Irving v. Lipstadt


Holocaust Denial on Trial, Appeal Judgment: Electronic Edition, by Lord Justice Pill

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The Bombing of Dresden

89. The repondents contended at the trial that in his book The Destruction of Dresden (1963)the applicant has, amongst other things, distored and twisted historical facts   and "misrepresented the facts as they appear from the available evidence" (11.5). A revised edition of the book appeared in 1996. The principal issue is in relation to the number of those killed in Allied air raids on 13 and 14 February 1945. Since 1963 different figures have been given by the applicant in his books and speeches.
90. Mr Davies describes this issue as a "peripheral issue" and a "side issue". It is common ground that the evidence has nothing to do with Hitler's policy towards the Jews. We do not propose to set out the careful and comprehensive summary of the evidence by the judge or his analysis. The analysis amounts to a serious criticism of the applicant's historiography by way of his treatment of documents, his reliance on estimates by unidentified individuals, his disregard for apparently credible evidence and in continuing to make "grossly inflated claims as to the number of casualties" in a subsequent edition of the book and in speeches. The judge referred (13.124) to the accumulation of evidence that the true death doll was within the bracket of 25-30,000 and that the "estimates of 100,000 and more deaths which Irving continued to put about in the 1990's lacked any evidential basis and were such as no responsible historian would have made" (13.126).
91. Mr Davies refers to a letter from the applicant published in the Times on 7 July 1966. It purported to set the record straight by reference to reports prepared by the East German authorities. The existence of the letter makes all the more surprising the subsequent assertions to which the judge referred. The applicant has failed to cast doubt upon the judge's conclusion on this part of the case which we regard as a significant and warranted attack upon the applicant's historiography.
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