The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit//transcripts//day032.17

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Last-Modified: 2000/07/25

                  The officials of the IHR nearly all hold
        academic qualifications.  True they are not trained
        historians, but then neither are some of the most famous
        names of historians in both ancient and contemporary

.          P-199

        times.  It is clear from correspondence before the court
        that I recognize he short-comings in the old IHR, and
        I was keen to introduce them to new speakers, including
        mainline scholars, historians like John Toland who did in
        fact speak there, Professor Ernst Nolte and Michael
        Beschloss.  I am not and never have been an official of
        the IHR.  At most, one of many friendly advisers.  As for
        speaking engagements, my association with the IHR has been
        the same as my association with (I use the word
        "association" again), for example, Cambridge University
        Fabian Society because I spoke there too, or the Trinity
        College Dublin Lit. & Debc., or any other body of
        enlightened people keen to hear alternative views.

                  Professor Evans in his odious attempts to smear
        and defile my name which I hope will long haunt him in the
        common rooms at Cambridge, called me a frequent speaker at
        the IHR, and may I say "so what?" None of my lectures had
        a Holocaust denial or anti-Semitic or extremist theme.
        I spoke on Churchill, on Pearl Harbour, on Rommel, on the
        Goebbels' Diaries, on my Eichmann papers find, and on
        general problems of writing history.  The court has
        learned that I have in fact addressed functions of the IHR
        only five times in seventeen years, one lecture each
        time.  No amount of squirming by this expert witness could
        increase that figure.  It is true that I socialized before
        or after the event with the IHR officials and their

.          P-200

        wives.  So what?  It is true that I use their warehousing
        facilities.  So what?  It is true that the IHR, along with
        thousands of other retail outlets sell my books.  So what?
        It is true that I introduced them to subjects which some
        members of their audience found deeply uncomfortable, for
        example, the confessions of Adolf Eichmann, the harrowing
        Bruns report and the Kristallnacht.  I would willingly
        read out the relevant extracts of my lectures to the IHR,
        but my Lord, through the courtesy and industry of the
        Defendants' solicitors, which I have already had cause to
        praise, your Lordship is already funded with extensive
        transcripts of precisely those talks, and I would ask that
        your Lordship read them or look at them with this
        paragraph in mind.

                  I am accused of telling audiences what they want
        to hear, and that may be partially true, but, by Jove,
        having done so, then I used the goodwill generated like
        that to tell them a lot of things they very much did not
        want to hear.  The Defendants would willingly overlook
        that aspect of my association with the IHR, and I trust
        that the court will not.

                  As for the National Alliance, an organization of
        which the Defence makes much, once again, as an Englishman ----

   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  You have dealt with that already.

   MR IRVING:  We have had it, but I am back again, my Lord.  It

.          P-201

        must have been quite late at night when I wrote this
        part.  As an Englishman I am completely unfamiliar with he
        nature the National Alliance, its logo and its name.  It
        may be that the name means more to the Defendants and to
        those who are financing the efforts than it means to me.
        It certainly meant nothing to the English members of the
        gallery on the day that it was mentioned here.

                  I have no meaningful contacts with the
        organization as such.  One or at most two of its
        individuals members who were already on my mailing list
        volunteered, like scores of other Americans, to organize
        lectures for me.  One was Erich Gliebe who has always
        organized my lectures Cleveland in Ohio.  On the evidence
        of his notepaper from the year 1990 (that is ten years ago
        now) he is also a National Alliance member.  I ask the
        court to accept that when asked about it ten years later
        I had long forgotten receiving that one letter from him
        with its heading and its logo.  Before each lecture date
        I mailed an invitation letter to my entire mailing list of
        friends in each State.  The audience was, therefore,
        largely my own people, if I can put it like that.  That is
        why Mr Breeding rather superfluously welcomes the
        strangers in his opening remarks on the Florida video tape
        as seen.  Had he told me he would also claim to do so on
        behalf of his organization, I would have told him not to.
        It was my function and the audience were my guests and not

.          P-202


                  The photographs taken at this meeting shows, as
        the Defendants' own agents have warranted, no formal
        National Alliance presence, flags, arm bands or whatever.
        The witness statement of Rebecca Gutmann has confirmed this.

                  Learned counsel for the Defendants has drawn
        attention to one 18-inch wide pennant, that is my
        estimate, displayed at the function on a side wall with
        what they state is the National Alliance logo on it
        visible on the video film.  Its logo appears to be based
        on the CND design.  I did not notice it at the time nor
        would I have had the faintest idea what it was if I did.
        Evidently Mr Gliebe told me that his pals at the National
        Alliance had had a hand in organizing my successful
        Cleveland function, and that is why I noted in my diary
        with a hint of surprise that it turns out that the
        National Alliance had organized the other meeting too.

