Irving v. Lipstadt
Holocaust Denial on Trial, Trial Judgment: Electronic Edition, by Charles GrayTable of Contents
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Evidence adduced in relation to the issue of justification
4.14Before setting out the arguments and evidence, I will identify the witnesses whose evidence was tendered on each side in relation to the defence of justification.
4.15I start with the evidence for the Defendants. As I have already said, Professor Lipstadt did not give evidence (although a witness statement from her had been served).
4.16The only witness of fact for the Defendants was Ms Rebecca Guttman who is employed by the American Jewish Committee as an executive assistant. Her statement, admitted under the Civil Evidence Act, related to an event arranged by an allegedly right-wing organisation in the US with which Irving is said to have connections.
4.17The main corpus of evidence for the Defendants was provided by academic historians whose evidence was by consent admitted as expert evidence. Written and oral evidence was submitted by the following:
- (i)Professor Richard Evans, who is Professor of Modern History at the University of Cambridge and has written many historical works about Germany. He gave evidence principally about Irving's historiography, his exculpation of Hitler and hiis denial of the Holocaust.
- (ii)Professor Robert Jan van Pelt, who is a Professor of Architecture in the School of Architecture, University of Waterloo in Canada. Professor van Pelt is an acknowledged authority on Auschwitz, about which he has written extensively, and this was the subject of his evidence.
- (iii)Professor Christopher Browning, who is a Professor of History at Pacific Lutheran University, Tacoma, Washington. He gave evidence on the evidence about the implementation of the Final Solution, covering the shooting of Jews and others in the East and the gassing of Jews in death camps (apart from Auschwitz).
- (iv)Dr Peter Longerich, who is Reader in the Department of German at the Royal Holloway College, University of London and a specialist in the Nazi era. He gave evidence of Hitler's role in the persecution of the Jews under the Nazi regime and of the systematic character of the Nazi policy for the extermination of the Jews.
- (v)Professor Hajo Funke, who is Professor of Political Science at the Free University of Berlin. He gave evidence of Irving's alleged association with right-wing and neo-Nazi groups and individuals in Germany.
4.18Not unnaturally (since it is his views and his conduct as an historian which are being attacked by the Defendants) evidence in rebuttal of the case of the Defendants on justification came predominantly from Irving himself. The course which was taken with his evidence was as follows: he submitted a brief witness statement, which did not address the majority of the particulars relied on by the Defendants in support of their plea of justification. He provided some elaboration of his response to that plea in the course of his opening and in the course of answers to my questions. But it was mainly in the course of his answers in cross-examination and his cross-examination of the Defendants' witnesses that the detail of his case emerged.
4.19In support of his denial of the allegation that he broke an agreement in relation to the microfiches in the Moscow archive containing the diaries of Goebbels, Irving called Peter Millar, a freelance journalist, who at the time of the discovery of those diaries in 1992 was acting for The Sunday Times.
4.20Irving summoned to give evidence on his behalf two historians who were unwilling to testify voluntarily. Their evidence was directed primarily to the question of Irving's standing as an historian (in which connection I have already mentioned them) rather than to the plea of justification. The first was Professor Donald Watt, who is an Emeritus Professor at the London School of Economics and was described by Irving as "the doyen of diplomatic historians". Professor Watt was invited by Irving to give evidence about the evaluation of wartime documentation and about Irving's reputation and ability as an historian. The other witness summoned by Irving to give evidence on his behalf was Sir John Keegan, the Defence Editor for Telegraph Newspapers whose knighthood as for services to military history. He too dealt with Irving's standing as an historian. Another witness who gave evidence for Irving, in his case voluntarily, was Professor Kevin Macdonald, who is a Professor of Psychology at California State University-Long Beach. He gave evidence on what he termed "Jewish-gentile interactions" from the perspective of evolutionary biology. There was no cross-examination by the Defendants' counsel of any of these witnesses.
4.21In the course of my summary of the evidence and arguments on the issue of justification, I shall need to make frequent reference to the distinguished academic experts whom, I have identified above. I hope that they will understand if, in referring to them, I dispense with their academic titles (as I have done with in the case of Professor Lipstadt). No disrespect is intended: it simply makes for easier reading.
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