Irving v. Lipstadt

Transcripts

Holocaust Denial on Trial, Trial Transcripts, Day 1: Electronic Edition

Pages 21 - 25 of 103

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    In private, the senior editors at those
 1publishing house who would object; such is the nature of
 2the odium that has been generated by the waves of hatred
 3recklessly propagated against me by the Defendants.
 4     In short, my "pension" has vanished, as
 5assuredly as if I had been employed by one of those
 6companies taken over by the late Mr Robert Maxwell.
 7     I am not submitting that it is these Defendants
 8alone who have single handedly wrought this disaster upon
 9me. I am not even denying that I may have been partly to
10blame for it myself.
11     Had I written books about the Zulu Wars, as the
12Air Ministry earnestly advised me back in 1963, when my
13book "The Destruction of Dresden" was first published,
14I would, no doubt, not have faced this hatred.
15     Unfortunately, World War II became my area of
16expertise. I generated a personal archive of documents, a
17network of sources and contacts, a language ability, a
18facility to research in foreign archives and eventually a
19constituency of readers who expected and wanted me to
20write only about the Third Reich and its criminal
21leadership.
22     What obliges me to make these sweeping opening
23remarks is that I shall maintain that the Defendants did
24not act alone in their determination to destroy my career
25and to vandalise my legitimacy as an historian. That is a
26phrase that I would ask your Lordship to bear in mind.

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 1     They were part of an organized international
 2endeavour at achieving precisely that. I have seen the
 3papers. I have copies of the documents. I shall show
 4them to this court. I know they did it and I now know
 5why.
 6     Nearly all of these villains acted beyond the
 7jurisdiction of these courts. Some of them, however,
 8acted within, and I have on one disastrous occasion tried
 9to proceed against them too.
10     I mention here (and only in a few words) that
11one example: as the court will, no doubt, hear, I was
12expelled in the most demeaning circumstances from Canada
13in November 1992. I need not go into the background of
14that event here, but I shall certainly do so later if in
15their attempts to blacken my name further the Defendants
16indulge in that exercise in this court.
17     Seeking to establish why Canada, a friendly
18government of a country which I had entered unhindered for
1930 years or more, should suddenly round upon me as
20savagely as a rottweiler, I used all the appliances of
21Canadian law to establish what had gone on behind closed
22doors.
23     I discovered in the files of the Canadian
24Government, using that country's Access to Information
25Act, a mysterious and anonymous document blackening my
26name had been planted there for the purpose of procuring

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 1precisely the ugly consequence that had flowed from it in
 21992.
 3     Stupid lies, among the stupid lies that this
 4anonymous document contained about me was the suggestion
 5that I had married my first wife because she was "the
 6daughter of one of General Francisco Franco's top
 7generals" in order to ingratiate myself with the Spanish
 8fascist regime. Another suggestion was that I lived too
 9well for an author -- I have lived for 32 years, over 32
10years, in the same house off Grosvenor Square, my Lord --
11and that to sustain such a level of living purely from my
12income as an author was impossible; the implication being
13that I was receiving secret cheques from Nazi fugitives in
14South America.
15     I telephoned my first wife to ask her what her
16father had been. She reminded me that he was an
17industrial chemist, a dedicated enemy of the regime after
18two of his brothers had been shot by Franco's men. So
19that was the true story.
20     It took over a year to establish beyond a doubt
21who was the author of this infamous document. It turned
22out to have been provided secretly to the Canadian
23Government by an unofficial body based in London whose
24name I do not propose to state in this court here, my
25Lord, as they are not formally represented in this
26action.

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 1     Suffice it to say that when I applied to a judge
 2in chambers for leave to take libel action out of time,
 3the culprits made no attempt to justify their libels, but
 4pleaded that the Statute of Limitations had run, which
 5plea was allowed, though I maintain with regret, by
 6Toulson J. The mendacious body concerned then had the
 7temerity to pursue me to the threshold of the Bankruptcy
 8Court for the legal costs it had incurred in that one day
 9hearing, amounting to over £7,500. It is a rough life,
10being an independent author, my Lord.
11     This brings us to the present case. In 1993,
12the First Defendant (as they allow in their witness
13statements) published "Denying the Holocaust", the work
14complained of, within the jurisdiction, written by the
15Second Defendant.
16     The book purports to be a scholarly
17investigation of the operations of an international
18network or conspiracy of people whom the Second Defendant
19has dubbed "Holocaust Deniers". It is not. The phrase
20itself, which the Second Defendant prides herself on
21having coined and crafted, appears repeatedly throughout
22the work and it has subsequently become embedded in the
23vernacular of a certain kind of journalist who wishes to
24blacken the name of some person, where the more usual
25rhetoric of neo-Nazi, Nazi or racist and other similar
26epithets is no longer deemed adequate. Indeed, the phrase

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 1appears over 300 times in just one of the Defendants'
 2experts reports, "Holocaust denier", 300 times in one
 3report, my Lord.
 4     It has become one of the most potent phrases in
 5the arsenal of insult, replacing the N-word, the F-word
 6and a whole alphabet of other slurs. If an American
 7politician, like Mr Patrick Mr Buchanan, is branded even
 8briefly a "Holocaust denier", his career can well be said
 9to be in ruins. If a writer, no matter how well reviewed
10and received until then, has that phrase stuck to him,
11then he too can regard his career as rumbling off the edge
12of a precipice.
13     As a phrase, it is of itself quite meaningless.
14The word "Holocaust" is an artificial label commonly
15attached to one of the greatest and still most unexplained
16tragedies of this century.
17     The word "denier" is particularly evil because
18no person in full command of his mental faculties, and
19with even the slightest understanding of what happened in
20World War II, can deny that the tragedy actually happened,
21however much we dissident historians way wish to quibble
22about the means, the scale, the dates and the other
23minutia.
24     Yet meaningless though it is, the phrase has
25become a part of the English language. It is a poison to
26which there is virtually no anti-dote, less lethal than a

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