                  The court may agree that this phrase alone is
        evidence that their involvement was (A) not manifest, and
        (B) not known to me before.  Given that the audience was
        largely my own making, it does not seem worthy of much
        note.  I submit that this kind of defence evidence really
        does not meet the enhanced standard of proof required by
        law on defamation for justification of the more serious charges.

.          P-203

   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I do not think you need bother with the next
        paragraph frankly.

   MR IRVING:  In general, it is also to be stated that at
        material times, namely when associated with those
        individuals, they were not extremists -- I take it that
        your Lordship accepts what I said in that paragraph?

   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I do not think, frankly, that the evidence of
        your contacts with the BNP amounts to anything.

   MR IRVING:  Thank you very much.  In general, it is also to be
        stated that at material times, namely when I was
        associated with those individuals, they were not
        extremists; nor has it been shown to the court that at
        that time they were.  Thus at the time I first met this
        young man Ewald Althans in Germany late in October 1989,
        he seemed full of promise and eager to learn.  I later
        learned that he had been to Israel for six months on a
        German Government voluntary scheme for young Germans who
        wished to atone.  Over the two or three years that our
        orbits occasionally intercepted I could see that he was
        growing more extreme and provocative in his actions.  He
        also became undependable and wayward in a number of
        non-political ways that I mentioned in court.

                  According to Der Spiegel at his 1995 trial in
        Berlin, Althans had acted for the Bavarian security
        authorities as a top agent until 1994 when they ended the
        liaison.  The German security authorities had, as

.          P-204

        Professor Funke agreed, a record of hiring agents

                  I now come to Ernst Zundel, the next paragraph.
        Ernst Zundel is a German born Canadian [sic] for whose own
        particular views I hold no brief.  I later learned that he
        had apparently written some provocatively-themed books
        with tongue-in-cheek titles on flying saucers in
        Antarctica, and on the "Adolf Hitler that I knew and
        loved", which is said to be worst than outre; wild horses
        would not make me read such books myself.  I had met him
        in 1986 and found that as a personality he was not as dark
        as had been painted in the media.  I was asked to give
        expert evidence at his trial in Toronto in 1988 relating
        to the Third Reich and Hitler's own involvement in the
        Holocaust.  I did so to the best of my professional
        abilities, and I was told that I had earned the
        commendation of the court in doing so.

                  It is plain to me from what I know that
        Mr Zundel has been subjected to 20-year onslaught by the
        Canadian organizations dedicated to combatting what they
        regard as Holocaust denial because of his dissident views,
        which are certainly more extreme than mine.  My own
        relationship with Mr Zundel has been proper throughout,
        and the court has not been given any evidence to the
        contrary.  At times it has even been strained because of
        the misfortune inflicted on me in retribution for having

.          P-205

        spoken at his trial.

                  My Lord, there remain one or two minor matters,
        in my view.  The Defendants alleged that I wilfully
        exaggerated the Dresden death roll in my 1963 book "The
        Destruction of Dresden", and that I had no basis for my
        figures.  I have satisfied this court, I believe, that at
        all times (A) I set and published the proper upper and
        lower limits for estimates that I gave, giving a wide
        range of figures which necessarily decreased overall over
        the years as our state of information improved, and that
        (B) I had an adequate basis for the various figures which
        I provided in my works at the material times.  It has to
        be said that authors have little or no control over the
        content of books that are sub-licensed by their main
        publisher to other publishers.  Revisions are not
        encouraged for costs reasons.

                  I have always been aware of the highly charged
        political nature of the figures quote for this event, the
        bombing of Dresden.  The highest figure of 250,000, which
        I mentioned in my books only as the maximum ever alleged,
        was given, for example, by the German Chancellor
        Dr Comrade Ardenau in a West German official government
        publication which I showed the court.  The lowest figures
        only became available in a book published in 1994 by
        Fredrich Reichardt.  A copy of this book was provided to
        me in 1997.  By that time I had already published the

.          P-206

        latest updated version of my book which is now called
        "Apocalypse 1945, The Destruction of Dresden", in which
        I had lowered the death roll still further on the basis of
        my on investigations and considerations.  This was the
        first edition over which I, not the publisher, had total
        control, as it appeared under my own imprint.

                  In 1965, as the court is aware, I received
        written estimates of 140,000 and 180,000 dead from a
        rather anxious Soviet zone citizen, Dr Max Funfack, who
        claimed to have received them about nine days after the
        raid from the City Commandant and the Chief Civil Defence
        Officer respectively, both of them his personal friends.
        That being so, there was no reason why I should have
        revised the 135,000 estimate which I had earlier received
        from Hans Voigt, a city official charged with drawing up
        death lists when I was researching my first book in 1961.

