Irving v. Lipstadt


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

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Irving's explanations for his errors

13.145 In the course of his cross-examination Irving was asked on numerous occasions to provide explanations for what he had written or said. Thus he was asked why he had omitted to make reference to apparently significant events; why he had relied on sources whose reliability there was good reason to doubt; what was the source of evidence for particular assertions. It seems to me that one way of testing whether Irving's errors were the product of innocent mistakes on his part is to look at his explanations.
13.146 In his answers Irving offered various explanations for his omission of apparently significant evidence. He gave as the reason why he did not refer to the evidence of Hofmann when dealing with the trial of Hitler in 1924 that it was too long to be included. But the records of Hofmann's testimony ran to no more than five pages. He sought to excuse his omission to include in his account of the shooting of Berlin Jews in Riga the claim made by Bruns that there had been a Hitler order by saying that it "would bore the pants off an audience". Asked to explain why he omitted to refer in the 1991 edition of Hitler's War to the sinister fate awaiting the 600,000 French Jews who were not well-to-do and so not to kept healthy and alive, Irving answered that the 1991 edition was an abridged version and the omission had to be made for editorial reasons. His explanation for not informing his readers of the reasons for supposing that the Schlegelberger note may have been   concerned with the problem of the mischlinge was that he was writing a book which had to be kept within the confines of a single volume. Irving gave a similar explanation for his suppression (as the Defendants claim that it was) of material parts of Goebbels's diary entry of 27 March1942. Irving excused his inability to answers certain questions about Auschwitz (for example about cremations there and his reason for not having visited Auschwitz) by saying that he is not an expert on Auschwitz. Irving balmed his editor for the retention of his mistranslation of haben zu bleiben as "Jews are to stay" after he had been informed of his error. When he was asked to identify the eye-witness who told him about the telephone box-cum-gas chamber story, Irving replied that he could not recall but that he read about it or seen it some ten years ago. Earlier in this judgment I have cited other examples of Irving's explanations for his lapses.
13.147 I recognise that it is not always easy for Irving to cast his mind back over the years so as to explain why and how his mistakes were made. In my view, however, in many instances, including those set out in the preceding paragraph, the explanations which he offered were unconvincing. The absence of credible explanations lends further support to the Defendants' argument that Irving's misrepresentation of the historical record was not inadvertent.
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