Irving v. Lipstadt

Transcripts

Holocaust Denial on Trial, Trial Transcripts, Day 19: Electronic Edition

Pages 81 - 85 of 217

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 1 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]     I really cannot say. I cannot answer for Sir Martin
 2Gilbert.
 3 Q. [Mr Irving]     You have criticised me through him for not relying on
 4Hitler's Political Testament?
 5 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]     I thought it necessary, since you made a great deal of
 6this in your reply to the Defence initially at the
 7beginning of this whole case a couple of years ago, of
 8your reputation as a historian, to go into that, and that
 9is what I am talking about here.
10 Q. [Mr Irving]     Are you familiar that Hitler's Political Testament is a
11forged document, and I know the Swiss gentleman who forged
12it in his own handwriting? There is every reason
13therefore why I should not have relied on that document.
14 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]     That is not really relevant to what I am saying here.
15What I am saying here is that you have been criticised by
16other historians.
17 Q. [Mr Irving]     2.5.10, please. I am sorry, the last lines of 2.5.9. Do
18you remember you are quoting Michael Howard criticising me
19for not crediting other historians where they had done the
20work?
21 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]     Yes.
22 Q. [Mr Irving]     Can I, in view of the fact that you have not done so, call
23the court's attention to the review that Michael Howard
24wrote, which is in the little bundle at page 33? Does
25your Lordship have it?
26 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Yes.

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 1 MR IRVING:     I think in your Lordship's copy I may have
 2highlighted a few sentences in yellow.
 3 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Page 33 of your E?
 4 MR IRVING:     Of F.
 5 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     I am sure you have, and it is very helpful
 6when you do. I will read out the passages you have
 7highlighted in my copy if you like.
 8 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]     May I read out the passage in my report in full? The
 9military historian Michael Howard ... praised the 'very
10considerable merits' of The War Path and declared that
11Irving was 'at his best as a professional historian
12demanding documentary proof for popularly held beliefs'".
13That is very positive and I am trying to convey there the
14positive impression that Howard gives. Then I go on to his
15criticisms: "Howard pointed out that Irving's account of
16an episode such as the enforced resignation of Generals
17Blomberg and Fritsch before the outbreak of the Second
18World War was not as original as he claimed and added
19nothing to the story already told by other historians.
20'It would be nice', he wrote, 'if Mr Irving occasionally
21recognised that other men had been there before him and
22done a competent job of work'". This is not a damning
23review. I am not trying to convey the impression that it
24is. Of course, since, Mr Irving, you say you never read
25other historians' work, that last criticism of Sir
26Michael's is really not very surprising.

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 1 MR IRVING:     Oh dear. I wish you had not said that. Can I now
 2draw your attention to the next item in that bundle, which
 3is page 34? That is a letter from me to the newspaper
 4that published that review.
 5 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]     Can you direct me to the bundle?
 6 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Page 34 of the slim F.
 7 MR IRVING:     Now you will see what has happened, will you not?
 8Can I show you the book? First of all, is this the book?
 9 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Yes, I have the point.
10 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]     Yes I have the point too. That is one historian. Many
11other historians ----
12 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     I think climb down on that one.
13 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]     I will climb down on Professor Deutsch, but he is not the
14only historian who has written about this subject.
15 MR IRVING:     Just so that the people behind me know what has
16happened, is this the book to which you were referring by
17Professor Harold Deutsch?
18 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]     What you say in that letter, as you point out, Professor
19Deutsch in his book had based his account on material that
20you had supplied to him.
21 Q. [Mr Irving]     Let me get a lot mileage out of this. First of all, is
22Professor Deutsch Jewish?
23 A. [Professor Richard John Evans]     I have no idea.
24 Q. [Mr Irving]     Take it from me that he is a very good old Jewish friend
25of mine who is one of the United States old guard of
26historians?

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 1 MR RAMPTON:     There comes a time, even when it is a litigant in
 2person, where we cannot have continually, we have had it
 3all the time, evidence from counsel's row. I do not
 4really mind. I am really standing up for rather a
 5different reason. We have done 45 pages in a day and a
 6half. At that rate Professor Evans will be in the box for
 7another three weeks.
 8 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     I am very conscious of that. I do not know
 9the shape of what is to come. I have not counted my
10interventions, but they have pretty numerous. The
11difficulty, Mr Rampton, if I may explain, is that
12Professor Evans has made reference to these other
13historians and their views. That does rather open up
14cross-examination.
15 MR RAMPTON:     It only does if those references are (a) likely to
16be relied on by me, which is not very likely, and (b) and
17much more important, if they are likely to influence your
18Lordship. This is not a jury trial. If your Lordship
19were to make it clear, if it be the case, that this part
20of the report is not an important part ----
21 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     I think I have made that clear effectively on
22a large number of occasions.
23 MR RAMPTON:     I had thought so, and it does seem to me that this
24is a rather futile game of ping pong that is going on at
25the moment, and far better to get on to the detailed
26criticisms. Professor Evans has said a number of times

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 1why he does not regard Mr Irving as a reputable
 2historian. It is because of the way he treats his
 3material. Then we ought to be looking at that, in my
 4submission.
 5 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Mr Irving, that really is very much what I
 6think I have been trying to say to you very often. I am
 7giving you, as I have said many times before also, as much
 8latitude as I reasonably can, but I do think you really
 9must get on to the specific criticisms. We are going
10very, very slowly and this morning I really have not found
11hugely helpful in terms of the task that I am eventually
12going to have to perform. That is my problem.
13 MR IRVING:     I am trying to undermine your Lordship's confidence
14in this witnesses as being somebody who has the ability
15and the impartiality and the historical background to pass
16judgment on myself.
17 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     If I may say so, that is a perfectly
18legitimate thing to do, but in the end you cannot just
19attack credibility. You have to get on to the nuts and
20bolts of the report and show why they are not credible, as
21opposed to attacking Professor Evans' credibility on a
22more broad brush basis. Do you see what I mean?
23 MR IRVING:     In that case it would have been well if Professor
24Evans had not written the initial 100 pages in his report.
25 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     I think I said that myself and I do rather
26take that view. He did. You know my view of it. You are

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