he consorted with the extremist anti-Semitic Russian group, Pamyat, violent anti-Israeli murderers and Louis Farrakhan, an American Black Power leader and agitator.
He also told the High Court that he had been the victim of an orchestrated 30-year international campaign to destroy him and had been banned from foreign archives essential to his research.
He said his editor at Macmillans had issued a secret order in July 1992 to destroy several thousand copies of all three volumes of his Hitler biography worth hundreds of thousands of pounds.
Mr Irving said his family was placed in constant fear and West End Central Police Station in London had asked to film inside his Mayfair flat in case they needed to be rescued.
He added: "For 12 months after our young child - Jessica - was born, we lived with a wicker Moses basket in the furthest corner of our apartment near a window, attached to a length of wire rope in case the building was set on fire and we had to lower her to safety . . . I have lived since then with a four-foot steel spike stowed in a strategic point inside my apartment. No historian should have to live with his family in a civilised city under such conditions."
In his closing statement, Mr Rampton accused him of being a liar whose Holocaust denial had been exposed as a fraud. He said: "As the evidence in this court has shown, Mr Irving is a right-wing extremist, a racist and, in particular, a rabid anti-Semite.
Mr Justice Gray reserved judgment.
Source: The Times of London, March 16, 2000
Charges Fly Near End of Hoocaust Libel Trial
British historian David Irving was denounced Wednesday in a London court as a liar, right-wing extremist, racist and anti-Semite who has "falsified history on a staggering scale" in his books about Nazi Germany.
Irving, denying all the allegations, said he was the victim of an international conspiracy led by the Jewish Anti-Defamation League "to destroy my position as a historian" and to stifle free discussion.
The comments were made in closing statements of a nine-week trial in which Irving is suing American historian Deborah Lipstadt and Penguin Books for libel for branding him a Hitler partisan and Holocaust denier.
Justice Charles Gray said at the end of the hearing that he would need several weeks to reach a judgment.
There were few, if any, clues from Gray's comments as to how his decision might go. Libel law in Britain is far stricter than it is in the U.S., and Irving focused on what he said were factual inaccuracies in Lipstadt's book and an organized campaign to "destroy" him.
But he also produced one of the few outbursts of laughter in the court when he unintentionally referred to Gray not as "my lord," the British court practice, but "mein fuehrer."
Much of the court argument has revolved around Irving's book "Hitler's War," in which he contended that the Nazi dictator was not aware of the mass killing of Jews being carried out by his subordinates until the later stages of World War II.
He also has denied the existence of gas chambers at the Auschwitz extermination camp, saying the facilities in question were used for delousing inmates or as SS air-raid shelters.
Attorney Richard Rampton summed up the case for Lipstadt, author of the 1993 book "Denying the Holocaust," and for Penguin. In a 90-minute presentation, he repeatedly cited examples in which he said Irving had distorted the historical record to show Hitler in a favorable light.
"There are, in relation to Hitler alone, as many as 25 major falsifications of history, as well as numerous subsidiary inventions, suppressions, manipulations and mistranslations," he said.
"Mr. Irving is, as was proposed at the outset of the trial, a liar."
As a historian, he said, Irving has "a deliberate blindness" to evidence. "What he doesn't like, he ignores," Rampton said.
Rampton cited Irving's account of Kristallnacht--the incident on Nov. 9, 1938, in which Jewish shops and homes were attacked throughout Germany--as an example of his misuse of historical records.
He said Irving wrote that Nazi propaganda chief Josef Goebbels initiated this without Hitler's knowledge or participation. When national police chief Reinhard Heydrich learned what was happening, according to Irving, he issued orders to police to restore law and order and to protect Jews and their property.
Rampton said Heydrich's telegram to police actually said that Jewish shops and homes could be destroyed, but not looted, and that care must be taken to protect German life and property.
Rampton derided Irving's contention about the Auschwitz gas chambers, citing the testimony of other historians at the trial who said Irving's views were "perverse" and "absolutely absurd."
The attorney offered this explanation of Irving's alleged distortions: "Mr. Irving is a right-wing extremist, a racist and, in particular, a rabid anti-Semite."
Later, he said: "Mr. Irving is a Hitler partisan, who has falsified history on a staggering scale in order to `prove' Hitler's innocence."
His anti-Semitism and Hitler apology together, he said, "have led him to prostitute his reputation as a serious historian . . . for the sake of a bogus rehabilitation of Hitler and the dissemination of virulent anti-Semitic propaganda."
In his own four-hour statement, Irving said the media and the defense had falsely attempted to present the trial as having to do with "the reputation of the Holocaust."
"This trial is about my reputation as a human being [and] a historian of integrity," he said.
Irving said he had always accepted that Hitler, as head of state and government, was responsible for the Holocaust. But others, he said, were involved at different stages.
Hitler, he said, had "a Richard Nixon kind of complex," a desire not to know what his subordinates might be doing to Jews.
He quoted British historian A.J.P. Taylor as saying the destruction of the Jews may have been designed more by Heinrich Himmler, head of the SS, than by Hitler.
The defense, he said, had engaged in "a time-wasting and needless effort" to rake over "the embers of what may be one of the greatest crimes known to mankind."
Irving took exception to two particular points in Lipstadt's book not mentioned by Rampton.
One was an assertion that he keeps a portrait of Hitler on the wall behind his desk. Irving said that libel first appeared in the Russian newspaper Izvestia. The only portrait on his wall, he said, is that of Winston Churchill.
The second point concerned a report by Lipstadt that Irving had agreed to speak at a meeting in Sweden in 1992 along with American black nationalist Louis Farrakhan, members of the Russian anti-Semite organization Pamyat and representatives of two Mideast terrorist groups, Hezbollah and Hamas.
The Swedish government canceled the planned meeting.
By linking him to terrorists and anti-Semites, Irving said, Lipstadt had not only written a "reckless lie" but also exposed him to possible assassination.
Irving said that various organizations, including the Anti-Defamation League, had compiled dossiers on him "with the intent of destroying me, with no concern for accuracy," and that Lipstadt had used such information without checking it.
He said he had been subjected to "a campaign of vilification" unprecedented for any other historian. Under pressure from the ADL, the Board of Deputies of British Jews and other organizations, he said, his last book on Goebbels had been suppressed, thousands of copies of "Hitler's War" had been destroyed by the publisher and he had been expelled from various countries, thus denying him access to research sources.
Irving said he had made errors in his books but said that these were "innocent mistakes" and that most works of history could not stand up unblemished from the kind of scrutiny to which his had been subjected. But on his major conclusions, he said, nothing he heard in the trial convinced him he was wrong.
Source: Chicago Tribune, March 16, 2000
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