The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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England's black cricketers left Irving 'queasy'

TIMES London 02.04.00

DAVID IRVING'S lament for an "old England", in which the national cricket
team was white to a man and Jack Warner gave avuncular advice from the steps
of Dock Green police station, was played to a rapt High Court yesterday.

The last thing that Anglo-Saxon Englishmen returning from abroad expected to
greet them at Heathrow was an immigration officer of Pakistani descent.

When did it all go wrong? who was to blame? Mr Irving wondered.

The answers came thick and fast from the controversial Hitler historian at
the end of his cross-examination from the witness box, where he has spent
most of the past four weeks of his libel action.

Describing the start of mass immigration as a "body wound" to Britain, he
said: "At the end of the war in 1945 the British Empire was at its greatest
ever extent. Our armies straddled the globe. We were beginning to get back
the territories that we had lost in the Far East through Churchill's foolish
military and naval strategy . . . And suddenly the Empire went."

His words, quoted back at him, were delivered in a speech that he made to a
gathering of the right-wing Clarendon Club in 1990. At that time, "groping
around in the darkness" of an unrecognisable country in which a handful of
true English, as well as Irish, Scots and Welsh, furtively exchanged shared
sensations and sorrows, he searched for what he called the "guilty men" who
had betrayed the land of their fathers.

He said that "Traitor No 1 to the British cause" was Lord Hailsham of St
Marylebone. The deputy leader of the House of Lords and chairman of the
Conservative Party, as he then was, was said to have told the Cabinet in
1958: "I don't think this coloured immigration is going to be much of a
problem in Britain. We only have 100,000 of these immigrants so far, and I
don't think the numbers are likely to grow much beyond that. So on chance I
am against having any restrictions imposed."

Mr Irving said that in the search for culprits in his changed England, he
would like to think that there was "somebody, somewhere, doing what Gilbert
and Sullivan would have had the Mikado do: which is making up a little list
of names of people . . . ".

Even if the clock were turned back, however, most of the guilty would have
passed on, commemorated only by the bronze plaques, statues and memorials
scattered around the capital. Not even Mrs Thatcher, he thought in 1990,
would be able to put Britain back where it was, and certainly not the
Socialist Party.

Mr Irving went on to tell the Clarendon Club: "Nothing makes me shudder more
than two or three months, working on a new manuscript, and I arrive back at
Heathrow airport - where of course my passport is checked by a Pakistani
immigration officer. Isn't that a humiliation for us English?"

Mr Irving is suing Deborah Lipstadt, an American academic, and Penguin Books
for libel over a book in which she describes him as a holocaust denier. He
was questioned by Richard Rampton, QC, for the defence, about his remarks to
the club and a speech that he made at Bow Town Hall, East London, in 1992.
In that speech, he spoke of feeling "queasy about the immigration disaster
that's happened to Britain" and the infiltration of the England cricket team
by black players.

"Why queasy?" Mr Rampton asked.

Mr Irving, the author of Hitler's War, relied: "I was speaking about what a
pity it is we have to have blacks on the team and they are better than our
whites. I say it's a pity because I am English."

The England he was born in in 1938 was different, he said, and he was imbued
with all its values.

In a clash over Mr Rampton's allegations of racism and his own preference to
be described as a patriot, Mr Irving said: "Patriotism is respecting the
country handed down to you by your fathers. I don't think there is anything
despicable or disreputable about patriotism."

He said that blacks were not inferior to whites but were different from
them. "I wish I could go to Heathrow airport, take a 747 and fly back ten
hours later to find England as it used to be.

"In the 1950s, Britain was a country at peace. We had defeated a major world
power, we were licking our wounds and recovering, and for no perceptible
reason we then, through the folly and negligence of the Government we had
voted into power, inflicted on this country a body wound which only began at
that time."

The hearing was adjourned until Monday.

GUARDIAN 02.04.00,3604,132286,00.html

Blacks are different, Irving tells libel court

Friday February 4, 2000

Historian David Irving yesterday denied that it was racist to say that it
made him feel "queasy" to see black people playing cricket for England.

"Blacks are different from us but not inferior," the 62-year-old author of
Hitler's War told the high court in London.

Mr Irving added that, in an interview with an Australian journalist, he also
said that it was a pity that England had to have blacks in the team and that
they were better than "we whites".

"I say it's a pity because I am English," he told Richard Rampton QC,
defending American academic Deborah Lipstadt and Penguin Books in a libel
action brought by Mr Irving over claims that he is a "Holocaust denier".

Asked by Mr Rampton when the Irvings first arrived in Britain, the author
put them as far back as Robert the Bruce in the 14th century.

Mr Rampton said that the Irvings were then Normans - "beastly foreigners".

Asked if origins really mattered, Mr Irving said that someone like him, born
in the England of 1938 and imbued with all its values, regretted what had
happened to "our country".

He said that he felt sorry that "my England" was unable to produce enough
good cricketers.

"I am saying it is regrettable that blacks and people of certain races are
superior athletes to whites. If this is a racist attitude, then so be it. It
is a recognition that some people are different at different things. You may
wish to legislate it away or describe it as despicable but it is a
recognition of how things are."

Mr Rampton said: "You would like it if this country was a pure white Aryan
race of people who went back as far as Robert the Bruce."

Mr Irving said it was "just an old-fashioned attitude" to want to go back to
the England of "Jack Warner and no chewing gum on the pavement". He added
that 90% of Englishmen of his vintage probably thought much the same.

Mr Irving is seeking damages over a 1994 book, Denying the Holocaust: The
Growing Assault on Truth and Memory, which he says has generated waves of
hatred against him.

The defendants, who deny libel, claim that Mr Irving is a "liar and
falsifier of history".

Referring to a speech he made at the Clarendon Club in 1990, Mr Irving
agreed that he described Lord Hailsham as "Traitor No 1 to the British
cause" because he had told a 1958 cabinet meeting that immigration was not
going to cause a problem.

"Patriotism is pride in the country that has been handed down to you by your
parents and their parents before them."

He added: "This country was existing in a relative state of peace. If you
ask the family of Stephen Lawrence, you will see the kind of tragedy that
has been inflicted on an individual because of the mass immigration into
this country."

