Irving v. Lipstadt
Holocaust Denial on Trial, Outline submissions on behalf of the First Defendant: Electronic Edition, by Richard RamptonTable of Contents
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(2)/(3) Is the "new" evidence apparently credible and would it probably have (had) an important influence on the result of the case?
10. The evidence of Rudolf and of Polanska Palmer deals only with Auschwitz. The relevance of Auschwitz to the case as a whole was summarised in the Defendants' response to the skeleton argument of 6 September 2000, paragraphs 52-54 (pages 13-14).
11. Rudolf's approach is highly selective: he makes a number of small, discrete points, which do not address, still less disturb, the overall convergence of evidence described by van Pelt. As van Pelt points out. Rudolf takes no account of the historiography of Auschwitz, and provides no coherent alternative narrative which is apt to accommodate his various hypotheses. Moreover, Rudolf's hypotheses are to a large extent mutually contradictory, as well as historically, scientifically and logically wrong. Van Pelt in his witness statement deals in detail with the substance of Rudolf's witness statement, other than sections J and K, which are dealt with by Dr Green. A summary of the effect of van Pelt's and Green's responses to Rudolf is attached to these submissions. In the result, it can be seen that Rudolf s witness statement makes no credible impact on the evidence about Auschwitz that was given at trial or the judge's findings based upon that evidence.
12. Dr Green deals with sections J and K of Rudolf's witness statement.
- i) Rudolf does not claim his chemical analysis is decisive (even if it were correct). He has said "Chemistry is not the science which can prove or refute any allegations about the Holocaust 'rigorously'" (see Green page 59; see also Rudolf page 250);
- ii) There is an issue as to whether or not his chemical analysis is correct. Rudolf does not demonstrate that he is more likely to be right than Green (or Markiewicz).
- iii) Since no-one contends that the chemistry is decisive, the issue of Prussian blue staining (upon which Rudolf s hypothesis depends), when placed in the context of the whole of the evidence about Auschwitz, becomes inconsequential. The reasons for the absence of such staining in the gas chambers must be sought elsewhere. Such reasons have been convincingly proposed by Green and Markiewicz, who have shown that significant traces of cyanide may be found even where there is no blue staining.
13. The judge's overall conclusion, based on the evidence at trial, was in effect that Irving embarked on a mission to sink the "Battleship Auschwitz" without having any grounds to do so. Irving wholeheartedly embraced the Leuchter report as soon as it appeared and continued resolutely to adhere to it, even though he had received devastating critiques from others (including, most notably, Colin Beer) and even though, as he accepted at trial, it was largely worthless as evidence.
14. As was common ground at trial, what mattered in assessing Irving's honesty and integrity as an historian was the material he had before him when he wrote his books and made his statements. This was a subjective question and the Defendants proved that Irving's stance on Auschwitz from 1988 onwards was not based on any credible historical or scientific grounds. The "new" chemical evidence contained in sections J and K of Rudolf's witness statement makes no difference.
15. In any event there was abundant evidence that Irving had, for his own ideological reasons, "persistently and deliberately misrepresented and manipulated historical evidence" in order to exculpate Hitler (Judgment 13.167). As Sedley Li put it (see paragraph 11 of his written reasons) this was "the central issue" in the case. It follows that, even if the "new" evidence were admitted and accepted as being credible, it could not have "an important influence on the result of the case."
16. Even if her witness statement were wholly accurate and reliable, it would have no impact on the Auschwitz issue, since it is both tentative and wholly negative: all that she says, in effect, is that she did not actually see any gas chambers while she was at Auschwitz (although she did hear rumours of them and the Kapos speak of them) This proves nothing and certainly cannot provide an answer to the mass of positive evidence adduced by van Pelt. In any event, as the witness statement of James Libson demonstrates (paragraphs 81-87, pages 30-33), the inconsistencies between Mrs Potanska Palmer's present witness statement and her earlier autobiography are such that no reliance can safely be placed on her evidence. Thus her evidence is neither capable of having any influence on the outcome of the case nor credible.
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