Copyright 2000 Sun Media Corporation The Edmonton Sun March 4, 2000, Saturday, Final EDITION SECTION: EDITORIAL/OPINION, Pg. 11 HEADLINE: HOLOCAUST DENIAL ON TRIAL IN BRITAIN BYLINE: MINDELLE JACOBS, EDMONTON SUN As you may have heard, there is a libel trial going on in Britain in which revisionist historian David Irving is suing U.S. author Deborah Lipstadt for describing him as "a dangerous spokesman for Holocaust denial." I prefer, however, to think of the legal power play that's been unfolding in a London courtroom since since January as an obscenity trial. I find it obscene, you see, that the Holocaust - one of the most monstrous examples of man's inhumanity, murderous ingenuity and even taste, if you will, for mass killing - is once again open to question. Irving of course insists he is not a Holocaust denier. What he denies is that six million Jews perished and that any of them died in the gas chambers. Hundreds of thousands - not millions - of Jews died and the gas chambers were simply used to delouse clothes and disinfect bodies, he claims. Irving rejects historical fact - that the Nazis systematically exterminated Jews and that Hitler directed the genocide. Jews simply died from starvation, disease or other vagaries of war, he believes. If that is not denying the true horror of the Holocaust, I don't know what is. The slaughter of the Jews, he asserts, was no worse than any of the other atrocities of the Second World War. What do you expect from a man who believes in a worldwide Jewish conspiracy and whose distortions of history have made him a hero to assorted racists, anti-Semites and neo-Nazi crackpots? In Britain, as in Canada, the burden of proof in a libel case is on the defendant. So it is up to Lipstadt to prove that Irving is, in fact, a Holocaust denier. Irving is revelling in the publicity now but Lipstadt will have the last laugh. Her accuser's reputation - what's left of it - will be left in tatters. As D.D. Guttenplan points out in his article on the trial in last month's issue of Atlantic Monthly, Irving didn't sue Lipstadt until two years after her book came out. Why did he wait until 1996 to sue? Because St. Martin's Press, scared off by the publicity surrounding Irving's controversial far-right views, cancelled the publication of his book, Goebbels: Mastermind of the Third Reich. Irving, who has written a number of books on Nazi Germany, had been given the boot by a reputable publisher, others were bound to shy away as well and his livelihood was at stake. This trial, though, by exposing his bizarre beliefs to the world at large, will do more to damage his career as a historian and writer than anything else. I take comfort in the fact that Irving is digging his own grave and I will delight when Judge Charles Gray nails the coffin shut when the proceedings end. Even Adolph Eichmann acknowledged the Holocaust as "the most enormous crime in the history of mankind." In his prison memoirs, released this week by the Israeli government for use in the libel trial, Eichmann described the Nazi killing machine: "I witnessed the gruesome workings of the machinery of death; gear meshed with gear, like clockwork. "It was the biggest and most enormous dance of death of all times." Eichmann, says Irving dismissively, was only trying to please his captors. Scan Irving's Web site and you'll get a taste of his twisted mentality. He offers a variety of neo-Nazi and revisionist links. One of the links is the Web site of anti-Semite Ernst Zundel, who poses this strange question: "If so many millions of Jewish people died at the hands of the Germans, why are there so many survivors?" That's the incredible thing about the survivors of genocide - they somehow retain the will to live and love and procreate. As for Irving's claims that so few Jews died in the Holocaust, what happened to all my grandmother's relatives? Did they emigrate to Miami and not say anything? They still haven't called. == INDEPENDENT LONDON 03.04.00 Irving finds himself on trial in his Holocaust libel case http://www.independent.co.uk/ Ian Burrell, Home Affairs Correspondent The libel case brought by the revisionist historian David Irving against Penguin Books and the American author Deborah Lipstadt has seen the veracity of the worst crime in human history put on trial. After eight weeks of remarkable theatre in Court 73 of the High Court, evidence has now been completed in a libel action that has profound significance not only for historians but for the memory of the millions of victims of the Holocaust. Mr Irving successfully silenced a series of critics with a flurry of libel writs, but the author of Hitler's War, is finally being challenged before a judge. Penguin, the publisher, has summoned an impressive array of Second World War experts to support its assertion that Mr Irving "distorts, misstates, misquotes, falsifies" the historical record to deny the Holocaust. Mr Irving, who has been regarded as a legitimate if maverick historian, claims this accusation by Ms Lipstadt has generated "waves of hatred" and made him an outcast among publishers. The evidence given during the case by some of Mr Irving's fellow historians threatens to destroy his professional reputation. One, Professor Richard Evans of Cambridge University, told the court that Mr Irving "doesn't deserve to be called a historian at all". Sir John Keegan, the defence editor of The Daily Telegraph, called against his wishes to give evidence on Mr Irving's behalf, described his views on Hitler and the Final Solution as "perverse". Yet the onus is on Penguin and Ms Lipstadt to prove their case before Mr Justice Gray and Mr Irving has chosen tactics carefully designed to frustrate his opponent. He has adopted a defensive position that he is "not an expert" on the Holocaust, that he does not deny it outright and even accepts that many Jews died in concentration camps. He also argues that the case "should not leave the four walls of my study" - considering only the evidence on which he had based his work and thus allowing him to disclaim knowledge of documents produced by Penguin that may undermine his findings. What he does say is that Jews were not gassed at Auschwitz, that