David Irving’s Final Address in the London Libel Trial
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On March 15, 2000, British historian David Irving rose before the High Court of Justice in London to deliver his Closing Statement in a dramatic legal battle that had generated enormous media attention.
At the center of the case is a 278-page book by Jewish- American scholar Deborah Lipstadt, Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory, a detailed polemic against Irving and other revisionists who dispute familiar Holocaust claims. As the plaintiff (“claimant”) in the case, Irving charged that Lipstadt and Penguin Books, the British publisher of Denying the Holocaust, had libeled him. (For more on this, see the Jan.–Feb. 2000 Journal issue, which includes extensive press reports and commentary on the trial. Extensive coverage of the case, including texts of important trial documents, can be found on Irving’s web site.
Much of the grueling nine-week, non-jury trial dealt with such emotion-laden historical issues as Hitler’s role in wartime Germany’s “final solution” policies, and the evidence, or lack of it, for mass killings of Jews in gas chambers at Auschwitz-Birkenau. This historical debate is reflected in Irving’s final address to the court, which differs markedly in tone and focus from his Opening Statement of January 11 (published in the Sept.–Dec. 1999 Journal, pp. 16–35).
At least as importantly, Irving’s final address provides astonishing details of the concerted global campaign by Jewish organizations to destroy his career and silence him. He traces the secretive activities of this widely feared but little-understood international cabal.
In the defendants’ final statement to the court, attorney Richard Rampton – who had spoken on behalf of Lipstadt and Penguin Books throughout the proceedings – echoed claims made at the outset of the trial. “As the evidence in this court has shown,” he said, “Irving is a right-wing extremist, a racist and, in particular, a rabid anti-Semite.” Rampton said that Irving had chosen “to prostitute his reputation as a serious historian ... for the sake of a bogus rehabilitation of Hitter and the dissemination of his virulent anti-Semitic propaganda.”
Judge Gray largely agreed with the defendants, and his detailed judgment (made public on April 11) accordingly was a devastatingly severe condemnation of Irving. Understandably, the resulting worldwide jubilation by Lipstadt and her allies has overshadowed the valuable evidence and arguments presented by Irving during the proceedings, and summed up eloquently in his Closing Statement. It is, therefore, all the more important that the text of this address be made widely available.
Here, then, is Irving’s March 15 Closing Statement. (The original text, including reference notes, can be found on Irving’s web site.) This text has been slightly edited for style. Deletions are indicated by ellipses. Brief explanatory or elucidating remarks have been added in brackets.
– The Editor
The Defendants in this action – the publisher Penguin Books, and the American scholar Deborah Lipstadt – have sought to cast this trial as being about the reputation of the Holocaust. It is not.
The world’s press have also reported it in this way. Again, it is not.
This trial is about my reputation as a human being, as an historian of integrity, and – thanks to the remarks made by [defense lawyer] Mr. Rampton – as a father. The Defendants are saying, and have so convinced many people, that I am not entitled to continue to earn a living in the way that I have earned it for nearly 40 years. A judgment in my favor is no more than a judgment that disputed points which I have made about some aspects of the narrative are not so absurd, given the evidence, as to disqualify me from the ranks of historians. Under the laws of defamation in this country, it could not be anything else; nor must the defense team, no matter how powerful, or moneyed, or eloquent, or numerous, be allowed by their tactics to skew it in any other way.
I may add that the points I have made do not necessarily, lessen the horror or the burden of guilt. I always have accepted that Adolf Hitler, as head of state and government, was responsible for the Holocaust. I said, in the Introduction to my flagship biography, Hitler’s War:
If this biography were simply a history of the rise and fall of Hitler’s Reich, it would be legitimate to conclude: “Hitler killed the Jews.” But my years of investigation suggested that many others were responsible, that the chain of responsibility was not as clear cut as that.
Nothing that I have heard in this Court since January 11 has persuaded me that I was wrong on this account.
These latter points lead to another consideration. Your Lordship will have heard of the – largely successful – effort to drive me out of business as a historian. This Court has seen the timidity with which historians have already been fraught once the Holocaust is questioned: one notable historian, ordered by summons to attend, showed himself reluctant even to confirm what he had written in my favor, repeatedly, over the last 20 years. A judgment rendered against me will make this paralysis in the writing of history definitive; from then on, no-one will dare to discuss who exactly was involved in each stage of the Holocaust, or how extensive it was. From then, on discussion will revolve around “safe” subjects – sacred texts in the Middle Ages, or Marx in the old USSR, or the Koran in a fundamentalist state today. Every historian will know that his critique needs to stop sharply at boundaries defined by certain authorities. He will have a choice: accept the official version, holus-bolus; or stop being a historian.
A judgment in my favor does not mean that the Holocaust never happened; it means only that in England today discussion is still permitted. My opponents would still be able, just as now, to produce other documents if they can; to expound alternative interpretations. They would be as free as ever to declare that they think I am wrong. They would be impeded in one way only: they would not be able to say in a loud and authoritative voice that I am not a historian, and that my books must be banned. As a result of my work (and of this case) the Holocaust has been researched more. Those who (rightly) believe that these crimes should never be forgotten should ask whether their case is batter served by a compulsory – and dead – text imposed by law and intimidation, or by a live and on-going discussion.
Our Common Law has at its kernel an “adversarial” procedure whereby, it is believed, truth is best elicited by each side putting their case as strongly as possible. I agree with English Common Law.
I read in [the London daily] The Independent, in a lengthy and deeply libelous article published only last week, these words: “But if he wins, it will open the door for revisionists to rewrite any event in history without the requirement to consider evidence that does not suit them and without fear that they will be publicly denounced for their distortion.”
In bygone days, I venture to submit, such an article, published while an action was literally sub judice [under consideration by a court], would have been a clear contempt of Court. Your Lordship will have noticed that I wearied, after a few days, of drawing attention to the coverage of this trial. Allow me however to introduce one cautionary statistic: not including the fuss about the Eichmann manuscript, the British press have published no fewer than 167 reports during the seven days that I was on the witness stand, that is 24 per day; but just 58 reports during the 20 days when the boot was on the other foot and I was cross-examining Mr. Rampton’s witnesses, that is roughly three per day. That is a disparity of some eight to one against me. If Your Lordship has noticed any of these items, you will perhaps have observed that the reporting in both cases is almost exclusively devoted to the defense statements, or their questions to me, and not to the product of the examination. The Court however operates by different standards, and it will not allow public sentiment to guide its verdict. I believe it was Churchill who once said, “There is no such thing as public opinion, there is only published opinion.” Given such a baleful glare from the press gallery, My Lord, I am glad that Her Majesty has such a resolute officer presiding over this case. The outcome is in your hands, and ours alone, and I am confident that nothing that the Press has written, or may yet write, will deflect Your Lordship from arriving at a just conclusion.
The Defendants have sold around the world a book, Denying the Holocaust. May I say that I see here Penguin Books, to my sorrow, as they have published my own works in the past; but they are continuing even today to sell this book for profit, in the knowledge that it contains very defamatory allegations and that these allegations are held to be untrue. It is a reckless, even foolhardy posture.
Neither of these Defendants evidently bothered even to have the manuscript professionally read for libel. I say “evidently,” because we do not know: they have not deigned to enter the witness box to answer even that straightforward and most elementary of questions. Nor have they answered this question when it was put to them in writing ...
Whatever other limited excuses – whether of sheer ignorance, or of innocent dissemination – that the publisher might have (quite wrongfully) deployed for publishing this malicious and deeply flawed work, these were destroyed from the moment when they received my writ in September of 1996, and were thus informed, if they did not in fact know already, of the nature and scope of the libels it contains. And, as said, they have continued to sell it, hoping no doubt to cash in on, to profit from, the notoriety gained by these libel proceedings, a textbook case of Rookes vs. Barnard if ever there was one, since the book they are selling still contains even the several libels which they have made no attempt here to justify.
They have to justify their allegations, or their defense fails; and as your Lordship is aware, where the defamations are particularly grave, a higher burden of proof falls upon them than the mere balance of probabilities that is normally acceptable. In both Defendants, moreover, there is clear evidence of malice, both in those few documents which the author of this work has disclosed, and in the fact that the same firm of publishers had previously distributed a work in which I was variously caricatured as Adolf Hitler, and wearing swastika eye-glasses.
The very worst of the libels are so blatant, that neither Defendant has insulted the intelligence of this Court by offering any justification for them. They hope instead to divert the court’s attention by reference to distant and notorious matters of history. In consequence, for 30 days or more of this Court’s time we have had to rake over the embers of what may be one of the greatest crimes known to Mankind: a harrowing, time-wasting, and needless effort, which has yielded even now few answers to great questions and mysteries which even the world’s finest academics have so far not managed to unravel.
On page 14 of Denying the Holocaust, the Defendants published one of the gravest libels that can be imagined for a respectable English citizen who lives a very public life, namely that I consort with the extremist anti-Semitic Russian group Pamyat, with violent anti-Israeli murderers, with extremist terrorists, and with Louis Farrakhan, a Black Power agitator who is known to be acting in the pay of a foreign power, namely the Libyan dictator. This is not just the simple allegation of associating with “extremists,” about which they have made so much.
The words on page 14 are as follows – and I make no apology for reminding the Court of them:
The confluence between anti-Israel, anti-Semitic, and Holocaust denial forces was exemplified by a world anti-Zionist conference scheduled for Sweden in November 1992. Though cancelled at the last minute by the Swedish government, scheduled speakers included black Muslim leader Louis Farrakhan, Faurisson, Irving and Leuchter. Also scheduled to participate were representatives of a variety of anti-Semitic and anti-Israel organizations, including the Russian group Pamyat, the Iranian-backed Hezbollah, and the fundamentalist Islamic organization Hamas.
The whole statement was a reckless lie. It appears from their Discovery to have been based on a press release issued by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA), which neither that agency or the Defendants made any attempt to verify. The Court will have noticed in one of my bundles [of evidence] the letters which I sent to every Scandinavian embassy at the time, anxiously denying the malicious JTA allegation. I have pleaded, as Your Lordship is aware, that the innuendo was that I was
thereby agreeing to appear in public in support of and alongside violent and extremist speakers including representatives of the violent and extremist anti-Semitic Russian group Pamyat and of the Iranian-backed Hezbollah and of the fundamentalist Islamic organization Hamas and including the black Muslim minister Louis Farrakhan, born Louis Eugene Walcott, who is known as a Jew-baiting black agitator, as a leader of the US Nation of Islam, as an admirer of Hitler and who is in the pay of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi.
that the true or legal innuendo of the word “Hezbollah” is that used to refer to and describe a known international terrorist organization led by one Sayed Hassan Nasrallah from Beirut in the Lebanon also known as the Hezbollah whose guerrillas kill Israeli civilians and soldiers thereby deliberately provoking retaliation, and which organization has been determined by President Clinton, at the international anti-terrorism conference in 1996, as being among the enemies of peace, and whose officials and armed activists are now being hunted down by ... the Israeli army.
As for the Hamas, I set out in paragraph 12 of my statement of claim that “the true or legal innuendo of the words ‘Hamas’ is that of an Islamic fundamentalist terrorist organization similar in nature to the Hezbollah.”
In my pleadings, I also argued that by these allegations I had “been brought into hatred, ridicule, contempt, risk of personal injury, and/or assassination.” The nature of the libel, and the damage that it caused, hardly need arguing in detail here. To put it in a domestic context, if the Defendants had equally untruthfully stated, for example on a Channel 4 television documentary, that I consorted with Ulster loyalist death squads who were part of a conspiracy to murder Roman Catholic nationalists, itself a grave accusation which also would put me at risk of assassination, and if the Defendants made no attempt to justify that libel, then I respectfully submit that Your Lordship would have no hesitation giving judgment in my favor. I submit that there is no difference between these examples.
The Defendants have relied however on Section 5 of the Defamation Act. In other words, they accuse a respectable Englishman of consorting with terrorists and murderers, and then plead the relative insignificance of the accusation when it turns out to be a reckless lie.
And there are other incendiary lies which they have stuffed into that particular sand-bucket, Section 5, in the hope that they will sputter out: the Defendants repeated the story – first published in Izvestia – that I placed a portrait of Hitler over my desk. For that lie too they have offered no justification. I read incidentally recently in Literary Review, January 2000, that Lloyd George had signed photographs of both Hitler and Mussolini on display. The only signed photograph in my apartment, as many journalists have observed, is one of Sir Winston Churchill.
I submit that Your Lordship should not accept the Defendants’ contention that these allegations should be disregarded on the basis of Section 5. Even if they could sufficiently justify their claim that I deliberately bent history in favor of Hitler, and I submit that they have not, it would still “materially injure the plaintiff’s reputation” (thus the wording of Section 5) to say that I had a portrait of Hitler above my desk. The claims which they do seek to justify suggest that I am culpably careless and (perhaps unconsciously) sympathetic to Hitler; bad enough, but having a portrait over my desk implies a full-hearted, 100 percent conscious commitment to that man, which is very different.
I have provided to Your Lordship in one [evidence] bundle a number of passages quoted from A.J.P. Taylor’s words. [British historian] Taylor himself accepted that they inevitably improved Hitler’s image: maybe he did not originate the actual mass murders himself; maybe he did slip into war with Britain rather than planning it; maybe the Anschluss with Austria was more a stroke of good fortune, which he grasped, rather than long planned as a take-over; maybe the Nazis did not burn down the Reichstag in 1933. These views of Taylor have been criticized as being wrong, even as being too sympathetic to Hitler. But everybody would accept that to suggest that Taylor had a portrait of Hitler “over his desk” would suggest something far worse. So it should be for me too.
Again, for the purpose of Section 5, the allegation that I bend history in favor of Hitler because I am said to admire him, and that I consort with other people holding such views, is a very different kettle of fish from stating, as the Defendants do, that I consort with people who are widely regarded as violent and murderous terrorists. Indeed, the word used by the Defendants in the Hamas/ Hezbollah/ Pamyat context is “confluence,” which suggests something even worse than “consort.” The passage suggests that I provide support (maybe only theoretical support, but still support) for violence and murder – murder now and murder in the future. I ask therefore that Your Lordship not allow either of these matters to be discarded into Section 5.
My Lord, the Court will be aware that from the very outset I argued that this hearing should not, effectively, leave the four walls of my study, where I wrote my books; and that what happened 50 or 60 years ago was of less moment to the issues as pleaded. The matter at issue, as pleaded by the Defendants, is not what happened, but what I knew of it, and what I made of it, at the time I put pen to paper. To take a crude example: neglecting to use the Eichmann memoirs, released to us only a few days ago, had they contained startling revelations – which they did not – could not have been held against me because they were not available to me in the 1960s, 70s or 80s.
Your Lordship took a different view, and I respectfully submit that it was wrong. The Defendants have invested a sizeable fortune in re-researching the Holocaust, and possibly for that reason alone we have all been dragged through that vast and inhuman tragedy yet again, and quite needlessly in my submission. It would have sufficed for their purposes if they could have proved, on the basis of the total disclosure of my files which I made to them and their experts, that I had indeed “distorted, misstated, misquoted, and falsified.” Fearing or finding, however, that they were unable to prove willful fraud, in effect, they have fallen back on the alternative plea in the tort of negligence: that “Mr. Irving ought to have known.” I respectfully submit that this unsubtle change of defense should not have been allowed to them, as it was not pleaded at the outset.
If my submission on the law is, however, wrong then Your Lordship must ask what effort would have been reasonable on the part of an individual historian, acting without institutional support like that of [the Israel government] Yad Vashem [center], and with the doors of archives increasingly being slammed against him because of the activities of the bodies to which I shall shortly refer. These Defendants have reportedly spent some six million dollars, and 20 man-years, or more, in researching this case: this blinding and expensive spotlight has been focused on the narrowest of issues, yet still it has generated more noise than illumination.
These Defendants have reportedly spent some six million dollars, and 20 man-years, or more, in researching this case: this blinding and expensive spotlight has been focused on the narrowest of issues, yet still it has generated more noise than illumination.
I heard the expert witnesses who were paraded before us use phrases like the “consensus of expert opinion” as their source so often – in fact the word consensus occurs so far no fewer than 40 times in the daily transcripts of this trial – that I began to wonder what archives were for. I suggest that these experts were more expert in reporting each other’s opinions, and those of people who agree with them, than in what the archives actually contain – and do not contain.
The phrase “Holocaust Denier,” which the Second Defendant [Lipstadt] boasts of having invented, is an Orwellian stigma. It is not a very helpful phrase. It does not extend thought or knowledge on this tragic subject. Its universal adoption within the space of a few years by media, academia and government and even academics seems to indicate something of the international endeavor of which I shall make later mention. It is in my submission a key to the whole case. Perhaps this Court should raise its gaze from the red and blue files and bundles for a brief moment, and re-read George Orwell’s brief appendix to 1984, which seems to be very relevant to this case.
From the witness box, with its revelations of the “consensus of opinion,” “moral certainty,” and the mass male-voice choir of the “social sciences” or “social scientists,” on which the Defendants’ German expert Professor Hajo Funke [sociologist with the Free University in Berlin] relies for his certainty as to what is right-wing extremism, we seem to hear more than a vague echo of Orwellian Newspeak – a language that molds minds, and destroys reputations and livelihoods.
Orwell was however wrong in one point: he thought it would take the forces of the State to impose Newspeak: Professor Lipstadt and her reckless publisher, Penguin Books – I shall justify that adjective shortly – have sought to impose it through the machinery of the literary and media establishments. Only the Royal Courts or Justice, independent and proud, can protect the rights of the individual from now on. And those rights include the right, as Lord Justice Sedley recently put it in another Court in this same building, of any person to hold to, and to preach, unpopular views, perhaps even views that many might find repellent.
My Writings and Reputation as a Historian
I have not hesitated to stand in the witness box here, and to answer questions. Mr. Rampton rose to the occasion, and he – or indeed I – may yet regret it. Your Lordship will recall that when I brought a somewhat reluctant and even curmudgeonly Professor Donald Cameron Watt, doyen of the diplomatic historians, into the witness stand, he used these words:
I must say, I hope that I am never subjected to the kind of examination that Mr. Irving’s books have been subjected to by the Defense witnesses. I have a very strong feeling that there are other senior historical figures, including some to whom I owed a great deal of my own career, whose work would not stand up, or not all of whose work would stand up, to this kind of examination ...
When I invited him to mention some names, of course he declined. What he was saying was that whatever mistakes, or whatever unconventional interpretations of mine, the Defendants have revealed with their multi-million dollar research, this does not invalidate me as an historian, or my historical methods and conclusions.
