Irving v. Lipstadt


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

Table of Contents

The case for the Defendants

11.41 This part of the Defendants' case has been largely summarised already in paragraphs 11.9 to 11.40. As examples of the credence given by Irving to unreliable sources, the Defendants cite his reliance on the forged TB 47; his reliance on evidence from unidentified individuals as to the number of deaths (see paragraph 11.38); his speculation about the number of refugees in the city that night (see paragraph 11.39 above); his reliance on the figure given to him by Frau Grosse (see paragraph 11.37 above) and his reliance on the figures provided by Mehnert and Fetscher (see paragraph 11.33 above).
11.42 Another instance where Irving is alleged by the Defendants to have given credence to unreliable testimony is the evidence of Hans Voigt. He was the sole source for Irving's claim that 135,000 people died. Voigt worked for the Saxon Ministry of the Interior in a central bureau of missing persons. His job was to collect the records of the dead and of those still buried in the ruins. His department was responsible for arriving at a final estimate of the death toll. Using four different systems for filing different data, Voigt's department was apparently able to identify some 40,000 of the dead. Irving took this figure as the absolute minimum for those killed. He adopted Voigt's estimate of 135,000 for the total number of those killed. This figure was confirmed to Irving by Voigt. According to Irving, Voigt told him that the estimate of 35,000 made by the Russians had been arrived at by striking off the first digit from the figure of 135,000.
11.43 Evans criticised Irving for giving any weight to so unreliable a source. Voigt's estimate is not corroborated by anyone else; nor is it supported by any documentary evidence. There is no corroborative evidence for Voigt's theory that the Russians struck off the first digit from the figure of 135,000. Walter Weidauer, the author of Inferno Dresden, disputed Voigt's claim that the death register records between 80,000 and 90,000 deaths. The register is still in Dresden Town Hall. Deaths by reason of the bombing are recorded on numbered cards. The highest card number for an unidentified body was 31,102. This number tallies with the number given in the so-called street books where deaths were recorded by reference to the streets and houses where the dead were found.Evans alleged that no objective historian would rely, still less adopt, the evidence of such a source as Voigt.