Hitler did not order the extermination of Jews and that there was no systematic Nazi plan to do so. During the course of the evidence Mr Irving, representing himself, has repeatedly denied awareness of documents. The man who found Josef Goebbels' diaries told the judge he had never read passages of books that he has discussed in public and keeps in his own library. On Thursday, Richard Rampton QC, representing Penguin, told the court that he believed he had established 26 incidences of Mr Irving bending the historical record in the face of the available facts. But Mr Irving has repeatedly denied the authenticity of the evidence put before him, except to explain errors as regrettable inaccuracies made in the drafting and redrafting of a book. Eyewitness accounts of the gas chambers by Auschwitz survivors have also been rubbished. The evidence of Henryk Tauber, who has told how he was forced to help to incinerate the corpses of up to 2,500 Jews a day at Auschwitz, stretched "a reasonable historian's credibility", Mr Irving said. Confronted by the testimony of a Dutch historian, Professor Robert Van Pelt, that the use of gas chambers as an instrument of murder at Auschwitz was a "moral certainty", Mr Irving maintained that there were no holes in the roofs of the buildings through which cyanide pellets could have been fed. The court heard of confessions by German personnel at the camp that the gassings had taken place and saw evidence produced at the trial of the Gestapo chief Adolf Eichmann in 1961, which included photographs and scientific studies of cyanide compounds in the walls of the chambers. But Mr Irving, claiming the chambers were used to delouse corpses of people who had died of natural causes, challenged Professor Van Pelt to dig up the chambers and find proof of the holes. But it is Mr Irving's habit of recording every detail of his life in exhaustive detail that could finally prove to be part of his downfall. In discovery, Penguin obtained more than two million words of his diaries, revealing his associations with extreme right-wing and anti-Semitic groups in Britain, Germany and America, and laying bare his views on race. In one passage, he blames the murder of the black teenager Stephen Lawrence on the consequences of "mass immigration". Mr Justice Gray is expected to make his judgment next month. Penguin and Ms Lipstadt have spent close to pounds 2m on thecase. If Mr Irving loses he will face bankruptcy as well as professional ruin - although his raised profile will doubtless bring offers of right- wing lecture tours in America. But if he wins, the door will have been opened for revisionists to rewrite any event in history without a requirement to consider evidence that does not suit them and without fear that they will be publicly denounced for their distortion. ### COLUMBUS DISPATCH 03.04.00 EDITORIAL & COMMENT Letters To The Editor http://libpub.dispatch.com/cgi-bin/slwebcli.pl?DBLIST=cd00&DOCNUM=6599 TRUTH, HISTORY AT ISSUE IN TRIAL 03/04/2000 THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH I take The Dispatch to task for the absence of coverage of the London trial of a distinguished American professor, Deborah Lipstadt , chair of Modern Jewish and Holocaust Studies at Emory University in Atlanta. Lipstadt and her publisher, Penguin Books, are being sued for libel by Holocaust denier David Irving. Irving, a British historian and Holocaust revisionist, is cited numerous times in Lipstadt 's 1993 book Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory, as one of the most influential and dangerous revisionists alive today. This trial has enormous significance for those who care about truth and reason, history and a just society. While Holocaust denial "may be an attack on the history of the annihilation of the Jews,'' Lipstadt writes, "at it's core it poses a threat to all who believe that knowledge and memory are among the keystones of civilization.'' The trial, which opened Jan. 11 and is expected to continue for 12 weeks, will impact perceptions of the Holocaust for years. The libel charge derives from Irving's claim that Lipstadt defamed him, ruined his reputation and caused him financial harm. The issue of the truth of Lipstadt 's statements may not be relevant, as truth is not necessarily a defense. Under Britain's libel law, a claimant must prove only that his reputation has been damaged. Lipstadt and her defense attorneys, on the other hand, must prove that the British historian deliberately lied and falsified information in his books on World War II. What is chilling about this trial -- indeed, about the denial of the Holocaust -- is that such an attack on the factual record, as Lipstadt writes, has the latent power "to dramatically alter the way that truth and meaning are transmitted from one generation to another!'' I hope The Dispatch will follow this trial; its legacy will be ours to bear in the future. Karen S. Moss Columbus == San Antonio Express-News March 4, 2000, Saturday EDITORIAL Eichmann's culpability remains undeniable Poor Adolf Eichmann. He was just a bureaucrat obeying orders, just an unimportant cog inthe Nazi machine responsible for the Holocaust. Almost 40 years after his death, that is the self-serving portraitEichmann paints of himself in a memoir that was released for thefirst time this week. Eichmann was one of the most important players in the Holocaust. Alieutenant colonel in the Nazi secret service, he was in charge ofdeporting Jews to Eastern Europe. But he claims to have had no authority and was simply followingorders. So tortured was he by his visits to the concentration campthat he sought refuge in alcohol. Eichmann is as pathetic and evil a figure in death as he was inlife. While time can work wonders in rehabilitating historicalfigures, there is nothing that time or his book can do to removeEichmann from the ranks of the most despicable people in history. Eichmann's responsibility cannot be denied, just as the Holocaustitself cannot be denied. Fortunately, for truth, history and the memories of the 6 millionpeople he helped murder, Eichmann will always be seen for thevillain he was.
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