Your Lordship will find that Professor Watt continued by suggesting that simply by facing the challenge of the views that I had put forward, “and basing them on historical research, rather than ideological conviction,” this had directly resulted in other historians devoting an “enormous burst of research” to the Nazi massacres of the Jews, an area which can in consequence now support journals and conferences. “This, I think, is a direct result of the challenge which Mr. Irving’s work [posed] and the consistency and the effort which he has put into maintaining it in public.” In other words, Watt stated that, far from being a “Holocaust denier,” my work has directly increased historical research into, and understanding of, the “Holocaust.”
Professor Eberhard Jäckel made the same controversial point in his essay in the book published by the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, namely that before my book Hitler’s War was published in 1977, there had been virtually no meaningful research into the tragedy at all. Professor Hans Mommsen, Professor Raul Hilberg, Professor Gordon C. Craig – all have more or less supported my claim to be regarded as a serious historian. The outcome of my research, my books, and my speaking is therefore that people in general are more, not less, aware of the horrors of the Holocaust, and they are certainly better informed.
One of the most damaging [of the defendants’] accusations is that the Plaintiff [Irving], driven by his obsession with Hitler, distorts, manipulates, and falsifies history in order to put Hitler in a more favorable light, thereby demonstrating a lack of the detachment, rationality and judgment necessary for an historian. I submit that in assessing whether I am an historian who “distorts, manipulates and falsifies,” Your Lordship should give most weight to my avowedly historical written works. I suggest that my speeches and the very occasional lapses of taste in them (Mr. Rampton has identified and mentioned, repeatedly, I think, three), are relevant purely as background material. Of those written historical works, I submit that your Lordship give most weight to my flagship work Hitler’s War. I ask that Your Lordship read (again, if Your Lordship has already done so) the Introduction to the 1991 edition: this was published well after the year when the Defendants (wrongly) assert that I “flipped over” to become what they call a Holocaust denier.
I have always differed from colleagues in my profession in insisting on using original documents, including where possible the authors’ drafts of books or memoirs rather than the heavily edited West German editions, later rewritings, or posthumous adaptations. I also make use of many more unpublished original documents than my historian colleagues. In the 1960s and 1970s this was more difficult than today.
I differ too from others, in making copies of the original documents which I unearth freely available to others as soon as my own works are complete ... As page 14 of Hitler’s War shows, I donate these records regularly to publicly accessible archives, and I also make them available on microfilm. There are nearly 200 such microfilms, containing nearly half a million pages. I also devote time to corresponding with and assisting other historians and researchers. If, therefore, some of my interpretations are controversial, I also do all that is possible to let other people judge for themselves. This speaks strongly against the accusation that I distort, manipulate and falsify history.
On Hitler and the Holocaust I wrote [in Hitler’s War] the following words – after the time when I had supposedly become a Holocaust denier, obsessed with Hitler, and with exonerating him:
At page 2: “My conclusions ... startled even me. Hitler was a far less omnipotent Führer than had been believed ... His methods and tactics were profoundly opportunistic.”
At page 4: “... The more hermetically Hitler locked himself away behind the barbed wire and mine fields of his remote military headquarters, the more his Germany became a without a Führer. Domestic policy was controlled by whoever was most powerful in each sector – by Hermann Göring ... Hans Lammers ... Martin Bormann ... Heinrich Himmler ...”
At page 17: “If this biography were simply a history of the rise and fall of Hitler’s Reich it would be legitimate to conclude: ‘Hitler killed the Jews.’ He after all had created the atmosphere of hatred with his speeches in the 1930s; he and Homelier had created the SS; his speeches, though never explicit, left the clear impression that ‘liquidate’ was what he meant.”
At pages 17–18: “For a full-length war biography of Hitler, I felt that a more analytical approach to the key questions of initiative, complicity and execution would be necessary. Remarkably, I found that Hitler’s own role in the ‘Final Solution’ – whatever that was – had never been examined.”
At page 18: “Every document actually linking Hitler with the treatment of the Jews invariably takes the form of an embargo.” (This is the famous “chain of documents,” and notwithstanding everything we have heard in Court I still adhere to this position.)
At page 19: “It is plausible to impute to him that not uncommon characteristic of heads of state: a conscious desire ‘not to know.’ But the proof of this is beyond the powers of a historian.”
At page 21: “... Dictatorships are fundamentally weak ... I concluded, the burden of guilt for the bloody and mindless massacres of the Jews rests on a large number of Germans (and non-Germans), many of them alive today, and not just on one ‘mad dictator,’ whose order had to be obeyed without question.”
The similarity here with the thesis propagated by Dr. Daniel Goldhagen in his world-wide best-selling book Hitler’s Willing Executioners will surely strike everybody in this Court. Allow me to rub this point in: What I actually wrote and printed and published in my “flagship study” Hitler’s War was that Hitler was clearly responsible for the Holocaust both by being head of state, and by having done so much by his speeches and organization to start it off.
Where I differed from many historians was in denying that there was any documentary proof of detailed direction and initiation by Hitler of the mass murders. The view was considered to be heretical at the time. But this lack of wartime documentary evidence for Hitler’s involvement is now widely accepted.
Indeed, on the narrower matter of the lack of wartime documentary evidence on “gas chambers,” Your Lordship was already good enough to grant as follows, in an exchange [on February 15] with [defense witness] Professor [Richard] Evans:
Irving: If his Lordship is led to believe by a careless statement of the witnesses that there is a vast body of wartime documents, this would be unfair, would it not, because you are not referring to wartime documents? You are referring to post-war documents?
Evans: I am referring to all kinds of documents.
Irving: You are not referring to wartime documents?
Evans: I am referring to documents including wartime documents, the totality of the written evidence for the Holocaust, which you deny.
Irving: Are you saying there is a vast quantity of wartime documents?
Evans: What I am saying is that there is a vast quantity of documents and material for all aspects of the Holocaust.
Mr. Justice Gray: I expect you would accept, Professor Evans, just to move on, the number of overtly incriminating documents, wartime documents, as regards gas chambers is actually pretty few and far between?
To summarize, in Hitler’s War I differed from other historians in suggesting that the actual mass murders were not all or mainly initiated by Hitler. I pointed out that my sources were consistent with another explanation: A conscious desire “not to know.” (I referred to a Richard Nixon kind of complex.)
I submit that I have not distorted, manipulated, and falsified. I have put all the cards on the table; I made the documents available to all comers, on microfilm and in the archives, and I have pointed to various possible interpretations.
I further submit that, while certainly “selling” my view, I have been much less manipulative than those historians, including some whom you have heard in Court, whose argument has in important part been simply this – that I ought not to be heard, because my views are too outlandish or extreme. Disgracefully, these scholars have cheered from the sidelines as I have been outlawed, arrested, harassed, and all but vernichtet [annihilated] as a professional historian; and they have put pressure on British publishers to destroy my works.
To assist Your Lordship in deciding how outlandish and extreme these views of mine are, I allow myself to quote from A. J. P. Taylor’s The War Lords, published by Penguin – the First Defendants in this action – in London in 1978. Of Adolf Hitler he wrote (pages 55–57, 68–70):
... It was at this time that he became really a recluse, settling down in an underground bunker, running the war far from the front.
... He was a solitary man, though he sometimes accepted, of course, advice from others, sometimes decisions [my emphasis]. It is, I think, true, for instance, that the terrible massacre of the Jews was inspired more by Himmler than by Hitler, though Hitler took it up.
A. J. P. Taylor (1906-1990), one of Britain's most influential and controversial 20th-century historians, was noted for his non-conformist outlook, his flawless delivery as a public speaker and his clear, engaging writing style. Author of 28 books, his best known work was the 1961 revisionist study, "The Origins of the Second World War," which was furiously attacked for supposedly "exonerating" Hitler.
The following quotation is from the foreword [“Second Thoughts”] of A. J. P. Taylor’s own flagship work, The Origins of the Second World War, [originally] published in 1963:
Little can be discovered so long as we go on attributing everything that happened to Hitler. He supplied a powerful dynamic element, but it was fuel to an existing machine ... He would have counted for nothing without the support and co-operation of the German people. It seems to be believed nowadays that Hitler did everything himself, even driving the trains and filling the gas chambers unaided. This was not so. Hitler was a sounding board for the German nation. Thousands, many hundred thousand, Germans carried out his evil orders without qualm or question.
What I wrote, with less felicity of style than Professor Taylor, was a reasonable interpretation of the information available to me at the time. I might add that my words are often accepted, quoted, and echoed by other historians far more eminent than I (including the government’s Official Historians, like Professor Sir Frank Hinsley, in his volumes on British Intelligence). Some may regard my interpretations as not the most probable. But they are never perverse. For the Defendants to describe me as one who manipulates, distorts, and falsifies it would be necessary for them to satisfy Your Lordship that I willfully adopted perverse and ridiculous interpretations. I have not.
The Defendants’ Historiographical Criticisms
I now turn to some of the particular matters which exercised Your Lordship, in the list of points at issue.
I trust that Your Lordship will bear in mind that the task facing a historian of my type – what I refer to as a “shirtsleeve historian,” working in the field, from original records – is very different from the task facing the scholar or academic who sits in his book-lined study, plucking handy works of reference, printed in large type, translated into English, provided with easy indices, and often with nice illustrations too, off the shelves of a university library within arm’s reach.
Your Lordship will recall that while researching the Goebbels diaries in Moscow during the first week in June 1992 I had to read those wartime Nazi glass microfiches through a magnifier the size of a nail clipper, with a lens smaller than a pea. [See D. Irving, “Revelations from the Goebbels’ Diary,” Jan.–Feb. 1995 Journal, pp. 2–17.] The Court will appreciate that reading even post-war microfilm of often poorly reproduced original documents on a mechanical reader is a tedious, time consuming, and unrewarding business. Notes have to be taken in handwriting, as there are no “pages” to be Xeroxed. In the 1960s Xerox copies were nothing like as good as they are now, as Your Lordship will have noticed from the blue-bound volumes brought in here from my own document archives. Mistakes undoubtedly occur: the mis-transcription of difficult German words pencilled in Gothic or Sütterlin-style script, a script which most modern German scholars find unreadable anyway; mistakes of copying; mistakes of omission (that is, a passage is not transcribed because at the time it appears of no moment). These are innocent mistakes, and with a book of the size of Hitler’s War, currently running to 393,000 words, they are not surprising.
Your Lordship may recall one exchange I had with Professor Evans:
Irving: Professor Evans, when your researchers were researching in my files at the Institute of [Contemporary] History in Munich, did they come across a thick file there, which was about 1,000 pages long, consisting of the original annotated footnotes of , which were referenced by number to every single sentence in that book?
Irving: It was not part of the published corpus. It was part of the original manuscript, but it was chopped out because of the length.
Evans: No, we did not see that.
Irving: Have you seen isolated pages of that in my Discovery in so far as it related to episodes which were of interest, like the ?
Evans: I do not, to be honest, recall, but that does not mean to say that we have not seen them.
Irving: You said that my footnotes are opaque because they do not always give the page reference. Do you agree that, on a page which we are going to come across in the course of this morning, of your own expert report, you put a footnote in just saying “See Van Pelt’s report,” that is, see the expert report by Robert van Pelt, and that expert report is about 769 pages long, is it not?
From this exchange it is plain that I was not just a conjurer producing quotations and documents out of a hat; I made my sources and references available in their totality to historians, even when they were not printed in the book.
The allegation that the mistakes are deliberate – that they are manipulations, or distortions, – is a foul one to make, and easily disposed of by general considerations. If I intended deliberately to mistranscribe a handwritten word or text, I would hardly have furnished copies of the original texts to my critics, or published the text of the handwritten document as a facsimile in the same work (for example, the famous November 30, 1941, note [by Himmler of telephone conversations], which is illustrated as a facsimile in all [recent] editions of Hitler’s War); or placed the entire collection of such documents without restriction in archives commonly frequented my critics.
And if I intended to mistranslate a document, would I have encouraged the publication of the resulting book, with the correct original quotation, in the German language, where my perversion of the text would easily be discovered? Yet, like all my others works, both Hitler’s War and Goebbels have appeared in German-language editions with a full and correct transcription of the controversial texts. Is this is the action of a deliberate mistranslator?
As for the general allegation that the errors or exaggerations or distortions that were made were “all” of a common alignment, designed to exonerate Adolf Hitler, the test which Your Lordship must apply should surely be this: if the sentence that is complained of be removed from the surrounding paragraph or text (and in each book there are only one or two such sentences of which this wounding claim is made) does this in any way alter the book’s general thrust, or the weight of the argument that is made?...
The allegation of the Defendants is that in order to “exonerate Hitler” I effectively concocted, or invented, a false version of events on Kristallnacht, namely that Hitler intervened between 1 and 2 a.m. [November 10, 1938] to halt the madness. I submit that their refusal to accept this version is ingrained in their own political attitudes. There is evidence both in the archives, in reliable contemporary records like the Ulrich von Hassell, Alfred Rosenberg, and Hellmuth Groscurth diaries, and in the independent testimonies of those participants whom I myself carefully questioned, or whose private papers I obtained – Nicolaus von Below, Julius Schaub, Karl Wolff, and others – and which the Court has seen, to justify the version which I rendered. It was therefore not an invented story.
It may well be that my critics were unfamiliar with the sources that I used before they made their criticisms. The dishonesty lies not with me, for printing the “inside” story of Hitler’s actions that night, as far as we can reconstruct them using these and other sources; but with those scholars who have studiously ignored them, and in particular the Rudolf Hess “stop arson” telegram of 2:56 a.m., issued “on orders from the highest level,” which the Defendants’ scholars have testified is a reference to Hitler.
Your Lordship may well have marvelled to hear the defendants’ witnesses dismiss this message – like the Schlegelberger Document, referred to later – as being of no consequence.
The Kristallnacht diaries of Dr. Goebbels, which I obtained in Moscow in 1992, some years after I first drafted the episode, substantially bore out my version of events – namely that he, and not Hitler, was the prime instigator, and that Hitler was largely unaware and displeased by what came about. Your Lordship will recall that Professor Philippe Burrin, a Swiss Holocaust historian for whom all the witnesses expressed respect, comes to the same conclusion independently of me. Now, he is manifestly not a “Holocaust denier” either.
The Court will also recall that the Witness Evans admitted that, unlike myself, he had not read all through the available Goebbels diaries. He had not had the time, he said; and we must confess a certain sympathy with that position for an academic, time is certainly at a premium. Reading all of the available Goebbels diaries is, however, necessary, in order to establish and recognize the subterfuges that this Nazi minister used through his career as a diarist, in order to conceal when he was creating what I call alibis for his own wayward and evil behavior ...
There is no need to discuss here in detail my various narratives of the Nazis’ shooting of Jews in the East. In my view, there is little dispute between the parties on what actually happened, and Your Lordship is aware that I have given these atrocities due and proper attention in the various biographies I have written; I would however add the one caveat, that they are not intended to be reference works on the Holocaust, but orthodox biographies.
The "Schlegelberger note" generated heated discussion during the Irving-Lipstadt trial. This wartime memorandum was found after the war in the files of the Reich Justice Ministry. In the spring of 1942, State Secretary Franz Schlegelberger noted in this memo that Hitler's Chief of Chancellery, Dr. Hans Lammers, had informed him: " ... The Führer has repeatedly declared to him [Lammers] that he wants to see the solution of the Jewish problem postponed until after the war." (This portion is shown here in facsimile.) Lammers confirmed the substance of this memo in postwar Nuremberg trial testimony. During the recent libel trial in London, David Irving argued that this document shows that the final destination of Europe's Jews was a matter that Hitler intended to deal with only after the end of the war. Judge Gray rejected this view, concluding that Irving had distorted or exaggerated the document's significance.
I believe I was the first historian to discover and make use of the CSDIC reports relating further details of these killings, particularly the [General] Bruns Report, and I made them available to many other historians. (These are the British eavesdropping reports on German prisoners, using hidden microphones). It took many days to read them; there are thousands of pages in these files. Over the last 20 years I read these horrifying narratives out repeatedly to public audiences, including “right-wing” audiences. This fact alone entitles me to express my contempt at those who would term me a “Holocaust denier.”
We have seen the Defendants scrabbling around at the end of the Bruns Report for its third-hand references by the SS murderer and braggart in Riga, Altemeyer, to an “order” he claimed to have received to carry out such mass shootings more circumspectly in future. But we know from the late 1941 police decodes – a much firmer source document than a snatch of conversation remembered years later, in April 1945 – precisely what orders had gone from Hitler’s headquarters, radioed by Himmler himself, to the mass murderer SS Obergruppenführer Friedrich Jeckeln, stating explicitly that these killings exceeded the authority that he, Himmler, himself had given, and by the Reichssicherheitshauptamt (RSHA) [Reich Security Main Office]. We know that the killings of all German Jews stopped at once, for many months.
When, in the 1970s, I first translated the word Judentransport (which can mean “transportation of Jews”) as well as “transports of Jews,” in the plural – being at the time unaware of the surrounding context of data which helps narrow the purport down to the one Riga-bound trainload from Berlin – I was thus inadvertently coming closer to the truth, not further from it: because the liquidation of all the trainloads from Germany was halted the next day, December 1, 1941, by the order radioed from Hitler’s headquarters (whether initiated by Himmler or Hitler seems hair-splitting in this context) ...
Another most difficult piece of historical paper for my opponents is the Schlegelberger Document. In late March or early April 1942, after seeing Germany’s top civil servant [Hans Lammers], who reported only to Hitler, Franz Schlegelberger dictated this famous memorandum, upon which all Holocaust historians, and the Defendants’ expert witnesses in this case have hitherto turned enough blind eyes to have won several battles of Trafalgar. For many years after the war it vanished: but that is another story.
Asked about this specific document after a lecture in the German Institute, here in London in November 1998, Dr. Peter Longerich, who is now the Defendants’ expert witness, had the function’s chairman rise to inform the audience that the speaker was not prepared to answer questions from David Irving.
It is a genuine document, referring in one breath both to Hitler and the “Solution of the Jewish Problem.” Confronted with it in the witness box, he and his fellow experts have argued, either that it was totally unimportant; or that it concerned only the Mischlinge, the mixed race Jews, and not the Final Solution in any broader sense. Ingeniously, Dr. Longerich even tried to suggest that it originated in 1940 or 1941. The document has them in a breathless panic.
