Irving v. Lipstadt


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

Table of Contents

Irving's denial that he is a Holocaust denier

8.10 In paragraph 6(i) of his Reply Irving answered the claim that he is a Holocaust denier in the following terms:
"It is denied that the (Claimant) has denied the Holocaust; it is denied that the (Claimant) has denied that gas chambers were used by the Nazis as the principal means of carrying out that extermination; they may have used them on occasion on an experimental basis, which fact he does not deny".
Irving made clear that he is unaware of any authentic archival evidence that Jews were systematically exterminated in any of the camps identified by the Defendants in the particulars of justification. As has already appeared, Irving has substantially modified his position since appeared pleaded his statement of case.
8.11 Irving expressed his resentment of the passage in Evans's report which described his alleged links with the Holocaust deniers mentioned at paragraph 8.7 above. He dismissed that as guilt by association. Irving testified that there was no truth in Evans's assertion that his views about the Holocaust derive from Rassinier, described by Evans as one of the earliest and most important Holocaust deniers. Although he agreed he had contributed an Afterword to one of Rassinier's books, Irving maintained that he had not read that book or any other by Rassinier.
8.12 Irving asserted that, at least until he came to prepare for this case, he was not a Holocaust historian. He claimed that the topic bores him. He submitted that his comments about the Holocaust should be judged in the light of his lack of expertise. He did, however, agree that, when appearing as an expert witness in the Canadian prosecution of Zundel, he had answered questions about the Holocaust. He also accepted Moreover he had to agree   that he had told an audience in Toronto in 1988 that he had been going round as many as forty archives relating to Auschwitz. He accepted he had said that he was writing a book about Auschwitz.
8.13 Irving complained that anyone who analyses or questions the evidence relating to the so-called Holocaust is automatically decried as a Holocaust denier. That, he claimed, is all that he has ever done. He tendered in evidence, as being a useful guide to what Holocaust denial should mean, a somewhat polemical paper by Barabara Kulaszka, who was one of the lawyers who represented Zundel at his trial in Canada in 1988.
8.14 Irving made the complaint that the passages relied on by the Defendants in support of their contention that he is a Holocaust denier omit the context, which often puts an entirely different complexion on what he said. Irving argued that he cannot be termed a Holocaust denier since he has always accepted that a very large number of Jews were shot and killed by the Einsatzgruppen. Merely to question the accuracy of their reports as to the numbers shot does not make him a Holocaust denier. Irving pointed out that on one occasion in July 1995 he put the number of deaths of Jews in the Holocaust as high as 4 million (although he claimed that most of these deaths were due to epidemics). He argued that he cannot therefore be described as a Holocaust denier. Irving cited his biography of Goering as further evidence that he is not a Holocaust denier. The index contains several references to the extermination of the Jews which, argued Irving, indicates that the topic is comprehensively dealt with.