He went on: "In the 1950s, Britain was a country at peace. We ... then
inflicted on this country a body wound which only began at that time ...
which led to 100,000 cases of the Stephen Lawrence tragedy occurring ... and
it could have been avoided - the tragedy in immigrants who we imported as
slaves, cheap labour to this country - and the tragedy to this country."

The hearing was adjourned until Monday.


UK: INTERVIEW-Hitler historian refuses to tame views.

By Kate Kelland 02/04/2000
Reuters English News Service
(C) Reuters Limited 2000.

LONDON, Feb 4 (Reuters) - He has been branded a "Holocaust denier" and a
racist and is accused of twisting history to fit his right-wing sympathies,
but Hitler historian David Irving is not backing down.

The man often described as Britain's most disliked historian, whose name
inspires disgust in Jewish communities, is in the middle of fighting a
London High Court libel action to defend his reputation.

With the international community watching anxiously as Austria lets a
far-right party into its national government, Irving believes that support
for neo-Nazi groups is rising in Europe and the United States.

"It's a the white minority against the positive
discrimination...It's inevitable," he told Reuters in an interview.

Irving, 61, shows no sign of taming his views under the barrage of criticism
that has rained down on him.

Breaking off from eating lunch at an Italian restaurant opposite his home in
London's posh Mayfair district, he recites a poem he once wrote for his
daughter which pulls no punches.

"I'm a baby Aryan, not Jewish or sectarian, I have no wish to marry an ape
or Rastafarian," he chants.

He talks of his friendship with David Duke, once national director of the
extremist Ku Klux Klan, he says the world is gripped by an "obsession with
race", and he explodes into expletives and rage when a gypsy child asks him
for money.

Irving, author of more than 20 controversial books including "Hitler's War",
has brought one of the most bizarre libel cases London's High Court has seen.

He is suing Deborah Lipstadt , professor of modern Jewish and Holocaust
studies at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, after she charged that he
was a "Holocaust denier".

Lipstadt 's lawyers have condemned Irving as a "falsifier of history and a
liar" in the case, now in its third week and expected to last at least three


Irving claims he alone is telling the historical truth when he questions
whether six million Jews were killed in the Holocaust.

"There were no gas chambers - certainly not on the scale that is now
propagated," he told Reuters. "What I wrote was the historical truth...I
alone have been getting it right."

He says all the buildings now at the notorious Auschwitz death camp -
including the giant chimney stack and the iron gate carrying the slogan
"Work Makes Free" - are fakes built by Polish communists after the end of
the World War Two.

"In 1948 they built this kind of Disneyland for tourists as a money spinner.
Everything they show the tourists is fake."

And what does he think happened in the Holocaust?

"A lot of it did happen but on a far smaller scale than we have been led to
believe. Every individual episode you look at you find that you can divide
by four, which reduces it very much to the scale of the other atrocities in
World War Two," he said.

"That, unfortunately, is what the Jewish community do not like. They want
their atrocity to be unique."


"The English march to the sound of gunfire, and if people try to stop us
doing something, then we keep marching," Irving said of his three-year-long
fight to bring his libel case.

Lamenting the passing of "old England" when policemen rode bicycles and
"pavements weren't polluted with chewing gum", Irving strays into talking in
a nationalistic vein.

He told the High Court judges he does not look down on any section of
humanity, but adds: "I can't say I applaud uncontrolled coloured immigration."

He defends himself against any personal charge of racism, claiming his
"domestic staff" over the years have included a Barbadian, a Punjabi, a Sri
Lankan and a Pakistani, who, he adds, were "all very attractive girls with
very nice breasts".

Unshaven and dressed in training shoes and light blue shirt which hangs
messily over the top of his baggy trousers, Irving cuts a figure many would
describe either as eccentric or shabby.

As he says: "It's not a historian's job to be liked."


News Historian blames Lawrence death on immigration
Kim Sengupta
The Independent - London
(Copyright 2000 Newspaper Publishing PLC)

THE MURDER of Stephen Lawrence was the result of mass immigration into this
country, David Irving told the High Court yesterday.

The historian said that before the arrival of migrants "this country was
existing in a relative state of peace". He added: "If you ask the family of
Stephen Lawrence, you will see the kind of tragedy that has been inflicted
on an individual because of the mass immigration into this country."

Giving evidence in a libel action in which he is suing Deborah Lipstadt , an
American academic, and Penguin Books over claims that he is a "Holocaust
denier", Mr Irving agreed that he described Lord Hailsham as "Traitor No 1
to the British cause" because he had told a 1958 cabinet meeting that
immigration was not going to cause a problem. Mr Irving said that it was the
duty of the Government to try to ward off any "misfortunes which may befall
this country".

Richard Rampton QC, for Ms Lipstadt and Penguin Books, asked if it was the
Government's over-riding obligation to preserve the racial purity. "Some
people, leaving aside yourself and some of your friends from the Third
Reich, don't mind having mixed ancestry," he said. "Does that baffle you? Do
you find it shocking?" Mr Irving responded that he was simply being patriotic.

Earlier Mr Irving, the author of Hitler's War, agreed he had said that he
felt "queasy" watching a black man play cricket for England and that "it was
a pity that England had to have blacks in the team". Expanding on why it was
"a pity", Mr Irving said: "I say it's a pity because I am English. I'm
saying it's regrettable that blacks and people of certain races are superior
athletes to whites."

Mr Rampton asked Mr Irving about his comment that it was a "humiliation for
us English" when, on returning to Heathrow from abroad, his passport was
checked by a Pakistani immigration officer. Mr Irving said that a Pakistani
had less right to check his passport than an Englishman.

Mr Irving is seeking damages over a 1994 book, Denying the Holocaust: The
Growing Assault on Truth and Memory. The defendants deny libel. The case
continues. Caption: Irving: Agreed decribing Lord Hailsham as a traitor



Ray Moseley,
Tribune Foreign Correspondent
02/04/2000 Chicago Tribune
Copyright 2000 by the Chicago Tribune

Historian David Irving, who has denied being anti-Semitic, once wrote a
ditty describing his daughter as "a Baby Aryan," mused about why Jews are
disliked, and suggested that a black newscaster should be confined to
reporting on muggings and drug raids.

All this emerged in a London courtroom, where Irving is suing American
academic Deborah Lipstadt for libel for calling him a Holocaust denier and a
defender of Adolf Hitler.

