The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day001.10


Archive/File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day001.10
Last-Modified: 2000/07/20

                  I took these two borrowed plates straight
from
        Moscow to Munich to the Institute of History (the
Institut
        fur Zeitgeschichte), where I knew they had a
microfiche
        printer and reading machine, together with the
institute's
        Dr Zirngiebel who was an expert in the archives, we
        inserted the appropriate lenses in the microfiche
printer

.          P-78



        for a microfiche of this magnification, and I printed
out
        two copies of each of the 100 or so documents
contained on
        the two microfiche.
                  There was no secrecy about this.  I at once
sent
        two of those pages upstairs to the experts in the
        Institute of History itself, and two more to the
German
        Federal Archives with the written request that they
        formally identify these pages as being in the
handwriting
        of Dr Joseph Goebbels.  This was a necessary part of
the
        agreement with the Sunday Times who were being no less
        cautious than I.
                  The other principal reason that I borrowed
these
        glass plates temporarily from the Russian Archives was
in
        order to put them to London forensic experts for the
        purposes of authentication.  I mentioned the use of
        forensic experts before.  We are doing it again.  In
the
        same manner that others had tested the Adolf Hitler
        diaries and I had tested the Canaris diaries, the
Sunday
        Times quite properly wished to have final proof that
the
        glass plates were indeed of wartime manufacture.  We
are
        dealing after all with the KGB archives.  Namely, that
the
        glass was wartime origin and that the photographic
        emulsion was of wartime chemicals.
                  My Lord, the court may marvel at these
        precautions that we as non-scholars took, but it
seemed
        perfectly natural to me and to the officers of the
Sunday

.          P-79



        Times.  After all, not only were large sums of money
        involved, but the reputation of myself and the
reputation
        of a major international newspaper group.  We wished
to be
        absolutely certain.
                  On my return from Moscow and Munich to
London in
        June 1992, therefore, the two glass plates were sent
their
        separate ways, heavily wrapped and protected; one to
Agfa
        photographic laboratory which tested the age of the
        emulsion in a non-constructive manner, and the other
to
        the Pilkington Glassworks whose laboratory specialists
        carried out similar tests on the age of the glass.
Their
        reports are part of my discovery, and these confirmed
that
        the tests were appropriate under the circumstances.
                  My Lord, if I may just anticipate by a few
        paragraphs what happened to those two glass plates
        subsequently.  I returned to Moscow at the end of
June.
        The glass plates were brought out to Moscow personally
by
        a courier of the Sunday Times.  As soon as the tests
on
        them were complete and handed to me standing outside
the
        archives building, as my diary records, and within
three
        minutes I had taken them back into the archives
building
        and replaced them in the box where they have been for
the
        last 47 years.  This is of course a matter that is
very
        much in contention, my Lord.  That is why I have gone
into
        it in such detail.
                  What follows is not strictly relevant to the

.          P-80



        glass plates, but it is relevant to this case and is
best
        inserted here because of its chronology.  When I
returned
        to London with the remaining diaries which the Sunday
        Times had requested, an awkward situation had
developed.
        Our secrecy had been compromised by an astute reporter
of
        The Independent, a Mr Peter Pringle, who was based in
        Moscow at the time I was using the archives.  He too
has
        submitted a written witness statement for the
Defendants.
        He stalked me into the KGB archives, confronted me and
        learned from Dr Bondarev of my work on the Goebbels
        Diaries.  The resulting scoop in The Independent sent
the
        press world about its ears.  Before I returned to
London
        on July 4th 199 h entire Fleet Street press and the
        broadcast media fell over themselves to print stories
        about the diaries and my own participation.  In order
to
        blacken the name of the Sunday Times and its somewhat
        unpopular editor, I was described with every possible
        epithet.
                  It is of relevance to this action, in my
        submission, my Lord, because the same organizations
which
        had gone to great lengths to furnish the Defendants
here
        with the materials they needed to blacken my name and
the
        book "Denying the Holocaust", now applied heavy
pressure
        to Andrew Neil and The Times Newspapers Limited to
violate
        their contract with me and to pay me nothing of the
moneys
        which were due to me under the contract.  Under this

.          P-81



        pressure, which Mr Neil described to me at the time as
the
        worst that he had experienced in his life, the Sunday
        Times having in fact paid me the first installment
welshed
        on the rest of the payments.  I was forced to sue them
in
        these same courts for breach of contract.  The
financial
        consequences of this violation of the contract, in
round
        terms about 65,000, were serious for me.
                  When I reviewed all the clippings, when I
read
        all the statements made by these various bodies and
boards
        and campaigns and agencies and organizations attacking
my
        name, both during my absence in Moscow and upon my
return,
        I could only say, sadly, from a lengthening
experience:
        "The gang's all here".  The same gang whom I loosely
        describe as the traditional enemies of free speech,
were
        to be seen in the following days behind the metal
police
        barricades, police barricades thrown up outside my
        apartment, screaming abuse at me and other
leaseholders in
        our building, spitting, harassing passers by, holding
up
        offensive placards and slogans, including one reading
in a
        most execrable taste, "Gas Irving".  They can be seen
in
        the newspaper photographs.  From the photographs of
this
        demonstration it appeared that representatives of
every
        ethnic and other minority were present in these.  It
was
        the most disagreeable experience.
                  On my second visit to Moscow, as your
Lordship
        will find from the relevant passages of my diary, I
found

