Irving v. Lipstadt
Witness Statement of Eric K. Ward: Electronic Edition, by Eric K. Ward
I, ERIC K WARD of [please state full address], WILL SAY as follows:-
1.I am employed by the Northwest Coalition [Please briefly state the function and activities of the NC, how long you have been employed by the NC, your job description and a summary of your responsibilities].
2.One of the functions of the Northwest Coalition is to monitor extremist far right activity, in order to protect and educate those affected about the threat of anti-Semitism and racism in our society [please expand].
3.Around the beginning of April 1998, the Northwest Coalition received notification [from whom did you receive this information?] that David Irving, the British revisionist writer, was intending to give a lecture at Washington State University, in Pullman, Washington State, on Monday 13 April 1998.
4.Mr Irving is, and has been for some time, well known to the Northwest Coalition for his associations and connections with racist, white supremacist individuals and organisations. In my capacity as Regional Coordinator, I attended the lecture on 13 April 1998 and made a contemporaneous note of my experience (Appendix). I have refreshed my memory from this note and am able to give an account on what and whom I heard and saw.
5.When I arrived at the venue, a student of the University and a friend of mine, identified to me the individual who had organised the event. The organiser was Justin Reid. Justin Reid was at the time, and may be still, a student at the University and was the driving force behind the Student Revisionist Resource Site ("SRRS"). The SRRS profess to be interested in Revisionist theories of history in the name of progress and enquiry. However the material that the SRRS posts on its website clearly betrays a much more sinister and ugly motivation. The website carries material that suggests that Jews are the cause of the prejudice against them along side items that attempt to diminish the moral outrage of the Holocaust.[Please could you provide us with examples? Do you have any print outs from the website that we could attach to this statement?]. Justin Reid had (and still has) the appearance of a racist skinhead, as did the other individuals who were evidently his associates. Some of these men were acting as security for the event.
6.There were nearly 300 individuals at the speech, the majority of whom were students. [What was the general atmosphere at the event? How did people appear to perceive Irving, ie: was he respected and given credibility or was the mood one of curiosity rather than support? Apart from Reid and his associates, were there any other "factions" or individuals that you particularly noticed?]
7.The topics on which Mr Irving talked were [please briefly state whether he confined himself to talking about his books, Hitler, Churchill or whether he spoke more broadly on revisionism and free speech?]. Mr Irving dwelt on the Holocaust, questioning the number of Jews murdered and the fact that there were gas chambers at Auschwitz. Mr Irving manipulated the audience by defending his right to deny the Holocaust in the name of freedom of speech. This is a ruse in order to lend validity to his racist, anti-Semitic motivations as was made obvious by an incident at the speech; when a group of individuals stood up and turned their backs on Mr Irving, in a protest of his belief in Holocaust denial, Mr Irving, instead of recognising their participation in free speech, said that they were "assholes".
8.Mr Irving, during his speech, played upon historical anti-Semitic themes. For instance, he suggested to the audience that Jews brought the hatred upon themselves by being successful in areas of media, entertainment, business, law and banking. He justified anti-Semitic bigotry on the grounds that persecution is predictable in the face of such hard work and success.
9.After the speech there was a question and answer period [Do you recall any of the questions asked and Irving's response?].
10. [How long did the talk last for? Were there any other incidents? How did you feel about being there? Please give as much detail as you can recall].
11.The contents of this statement are true to the best of my knowledge and belief.
Eric K Ward