Irving denied that any of those comments showed he was a racist.

The ditty about his daughter was contained in Irving's diary, which defense
attorneys obtained in an exchange of documents before the trial. The trial
began last month and is expected to run three months.

In the diary he tells of taking his baby daughter Jessica for a walk in 1994
and singing her a ditty that begins: "My name is Baby Jessica." The diary
goes on to say that when "half-breed" children were wheeled past them in
their baby carriages, he changed the words as follows: "I am a Baby Aryan
Not Jewish or Sectarian I have no plans to marry an Ape or Rastafarian."

Irving denied this was racist and said it was a private response to an
article in a London magazine that referred sarcastically to his "perfect
Aryan family."

Defense lawyer Richard Rampton also asked Irving, who has denied Jews were
exterminated in Nazi gas chambers, about an interview he gave to a
journalist in 1998 in which he analyzed anti-Semitism.

In the interview Irving said: "The question which would concern me, if I was
a Jew, is not who pulled the trigger, but why? Why are we disliked?

"I would say that they're a clever race. I would say that as a race they are
better at making money than I am. That's a racist remark, of course. . . .
If I was going to be crude, I would say not only are they better at making
money, but they are greedy."

Pressed by Rampton to explain those remarks, Irving said, "It's a very
coherent expression of the anti-Semitic tragedy. I am putting myself in the
skin of a person asking questions about a clever people."

Rampton asked: "Every time there is a pogrom or gassing or machine- gunning
into a pit, it's entirely the Jews' fault because some of them are very good
at playing the piano and making money?"

Irving replied: "That's a childish oversimplification. I am not a racist. I
haven't seen a single colored person on your team behind you."

Irving, who admits Jews were killed in large numbers but denies the Nazis
murdered 6 million, has challenged Lipstadt 's charge that he denies the
Holocaust took place.

Rampton produced a video of Irving addressing the extreme right- wing
National Alliance in Tampa in October 1995 in which he spoke of "the legend
of the Holocaust."

Asked why he said in the speech that the Holocaust story was "boring,"
Irving replied: "I think 95 percent of the thinking public find the
Holocaust boring by now but don't say it because it's politically incorrect.
What other expression is there for the fact that it's all the Jews go on
about now? There have been the most incredible episodes in Jewish history,
but all you hear of in films and so on of late is the Holocaust."

Rampton asked Irving about a speech he made to a London club in which he
said he yearned for the old days when BBC newscasters wore dinner jackets on
the air.

In the speech he said: "For a transitional period, I'd be prepared to accept
that the BBC should have a dinner-jacketed gentleman reading the important
news to us, followed by a lady reading all the less important news, followed
by Trevor McDonald giving us all the latest news about the muggings and the
drug busts."

McDonald is black. Irving denied that the reference to him was racist.



Top News Defense in Irving libel case presents a host of racist remarks
Sharon Sadeh, Ha'aretz Correspondent 02/04/2000
Ha'aretz Copyright (C) 2000 Ha'aretz Daily Newspaper Ltd.
Tel Aviv, Israel;

LONDON - The defense in the libel suit submitted by British historian David 
Irving against American historian Deborah Lipstadt , who accused him of 
denying the Holocaust, yesterday presented a host of statements Irving made 
in the past, in an attempt to prove his racist positions.

Among the statements quoted was an anti-black statement Irving made in an 
interview with an Australian television network. In the interview, Irving 
expressed his aversion to the participation of black players on Britain's 
cricket team. Asked to explain his statement, Irving said that looking at 
what happened to Britain in the last few decades sickens him and that he 
sometimes dreams of returning to the Britain of his childhood. "Britain has 
sadly changed," Irving commented, and now "we have all these blacks."

Asked for his opinions on inter-racial marriages, Irving said that he 
believes God wishes to keep the races separate, as he created them.

In another instance, Irving described a senior British official, who in the 
1950s made light of the ramifications of immigration to Britain, as a 
"traitor." Irving defended his remark by saying that senior officials have 
a responsibility to protect British interests, and that because of their 
stupidity, neglect and ignorance they did not put the state's best 
interests at the top of their priorities, and failed to identify the 
tragedies that multitudes of immigrants would bring on Britain. Irving 
added that if those in charge had been on their guard, hundreds of 
thousands of tragedies would have been prevented "such as the murder of 
black youth Steven Lawrence," in 1993. Lawrence was murdered by a gang of 
white racists.

In another statement presented yesterday by the defense, Irving said that 
he feels "humiliated" when required to show his passport to a British 
immigration officer of Pakistani descent. "He is a Pakistani and has less 
of a right than a real Englishman to check my passport," Irving said, 
defining it as a "paradoxical situation" in which a non-Englishman must 
authorize the entrance of an Englishman to Britain. Asked how he knows that 
the immigration officer in question was not born as a full-fledged English 
citizen, Irving replied that he assumes so on the basis of "the laws of 

In the second part of yesterday's court hearing, Irving brought a witness 
on his behalf, who had accompanied him on a visit to the KGB archives in 
Moscow in 1992. Irving thus tried to prove that he had not stolen copies of 
Geobbles' diaries from the archives, as claimed by the defense, but only 
"borrowed" them for a day in order to copy them and check their 
authenticity, at the request of the Sunday Times which wished to publish them.

"I'm ashamed of what I did," Irving said, but explained that he did so 
because there was no photocopying machine or microfiche on the premises, 
and he knew that a German official was set to take the diaries out of 
Russia several days later. "I feared that if that happens there would be no 
access to them for many years. This was a desperate situation that required 
desperate measures," Irving said.

Features 'I find the Holocaust endlessly boring'
Tom Segev, Ha'aretz Correspondent 02/04/2000 Ha'aretz
Copyright (C) 2000 Ha'aretz Daily Newspaper Ltd. Tel Aviv, Israel; Source: 
World Reporter (TM)

British historian David Irving says that, had the Jews not been allowed to 
set up a state in Palestine but were sent to Madagascar instead, as 
proposed in the plan he attributes to Nazi Germany, "the world would be a 
happier place."

