The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 2000/07/25


                  Professor Lipstad accuses me of error or
        falsification, but is apparently unable to spot a fake
        even at a relatively close range.  She admitted (in a
        recent interview with Forward) that she used memoirs of
        the spurious Auschwitz survivor Benjamin Wilkomirski in
        her teaching of the Holocaust to her defenceless students,
        according to Professor Peter Novick who has written a book
        on this.  Those "memoirs" have now been exposed,
        worldwide, as fraudulent.  Wilkomirski was never anywhere
        near Auschwitz.  In fact, he was in Switzerland.  When it
        turned out that Wilkomirski have never been near the camp

.          P-139

        or in Poland for that matter, but had spent the war years
        in comfort living with his adopted Swiss family, she
        acknowledged that this "might complicate matters
        somewhat", but she insisted that the Wilkomirski "memoirs"
        would still be "powerful" as a novel.  It may seem unjust
        to your Lordship that it is I who have had to answer this
        person's allegation that I distort and manipulate
        historical sources.

                  We have Professor Lipstadt's handwritten notes,
        however, in the rather meagre discovery, evidently
        prepared for a talk delivered to the Anti-Defamation
        League in Palm Beach, Florida, in early 1994, which again
        is meagre but substantive evidence of her connection with
        the Anti-Defamation League.  In these, if I read her
        handwriting correctly - and she appears to be relying on
        something Lord Bullock had just said - she states that my
        aim seems to be to de-demonize Hitler; and that I had said
        that Roosevelt, Hitler and Churchill were all equally
        criminal.  This is hardly "exonerating" any of them.
        Summarising Hitler's War (the 1977 edition) she calls me
        merely an "historian with a revisionist bent" which is
        rather like AJP Taylor - and she adds, and this seems
        significant - "Irving denies that Hitler was responsible
        for the murder of European Jewry.  Rather, he claims that
        Himmler was responsible.  But he does not deny its
        occurrence.  Had she stuck with that view, of course, of

.          P-140

        my writings, which is a very fair summary of my views,
        both then and now, she and we would not find ourselves
        here today.

                  But she was led astray, my Lord.  She fell in
        with bad company, or associates.  These things happen.  We
        know that, in conducting her research for the book, she
        spoke with the Board of Deputies, the Institute of Jewish
        Affairs, the Anti-defamation League and other such worthy
        bodies, since she thanks all of them in her introduction.

                  My Lord, I have given a list of the bodies she
        thanks in an affidavit which is contained in my bundle
        based on the introduction to her book.

                  Some time in 1992 her book was complete in its
        first draft, and Professor Lipstadt sent it to the people
        who were paying her, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
        We do not know what was in the book, since I cannot
        question the second Defendant and she has not disclosed
        the early draft, with Professor Yehuda Bauer's scribbles
        on it, as he said, in her sworn list of documents.  The
        early draft was clearly discoverable but it has not been
        provided to us.  We do know however what was not in it.
        We know that there was no mention of his Hizbollah and
        Hamas and Louis Farrakhan and the November 1992 terrorists
        in Stockholm, or of the lie about my speaking on the same
        platform with them.  In fact, we also know that in this
        first draft I was merely mentioned in passing.  This is a

.          P-141

        book about denying Holocaust and I am only mentioned in
        passing.  This is evident from the letter which Professor
        Yehuda Bauer wrote back to her, congratulating her on
        November 27th 1992.  Bauer complained that the book lacked
        the "worldwide perspective" and said, "Irving is
        mentioned, but not that he is the mainstay of Holocaust
        denial today in Western Europe" which is where all the
        misery then began of course.

                  Somehow therefore I had to be shoe horned into
        the text before publication.  Professor Bauer urged her
        too not to write things inadvertently that might convince
        the reader that there was something to what revisionists
        or deniers said, although that is hardly a true scholar's
        method, to suppress mention of opposing arguments.  In a
        letter to Anthony Lerman, of the Institute of Jewish
        Jewish Affairs, (the same Mr Lerman who would spread later
        the lying word that I had supplied the trigger mechanism
        for the Oklahoma City bomb) Lipstadt revealed that there
        was an earlier incarnation of the book.