The document’s own contents destroy their latter argument: In the first sentence, it says: “Mr. Reich Minister Lammers informed me that the Führer had repeatedly declared to him that he wants to hear that the Solution of the Jewish Problem has been adjourned [or postponed] until after the war.” That this is the broader Final Solution is plain from the second sentence, which shows namely that the Mischling question was something different: “Accordingly,” the memorandum continues, “the current deliberations have in the opinion of Mr. Lammers purely theoretical value.” Those deliberations were, as my opponents themselves have argued, solely concerned with what to do with the Mischlinge and the like. The document is quite plain; and it was dictated by a lawyer, so he presumably knew what he was writing. There is no room for argument. My opponents have pretended for years that this document effectively does not exist.
I have dealt at length in my statements in the witness box, and while cross-examining the witnesses, with the other contentious items, namely the Goebbels diary entries for March 27 and May 30, 1942, the Himmler minute of September 22, 1942, and his note for his meeting with Hitler on December 10, 1942; meetings with Antonescu and with Horthy in April 1943; the deportation and murder of the Jews in Rome in October 1943, Himmler’s speeches on October 4 and 6, 1943, and on May 15 and 24, 1944, and Hitler’s speech on May 26, 1944, and Ribbentrop’s testimony and evidence from his cell at Nuremberg. I contend that my use of these items was quite proper ...
As for the content of the Kurt [Hans] Aumeier dossier – his [postwar] manuscripts suggest, or confirm, the existence of limited-scale gassings at Auschwitz. The figures are unreliable, and many of the other details conflict with those provided by the equally flawed writings of Auschwitz commandant Rudolf Höss. This is in my submission the most likely reason why the Defendants have not relied heavily on either source in their defense.
Nor for that matter have they made any use of the loudly trumpeted Eichmann memoirs prized out of the Israeli government archives [made public on February 29, 2000] – perhaps because in the entire document, although this former SS Obersturmbannführer is writing with brutal frankness, and describing the most appalling spectacles that he has seen, he does not refer even once to being shown a gas chamber during his official guided tours as “executioner in chief” of the Auschwitz and Birkenau camps ...
Hitler’s Knowledge of the ‘Solution of the Jewish Question’
This became the most controversial issue, both in this courtroom and stretching far back into my writing career; I wish, just because of this, that I had picked a different biographical subject.
Because of the inescapable conclusion – that Hitler had probably not ordered, or been aware until relatively late, of the ultimate fate of the European Jews – I forfeited, as my US agent predicted, perhaps half a million dollars or more of lucrative sub-licensing deals with major corporations – the Reader’s Digest, paperback houses, reprints, The Sunday Times. After I completed a first draft of the book in about 1969–1970, I realized that there was this inexplicable – and unexpected – gap in the archives.
I hired a trusted friend, Dr. Elke Fröhlich of the [Munich] Institute for Contemporary History [IfZ], to go through all the then-available German archives again, with the specific task of looking for documents linking Hitler with the Final Solution. She did a conscientious and excellent job, working for me in the files of the Nuremberg state archives, the Institut für Zeitgeschichte [IfZ], the Berlin Document Center, the Bundesarchiv [German Federal Archives], and the military archives in Freiburg. Her resulting research materials, my correspondence with her, the index cards and photocopies, form a part of my Discovery in this action. It was she who produced for me for example the then-unpublished diary entry of Governor-General Hans Frank – actually a meeting transcript of December 13, 1941, currently being edited by her colleagues at the [Munich] Institute – to which I duly made reference.
I would incidentally rely on this episode as one further instance of my integrity as an independent historian: Inherently dissatisfied with the results of my own research, I hired and paid out of my own pocket for this second opinion, as an avocatus diaboli, to trawl once more, and with a net of finer mesh, across the same fishing grounds for documents that might in fact destroy my, then still tentative, hypothesis. In a similar step, which I think I took to appease the now worried American publishers, I wrote in December 1975 to four or five of the major international Jewish historical research institutions, appealing for “evidence proving Hitler’s guilt in the extermination of the Jews.”
All of these inquiries by me drew a blank, except for one. As I summed up in a letter to The Sunday Telegraph on June 19, 1977, “... all offered their apologies, except Professor Raul Hilberg, author of the standard history on the subject, who honorably conceded that he too has come to the view that Hitler may not have known.” (His letter is in my Discovery). The other institutions stated that they had no such evidence, or they did not reply.
The International Endeavor to Destroy my Legitimacy as an Historian
Before I proceed to the problems with the accepted version of the history of Auschwitz, I turn first to the submissions that Your Lordship will allow me to make on the 30-year international endeavor by a group of organizations to destroy my legitimacy as an historian. I submit that I am entitled to draw these documents to Your Lordship’s attention, because these bodies, acting with that secret and common purpose, compiled dossiers and reports on me with the intention of destroying me. They did so exercising no proper care for accuracy; and, as is evident from the Second Defendant’s Discovery, and from the Introduction to her book [Denying the Holocaust] in which she explicitly acknowledges the assistance provided by many of these bodies, she drew upon these tainted wellsprings as the source for much of the poison she wrote about me.
We shall hear that, buried in the files of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre in Toronto, is a document, now also in Ms. Lipstadt’s files – they sent it to her – which forms something of a blueprint for the attempt to destroy my name. A researcher for the Centre, commissioned to investigate my life in detail, recommended in that compilation, after referring to my “thorough archival research” and “genuine historical insight” as follows: “Given this accurate version of reality, it is all the more clear why his activities must be curtailed, and why his [Irving’s] alleged legitimacy must be eradicated.”
I have been subjected since at least 1973, and probably before then, to what would be called in warfare a campaign of interdiction. I know of no other historian or writer who has been subjected to a campaign of vilification even one tenth as intense. The book Denying the Holocaust was the climax of this campaign. There exist, as I said in my opening speech [published in the Sept.–Dec. 1999 Journal], various bodies in this country and around the world who have at heart the interests of special groups. I make no protest about that: but many other Englishmen have noticed, or found out, usually by chance, that these bodies keep files on us, which they use to our disadvantage if they believe we are a danger to their interests. Despite the best intentions of the Data Protection Act, it seems that we have no means of checking those files, or revising their content, let alone of cleansing them of libels. To give one particularly gross example: Under the cover provided by the United States First Amendment, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency accused me in 1995 of having supplied the trigger mechanism for the Oklahoma City bomb. That item was picked up by the American, and then faintly echoed by the British press. It was only months later that I found out who had started that lie.
But regrettably this has become a campaign to defame people whom they regard as a danger. A number of special bodies exist solely for this purpose. Some of them are listed on my website index as being “... some traditional enemies of Free Speech.” Professor Kevin MacDonald, of California State University-Long Beach, a sociologist who is the world’s leading expert on these things, expressed forceful opinions to this Court in his expert report [published in the Jan.–Feb. 2000 Journal] – on which he offered himself for cross-examination – and I urge Your Lordship not to disregard the substance of what he had to say.
These bodies will not endear themselves, if found out, to the victims of their campaigns.
Mr. Rampton made much of Mr. Ernst Zündel’s gross and ill-considered reference to the “Judenpack” [“pack of Jews”] – as anti-Semitic a word as one might hear. In consequence, Mr. Rampton labels this man as an extremist and an anti-Semitic. The Court has been told nothing by Mr. Rampton of what, if any, remarks, or incidents, preceded the outburst by Mr. Zündel. We do know, and I can so inform this Court, that his home [in Toronto] has been attacked and torched. Such violent incidents certainly cannot excuse the violent remarks; but they can explain them.
Because they don’t like what he writes or publishes, these bodies have attempted to destroy his life with criminal prosecution in an attempt to have him deported or jailed. They have failed, and Canada’s highest Court has ruled that he is free of any criminal taint. Your Lordship may consider that this finding by a judicial body has some bearing on the label of extremism. Quite probably as the direct result of these bodies’ agitation against him, he was subjected to violent assault. He was sent a large parcel bomb which the [Canadian] RCMP police authorities took away and detonated. The instigators were a British Columbia group of “anti-fascists.” Mr. Zündel ought not, of course, to have used such an expression. Apart from anything else, his opponents are not Jews in general, but self-appointed bodies of would-be censors. The Court will readily accept that I – Mr. Zündel is not the claimant here – have not used such language in all the thousands of pages, videos, and recordings which I have readily disclosed.
My own experience at the hands of these self-appointed censors has not been so very different. It began in 1963 when agents of Searchlight [a British “anti-fascist” periodical] raided my home and were caught red-handed in this criminal attempt. Ever since then that publication has tweaked my tail with a stream of defamatory articles: a 37-year onslaught, to which I as a good Christian turned the other cheek. After ten years this campaign had begun to threaten my livelihood.
Lord Weidenfeld, one of my favorite publishers – he published no fewer than three of my major works, including my best-selling Rommel biography – was the first publisher, first of a long and illustrious line, to come under clandestine pressure to tear up his publishing contract with me because my books offended these special-interest groups. He told me at the Frankfurt Book Fair on October 13, 1973, that “he had cancelled the book [Hitler’s War] under extreme outside pressure, he said, from officials of Zionist groups, and representations made by certain embassies.”
It might be said that the real Defendants in this case are not represented in this Court, but their presence has been with us throughout. These are the people who commissioned the work complained of, and provided much of the materials used in it. I understand they have provided considerable funds for the defense – I am talking primarily of the American Jewish Committee and the Anti-Defamation League [ADL] of B’nai B’rith, a long-established American body.
I know very little about the former body, but I am aware that the latter [the ADL] has a $50 million annual budget, substantially greater than an author commands whose livelihood has been destroyed by their activities. When your Lordship comes to such things as costs and damages, I would respectfully submit that you bear these things in mind.
We have them to thank for the spectacle that has been presented in this courtroom since January. Without their financial assistance, it is unlikely that Mr. Rampton and his defense team and his instructing solicitors could have mounted this colossal onslaught on my name. One day in 1998 I was shown a letter written that morning by Mr. Julius [attorney for Lipstadt] to some of the country’s richest men, inviting them to bankroll this action. It had chanced into our hands. That is the other side of a piece of legal coinage that has recently come back into currency – champerty and maintenance. For over three years this well funded team sitting opposite me has drilled down deep into my private papers and burrowed on a broad front into the archives of the world, on a multi-pronged attack – trying to establish that what I have written over the last 35 years is distorted or mistranslated in pursuance of an agenda (namely the exoneration of Adolf Hitler); and trying to dig up every little morsel of dirt on me that they can.
My book Hitler’s War was published by the Viking Press in New York in April 1977, and by Hodder & Stoughton in this country in June of that year. What can be seen as a coordinated attack on the book began. The Viking Press was one of that nation’s most reputable publishers (and is now owner of the First Defendant company [Penguin]). Public attacks on the book in the press were concerted, with clandestine attempts to have my book squelched and me, as its author, ostracized.
The Anti-Defamation League (or ADL) – a body which turns out to have been closely in league with the Second Defendant [Lipstadt] in the current action – did what it could to disrupt my USA lecture-circuit and television tour promoting the book. The ADL had its Washington branch put pressure on the Channel 5 television network that was to carry a “Panorama” interview with me: we are rather well informed about how this American lobby of bigots carries out its duties, and I reproduce these extracts of its secret internal report on its efforts. Hearing of the booking for me to attend the program, the local ADL agent reported to headquarters: “As a consequence, I arranged with the show’s producer to place on the same show in a debate posture my associate, Randy Koch, which airing took place on April 18, 1:00 to 1:30 p.m. A cassette of the show is being sent to you under separate cover for your advice and analysis.” They added: “The following information is provided to you so that in addition to the cassette you may better appraise Irving’s knowledgeability and toughness as an adversary in conjunction with ADL’s problems with him.”
What were the ADL’s “problems” with me, one wonders? I had had no dealings with them whatsoever. If we had been able to cross-examine Professor Lipstadt, we might have asked her, since her own Discovery, limited though it is, shows her to have been in cahoots with them.
With more fervor than accuracy, the ADL report continues with the remarkable disclosure:
David Irving is the of John Cawdell, a revisionist historiographer of Adolf Hitler, particularly regarding Hitler’s role in and knowledge of the mass extermination of European Jewry. His major premise is that Hitler was largely oblivious to the large-scale killing of Jews in the death camps. He alleges and underscores the lack of historical evidence in documentation form that will show any orders from Hitler to Himmler, Heydrich or others. Irving further maintains that no direct documentation exists of Hitler giving orders to liquidate Jews ...
The agent’s report continues that the book [Hitler’s War] is a work of over 900 pages, including 100 pages of footnotes. “It would appear from the quantity of research and time that Irving put into the work that the author appears knowledgeable and expert in subject area.” The cause for ADL concern then follows:
My monitoring of the aforementioned telecast leads me to conclude that Irving comes through as an extremely knowledgeable and tough adversary although he is extremely defensive in debating his latest work ... I see no problem in our joining in debate situations with him provided our proponent does sufficient homework.
The report adds that they had questioned a local [Jewish] Board member, identified as James Jacobs, an atomic scientist who had allegedly befriended me when I was researching my book The Virus House, the history of the German atom bomb project. While I have to confess that I have no memory of that man, the 1977 report adds: “Jacobs states that Irving is definitely not anti-Semitic, that he is an excessive German-phile ...”
This was no doubt an accurate report on my private conversations with the man. [The ADL agent’s report continues:]
According to Jacobs, Irving is extremely thorough in his research and cites in this connection an inordinate amount of time spent by him in the United States going over the German archives reports and time spent in discussions with eminent authorities in the field covering associate matter concerning Irving’s writings. Jacob’s appraisal concurs with mine that as a consequence of the foregoing, Irving does make a tough adversary.
The report concludes that Jacobs would “co-operate with you” – the addressee, evidently the ADL’s London friends, the Board of Deputies [of British Jews], “in any way he can to further assist you in your appraisal.”
When I then began my lecturing activities around the USA in the early 1980s, speaking at private functions, schools, and universities, the ADL headquarters sent out a secret circular, a “Backgrounder,” to all their local agents. The backgrounder, dated July 6, 1983, began with the words: “British author David Irving has been of concern to ADL, as well as to the Jewish community generally, since the 1977 publication of his book Hitler’s War,” and it indicated that it was the controversy over Hitler and the Jews that was the reason. We have heard of similar such circulars being generated by them on other famous literary names, for example the Daily Telegraph writer Auberon Waugh, and Noam Chomsky, who though an eminent Harvard professor also found mysterious problems in getting material published. In my case the ADL instructed its “regional offices”: “Should he [Irving] surface in your region, please notify the Fact Finding Department and your Civil Rights Coordinator.”
It is quite plain that the ADL were not concerned with promoting civil rights, but in abrogating one of the most basic rights of all, the right to freedom of speech.
The circular about me was so defamatory and untrue that after a copy was passed to me I sent a written warning on October 15, 1983, to the then director of the ADL in New York to desist from spreading what I referred to even then as this “libelous garbage.” I warned that I had prevailed in a number of defamation actions in the German law courts enforced against provincial newspapers, political groups, and trades unions, including the giant [German labor union] IG Metall, and that other people who innocently spread such legends, including the Israeli author Ephraim Kishon, had preferred to apologize to me in writing for mistakenly giving currency to such smears. The ADL did not reply, and they continued their illiberal campaign against me.
Correspondence with my literary agent showed by 1984 already that the international smear campaign was inflicting financial damage on me. It was at precisely this time, 1984, that the Second Defendant [Lipstadt], then teaching in the Near Eastern Languages Center of the University of California at Los Angeles, offered her services to Yehuda Bauer in Jerusalem. She attached “A Proposal for Research: The Historical and Historiographic Methodology of the Holocaust Revisionists.” I ask Your Lordship to note that on page 38 of this synopsis the Second Defendant mentioned my name in these words: “They [deniers] also find it expedient to associate themselves with those such as David Irving who do not deny that the Holocaust took place but seek to shift the blame to others.” (My added emphasis).
In short, there was and is a hidden network of Orwellian organizations determined to ensure that no version of history of these matters of which they disapproved was given currency, or indeed allowed to survive.
To conclude this, on the matter of her employment: on May 31, 1988, she was awarded an additional $16,000 agreement for research on this topic by the Vidal Sassoon Center for the Study of Anti-Semitism at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. This research, it should be added, was what finally bore fruit as the book complained of, Denying the Holocaust. The publisher at that time was to be Robert Maxwell, who was liaising with Professor Yehuda Bauer.
During this period the international campaign against me achieved some ugly successes. Through their Vienna collaborators, the Documentation Archive of the Austrian Resistance [DÖW], a recognized Communist-front organization, they prevailed upon Austria’s Interior Minister, Karl Blecha, to have me illegally deported in June 1984. In July 1986 after an appeal by myself this was overturned, and Austria was ordered to pay me compensation. I have to admit that as a writer I was not prepared for this kind of campaign. I do not expect that any of the expert witnesses we have seen have ever had to experience anything like it.
When I toured universities and other speaking venues in Australia and New Zealand in 1986 and again in 1987, I learned that every organizer, every television producer had received an information pack from the ADL; and that every university library had received a letter from the corresponding Australian body pleading with them to take my books off the shelves. This may remind Your Lordship of where Professor Evans said he found my book hidden in the British Library.
In short, there was and is a hidden network of Orwellian organizations determined to ensure that no version of history of these matters of which they disapproved was given currency, or indeed allowed to survive; the alternative history should be destroyed, its publishers ruined, and the writers themselves ausgerottet [eradicated].
The Second Defendant’s Discovery, which includes such correspondence with, and items from, ADL as she [Lipstadt] has seen fit to provide, throws some interesting lights on the ADL’s methods. When a local newspaper, The Daily Pilot, published in [Costa Mesa/Newport Beach] Orange County, south of Los Angeles, reported a function of the Institute for Historical Review (the IHR), the ADL was horrified, as the ADL regional office reported, to find that the reporter, “seems to find an air of legitimacy surrounding the group.” The reporter, Bob Van Eyken, who evidently had not gotten the message, even described the IHR members [at the 9th IHR Conference, February 1989] as “neatly dressed ... evok[ing] a sense of reasoned dignity.” This clearly clashed with the skinhead, jackbooted, extremist stereotype that the ADL, like the expert witnesses in this case, wished to project for the IHR and other “right-wing” groups. This material, though clearly discoverable in this action, was withheld from Discovery by the Second Defendant until a summons was issued to produce all her correspondence with the ADL.