In an interview with Ha'aretz, Irving claims that during the 1956 Sinai 
Campaign he took part in a demonstration supporting Israel, but today he 
sees no big difference between Israelis and Nazis. The interview was held 
in Irving's home in London's Mayfair district, as he sat under a large 
portrait of U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt, whom he praised for 
extricating his country from a deep crisis, commenting: "like Hitler."

The interview with Irving came at the end of a long day of hearings in the 
libel case he filed against American historian Deborah Lipstadt over a book 
she wrote describing him as a Holocaust denier. Irving does not deny that 
the Nazis murdered Jews, but claims that they did not systematically murder 
millions in gas chambers. Asked where all the Jews that he claims the Nazis 
did not murder disappeared to, Irving said: "The fact is there are Jews 
everywhere. That's how they are. They always pop up again, everywhere. 
Maybe they changed their names to Israeli names." But he's not too 
interested in that. He finds the Holocaust endlessly boring, he says.

Irving added that the Jews should ask themselves why they are hated so 
much, and always have been, everywhere. "What is it in them that generates 
this hatred? They would do well to think about that."

"There is no doubt that they are hated today in part because of all the 
'Holocaust propaganda' they are constantly spreading. It's become 
impossible to open a newspaper or see a television program these days 
without coming across the Holocaust. Holocaust, Holocaust, everywhere 
Holocaust. The Holocaust has 'hijacked' all the media, all of Western 
culture. The world is fed up with it. People are losing their patience and 
are liable to resort to acts of violence against Jews. If the Jews don't 
stop, they can expect a genuine Holocaust.".

Week's End Where are all their holes? David Irving, a British historian, 
aims to prove that Deborah Lipstadt , an American historian, libeled him 
when she accused him of denying the Holocaust. He argues that there is no 
evidence for the destruction of millions of Jews; she must prove there is.

Tom Segev 02/04/2000 Ha'aretz Copyright (C) 2000 Ha'aretz Daily Newspaper 
Ltd. Tel Aviv, Israel;

One day David Irving hosted several acquaintances for dinner at the large, 
red-brick London home in which he has lived for more than 30 years. 
Although he shares the building with a ground-floor laundromat and sandwich 
bar, his Duke Street address in West London, not far from Grosvenor Square 
on the outskirts of Mayfair, is considered very posh. In the course of 
conversation, the diners talked about their work. David Irving happened to 
mention a book he had written about Adolf Hitler. All at once Irving got up 
and brought in a drawing about the size of a postcard, which he claimed to 
have received from one of Hitler's secretaries. It was a self-portrait of 
the Fuehrer, sketched in simple lines with a crayon. One of the men who was 
present that evening shuddered this week as he recalled how Irving showed 
Hitler's drawing to each guest in turn, full of pride and awe, as if he 
himself had done it.

When I visited David Irving at his home this week, accompanied by Ha'aretz 
correspondent Sharon Sadeh, we asked to see the drawing. "Later on," Irving 
said. "Later on." In her book, "Denying the Holocaust," Deborah Lipstadt 
writes that Irving had a portrait of Hitler hanging in his office. This is 
one of the items in the book that prompted Irving to press a libel suit 
against Lipstadt and her publisher, Penguin. When we visited this week, a 
large portrait of President Roosevelt was hanging in his study. We asked 
why, and Irving explained that Roosevelt was the greatest American leader 
of all. That he extricated himself and his country from a deep crisis. 
"Like Hitler," Irving said. I asked if that was what led him to admire 
Roosevelt so, but Irving replied that we would not be able to trick him 
into making such a statement. He assumed that we were there in order to get 
him to say terrible things. "I'm talking with the enemy now," he said - in 
German - to someone on the phone, while we were with him. In fact, there is 
no need to trick Irving into saying anything; that which he says 
intentionally is quite enough.

On Friday morning Irving and Lipstadt found themselves in a narrow corridor 
on the second floor of the east bloc of the High Court of Justice in 
London. The door to Chamber No. 73 was locked. An embarrassing moment for 
both. Irving is representing himself, but brought along one of his 
admirers, a fellow named Rae West, who was in need of a shave. West is 
responsible for maintaining Irving's Internet site, and also serves tea in 
his home. (Irving, later that afternoon: "He looks a little Jewish, doesn't 

Lipstadt is aided by a sizable team of attorneys that includes Anthony 
Julius, who also handled Princess Diana's divorce. His law firm is headed 
by Lord Victor Mishcon, 85, a Jew who represents, among other clients, the 
Board of Deputies, an umbrella organization of Jewish communities in 
Britain. Lipstadt 's barrister, the behind-the-scenes attorney who actually 
prepares the case, is James Libson, a brilliant young man who is also a 
graduate of Netzer, the Zionist youth movement. Libson himself never 
addresses the court. That job is left to Richard Rampton, who bears the 
title of Queen's Counsel ("Q.C."). A congenial man with an easygoing 
manner, pink cheeks, white hair and round spectacles, he exhudes a 
dignified tranquility and looks just like one of the lawyers you might see 
on a BBC television series. No mere twist of fate, this: The court 
oftentimes provide the best theater to be had in London.

We stood there in the corridor, shoulder to shoulder, waiting for the door 
to open; Irving and Lipstadt ignored one another. She is a professor of 
Jewish studies at Atlanta's Emory University, and speaks Hebrew, but in 
deference to her attorneys' instructions, she is not granting any 
interviews; nor, it seems, will she be testifying in court. She seems to be 
a kindly woman, but looks tense. The case is important to her: It has 
occupied her thoughts and energies for over two years, and has disrupted 
her normal academic routine. Preparing the defense is no simple task; it 
has required a great deal of time and expense, ranging into the millions of 
dollars. Jewish organizations in America are helping out. They consider the 
lawsuit a challenge for the Jewish people.

Lipstadt believes that denial of the Holocaust is dangerous, and more 
increasingly so as the generation of Holocaust survivors dies. She explains 
her belief in part by a personal story: Lipstadt has relatives who used to 
employ a black servant named Charles Washington. He was born a slave. There 
is a great deal of difference between what her relatives know about the 
Civil War and what she knows: for her, it is only history; for her 
relatives, it is someone's life story.

That is what will happen to the Holocaust, she fears. Soon there will be no 
more survivors left, and then, when the Holocaust is only history, the 
influence of the Holocaust deniers is liable to increase. As she sees it, 
they and the Nazis are cut of the same cloth: one group murdered Jews in 
gas chambers, the other wants to expunge their memory and in so doing 
murder them a second time. She exaggerates the significance of the phenomenon.

