Irving v. Lipstadt

Transcripts

Holocaust Denial on Trial, Trial Transcripts, Day 32: Electronic Edition

Pages 6 - 10 of 222

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    In fact, of course, that is not so. The history
 1Lipstadt, an America academic, wrote a book called
 2"Denying the Holocaust", which was first published in the
 3United States in 1993. It was then republished by Penguin
 4Books in this country in 1994. The book contained
 5trenchant criticisms of Mr Irving's historiographical
 6methods and his political views and associations.
 7Mr Irving then issued legal proceedings claiming
 8aggravated damages for libel and an injunction against
 9Professor Lipstadt and Penguin. This trial has taken
10place only because they decided to defend their right to
11publish the truth.
12     The principal accusations made against Mr Irving
13by Professor Lipstadt in her book were, in summary:
14first, that Mr Irving deliberately falsified history in
15order to make it conform with his ideological leanings and
16political agenda, and, in particular, in order to
17exonerate Adolf Hitler of responsibility for the Nazi
18persecution of the Jews.
19     Second, that in order to achieve his objective,
20Mr Irving distorted historical evidence and manipulated
21historical documents.
22     Third, that Mr Irving had become one of the most
23dangerous spokespersons for Holocaust denial.
24     Last, that he himself held extremist views and
25allied himself, with other right-wing extremists, in
26particular Holocaust deniers and anti-Semites.

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 1     My Lord, those were undoubtedly serious charges
 2and, had they been untrue, Mr Irving would clearly have
 3been entitled to a large sum of money and an order of the
 4court preventing the Defendants from repeating their
 5accusations. But, as it turns out on the evidence before
 6this court, the accusations are true, in every significant
 7respect.
 8     Mr Irving had in the past claimed that there was
 9a chain or series of documents which showed that Hitler
10was innocent of the persecution of the Jews, and in
11particular their mass-murder during the War; indeed, that
12he was, in fact, "the best friend the Jews ever had in the
13Third Reich.
14     " The Defendants decided to put that claim to
15the test. They asked a professional historian, Professor
16Richard Evans of Cambridge University, to investigate it.
17     His findings were astonishing. Upon
18examination, virtually every single one of the links in
19Mr Irving's chain crumbled in his hands, revealing a
20falsification of history on massive scale. Equally
21revealing was the discovery that each of Mr Irving's
22falsifications led to the same end: the exculpation of
23Hitler.
24     In addition, in order to test Mr Irving's
25historiography by reference to his work on a topic other
26than Hitler -- in a sense, a control sample -- Professor

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 1Evans examined a number of successive editions of one of
 2Mr Irving's most successful works, his book on the Allied
 3bombing of Dresden in February 1945. Here again Professor
 4Evans found deliberate falsification on a grand scale, all
 5of it tending to the same result: a gross inflation of
 6the numbers of German civilians killed in those raids.
 7     The long written submission of the Defendants
 8which is before your Lordship contains a detailed account
 9of Professor Evans' findings and the evidence which
10supports them. By the Defendants' estimate, there are, in
11relation to Hitler alone, as many as 25 major
12falsifications of history, as well as numerous subsidiary
13inventions, suppressions, manipulations and
14mistranslations employed to support the major
15falsifications. If those relating to Auschwitz, Dresden
16and other matters are added in, the number goes well over
17thirty.
18     My Lord, in order to illustrate the
19extraordinary nature and extent of these falsifications,
20I will give but two examples.
21     On the evening of 9th November 1938, and through
22the night until the following morning, there was an orgy
23of violence and destruction against Jews and Jewish
24property throughout Germany. This was
25Reichskristallnacht.
26     It had been prompted by the assassination in

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 1Paris of a German diplomat by a young Polish Jew. The
 2Nazi leadership in Berlin exploited it to the full. It
 3was orchestrated by the SA and the SS, and the police were
 4ordered, by Hitler, not to intervene.
 5     Mr Irving has described this pogrom in various
 6places, but most particularly in his book "Goebbels:
 7Mastermind of Third Reich", which was published in 1996,
 8where he devotes a whole chapter to it. In summary, his
 9account of it is that the whole thing was initiated and
10orchestrated by Goebbels, without Hitler's knowledge or
11participation; and that when, in the early hours of 10th
12November 1938, Hitler found out what Goebbels had done, he
13was "livid with rage" and took immediate steps to put a
14stop to it. This account purports to be based partly on
15the postwar testimony of former Nazis, but principally on
16the contemporary documents. On examination of those
17documents, Mr Irving's account turns out to be
18completely bogus. His use of two of those documents will
19suffice to illustrate the point.
20     On page 276 of his Goebbels book, Mr Irving
21writes this:
22     "What of Himmler and Hitler? Both were totally
23unaware of what Goebbels had done until the synagogue next
24to Munich's Four Seasons Hotel was set on fire around 1
25am. Heydrich, Himmler's national chief of police, was
26relaxing down in the hotel bar; he hurried up to Himmler's

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 1room, then telexed instructions to all police authorities
 2to restore law and order,; protect Jews, and Jewish
 3property, and halt any ongoing incidents. I emphasise the
 4last part of that sentence, to restore law and order,
 5protect Jews, and Jewish property, and halt any ongoing
 6incidents.
 7     The reference given by Mr Irving in his book as
 8his source for this is a telex sent by Heydrich at 1.20 am
 9on 10th November 1938. In fact, so far from ordering "all
10police authorities to restore law and order, protect Jews
11and Jewish property, and halt any ongoing incidents", it
12read as follows:
13     "(a) Only such measures may be taken as do not
14involve any endangering of German life or property (e.g.
15synagogue fires only if there is no danger of the fire
16spreading to the surrounding buildings).
17     (b) The shops and dwellings of Jews may only be
18destroyed, not looted. The police are instructed to
19supervise the implementation of this order and to arrest
20looters.
21     (c) Care is to be taken that non-Jewish shops in
22shopping streets are unconditionally secured against
23damage.
24     (d) Foreign nationals may not be assaulted even
25if they are Jews."
26     That was what Heydrich stayed at 1.20 a.m. on

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