Holocaust Denial on Trial, Trial Judgment: Electronic Edition, by Charles Gray

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Irving's case that there was no breach of agreement

12.15 According to Irving, the glass plates on which the diaries were recorded has been neglected by the Russians. They were in bad condition. Material from the archive was being sold by the Russians. Irving's major concern was to gain access to the diaries before the Germans. If the Germans were to gain access first, Irving was concerned that the diaries would vanish for a considerable period.
12.16 Irving stressed (and Millar) confirmed that there was no agreement with the Russians. On 9 June 1992 Millar spoke to Tarasov, who telephoned the curator of the archive, Bondarev and told him to permit Irving to have   access to the plates and to work on them. The arrangement was a verbal one. Millar testified that there was no restriction on access.
12.17 On the first occasion when plates were removed from the archive, Irving agreed that he did not seek permission to do so. He did not tell the Russians what he was intending to do. His concern was to copy the plates before the archive was "sealed", that is, before he lost access to the plates by reason of some action by his German competitors. Irving gave evidence that he had felt that the situation required desperate remedies. He agreed in cross-examination that he acted "illicitly" and felt ashamed about his conduct. Millar disapproved of what he was doing because he (Millar) feared that future access to the diaries might be jeopardised. But there were no means of copying the diaries in the archive. Irving acknowledged that it could have been understood that the plates should not be taken out of the archive. But he felt he was providing a valuable service in making sure that the contents of the diaries would be available to historians. He disagreed that there was any breach of agreement on his part. It was "neither here nor there" to the archivist if he removed the plates.
12.18 On the second occasion when he removed plates from the archive, Irving did so in order to have the plates tested, as his contract with the Sunday Times required him to do. On this occasion he did seek and obtain permission from the Russians to remove the plates. But he did not tell them of his intention to take them out of the country for testing. Again Irving accepted in cross-examination that he had acted "illicitly". But he said that he assumed he had permission to "borrow" the plates. Irving denied any breach of agreement.
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