Archive/File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day001.11 Last-Modified: 2000/07/20 I mention these facts, my Lord, to show that it was not just one single action that has destroyed my career, but a cumulative, self-perpetuating, rolling onslaught from every side engineered by the same people who have propagated the book which is at the centre of the dispute, which is the subject of this action, my Lord. . P-86 MR JUSTICE GRAY: Thank you very much, Mr Irving. Can I before I ask Mr Rampton to open the Defendants' case just ask you to go back, if you would, to page 18 which is where you are dealing with what I think you accept is at the heart of the action, namely the accusation that you are a "Holocaust denier". MR IRVING: Yes. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Towards the end of page 18, in fact perhaps one can pick it up at the beginning of that last paragraph, you say this: "This trial is not really about what happened in the Holocaust or how many Jews and other persecuted minorities were tortured and put to death". Certainly as I see it, and I believe as he Defendants see it, that is right. This trial is not concerned with making findings of historical fact. But you then go on to set out what you say the Defendants need to establish for the purposes of their plea of justification, and you say that they need to establish, first, that a particular thing happened or existed; secondly that you were aware of that particular thing as it happened or existed at the time that you wrote about it from the records then before me, and then that you wilfully manipulated the text. There was just one thing I wanted to put to you so that one is clear about it. You are saying, are you, that it has to be shown that you had actual knowledge of the particular fact or event? . P-87 MR IRVING: My Lord, I do not have an astute legal brain, but I am trying to make it easy for the court by establishing very early on what the ground rules are going to be. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes, that is why I am raising this with because I think it is a very fundamental question. MR IRVING: It is a very fundamental point, my Lord, and I am indebted to you for having appeared to have grasped precisely the point I am trying to make. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Can I just put to you this and then complete your answer. The Defendants may be saying that whether or not they can actually prove that you specifically knew of the particular fact, it was there available in the historical records. They may be saying, and I believe they are saying, that you shut your eyes to it. MR IRVING: That is a different allegation, I would respectfully submit, my Lord, by saying that what they are saying there is that I am a rotten historian or a lazy historian or an indolent historian or that I am lethargic. That is not the words they have used. They have said that I manipulated, that I distorted. That is why I think I am entitled to press for my narrower definition, my Lord. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes. That puts it very clearly. Thank you very much indeed. That completes your opening? MR IRVING: That completes my opening statement, my Lord. MR RAMPTON: My Lord, before I read what everybody has anyway, . P-88 I might just respond to what your Lordship has just said to Mr Irving in this way, by saying your Lordship has it right. It is not that he is indolent. It is not that he falls into error. It is that he deliberately perverts the course of this particular episode in European history, including what happened at Auschwitz. MR JUSTICE GRAY: So you are putting the case that Mr Irving not only ought to have known but did in fact know what the historic records showed? MR RAMPTON: I do not know whether he did or whether he did not, but what is certain is that he leapt on to the sink of the Auschwitz battleship campaign without even opening the front of the fire. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes. MR RAMPTON: My Lord, Mr Irving calls himself an historian. The truth is, however, that he is not an historian at all but a falsifier of history. To put it bluntly, he is a liar. Lies may take various forms and may as often consist of suppression or omission as a direct falsehood or invention, but in the end all forms of lying converge into a single definition, wilful, deliberate misstatement of the facts. Mr Irving has used many different means to falsify history, invention, misquotation, suppression, distortion, manipulation and not least mistranslation, but those all these techniques have the same ultimate effect, . P-89 falsification of the truth. Moreover, the lies which the Defendants in this case will show that Mr Irving has told, concern an area of history in which perhaps it behoves any writer or researcher to be particularly careful of the truth, the destruction of the Jews by the Nazis during World War II, the Holocaust, and Adolf Hitler's role in that human catastrophy, or, as Mr Irving would have it, alleged catastrophe, for Mr Irving is nowadays a Holocaust denier. By this I mean that he denies that the Nazis planned and carried out the systematic murder of millions Jews, in particular, though by no means exclusively, by the use of homicidal gas chambers, and in particular, though by no means exclusively, at Auschwitz in Southern Poland. This was not, however, always so. In 1977 the first edition of Mr Irving's book Hitler's War was published. In that edition Mr Irving accepted that the Holocaust, as generally understood, had occurred. He was not willing, however, to accept that Adolf Hitler had any real or direct responsibility for what happened or that he knew anything very much about it until it was too late. Mr Irving went to considerable lengths to achieve his exoneration of Hitler. At this stage I take but one example of many to