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Subject: Irving v. Penguin & Lipstadt: Judgment VIII-02
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Keywords: David Irving libel action Deborah Lipstadt

Archive/File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/judgment-08.02
Last-Modified: 2000/04/11
Evidence of the truth/falsity of Irving's claims

8.18 I have set out in detail in sections VI and VII above the parties'
arguments in relation to the evidence of the existence of gas chambers
at the Reinhard death camps and at Auschwitz respectively. It is
unnecessary for me to repeat those arguments here.

The existence of a systematic programme or policy for killing Jews

Claims made by Irving

8.19 The extracts relied on by the Defendants include the following:

(i) ABC Radio 3LO - March 1986

'millions or hundreds of thousands liquidated in WW2 by Germans (or
Latvians or
Ukrainians) were victims of large number of nameless criminals into
whose hands they fell on the Eastern front..acted on their own impulse,
their own initiative within the general atmosphere of brutality' (p10-
11).

(i) Toronto - 13 August 1988

'individual excesses and atrocities and pogroms in places like Minsk and
Kiev and Riga' [were] 'crimes conducted for the most ordinary and
repugnant motives of greed and thievery. Whatever happened, were the
crimes of individual gangsters and criminals who deserved to be
individually and separately punished (p 23).

(i) 11th IHR Conference - 11 October 1992

'Now you probably know that I'm a Revisionist to a degree, but I'm not a
Revisionist to the extent that I say that there were no murders of Jews.
I think we have to accept that there were My Lai-type massacres where SS
officers - the Einsatzkommandos - did machine-gun hundreds if not
thousands of Jews into pits. On the Eastern Front, at Riga, at Minsk,
and at other locations, this kind of thing did happen' (p21-22).

'Most of these SS officers - the gangsters that carried out the mass
shootings - were, I think, acting from the meanest of motives. .[refers
to Bruns..] And two days later the order comes back from Hitler, "These
mass shootings have got to stop at once." So Hitler intervened to stop
it. Which again fits in which my theory that Hitler was in the dark that
this kind of mass crime was going on. I suspect that the SS officer
concerned [Altemeyer] was only 23 or 24. That was the age of the gangs
that were carrying out these kinds of crimes. Rather like [US Army] Lt.
Calley in My Lai. I don't know why people do that kind of thing' (p24).

(i) 12th IHR Conference - September 1994

'Here I want to mention something that I'm always very adamant about.
Although we revisionists say that gas chambers didn't exist, and that
the 'factories of death' didn't exist, there is no doubt in my mind that
on the Eastern front large numbers of Jews were massacred by criminals
with guns - SS men, Ukrainians, Lithuanians, whatever - to get rid of
them. They were made to line up next to pits or ditches, and then shot.
The eyewitness accounts I've seen of this are genuine and reliable' (p15-
16).

(i) Oakland, California - 10 September 1996

'The people who were pulling the triggers were on one level and the
people who were taking the top level decisions were on the highest level
and there wasn't necessarily perfect communication between them and
anyway who cares because it's only the Jews and nobody liked them. This
is the kind of atmosphere in which the decisions would have been taken'
(p 26).

Evidence of the truth/falsity of Irving's claims

The arguments of Irving and the Defendants in relation to this issue are
also to be found in sections VI and VII of this judgment, so I do not
repeat them here.

The numbers of Jews killed

Claims made by Irving

8.20 The extracts relied on by the Defendants include the following:

(i) This Week interview - 9 November 1991

     '25,000 innocent people executed by one means or another [in
     Auschwitz] but we killed that many people burning them alive in one
     night, not in three years, in a city like Pforzheim. We killed five
     times that number in Dresden in one night.'

(i) Moers - 9th March 1990

'One has to struggle with these problems as a historian in Germany. And
that's the problem with Auschwitz. That is the problem which the county
court judge in Remscheid hinted at correctly. It seemed quite
unbelievable to him that an Englishman should discover the truth, where
all the German historians allegedly did not discover this truth. But the
explanation is perfectly simple: the Germans simply can't afford to do
that,.Not murdered, not gassed - far more than half of the inmates of
the concentration camp Auschwitz died of natural causes that means, of
diseases, of epidemics, of typhus fever, of typhoid, of hunger, of cold
or of being overworked or of various other natural causes , that's what,
far more than half of the Auschwitz inmates died of, that means perhaps
30,000 people at most were murdered at Auschwitz. That's bad enough, of
course! That none of us want to approve of that in any way. 30,000
people in Auschwitz from beginning to end, that's about as many as we
English killed in one night in Hamburg, burnt alive' (p 12).