                  Now, that earlier incarnation, to use her words,
        has also not been disclosed in her sworn list of
        documents.  She had been ordered to swear an affidavit on
        her list, my Lord, which is why there is a sworn list,
        because of discrepancies previously.  When I made a
        subsequent complaint about deficient discovery, her
        solicitors reminded me that I could not go behind her

.          P-142

        affidavit under the rules until she presented herself for
        cross-examination, which I think is, if I may say so, my
        Lord, deceptive.  Had they intended not calling this
        witness to the witness stand, they should not have written
        that to me.  This chance of cross-examining the witness
        has been denied to me.

                  Professors Lipstadt spent of that last month of
        1992 therefore putting me into the book, whereas I had
        only previously been mentioned, and thus putting herself
        into this court room today.  They were the weeks after the
        spectacular success of the global campaign to destroy my
        legitimacy, which culminated with getting me deported in
        manacles from Canada on November 13th, 1992.

                  "I am just finishing up the book" she wrote to
        Lerman on December 18th "and, as you can well imagine,
        David Irving figures into it quite prominently".  She
        pleaded with Lerman to provide, indeed to fax to her
        urgently, materials from "your files".  Your Lordship may
        think that this haste to wield the hatchet compares poorly
        with the kind of in-depth years long shirt sleeved
        research which I conducted on my biographical subjects.
        "I think that he (in other words Irving) is one of the
        most dangerous figures around", she added, pleading the
        urgency.  It was a spectacular epiphany, this court might
        think, given that only three weeks earlier the manuscript
        barely mentioned me, as Bauer himself had complained.

.          P-143

        From being barely mentioned to being one of the most
        dangerous figures around.

                  Lerman faxed his materials to her from London a
        few days later.  We do not know precisely what, and it is
        a complete extent, as here too the defendants' discovery
        is only fragmentary, and these items were provided to me,
        again only in response to a summons.

                  That is an outline of the damage, and the
        people, including specifically the Defendants in this
        action, who were behind it.  Mr Rampton suggested at a
        very early stage that I had brought all of this on my
        myself, that I even deserved it.  He was talking about the
        hate wreath that was sent to me upon the death of my
        oldest daughter.  We shall see.

                  My Lord, I now come to Auschwitz Concentration Camp.

                  Auschwitz has been a football of politicians and
        statesmen ever since World War II.  The site has become,
        like the Holocaust itself, an industry, a big business in
        the most tasteless way, the Auschwitz site.  The area,
        I am informed, is overgrown with fast food restaurants,
        souvenir and trinket shops, motels and the like.  As
        Mr Rampton rightly says, I have never been to Auschwitz
        and Mr Rampton knows the reason why.  The Auschwitz
        authorities said they would not allow me to visit the site
        and they would not allow me into their archives, and they

.          P-144

        have every reason to know why they do not want to allow a
        David Irving to get his hands on their papers.  Under
        Prime Minister Josef Cyrankiewicz (who had been prisoner
        number 62,993) it was known at its opening in 1948 as a
        monument to the martyrdom of the Polish and other
        peoples.

                  Auschwitz was overrun by the Red Army in January
        1945.  The last prisoner had received the tattooed
        number 202,499.  Informed by Colonel General Heinz
        Guderian, the chief of the German Army general staff, that
        the Russians had captured Auschwitz, Hitler is recorded by
        the stenographers as saying merely "yes".  The court might
        find it significant that he did not prick up his ears and
        say something like, "Herr Himmler, I hope you made sure
        the Russians will not find the slightest trace of what we
        have been up to".  (Or even, "I hope you managed to get
        those holes in the roof slab of crematoria No. II cemented
        over before you blew it up".)  I will shortly explain the
        significance of that.  When the name of SS General Hans
        Kammler, the architect of the concentration camps, was
        mentioned to him a few days later by Goebbels, it was
        evident that even Kammler's name meant little to Hitler
        because Goebbels commented on the fact.

