Irving v. Lipstadt

Transcripts

Holocaust Denial on Trial, Trial Transcripts, Day 7: Electronic Edition

Pages 96 - 100 of 199

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    Now, the last thing we want to do is plough
 1the 1980s or the States in the 1990s, and, therefore, the
 2worst you can say is that I was negligent; is that the
 3line you take in relation to that particular category of
 4evidence?
 5 MR IRVING:     Finely couched though your Lordship's words are
 6I would not use them in precisely that form. I would say
 7that at the time I made the utterances or wrote the books
 8I was not informed to the degree that I am now am by
 9virtue of having had to prepare for this case. In 1988
10I saw certain evidence which you will be discussing later
11on, which obliged to me to change my mind about what I had
12accepted without having gone into it in any detail up to
13that point. As a result of this case I have now gone in
14much greater detail into the eyewitness statements by the
15camp officials to which your Lordship alluded. I still
16have less reason to accept them as being reliable than has
17the defence, and we shall go through these statements with
18forensic methods when the time comes to cross-examine
19Professor van Pelt.
20 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Yes, well, I have certainly got your point.
21Shall I invite Mr Rampton to tell me --
22 MR IRVING:     That may be useful.
23 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     What his position is.
24 MR RAMPTON:     Yes, my Lord, it is really very simple. We had
25these last days been dealing with the way in which
26Mr Irving on our case, distorts history, deliberately,

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 1wilfully distorts history. In 1988, as your Lordship
 2remembers, there was on trial in Canada a man called
 3Zundel. He was on trial for something like inciting
 4racial hatred by publishing an Holocaust denial book.
 5Mr Irving went to Toronto to give evidence for Mr Zundell,
 6in the course of that exercise he got to read -- I think
 7he met Mr Liechter either then or earlier that year -- and
 8he got to read the Liechter report. He came home and he
 9held a press conference the following year, in which he
10said: "The buildings which we now identify as gas chambers
11in Auschwitz were not. I cannot accept that they had gas
12chambers there. There was no equipment there for killing
13people en masse. I am quite happy to nail my colours to
14the mast ... Jews cannot have been killed in gas chambers
15at Auschwitz".
16     From there on, until 1993, which is the relevant
17date, he goes into public, into the public arena, and
18repeatedly makes utterances of that kind. Had he not done
19so he would not have appeared in the book which forms the
20subject of this libel action. One of the meanings which
21Mr Irving complains of, my Lord, this is paragraph (vii)
22on page 6 of the Statement of Claim: "That the plaintiff
23after attending Zundell's trial in 1988 in Toronto, having
24previously hovered on the brink now denies the murder by
25the Nazis of the Jews."
26     That is Mr Irving's -- this is the most

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 1elementary stage of the whole thing -- that in Mr Irving's
 2case is a defamatory statement by Professor Lipstadt and
 3Penguin Books, who published the book. That alone would
 4allow as the defence -- the Lucas-Box particulars of the
 5defence indicate that they will do -- that alone would
 6allow the Defendants if they wished to do so to prove that
 7he was wrong as a matter of fact. That is paragraph 6.1
 8of the Lucas-Box on page 2 of the defence, that the
 9plaintiff has on numerous occasions denied the Holocaust,
10the deliberate planned extermination of Europe's Jewish
11population by the Nazis and denied --
12 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Well, I have thought about that, because I do
13not think either the meaning you have just cited from the
14statement of claim, or paragraph 6.1 of the Lucas-Box,
15really are defamatory meanings at all.
16 MR RAMPTON:     That may well be, but as I say that is the
17elementary -- that is stage one. As the pleadings stand
18I could do it. I do not, as your Lordship knows, put the
19case like that.
20 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     No.
21 MR RAMPTON:     What I say is this: it is not negligent,
22negligence is no part of this case, I am not the least
23interested in the qualities or efficiency of Mr Irving's
24research or anything like that; what I am concerned about
25is two things. He dignifies himself, and Professor Watt,
26for example, was no doubt called for this purpose, perhaps

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 1by some others, as an historian. He then lends his
 2considerable weight, if that be right, to repeated and
 3I have to say from time to time very offensive Holocaust
 4denial statements. He does that, not as he would if it
 5were Hitler that he was interested in researching, he does
 6that upon the basis, the flimsiest possible basis, the
 7Liechter Report. Along down the road as your Lordship
 8will hear, he thinks of other reasons why there were no
 9gas chambers at Auschwitz. But Liechter is the foundation
10of his denial. For a man to do that, who glorifies
11himself as an serious historian, is morally wrong. Now
12that is defamatory. One of the aspects of this case is
13that he has done it because of his political "with a small
14P" sympathies and attitudes. He is, we have pleaded, a
15right-wing extremist, and he feeds this Holocaust denial
16into audiences of right wing extremists.
17 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     And he done it deliberately, in other words,
18it is not negligent.
19 MR RAMPTON:     He has deliberately not been to Auschwitz and
20looked at the archive, never mind Moscow. I have been to
21Auschwitz, I have not been to Moscow. I have seen many of
22the documents in the archive and they are -- well, they
23are what they are. Professor van Pelt deals with them.
24 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Go back to the camp officials, that does
25mean, does it not, that if your case is that Mr Irving
26deliberately shut his eyes to that corpus of evidence.

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 1 MR RAMPTON:     He did not even care about it.
 2 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     And his case is, well, I was not an Holocaust
 3historian, maybe I knew that some of that evidence was
 4there, but I did not think it was any part of my function
 5to go and trawl through it.
 6 MR RAMPTON:     Then he should have --
 7 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Then we do not need to trawl through it in
 8this trial, do we?
 9 MR RAMPTON:     My Lord, if he will accept that his denial is
10false. If he will accept that it happened as described by
11Professor van Pelt and dozens of other people; that the
12eyewitnesses are telling the truth, those reports of
13Hoess, the commandant, are perfectly well-known to
14Mr Irving, for example. He knows all about the Weber and
15Weisler Report that came out during the War. No doubt he
16knows all about Jean-Claude Pressack's (?) ^^ book. They
17are there for anybody to read.
18 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     I am not sure whether I see why you are now
19saying, rather contrary to what you have been saying
20before, that we have to make a finding of fact as to what
21happened in Auschwitz.
22 MR RAMPTON:     No, absolutely, I have never said that. I am not
23saying that.
24 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Why should he accept that those camp
25officials are telling the truth when they say they saw
26what they say they saw.

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