.          P-82



        frostier atmosphere.  The boxes which I had so readily
        been provided with on my previous trip were said to be
        missing and not found.  For three or four days I was
        unable to do anything and then one box was released to
me
        which I devoured rapidly.  On the last day but one it
        became plain that I had jealous and envious rivals in
        Munich to thank for the difficulties that the Russians
        were now making.  Dr Bondarev's secretary came into
the
        reading room and said there were allegations that I
had
        stolen the glass plates.  I assured her that while
        I borrowed some heavy glass plate which had been in my
        custody was at that time back in the archives and
nothing
        was missing, which was true.  I also voluntarily wrote
a
        statement which was handed to Dr Bondarev.
                  Your Lordship will find this document in
both
        Russian and English, in my handwriting, is in
discovery
        both of myself and of the Defendants as an exhibit to
the
        report by Professor Tarasov.  Professor Tarasov is to
be
        giving evidence before your Lordship, and I shall
examine
        him with particular pleasure.
                  Dr Bondarev's secretary came back a few
minutes
        later and said that this declaration was just what
they
        required.  She vouchsafed to me the information came
from
        Munich.
                  Your Lordship will see from the information
        which came from Munich which is in the Defendants'

.          P-83



        discovery that the Institut fur Zeitgeschichte faxed
to
        Moscow a particularly hateful letter about me in an
        attempt to destroy my relationship with the Russians.
        However, I already had all the documents that had been
on
        my shopping list, either in long hand or by dictating
them
        on to a hand-held dictate recorder or typed on to my
        portable typewriter, or as photocopies of a few pages
of
        November 1938, or as photographic prints obtained from
the
        glass microfiche.  I have collected several hundred
pages
        of the most important Goebbels Diaries entries that
have
        been missing ever since the end of the war, and I see
no
        reason not to be proud of this achievement.  It is
        indicative of he general attempt to blacken my name
and to
        silence me, that when I spoke to a meeting organised
by my
        private supports' club, I suppose you would call it,
the
        Clarendon Club, on evening of July 4th 1992, my return
        from Moscow that day, the hall in Great Portland
Street
        was subjected to violent demonstrations outside which
        required a very large police presence to protect the
        members of my audience.  This will be one of the
        photographs in the bundle I shall shortly be
submitting to
        your Lordship.  Later on that year when I addressed a
        third meeting at a West End hotel, there were even
more
        violent demonstrations.  Such demonstrations do not
occur
        spontaneously.  Somebody has to pay for the printing
and
        the bill posting and the bus rentals.  I might mention

.          P-84



        that on one of the days that followed I was violently
        attacked by three men who identified themselves to me
as
        Jews when I was having a Sunday lunch at a public
        restaurant in Mayfair with my family.  They had laid
an
        ambush for me.
                  I only recently learned that on the Monday
after
        my return from Moscow, my long time publishers,
Macmillan
        Limited, seeing the clamour and coming under pressure
from
        unnamed members of the Jewish community (I have the
        internal memorandum), panicked and issued secret
        instructions for the destruction of all remaining
stocks
        of my books without ever informing me that they had
done
        so.
                  This particularly repulsive act by a
publisher,
        July 6th 1992, reminiscent of the Nazis in 1933, cost
me
        of course many tens of thousands of pounds in lost
        royalties.  At the same time as they were taking these
        secret decisions to destroy all of my books, at a cost
to
        themselves of hundreds of thousands of pounds, my
editor
        at Macmillan has continued to write ingratiating
letters
        expressing interest in the early delivery of my
Goebbels'
        biography.  It was altogether a most unhappy period.
                  My Lord, I am coming towards the end as you
can
        see.  I can add one further brief example of how
different
        is my attitude of such documents as the Goebbels
Diaries
        from the attitude of my rivals and the scholars.

.          P-85



                  Dr Ralf Gunther Reuth approached me saying
that
        he was preparing a five-volume abridged edition of the
        other Goebbels Diaries for Piper Verlag in Germany at
this
        time and he had nothing for 1938.  There were large
gaps
        in the other years too.  I foolishly allowed him to
have
        photocopies of some of the most important passages
which
        until that moment had been exclusive to myself and my,
as
        yet, unpublished Goebbels' biography.  The thanks that
        I received for this generous act were scant indeed.
        I provided copies to the German Federal Archives
entirely
        of the entire Goebbels diary extracts that I brought
back
        from Moscow.  I did that on July 1st 1993.  Ten
minutes
        later the Director of the Archives informed me in
extreme
        embarrassment that on the instructions of the German
        Federal Minister of the Interior I was permanently
banned
        from the self-same archives forthwith and in
perpetuity,
        which is to my knowledge the only time that such a
        sanction has ever been applied to an historian.  He
        explained that this decision had been taken, "in the
        interests of the German people".

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