Irving v. Lipstadt

Transcripts

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

Pages 66 - 70 of 222

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    If my submission on the law is, however, wrong,
 1These Defendants have reportedly spent some $6 million,
 2and 20 man-years or more, in researching this case: this
 3blinding and expensive spotlight has been focused on the
 4narrowest of issues, yet it has still generated more noise
 5than illumination. I heard the expert witnesses who were
 6paraded before us use phrases like the "consensus of
 7expert opinion" as their source so often - in fact, I did
 8a check, the word "consensus" occurs 40 times in the daily
 9transcripts of this trial - that I began to wonder what
10the archives were for. I suggest that these experts were
11more expert in reporting each other's opinions and those
12of people who agree with them than in what the archives
13actually contain and what they do not contain which is
14equally important.
15     The phrase "Holocaust denier", which the Second
16Defendant boasts of having invented, is an Orwellian
17stigma. It is not a very helpful phrase. It does not
18diminish or extend thought or knowledge on this tragic
19subject. Its universal adoption within the space of a few
20years by media, academia government and even academics
21seems to indicate something of the international endeavour
22of which I shall shortly make brief mention. It is, in my
23submission, a key to the whole case. Perhaps this court
24should raise its gaze briefly from the red and blue files
25and bundles that are around the court room of documents
26for a brief moment, and re-read George Orwell's appendix

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 1to "1984", which seems very relevant to this case.
 2     From the witness box, with its revelations of
 3the "consensus of opinion", and "moral certainty", and the
 4mass male voice choir of the "social sciences" that we
 5heard about from Professor Funke, on which the Defendant's
 6German expert, Professor Hajo Funke, relies for his
 7certainty, his certainty, as to what is right-wing
 8extremism, we seem hear more than a vague echo of
 9Orwellian Newspeak -- a language that moulds minds, and
10destroys reputations and livelihoods.
11     Orwell was wrong in one point: he thought it
12would take the forces of the State to impose Newspeak:
13Professor Lipstadt and her reckless publishers Penguin
14Books Limited -- I shall justify that adjective -- have
15sought to impose it through the machinery of the literary
16and media establishments. Only the Royal Courts of
17Justice here in London, independent and proud, can protect
18the rights of the individual from now on. And those
19rights include the right, as Lord Justice Sedley recently
20put it in another Court in this building, of any person to
21hold to, and to preach, unpopular views, perhaps even
22views that many might find repellent.
23     My Lord, I have not hesitated myself to stand
24here in the witness box and to answer questions.
25Mr Rampton rose to the occasion, and he, or indeed I, may
26yet regret it. Your Lordship will recall that, when

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 1I brought a somewhat reluctant and even curmudgeonly
 2Professor Donald Watt, who is not the Professor
 3I mentioned earlier incidentally, doyen of the diplomatic
 4historians, into the witness box, he used these words:
 5     "I must say, I hope that I am never subjected
 6to the kind of examination that Mr Irving's books have
 7been subjected to by the defence witnesses. I have a very
 8strong feeling that there are other senior historical
 9figures, including some to whom I owed a great deal of my
10own career, whose work would not stand up, or not all of
11whose work would stand up, to this kind of examination".
12     I am not throwing myself on the charity of this
13court, my Lord, but I am asking that the court should be
14reasonable in the standards that it sets. That
15effectively is a line that Professor Watt has supported me
16in. It is fair to say, of course, that I had to subpoena
17Donald Watt.
18 MR JUSTICE GRAY:     Yes, I am aware.
19 MR IRVING:     When I invited him to mention some names, of
20course, he declined. What he was saying was that whatever
21mistakes or whatever unconventional interpretations of
22mine, the Defendants have revealed with their
23multi-million dollar research, and I am going to admit
24some mistakes that I have made, not many, this does not
25invalidate me as an historian, or my historical methods
26and conclusions.

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 1     Your Lordship will find that Professor Watt
 2continued by suggesting that simply by facing the
 3challenge of the views that I had put forward, "and basing
 4them on historical research rather than idealogical
 5conviction," this had resulted in other historians
 6devoting an "enormous burst of research" to the Nazi
 7massacres of the Jews, an area which can now in
 8consequence support journals and conferences. He said,
 9"This, I think, is a direct result of the challenge which
10Mr Irving's work posed and the consistency and the effort
11which he has put into maintaining it in public". In other
12words, I forced the others to do their homework finally at
13last. In other words, Watt stated that, far from being a
14Holocaust denier, my work has directly increased
15historical research into, and the understanding of, the
16Holocaust.
17     The German Professor Eberhard Jaeckel made the
18same controversial -- and he is no friend of mine, of
19course -- point in his essay in the book published by the
20Us Holocaust Memorial Museum a year or two ago, namely
21that before my book Hitler's War was published in 1977,
22the first edition, there had been virtually no meaningful
23research into the tragedy at all. Professor Hans Mommsen,
24Professor Raul Hilberg, Professor Gordon C Craig, these
25and many others have more or less supported my claim to be
26regarded as a serious historian. I of course say things

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 1like that with the utmost personal distaste. I do not
 2believe in blowing my own trumpet. The outcome of my
 3research, my books, and my speaking is therefore that
 4people in general are more, and not less, aware of the
 5horrors of the Holocaust, and they are certainly better
 6informed.
 7     One of the most damaging accusations which Mr
 8Rampton has repeated again this morning, is that I, the
 9plaintiff, driven by my obsession with Hitler, distort,
10manipulate and falsify history in order to put Hitler in a
11more favourable light, thereby demonstrating a lack of the
12detachment, rationality and judgment necessary for an
13historian.
14     I submit that, in assessing whether I am an
15historian who "distorts, manipulates and falsifies" your
16Lordship should give most weight to my avowedly historical
17written works. Your Lordship will be thoroughly aware of
18why I am saying this. I suggested my speeches, very
19occasional lapses of taste in them, lapses of taste
20Mr Rampton has identified and mentioned repeatedly,
21I think three altogether, are relevant purely as
22background material. Of those written historical works,
23I submit that your Lordship give most weight to my
24flagship work Hitler's War. I ask that your Lordship read
25(again, if your Lordship has already done so) the
26introduction to the 1991 edition. This was published well

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