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

Table of Contents

Claims made by Irving

8.17 The extracts relied on by the Defendants are as follows:
  • (i) Christchurch, New Zealand - 26 March 1986
    Irving's stated position as at 1986 before he read the Leuchter report.
    'Q: What is the proof about the gas chamber and how many Jews had been killed?
    Irving: I don't want to get into that argument..it's really an unnecessary question. [P refers to Dachau and the dismantled gas chamber..] ..which were just an invention of the American army. That is the only gas chamber that was ever upon German soil. The gas chambers which we all know about supposed to have existed on Polish soil, I haven't investigated them, I don't intend to investigate them, I am too valuable for that' (p40).
  • (ii) Irving in evidence at the Zündel trial Toronto, 25 April 1988
    'Irving: I have carried out no investigation in-depth in equivalent depth of the Holocaust.
    Q: But your mind changed?
    Irving: My mind has now changed.
    Q: You no longer believe it?  
    Irving: I have now begun to challenge that. I understand it is now a subject open to debate.
    Q: But your belief changed even though you didn't do any research, is that what you are saying?
    Irving: My belief has now changed because I understand that the whole of the Holocaust mythology is, after all, open to doubt and certainly in the course of what I have read in the last few days, in fact, in this trial, I am now becoming more and more hardened in this view.
    Q: As a result of what you've read in the last few days? [That is, Leuchter]
    Irving: Indeed.'
  • (iii) Irving's speech in Toronto, - 13 August 1988
    [on the Vrba/Wetzlar report] '...The report that was issued, is a report that may be familiar to some of you, allegedly written by two Slovak Jews who'd been in Auschwitz, for two years, they'd escaped - how is not related, they'd fled across the lines and been picked up by the Slovak resistance movement and the Slovak resistance movement had then obtained from them this very detailed report running to 25 or 30 pages of life at Auschwitz' (p 13).
    '... So it is very interesting to try and find out where the report came from. It's a report by two Slovak Jews and yet in the records of the War Refugee Board there are only two versions of it. One in English, translated from a version in German. There's no Slovak report there at all, in the Czechoslovakian language..... (page 14) ... And the interesting thing that occurred to me was that when this report came out published by the War Refugee Board in 1944, in November, five months after it came out of Europe, two newspapers immediately challenged its authenticity and refused to publish it. The New York Times and the Washington Post. Not just any two newspapers, but the two most prestigious newspapers in the United States. Initially refused to publish this report or to comment on it because it looked too phoney to them...(page 15)...A diabolical piece of propaganda issued by the Nazi Propaganda Ministry itself.... And the other hypothesis that I advance is even more insidious ... that we British did it. We concocted that report ourselves. Through one of our exiled Governments in London, the Benes regime or the Slovaks. And this   is, again, not just a wild hypothesis that I toss at you after jut doing one month's work in the archives, this is in fact the result of work done by Paul Norris one of Zündel's men' (p 15).
    [on Marie Claude Vaillant Courturier] '... And here Judge Biddle writes in brackets in his diary "all this I doubt". Why didn't he say it at the time for heaven sake? But he just sat there with his face motionless, because he's an American Judge, but in his private diary he writes "All this I doubt". And so it goes on. The women being gassed, the children being torn apart, their legs being torn of by SS officers and a touching account of one baby, one child saying "Mummy how can I walk now this man has torn my leg off"? [Laughter/comments] I mean how can you accept this kind of thing' (p 18).
  • (iv) Letters
    Letter from Irving to Zitelmann 21 May 1989: 'It is clear to me that no serious historian can now believe that Auschwitz, Treblinka, Majdanek were Todesfabriken. All the expert and scientific (forensic) evidence is to the contrary'.
    Letter from Irving to Hugh Dykes MP 30 June 1989: '...if you persist in believing in gas chambers, you are on a loser'.
  • (v) Leuchter Press Conference - 23 June 1989
    'There was no equipment there for killing people en masse' (and hydrogen cyanide is wonderful for killing lice, but not so good for killing people, unless in colossal concentrations; the 'gas chambers' were 'routine designed crematoria') (p 15).
    'I'm quite happy to nail my colours to the mast .. and say that to the best of my knowledge, there is not one shower block in any of the concentration or slave labour camps that turns out to have been some kind of gas chamber ... My testimony is that the forensic evidence suggests that they [Jews] can't have been killed in gas chambers at Auschwitz...' (p 34).
    'The eye witness testimonies of the survivors of Auschwitz first of all have been dismissed by eminent Jewish historians now as being largely worthless.' (p 8)
    (Irving was asked whether he accepted that there were death camps at Treblinka, Belzec, Sobibor and Chelmno.) 'Sadly, we're not in a position to carry out forensic tests on those sites' (p 13).