illustrate Mr Irving's disreputable methods. In late November 1941 a train load of about a thousand Jews was deported from Berlin to Riga . P-90 in Latvia, as part of a process which had been initiated earlier that year in accordance with Hitler's wishes to empty the Reich of its Jews. On 30th November 1941, as his daily log records, Heinrich Himmler, the head of the SS, was at the Wolf's lair, Hitler's headquarters in East Prussia. Mr Irving's account of this visit, so far as it concerns the fait of the Jews, is as follows. This is in Hitler's War 1977 at page 332: "On November 30th 1941 Himmler was summoned to the Wolf's lair for a secret conference with Hitler at which fait of Berlin's Jews was clearly raised. At 1.30 p.m. Himmler was obliged to telephone from Hitler's bunker to Heydrich the explicit order that Jews were", and this is in the author's italics, "not to be liquidated". The next day Himmler telephoned SS overall General Oswald Pohl, overall chief of the concentration camp system with the order: "Jews are to stay where they are". That is what Mr Irving wrote. In the introduction to that edition of the book at page 14, anticipating what the reader would find in the text, Mr Irving wrote this: "The incontrovertible evidence is that Hitler ordered on November 30th 1941 that there was to be "no liquidation" of the Jews (without much difficulty I", that is Mr Irving "found in Himmler's private files his own . P-91 handwriting note on this)". Thus the reader was led to believe, first, that as early as 30th November 1941 Hitler had issued an order, faithfully passed on by Himmler to the relevant authorities, that there was to be no liquidation of any Jews, and that all Jews were to stay wherever they happen to be; and second that there was incontrovertible evidence of this in handwritten notes by Himmler which Mr Irving had found in Himmler's private files. Mr Irving had evidently read Himmler's notes, and Mr Irving's German was then, as it is now, very good. So what did the notes actually say? The relevant part of the note for 30th November 1941 reads as follows: "Judentranport aus Berlin. Keine Liquidierung". That is the German entry by Himmler. The unambiguous meaning of those words in English is: "Jew transport" the word is singular, "Jew transport from Berlin no liquidation". Thus so far from being a general prohibition against the liquidation of the Jews, it was merely an order from Himmler to Heydrich that the particular train load of Berlin Jews in question was not to be killed on arrival in Riga. The matter gets worse. What was the evidence that Himmler's order to Heydrich was derived from . P-92 instructions given to him by Hitler at a secret conference at which the fait of Berlin's Jews was clearly raised? The answer is none. This was pure invention by Mr Irving. Indeed, the fact is, as Mr Irving later discovered, that Himmler did not meet Hitler until an hour after he telephoned this order to Heydrich. Thus the matter gets worse still. I repeat Mr Irving's words: "And the next day Himmler telephoned SS General Oswald Pohl, overall chief of the concentration camp system, with the order 'Jews are to stay where they are'." What does Himmler's note of his telephone call to General Pohl on 1st November 1941 actually say? It says this: "Verwaltungsfuhrer des SS haben zu bleiben". Does this mean, as Mr Irving told his English readers, Jews are to stay where they are? No, it does not. It means administratively leaders of the SS are to stay where they are. Nor is there in this day's entry in the Himmler log any reference to the Jews whatsoever. I repeat, Mr Irving had, as he proudly announced, read the Himmler log and he has very good German. One asks the question: Does not this single example condemn Mr Irving as a liar, whose utterances about this awful episode in European history can never be taken seriously? In fairness it should be pointed out . P-93 that in the 1991 edition of Hitler's War Mr Irving corrected, though by implication only, the assertion that Himmler's order to Heydrich of 30th November 1941 "no liquidation" applied to Jews generally, and accepted that it applied only to a single trailer of Jews from Berlin. But did he withdraw his imaginative assertion that Himmler's instruction to Heydrich was derived from an order given to him by Hitler, or that Himmler's log for 1st December 1941 read, "Jews are to stay where they are"? No he did not. He wrote on page 427: "On November 30th 1941 Himmler was summoned to the Wolf's lair for a secret conference with Hitler at which the fate of a train load of Berlin Jews was clearly raised. At 1.30 p.m. Himmler was obliged to telephone from Hitler's bunker to Heydrich the explicit order that these Jews were not to be liquidated, and the next day Himmler telephoned SS General Oswald Pohl, overall chief of the concentration camp system, with the order, 'Jews are to stay where they are'." Thus was repeated and preserved a monstrous distortion of the evidence in Mr Irving's own hands. It is true that he printed a facsimile of Himmler's log for 30th November 1941 in both editions of the book, but he never printed the entry for 1st December 1941, "administrative leaders of the SS are to stay where they are." One wonders rhetorically why not? . P-94 So, my Lord, I pass on to Mr Irving and Holocaust denial. Between the publication of the first edition of Hitler's War in 1977 and its second edition in 1991, Mr Irving's views about the Holocaust underwent a sea change. In the 1977 edition he accepted it as an historical truth in all its essentials, systematic mass murder of Jews in purpose built extermination factories, but in the 1991 edition all trace of the Holocaust in this sense has disappeared. Auschwitz, for example, has been transformed from a monstrous killing machine into a mere slave labour camp.
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