We know that the Second Defendant [Lipstadt] has had extensive dealings with the ADL. Even from her own limited Discovery, about the deficiencies in which I shall have to say more later, we know that she was provided with smear dossiers by them. She thanks them in her introduction [to Denying the Holocaust]. She made no attempt to verify the contents of this material with me (or so far as this Court knows, with others), but recklessly published it raw and unchecked. A 25-cent phone call to me would have saved her endless trouble. Instead she preferred to rely on smear sheets like the “confidential” and defamatory four-page item dated October 23, 1986, headed: “Profile on David Irving,” evidently supplied to her by a Canadian body. Characteristically, the “profile” was disclosed to me by her solicitors without any covering letter from its author or custodian and shorn of any identifying material; I wrote more than once in vain asking for missing pages to be provided.
David Irving with Spanish publisher Pedro Varela at a protest demonstration on October 3, 1989, in front of Berlin's SFB radio station. In November 1998 Varela was sentenced to five years imprisonment for distributing revisionist publications. A terrorist mob attacked his Barcelona bookstore on January 16, 1999, destroying property and burning books. (See "Spanish Court Sentences 'Thought Criminal'," Nov.-Dec. 1998 "Journal," pp. 21-23, and, "Free Speech Victory in 'Holocaust Denial' Case," March-April 1999 "Journal," pp. 29-31.)
It is quite evident that the ADL set itself the task of destroying my career, in concert with other similar organizations around the world, many of whom, if not all, collaborated with the Second Defendant in writing her book. The pinnacle of their achievement came in 1996, when the Second Defendant, as she herself boasted to The Washington Post, was among those who put pressure on St. Martin’s Press, who had been one of my US publishers for some 15 years, to violate their publishing agreement with me and [in April 1996] abandon publication of Goebbels: Mastermind of the Third Reich.
For a few days, these enemies of free speech stepped up the pressure. They publicized the private home addresses of St. Martin’s Press (SMP) executives on the Internet. They staged street demonstrations in Manhattan. They organized a walkout by SMP staff. When SMP refused to be intimidated, Lipstadt wheeled out the rhetoric: To Frank Rich, a columnist of The New York Times, she accused me of being a repeat killer: “What David Irving is doing ... is not the destruction of live people, but the destruction of people who already died. It’s killing them a second time. It’s killing history.” [New York Times, April 3, 1996.] This was not far distant from the outrageous claim on page 213 of her book, to which no justification has been pleaded, that I justified the incarceration of Jews in Nazi concentration camps. Quoted by The Washington Post on April 3, 1996, Deborah Lipstadt stated:
They say they don’t publish reputations, they publish books. But would they publish a book by Jeffrey Dahmer on man-boy relations? Of course the reputation of the author counts. And no legitimate historian takes David Irving’s work seriously.
We have heard quoted in this Court two tasteless remarks I am recorded as having made, about Chappaquiddick and about the Association of Spurious Survivors, and I do not deny that those words were tasteless. But bad taste is not what is in the pleadings, while express malice is: and the odiousness of Professor Lipstadt’s comparison, in a mass circulation newspaper of record, of a British author with Jeffrey Dahmer, a madman who had recently murdered and cannibalized a dozen homosexuals in the mid-West of the USA, is surely compounded by the fact that Lipstadt had at that time not read a single book I had written, let alone the manuscript on Dr. Goebbels that she had joined in trying to suppress. It is clear that neither she nor the ADL was concerned with the merits, or otherwise, of the Goebbels biography. They wanted it put down, suppressed, ausgerottet: and me with it.
Having, like St. Martin’s Press, thoroughly read it, the major US publisher Doubleday had selected this book as their May 1996 choice for History Book of the Month. But that deal depended on the SMP contract, and thus it too collapsed. The financial losses inflicted on me by this one episode in April 1996 were of the order of nearly half a million dollars ($312,500), which might seem proper reward for the eight years’ hard work that I had invested in writing this book, and hauling it through its five draft versions.
From the publication of Hitler’s War onwards, the attitude of the print media to me changed. A strategically placed review written in one afternoon, by one man furnished with the appropriate dossier on me, could go a long way to destroy the product of six or eight years’ research. That was why these dossiers had been created.
To the right journalists or writers, such as the Second Defendant, these dossiers were on tap. A fax from Professor Lipstadt to the Institute of Jewish Affairs in London, or to the ADL in New York, or to the Simon Wiesenthal Centre in Toronto, released to her a cornucopia of filth, which she had no need to double-check or verify, because in the United States such writings are protected by the authority of the First Amendment to the US Constitution, in the laudable name of the freedom of speech, or by the authority of New York Times vs. Sullivan, which effectively declares to libelers that it is open season on any public figure.
Thus my book Uprising, on the Hungarian uprising of 1956, published in 1981 by Hodder & Stoughton, was savaged by certain reviewers: Neal Ascherson, Arthur Koestler and others disliked it. Ion Trewin, then that firm’s chief (and now head of Weidenfeld) wrote to me: “I must say I’m rather shocked by the abuse leveled at you from certain quarters – the obvious liberal ones of course.” And Penguin Books, now Defendants in this action, wrote to me, “Criticism may have been occasionally necessary, but venom, though to be expected, was not called for.” (Had that same firm remembered that dictum 15 years later, we should not be here today).
This unfair attack on my works was a source of great concern to me. Reviews are an author’s life blood, but the trend of lying reviews continued. When The War Between the Generals (the Eisenhower and Montgomery story) was published in New York in 1981, one review in The New York Times on March 8 of that year by John Lukacs, to which I referred in Court, sank the book without trace, and in fact destroyed the highly reputable American publisher, a close personal friend of mine, too. I will not weary the Court with the precise mechanism by which one such review can inflict so much damage, but such is the power of the press.
Whenever I now appeared in the United States to lecture, there were well-orchestrated tumults. Well-meaning bodies were tricked by the vile propaganda into organizing against me. At the University of California at Berkeley there was violence on October 14, 1994, encouraged openly by the “Hillel” [Jewish campus organization] in conjunction with the Marxist and Spartacist organizations – they boasted about this to the campus newspapers – which the campus and city police forces were quite unable to control. One building was comprehensively wrecked, with tens of thousands of dollars of damage being done and several elderly members of my audience hospitalized.
This Court will surely not take it amiss of me that I refused to be intimidated by these truly “Nazi” methods, and that I have on a very few occasions used perhaps tasteless language about the perpetrators. The violence spread around the world, and always it was orchestrated by the same organizations.
It would be otiose to list them all here. Some of them [have been] ... On November 5, 1989, the Israelite Community of Vienna, Austria, called for violent action to stop me speaking in that city. I initiated police prosecution of the leader of the Community for his public incitement to violence.
In 1990 the two Canadian bodies, the League of Human Rights of the B’nai B’rith Canada and the Canadian Jewish Congress, announced that they were to “monitor” my tour of that country. “Monitoring” turns out to be euphemism for a campaign of letters, pressure, and threats of violence and commercial pressure against hotels, halls, and lecture-theatres that had been hired, and against which every body, student society, military institute, or group that had invited me to speak. Attempts to force the prestigious Ottawa Congress Center to violate its contract failed, resulting in a violent demonstration organized by the same two bodies. One such letter came into my hands, from the League of Human Rights of the B’nai B’rith Canada to an Ottawa restaurant owner written in September 1991. Its content, which I shall not quote here – it is in the evidence before Your Lordship – shows clearly the methods used to get hall owners to violate their contracts. They did this to us, acting as Jews; if we had done the same to them, as Jews, the uproar would have been intense.
To a visiting lecturer and writer like myself, a guest in their countries, finding myself up against powerful and wealthy political lobbies, the situation was deeply disturbing. My livelihood and personal safety were at stake, but I was determined not to be browbeaten or defeated. Seen from the outside, at first this campaign, this huge international endeavor against me, appeared to be coincidental; but eventually it began to bite. Perhaps publishers are made of less stern stuff than myself. After Andrew Lownie, my new UK literary agent, wrote warning me that four major UK publishers “just do not want to be associated” with me, on November 30, 1990, I wrote expressing astonishment and concern at how rapidly this situation had developed, and stating: “I have begun to suspect a concerted effort ... to rob me of my publishing basis, not just in the UK but worldwide.”
In England a parallel campaign was launched by the [Jewish] Board of Deputies, and by other organizations which we know to have collaborated with the Defendants in producing this libelous book. This had kicked into high gear after my own imprint [Focal Point] published an abridged edition of the Leuchter Report in June 1989. Pressure was put on the World Trade Centre in the City of London to repudiate our contract for the press conference. A picket was staged outside our front door to prevent journalists from attending when the conference was switched to my own home. The Board arranged an early day motion in the House of Commons, as a privileged way of publishing a smear on my name. On June 30 of that year the Jewish Chronicle revealed that representations had been made to my principal British and Commonwealth publisher, Macmillan, to drop me as an author.
Macmillan had already published several of my books, and were under contract to publish several more. I had no fears that they would succumb to this intimidation. They had informed me that Hitler’s War was running so successfully that they intended to keep it permanently in print. I am entitled to mention this background, as I have mentioned the Board’s other clandestine activities against me, because it was said by Mr. Rampton that I later made one public tasteless remark (in October 1991) about the Board of Deputies. If somebody attacks, using secretive and furtive means, the very basis of the existence of my family then it may be at least understandable that I speak ill of them.
It is worth mentioning that when I invited Mr. Leuchter privately to address my Clarendon Club at Chelsea Town Hall in November 1991, the [Jewish] Board tried strenuously to have him gagged. They just do not understand the word “debate.” They piled pressure onto Kenneth Baker, then the Home Secretary, to stop him coming, and Ben Helfgott of the Holocaust Education Trust, of whom we will shortly hear more, threatened in July 1991 that “violence would greet the revisionists if they were allowed in.” Secretly, on July 17, 1991 – 50 years to the day after Hitler granted police powers to Himmler in the occupied Soviet Union – the Board of Deputies wrote to the president of Germany’s Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV), a body of which we have heard greatly admiring words from [defendants’ witness] Professor Funke; this English Board urged that they take steps to stop me, a British citizen like no doubt the members of the Board, from entering Germany.
Germany is a country on whose publishers and archives I have been heavily dependent, as the Court is aware. We have only the BfV’s reply, dated August 9, 1991, to Neville Nagler of the Board of Deputies. I retrieved a copy of this letter from the files of the Prime Minister of Australia; so the same Board, in London, had evidently also secretly sent its dossiers to its collaborators in Canberra, and no doubt other countries, in its efforts to gag me worldwide. That is an indication of the world-wide networking that went on, this secret common enterprise, this frantic international endeavor to destroy my legitimacy as an historian and to deprive me of free speech, of which the Defendants have made themselves the willing executioners.
As is evident from a letter from the Austrian ambassador dated June 22, 1992, the Board also applied pressure on that country to ensure that I did not enter, or that I was to be arrested if I did. The equivalent Argentinean body, the DAIA, launched a well coordinated smear on me when I arrived in Argentina in October 1991 to lecture, in Spanish and German, on historical themes at universities and to private associations. When the DAIA headquarters building was blown up with heavy loss of life a few months later, it now was inevitable that my name would be linked with that outrage too, and my Argentinean publisher was obliged in consequence to abandon its contracts with me, as they revealed privately in a letter to me. (Four years later the similar lie was circulated that I was directly involved in the Oklahoma City bombing.)
These tides of hatred and suppression lapped at the doors of my London publishers. On November 27, 1991, a note appeared in the internal files of my publisher Macmillan, listing the remaining stocks of my books and the current contract positions. This was an ominous sign. In another internal Macmillan memorandum, editor-in-chief Alan Gordon Walker stated to his editors, “We will not publish Irving again.” I was not told this; in fact my own editor there continued to write oleaginous letters to me, as they were waiting for the Goebbels biography which they had paid for, and which was under contract.
What had happened meanwhile? Firstly, I had established my own publishing imprint which was capable of producing a better quality of book than Macmillan was currently achieving, while using the same printing firm in Somerset. The new omnibus edition of Hitler’s War, published in November 1991, was one of its first products. This was just as well. On December 6, 1991, an Internal Office Memo from Macmillan’s files records that “quite a number of people” had commented unfavorably to Macmillan’s about them publishing my books, and one person, an unnamed “Oxford Professor of Politics,” who had evidently learned nothing from the book burning episodes of Nazi Germany, stating “that they would be more inclined to publish with us [Macmillan] if we were not publishing Irving.” (The Oxford professor of politics was probably Peter Pulzer, identified by Lipstadt in her book as such and quoted by The Independent at the time).
This campaign had been coordinated by the Board of Deputies. In some of its members, it seems that the illiberal spirit of Dr. Goebbels lived on behind the Board’s facade. Meeting behind locked doors at their headquarters on December 12, 1991, a body identified as the “Education and Academic Committee” of the Holocaust Educational Trust, registered as a charitable body, had a conference on several matters, of which one point specifically indicated that those present, including Mr. Helfgott, were searching for ways to silence my publications. After this meeting, minutes were written, including this point 6:
David Irving: Concern was voiced over the publication of the 2nd edition of . There was debate over how to approach Macmillan publishers over Goebbels diary. It was agreed to await new[s] from Jeremy Coleman before deciding what action to take.
We know more of this meeting from the statement to this Court by my witness Dr. John Fox, who was present at this cabal in his capacity as editor of The British Journal of Holocaust Education. He testifies:
As an independently-minded historian, I was affronted by the suggestion concerning Mr. David Irving ... At a certain point in the meeting, attention turned to the subject of Mr. Irving and reports that the publishing company of Macmillan would be publishing his biography of Joseph Goebbels. Mr. Ben Helfgott, the Chairman of the main United Kingdom Yad Vashem Committee, spoke about how that publication by that publishing firm might be stopped. Mr. Helfgott then turned to me, the only non-Jew present at the meeting, and suggested that “John could approach Macmillan to get them to stop publication.”
I refused point-blank to accede to that suggestion, arguing that in a democracy such as ours one simply could not do such a thing. That amounted to censorship, especially since nobody present had the least idea what Mr. Irving’s biography of Goebbels would contain. For me, such attempted censorship was totally unacceptable. I said that if people did not like what Mr. Irving wrote, the time to respond to him was when anything was actually published. I – and to their credit, at least two other (Jewish) committee members – rejected Mr. Helfgott’s proposal out of hand.
Nevertheless, as the Committee minutes make it clear, it was planned by some to consider further action about how best to scupper Mr. Irving’s publishing plans with Macmillan.
The clandestine pressure on Macmillan’s began at once. My editor at Macmillan’s, Roland Philipps, who had married the new Managing Director Felicity Rubinstein, noted in an internal memo of January 2, 1992, that they should reassure prospective authors that they had turned down many other book proposals from me, and had no plans to continue publishing me after Goebbels. It was not the bravest of postures to adopt, this Court might think. “If this helps you to reassure any prospective authors we are happy for you to say it (although not too publicly if possible).” The desire of Macmillan’s for this stab in the back to be kept secret from their own highly successful author is understandable. Their ultimate stab in the back was, however, still to come, in the summer of 1992.
In May 1992 we find Deborah Lipstadt providing a list of her personal targets, including now myself, to the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington; she advised the USHMM to contact Gail Gans at the Research Department of the ADL in New York City for additional names, and “tell her I told you to call her.” This establishes that the Defendants considered that the Museum, a US taxpayer-funded body, was actively participating in their network, and the Museum duly provided press clippings from London newspapers relating to me, which have now turned up in the Defendants’ files.
The attempts to suffocate my publishing career continued. A second arm of this attack also needs to be mentioned. Since my own imprint would not be intimidated as easily as Macmillan’s, or indeed at all, the hostile groups applied pressure to major bookselling chains to burn or destroy my books, and in particular the new edition of Hitler’s War. Some of the press clippings reporting this nasty campaign ... include reports of a sustained campaign of window smashing of the branches of Waterstone’s bookstore in the biggest Midlands cities, after complaints by “local Jewish and anti-racist groups.”
Waterstones informed one Newcastle newspaper that they were taking the book off public shelves “following a number of vandal attacks on book stores across the country.” The Nottingham Waterstones took the book off display after a brick was thrown through its window. The campaign was clearly centrally coordinated from London. None of this was reported in the national press, but one would have thought that these groups would have recognized the bad karma in any campaign of smashing windows or burning books. I wrote privately to Tim Waterstone guaranteeing to indemnify his chain for their costs of any uninsured claims. He refused to be intimidated by the campaign, which is one reason why I removed the names of four Waterstones branch employees from the list of Defendants in this action at an early stage. Others took a different line. According to the Evening Standard, Mr. Ivan Lawrence, a QC [Queen’s Counsel], MP [Member of Parliament], and a member of the Board of Deputies, justified the vandals who committed the window smashing and book burning outrages (while formally “condemning” them).
The Board was at this time actively organizing violent demonstrations outside my residence. Its address appeared on at least one leaflets posted over the West End calling for demonstrations outside my private address. The Campaign against Fascism in Europe (CAFE, a body identified by a Sunday Express investigation as a Mossad front), set up a “broad based temporary united front” in a “Committee to Stop Irving.” Its primary purpose was to stage what it called “a mass militant demonstration” to prevent me from lecturing to a private seminar in Central London on July 4, 1992, (the topic was Freedom of Speech); it called for “a working class alliance of ... black, Jewish, lesbian and gay” communities. The leaflets which this faceless body handed out in the West End stated that I “whitewash Nazi crimes and incite racist murder.” I gave copies of these leaflets to the police. The resulting demonstration was violent and pointless, because I was still in Moscow. A photograph in The Observer shows one of the CAFE posters reading “Gas Irving Now!” The newspaper reported that seven people were arrested in the violence, and that my home was under round-the-clock police guard. It quoted me as saying that I had received four or five death threats in the last 24 hours. “For 30 years I have been subjected to a reign of terror.”
The same newspaper reported that the Anti-Nazi League and its parent body, the Board of Deputies, were applying pressure to The Sunday Times to violate its contract with me. One reason why I mention all of this may well be apparent to Your Lordship: when I made remarks about certain of my critics, occasionally using vivid language, I had reason.
As an indication of the pressure my family was under: the West End Central Police station telephoned to ask permission to film the interior of my residence, in case we had to be rescued. An officer informed me that they had received information of a planned attack. For twelve months after our young child 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 arranged with the Grosvenor Estate to increase the fire safety precautions in the building. 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 civilized city under such conditions. An orchestrated barrage of abuse and death threats began on my unlisted phone number. One of them I recorded. It is one of the transcripts which the Defendants have not shown to Your Lordship.