(i) 10th IHR Conference - 13th February 1990

     'Let's be generous and say 40,000 may have been killed in Auschwitz
     over the three years - that's a bad figure! That's a grave crime,
     it's almost as many people as we British killed in Hamburg in one
     night' (p 500).

(i) Victoria, British Columbia - 27th October 1990

'Let me draw up a comparison, seventy six thousand people killed in
Auschwitz is a crime, there's no doubt at all, except they weren't
killed in Auschwitz, they died in Auschwitz. The Totenbucher lists the
reasons of the deaths in Auschwitz. Arno Meyer, the Professor in
Princeton, a Jewish Professor in fact, who published a book called 'Why
Did the Heavens not Darken?', he revealed in his book that of all the
people who died in the concentration camps, including Auschwitz, by far
the greatest part died of natural causes, whatever one could call
'natural causes' in wartime, I admit, natural causes in wartime are not
what you or I would call natural causes today in Victoria. But they
weren't executed, they weren't murdered, they weren't gassed. By far the
greatest part of those who died in Auschwitz died of natural causes and
I'm quoting Arno Meyer' (p 9).

'Forty thousand people killed in Auschwitz in three years, bad enough.
Undoubtedly a war crime, a war crime of the same order of magnitude as
Hamburg, July, 1943 where we British killed forty thousand people in one
night' (p 13).

(i) Latvian Hall, Toronto November 1990

'Ladies and gentlemen, fifty thousand people were killed in Auschwitz,
were killed in Auschwitz from 1942 to 1944. That is a crime, as I said.
Fifty thousand innocent people. It's about as many people who died in
Auschwitz in those three years as we British killed in Hamburg in one
night' [Applause] (p 21).

(i) Latvian Hall, Toronto, November 1992

'To those of you who are new to my talks. Let me summarise the possible
reasons why they are using these extraordinary techniques, these extra-
governmental techniques to try and silence me. It is because I am
probably the most credible voice in the entire revisionist campaign, or
what I call the International Campaign for Real History.And my campaign
is being met world-wide by these methods. "Okay," I say, "a hundred
thousand people did die in Auschwitz.".Around one hundred thousand dead
in that brutal slave labour camp.How many were killed in Auschwitz?.how
many had died.'

'Twenty-five thousand killed, if we take this grossly inflated figure to
be on the safe side: That is a crime; there is no doubt. Killing twenty-
five thousand in four years - 1941, 1942, 1943, and 1944 - that is a
crime: there is no doubt.'

'Let me show you a picture of twenty-five thousand people being killed
in twenty-five minutes. Here it is, in my book HITLER'S WAR, a vivid
picture of twenty-five thousand people being killed in twenty-five
minutes by us British [in February 1945] in Pforzheim, a little town
where they make jewelry and watches in Baden, Germany. Twenty-five
thousand people were being burned alive (p 11).

(i) Search for Truth in History (1993)

'25,000 people murdered in Auschwitz in three years. If we take that
generous figure and I would say that 25,000 people murdered in Auschwitz
in three years is still half the number of people that we murdered in
Hamburg burning them alive in one night in 1943' (p 25).

(i) Tampa, Florida: October 1995

'But if we were being liberal and generous and said that of the 100,000
deaths for which we have certificates and evidence, acceptable evidence
In Auschwitz, say that three quarters died a natural death, by natural I
mean typhus, epidemics, starvation, exhaustion, worked to death, froze
to death, can't really call it a natural death but it's not murder. If
we say that three quarters died that kind of death then as many as one
quarter were executed, you come to a figure of 25,000 people who were
murdered in Auschwitz by the Nazis in the entire four years of that
camps existence and I am going to show you a picture of not 25,000
people being murdered but of 40,000 people being murdered, not in four
years but in the space of 20 minutes in Pforzheim. Not Dresden or
Hiroshima or Tokyo but Pforzheim, a little town none of you have heard
of. A little town in Germany in Badenburg where they make jewelry and
watches. Here's a town photographed from the air by a friend of mine, a
British Air Commodore with his Kodachrome film camera during the 20
minutes in which 40,000 are being burned alive. One person in four in
that town was killed, burnt alive during that air raid, 10 days after
the air raid on Dresden, and nobody has ever heard of it. 40,000 being
burnt alive in 20 minutes compared with 25,000 people being murdered at
the very outside in Auschwitz in the space of four years. It's a thought
provoking comparison and the reason why I think it's proper to make this
kind of comparison' (pp 13-14).

