Irving v. Lipstadt


Holocaust Denial on Trial, Trial Judgment: Electronic Edition, by Charles Gray

Table of Contents

Case for the Defendants

5.241In relation to Mme Vaillant-Couturier the criticism directed at Irving by van Pelt relates, not to his published work, but to his claim, made on occasions, including a press conference in 1989 to celebrate the English publication of the Leuchter report (with which I shall deal in the section VII relating to Auschwitz), that:
"she gave a heart-breaking testimony about what she had survived and in his diary at the end of the day, Judge Biddle privately wrote 'I don't believe a word of what she is saying, I think she is a bloody liar' ".
Irving made a similar statement earlier, on 13 August 1988, at Toronto, when he claimed that the Judge had written "All this I doubt" (emphasis added).
5.242The Defendants contend that these statements wholly misrepresent the view which the Judge took of Vaillant-Couturier's evidence. The Judge's contemporaneous note of her evidence reveal that he inserted in parentheses the words "This I doubt" at the end of a paragraph in which he noted her claim that all camps had a system of selecting prostitutes for SS officers. That does not appear to have been a claim that she made of her own knowledge. There is no reason whatever, say the Defendants, for supposing that Judge Biddle disbelieved any other aspect of her testimony. The statement made by Irving at the press conference was a disreputable attempt by him to discredit the witness on a basis which, as he must have   appreciated, was utterly untenable. The addition of the word "all" in the Toronto speech was, say the Defendants, deliberate distortion.