Ирвинг против Липштадт

Judgement

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

Table of Contents
<< The general case for the ...(xviii) Kurt Aumeier >>

Irving's general response

5.9As I have already observed, Irving regards the imputation that he has deliberately falsified the historical record as one of the most serious which can be levelled against an historian. He testified that he had never knowingly or wilfully misrepresented a document or misquoted or suppressed any document which would run counter to his case. He repudiated each and   every one of the Defendants' allegations of misquoting, misconstruing, mistranslating, distorting or manipulating the evidence.
5.10Irving denied any obsession with Hitler, as he denied any falsification of history so as to portray Hitler in a more favourable light. Irving argued that he has every right to praise Hitler where praise is merited. Other historians, such as AJP Taylor, have taken a similar line. Irving also resents the claim made by Lipstadt that he has placed above his desk a self-portrait of Hitler. In fact it is nothing more than a postcard-sized sketch which is not on display, although he occasionally shows it to visitors.
5.11Irving drew attention to the fact that in Hitler's War, as well as in his other published works, he frequently includes material to the discredit of Hitler and other senior Nazis and makes criticism of them. He pointed out that he has expressly drawn his readers' attention to crimes committed by Hitler. In his closing submission he included a list of derogatory references which has made about Hitler. He refuted the notion that these critical references were inserted for tactical purposes, that is, to enable him to point to them in the event of commentators accusing him of being a Hitler partisan. He has made no attempt to conceal from his readers the rabid anti-semitism displayed by Hitler in the early days. In his use of material obtained in his interviews with Hitler's former adjutants or their widows, he has included information provided by them which reflects adversely on Hitler.
5.12As Evans acknowledged, Irving has uncovered much new material about the Third Reich. He has researched documents not previously visited by historians, for example the Himmler papers in Washington and the Goebbels diaries in Moscow. He has tracked down and interviewed individuals (such as Hitler's adjutants or their widows) who participated in or observed some of the events which took place during Hitler's regime. Irving pointed out that, when he uncovers new documents or sources, he habitually makes them publicly available by placing them on his website or by some other means. Irving argues that no duplicitous historian would behave in this way, for he would be providing the evidence of his own duplicity to other historians. Irving advances a similar general argument in rebuttal of the claim that he has deliberately misrepresented or skewed or mistranslated documents. Irving said that he invariably indicates in a footnote where the document is to be found and often quotes the document in the original German. Irving contended that a historian intent on   misleading his readers would not so forthcoming with the evidence of his own disreputable conduct.
5.13Irving rejected the attack upon his historiography mounted by Evans: the criticisms are sweeping but the instances cited in support of them are, he claimed, relatively insignificant. Evans takes no account, Irving complained, of the quality of the historical work displayed in his many published works many of which have been favourably reviewed by fellow historians. Irving was critical of frequency with which Evans resorted to "the consensus amongst historians" by way of support for his attack on Irving. He suggested that many of the criticisms advanced by Evans were derived by him from the work of Professor Broszat, who had personal reasons for writing corrosively about him. Irving stressed that he should be judged by the use which he made of the evidence which was available to him at the time of writing and not by reference to evidence which has come to light more recently.
5.14Irving was, understandably, indignant that Evans included in his report a reference to his having been required by the British Museum to read Hitler's War in the section of the library reserved for pornographic material. By way of rejoinder he stated that the librarian of the Widener Library in New York apparently thinks well enough of him to stock forty-seven of his books.
5.15Irving's general response to this part of the Defendants' case of justification is that, when the pertinent documentary evidence is subjected to "rigid historical criteria" (i.e. when due account is taken of the authenticity and the reliability of the evidence, the reason for its existence and the vantage point of the source or author), a relatively slim dossier of evidence emerges which does indeed show Hitler intervening in every instance to mitigate or lessen the wrongdoing against the Jews. Few, if any, documents point in the opposite direction.
<< The general case for the ...(xviii) Kurt Aumeier >>