Irving is a large, square-jawed, broad-shouldered man of 62 who wears an 
elegant, striped three-piece suit. He has an impressive head of thick hair, 
silver threads running through it. (That afternoon at his home, Irving 
explains to his young daughter Jessica that my baldness is characteristic 
of the Jews. I raise my eyebrow. "Yes, yes," Irving insists, patting the 
sides of his head with both hands. "The Jews have a problem of hair loss. 
That's well known. But it's not something that speaks against them - they 
also happen to be good at playing the violin.")

While we are standing in front of the closed courtroom door, I ask Irving 
about his website. It features pictures from his family album and a poster 
of Hitler and his generals. The poster is available for sale. Several of 
Irving's books, on the other hand, can be downloaded from the site for 
free. Each day he provides the full transcript of the court hearings, as 
well as a personal diary he has been writing. He writes well. Irving claims 
that the site is intended to provide a balance to the media reports. I ask 
if he is unhappy with the coverage. He looks at me with a combination of 
disdain and pity. "If you're trying to get a statement out of me that I am 
a victim of a conspiracy against me by world Jewry, by means of its 
domination of the international media," he says, "don't bother. It's true." 
At this point, the door to the chamber is opened. @CROSStom:2. Cat and 
dog.Above one of the doorways to the High Court of Justice is a rendering 
of Moses the Lawgiver inscribed in stone; King Solomon appears on a nearby 
frieze. Inscribed above the judges' entrance are a cat and a dog, as 
symbols of the goings-on in the courtrooms. The architect of the building, 
which stands not far from the Thames River, specialized in designing 
churches. The High Court of Justice looks like a house of prayer. Queen 
Victoria dedicated the building 118 years ago, and although it has gone 
through structural changes since then, with the addition of new wings, the 
building is rather shabby.

The court secretariat offers an information pamphlet to visitors that 
includes an enlightening explanation about the wigs that judges, attorneys 
and some officers of the court wear on their heads. Three hundred years 
ago, the wigs were made of human hair, and had to be combed each day. 
However, since 1834, the wigs have been made from horses' manes, relieving 
their owners of the need to comb them. Wigs of different types are used by 
different members of the judicial system on different occasions. The wig 
that barrister Richard Rampton wears has two slender pigtails in back. The 
one worn by the judge is a little different. The judge is Charles Gray, a 
man of about 50. He wears a black robe with a scarlet tippet across one 
shoulder. His robe has wide cuffs, which from afar look to be white fur. He 
is seated on a red armchair and is addressed as "My Lord."

In this trial there is no jury: The two sides agreed that the issue was too 
complicated. Gray was made a judge only one year ago. Previously, he was a 
renowned and skillful attorney who specialized in libel suits. This is the 
second time that Gray is involved in a trial that has its roots in World 
War II. About ten years ago, Gray represented Lord Aldington, a British 
army officer who brought a suit against a historian who described him as a 
war criminal. It is a fascinating story that appears in a new book on libel 
trials in England, by David Hooper ("Reputations Under Fire," Little, Brown 
and Company, U.K.). Gray won the case. The court awarded his client damages 
of 1.5 million pounds sterling, but the Lord never received the money. His 
legal expenses alone came to about one million pounds. Meaning that in many 
cases it isn't worth embarking on a libel suit, even when there is a great 
chance of success.

The historian who lost the Aldington case was Count Nikolai Tolstoy, a 
descendent of the author. Tolstoy's attorney was none other than Richard 
Rampton, who is now Lipstadt 's attorney. He and Justice Gray battled one 
another, but remained good friends. Count Tolstoy, a somewhat eccentric 
man, also appeared as a defense witness at the trial of John Demjanjuk in 
Jerusalem. Demjanjuk's name was also mentioned at the Irving- Lipstadt 
trial this week. "Ask Demjanjuk what he thinks of eyewitnesses," Irving 
said to one of the defense witnesses, an expert in the history of 
Auschwitz, who among other things bases his statements on eyewitness 
accounts. Only "the brave Israeli judges," Irving said, saved Demjanjuk 
from hanging, after he was at first convicted primarily on the basis of 
eyewitness testimony.

Irving is backed up by a team of 25 associates, including a few historians. 
Several lawyers are also advising him, gratis. A well-known architect from 
New York, Irving claimed this week, helped him decipher the blueprints for 
the gas chambers at Auschwitz, which were submitted by defense counsel. He 
receives money from supporters abroad - organizations and individuals - 
everywhere from Canada to Australia. He has spent three years preparing for 
this trial, neglecting all other work. This week, Irving received a letter 
of encouragement from the son of Hitler's aide Rudolf Hess. Hess sent him 
an article about the Wilkomirsky affair, in which a Swiss music teacher 
pretending to be a Holocaust survivor wrote a bestseller. "A typical 
example of the representatives of the Holocaust industry," Hess wrote 
Irving, who wasted no time in uploading the letter to his Internet site.

David Irving is well prepared. He wears a scowl most of the time, even 
though he seems to be enjoying every moment. This is also evident in his 
body language, which looks as if it were borrowed from a typical BBC 
series. When he sits, he tilts his head to one side, narrows his eyes as if 
in concentration, sticks one of the temples of his glasses in his mouth, 
writes notes with his right hand, using a fountain pen. Sometimes he 
stands, left fist on his hip. At other times his arm dangles along the 
length of his body, fingers rubbing against one another in a nervous tick, 
up and down, up and down. He effects a slight stutter of hesitation when he 
begins to talk, a not uncommon practice among members of the English upper 
class, including the defense attorney and the judge in this trial. The 
courtroom atmosphere is very civilized, seemingly devoid of emotional 
involvement. Everyone maintains a veneer of good manners and consideration; 
at times the legal representatives of the opposing sides help one another 
to find documents, which amount to hundreds of thousands of pages arranged 
in boxes on shelves that run the entire length of one of the courtroom walls.

