The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit//transcripts/day002.13


Archive/File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day002.13
Last-Modified: 2000/07/20

   A.   Oh, in retrospect, good Lord, yes!  In retrospect, you
        could look out of the back of the truck as it goes
        trundling down the highway of history and you say, "I wish

.                                      P-209



        I never get to know him", but we have all met people like
        that, my Lord.  This should not be held against me.
        People change.
                  There is one particular gentleman called
        Mr Althans, Ewald Althans, who figures in this
        correspondence.  He was a German character who I got
to
        know when he was a student.  I first met him, I think,
in
        1989 and my first impressions of him which I have
recorded
        in my diary was that he was a very forceful,
energetic,
        forthright and fearless young man.
                  It subsequently turned out he held opinions
that
        could be really categorised as extreme, that he was,
in
        fact, an agent of the German government and an agent
        provocateur because he testified to that effect when
he
        finally got his comeuppance.  I bitterly regret ever
        having made his acquaintance, and certainly if he came
        anywhere near me I would say, "Go away".  If he came
to my
        front door, I would pretend I was not in.  Well, if
that
        can be held against me, my Lord, then I think this is
an
        unjust society.  These things happen.  People change
as
        you get to know them.  They become different from the
way
        they were when you first knew them.
   Q.   So you are saying really, are you, that you want to be
        judged by what you said rather than by what people you
may
        have been at the same meeting with?
   A.   My Lord, I am very satisfied to be judged on what I

.                                      P-210



        have said verbally which is recorded in great
abundance in
        the transcripts.  I am very satisfied to be judged on
the
        basis of what I have written to any of these
gentlemen,
        but I do not think I should be judged on the basis of
what
        they may have said either to me or to others.  That is
        their own affair.  Frequently, I have had cause to
        reprimand them privately and say, "Do not do it".
                  For example, I remember one trip I made to
South
        Africa.  The South Africans are a different people
from
        us.  They have different attitudes to us.  I visited
South
        Africa on a speaking tour and I went to Johannesburg
        Airport to pick up my assistant who was to accompany
me
        and I warned her; I said, "You will find the people
here
        in Johannesburg treat coloured people in a manner
which is
        totally repugnant to us, but I must request you not to
say
        anything about it because we are their guests", but
that
        is as far as you can go.
   Q.   The last topic, is there anything you want to add?
   A.   No, my Lord -- unless you wanted to ask me about any
        specific names that they have mentioned?  You do not?
   Q.   Well, I was not proposing to, but if you want to say
        anything about, for example, Mr Zundel who is,
perhaps,
        more important than most of the others.
   A.   Mr Zundel, I can speak about very briefly.  I first
met
        Mr Zundel, Z-U-N-D-E-L, who is a German of Canadian
        extraction who has been in constant hot water for the
last

.                                      P-211



        10 or 15 years, but is sill in the eyes of the law
        blameless, in other words, he has not been convicted
on
        anything he has been accused of which is a matter not
to
        be taken lightly, of course.  A lot of accusations
have
        been made against him, but he has so far not been
found
        guilty of anything.
                  I first heard about him before 1986 in the
most
        disparaging terms.  In 1986, I conducted around the
world
        lecture tour, and coming up from Australia and Fiji to
        Vancouver, I was met at Vancouver Airport in Colombia,
in
        Canada, by a man who introduced himself in the car to
me
        as Mr Douglas Christie.  I said, "But you are the
        barrister for Mr Zundel, are you not, in the hearings
in
        Toronto?"  He said, "Yes, I am.  I am chairing the
meeting
        tonight".  I was so shocked by this that I telephoned
my
        tour organizer in Australia immediately and said, "I
am
        afraid I cannot allow Mr Christie to act as chairman
of
        tonight's meeting".  My hostility to Mr Zundel at that
        time was so pronounced I would not even allow his
        barrister to come near me, in other words.
                  I then flew across to Toronto where I was to
        speak and I was picked up at Toronto Airport by two
        gentlemen who drove me down town, and half way down
the
        Queen Elizabeth Highway into Toronto, one of the
gentlemen
        turned to the other and said, "Ernst, I think we will
put
        Mr Irving off at his hotel first".  I said, "Do you
mind