                  In 1966 I received the police final report of
        March 1945.  While still remaining sceptical about it for
        the reasons stated, for example, the officer was
        responsible for Dresden's ARP and it was too early to
        achieve any kind of overall final figure, the number of
        refugees killed was also an imponderable.  I took the
        correct action, however.  I sent to letter to The Times
        within a few days of finding the new documents, that is
        July 1996, within a few days of finding the new documents
        in the mail on my return from a trip to the United

.          P-207

        States.  Not only that, but at my own expense I had the
        letter reprinted and sent to hundreds of historians and
        the like.  One hopes that the expert witnesses whom we saw
        in the witness stand on behalf of the Defence would have
        had the same integrity to do the same kind of thing.

                  As for the Goebbels diaries, the Defendants, as
        I understand it, do not now seek to justify their claim
        that I broke an agreement with the Moscow archives in 1992.

   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I do not think that is right, but do not take
        time on it because I think I know what the case is.

   MR IRVING:  They have withdrawn witness reports of the Russian
        archivists and will provide me no opportunity to
        cross-examine them.  I was prepared to pursue those
        cross-examinations most vigorously.  I produced a witness
        statement from Mr Peter Millar of the Sunday Times, my
        colleague in Moscow, and I made him available for
        cross-examination.  He confirmed that there was no verbal
        or written agreement, as I had also stated in my various
        replies, so therefore I could not have broken it.  The
        Defendants have left no satisfactory evidence before the
        court that refutes this, in my submission.

                  Mr Millar also confirmed to the court that he
        did not agree that my conduct gave rise to significant
        risk of damage to the plates.  The plates had been
        withheld from historians by the Russians for 55 years or

.          P-208

        more.  That figure of course is wrong.  It is 48 years at
        that time, I am sorry.  The plates have been withheld from
        historians for 48 years or more.  By my actions I made
        this historically very important materials available to
        the world, and I placed copies of them in the appropriate
        German archives at my own expense.

                  My Lord, I make submission now on the Heinrich Muller document.

   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I do not think I would read that out if
        I were you.  I think that is not the best way of dealing with it.

   MR IRVING:  No.  I will leave it as a written submission.

   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Have you seen what -- I am sure you have seen
        it because I have a copy of a letter to you with attachments.

   MR IRVING:  I have seen it, my Lord, yes.

   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  In the light of those attachments and
        including Professor Longerich's really quite helpful
        account of his investigations, what is your submission?

   MR IRVING:  I am not challenging the authenticity of the
        document, my Lord, but I am asking that attention be paid
        to the fact that it is highly unsatisfactory that I am not
        provided in good time, in a timeous manner, with the file
        dated that I needed in order to go behind the document and
        establish whether there was anything which would undermine
        the purport that the defendants were seeking to attach to

.          P-209

        that document.

   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  You mean the other documents in the same file?

   MR IRVING:  Like in the case of the Schlegelberger document,
        which enabled the Defendants to attack the meaning of the
        Schlegelberger document, because they had documents
        relating to it in the same file which enabled them to
        narrow it down and say this is clearly a reference to the Mischlinge.

   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Sorry, we are talking about the Muller
        document, are we not?

   MR IRVING:  We are talking about the Muller document.  I am
        saying that, had I had the other documents in the same file ----

   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  What has it got to do with Mischlinge?

   MR IRVING:  I could have gone behind the Muller document, using
        the other documents in the same file.

   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  You mean as you did with Schlegelberger?

   MR IRVING:  As they did with Schlegelberger.

   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Yes, I follow.  I am not quite sure,
        Dr Longerich wrote to Dr Aaron Reich, as I understand it,
        to see what other documents there were in the file, but
        I do not know what the result was, or indeed when the
        question was asked.  You do not know either?

   MR IRVING:  I asked the question and I was given a totally
        fictitious file number in the German Federal archives.

.          P-210

   MR RAMPTON:  Not by us.

   MR IRVING:  It was given by you because it was in the footnote
        of one of your expert reports as being the source.

   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  As I understand it, and do not let us talk
        over each other too much, my understanding is that first
        time around the wrong file number was given, but then
        later the correct file number is thought to have been
        discovered, which then prompted Dr Longerich to write to
        or to fax Dr Aaron Reich, asking if he could say what the
        other documents in this file are.

   MR IRVING:  The correct file number was then notified to me
        this last weekend, which of course gave me no time
        whatsoever to do the kind of research that I would have
        had to do.

   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Anyway, your position is you do not deny its
        authenticity, but you do say that the provenance is

   MR IRVING:  I do say it has been improperly produced to me in a
        manner which has made it impossible for me to attack its
        meaning, but I have attacked its meaning nevertheless in
        my submission.

   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I know you have.

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