It is a relatively new and spacious hall. The initial sessions were held in 
a courtroom that lacked sufficient room for all those who wanted to follow 
the proceedings - journalists and curious onlookers, Irving supporters and 
Lipstadt supporters. Now there is room for about 50 spectators, and most of 
the seats are taken most of the time. A taciturn woman is responsible for 
order in the courtroom; every whisper draws her furious glance, a cellular 
phone that dares to ring brings a bloodcurdling smile to her lips.

The stenographers who take down the protocol employ an incredible system. 
They type in syllables, the computer assembles them into words, and the 
words appear on the screens of laptops on the attorneys' tables. While the 
attorney is talking, the words appear on the screen before him, split 
seconds after he has uttered them. The contrast between the high-tech 
notation system and the piles of horsehair worn by the judge and the 
attorneys lends a somewhat grotesque effect to the proceedings. 
@CROSStom:3. So what? Lipstadt wrote that Irving denies the Holocaust, that 
he is friendly with neo-Nazi organizations and that he knowingly distorted 
the historic truth. Irving does not deny that the Nazis murdered hundreds 
of thousands of Jews; he does deny that they murdered millions. He claims 
that Hitler did not know about it, that the murder was not carried out in 
any systematic fashion, that gas chambers and other extermination 
facilities were not built for this purpose. Irving claims that Lipstadt 's 
book and a series of actions taken by Jewish organizations in England and 
in the United States have destroyed his reputation as a historian. An 
individual who is highly familiar with the publishing world assessed this 
week that Irving is indeed finished, that no one will publish his books, 
but that he finished himself off. Years ago there were historians who 
admired his work, but the more he associated with neo-Nazi organizations 
and downplayed the Holocaust - the more they ostracized him from proper 
society. This occurred even before Lipstadt published her book.

The judge seems more inclined to focus on the question of whether Lipstadt 
harmed Irving's reputation as a historian and less so on the question of 
whether the Holocaust happened or not. But in order to prove that Irving 
disregarded historical evidence that proves the mass murder of the Jews, in 
other words that he "denied the Holocaust," the defense must prove in court 
that this evidence is reliable and that the destruction of millions of 
Jews, and not the more limited killing of Jews that Irving is prepared to 
confirm, informs the term "Holocaust" with its true meaning. The two sides, 
then, are arguing over the meaning of the term. Essentially, Lipstadt must 
prove that the Nazis systematically murdered millions of Jews in gas 
chambers in Auschwitz and the other death camps.

This isn't hard to prove; there is a plethora of solid evidence, both 
written and oral. Nor is there any danger that the Holocaust will be 
forgotten. On the contrary: from year to year, Holocaust consciousness 
reinforces its position as an international code for absolute evil - though 
films, books, curricula, museums, memorials and countless other ways, in 
nearly every country of the world. Active, strident "denial of the 
Holocaust" is primarily found on the Internet, and is for the most part 
characterized by lunatic-fringe groups that are not really worth the 
prodigious research effort invested by Lipstadt in her book. Ironically, 
Holocaust denial is practiced primarily among neo-Nazi groups which, one 
would think, should be proud of and pleased by the extermination of Jews, 
and not deny that it happened.

At times, Holocaust denial also fuels anti-Israel arguments. Lipstadt 's 
book began as a research project at the Vidal Sassoon International Center 
for the Study of Anti-Semitism at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. 
Apparently, her basic premise is that anyone who denies the Holocaust 
denies Israel's right to exist. This in fact happened this week in a 
semi-official Syrian newspaper, but that was more of a case of foolish and 
abhorrent name-calling than a genuine threat. Therefore, it may not make 
sense to pass laws against Holocaust denial, and thereby curb freedom of 
speech; this happens whenever and wherever Holocaust denial seems to 
present a significant threat. England has no law forbidding Holocaust 
denial, but David Irving is done for as a historian nonetheless, 
forevermore. With all due respect to the court, the verdict handed down by 
Mr. Justice Gray will contribute no more and no less than that real-life 
judgment. Let him decide whatever he wants. So what?

Although the courtroom is not the ideal forum for historical clarification, 
the destruction of the Jews has been already been proven countless times to 
the satisfaction of judges in countries around the world. Nevertheless, 
Lipstadt 's attorneys have gathered abundant material to back up her 
claims. The material may be useful for other historians.

Irving is trying to disprove the evidence submitted by the defense. He 
continually asks to pore over the most minute details discussed in the 
hearings, which often sound like lawyers negotiating a property deal, and 
other times like a seminar for undertakers. An expert witness for the 
defense, Robert van Pelt, presented the blueprints for the gas chambers and 
crematoria in Auschwitz. Irving's questions about the buildings made it 
sound like he was considering buying it for his own use: the property's 
location, the directions it faces, square meterage, (how much is that in 
real terms please, feet that is) where the elevator and the stairways are, 
where the dressing room is and where the sewage system is, thickness of the 
walls and what the door is made of. Every so often he would come closer to 
the slides that were shown in the courtroom so as to get a better look at 
the blueprints, at which time his large shadow would fall on the screen, 
resembling the shadow of a black vulture.

He wanted to know exactly how the bodies were brought down to the 
crematoria, by stretcher or by sliding them, where the gold teeth were 
extracted from the mouths of the dead, how many kilograms, please (can you 
translate that into pounds?) and exactly what they did with the teeth. 
There was an oven for melting down the gold. "Ah," Irving said knowingly 
and delightedly enunciated the German term: "S-C-H-M-E-L-Z-O-F-E-N." He 
inquired about the ovens for burning bodies: "How many corpses can you do 
in a day?" he wished to know. His central argument is that, technically 
speaking, it was not possible to annihilate so many people in the 
facilities that remained.