(ix) 'Cover Story' - 4 March 1997

Irving: Again, that's not what I say. I say there's no proof that six
million did die, it's not quite the same thing. You may find it nit-
picking.

Interviewer: So you're saying only 100,000 people died in Auschwitz.

Irving: I didn't say 'only'. You can't say 'only' 100,000 people died.
If 100,000 innocent people died this is a crime, it's a war crime (p 6).

The Defendants' evidence of the falsity of Irving's claims

8.21 A formidable obstacle in the way of arriving at an accurate number
for those killed by gas is that no records were kept by the Nazis of the
numbers put to death in the gas chambers or, if they were, none have
survived. Records were kept, as I have mentioned earlier, of the number
of deaths amongst those who were registered as inmates of the camp. But,
for reasons which are perhaps obvious, none of those deaths is recorded
as having been due to gassing.

8.22 The difficulty of arriving at an accurate estimate is compounded by
the undoubted fact that many inmates died from disease and above all in
the typhus epidemics which from time to time ravaged the camp. Whilst
the Defendants do assert that these deaths are the result of deliberate
genocidal policy on the part of the Nazis, they must of course be
discounted in order to reach a correct estimate of the number of deaths
in the gas chambers. Initial estimates, largely based on the capacity of
the crematoria, ran as high as 4 million. As has been see the camp
commandant, Hoss, gave varying estimates, ranging from 3 million to 1.1
million. However, analysis of the numbers of Jews transported to
Auschwitz produced a lower estimate of around 1 million. Research
carried out more recently, notably by Raul Hilberg and by Dr Piper of
the Auschwitz Museum, has concluded that the true figure for the number
of deaths at Auschwitz is in the region of 1.1 million of which the vast
majority perished in the gas chambers. This figure has, according to the
evidence of van Pelt and Longerich, been endorsed by the majority of
serious, professional historians concerned in this field. The only
significant exception is Jean-Claude Pressac, a French chemist and
amateur historian, whose study concluded that the overall number of
deaths was 630-710,000, of which 470-550,000 were gassed on arrival at
the camp.

8.23 Longerich estimated that between February 1942 and January 1945
between 900,000 and 1 million Jews died at Auschwitz. But he made clear
that those figures included those who died otherwise than by being
gassed, for example in epidemics. Deaths outside the gas chambers
accounted for about 100,000 deaths, leaving 800,000 to 900,000 murders
by gassing. Longerich made clear that he regarded all the deaths as
genocidal since the conditions in the camp were deliberately prepared by
the Nazis.

8.24 It is the contention both van Pelt and Evans on behalf of the
Defendants that Irving has consistently under-estimated the number of
Jews killed in the Holocaust and more particularly at Auschwitz. The
Defendants assert that the available evidence demonstrates that the
number of Jews killed in the Holocaust, both at Auschwitz and more
generally, far exceeds Irving's estimates (which themselves vary
considerably). They contend that he has paid no proper regard to that
evidence and that he has carried no or no adequate research into the
numbers killed.

Evidence relied on by Irving in support of his claims

8.25 Irving noted that shortly after the end of the war the Poles, who
were in possession of all the records, claimed that altogether nearly
300,000 people of different nationalities died at Auschwitz. That figure
gradually increased to four million, which was the number mentioned
(unitl 1990) on the monument erected by the Communists in memory of the
dead. The figure then came down again. As for the total number of those
who died in the Holocaust, Irving claimed that the figure was said by
Justice Jackson at Nuremberg to be a back of an envelope calculation.
Other estimates were significantly lower. There are real doubts about
the figures, concluded Irving. He said he did not want to "play the
numbers game".

8.26 He nevertheless put to the Defendants' witnesses in cross-
examination that figures for the total number of those killed at
Auschwitz are to be found in the camp "death books" and the cipher
messages from Auschwitz to Berlin which were decrypted at Bletchley. I
have already recorded the contention of the Defendants that these
figures take account only of those who were registered at the camp and
not those who were murdered in the gas chambers on arrival there. Irving
also argued that the incineration capacity of the ovens meant that the
number of those killed must have been far lower than Longerich claimed.