At the same time as they organized this campaign of intimidation, and the attacks on my London and foreign publishers, the Board and its collaborating foreign bodies did what they could to hamper my freedom of movement. On April 1, 1992, South Africa informed me that I would no longer be allowed to enter the country. On June 5, 1992, the South African Jewish Board of Deputies wrote a letter to Michael Whine, executive director of the corresponding London Board, gloating over this success. An Israeli survey on subsequent events summarized: “In 1993 the controversial right-wing historian David Irving was granted a three month visa to visit South Africa on condition that he refrain from addressing any public gathering. The South African Jewish Board of Deputies objected to the visit. In December it was reported in the press that Irving had been refused the special permission he needed to visit South Africa during 1994.” (It has taken Nelson Mandela and the ANC to lift this ban imposed by the outgoing regime.)
On June 9, 1992, I was denied entry to Italy to address university students in Rome. That bars me from access to the Archivi Segreti del Stato, the Italian state archives in which I worked on Mussolini’s papers.
In Canada, Sol Littman, director of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre in Toronto, joined this formidable international endeavor to destroy my career. Once again we do not have to rely on something as vague as a scholarly “consensus,” or on the opinion of “the social sciences,” to learn what happened. Quoting Littman in their global report Response at the end of 1992, the parent Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles boasted:
Alerted through its international contacts that Irving was about to begin his 1992 [Canadian] tour, the Wiesenthal Center was determined to drop Irving in his tracks to prevent him from entering Canada. A legal research team provided the Canadian Department of Immigration with a brief pointing to Irving’s conviction in Germany
– which [conviction] was for describing the Krematorium I [“gas chamber”] currently on display to tourists at Auschwitz, truthfully, as a fake.
The League of Human Rights of B’nai B’rith Canada made a similar boast in its confidential annual report to the 1993 B’nai B’rith Canada convention. Dr. Karen Mock bragged in this document – and I rely on this too as proof of the international nature of this endeavor, to which the Defendants on this action have added their weight:
British Holocaust denier David Irving attempted to conduct one of his cross-Canada tours in 1992, but thanks in part to League [that is, League of Human Rights of B’nai B’rith Canada] interventions, and excellent co-operation between a number of police agencies and government departments, Irving was arrested and deported. He is no longer permitted to enter Canada without ministerial consent. In both these cases, the League worked to warn the Immigration department of these individuals’ impending visit and provided information to government officials. Australian and South African Jewish communities have used materials provided by the League to lobby their governments for similar treatment of Irving.
Where did the Canadian “materials” come from? Michael Whine, executive director of the Board of Deputies, unashamedly revealed the answer in an affidavit sworn in November 1996. He swore this affidavit in connection with the libel action that I later sought to bring against the Board. He confirmed that in response to an appeal by the Wiesenthal Centre in Toronto for dirt that they could plant on government files in Canada – a country I have visited countless times since the 1960s – the Board of Deputies furnished to their Canadian counterparts two “confidential” intelligence reports that they had concocted on me; the second such report was covered by a letter dated June 17, 1992. The letter also relayed to Toronto reports from similar Jewish organizations in Cape Town and Germany, boasting of their success in getting me banned from South Africa and fined in Germany.
The intelligence reports which Whine has admitted he furnished to his Canadian friends contained vicious and damaging libels: I was said to have married the daughter of one of General Franco’s top generals to ingratiate myself with the Spanish Falangist movement. This gives a clue to the fantasy world that the Whines of this world live in. “Uncorroborated evidence,” the document continued, “implies that Irving has been the recipient of substantial funding from unknown sources. It has repeatedly rumored that these sources are Nazis.” I had been, the report stated confidently, “active in the British Union of Fascists.” That was another lie. There were hints that I had maintained improper relations with the East German authorities, and the totally untrue statement that during the 1970s “Irving appeared annually on the public list of ‘Enemies of the State’” compiled by the German Office for the Protection of the Constitution. And so on.
When I found out – too late – that this fake evidence had been planted on Canadian files, I was angered and astounded that a British organization could be secretly doing this to British citizens. It turned out from these files that academics with whom I had freely corresponded and exchanged information, including Gerald Fleming, had been acting as agents and informants for this body. I submit that these are the bodies that collaborated directly or indirectly with the Defendants in the preparation of the book, and that the Defendants, knowing of the obvious fantasy in some of what they said, should have shown greater caution in accepting their materials as true.
There was an immediate consequence of this fake data planted on Canadian files. One data report recorded the “fact” that I had written many books denying the Holocaust. That was of course untrue. In August 1992 a docket was placed on Canadian Immigration files about me, saying among other things, “Subject is Holocaust denier, may be inadmissible” under section A19(1)(d)(1) of the Act. The Canadian government had been provided by the Wiesenthal Centre with a list of my proposed travel dates across Canada in October and November 1992. After more lying data was placed on Ottawa files about me, which I have since retrieved by the Access to Information Act, a letter was sent to me by courier stating that I might not be allowed to enter Canada. I did so, legally, on October 26; I was arrested on October 28 at Vancouver, and deported permanently from Canada on November 13, 1992, causing me great damage and financial loss. [See “Irving’s Most Un-Excellent Adventure,” Jan.–Feb. 1993 Journal.] Access to the Public Archives of Canada was as essential for my future research as access to the Public Record Office in Kew [England] or those archives in Italy. That is one proof of the direct and immediate cost of the pernicious label, “Holocaust denier.”
... This is what these enemies of free speech have tried for 30 years to do – by hook or by crook, to ruin me, and to destroy my hard won legitimacy as one of the world's most original and incorruptible writers on the Third Reich and it history.
There was at this time also a determined attempt to secure my exclusion from the United States. If successful, this would finally have sabotaged my career. A document, purporting to be an official US government intelligence (of the Office of Special Investigations), was circulated about me. On my protest to the US security authorities, they were good enough to confirm to me, after making inquiries, that it was a fake. In the same month, when I arrived at Washington’s Dulles airport I was held in immigration custody for several hours. A senior official then apologized to me that their inquiries had determined that somebody had planted a forged dossier about me on their Immigration Service computer in an attempt to keep me out. “A yard and a half of garbage,” was how he described it. The US government again apologized to me, and assured me in writing that the computer file had now been cleansed. A few months later Washington-area Jewish organizations started putting pressure on the big bookstore chains to stop selling my books, but here they met with blank refusals to comply. [“Area book chains sell work of Hitler apologist,” Washington Jewish Week, May 26, 1994, pp. 6, 19.]
The Simon Wiesenthal Centre in Toronto, which had orchestrated the Canadian attack on my freedoms, prepared similar intelligence reports of its own on me, and one of these eventually came to light – though not without difficulty – in Professor Lipstadt’s Discovery in this action, with a covering letter from its chief executive, Sol Littman, addressed to Professor Lipstadt, the Second Defendant. It goes in my submission to other issues in this action, namely damages and costs, that it required me to issue a summons and make an application for a court order to enforce the proper disclosure of these items; and that copies of the documents to which I was entitled under Order 24 were withheld from me until the eve of the hearing of my application; and that Mishcon de Reya [defendants’ London law firm] only then furnished me with photocopies of the document, and with a covering letter which had seemingly been backdated – the postmark was dated after the receipt of my summons.
In a letter to Professor Lipstadt, Sol Littman asked her to recognize that one intelligence report was “not for publication or direct quotation.” “It contains,” he explained, “many phrases and comments that neither you or I would use in a situation which clearly involves considerable delicacy.” The paper itself, which was originally disclosed to me shorn of any indication of institution, or author, or date, was entitled “History Rewritten: The World of David Irving.” It listed a number of quotations from my works, but confirmed what it called my “enticing writing style and thorough archival research,” and complained that I continued revisionist themes “interspersed with genuine historical insight.”
Claiming that it was my underlying purpose to rehabilitate Adolf Hitler and the Third Reich, the anonymous Canadian author stated these words, words coming from my enemies which characterize the whole of the global endeavor to silence me: “Given this accurate version of reality, it is all the more clear why his activities must be curtailed, and why his alleged legitimacy must be eradicated.”
I make no apology for quoting that sentence in full again, notwithstanding Mr. Littman’s desire that it should not be quoted. The word eradicated may even jar us all somewhat, after two months of debate about meanings of ausrotten [“eradicate,” “root out,” “wipe out,” “exterminate”], but the fact remains that this is what these enemies of free speech have tried for 30 years to do – by hook or by crook, to ruin me, and to destroy my hard won legitimacy as one of the world’s most original and incorruptible writers on the Third Reich and its history.
Writing in Response [Winter 1992], the Wiesenthal Center world report, Sol Littman reported from Canada that “while David Irving squirmed, bullied, and lied, in the end he was booted out of Canada, never to return without the express permission of the Immigration Minister.” The Jewish Chronicle reported on November 13, 1992, that Bernie Farber, national director of the Canadian Jewish Congress, had stated that I was “finished” in North America, which seems therefore to have been their common intent. Mr. Farber was to have been one of the witnesses of fact chosen by the Defendants; he has recently been disallowed by Canadian courts from appearing as a witness in a similar case, because he is held to be prejudiced. His evidence is no longer before this Court.
I now come to Macmillan’s final stab in the back. That is, the hand on the blade was Macmillan’s, but the blade had been forged and fashioned by all the Defendants in this courtroom, and by their hidden collaborators overseas. On July 4, 1992, as this Court knows, I had returned from Moscow with the missing entries of the Goebbels diaries exclusively in my possession, having gone there on behalf of The Sunday Times. This hard-earned triumph caught my opponents unawares. Newspapers revealed that the ADL and its Canadian collaborator, the League of Human Rights of B’nai B’rith Canada, sent immediate secret letters to Andrew Neil at The Sunday Times demanding that he repudiate their contract with me. On Sunday, July 5, the London Sunday newspapers were full of the scoop, and also with hostile comment. On Monday, July 6, The Independent newspaper reported under the headline “Jews Attack Publisher of Irving Book,” that a UK body which it identified as “the Yad Vashem Trust” was piling pressure on Macmillan’s to abandon its contract with me to publish my forthcoming biography of Goebbels, failing which they would urge booksellers not to stock or promote it.
Macmillan’s finally took fright that same day, as I only now know. After their directors inquired, in an internal memo, how many of my books were still in their stocks, and having been given totals of several thousand copies of all three volumes of my Hitler biography, representing a value of several hundred thousands pounds, my own editor Roland Philipps on July 6 issued the secret order reading: “Please arrange for the remaining stock of [Irving’s Hitler’s War] to be destroyed. Many thanks.” They prepared a “draft announcement,” but it was not released. Although still a Macmillan author, I was not told. The royalties due to me on the sale of those books were lost, destroyed with them. The Defendants’ campaign to destroy my legitimacy as a historian, of which the book published by the Defendants became an integral part, had thus reached its first climax.
Macmillan was still under contract to publish my Goebbels biography. In September that year, 1992, still not suspecting that they had done the dirty on me and destroyed my books, I wrote to them asking them to revert all rights in that new biography to me. Allan Brooke of Hodder Headline, the second biggest UK publishing group, made a very satisfactory offer two years later for the rights; he had published my books before while at Michael Joseph. Within a few days however the offer had been formally withdrawn – something which had never happened to me in a lifetime of publishing. Brooke told me that he had come under pressure to revoke his offer. The Defendants’ book had now been published and was now, as yet unknown to me, in the bookstores.
The campaign to silence me was on a broad front, indeed a global scale, but it also took unusual and petty forms. For 25 years I had spoken as a guest at my old school, twice a year, to history classes and sixth formers. On September 19, 1992, the school informed me in a letter that, under “pressure which built up yesterday from Jewish parents, the Anti-Nazi League and ... the press,” they had to withdraw their latest invitation, which they recognized as “a sad day for the school and for freedom of speech.” When my club held a private lecture-meeting that same month, leaflets and stickers appeared all over the west end with slogans like “Stop the fascist agitators,” “No more Rostocks” (a reference to an incident in which an asylum seekers’ hostel was burned down), and, more threateningly, “meet at Irving’s home,” and providing my private address. The global nature of all this is evident from an Israeli survey issued in Tel Aviv “in co-operation with the [New York based] ADL.” This stated, among successes in preventing various meetings and lectures from occurring, that “in London the Jewish community and other groups worked together ... and made it difficult for David Irving and his followers to maintain the fiction of the ‘Clarendon Club’.”
Letters obtained by legal methods in Canada show that on October 21 and November 3, 1992, the Board of Deputies applied secret pressure on the German embassy to stop me, a British citizen like themselves, from entering Germany. If a ban was applied, it would spell the end for me as a World War II historian because I could no longer reach my publishers, or access my own collections there of valuable documents which I had donated to the German archives, let alone the archives of the German government.
Australia was the next country to be worked over. The Israeli document quoted above reported unhappily on the press backlash that had arisen from pressure applied to the Australian government to silence me, which, it said, had attracted editorials in major Australian newspapers unfavorable to the Jewish community: “The implication was that a minority group, with extraordinary clout, had pressured the Australian government to act against the country’s interest.” Nothing, they implied, could be further from the truth. [See “Victory for Irving in Australia Free Speech Struggle,” Nov.–Dec. 1993 Journal, pp. 12–15.]
What had happened was this: In September 1992 I announced to Australian university professors that I would be visiting their continent for a third lecture tour early the following year. Alerted to this tour by the German professor Konrad Kwiet, one of the Holocaust experts I had written to, the same organizations applied secret pressure on the then prime minister, Paul Keating, to refuse me entry. The Australian Jewish News set up a hue and cry, reporting that I had “sneaked into Canada,” to give lectures “denying the Holocaust really happened,” and stating that I “incite the gullible to racist violence,” and that I “have a record of contempt for anti-racism and immigration laws.” Every single one of these statements was a lie.
But the lying was now getting out of hand. When a Munich Court [in January 1993] increased the fine on me for denouncing the Krema I [“gas chamber”] building at Auschwitz as a postwar fake, the Board of Deputies issued a press release calling me a “Nazi propagandist” who has attended Nazi training camps, and they welcomed the trebling of the fine [to 30,000 marks]. Not surprisingly, no British newspaper dared to reproduce such libels, but a copy is, significantly, in Professor Lipstadt’s discovery. I am of course barred from using it as the basis for the action which it deserved.
Opponents released to Australian television the heavily edited version of Michael Schmidt’s 1991 videotape of me addressing the crowd at Halle [Germany]. As edited, it omitted my visible and audible rebuke to a section of the crowd for chanting Hitler slogans. Grotesque libels about me swamped the Australian press, printed by various organizations including the New South Wales Board of Deputies and the Australian Jewish News (February 5, 12, and 19, 1993). One example was an article by a lecturer in politics: “He [Irving] has a history of exciting neo-Nazi and skinhead groups in Germany which had burned migrant hostels and killed people ... Irving has frequently spoken in Germany at rallies ... under the swastika flag ... himself screaming the Nazi salute ...” Unsurprisingly in retrospect, on February 8, 1993, the Australian government announced, though to the astonishment of the regular Australian national press, that I was to be refused a visa as I was a “Holocaust denier.” They had thus adopted the phrase that the Second Defendant [Lipstadt] prides herself on having invented.
The new and very damaging ban on visiting Australia now made it impossible for me to work again in the National Library of Australia in Canberra. At great personal expense I appealed to the Australian Federal Court. The Court declared the minister’s refusal of a visa to be illegal. The government in Canberra therefore changed the law in February 1994 to keep me out, and on May 3, 1994, they again refused my application for entry. We note from Professor Lipstadt’s own Discovery that the immigration minister faxed the decision direct to one of her source-agencies that same afternoon.
In July 1994, as the resulting fresh legal actions which I had started against the government still raged, the Second Defendant was invited by Australian organizations, all expenses paid, to visit their country; she was to hired to tour Australia, and to slander my name and reputation and add her voice to the campaign to have me refused entry. The Court will perhaps remember the Australian TV video which I showed, entitled “The Big Lie.” Broadcast on July 1994, it showed both the [Defendants’] expert witness Professor Van Pelt, and Fred Leuchter standing on the roof of the Krema II [structure at Birkenau], which Van Pelt declared to be the center of the Nazi genocide, and the Second Defendant [Lipstadt] being interviewed while still in Australia (and refusing once again to “debate” with the revisionists, rather as she has obstinately refused to go into the witness stand here). Thus I found myself excluded from Australia and, inevitably, New Zealand too. I lost the ability to visit my many hundreds of my friends down under, and my own daughter too, who is an Australian citizen; and I lost all the bookshop sales that this ban implied in Australia – where my Churchill’s War biography had hit the No. 1 spot on the best seller lists.
There was one interesting little postscript which helps to tie all these things together: I produced a video, a rather unpretentious document entitled “The Search for Truth in History,” which was to travel the Australian continent until I could again enter myself. A closed session of the video censorship authority in Sydney was convened, at the request of the special interest groups who urgently wanted to suppress my video. Afterwards, the security authorities discovered that a hidden microphone had been planted in the chamber. Indicating that he already had the answer, the leader of the opposition, Tim Fisher, challenged the government to admit that it was planted by the Mossad. This is an indication that some very dangerous forces indeed had aligned themselves behind the Second Defendant and against me.
My lecturing engagements in the British Isles came under similar attack. In the past I had often spoken to universities and debating societies, including the Oxford and Cambridge Unions. But now, in one month, in October 1993, when I was invited to speak to prestigious bodies at three major Irish universities, I found all three invitations canceled under pressure and the threat of local Jewish and “anti-fascist” organizations. The irony will not elude the Court that these Defendants on the one hand have claimed by way of defense that I speak only to the far-right and neo-Nazi element, as they describe it, and that it turns out their own associates are the people who have done their damnedest to make it impossible for many others to invite me.
Deborah Lipstadt had meanwhile made some progress with her book. She told her publisher that she had written a certain statement “with the marketing people in mind” – in other words, sometimes money mattered more than content. She had revealed in September 1991: “I have also spoken to people in England who have a large cache of material on David Irving’s ‘conversion’ to denial.” We don’t know, but we can of course readily suspect, who in this case those “people” were. She is, once again, not presenting herself for cross-examination, so there are many things we cannot ask her ...
