The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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'Holocaust denier' back in court

Staff and agencies
Guardian Unlimited

Wednesday June 20, 2001


Historian David Irving today launched his appeal against a libel 
case ruling that branded him a "Holocaust denier", insisting he had 
never disputed the murder of millions of Jews.

In what was almost a re-run of the historic trial, which came to 
its climax 14 months ago, Mr Irving faced American academic Deborah 
Lipstadt and publishers Penguin across a courtroom packed with the press 
and public.

Launching his application for permission to appeal against Mr 
Justice Gray's judgment - which is expected to include a bid to produce 
fresh evidence - Mr Irving's counsel, Adrian Davies, said that the 
author had never said that the killing of the Jews was "in any way 
excusable".

He told the Court of Appeal that the findings of justification in 
respect of the "defamatory" charges on which Professor Lipstadt and 
Penguin succeeded were against the weight of evidence.

He would argue that the judge erred seriously in weighing the 
evidence, so that his findings were wrong and unjust.

Mr Justice Gray said that Mr Irving had, for his own ideological 
reasons, deliberately misrepresented historical evidence and portrayed 
Hitler in an unwarranted favourable light.

He sued Professor Lipstadt and Penguin over a 1994 book, Denying 
the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory, which, he said, 
destroyed his livelihood and generated waves of hatred against him.

Faced with a A32m bill for the defendants' legal costs, he has 
funded the appeal with the help of contributions from supporters - many 
of whom are from the US.

Mr Davies said that the judgment against Mr Irving was that he had 
"falsified history".

"It's not that he's a nasty person who holds horrible views and 
knows lots of people who hold even more horrible views."

He said Mr Irving had to persuade the court that the trial judge 
should not have found that the defence of justification was made out in 
relation to the accusation that the author was "a liar".

The author had never denied that the Nazis and their collaborators 
had murdered millions of Jews and that up to 4m Jews died in 
concentration camps.

Mr Davies said: "I say that nowhere in the entire core of Mr 
Irving's work, in an authorial life of nearly 40 years, when he has 
given countless broadcasts and public performances, has he said anything 
which remotely began to suggest that he thought the Nazis did a jolly 
good thing - or even an excusable thing - in rounding up all the Jews in 
eastern Europe and putting them into camps - that it was in any way 
excusable."

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