Irving v. Lipstadt
Holocaust Denial on Trial, Appeal Judgment: Electronic Edition, by Lord Justice PillTable of Contents
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Hitler as a friend
94. Mr Davies submits that the judge has misunderstood the applicant's position when attributing to the applicant the opinion that "Hitler was a friend of the Jews" (13.11). Mr Davies submits that the applicant has never expressed that opinion and goes as far as to say that no reputable historian could possibly say such a thing. What the applicant has claimed is that Hitler was the best friend the Jews had in the Third Reich and that, submits Mr Davies, was to damn Hitler with faint praise. What the applicant was concerned to do was to distinguish, in Hitler's favour, Hitler's position from that of Himmler and other ministers and agencies of the state.
95. We have not found or been referred to a statement in the terms recorded by the judge, and proceed on the basis advocated by Mr Davies. Indeed it was on that basis that the trial was conducted and the application made. What the applicant has sought to do in submissions on many of the events considered by the judge and in this judgment is in different ways to minimise Hitler's role in events involving the Jews. What the respondents have sought, successfully, to do is to attack the applicant's historiography in the way he has attempted to do it. Any distinction between whether Hitler was claimed to be "the Jews' friend" or the "best friend the Jews had in the Third Reich" is not material to the debate on the specific issues as it has occurred. Any misunderstanding by the judge on this point does not affect his reasoning or the conclusions he reached.