In the light of Mr. Rampton’s strictures on my now famous little ditty, supposedly urging my nine-month old little girl not to marry outside her own people, I should also have wanted to ask questions of Professor Lipstadt’s views on race. We know that she has written papers, and delivered many fervent lectures, on the vital importance of people marrying only within their own race. (“We know what we fight against ...,” she wrote, “intermarriage and Israel-bashing, but what is it we fight for?”) She has attracted much criticism from many in her own community for her implacable stance against mixed marriages. In one writing Lipstadt quotes a Wall Street Journal interview with a Conservative Rabbi, Jack Moline, whom she called “very brave” for listing ten things that Jewish parents should say to their children: “Number one on his list,” she wrote (in fact it was number three), “was ‘I expect you to marry Jews’.” My one little ditty was a perhaps tasteless joke. Professor Lipstadt’s repeated denunciation of mixed marriages addressed to adults was deadly serious.
Professor Lipstadt accuses me of error and falsification, but is apparently unable to spot a fake even at a relatively close range. She has admitted, according to Professor Peter Novick, that she used the memoirs of the spurious Auschwitz survivor Benjamin Wilkomirski in her teaching of the Holocaust. Those “memoirs” have now been exposed, worldwide, as fraudulent. When it turned out the Wilkomirski had never been near the camp, or in Poland for that matter, but had spent the war years in comfort living with his adopted Swiss family, she acknowledged that this “might complicate matters somewhat,” but she insisted that the Wilkomirski “memoirs” would still be “powerful” as a novel. [See “Holocaust Memoir Exposed as Fraud,” Sept.–Oct. 1998 Journal, pp. 15–16.] It may seem unjust to Your Lordship that it is I who have had to answer this person’s allegation that I distort and manipulate historical sources.
We have Professor Lipstadt’s handwritten notes, evidently prepared for a talk delivered to the ADL in Palm Beach, Florida, in early 1994. In these, if I have read her handwriting correctly – and she appears to be relying on something that Lord Bullock had just said – she states that my aim seems to be to de-demonize Hitler; and that I had said that FDR, Hitler, and Churchill were all equally criminal. This is hardly “exonerating” any of them. Summarizing Hitler’s War (the 1977 edition), she calls me merely a “historian with a revisionist bent” like A.J.P. Taylor – and she adds, and this seems significant – “Irving denies that Hitler was responsible for the murder of European Jewry. Rather, he claims that Himmler was responsible. But he does not deny its occurrence.” Had she stuck with that view, which is a very fair summary of my views both then and now, she and we would not find ourselves here now.
But she was led astray. She fell in with bad company, or associates. These things happen. We know that, in conducting her research for the book, she spoke with the Board of Deputies, the Institute of Jewish Affairs, and other such worthy bodies, since she thanks them all in her introduction.
Some time in 1992 her book was complete in its first draft, and she sent it to the people who were paying her, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. We do not know what was in the book, since I cannot question the Second Defendant and she has not disclosed that early draft, with Professor Yehuda Bauer’s “scribbles” on it, in her sworn list of documents. It was clearly discoverable. We do know however what was not in it: we know that there was no mention of Hezbollah and Hamas and Louis Farrakhan and the November 1992 terrorists in Stockholm, or of the lie about my speaking on the same platform with them; in fact we also know that in this first draft I was merely mentioned in passing. This is evident from the letter which Professor Yehuda Bauer wrote, congratulating her on November 27, 1992: Bauer complained that the book lacked the “worldwide perspective,” and said: “Irving is mentioned, but not that he is the mainstay of Holocaust denial today in Western Europe.”
Somehow, therefore, I had to be shoe-horned into the text before publication. Bauer also urged her not to write things that inadvertently might convince the reader that there was “something” to what revisionists (“deniers”) said, although that is hardly a true scholar’s method, to suppress mention of opposing arguments. In a letter to Anthony Lerman of the Institute of Jewish Affairs (the same Mr. Lerman who would later spread the lying word that I had supplied the trigger mechanism for the Oklahoma City Bomb), Lipstadt revealed that there was an “earlier incarnation” of the book: that “earlier incarnation” has not been disclosed in her sworn list either. She had been ordered to swear an affidavit on her list. When I made a subsequent complaint about deficient discovery, her solicitors reminded me that I could not go behind her affidavit until she presented herself for cross examination. This chance has been denied to me.
Lipstadt spent much of that last month of 1992 putting me into the book, and so herself, into this courtroom today. They were the weeks after the spectacular success of the global campaign to destroy my legitimacy, which culminated in getting me deported in manacles from Canada on November 13. “I am just finishing up the book,” she wrote to Lerman on December 18, “and as you can well imagine David Irving figures into it quite prominently.” She pleaded with Lerman to provide, indeed to fax to her urgently, materials from “your files.” Your Lordship may think that this haste to wield the hatchet compares poorly with the kind of in-depth, years-long research which I conducted on my biographical subjects. “I think he [Irving] is one of the more dangerous figures around,” she added, pleading the urgency. It was a spectacular epiphany, this Court might think, given that only three weeks earlier the manuscript barely mentioned me, as Bauer had complained.
Lerman faxed his materials to her a few days later: we don’t know precisely what, as here too the Defendants’ Discovery is only fragmentary, and these items were provided to me only in response to a summons.
That is an outline of the damage, and the people, including specifically the Defendants in this action, who were behind it. Mr. Rampton suggested at a very early stage that I had brought all of this on myself, that I had even deserved it – he was talking about the hate-wreath that was sent to me on the death of my daughter. We shall see.
Auschwitz Concentration Camp
Auschwitz has been a football of politicians and statesmen ever since World War II. The site has become, like the Holocaust itself, an industry, a big business in the most tasteless way. The area is, I am informed, overgrown with fast food restaurants, souvenir and trinket shops, motels, and the like. Under prime minister Josef Cyrankiewicz (who had been prisoner number 62,993) it was known at its opening in 1948 as a “monument to the martyrdom of the Polish and other peoples.”
Auschwitz was overrun by the Red Army in January 1945. The last prisoner had received the tattooed number 202,499. Informed by Colonel-General Heinz Guderian that the Russians had captured Auschwitz, Hitler is recorded by the stenographers as merely acknowledging: “Yes.” The Court might find it significant that he did not prick up his ears and say something like, “Herr Himmler, I hope you made sure that the Russians will find not the slightest trace of what we have been up to.” (Or even, “I hope you managed to get those holes in the roof slab of Krema II cemented over so there’s no trace, before you blew it up.” I will shortly explain the significance of that.) When the name of SS Gruppenführer Hans Kammler, the architect of the concentration camps, was mentioned to him a few days later by Goebbels, it was evident that even Kammler’s name meant little to Hitler.
How many had died at Auschwitz? We still do not know with certainty, because the tragic figure has become an object of politics too. Professor Arno Mayer, Professor of European History at the University of Princeton, a scholar of considerably greater renown than Professor Evans, and himself a Jew, expressed the view in one book [his 1989 study, Why Did the Heavens Not Darken?: The ‘Final Solution’ in History, p. 365] that most of the victims of the camp died of exhaustion and epidemics. “... From 1942 to 1945, certainly at Auschwitz, but probably overall, more Jews were killed by so-called ‘natural’ causes than by ‘unnatural’ ones.”
The Russians who captured the camp did not at first make any mention in their news reports of “gas chambers” ... The Russians set up an inquiry including some very well known names – including “experts” who had examined the “Nazi mass graves” at Katyn, and even the notorious [Soviet geneticist Trofim] Lysenko, and they announced that four million had been murdered at Auschwitz. Under the Polish Communists, a monument to “four million dead” was duly erected, a number adhered to until the 1990s, even under Franciszek Piper, one of the later (but still Communist) directors of the Auschwitz State Museum Archives. After the Communist regime ended that the figure was brought down, to 1.5 million, and then to 750,000 by the acknowledged expert Jean-Claude Pressac. The Defendants’ own expert Peter Longerich spoke of one million deaths there from all causes, and in response to cross-examination by myself and to Your Lordship’s queries Dr. Longerich confirmed that he included all non-homicidal deaths, deaths “from other causes,” including epidemics and exhaustion, in that figure.
As for the overall death roll of the Holocaust, what meaning can one attach to figures? The International Military Tribunal (IMT) at Nuremberg found that “the policy pursued resulted in the killing of six million Jews, of which four million were killed in the extermination institutions.” But the six million figure derives, as US chief prosecutor Mr. Justice Robert H. Jackson recorded in his diary in June 1945, from a back of the envelope calculation by the American Jewish leaders with whom he met in New York. [See D. Irving, Nuremberg: The Last Battle, 1996, pp. 61–62.] Professor Raul Hilberg put the figure at 5.1 million or less. Gerald Reitlinger [in his book, The Final Solution] had the figure at 4.6 million, of which he stated about three million were conjectural as it was not known how many Jews had escaped into the unoccupied part of the USSR. The Israeli Prime Minister’s office, we are told by Norman Finkelstein, recently stated that there were still nearly one million living survivors. [See R. Faurisson, “Impact and Future of Holocaust Revisionism,” Jan.–Feb. Journal, pp. 8–9.]
There are doubts not only about precise figures but also about specific events. The same [Nuremberg] IMT ruled on October 1, 1946, that the Nazis had attempted to “utilize the fat from the bodies of the victims in the commercial manufacture of soap.” In 1990 historian Shmuel Krakowski of [Israel’s] Yad Vashem [center] announced in the world’s press that that too had been a (“Nazi”) propaganda lie. Gradually the wartime stories have been dismantled. As more documents have been found, widely stated propositions have been found to be doubtful. [See “Jewish Soap,” Summer 1991 Journal, pp. 217–227.]
For a long time the confident public perception was that the Wannsee protocol, of the January 20, 1942, meeting, recorded the actual order to exterminate the European Jews. Yehuda Bauer, the director of Yad Vashem, the premier Holocaust research institution in Israel – and one of the correspondents of the Second Defendant [Lipstadt] – has stated quite clearly: “The public still repeats, time after time, the silly story that at Wannsee the extermination of the Jews was arrived at.” In his opinion Wannsee was a meeting but “hardly a conference,” and he even said: “Little of what was said there was executed in detail.” [“Wannsee’s importance rejected,” (JTA), Canadian Jewish News, Jan. 30, 1992.] Despite this, Your Lordship has had to listen to the “silly story” all over again in this Court from the expert witnesses.
Surely, say my critics, there must now be evidence for a Hitler Order?
Back in 1961 Raul Hilberg, one of Yehuda Bauer’s great rivals for the laureate, asserted in the first edition of his study, The Destruction of the European Jews, that there had been two such orders, one in the spring of 1941 and the other soon after. By 1985 – after I had corresponded with him and voiced my own doubts – Hilberg was back-pedaling. He went methodically through his text, excising from the new edition the allegation of a Hitler Order. “In the new edition,” as Professor Christopher Browning, an expert who testified [on behalf of the defense] before this Court, criticized in a learned journal, “all references in the text to a Hitler decision or Hitler order for the ‘Final Solution’ have been systematically excised. Buried at the bottom of a single footnote stands the solitary reference: ‘Chronology and circumstances point to a Hitler decision before the summer  ended’.” “In the new edition,” Browning repeats, scandalized, “decisions were not made, and orders were not given.” [See B. Kulaszka, comp., Did Six Million Really Die?, Toronto: 1992, pages 192, 300, 349.] Your Lordship will find my exchange with Browning as to whether he had indeed written those words in 1986 ... you will find too that he regretted that he could not recall clearly the events of 15 years ago, which invited a rather obvious riposte from me about the probably similar memory-deficiencies in the eye-witnesses on which he had on occasions relied.
The director of the Yad Vashem archives [Shmuel Krakowski] has stated [in 1986] that most survivors’ testimonies are unreliable. “Many,” he said, “were never in the places were they claim to have witnessed atrocities, while others relied on second-hand information given them by friends or passing strangers” – the phenomenon I have referred to as “cross-pollination.” Your Lordship may have been as startled as, I confess, was I, upon learning the degree to which the case for the mass gassings at Auschwitz relies on eye-witness evidence, rather than on any firmer sources. Your Lordship will remember the exchange I had with Donald Watt, professor emeritus of history at the London School of Economics, and a learned diplomatic historian, early on in the trial, about the value of different categories of evidence:
Irving: Professor, I was not going to ask you about eyewitness evidence, but where would you rank eyewitness evidence on the scale, if you had, for example, aerial photographs, if you had prisoner of war intelligence, contemporary prisoner of war intelligence, if you had intercepts from Bletchley Park, if you had captured documents, either captured during the war or after the war, and eyewitness evidence, in other words, anecdotal evidence and, finally, interrogations, whether under oath or not in Court, how would you classify those in order of reliability, starting with the least reliable?
Prof. Watt: I do not know that there is any way of classifying those, because it depends so much on the individual. I did a great deal of interviews, particularly in the period before the 1967 Public Records Act released documents of 30 years of age, and in my experience the kind of evidence I got differed according to the personality of the person giving it. In some cases I found that the man I was interviewing had his own documentary record and was consulting it, and that what he said was confirmed later. In other cases, including at least one Minister of the Crown, I was given a very plausible and, for all I know, a very true story of a meeting at which he was supposed to have been present; and when the records of that meeting subsequently became available, it was clear that he was not. He should have been, but he just was not that day, and he must have heard the story from one of the people there and then repeated it.
Irving: But he seriously believed that he had been there?
Prof. Watt: ... If a gentleman who holds the rank of Admiral of the Fleet and is a junior Minister in the Cabinet tells you that he is there, one’s reaction is not to question him ...
Irving: So to repeat my original question, where you would rank on that scale of material that is lying before you, at one end of the bench you have the eyewitnesses and at the other end of the bench you have, for example, the Bletchley Park intercepts?
Prof. Watt: The Bletchley Park intercepts, in so far as they are complete, are always regarded as the most reliable because there is no evidence that the dispatcher was aware that his messages could be decoded and, therefore, he would put truth in them.
This supports my view that eyewitness evidence is less credible than forensic evidence and the Bletchley Park intercepts. I do not completely ignore eye-witness evidence, but I feel entitled to discount it when it is contradicted by the more reliable evidence, which should then prevail.
The Leuchter Report
I am criticized by the Defendants for having relied initially on what is called the Leuchter Report. At the time they leveled their criticism at me, the Defendants appear to have been unaware that subsequent and, more able, investigations were conducted by both American [actually, German] and Polish researchers. The tests were in other words replicated.
First, the Leuchter Report: In April 1988 I was introduced by defense counsel at the Canadian trial of Ernst Zündel to the findings made by a reputable firm of forensic analysts of samples extracted from the fabric of various buildings at Auschwitz and Birkenau by Fred Leuchter, who was at the time a professional American execution-technology consultant. These, and his investigations at the Majdanek site, formed the backbone of his “engineering report.”
Since there have been tendentious statements about why the Leuchter Report was not admitted in evidence at that trial, I have studied the transcripts of that trial. It emerges that engineering reports are not generally admissible under Canadian rules of evidence unless both parties consent; in this case the Crown did not consent. As Mr. Justice Thomas [the Judge] explained, “I get engineering reports all the time [in civil cases]. That doesn’t make them admissible because they’ve prepared reports. They [the expert witnesses] go in the box, they’re qualified as experts, and they testify.” The non-admission of the report by Mr. Justice Thomas was no reflection on the worth of the report or on the qualifications of the witness.
Mr. Leuchter testified on April 20 and 21, 1988, as an expert in gas chamber technology. He had inspected the three sites in February, and taken samples which were subsequently sent for analysis by a qualified analytical chemist in the United States, a Dr. James Roth of Cornell University, who was not told where the samples had come from. His firm, Alpha Laboratories, were told on the test certificates only that the samples were from brickwork. Mr. Justice Thomas ruled that Leuchter could give oral evidence, but that the report itself should not be filed. He held further that Mr. Leuchter was not a chemist or a toxicologist.
But he agreed that Mr. Leuchter was an engineer, because he had made himself an engineer in a very limited field. A summary of the rest of the judge’s findings was that Leuchter was not capable in law of giving the expert opinion that there were never any gassings or exterminations carried on in the facilities from which he took the samples. For the same reasons he was not capable of testifying regarding the results of the analysis. He was restricted to testifying as to the actual extraction of the samples, and his own observations on the feasibility of the buildings that he had examined being used as gas chambers.
The Second Defendant therefore was wrong to state on page 164 of her book [Denying the Holocaust], “The judge ruled that Leuchter could not serve as an expert witness on the construction and functioning of the gas chambers.” To give evidence in a criminal trial, Mr. Leuchter must have been accepted as an expert. Professor Lipstadt further stated, on pages 164–5 of her book: “The judge’s finding as to Leuchter’s suitability to comment on questions of engineering was unequivocal.” In fact the Judge’s findings referred only to his lack of qualifications to testify on the results of the laboratory tests for cyanide and iron (this was Dr. Roth’s area, and he gave the testimony on those matters).
On page 169, Professor Lipstadt insists: “The exposure to the elements lessened the presence of the hydrogen cyanide ... Nor did Leuchter seem to consider that the building had been exposed to the elements for more than 40 years so that cyanide gas residue could have been obliterated. He also took samples from a floor that had been washed regularly by museum staff.” Dr. Roth however testified under oath that the formation of Prussian Blue was an accumulative reaction, that it augmented with each exposure to the gas; and that it did not normally disappear unless physically removed by sandblasting or grinding down.
Roth seems since then to have changed his mind, to judge by the film “Mr. Death” [reviewed in the Sept.–Dec. 1999 Journal] ... Zündel’s counsel comments, “He [Roth] obviously is frightened” and no wonder, considering what was subsequently inflicted upon Mr. Leuchter. Your Lordship will remember that in order to destroy Roth’s absurd argument, quoted to the Court by learned Counsel, that the Prussian Blue stain would have penetrated only a few microns into the brickwork, I showed a photograph of the stain penetrating right through the brickwork to the outside face of one of the cyanide fumigation chambers, where it has been exposed to sun, wind, and rain for over 50 years, and where it is still visible, as deep and blue as ever.
Krema II [building at Birkenau] has been protected from these outside elements; it is possible to crawl beneath the famous roof [of the alleged homicidal “gas chamber” there] – about which roof I shall have more to say – but neither Jan Sehn, nor Fred Leuchter, nor James Roth, nor Germar Rudolf, nor any of the subsequent investigations found any significant traces of cyanide compounds present in the fabric of this building, despite the eye-witness accounts of that same chamber having been used for the gassing of half a million people. Moreover, the wood-grain of the original wooden formwork (or molds) can still be seen on the face of the concrete, which is evidence that it has not been sandblasted or ground down.
