Holocaust Denial on Trial, Trial Judgment: Electronic Edition, by Charles Gray

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Irving's readiness to challenge the authenticity of inconvenient documents and the credibility of apparently credible witnesses

13.148 I accept that it is necessary for historians, not least historians of the Nazi era, to be on their guard against documents which are forged or otherwise unauthentic. But it appeared to me that in the course of these proceedings Irving challenged the authenticity of certain documents, not because there was any substantial reason for doubting their genuineness but because they did not fit in with his thesis.
13.149 The prime example of this is Irving's dismissal of Muller's letter of 28 June 1943 dealing with the incineration capacity of the ovens at Auschwitz (to which I have referred at paragraph 7.106 and 7.120).As already stated at paragraph 13.76 I agree with the assessment of van Pelt that there is little reason to doubt the authenticity of this document. Yet Irving argued strenuously that it should be dismissed as a forgery. In my judgment he did so because it does not conform to his ideological agenda. Similarly Irving devoted much time to challenging the authenticity of Muller's instruction to furnish Hitler with reports of the shooting. I believe that he did   so because this was for him an inconvenient document and not because there were real doubts about it genuineness. (Irving ultimately accepted its bona fides). There were other occasions when Irving sought to cast doubt on the authenticity of documents relied on by the Defendants (for example the Anne Frank diaries and the report of the gassing of 97,000 Jews at Chelmno referred to at paragraph 6.71 above). In neither case did Irving's doubts appear to me to have any real substance. His attitude to these documents was in stark contrast to his treatment of other documents which were more obviously open to question. One example is Irving's unquestioning acceptance of the Schlegelberger memorandum despite the uncertainty of its provenance. Another is his reliance on Tagesbefehl No. 47 in the teeth of mounting evidence that it was a forgery. In my judgment there is force in the Defendants' contention that Irving on occasion applies double standards to the documentary evidence, accepting documents which fit in with his thesis and rejecting those which do not.
13.150 As I have already observed in the course of dealing with the historiographical criticism of Irving, there is a comparable lack of even-handedness when it comes to Irving's treatment of eye-witnesses. He takes a highly sceptical approach towards the evidence of the survivors and camp officials at Auschwitz and elsewhere who confirm the genocidal operation of gas chambers at the camp (Tauber, Olere, Wisliceny, Hoss and Miller). But in relation to other witnesses (such as Hitler's adjutants, Christa Schroder and Voigt), where there is greater reason for caution about their testimony, Irving appears to adopt it uncritically. I accept that Irving had interviewed personally many of the witnesses in the latter category and so could form his own assessment. Even so, the contrast in approach is remarkable.
13.151 The double standards which Irving adopts to some of the documents and to some of the witnesses appears to me to be further evidence that Irving is seeking to manipulate the evidence rather than approaching it as a dispassionate, if sometimes mistaken, historian.
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accessed 11 March 2013