Irving v. Lipstadt

Transcripts

Holocaust Denial on Trial, Trial Transcripts, Day 2: Electronic Edition

Pages 101 - 105 of 189

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    I give one example: The July 20th 1944 bomb
 1about the bomb plot is when the bomb goes off under your
 2table. Then, retrospectively, you see the Gestapo reports
 3and the enquiries and the investigations, and you find out
 4this was not the first time they tried do it and so on.
 5You may say it is a literary trick as a literary advice,
 6which is why my books are probably more readable than
 7their books, but I do not think it is something
 8necessarily derogatory
 9 Q. [Mr Justice Gray]     Now, I think, unless you want to add anything on the topic
10of Hitler's adjutants, the next section or the next part
11of this section is the question of Nazi anti-Semitism.
12What is said against you is that you tried to blame what
13was done during the Third Reich against Jews upon the Jews
14themselves
15 A. [Mr Irving]     That is a gross oversimplification. I do not level that
16accusation at your Lordship, of course, but I think it
17would be a gross oversimplification to put my conclusions
18in that way. I have said on a number of occasions, for
19example, most recently to Daniel Goldhagen who wrote a
20book on Hitler and his executioners. If I was a Jew,
21I would be far more concerned, not by the question of who
22pulled the trigger, but why; and I do not think that has
23ever been properly investigated. Anti-Semitism is a
24recurring malaise in society. It recurs not just in
25Germany, not just in Europe, but it keeps on coming back.
26If I had enough spare time, one day I would like to sit

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 1down and investigate just that, the root causes of it, but
 2I do not have the qualifications and the training for it,
 3my Lord, and I suppose nobody in this room probably does.
 4One would have it have a great degree of independence,
 5independence of mind and independence of means, but there
 6must be some reason why anti-Semitism keeps on breaking
 7out like some kind of epidemic.
 8     That is at the root of several of the books that
 9I have recently written, probably most recently in
10Dr Goebbels' biography where we had the phenomenon of
11Dr Goebbels who, on the evidence of his own private
12letters in his earliest youth was the opposite of
13anti-Semitic. He actually ticked off his girlfriend for
14writing an anti-Semitic letter to him, saying that this
15kind of sentiment is very cheap and needless, and yet he
16later on becomes the worst and most criminal anti-Semite
17of all times. One can say facetiously, is it something in
18the water? But something must have caused him to change.
19I do not think it is irresponsible to ask that question,
20even if one cannot provide a full answer
21 Q. [Mr Justice Gray]     Can I just be clear what you are meaning when you say
22 "something must have caused that change" -- something
23done by the Jews themselves
24 A. [Mr Irving]     Something which I have not been able to establish and
25something which I am frightened of even investigating, and
26I do not really have to investigate because it would not

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 1come within the purview of a biographer to start getting
 2involved in sociological problems, I do not think
 3 Q. [Mr Justice Gray]     Is it not an historical problem as well
 4 A. [Mr Irving]     It is an historical problem but for somebody else to
 5investigate because I am in trouble as it is, my Lord, and
 6I do not think that one would earn any great kudos for
 7investigating that because, frankly, I do not have the
 8qualifications to investigate it. I am not a
 9sociologist. My findings would not be heeded anyway. So
10I would prefer to spend the time somewhere else that was
11put to better use. But I did what I could in the case of
12Dr Goebbels, as you will see, trying to develop why he
13became an anti-Semite.
14     I think what is most offensive in my works is
15the apportionment of blame between Hitler and Goebbels
16which a lot people find offensive. They find it
17incredible, but I think that it is well-founded in my
18works
19 Q. [Mr Justice Gray]     Yes, well, I think perhaps we can move on, if you are
20ready to, to the ---
21 A. [Mr Irving]     Extremism
22 Q. [Mr Justice Gray]     --- penultimate topic, I think, which is your alleged
23association with Neo Nazis and other right-wing
24extremists
25 A. [Mr Irving]     My Lord, I would make a general comment here, and I think
26it was in this very building only a few weeks ago that

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 1Moreland J said that there is no such crime in Britain as
 2guilt by association and there never has been, and it
 3would be very difficult to define and very difficult to
 4pursue in any way.
 5     I suppose it can easily be said (and I am making
 6no great concession here) if I say that probably everybody
 7in this courtroom has acquaintances who they shudder when
 8they ring the door bell. When you hold a cocktail party,
 9you say you hope that Smith does not come or whoever it is
10but, on the other hand, he is an agreeable person to have
11around. This does not mean to say that you share all of
12Smith's opinions.
13     Sometimes when the allegation is made, as it is
14made, I am rather shocked to say, in some of the expert
15statement, the expert reports, that it is not Smith that
16I am being accused of being associated with, but somebody
17who is associated with Smith, then it is beginning to
18become rather like that musical song about "I danced with
19a man who danced with a girl who danced with the Prince of
20Wales". How far down the line does this buck stop? Does
21it mean that everybody who is in this room is in some way
22polluted by being in the same room as I am? It is
23ridiculous. Which way does this particular flow of odium
24run?
25     I think it is a very loose kind of argument when
26people say, "Look who he is in the same room with" or

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 1 "Look who comes to hear him speak" which is what a lot of
 2the allegations appear to be. It is name calling. It is
 3a waste of the court's time, and I shall answer the
 4questions, my Lord, but it is very difficult to come to
 5grips with it.
 6     These people are extremists by definition of
 7these expert witnesses. I do not think there is any
 8satisfactory definition of "extremist". In my book, an
 9extremist is somebody who plants bombs under motor cars,
10somebody who plots the overthrow of governments, somebody
11who goes around with a gun in his pocket, somebody who
12holds views which are extreme, this is a very subjective
13concept. It depends on which viewpoint you view those
14views from.
15     Am I making sense, my Lord
16 Q. [Mr Justice Gray]     Yes, I understand what you are saying and, indeed, it may
17well be that this does not turn out to be one of the most
18important issues in the case
19 A. [Mr Irving]     My Lord, I have not chosen this. This is ---
20 Q. [Mr Justice Gray]     No, I appreciate that. No, that is not said in a way
21critical of you at all. But, having said that, one needs
22to break it down a little bit. I mean, do you accept that
23you have found yourself on the same platform or at the
24same meeting as a number of people who could be
25legitimately categorized as extreme right-wing fanatics
26 A. [Mr Irving]     

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