The Morgue Roof
I referred earlier to the [defendants’] expert witness on Auschwitz and Birkenau in this case, Professor Robert Van Pelt. He has made unequivocal statements both here and elsewhere about Krema II, that is, Crematorium [building] No. II at Birkenau. To him, it was the factory of death, the mass gassing chamber of Birkenau. He did not mince his language. In the new film “Mr. Death” we saw him speaking as the film camera showed Fred Leuchter descending into the hole which was broken post-war through the collapsed concrete roof slab and reinforcing bars of Leichenkeller 1 (morgue cellar No. 1) of Krema II, and we heard him (Van Pelt) uttering these words:
Crematorium II is the most lethal building of Auschwitz. In the 2500 square feet of this one room, more people lost their lives than any other place on this planet. 500,000 people were killed. If you would draw a map of human suffering, if you created a geography of atrocity, this would be the absolute center.
The Court will recall that on the ninth day of this action I cross-examined this witness most closely about this statement, and I offered him a chance to change his mind about the pivotal importance of Krema II and its underground Leichenkeller 1, the chamber which Pelt alleged had been a mass-gassing chamber.
Irving: Very well. You say: “In any case, II is the most lethal building of Auschwitz. In the 2500 square feet of this one room,” and you are pointing downwards, “more people lost their lives than in any other place on this planet. 500,000 people were killed. If you would draw a map of human suffering, if you create a geography of atrocities, this would be the absolute center.” That is a reference to II, and you are standing on the roof of No. 1?
Prof. Van Pelt: It is a reference to II, but I am actually not in the picture. It is Fred Leuchter standing on the roof of 1.
Irving: But you are speaking yourself?
Prof. Van Pelt: But I am speaking ...
Irving: Professor, just so that we can be completely clear about this and the record can be clear, you are describing II as being the place where 500,000 people were killed or –
Prof. Van Pelt: Yes.
Irving: – give or take a few numbers.
Prof. Van Pelt: Yes.
Irving: And that this was the center of the atrocity?
Prof. Van Pelt: Yes.
Irving: So if I am to concentrate a large part of my investigation in this cross-examination on that one building and, in fact, on 1, the one arm of the crematorium [building], this is not entirely unjustified if I am trying to establish that the factories of death did not exist as such?
Prof. Van Pelt: No. I think that the obvious building to challenge would be II.
The expert witness could hardly have been clearer in his answer. I then asked him to identify the buildings referred to, on the aerial photographs of Birkenau and Krematorium II, so that there could later be no doubt as to which precise building he had just agreed was the “factory of death.”
The great problem about accepting that this building was an instrument for mass murder is that the evidence produced by Professor Van Pelt relies on three “legs”: a handful of eye-witnesses; a few architectural drawings; and a slim file of documents.
The eye-witnesses have turned out to be liars, particularly those who testified to the SS guards opening manhole covers on top of the flat roof of Leichenkeller 1 (morgue No. 1) [at Birkenau Krema II], and tipping tins of Zyklon B pellets inside. One witness was David Olère, an artist, who drew sketches [from memory] later in Paris, obviously intending to sell them. His sketches show flames and smoke belching from the crematorium chimney of Krema III, which was quite impossible; he portrays the victims of the Nazi killers mostly as nubile young females, all naked and sketched in a pornographic way, often clutching naked teenage children to their breasts. It was Olère, I invite the Court to remember, who told Jean-Claude Pressac that the SS made sausage in the crematoria out of human flesh (a passage which Mr. Van Pelt did not inform us of). [J.-C. Pressac, Auschwitz: Technique and Operation, 1989, p. 554.]
Ada Bimko proved at the Belsen Trial that she too had lied. Entering another “gas chamber” building at Auschwitz she said she “noticed two pipes which I was told contained the gas. There were two huge metal containers containing gas.” She evidently did not even know that the “gas” supposed to have been used, Zyklon B, was actually in pellet form, not cylinders. Distorting her account too, Pelt also omitted this part of her testimony. Dr. Bendel, another of Pelt’s eye-witnesses, stated that at Krema IV [in Birkenau] the people crowded into the gas chambers found the ceiling so low that “the impression [was given] that the roof was falling on their heads.” This too was untrue, as the Court has seen how high those ceilings were in the computer-generated “walk through.” The Court will find that in my cross-examination of Van Pelt, I destroyed the worth of each supposed eye-witness after eye-witness in the same way.
Let us first look for those holes. The roof pillars [of the Birkenau Krema II “gas chamber”] were blown up in 1945, and the reinforced concrete roof slab pancaked downwards into the morgue basement, starred but otherwise intact. Van Pelt suggested that the Zyklon B introduction holes in the roof of Leichenkeller 1 were not much larger in diameter than tennis balls. The evidence of his eye-witnesses Henry Tauber and Michal Kula was that they were closer to the size of manholes – “70 centimeters [27 inches] square.” Kula testified that the wire-mesh columns that he had made were of that cross section [size], and three meters (ten feet) tall. One witness said the concrete covers had to be lifted off “with both hands.” As the ceiling height in Leichenkeller 1 was 2.40 meters, 60 cm of each column would have had to extend through the “holes” in the concrete ceiling, with about six inches poking up outside.
There is no trace of those holes in the roof today. The underside, which can be inspected and photographed from beneath, is intact. Even if one could lose sight of the much smaller, three-inch diameter holes in the pancaked concrete roof, of which Van Pelt spoke, one could not possibly have lost sight of four holes as large as manholes. Those holes would be perfectly obvious today, on the ground at Auschwitz [Birkenau], to any observer using the naked eye, without the slightest possible doubt as to their location.
Van Pelt accepts that those holes are not in that roof slab now. In his expert report [prepared for the Irving-Lipstadt trial] – and for this honesty I give him full credit – he writes:
Today, these four small holes that connected the wire-mesh columns and the chimneys cannot be observed in the ruined remains of the concrete slab. Yet does this mean they were never there? We know that after the cessation of the gassings in the fall of 1944 all the gassing equipment was removed, which implies both the wire-mesh columns and the chimneys. What would have remained would have been the four narrow holes and the slab. While there is no certainty in this particular matter, it would have been logical to attach, at the location where the columns had been, some formwork at the bottom of the gas chamber ceiling, and pour some concrete in the hole and thus restore the slab.
Van Pelt thus asserts, without any evidence at all, that late in 1944, with the Red Army winding up to launch their colossal final invasion only a few miles away on the River Vistula, the Nazi mass murderers would remove the “Zyklon introduction columns,” and then fill in the holes to “restore the slab” (before dynamiting the pillars supporting it anyway). He again asserted, when I cross-examined him on January 25, that: “It would have been logical to attach at the location where the columns had been, some formwork at the bottom of the ceiling, and pour some concrete in the hole and thus restore the slab.”
How would this have been more logical than completely removing the roof of Leichenkeller [morgue cellar] 1, as the Nazis had removed the roof of Leichenkeller 2, identified by van Pelt as the “undressing rooms,” as shown in the aerial photos taken on December 21, 1944, that one can see on page 15 of The Holocaust Revisited, the booklet published [in 1979] by Dino A. Brugioni of the CIA. The originals of this photo were shown to Van Pelt in Court. To believe his version, we would have to believe that the Nazis deliberately created architectural relics of Leichenkeller 1 to confound later generations of tourists and Holocaust researchers.
The fact is that the holes are not there – at least they are not visible from a distance of zero to four feet, or when photographed from the underside. Unable to point them out to us in close-up at ground level, the Defendants invited us to consider instead either vertical aerial photographs taken from 35,000 feet up, or a horizontal photograph taken from several hundred yards away, past a locomotive, where three (not four) unidentified objects are placed irregularly on the rooftop (the fourth “object” turns out to be a window on the wall behind).
The Court will recall what my response was to the not unexpected discovery that during building works such objects as barrels of tar were parked on a large flat slab ... The notion that the high flying [Allied reconnaissance] plane could have photographed an object of 27 centimeters in diameter, let alone of tennis ball size, protruding six inches above the ground, is quite absurd. The four smudges seen on one photograph are evidently many feet long.
On Day 11 [of the proceedings], I brought into the Court half a dozen vertical aerial photographs taken by the Americans or South African air forces during 1944, and I invited van Pelt to find those same smudges on that roof.
Where, until that moment, he had seen dots on another photograph with no difficulty, the witness Van Pelt now pleaded poor eyesight (“I have now reached the age I need reading glasses,” he said, “and I do not have them with me. I did not expect this kind of challenge.” Precisely.) Had he used even a microscope, he would not have found the dots on the 1944 pictures I showed him. Because the holes were not there, and are not there, and he and the Defendants know it.
Even if the Nazi architects did willingly agree to the weakening of the roof by having makeshift holes of that size cut through the slab right next to the supporting pillars – I say “makeshift” holes, because there is no provision for them in any of the architectural drawings – we should certainly expect to see the holes now ...
They [the defendants] know, and they knew from the outset, that I was right about that roof. Their entire case on Krema II – the untruth that it was used as a factory of death, with SS guards tipping canisters of cyanide-soaked pellets into the building through those four (non-existent) manholes – has caved in, as surely as has that roof.
Accordingly the eye-witnesses who spoke of those holes also lied, or bluffed: and I have called their bluff. In the absence of the holes themselves, and minus his “eye-witnesses,” Professor van Pelt’s only remaining proofs that Leichenkeller 1 of Krema II was an instrument of mass murder – a factory of death in which 500,000 Jews were gassed and cremated – are these: architectural drawings (rather oddly for a “professor of architecture” he calls them blueprints), and wartime documents. He confirmed this to Your Lordship, when your Lordship asked.
As for the wartime documents, he referred for instance to the – to him, sinister – requirement that the morgue should be vorgewärmt [pre-warmed] by a central heating plant. In cross-examination I drew his attention to the relevant section of the wartime Neufert, the architect’s handbook or building code which was standard for the SS architects, which specifies that morgues must have both cooling and central heating facilities to avoid damage to the corpses. Document after document fell by the wayside in the manner. Mr. Rampton introduced the timesheet of one humble workman in March 1943, showing him actually concreting “the floor in the Gaskammer.” But Birkenau camp was full of [non-homicidal] gas chambers. In his fine facsimile book of the camp documents [Auschwitz: Technique and Operation, 1989], Jean-Claude Pressac has printed the drawing No. 801 of November 8, 1941, for an Entlausungsanlage (delousing installation) for the prison camp, right in the middle of which drawing is a Gaskammer. He also reproduces drawing No. 1293, dated May 9, 1942, of the drainage and water supply of the delousing barracks, buildings BW5b. Here too there is a Gaskammer smack in the middle of the drawing ...
As David Irving pointed out during the trial, numerous "eye witnesses" have spoken of seeing smoke and even flames rising from crematory chimneys at Auschwitz-Birkenau. Such claims are untrue. At no time were any of Birkenau's four crematory buildings (Kremas) ever hidden, concealed or "camouflaged." In this photograph, taken in Mayor June 1944, Krema II can be plainly seen in the background. No trace of smoke or flame is visible. (In any case, crematory chimneys give off no flame and almost no smoke.) In the foreground are Jews who have just arrived at Birkenau from Hungary.
The bottleneck in the entire Krema II “factory of death” story is the little freight elevator that was installed between Leichenkeller 1, as in any such state-of-the-art crematorium, to haul the bodies from the basement-level morgue up to the crematorium furnaces on the ground floor. We are told by the Defendants that this elevator was never anything more sophisticated than something like a builder’s hoist. It had no door, or cage, or walls – it was just a platform jolting up and down that elevator shaft. We do know that, as finally installed, it had a specified load bearing capacity of 1500 kg. Van Pelt suggested that the hoist could therefore have hauled 25 cadavers at a time. In practice, as there was just a flat platform with no walls or door, jolting up and down the narrow concrete elevator shaft, it would have been impossible to stack onto one small flat platform 25 naked cadavers in the conditions of filth and slime that were described by the eye-witnesses ...
One thing is plain: that one elevator in Krema II was the inescapable bottleneck, and it makes plain that, whatever was happening downstairs in Leichenkeller 1, it was not on the huge scale that history now suggests.
In response to Your Lordship’s helpful questioning, Professor van Pelt stated that the wartime documents had to be interpreted if they were to be relied on for this proof. These interpretations are tenuous. He produced to us a document referring to the special secrecy to be attached to the crematorium drawings, and suggested that this was because of the mass gassings being carried on in it. It stressed that this was because of the wehrwirtschaftlich importance [that is, for the wartime economy] of the work being conducted there. But van Pelt confirmed under my cross-examination that the homicidal Final Solution, the genocide, was never regarded as being wehrwirtschaftlich important. I submitted that the reference was clearly to keeping secret the ugly business of the looting by the SS of gold and valuables from the corpses processed by the building, a system which was undoubtedly wehrwirtschaftlich important to the SS ...
During his slide-show Professor Van Pelt told us that one cardinal piece of evidence in these drawings was the relocation of an internal double-door which sealed off Leichenkeller 1 from the interior of the [Birkenau crematory] building, from the inside of the Leichenkeller door frame (in a December 1942 drawing) to the outside (January 1943). I pointed out that in the new layout, the doors were shown as being actually rebated into the door frame, and I suggested to the witness that this was indicative of a gas-tight door being fitted as in any standard air raid shelter design. Air raid shelter doors are fitted outside the shelter, to open outwards, so as to withstand blast. Neufert, the wartime architects’ handbook, bears this out.
The witness seems not to have considered this possibility. The doors allegedly found around the Birkenau and Auschwitz sites subsequently are all of standard air-raid shelter design, complete with the obligatory peephole that is fitted to air raid shelter doors. [See: S. Crowell, “Wartime Germany’s Anti-Gas Air Raid Shelters,” July–August 1999 Journal, pp. 7–30.]
The amendment of the drawings to provide for an external door, leading from the far end of the subterranean Leichenkeller 1 to the open air, was also consonant with its dual use as a shelter, and I put this to the witness on Day 11 [of the proceedings], as was the relocation of the main entrance staircase from the back of the building, to the street-side. Among the architectural drawings provided to us from the Auschwitz archives is one entitled: “Modification of the old Crematorium,” namely Krema I in Auschwitz; subtitled: “Air Raid Bunker for SS Station HQ with an Operating Theater.” So such modifications of the morgues to provide air raid shelters were clearly nothing extraordinary. Mr. Rampton made a lot of the order for doors with peepholes. But peep holes were standard fittings not only on the gas tight air raid shelter doors, but also to delousing facilities. Jean-Claude Pressac prints photos of two such doors on the “Canada” delousing chamber at Birkenau.
Krema II as Air Raid Shelter
Krema II, like its mirror-image Krema III on the other side of the [Birkenau] road, was originally designed as a state-of-the art crematorium, possibly not just for the camp but for the whole catchment area of Auschwitz which had for centuries been an area of pestilence and plague. No expense was spared in its design; the best equipment and architects were used on what was clearly a permanent facility. Building the Leichenkeller underground, instead of above ground, increased construction costs by several times, but provided for keeping the morgue cool during the baking hot Central European summers. Had the building been designed from the start as a human slaughterhouse, it would certainly not have been designed on several levels, with the resultant handling problems. Slaughterhouses are normally built on one level.
We saw in Prof. Van Pelt’s slide-show [a wartime photo of] the pouring of the concrete roof slab of the subterranean Leichenkeller 2; the roof was undoubtedly much the same as that of Leichenkeller 1, with a six inch reinforced steel mesh. This undoubtedly made the new building one of the most robust on the site: certainly more robust and fireproof in an air raid than the flimsy wooden horse-barracks in which the prisoners and slave laborers were housed.
The captured Bauleitung [central construction office] records of Auschwitz, which are now housed in Moscow archives, confirm that from mid-1942 onwards the German authorities began to consider the construction at the camp of shelters, splinter trenches, and other Air Raid Precaution (ARP) measures. After the Allied air raids on Cologne, Rostock, Lübeck, and so forth, etc., in March–April 1942, the German High Command recognized the likelihood that air raids would spread across Poland and central Europe, and they ordered the construction of extended ARP facilities throughout the occupied eastern territories, insofar as they were within bomber range. Existing basements were to be converted into shelters, anti-gas-equipment provided, and personnel trained in anti-gas warfare, as gas attack was widely expected. I put one such document to Prof. Longerich, and on Day 10 [of the proceedings] I said: “... the Defense rely on a number of photographs of doors found scattered around the compound of Auschwitz and Birkenau, and we will show that these are standard German air raid shelter doors complete with peep holes.”
These precautions were not in vain. In May 1943 [1944?], there was an air raid on the nearby Auschwitz [Monowitz] Buna plant. This is reflected in Auschwitz documents. At least one of the American aerial photographs of Birkenau that I produced to the Court and to the witness Van Pelt shows a stick of heavy bombs just released by the plane that took the photograph. By the end of the war there was also an anti-aircraft unit assigned to defending the region, as shown by the reference to Judge Stäglich’s membership in the flak [anti-aircraft] unit that manned it. [S. Crowell, July–August 1999 Journal, p. 13.]
Your Lordship will also recall that during his slide show the Dutch historian Van Pelt showed the Court a series of most interesting computer-generated “walk-through” reconstructions of the interiors of [Birkenau] Kremas IV and V. Your Lordship memorized the dimensions of the shutters designed to be fitted on the openings inside: 30 cms by 40 cms. There were also said to be steps leading up to the openings. The wartime German civil defense journal Luftschutz (“Air Defense”) shows precisely this arrangement of gas-tight shutters and steps as a standard air raid shelter feature, designed for the event of gas warfare.
I put this to the witness Van Pelt: “Would you agree that those shutters that have been found in the Auschwitz camp are in fact standard German air raid shutters supplied by manufacturers to a standard design?”
Eye-witnesses have stated that thousands of victims were gassed in these rooms, and their bodies burned in large pits to the building’s rear. But the contemporary air photographs reveal no such pits, nor are they evident today. Confronted with what your Lordship has yourself referred to as the lack of any documentary evidence for the gassings, Van Pelt could only offer the suggestion that the use of gas chambers at Auschwitz and Birkenau was a “moral certainty.” Three times in his report he fell back upon that semi-religious phrase. The available proofs certainly do not support the belief that the gassings there occurred on a mass scale.
In none of the aerial reconnaissance photos taken of Auschwitz-Birkenau by Allied war planes at random in 1944 – that is, during the height of the alleged mass "gassings" there – is there any trace of smoke or flames, or even of killings. In this detail from an aerial photo taken on August 25, 1944, for example, one can see Birkenau crematory facilities (Kremas) II (top) and III (bottom).