.                                      P-212



        if I ask who you are?" and he said, "Yes, I am Ernst
        Zundel".  I am afraid I was terribly shocked to be
found
        sitting in the same car with him because the
blackening of
        his name at that time had gone to such an extent that
not
        only did I not want to be associated with his
barrister,
        but not with him either.
                  Now I say that, having got to know him over
the
        next two or three years, you realize that the
reputation
        he had and the man he was were two different things.
He
        was an enbattled person, coming under, I will not even
say
        the same kind of attack as I have, he came under the
most
        vicious kind of attack which included the burning down
of
        his house and a constant onslaught and violent and
        physical assault, and he was bearing himself up with
more
        fortitude than taste; and you had to realize that he
was a
        man with a certain intellect, a certain sense of
humour
        and execrable private opinions.  That is the only way
that
        I can characterize him.
   Q.   Yes.
   A.   I repeatedly said this, my Lord.  I have sent him
messages
        and letters and I have said that, frankly, your
opinions
        are off the wall -- in fact, they are off the map.
The
        correspondence has been in the discovery for the
        Defendants and they could have seen it and, no doubt,
it
        has alarmed them because it does not confirm the
picture
        that they would have wished to portray.

.                                      P-213



   Q.   But you agreed to give evidence at his trial?
   A.   I thought it was my duty as an historian, as a public
        citizen, to give evidence.  I did not realize at the
time
        the odium that would accrue.  In fact, the element of
        odium, I think, would have been impossible in this
        country.  I think it would have been almost a contempt
for
        witnesses to be subjected to the kind of onslaught
that
        I was after I gave evidence in that trial, but it
        happened.  I wrote letters to the newspapers about it.
        I said, "This will be completely impossible in
England".
        The letters were published, but there it is.
                  If people ask me now, as they have, "Would
you
        do it again?"  I say, "No, I would not", not because I
did
        not consider my duty to give the evidence I gave as
        an historian, and I understand the Judge afterwards
said
        that he had never had such a convincing witness, but
it
        was a mistake, because of the fact that that has been
used
        as a reason to destroy me subsequently.  Frankly, I do
not
        seek personal destruction.  If I was given the chance
to
        do it again, if the people who have destroyed me since
        came to me now and said, "Mr Irving, we are prepared
to
        put you back where you were", I would say, "Show me
what
        I have to sign and I will do it".  It is as simple as
        that.
   Q.   Then, finally, I think this is the last topic that you
        need to deal with, the allegation that you broke an

.                                      P-214



        agreement in relation to the microfiche containing the
        Goebbels' diaries by removing them from Moscow, or
from
        the archive in Moscow, and risking damage to them.
   A.   Yes.  Well ----
   Q.   You dealt with this quite thoroughly in your opening.
   A.   Yes, I have to be a bit careful because you have
actually
        compounded two elements in that statement.  You said
by
        removing the glass plates and by something else.  I do
not
        know what the agreement was supposed to have been.  I
have
        dealt with this quite thoroughly in my opening
statement,
        and I am happy to aver here on oath that what I said
in my
        opening statement in this respect, as in other
respect, is
        true to the best of my knowledge and belief.
                  Ten years nearly, or eight years, have
passed
        since that time when I was in Moscow and I obtained
the
        diaries.  You will be hearing the evidence of Mr Peter
        Miller who was with me at the time; and there is no
        written agreement either in my discovery or in the
        discovery produced by the Defendants who have had
close
        collaboration with the Russian archival officials,
will be
        able to cross-examine the Russian witnesses, and on
this
        occasion they will be giving evidence, I understand,
and I
        think, perhaps, we had better reserve judgment until
after
        we have had the opportunity of hearing all that.
                  But, to the best of my knowledge and belief,
        there was no agreement, and I have made the admission