But what interested him more than anything else were the holes that were 
supposed to be in the ceiling of the chambers, which were ostensibly used 
for introducing the poison gas. No holes were marked on the plans displayed 
by the defense witness. Perhaps these were not suffocation chambers, but 
rather shelters to protect from aerial bombing, suggested Irving, and 
dramatically promised to withdraw his libel suit if he could only be shown 
the holes. Where are the holes, he asked again and again. "We had so much 
fun that day," he said later, because it turned out that there were no 
holes. But the media, of course, did not report that, Irving complained, 
and informed Internet surfers that Rudolf Hess' son was also infuriated 
about the gap between the protocols he reads and the media reports. 
@CROSStom:4. From Adolf to JessicaBy the time we came to his house that 
afternoon, by prior arrangement, Irving had a chance to change his suit 
vest for a green sweater. He walked us up to his study, equipped with a 
large copier, as well as document files and books and a colorful ball and 
toys belonging to his six-year-old daughter Jessica. She is the daughter of 
his second wife, a Danish-born woman. In all, he has had five daughters. 
One, who was born without any limbs, recently died at the age of 18. After 
the funeral he received a wreath of flowers with a condolence card signed 
'Philip Bouhler,' the man who was responsible in Nazi Germany for 
euthanasia performed on the ill, which developed into the program for mass 
destruction of the Jews. Bouhler took his own life in 1945. It was a cruel 
joke that was very painful for him, Irving said. He claims that whoever did 
it was influenced by Lipstadt 's book. Irving says he receives constant 
death threats. Originally, he planned to appear in court with a bodyguard 
at his side, he says, but was afraid that it would not look good, and 
decided to take the risk.

 From behind his desk, Irving came across as full of himself, a 
condescending man, a consummate egocentric, an indefatigable chatterer. He 
drank his tea with milk, and did not offer us any. One shelf in the room is 
lined with the personal diaries that he has been writing since 1959. They 
will be his secret weapon in this case, Irving said. Fifty-five volumes, 
somewhere between 20 and 30 million words, of which a mere 13 words bear 
unmistakably clear anti-Semitic character. They were written at a time that 
he was in a fury, when he was arguing with his lawyer, Rubinstein. That's 
all. The defense requested and received all of the volumes of his diary for 
its perusal. They examined them under a microscope and aside from those 13 
anti-Semitic words, not another word disparaging of Jews can be found. If 
he wins the case, Irving says, he will not ask Lipstadt for financial 
compensation or legal expenses. Only 500 pounds sterling, as a contribution 
to the charity that bears his deceased daughter's name. This is the 
arrangement that he claims to have offered before the trial began. If he 
loses, he will probably lose all his money.

He permitted us to thumb through one of the diaries. June 1967: The great 
victory of the Jews did not provoke any comments. On the other hand, when 
the Sinai Campaign began, in 1956, he claimed to have taken part in a 
demonstration of support for Israel. He himself doesn't know why he did it; 
he was a student at the time.

Irving does not see any great difference between the Israelis and the 
Nazis. He thinks that if the Jews would not have received a state in 
Palestine but had been sent to Madagascar instead, as proposed in the plan 
he attributes to Hitler, the world would be a happier place. He says that 
he does not have to go very far to shape his opinions on what is going on 
in Israel. He learns everything he needs from BBC broadcasts. He assumes 
that if Israel was a good and beautiful country, most of the Jews would 
settle there. The fact is that the majority does not want to live there. 
Evidently, they know why.

Irving claims to be able to differentiate between the Jewish majority and 
the Jews from the Jewish organizations who have conspired against him in a 
global conspiracy, with the goal of smearing his name and getting rid of 
him. In his assessment, they do not represent the majority of Jews. He 
thinks that the Jews of the United States now wield at least as much 
influence as did the Jews of Weimar Germany. This is extremely dangerous.

The Jews of the United States are liable to fall victim to the same fate of 
the Jews of Germany, he says. Irving is frequently asked if he believes the 
Jews of Europe were themselves to blame for what happened to them. He will 
not respond with a simple "yes" because the causality is more complex, but 
the Jews would do well to ask themselves why, really, they are hated so 
much, and always have been, everywhere. What is it in them that generates 
this hatred? They would do well to think about that, says Irving.

There is no doubt that they are hated today because of all this propaganda 
about the Holocaust that they are constantly spreading, he says. It's 
become impossible to open a newspaper or see a television program these 
days without coming across the Holocaust. Holocaust, Holocaust, everywhere 
Holocaust. The Holocaust has "hijacked" all of the media, all of Western 
culture. The world is fed up with it. People are losing their patience and 
are liable to resort to acts of violence against Jews. If the Jews don't 
stop with this, they can expect a genuine Holocaust, Irving said.

Sharon Sadeh asked him where all the Jews that the Nazis did not murder 
disappeared to. Irving said he doesn't know. The fact is there are Jews 
everywhere. That's how they are. They always pop up again, everywhere. But 
what does he know, maybe they changed their names to Israeli names. He's 
not too interested in that, either. He finds the Holocaust endlessly 
boring, he said.

Now he no longer wanted to show us the drawing, Hitler's alleged 
self-portrait. He doesn't remember exactly where he put it, he says, but if 
we wanted, he would send Jessica to bring her spoon, which is inscribed 
with the initials A.H., a relic of Hitler's personal silverware. But 
Jessica didn't want to bring in the spoon, and we got up to go. I'm still 
not sure if the historic spoon is kept in a safe place or if Jessica uses 
it to eat her porridge.

According to the daily report provided for his Internet admirers, David 
Irving had a hard day. He had worked the previous night until 4 a.m., and 
was already up at 7:50 to take Jessica to school. However, he reported to 
visitors to his website, he came home from the court that afternoon, at 
which point two Ha'aretz correspondents showed up. He found us 
"considerably more fun than Eric Silver [an editor of the Jerusalem Report, 
with whom he had spoken the evening before], though their final report will 
undoubtedly express the same line. He continued: pre-empting their 
inevitable accusations, I said, like Dr. Samuel Johnson: "The charge of 
anti-Semitism is the last resort of the Jewish scoundrel."

Which is indeed what he told us, but he did not tell his readers how our 
meeting ended. When we were already in the hall, ready to leave, he 
suddenly said to us, "Maybe write that I'm half Jewish. That would be quite 
the story for you. I can already see the headline. David Irving 
Circumcised. What a story." I got the feeling that he was highly amused by 
that comment.

Report: Historian Irving finds Holocaust 'endlessly boring'
Associated Press Newswires Copyright 2000.
The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

JERUSALEM (AP) - A British historian accused of denying the Holocaust finds 
the subject "endlessly boring" and warns that if Jews don't stop bringing 
it up, they can expect a real Holocaust, an Israeli newspaper reported Friday.

David Irving told the Haaretz daily that Jews have flooded Western culture 
with exaggerated reports about the Holocaust, which has "hijacked" all the 

"If the Jews don't stop this," he said, "they can expect a genuine Holocaust."

