Irving v. Lipstadt
Holocaust Denial on Trial, Trial Judgment: Electronic Edition, by Charles GrayTable of Contents
|Whether Irving's denials ... >|
Irving's statements about the Holocaust
13.93 In paragraphs 8.16 to 8.36 above I have quoted passages from a selection of Irving's statements about the Holocaust. (It is a selection only: the Defendants adduced in evidence many more statements). I have divided the statements into groups which broadly correspond with the criteria included within Evans's definition of a Holocaust denier. The principal category consists of statements made by Irving denying the existence of gas chambers at Auschwitz or elsewhere. But there are also statements by him denying the existence of a broader policy to exterminate Jews. There are statements too about the number of Jews killed at Auschwitz and in the Holocaust. Finally there are claims by him that the gas chambers were a lie invented by British intelligence.
13.94 In addressing the question whether Irving is justifiably described as Holocaust denier, I make allowance for the fact that, when addressing live audiences as opposed to writing history books, Irving needed to hold the attention of his audience by expressing himself in a vivid and colourful style. I agree that it is necessary to take care to ensure that Irving is not quoted out of context. I accept that merely to question aspects of the Holocaust does not make a person a Holocaust denier. I recognise also that Irving came relatively late to the issue of the Holocaust: he claimed to have paid little attention to it before 1989.
13.95 Even so, it appears to me to be incontrovertible that Irving qualifies as a Holocaust denier. Not only has he denied the existence of gas chambers at Auschwitz and asserted that no Jew was gassed there, he has done so on frequent occasions and sometimes in the most offensive terms. By way of examples, I cite his story of the Jew climbing into a mobile telephone box-cum-gas chamber; his claim that more people died in the back of Kennedy's car at Chappaquiddick than died in the gas chambers at Auschwitz; his dismissal of the eye-witnesses en masse as liars or as suffering from a mental problem; his reference to an Association of Auschwitz Survivors and Other Liars or "ASSHOLS" and the question he asked of Mrs Altman how much money she had made from her tattoo. I reject as being untrue the claim made by Irving in his evidence that in his denial of the existence of any gas chambers at Auschwitz, he was referring solely to the gas chamber constructed by the Poles after the war for the benefit of visitors to the site or, as Irving put it, as a "tourist attraction". In this connection I refer to paragraph 9.13 above. Even if Irving had referred to gas chamber in the singular, it would not have been apparent that he was speaking of the reconstructed gas chamber at the camp.
13.96 Irving has also made broader claims which tend to minimise the Holocaust. For example he has claimed that the Jews in the East were shot by individual gangsters and criminals and that there was no direction or policy in place for mass extermination to be carried out. I do, however, accept that Irving expressed himself in more measured language on this topic than in the case of the gas chambers. But he has also minimised the number of those killed by means other than gas at Auschwitz and elsewhere. Having grossly underestimated the number who lost their lives in the camps, Irving is prone to claim that a greater number than that were killed in Allied bombing raids on Dresden and elsewhere. He has, moreover, repeatedly claimed that the British Psychological War Executive ingeniously invented the lie that the Nazis were killing Jews in gas chambers in order to use it as propaganda.
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