The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit//transcripts/day002.04


Archive/File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day002.04
Last-Modified: 2000/07/20

                  It says here in about 1975 Adolf Hitler's
        Private Secretary, the late Christa Schroeder, gave me a
        small pencil sketch, a self-portrait of Adolf Hitler,
        which he had retrieved from his desk in the last days of
        the war.  She gave it to me as a gift and I keep it.  I do
        not, of course, have any kind of portrait of Adolf Hitler
        on my office hanging on the wall in the way that has been
        described.

                  Am I proceeding in the correct manner?

   Q.   Yes, I think this is exactly what I think is the right way
        of proceeding.

   A.   I consider myself to be an expert on the careers of the
        principal Nazi leaders, including specifically Adolf
        Hitler, Goring and Dr Josef Goebbels.  I am an expert on
        the archives about these people.  I am expert on the
        current state of research into German and other wartime
        persecution and liquidation of the European Jewish
        communities.
   Q.   You said yesterday -- I am sorry to interrupt you--
that
        you did not regard yourself as being an historian of
the
        Holocaust, can you just in your evidence ----
   A.   This is true.
   Q.   --- explain what you mean?
   A.   There is a subtle difference.  I am an expert in the
state
        of research but not on their findings, so to speak.  I
am

.                                      P-131



        an expert on the way they go about their research, but
not
        so much on the actual details of the Holocaust, and so
on.
   Q.   When you say "they", who do you mean by "they", the
        Defendants?
   A.   No, my Lord.  I am sorry, I should have made myself
        clear.   I mean the Holocaust historians, the
historians
        who specialize in that topic.
   Q.   Yes.
   A.   Over the years I have collected a very large archive
of
        original documents and copies of original documents,
like
        private diaries and papers like that, from the top
Nazi
        leaders using various techniques and methods, all
entirely
        legal and, as part of my technique, I would then
donate
        these papers immediately to the suitable archives so
they
        are immediately available to other historians.
                  My views upon politics are on page 1047.
   Q.   Yes.
   A.   The Defendants have chosen to refer to my politics and
        they wrongly categorise them.  They say that I am
extreme
        right-wing or something like that.  I have never
belonged
        to a political party, left or right, except I think
        I joined the Young Conservatives at University.
                  My father stood as a Labour candidate in the
        1945 General Election.  I voted for Sir James
Goldsmith,
        my Lord, if I can make that point in the last
election, in
        other words, neither one nor the other.  I regard
myself

.                                      P-132



        as a laissez faire Liberal.  In other words, I do not
        really care much about politics so long as they spend
the
        money on hospitals rather than Millennium Domes.  I
have a
        family reason for saying that.
                  I do not look down on any section of
humanity,
        either coloured immigrants, I have regularly employed
        them, or females.  Your Lordship will appreciate the
        reasons why I make these points.  I have five
daughters,
        in fact -- I am sorry, I had five daughters.
                  I do not look down on the mentally or
physically
        disabled.  I admit to having little patience with
smokers
        and none at all with drug abusers.  This is not to say
        that I have applauded -- I have to state this because
        I will probably be asked about it -- I cannot say that
I
        have applauded the uncontrolled tide of commonwealth
        immigration into this country.
                  Like most fellow countrymen of my background
and
        vintage, I regret the passing of the Old England.
        I sometimes think, my Lord, that if the soldiers and
        sailors who stormed the beaches of Normandy in 1944
could
        see what England would be like at the end of this
century,
        they would not have got 50 yards up the beach.  I
think
        they would have given up in disgust.
   Q.   You said you are getting towards paragraph 23 of your
        witness statement, 1048?
   A.   My reputation as an historian.

.                                      P-133



   Q.   You said you wanted to develop that and I think now is
        probably the appropriate time to do that, if you want
to.
   A.   I have, of course, a very large collection of ring
binders
        of Press clippings which have been made available to
the
        Defendants and in which they have not shown the
slightest
        interest.  Reviews in all the leading newspapers of
the
        world of the books that I have written.  I believe I
have
        written about 30.  I could have produced all those
reviews
        to the court, but if I just summarize and say that
they
        are largely very favourable reviews, the kinds of
reviews
        that made publishers line up to publish my books until
the
        turning of tide.
                  Obviously, there were some reviews that you
        could describe as the curate's egg, but, by and large,
the
        reviews were exceptionally favourable.  It may be said
        that the reviewers were not as clever, perhaps, as the
        expert witnesses whom the Defendants have summoned for
        this case.  That may be one argument; maybe they had
not
        seen though me, perhaps.  Arguments like that will be
        advanced, but I submit this is not the case.  These
were
        book reviews written by experts in their own field,
like
        Captain Steven Roskill who was an eminent naval
historian,
        Professor MRD Foot, who is another official historian,
        Professor Sir Frank Hinsley.  If I just summarize it
as
        briefly as that, my Lord?
   Q.   Yes, I think that is sufficient.