I will not dwell long on the uniformly poor evidentiary basis on the other extermination camps, known to the Court as the Operation Reinhard camps: Belzec, Sobibor and Treblinka. Here we do not even have the “moral certainty” which comforted Professor Van Pelt. I can challenge here only the scale and the systematic nature of the alleged gassing of more than one million people in these centers.
The Defendants’ own witness, Professor Browning, admits that the documentation for these camps is “scant.” I place great weight on this admission. Here, the expert cannot even find one contemporaneous document. He relies entirely upon the eye-witnesses: men of the ilk of Kurt Gerstein, Jan Karski, Adolf Eichmann and Rudolf Höss. The fictional elements – the “130 foot mountains of clothes,” which Browning in his first draft skipped over, the “electrocution chambers,” the “steam chambers,” the deliberately inflated death tolls, which would otherwise shriek their warnings to critical researchers – are ignored or suppressed, in order to maintain appearances.
There is an impressive level of documentation which demonstrates liquidation by shooting [in the occupied Soviet territories] of hundreds of thousands of Jews, probably over a million, by the Einsatzgruppen, but there is nothing of equivalent value for the Reinhard camps. One word, Why?, justifies a revisionist’s skepticism.
The Walter Föhl letter produced a similar response [Quoted in: Götz Aly, ‘Final Solution’, London: Arnold, 1999, pp. 174–175]. It was found in his Berlin Document Center personnel file. Föhl, an important resettlement organizer [deputy director of the German Generalgouvernement Population and Welfare department] in Krakow, Poland, wrote on June 21, 1942, to his SS comrades:
Every day, trains are arriving with over 1,000 Jews each from throughout Europe. We provide first aid here, give them more or less provisional accommodation, and usually deport them further towards the White Sea to the White Ruthenian [Belarus] marshlands, where they all – if they survive (and the Jews from [Berlin’s fashionable] Kurfürstendamm or Vienna or Pressburg [Bratislava] certainly won’t) – will be gathered by the end of the war, but not without having first built a few roads. (But we’re not supposed to talk about it.)
The expert witnesses [for the defense], unable otherwise to explain this document, dismissed it as obvious “camouflage” talk. But why should Föhl use camouflage writing to his “SS comrades”? As I pointed out to Dr. Longerich, Reinhard Heydrich himself had spoken of the White Sea option on February 4, 1942, in Prague. [G. Aly, ‘Final Solution’, 1999, p. 174.]
It was also noticeable elsewhere that none of the [defendants’] experts was willing to give documents their natural meanings when they did not accord with their views. The Ahnert document, recording a meeting at the RSHA in Berlin, under Eichmann, on August 28, 1942, was one example. [Quoted in P. Longerich, ed., Die Ermordung der europäischen Juden, 1990, pp. 241–242.] There was talk of the need for the deportees to be provided with blankets, shoes and eating utensils before dispatch to Auschwitz. Eichmann requested the purchases of barracks for a Jewish deportee camp to be erected in Russia, with three to five such barracks being loaded aboard every transport train. In each case, because the document did not accord with their “exterminationist” views, the expert had failed to pursue it. Dr. Longerich, who had included it as document 94 in work he himself had edited, Die Ermordung der europäischen Juden, had forgotten it even existed when I cross-examined him about it.
The Allegations of Racism and Anti-Semitism
The Defendants have resorted to the allegations that I am anti-Semitic and racist. Mr. Rampton’s highly paid experts have found one 1963 diary entry of four lines written 37 years ago, about a visit to my lawyer Mr. Michael Rubenstein, to discuss a satirical magazine article, after which I commented. “Thick skinned these Jews are!” This is all that they could find from the millions of words available to them? When I remarked [in Court], on March 2, upon the obvious paradox that an alleged anti-Semite would have retained Michael Rubenstein as his solicitor and respected adviser for over 20 years, Mr. Rampton’s comment, which Your Lordship may remember, was: “Many of my best friends are Jews too, Mr. Irving.” This stock line does not disguise the paucity of his evidence against me.
In further support of this contention they have taken isolated remarks made in lectures and speeches – of which they have transcribed around half a million words. I trust that your Lordship will in each case consider both the context in which the remarks are made, and also the broader surrounding countryside, if I may put it like that. For 30 years, as I set out earlier, I have found myself subjected to vicious attack by bodies, acting, as they freely admit, as Jews. For 30 years I endeavored to turn the other cheek, and I hope I have succeeded.
Mr. Rampton drew attention to the fun I poked at Simon Wiesenthal, a joke made explicitly about his other-than-good looks. He called that remark “anti-Semitic.” It was not. It was a joke about his looks, of the same genre that Mr. Rampton made on Day 28 [of the proceedings] when he inquired rhetorically of [defense witness] Professor Funke whether a certain outer-fringe Swedish revisionist [Ditlieb Felderer] seen, in one video shown to the Court, with long blonde hair, was a man or a woman.
In view of the manner in which the two Simon Wiesenthal Centers have been abusing my name in their fund raising leaflets, and endeavoring to destroy my own livelihood, the Court might think that my fun-making, while tasteless, was not undeserved, possibly even rather reserved. It was not anti-Semitic, and Mr. Wiesenthal is no more immune from criticism either as a person, or as a public figure, than I am. Searching hopefully for evidence of “anti-Semitism” in me, the investigators of the Board of Deputies in 1992 came up empty-handed in their secret report to be planted on the Canadian government: they confirmed that I had dealings with Jews in my professional life, and added that I “use this as an excuse” to say that I am not an anti-Semite. These people are hard to please: “He is far too clever an opponent,” the Board writes, “to openly admit to being an anti-Semite.” “We endorse all condemnation of anti-Semitism,” they quote me as writing in my newsletter issued on January 31, 1982. All of these things, including this secret 1992 Intelligence report filed by the Board of Deputies, were disclosed to these Defendants in my Discovery.
The Defense quoted a passage from a speech delivered, they said, in May 1992. In fact, as my diary confirms, it was delivered in May 1993, by which time my family and I had been subjected to a catalogue of insults by the leaders of these various bodies. If a writer’s books are banned and burnt, his bookshops smashed, his hands manacled, his person assaulted, his printers burned down, his access to the world’s archives denied, his family’s livelihood destroyed, his phone lines jammed with obscene and threatening phone calls and death threats, his house beset by violent and angry mobs, the walls and posts around his address plastered with stickers inciting the public to violence against him, and a wreath sent to him with a foul and taunting message upon the death of his oldest daughter – then it ill behoves people to offer cheap criticism if the writer finally stops turning the other cheek and rounds upon his tormentors.
In this respect I single out the Executive Director of the Board of Deputies, Mr. Michael Whine, whose organization staged the demonstrations outside my home of such a violent and ugly nature that police reinforcements had to be called. Whine had caused defamatory documents about me to be placed in the files of foreign governments with the intention that my free access to those countries should be impeded. He had caused the surroundings of my home to be stickered with labels bearing inflammatory slogans inciting violence against me. Some of these offensive items have been before the Court. Whine had issued a press release in January 1993, no doubt one of many, in which he accused me of attending “Nazi Training Camps.” My only response, as Your Lordship has seen, apart from a failed and very costly attempt to sue his Board of Deputies in libel, during which they did not plead justification, but merely that I was out of time, was to make fun of Whine’s name. That may have been tasteless, but it was not anti-Semitism, and it was certainly justified under the circumstances.
The references that I have made to what is now formally called the instrumentalization of the Holocaust have also been adduced as evidence of anti-Semitism. Are non-Jews disbarred from making a criticism that is being made increasingly vocally by others, such as Professor Peter Novick [author of The Holocaust in American Life]? Or by Leon Wieseltier, literary editor of the New Republic? He wrote there on May 3, 1993, at page 20:
“It’s a sad fact,” said the principal philanthropist of the grotesque Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, “that Israel and Jewish education and all the other familiar buzzwords no longer seem to rally Jews behind the community. The Holocaust, though, works every time.” His candor was refreshing, even if it was obscene. On the subject of the extermination of the Jews of Europe, the Jews of America are altogether too noisy.
I would also draw your Lordship’s attention to the article by Norman Finkelstein in the London Review of Books of January 6, 2000, whose title gives the whole tenor of the piece: “How the Arab-Israeli War of 1967 gave birth to a memorial industry.” Finkelstein makes in this piece the sarcastic comment: “Every questioning of the uniqueness of the Holocaust is taken by American Jews to be an example of Holocaust denial.” I could produce a sheaf of such quotations; they are all equally near the knuckle, equally true, and no more anti-Semitic than my own remarks on the matter.
As for the allegation that I am racist, I have produced to the Court enough evidence that I am less reluctant to hire Colored personal staff than, for example, certain legal teams evidently are. I hire personal staff on a form that has always stated my policy that we are an equal opportunity employer: “We do not and will not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, national origin, sex, age, handicap, marital status” ...
I voluntarily provided all my private diaries to the defendants, after securing the proper assurances. Those diaries total some 20 million words. Mr. Rampton produced from them one 19-word ditty, attached to another quite harmless one about the “messica dressica” of my infant daughter Jessica. [“I am a baby Aryan / Not Jewish or sectarian / I have no plans to marry an / Ape or Rastafarian.”] To find, in all those diaries and telephone conversations written since 1959, just one 19-word ditty [from September 1994] that Mr. Rampton could trot out for the media does not suggest that I am as obsessed with race and racism as he, or, for that matter, the newspapers that report these things ...
The Speeches and Lectures
My Lord, the Defendants have also fished into my lectures and writings and books, all of which have been provided to them – literally millions of words – and they have put into evidence a minute fraction of those words, comparable to the one-millionth part of the diaries which the ditty represented.
I am not going to defend or justify those utterances seriatim. In general I would invite your Lordship to pick out one such utterance as a sample; to reach then for the transcript of the entire speech – to take note of the rest of its content, its clear references to the very real sufferings of the Jews, the liquidations, the Bruns Report and the rest; and then ask: Was the remark true, was it explicable, was it rhetorically justified as part of the skilled lecturer’s armory?
Your Lordship has been told of my remark that more women had died on Kennedy’s back seat than in that gas chamber at Auschwitz – the one shown to the tourists. It is tasteless but, quite literally, true. It is, as I have now shown in this court, even true if the main “gas chamber” at Birkenau is brought into the equation, the notorious Krema II “factory of death,” because the eye-witnesses lied about that one too. The Poles have admitted that the Auschwitz [main camp] building and its chimney are a post-1945 fake. [See: R. Faurisson, “The ‘Gas Chamber’ of Auschwitz I,” Sept.–Dec. 1999 Journal, pp. 12–13.] My colorful language was a rhetorical way of bringing that extraordinary revelation home to audiences.
Extremist Organizations and People
My files confirm that I occasionally addressed audiences [in Germany] of the Association for Free Journalism (GfP), the National Democratic Party (NPD), and the German People’s Union (DVU) ... I disclosed to the Defendants English translations of the policy leaflets and manifestos of these bodies, which in my submission do not show them to be extreme in any way. These were, furthermore, bodies which were accepted at that time under Germany’s very strict laws as being legal and constitutional.
The Court is more concerned, I believe, with individual personages. I have not the slightest doubt that the Court will find that I did not have any meaningful contact with the ugly ragbag of neo-Nazi extremists mentioned by Professor Hajo Funke people with whom, to make the point quite clearly, the Defendants, their experts, and their legal team seem more familiar than I. Most of the names were completely unknown to me, and the defense have sought in vain for them in my diaries and papers, to which, I emphasize yet again, I gave them unlimited and privileged access. This has not stopped them from bringing them forward, and mentioning these alleged links in open Court, in an attempt to smear me still further – with an eye particularly to the German media ...
May I again remind Your Lordship of my basic principle on lecturing. Unlike the Defendants, who have proudly stated that they refuse to debate with opponents, I have expressed a readiness to address all and any who are willing to listen ...
I may secondly point out that were it not for the clandestine activities of the violent and extremist bodies dedicated to destroying my right to free speech, and the rights of all audiences in the United States and elsewhere – at Berkeley, at Dublin, at Pretoria, or wherever – to hear my opinions; and equally dedicated to intimidating my publishers around the world and smashing bookstore windows; – were it not for their hate-campaign, I would have been enabled to continue in the normal manner with my exemplary professional career.
It rings hollow that the same shabby bodies who have generated the hatred against me, now point their crooked fingers at me and abuse me, using the very considerable privileges afforded to them by this Court, for continuing to make my voice heard wherever I can; and that when I use words to describe them in detail, which they well deserve, they wring their hands and lament about “extremism.”
I have pointed out that so far as Germany is concerned, none of the German bodies who invited me to speak was illegal or banned. In fact when first invited to address the German People’s Union, I wrote to, and telephoned, the German embassy, as the documents in my Discovery show, and asked them specifically whether this was a legal and constitutional body. The embassy confirmed in writing on July 25, 1984, that it was. The “extremism” was in the eye of the beholder. The further to the Left the beholder squinted from, the more distant these bodies may have seemed from him ...
As for his [Prof. Funke’s] allegation here in court that I “should have known” that various organizations [in Germany] were going to be banned in years ahead: it is difficult for an Englishman, coming from a country with deeper democratic traditions than Professor Funke’s, to implant himself into the brain, or mind-set, of the authoritarian German mold, where book-burning is now once again de rigueur, where a German academic like Funke does not bat an eyelid upon hearing that a teacher is still serving a seven-year jail sentence imposed for chairing a lecture at which I spoke, where the two District Court judges who acquitted that teacher were reprimanded, and finally retired in disgrace, by order of the minister of justice, and where recently governments have begun routinely banning fringe opposition parties and circumscribing even their legal activities. Germany now has several hundred political prisoners in her jails.
The security authorities in Germany, so readily quoted by Professor Funke, are nothing more than the political arm of each provincial or federal minister of the interior. They have little concern with legality. As the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reported on September 15, 1995, Dr. Ernst Uhrlau, president of the Hamburg branch of the Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV) said: “The persistent steps taken by the state authorities against right-wing extremists have largely paralyzed their legal possibilities of action.” The paralyzing of the “legal possibilities of action” of opposition parties can hardly be considered a matter for pride in any normal democratic government. None of these banned parties has anything to do with violence.
My general response to this attempt at “guilt by association” is to compare it with the worst excesses of the inquisitions conducted by Senator Joseph McCarthy ...
As for the Institute for Historical Review (IHR): I have little to add to what I stated in my various written replies. It is clearly unsatisfactory, though not surprising, that establishment scholars feel the need to dismiss any rival body of scholars as “extremist,” merely on the basis that these others propagate a different version of history from their own “consensus” version. The officials of the IHR nearly all hold academic qualifications. True, they are not all trained historians, but then neither are some of the most famous names of historians in both ancient and contemporary times. It is clear from correspondence before the court that I recognized shortcomings in the old IHR, and was keen to introduce them to new speakers including main line scholars and historians like John Toland (who did in fact speak there), Professor Ernst Nolte, and Michael Beschloss.
I am not, and never have been, an official of the IHR; at most, one of many friendly advisers. As for speaking engagements, my association with the IHR has been the same as my association was with, for instance, the Cambridge University Fabian Society, or the Trinity College Dublin Literary and Debating group, or any other body of enlightened people keen to hear alternative views.
Professor Evans, in his odious attempts to smear and defile my name, which I hope will long haunt him in the common rooms of Cambridge, called me a frequent speaker at the IHR. And may I say, So what: none of my lectures had a Holocaust-denial, or anti-Semitic, or extremist theme. I spoke on Churchill, on Pearl Harbor, on Rommel, on the Goebbels diaries, on my Eichmann papers find, and on general problems of writing history. The Court has learned that I have in fact addressed functions of the IHR only five times in 17 years, one lecture each time. No amount of squirming by this expert witness could increase that figure. It is true that I socialized before or after the event with the IHR officials and their wives. So what. It is true that I use their warehousing facilities. So what. It is true that the IHR (along with thousands of other retail outlets) sell my books. So what.
It is also true that I introduced them to subjects which some members of the audience found deeply uncomfortable, for instance the confessions of Adolf Eichmann, the harrowing Bruns Report, and the Kristallnacht. [See, for example, Irving’s address to the 1992 IHR Conference, and his exchange with Prof. Faurisson on this point, in the March–April 1993 Journal, pp. 24–25, and, Irving’s essay in the Jan.–Feb. 1995 Journal, pp. 14–15, from his address at the 1994 IHR Conference.] I would willingly read out the relevant extracts of my lectures to the IHR, but my Lord, through the courtesy and industry of the Defendants solicitors, which I have had cause already to praise, Your Lordship is already funded with extensive transcripts of those talks, and I would ask that Your Lordship read them with this paragraph in mind. I am accused of telling audiences what they want to hear; that may partially be true, but by Jove, having done so I then used the goodwill generated like that to tell them a lot of things they very much did not want to hear! The Defendants would willingly overlook this aspect of my association with the IHR. I trust that the Court will not ...
There remain one or two, in my view, minor matters.
The Defendants allege that I willfully exaggerated the Dresden death roll in my 1963 book The Destruction of Dresden, and afterwards, and had no basis for my figures. In fact I have satisfied this Court, I believe, that at all times (a) I set and published the proper upper and lower limits for the estimates that I gave, giving a range of figures which necessarily decreased, overall, over the years as our state of information improved; (b) I had adequate basis for the various figures which I provided in my works.
It has to be said that authors have little or no control over the content of books sub-licensed to other publishers. Revisions are not encouraged for cost reasons.
I have always been aware of the highly-charged political nature of the figures quoted for this event. The highest figure, of 250,000, which I only mentioned in my works as the maximum ever alleged, was given for example by the German Chancellor Dr. Konrad Adenauer in an official West German government publication which I showed the court ...
The lowest figures only became available in a book published in 1994 by Friedrich Reichert, Verbrannt bis zur Unkenntlichkeit. A copy of this book was provided to me in 1997. By that time I had already published the latest [1995–96], updated edition of my book, now called Apocalypse 1945: The Destruction of Dresden, in which I had lowered the death roll still further on the basis of my own investigations and considerations. This was the first edition over which I, and not the publisher, had total control ...
"The prospect of domination of the nation's scholars by federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present – and is gravely to be regarded ..."
—President Dwight Eisenhower, "Farewell Address," January 17, 1961.
Additional information about this document
|Title:||David Irving’s Final Address in the London Libel Trial|
|Sources:||The Journal of Historical Review, vol. 19, no. 2 (March/April 2000), pp. 9-46|
|First posted on CODOH:||March 10, 2013, 7 p.m.|