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Defense Documents

Witness Statement of Deborah E. Lipstadt: Electronic Edition, by Deborah E. Lipstadt

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Irving as a Holocaust Denier

117.At the present moment David Irving's notoriety as a Holocaust denier is quite substantial. This, however, was not the situation when I began my research on this book. He first began to publicly express his contention that the gas chambers were a hoax at the second trial of Ernst Zundel trial in 1988 (see Appendix, Tab 6). Zundel, a naturalized Canadian citizen, was brought to trial for violating a law prohibiting denial of the Holocaust. Zundel was found guilty. Subsequent to his trial the law under which he was accused was thrown out by the Canadian courts. After the trial Irving began to claim that other aspects of the Holocaust were also untrue. For much of the time that I was working on this book he did not publicly present himself as a Holocaust denier. He would appear at gatherings of the Institute for Historical Review but he did not publicly subscribe to their ideology. The Institute and its supporters were, nonetheless, delighted to have him participate. Moreover, they may have assumed -- correctly it turns out -- that if he moved in their orbit long enough he soon would begin to sing from their hymnal. Even when Irving had not yet declared himself a denier they still seemed to approve of his absurd "exoneration" of Hitler from responsibility for as well as knowledge of the Holocaust.
118.For these reasons he occupied a relatively minor role in this book.
119.At the second Zundel trial, when David Irving appeared as a witness on Zundel's behalf, he endorsed Fred Leuchter's supposed scientific findings that the gas chambers at Auschwitz were not genuine. Leuchter is a self-described "engineer", although he has no formal qualification, and gas chamber expert, who claims to have conducted scientific tests at Auschwitz. Birkenau and Majdanek proving that the gas chambers there could not have functioned as homicidal killing units. (Leuchter acted as an expert witness at the trial of Ernst Zundel). Leuchter summarised his findings in The Leuchter Report: An Engineering Report on the Alleged Execution Gas Chambers at Auschwitz, Birkenau, and Majdanek, Poland, which was published by, amongst others, David Irving's publishing house, Focal Point Publications. The edition published by Focal Point Publications, to which David Irving wrote the foreword, was entitled Auschwitz: The End of the Line: The Leuchter Report - The First Forensic Examination of Auschwitz.
120.With that David Irving publicly moved into the ranks of the deniers. In recent years Irving has come to occupy an increasingly pivotal role as a denier. His frequent involvement in lawsuits and his brushes with the law added to his notoriety.
121.That fact that his visits are often sponsored by or closely associated with groups that are considered to be neo-Nazi extremists tends to arouse both governmental and media interest.
122.On his Internet site and web page he consistently challenges the truth about the Holocaust. The web site contains a running and quite detailed account of his activities, particularly his challenges to those authorities in various countries who have, for various reasons, banned his entry (see Appendix, Tab 7). He also uses his web page to provide a running account of this and other legal actions he has taken. He presents the material in a quite sensational fashion. He has posted a less than flattering picture of me and has demeaned me. He has posted material from my discovery on the web site and only removed it after being challenged to do so by my lawyers. When that occurred he complained that we were hindering his freedom of speech. Given that I am the defendant in this case, I must admit that I find his claim about my suppression of his free speech to be beyond the pale.
123.I consider David Irving a Holocaust denier because, (the examples referred to in the following paragraphs are selected from many more that will form part of the experts' evidence):
  • (a)He has openly stated his belief that gas chambers were not used to murder Jews (see Appendix, Tabs 8, 9 and 10)
  • (b)He estimates that no more than 600,000 Jews were killed (see Appendix, Tabs 7, 11 and 12).
  • (c)He argues that Hitler not only failed to order or approve of this action but knew nothing about it; those Jews who were killed were killed in rogue actions by Germans acting without proper authorization (Hitler's War, Focal Point, 1991) (see Appendix, Tab 13).
  • (d)He rejects the notion that those Jews who died did so as a result of an organized annihilation of European Jewry by the Germans and their allies (see Appendix, Tabs 7, 12 and 13).
  • (e)He markedly distorts, perverts and/or manipulates the meaning of documents as the reports of expert witnesses will repeatedly indicate.
  • (f)He believes that Auschwitz was not a death camp but a slave labor camp with the highest mortality rate (see Appendix, Tab 7).
  • (g)He claims that those who died at places such as Auschwitz and Treblinka did so as a result of starvation and disease (see Appendix, Tab 7).
124.The following activities and/or statements by Irving do not in themselves place him in the ranks of the deniers but are consistent with him being a denier and are disturbing nonetheless:
  • (a) His repeated references to Jews in his Action Report newsletters and on his web site as the "traditional enemies of the truth" raises questions about his objectivity about the history of the period (see Appendix, Tab 14).
  • (b)His comment in a speech given in 1990 that "our major task: Sink the Auschwitz." (see Appendix, Tab 12).
  • (c)
    His claim, included in a letter to the editor of The Australian [July 26, 1994], and posted on his web site, that I defame him "from a safe distance but refuse to debate in the traditional manner."
He then tells the following story:
"I lectured in her home town of Atlanta, Georgia, at the old court house, on November 4 last year; challenged to share a debating platform with me, she refused, and fled to Boston, Massachusetts."(see Appendix, Tab 15).
In fact, I never received any invitation from him to appear and left the city to appear at a previously scheduled appointment. His appearance "at the old courthouse" was in fact an appearance at a raucous rally on the steps of a building once used as a courthouse in Decatur, Georgia.
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