8.27 Irving relied on the contents of the Haganah report about the
number of Jews who were transported at the end of the war from the
displaced persons camps to Israel. This report explains, so Irving
maintained, why many Jews could not be traced and so were erroneously
thought to have lost their lives in the concentration camps when in
truth they started new lives in Israel.

8.28 Irving also sought to justify his claim as to the number of Jews
who were killed in the concentration camps by reference to what he said
were the 450,000 Jews who had lodged claims for compensation arising out
of the Holocaust. If that many survived, said Irving, the number of the
dead must be far smaller than claimed. The Defendants did not accept
Irving's figure for the number of claimants. In any event they pointed
out that the claimants include the children and grandchildren of
Holocaust victims for the return of property of which they were
dispossessed many years ago and so cast no light on the number of those
who lost their lives.

The assertion that the gas chambers were a propaganda lie invented by
the British

Claims made by Irving

8.29 The extracts relied on by the Defendants are as follows:

(i) Toronto, - 13th August 1988

'And this is, again, not just a wild hypothesis that I toss at you after
just doing one month's work in the archives, this is in fact the result
of work done by Paul Norris one of Zndel's men.In the British archives
Paul Norris found documents which he showed me in photostat, showing
quite clearly that British intelligence deliberately masterminded the
gas chamber lie. I am not saying it was the same gas chamber lie that
they masterminded, but it was a gas chamber lie. 1942, 1943, 1944 the
Joint Intelligence Committee deliberated with the Psychological Warfare
Executive which they ran in London, the propaganda agency in London,..on
ways of blackening the German name, on ways of enraging allied soldiers
so that they would fight even harder. And one of the methods that they
hit on in the Psychological Warfare Executive, it's there in the
documents, to say let us say that the Germans are using gas chambers to
get rid of hundreds of thousands of Jews and other minority groups in
Germany. And the minutes go to and fro.In one memorandum, Victor
Cavendish-Bentinck, the Chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee,
writes a handwritten minute to this effect: 'we have had a good run for
our money with this gas chamber story we have been putting about, but
don't we run the risk that eventually we are going to be found out and
when we are found out the collapse of that lie is going to bring down
the whole of our psychological warfare effort with it. So isn't it
rather time now to let it drift off by itself and concentrate on other
lines that we're running'. 'We had a good run for our money' he writes
in 1944 and here we are 44 years later and that hare is still running,
bigger and stronger than ever because nobody now dares to stand up and
kill it. It has go out of control. The Auschwitz propaganda lie that was
starting to run in 1944 is now out of control and it going to take he-
men of the kind of stature of Ernst Zndel to kill that particular hare.
[Applause]' (p15-16).

(i) P's foreword to the FPP publication of the Leuchter Report: May 1989

'.Too many hundreds of millions of honest, intelligent people have been
duped by the well-financed and brilliantly successful postwar publicity
campaign which followed on from the original ingenious plan of the
British Psychological Warfare Executive (PWE) in 1942 to spread to the
world the propaganda story that the Germans were using 'gas chambers' to
kill millions of Jews and other 'undesirables'

(iii) Moers - 9th March 1990

'where did this myth come from? And for me as an Englishman, that is the
most interesting question: who invented the myth of the gas chambers?
Representatives of the victorious powers. We did it. The English. We
invented the lie about the gas chambers, just as we invented the lie
about the Belgian children with their hands hacked off in the first
World War. The department the committee of the British PWE cabinet,
Political Warfare Executive, psychological warfare.' (p 17).

(iv) Latvian Hall, Toronto - 8th November 1990

'How has this legend been propagated until now? Well, the legend was
originally propagated, I think, by us British back in 1942. And I set
out the reasons for believing this in my previous talk, 18 months ago.
But since 1945, the legend has marched . And this is a great sad facet
of war. In wartime, quite justifiably, the warring factions and powers
decide to use propaganda, they lie about each other. They lie,
massively.When the Victory Day comes, these Ministries of Lies are not
replaced by Ministries of Truth. So the old propaganda continues to
march on and nobody really has the job of stopping these lies from
flooding out. Particularly when some people find they have a vested
interest in keeping the lies spewing forth' (p12-13).