                  How many had died at Auschwitz?  We still do not
        know with certainty, because the tragic figure has become
        an object of politics, too.  Professor Arno Mayer, the

.          P-145

        Professor of European history at the University of
        Princeton, a scholar of considerably greater renommee than
        Professor Evans, and himself a Jew, expressed the view in
        one book that most of the victims of the camp died of
        exhaustion and epidemics.  He said:  "From 1942 to 1945
        more Jews died, at least in Auschwitz and probably
        everywhere else, of 'natural' causes of death than of
        'unnatural'.

                  The Russians who captured the camp did not at
        first make any mention in their news reports of gas
        chambers.  There is a famous report published in the first
        day or two in February 1945 in Pravda.  Moreover, as we
        saw on the newsreel, which I showed on the first day of
        this trial, even the Poles, with access to all the
        records, claimed only that "altogether nearly 300,000
        people from the most different nations died in the
        Auschwitz concentration camp".  This is the news reel
        trial of the trial of the Auschwitz officials.  "300,000
        people from the most different nations died in the
        Auschwitz concentration camp".  It concluded that the camp
        now stood as a monument of shame to the lasting memory of
        its 300,000 victims.  In both cases gassing was not
        mentioned.  The New York Times quoted the same figure
        300,000 when the trial began in 1947.  The figure
        gradually grew however.  The Russians set up an inquiry
        including some very well-known names, including the

.          P-146

        experts who had examined the Nazi mass graves at Katyn,
        and even the notorious Lysenko.  They announced that 4
        million had been murdered at Auschwitz.  Under the Polish
        communists, a monument to "4 million dead", with those
        words on it, was duly erected, a number which was adhered
        to until the 1990s even under Franciszek Piper, one of the
        later (but still communist) directors of the Auschwitz
        State Archives.  After the communist regime ended that
        figure was brought down to 1.5 million, and then to
        750,000 by the acknowledged expert Jean-Claude Pressac.
        The Defendants' own expert Peter Longerich spoke of one
        million deaths there from all causes, and then in response
        to cross-examination by myself and to your Lordship's
        enquiries, Dr Longerich confirmed that he included all non
        homicidal deaths, deaths "from other causes", including
        epidemics and exhaustion in that overall figure of 1
        million.

                  Perhaps I should pause there and say that these
        figures seem appalling figures but, if it is one million
        or 300,000 or whatever the figure is, each of them means
        that many multiples of one individual.  I never forget in
        anything I have said or written or done the appalling
        suffering that has been inflicted on people in the camps
        like Auschwitz.  I am on the side of the innocents of this world.

                  As for the overall death roll of the Holocaust,

.          P-147

        what meaning can one attach to the figures?  The
        International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg found that
        the policy pursued resulted in the killing of 6 million
        Jews, of which 4 million were killed in the extermination
        institutions, but the 6 million figure derives, as the
        American chief prosecutor Jackson recorded in his diary in
        June 1945, from a back of the envelope calculation by the
        American Jewish leaders with whom he met in New York at
        that time.  Professor Raul Hilberg puts the overall
        Holocaust figure at one million or less.  Gerald
        Reitlinger had the figure at 4.6 million, of which he said
        about 3 million were conjectural, as it was not known how
        many Jews had escaped into the unoccupied part of the
        Soviet Union.  The Israeli prime minister's office, we are
        told by Norman Finkelstein, recently stated that there
        were still nearly one million living survivors.