    Irving: 'Read the expertise which is in the Leuchter Report in your hands. The expertise on how difficult it is to kill someone by cyanide. More difficult than you and the Holocaust historians think' (p 14).
    'I'm prepared to accept that local Nazis tried bizarre methods of liquidating Jews, I'm quite prepared to accept that, and that they may have experimented using gas trucks because I've seen one or two documents in the archives implying that there was a rollover from the use of those methods of killing...the same people who created the euthanasia programme, and they may have tried to [unin] of killing Jews, but it's a very inefficient way of killing people. The Germans themselves had discovered this and there are much easier ways of killing people' (pp 32-33).
    (In answer to a question about Sobibor and Treblinka.)
    'I think prima facie if they turned out to have been faked at Auschwitz then it's equally likely that they'd turn out to be fake at the other placed behind the Iron Curtain too' (p 35).
    (Questioner points out there were no factories round Sobibor and Treblinka, they were entirely death camps.)
    Irving: 'No, have you never heard of internment camps?'
    Q: 'Yes, but 300,000 people don't get interned and die of natural causes in Treblinka as happened in summer 1943, I mean, it's not really plausible.'
    Irving: 'Well, I'd like to see your evidence for it....'
  • (vi) Dresden ... 13 February 1990 (no tape or transcript, but see Irving' s speech at 10th IHR Conference as reported in JHR)
    '..the holocaust of Germans in Dresden really happened. That of the Jews in the gas chambers of Auschwitz is an invention. I am ashamed to be an Englishman.'
    (vii) Moers - 5th March 1990
    'it is being shouted to the heavens that these things in Auschwitz and probably in Majdanek, Treblinka too, and the other extermination camps, so-called, in the East, are all only mock-ups' (p9).
    '....there is one statement, one protocol about a man who maintained that there was a one-man gas chamber. Incidentally, she sees that, this man was, he had a very good imagination, he said, there is a one-man gas chamber. So that is, just big enough to gas one single victim. And it was transported around the countryside by two peasants, like a sedan chair. And of course, there are problems with it: how, if you please, do you get the victim to go into this one-man gas chamber? Quite clearly: if I'm a victim wandering, around the Polish countryside, and then suddenly I turn around and there's a one- man gas chamber behind me, I'm going to get suspicious. Well, it was disguised as a telephone box. That's what it says, in the witness statement. So it's a one-man gas chamber, disguised as a telephone box - well, I'm still suspicious. Here I am, I turn around, and suddenly there's a telephone box where there wasn't one before. How are you going to get me to climb into it? There is probably a telephone in it, which rings, and the man [incomprehensible] waves and says "It's for you". It's laughable, isn't it? It's well, you could describe it as a "free trip to the other side". But it's in the archives. We can all laugh about it, in this little intimate circle, but the other witness statements are equally ridiculous. So, the witness statements are a case for the psychiatrists' (p 16).
  • (viii) Latvian Hall, Toronto - 8 November 1990
    '..more people died on the back seat of Senator Edward Kennedy's motor car at Chappaquiddick than died in the gas chamber at Auschwitz [applause]' (16).
  • (ix) Calgary, Alberta - 29 September 1991
    '..until 1988, I believed that there had been something like a Holocaust. I believed that millions of people had been killed in factories of death. I believed in the gas chamber. I believed in all the paraphernalia of the modern Holocaust. But 1988, when I came to Canada and gave evidence in the trial of Ernst Zündel, as an historian, I met people who knew differently and could prove to me that that story was just a legend. I changed my mind and I've now revised the Hitler book so that all reference to Auschwitz and the gas chamber and the factories of death have now been totally removed and eradicated' (p4).
    'So they want to know who else have we invited, these journalists. And I said, "Well, I'll tell you another class of people we are inviting, we're inviting all the chemistry teachers at every public school in Britain." "Chemistry teachers?" they say. And I say, "Yes, there's no point inviting the history teachers or the politics teachers because they're blinkered and closed minded. They all know about the Holocaust because they've read about it and they seen War and Remembrance with Robert Mitchum on television. They know it happened." But the chemistry teachers are coming to hear Fred Leuchter speak and they'll see the laboratory tests because we'll hand them out to them and the chemistry teachers will go back to their Masters' Common Rooms and they will tell the history teachers, and they'll be believed. So you can imagine that this is causing, this has really set the cat among the pigeons in Britain. And all the old stories are coming about, out again, about the eye-witnesses and all the vilification is starting again. And how do you explain the hundreds of thousands of eye-witnesses in Auschwitz? And I say, "Well, the existence of hundred of thousands of eye-witnesses from Auschwitz is in itself proof that there was no dedicated programme to kill them all." And anyway, as for eye-witnesses I'm inclined to go along with the Russian proverb, recently quoted by Julian Barnes, the novelist in a novel that he published called 'Talking it Over'. And he quotes the Russian proverb which is, "He lies like an eye-witness, he lies like an eye-witness' (pp13-14).