.                                      P-134



   A.   If you wish to question that, of course, I will be
quite
        happy to put in all the evidence to support the
        contention, but Defendants have not shown any interest
in
        these statements.
   Q.   Can you help me because I have not alighted on them.
Are
        they in one of the files?
   A.   They were within my discovery.  They were disclosed to
the
        Defendants in proper form.  Admittedly, I did not do
an
        index of the entire set, but they were shown 16 ring
        binders full of chronologically organized, properly
pasted
        up reviews and Press clippings in which, who knows,
they
        might have found some goodies they could have used
against
        me, I do not know, but they did not bother with them.
   Q.   Take your own course, Mr Irving, but do you now want
to
        deal with the publication of "Denying the Holocaust"?
   A.   The publication of the book.  I paid no attention to
that
        book, my Lord, until 1996.  It did not come into my
ken
        until 1996.  I believe it was published in 1994, but
in
        April 1996 we published in this country my book the
        Goebbels' biography, "Goebbels.  Mastermind of the
Third
        Reich".  Your Lordship will be aware this is the only
book
        that I requested that your Lordship study in some
detail
        because it is a book that I am particularly proud of.
                  When we began marketing that book in the
United
        Kingdom, which meant literally that I and my publisher
        imprint rented a van and visited approximately 980

.                                      P-135



        bookstores up and down the length and breadth of the
        country, which is a very enjoyable exercise.  I do not
do
        it out of tedium; it is very interesting to visit the
        bookstores and their managers.  We marketed the book
        directly to them and we sold many thousands of copies
in
        this manner, but we came across the phenomenon that in
a
        number of bookstores, particularly in the Waterstones
        chain, the head of the history department took an
aversion
        to me.
                  After visiting a number of the bookstores,
it
        became quite plain that the reason for the aversion to
me
        was the fact that they were selling the book "Denying
the
        Holocaust", published by the first Defendant and
written
        by the Second Defendant.  This book was being believed
by
        Waterstones or by their employes and by, no doubt,
other
        bookstores too.  It was causing me considerable
concern
        because these bookstores were thereupon refusing to
stock
        my books.
                  So I thereupon during that tour began to
        purchase copies of "Denying the Holocaust" as evidence
        that the book was on sale within the jurisdiction.  I
put
        the publishers on notice.  I put the author on notice.
        I put certain of the book sellers themselves on notice
        because under the Defamation Act anybody in the
        distribution chain can be held liable for the peddling
of
        libels.  I subsequently, of course, separated those --

.                                      P-136



        I discontinued the action against the book sellers for
        reasons that need not occupy the court.
                  At the beginning of September 1996, which is
        that same year, which had been a very harrowing year
for
        me, as I had seen my American publishers, St Martin's
        Press, in conjunction with my big American publisher,
        Doubledays, simultaneously deciding, we now learn,
upon
        representations made by the Second Defendant not to go
        ahead with publication of my Goebbels' biography,
        I decided that I had no recourse but to take libel
action
        against this book which was, obviously, part of the
cause
        of my problem.
                  So I issued the writ, after taking usual
        procedural steps, the letter before action and so on,
        I think it was dated September 6th 1996.
   Q.   Yes.  Now, you have selected for complaint a number of
        particular passages from the book and I think it would
be
        appropriate if you were to deal with them, and where
you
        best find them, I do not know, but certainly they are
to
        be found in your Statement of Claim, but it may be you
        would rather deal with it in some other way.
   A.   May I return my papers and collect the Statement of
        Claim?
   Q.   Yes, of if you point out where they are, perhaps
somebody
        can do it for you rather than having you go backwards
and
        forwards?

.                                      P-137



   A.   They are in the ring binder.
   Q.   Thank you very much.
   A.   My Lord, I was defamed and libelled on a number of
pages
        in the book.  I do not propose to read out, unless
your
        Lordship wishes otherwise, the specific passages.
   Q.   No.  You are entitled to take your own course about
that
        but I think what you ought to do is just give an
        indication of ----
   A.   I will read out ----
   Q.   --- why you object to the passages that you have
selected
        for complaint.
   A.   If I go to paragraph 9 of the Statement of Claim which
is
         "The natural or ordinary meaning of the words
complained
        of"?
   Q.   Yes.
   A.   I contend that the passages meant, and were intended
to
        mean and understood to mean, firstly, "that the
        Plaintiff", meaning myself, "is a dangerous
spokesperson
        for Holocaust denial ... for denial forces who
        deliberately and knowingly consorts and consorted with
        anti-Israel, anti-Semitic and Holocaust denial forces
and
        who contracted to attend a world anti-Zionist
conference
        in Sweden in November 1992, thereby agreeing to appear
in
        public in support of and alongside violent and
extremist
        speakers, including representatives of the violent and
        extremist anti-Semitic Russian group, Pamyat, and of
the

.                                      P-138



        Iranian-backed Hezbollah and of the fundamentalist
Islamic
        organization Hamas and including the black Muslim
leader
        Louis Farrakhan, born Louis Eugene Walcott, who is
known
        as a Jew-baiting black agitator, as a leader of the US
        Nation of Islam, as an admirer of Hitler and who is in
the
        pay of Colonel Gaddafi".
                  My Lord, the wording that I use in this is,
of
        course, very closely related to the wording used in
the
        work complained of.  I have not chosen those words
        myself.  I have merely distilled them out of the
        Defendant's text and adhered as closely as possible to
the
        original wording.
   Q.   Yes.  You are just paraphrasing really?

   A.   I am not even paraphrasing, my Lord.  I am gluing the
        words together into a complaint form using the words
        actually used by the Defendants in the work complained of.

   Q.   That is what I meant by "paraphrase".


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