.                                      P-215



        (which I had to) which was quite proper about having
        illicitly or illegally or even improperly removed the
        glass plates on the archives and returned them the
next
        day and whatever which, to my mind, not such a big
deal
        because they allowed me to two days later anyway.
   Q.   Well, so far as I am concerned, that is all I was
going to
        invite you to give evidence about, leaving aside
        Auschwitz, but do feel free to add anything that you
think
        has not been sufficiently covered before you are
        cross-examined.
   A.   I only wanted to say that you asked me earlier about
the
        consequences of the book.  I mentioned the pecuniary
        consequences and I mentioned the consequences for my
        career, but there has also been a more intangible
        consequence, that I have found myself subjected to a
        burden of hatred which you cannot quantify, but which
is
        quite definitely there, the blank telephone calls, the
        obscene messages and so on.  I would give only one
        example, my Lord, of the kind hatred -- well, two
        examples:  one when I was assaulted in the Book
Exhibition
        in Chicago -- in Los Angeles which I attended with my
        publishing imprint a few weeks ago when a member of
the
        Jewish community -- a very notorious member of the
Jewish
        community; one of the most extreme members in the
United
        States with a long criminal record -- came up to the
stand
        and screamed that he was going to come back and kill
me,

.                                      P-216



         "You're a Holocaust denier" he screamed as he was led
        away by the police, using the phrase coined by the
Second
        Defendant.
                  The second one would make more sense to your
        Lordship if you are aware of who Philip Bullard is.
        Philip Bullard was the head of the Nazi Extermination
        Programme for the mentally and physically disabled,
the
        Euthanasia Programme.
   Q.   Yes, I know.
   A.   My Lord, I had the great misfortune in September to
lose
        my eldest daughter.  After we buried her, I received a
        phone call from the undertakers that another wreath
had
        come.  When the wreath was delivered late that
afternoon,
        it was a very expensive and elaborate wreath of white
        roses and lilies -- far more expensive than we could
have
        afforded -- with a card attached to it saying, "Truly
a
        merciful death", "It was truly a merciful death",
signed
        "Philip Bullard and friends".  I should mention that
my
        daughter was disabled in all those respects.  She was
        legless and she had been brain damaged for 18 years.
                  I submit that this is the kind of hatred
that
        this book has subjected me to -- something
intolerable,
        something unspeakable, and which I would wish no other
        person to be subjected to.
   Q.   Yes.
   A.   Thank you.

.                                      P-217



   Q.   Is there anything you wish to add?
   A.   Not to that, my Lord, no, and in any other respect I
think
        that you have drawn the essentials out of my
admirably, as
        was only to be expected.
   Q.   Well, you will have the opportunity, obviously, to
amplify
        your case after cross-examination, if you wish to.
Now,
        I do not know whether we need to clear the decks
before
        you cross-examine so that Mr Irving has the documents
that
        you mentioned earlier on, Mr Rampton?
   MR RAMPTON:  I do not know how best to do it.  I have to
say
        (and I will say it again; I sort of hinted at it
        yesterday) this is the most ghastly inconvenient and
        uncomfortable court I have ever been in.  That is
nobody's
        fault.  I can hardly stand up.  I cannot get at my
        documents.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  I wish I thought I could do something
about
        it.
   MR RAMPTON:  I say that as a preliminary.  The witness is
miles
        away from the files that he needs.  I can hardly see
him
        because of this pillar and my learned junior cannot
see
        him.
   MR JUSTICE GRAY:  Otherwise you are pretty happy!

Home ·  Site Map ·  What's New? ·  Search Nizkor

© The Nizkor Project, 1991-2012

This site is intended for educational purposes to teach about the Holocaust and to combat hatred. Any statements or excerpts found on this site are for educational purposes only.

As part of these educational purposes, Nizkor may include on this website materials, such as excerpts from the writings of racists and antisemites. Far from approving these writings, Nizkor condemns them and provides them so that its readers can learn the nature and extent of hate and antisemitic discourse. Nizkor urges the readers of these pages to condemn racist and hate speech in all of its forms and manifestations.