    'And I'm in deep trouble for saying this around the world, that the eye-witnesses in Auschwitz who claim, like Eli Wiesel to have seen the gassings going on and the subsequent cremations, that they are liars... [page 14/15]...He's a liar. And so are the other eye-witnesses in Auschwitz who claim they saw gassings going on because there were no gas chambers in Auschwitz, as the forensic tests show. And I've got into a lot of trouble saying this. There's an arrest warrant out against me in Austria for using those very words. I said, in Austria, which is the criminal offence, when I was asked about the eye-witnesses, I said "Well, I've been waiting for somebody to ask me about the eye-witnesses, and to my mind the eye-witnesses to the gassings in Auschwitz are an interesting case for the psychiatrists." I'm not implying that they've got a mental problem, I'm implying that it's an interesting psychological phenomenon that people over a period of years begin kidding themselves that they have seen something. And the more they come to have taken part in a traumatic experience themselves, the more they are persuaded that they were right centre stage. They are the bride at every funeral and the corpse at every wedding, I think somebody once said' (pp14-15).
    'And there are so many survivors of Auschwitz now, in fact, that I get very tasteless about all of this. I don't see any reason to be tasteful about Auschwitz. It's baloney, it's a legend. Once we admit the fact that it was a brutal slave labour camp and large numbers of people did die, as large numbers of innocent people died elsewhere in the War, why believe the rest of the baloney? I say quite tastelessly, in fact, that more women died on the back seat of Edward Kennedy's car at Chappaquiddick than ever died in a gas chamber in Auschwitz.[Laughter] Oh, you think that's tasteless, how about this? There are so many Auschwitz survivors going around, in fact the number increases as the years go past, which is biologically very odd to say the least. Because I'm going to form an Association of Auschwitz survivors, survivors of the Holocaust and other liars, or the A-S-S-H-O-L-S. [Laughter] Gorbachev....'
  • (x) Bayerische Hof, Milton, Ontario - 5 October 1991
    '...you've got to be tasteless because these people deserve all our contempt' (p 17).
  • (xi) Clarendon Club, London - 15 November 1991
    'The biggest lie of the lot, the 'blood libel on the German people' as I call it, is the lie that the Germans had factories of death with gas chambers in which they liquidated millions of their opponents.' (p2)
  • (xii) Chelsea Town Hall ... 15 November 1991
    '...Leuchter Report...shows quite clearly that according to chemical analysis, which is an exact science...And if these samples yielded no significant trace of cyanide whatsoever, then there has to be a scientific reason for it. .. So Fred Leuchter is poison for the whole of the Holocaust legend' (p4).
    '...after Fred Leuchter did his truly epoch-making investigation of the gas chambers at Auschwitz, the forensic laboratory tests which yielded the extraordinary result which converted me, made me into a hard-core disbeliever, the forensic laboratory tests which showed no significant trace whatsoever of cyanide in rooms where apparently millions of people had been gassed with cyanide....' (p6).
  • (xiii) 11th IHR Conference ... 11 October 1992
    '.. any historian can now confirm that nowhere in all the archives of the world has yet been found one wartime document referring to a Führer's order to destroy the Jews, or for that matter, one wartime document referring to gas chambers or gassings... If there's no wartime document that says there was a Führer order, if no wartime document talks of gas chambers, then there has to be some explanation for that' (p21).
  • (xiv) The Search for Truth in History - Banned - 1993 (Irving's video for Australia)
    'Where did the Holocaust legend come from? You note I don't say Holocaust lie because to say that it's a lie implies first of all you don't believe any of it, and parts of it have to be believed. To say it's a lie also implies that it's a malicious lie, that people know it's a lie and they've been spreading it knowingly as a lie for the last 50 years. I call it a Holocaust legend because then it has something like the quality of a religion almost. You believe things because you've been told it by people who seem reliable....It's a long chain of gullible people who over the last 50 years have been told it and have believed it because they had no reason not to believe it, and this is why the Holocaust legend has survived until now because nobody has come forward really with any kind of credibility and has rattled at the foundations of that legend and said OK, prove it' (p 18).
    '...The Holocaust legend is fizzling out. I said two years ago, it probably only had two years left to survive. Probably I was wrong, it probably has about another six months even now, but then it is finally dead. World wide it is played out....'(p 27).
    'I think probably the most significant piece of evidence is what we British ourselves did in the war, we actually broke the code of the SS and we began reading in 1942 the coded top secret messages of the Commandant of Auschwitz reporting back to Berlin.... Nearly all the deaths in Auschwitz said Hinsley were from epidemics and disease and I quote Hinsley verbatim he said "there is no reference in the intercepts to any gassing". Remember these are the top secret signals written in the top secret code of the SS, so there can be no question of Höss writing something for the benefit of historians after the war' (p21).