(v) Chelsea Town Hall - 15th November 1991

'And if you ask where these legends come from, the trouble is that it
comes in fact from us, the British, and we're very good liars. World War
II showed this and the Falklands showed it, the Gulf War showed it,
we're very good liars and in wartime we have ministers of propaganda
whose job it is to lie and in fact we can show quite clearly how this
particular lie started in our own Ministry of Propaganda, the Political
Warfare Executive and you can go and get the records from the Public
Records Office and you can see how we in September, October and November
1942 created the gas chamber lie as a weapon of war, perfectly
justified. But the problem with all this is that after the war is over,
the Government doesn't set up a Ministry of Truth whose job it is to go
around with a bucket and mop cleaning-up all the lies that the Ministry
of Information has been spreading and so the lies continue to soldier
on. And if they're lies that are very profitable lies, as this
particular lie is of course, and I'm not going to go into detail on that
there, because then were treading on very thin ice, but it has become a
very profitable lie, a lie in fact on which the financial existence of
the State of Israel depends, then the lie is not only soldiering on it
becomes reinforced and bolstered in a quite extraordinary way" (p 3).

The Defendants' evidence of the falsity of the claims made by Irving

8.30 The Defendants assert that Irving's claim that the existence of gas
chambers was a lie invented by British intelligence can be shown to be
false by reference to documents contained in the contemporaneous files
of the British Foreign Office.

8.31 In August 1942 the Secretary of the World Jewish Congress based in
Geneva received a report from an allegedly reliable source that in
Hitler's head-quarters a plan was under discussion for the deportation
and extermination by means including the use of prussic acid of all Jews
in areas occupied or controlled by the Nazis. This information was
relayed to London, where it was considered by Foreign Ofice officials.
They also had reports of Jews being transported to the East. But they
decided not to make use of the information.

8.32 The same Foreign Office file reveals that about a year later, in
August 1943, further reports were received in London of deportation and
extermination by means including systematic killing in gas chambers.
These reports were more specific, referring to events in Bialystok and
Lublin. Even so, the Foreign Office again decided, after discussion, not
make use of the information.

8.33 On the basis of these documents the Defendants assert that the
claim that Jews were being killed in gas chambers was invented by
British Intelligence is unsustainable. The claim originated abroad. In
any case, say the Defendants, the contemporaneous evidence shows that,
whilst the British had doubts about the wisdom of using the information,
they did not disbelieve it. There was no "lie". The Defendants argue
that it is equally untrue that the reports of the extermination of Jews
in gas chambers featured in propaganda put out by British Intelligence.
The decision within the Foreign Office was to make no use of the
reports. Moreover, say the Defendants, there is no reason to link
British Intelligence with such reports of the gassing of Jews as did
appear in the media at that time.

Irving's evidence of the truth of his claims

8.34 When asked in cross-examination whether it is his position that the
existence of gas chambers was propaganda devised by British
intelligence, Irving replied that British intelligence had repeatedly
procured the broadcasting into Nazi Germany of information about the gas
chambers at a time when they were not operating. He went to claim that
there is any amount of evidence that the gas chambers were invented by
British propaganda.

8.35 Invited to accept that the source for the information about the gas
chambers was a document sent to London by Riegner of the Geneva office
of the World Jewish Congress in August 1942, Irving responded that
British intelligence had been making claims about cyanide gas chambers
before that document arrived. He did, however, accept that the message
from Geneva was authentic. In any event, said Irving, it was clear from
associated Foreign Office memoranda that the credibility of the claim in
Regnier's message was doubted. Irving added that it has in any event
been established that the person who Regnier claimed was the source of
the information did not exist or at least was not a credible source. But
the principal basis upon which Irving sought to justify his claim that
the gas chambers were a mendacious invention by British propaganda was
that about one year later, a senior Foreign Office official named
Cavendish-Bentinck, commented on a report of Poles being put to death in
gas chambers that he did not believe that there is any evidence that
this was being done. Despite that, according to Irving British
Intelligence put out through the BBC from late 1941 stories about the
liquidation of Jews in the gas chambers. Irving was unable to produce
transcripts of the broadcasts. He referred to diary entries by Mann and
Ringelblum but agreed that he was unable to make the link between those
entries referring to BBC broadcasts and British Intelligence.

8.36 Irving persisted in his claim that the gas chambers were a lie
invented by British propaganda , "if the word 'invent' means anything at
all".


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