                  There are doubts not only about the precise
        figures but about specific events.  The same Nuremberg
        tribunal ruled on October 1st 1946 that the Nazis had
        attempted to utilise the fat from bodies of victims in the
        commercial manufacture of soap.  In 1990 historian Shmuel
        Krakowski of Yad Vashem announced to the world's press
        that that too had been a Nazi propaganda lie.  Gradually
        the wartime stories have been dismantled.  As more
        documents have been found, widely stated propositions have
        been found to be doubtful.  For a long time the confident

.          P-148

        public perception was that the Wannsee protocol of the
        January 20th 1942 meeting at the Interpol headquarters in
        Berlin, Wannsee, recorded the actual order to exterminate
        the European Jews.  Yehuda Bauer, the director now of Yad
        Vashem, the world's premier Holocaust research institution
        in Israel -- one of the correspondents of the second
        Defendant you remember -- has stated quite clearly:  "The
        public still repeats time after time the silly story that
        at Wannsee the extermination of the Jews was arrived at".
        In his opinion Wannsee was a meeting but "hardly a
        conference", and he even said:  "Little of what was said
        there was executed in detail".  Despite this, your
        Lordship has had to listen to this "silly story" all over
        again from the expert witnesses.

                  Surely, my critics say, there must now be some
        evidence of a Hitler order.

                  Back in 1961 Professor Raul Hilberg, one of
        Yehuda Bauer's great rivals for the laureate, one of my
        correspondents, asserted in "The Destruction of the
        European Jews", his book, that there had been two such
        orders, one in the spring of 1941, and the other soon
        after.  By 1985, after I had corresponded with him and I
        had begun voicing my own doubts, Hilberg was back
        pedalling.  Hilberg went methodically through his new
        edition of his book, excising the allegation of a Hitler
        order.  It is not as though he did not mention the Hitler

.          P-149

        order.  He actually went through a book, taking every
        reference to it out.  "In the new edition", as Professor
        Christopher Browning, another of our expert witnesses here
        for the defence, who testified before this court, said,
        "all references in the text to a Hitler decision or
        Hitler order for the Final Solution had been
        systematically excised.  Buried at the bottom of a single
        footnote stands the solitary reference: 'Chronology and
        circumstances point to a Hitler decision before the summer
        ended (1941)'".  "In the new edition", Browning repeats,
        scandalized, "decisions were not made and orders were not
        given".  Your Lordship will find my exchange with
        Professor Browning as to whether he had indeed written
        those words in 1986 on day 17.  You will find too that he
        regretted that he could not recall the events clearly of
        15 years ago, which invited a rather obvious riposte from
        me about the probably similar memory deficiencies in the
        eyewitnesses on whom he had on occasions relied.

                  The director of the Yad Vashem archives has
        stated that most survivors' testimonies are unreliable.
        There is a quotation from him.  "Many", he writes, "were
        never in the places where they claim to have witnessed
        atrocities, while others relied on second-hand information
        given them by friends or passing strangers".  It is the
        phenomenon that I have referred to as cross-pollination.
        Your Lordship may have been as startled as I, I confess,

.          P-150

        was, upon learning the degree to which the case for the
        mass gassings at Auschwitz relies on eyewitness evidence,
        rather than on any firmer sources.  Your Lordship will
        remember perhaps the exchange I had with Professor Donald
        Watt, professor emeritus at the London School of
        Economics, a distinguished diplomatic historian, early on
        in the trial, about the value of different categories of
        evidence.  I will just summarize that.  I asked him, I
        said, Professor I was not going to ask you about-- --

   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  He said it all depends, did he not, really?
        Is that unfair as a summary?

   MR IRVING:  Well, my Lord, I draw your eyes straight down to
        the second line from the bottom.  Professor Watt answers
        all of that, saying:

                  The Bletchley Park intercepts, in so far as they
        are complete, are always regarded as the most reliable
        because there is no evidence that the dispatcher was aware
        that his messages could be decoded by us (by the British),
        and therefore he would put truth in them".

                  This supports my view, my Lord, that eyewitness
        evidence is less credible than forensic evidence and the
        Bletchley Park intercepts.  I do not completely ignore
        eyewitness evidence, but I feel entitled to discount it
        when it is contradicted by the more reliable evidence
        which should then prevail.



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