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Holocaust Denial on Trial, Appeal Judgment: Electronic Edition, by Lord Justice Pill

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Conclusion on Meaning

4. We refer immediately to the judge's "Conclusion on meaning". At 2.15 the judge stated:
"Adopting the approach set out earlier, my conclusion is that the passages complained of in their context and read collectively bear the following meanings all of which are defamatory of him [the applicant]:
  • i. that Irving is an apologist for and partisan of Hitler, who has resorted to the distortion of evidence; the manipulation and skewing of documents; the misrepresentation of data and the application of double-standards to the evidence, in order to serve his own purpose of exonerating Hitler and portraying him as sympathetic towards the Jews;
  • ii. that Irving is one of the most dangerous spokespersons for Holocaust denial, who has on numerous occasions denied that the Nazis embarked upon the deliberate planned extermination of Jews and has alleged that it is a Jewish deception that gas chambers were used by the Nazis at Auschwitz as a means of carrying out such extermination;
  • iii. that Irving, in denying that the Holocaust happened, has misstated evidence; misquoted sources; falsified statistics; misconstrued information and bent historical evidence so that it conforms to his neo-fascist political agenda and ideological beliefs;
  • iv. that Irving has allied himself with representatives of a variety of extremist and anti-semitic groups and individuals and on one occasion agreed to participate in a conference at which representatives of terrorist organisations were due to speak;
  • v. that Irving, in breach of an agreement which he had made and without permission, removed and transported abroad certain microfiches of Goebbels' diaries, thereby exposing them to a real risk of damage;
  • vi.that Irving is discredited as an historian.
Subject to one point disputed by the applicant, those conclusions as to meaning are accepted by the parties. The point at issue is whether a statement at p 213 of Denying the Holocaust bears the meaning that the applicant approves of the internment and the killing of the Jews in concentration camps. It is stated that another author, "echoing David Irving, argues that the Nazi 'internment' of Jews was justified because of Chaim Weizmann's September 1939 declaration that the Jews of the world would fight Nazism". The judge did not accept (2.16) that the reference to the applicant "when read in the context of the other references to him, bears the meaning that he applauds the internment of Jews in Nazi concentration camps". The judge was entitled so to find. Moreover, the innuendo now alleged that "internment" meant killing was not pleaded and could not be relied on.
5. It should be said at once that the judge found that the respondents had failed to justify the second allegation in sub-paragraph (iv) and the allegations in (v). The judge relied on section 5 of the Defamation Act 1952 ("The 1952 Act") to give judgment in favour of the respondents, notwithstanding those findings against them.