    'you can work out for yourselves, ladies and gentlemen, how many thousand tons of coke one needs for that. But we have the aerial photographs, where one can't see a single mound of coke. And not only that, but no railway, no railway siding leads to the crematorium, to bring theses masses of coke, these huge masses of coke, thousands of tons per day. No lorry convoys are to be seen, where the coke, under circumstances, might have been delivered by lorry' (p 22).
    'Now, I said that the eye witnesses are in fact a matter for psychological examination I think. Psychiatric examination even. ...but I don't mean that in an offensive way. I wouldn't mind it if somebody said about me that some of my statements need to be psychiatrically analysed because the human being, the psyche, is a very complex instrument' (p 22-3).
    '[an Auschwitz survivor] has probably been questioned by her friends and neighbours and relatives for the last 50 years about Auschwitz and she can't very well describe her everyday life as centring around the peeling of potatoes or some other menial task. She knows that the people who are questioning her about Auschwitz want to hear about the crematoria and the gas chambers and after a time she describes the crematoria and the gas chambers, because human pride demands that she not have been in one of the other barracks, perhaps five miles away from the crematorium but right next door to it. It's a matter of human pride and we can't really begrudge these people for placing themselves and their recollections so close to the event, so close to the heart of the particular trauma. They're not dissimulating, they're not being consciously mendacious' (p 23).
    'The eye witness survivor testimony is very shaky. It's far too shaky on which to base the condemnation of an entire nation, namely the German nation, in my view, and I think probably any sober and independent Judge would probably back me up on that'(p 24).
    'The pictures have been analysed by independent aerial picture analysts. They found nothing. These are the scientific methods. We have truth on our side' (p 27).
    'The aerial photographs don't only show how we have right, truth on our side, but how the enemies have faked the pictures. Because you   know the American or Canadian or South African plane which took these pictures [in] 1944 or 1945. [They] took not only the one picture, but a whole set of pictures, every five seconds a picture. One sees how the buildings, the people, the lorries etcetera, have moved in the five seconds. But one also sees how the one picture published fifteen years ago by the CIA at the behest of world Jewry, with the supposed holes in the roof of the gas chamber where the cyanide was poured in, with the supposed lines of people who queue to be gassed. If one looks at the surrounding pictures then one suddenly notices that on these surrounding pictures the holes are not present. And that the lines of people are not present. One sees conclusively that the CIA has faked these photos, retouched them to the benefit of world Jewry, who somehow wanted prove that the gas chambers had existed' (p 28).
  • (xv) Tampa Florida - 6 October 1995
    'Eli Wiesel and the rest of them come up with these legends. The basic part of the legend is 65,000 of these people were being cremated every day...But by their greed they exposed themselves as liars. Because to cremate 65,000 bodies a day you are going to need 30 or 40 kilograms of coke for each cadaver. There is no way around that figure. It is a basic law of the rather macabre thermodynamics of the crematorium business that it takes 35 or 40 kilograms of coke or an equivalent amount of other fuels available to cremate a cadaver' (p 11).
    'I used to think that the world was full of a thousand survivors. I was wrong. It is full of hundreds of thousands of survivors of the Holocaust if not, in fact, millions by now. The numbers of survivors seems to grow these passing years, it defies all laws of natural deceased and all laws, now the number of survivors is growing. And I said isn't the existence of so many survivors in itself an indicator, something doesn't, it doesn't fit. If the Nazis had this dedicated programme to exterminate the Jews, how come so many of you have survived, were the Nazis sloppy or what? They let you out, they let you escape? It's a basic question' (p 17).
    'But tell me one thing", and this is why I'm going to get tasteless with her, because you've got to get tasteless, "Mrs Altman, how much money have you made out of that tattoo since 1945? [Laughter] How much   money have you coined for that bit of ink on your arm, which may indeed be real tattooed ink? And I'll say this, "half a million dollars, three quarters of a million for you alone." It must be in that order of magnitude because think of the billions of dollars that have been sent that way, billions' (p 17).
  • (xvi) Errol Morris film rushes - 8 November 1998
    '..that's what converted me, when I read that in the report, in the court room in Toronto, I became a hard core disbeliever. I thought, well, whatever the Nazis are doing to the Jews, they were not killing them on a conveyor belt system in gas chambers in Auschwitz, against which has to be said that I've read the manuscript memoirs of two commandants of Auschwitz.. [Höss...and Almeyer (sic)]...and they both refer to people being gassed in Auschwitz, and this is a methodological problem for a historian then. You have to look at that and say: well, there's no trace of cyanide in the building, but you've got these confessions by these Germans. How do you explain that? That is where you enter a grey area; you don't know what the explanation is...I don't know what the answer is...' (p9/51 - 10/19).