"I find the Holocaust endlessly boring," he added.

Irving, 62, is suing U.S. academic Deborah Lipstadt and Penguin Books in 
the British High Court for libel over a 1994 book that says he denied the 
Holocaust. Irving says he doesn't deny that the Nazis killed Jews during 
World War II, but challenges the number and manner of Jewish deaths in 
concentration camps.

An interview he gave to Haaretz about the trial, which began Jan. 11, was 
published Friday. During the interview, the paper said, he offered to show 
reporters his 6-year-old daughter's World War II-era spoon, inscribed with 
Adolf Hitler's initials.

Irving also told the paper that he is a victim of slander by a world Jewish 
conspiracy that dominates international media.

The trial, which is expected to last 12 weeks, will determine whether 
Lipstadt 's book, "Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and 
Memory," libeled Irving by saying he distorted statistics and denied the 

Penguin and Lipstadt deny any libel.



In response to Gene Lichtenstein's editorial last week, the Journal has
received about 100 letters addressed to Professor Deborah Lipstadt. The paper
will print excerpts from them in next week's issue [02.11.00].

LA Times retracts errors in story on Irving vrs. Lipstadt
[from an editorial in the LA Jewish Journal]

Finally, a written performance, this one by the Los Angeles Times. Last 
Monday (Jan. 31), the Times published a brief five paragraph correction to 
one of its Column One articles that had appeared on the newspaper's front 
page. That story dealt with Holocaust deniers who questioned the 
extermination of European Jews by Nazi Germany.

Now the Times, on page three, was notifying its readers -- under the 
heading For the Record -- that its original story had contained a number of 
factual errors. These included: mistakes on the number who died; on the 
academic respectability of some of the deniers, who it turns out were 
disavowed by their universities; and on the accurate claim that victims' 
remains were made into lampshades -- a claim rejected by the reporter in 
the original story, but now affirmed by the editor.

No mention was made by the Times of the alleged objectivity of the 
reporting, which attempted to balance two competing "equally justified" 
points of view, or of the reporter's slant, which emphasized the price 
deniers paid for their exercise of free speech. Nor was any explanation 
given as to why the corrections to the record had taken 24 days to assemble 
-- the Column One story appeared Jan. 7. For the Record tended to be spare 
in its account, without context or elaboration; a correction that lacked a 
sense of accountability. In all, I would say, not a stellar performance, 
not a class act. -- Gene Lichtenstein


Jews hated for their money, greed, says Holocaust denier

By Douglas Davis

LONDON (February 4) - Holocaust revisionist David Irving was accused
yesterday of being a "perverted racist" after he was confronted by
"poisonous" excerpts from his private daily journal in the High Court here.

The charge was levelled by Richard Rampton, leading defense counsel for
American historian Prof. Deborah Lipstadt and her British publisher, Penguin
Books, who are on trial for libel at the High Court in London.

Irving, 62, who denies that Jews were systematically exterminated in
Auschwitz, has claimed that Lipstadt wrecked his career by labelling him a
Holocaust denier and accusing him of distorting historical data to suit his
ideological predilections.

Discussing Irving's "utterances both in public and private on the subject of
Jews, blacks, etc," Rampton accused Irving of teaching his nine-month-old
daughter a "racist ditty" while taking her for a walk.

The senior London barrister quoted a September 1994 extract from Irving's
private journal, which he was obliged to hand over as part of an exchange of
documents, in which the revisionist referred to a song he had sung to his
daughter when "half-breed children" were wheeled past: "I am a Baby Aryan/
Not Jewish or Sectarian/I have no plans to marry/ an Ape or Rastafarian."

Rampton also referred to a September 1992 speech in which Irving suggested
that leading British television news presenter Sir Trevor McDonald, who is
of Afro-Caribbean origin, should be restricted to "giving us all the latest
news about muggings and drug busts" - but only after a "dinner-jacketed
gentleman reads the important news to us, followed by a lady reading all the
less important news."

Irving was also asked about a media interview he gave in November 1998 in
which he suggested that money and greed were the trigger for antisemitism.

"The question which would concern me if I was a Jew is not 'who pulled the
trigger', but 'why... why are we disliked? Is it something we are doing?'

"You people," he told his interviewer, "are disliked on a global scale. You
have been disliked for 3,000 years and yet you never seem to ask what is at
the root of this dislike... no sooner do you arrive as a people in a new
country than, within 50 years, you are already being disliked all over again."

The court was also shown a video of Irving addressing a right-wing American
organization, the National Alliance, in Tampa, Florida, in October 1995,
when he spoke of the "legend of the Holocaust."

Irving, who had suggested that an Auschwitz survivor may have faked her
tattooed number, said his comments were not intended to be antisemitic, but
critical of Jewish survivors who turned "their suffering into profit."

The trial continues.

Wrestling with the past
New debates over old horrors: the Holocaust and the writing of history

By Jay Tolson

As the proceedings of David Irving v. Penguin Books Ltd. and Deborah
Lipstadt enter their fourth week in a London court, many observers are at
odds about what is really at stake. Legally the issue is clear: Did an Emory
University professor libel a British writer by calling him a "Holocaust
denier" who distorts historical evidence to suit "his ideological leanings
and political agenda"? But there are greater questions at hand=96including
whether the general public cares about, or even recognizes, reasonable
standards of historical accuracy.

Irving, 61, a Hitler apologist and author of numerous World War II-era
histories and biographies (The Destruction of Dresden, Hitler's War), prides
himself on the detailed research that has earned some of his books the
qualified praise of John Keegan, Hugh Trevor-Roper, and other respected
historians. He charges that Lipstadt's Denying the Holocaust: The Growing
Assault on Truth and Memory impugns his work and threatens his livelihood.
Part of that livelihood was derived from speeches he gave to neo-Nazi
audiences in Germany and Austria, where, among other things, he dismissed
the crematoriums at Auschwitz as tourist attractions built by the Polish
communist regime after World War II. Now banned from Austria, Italy, and
Canada for violating laws against denying the Nazi genocide, he claims he is
not a denier but only one who challenges the scope and means of Jewish
killings and the fact of Hitler's involvement in the Final Solution.

How to argue. Some who are following the case have asserted that the
Holocaust itself is on trial=96or at least its scope and means. Alan Gold, a
novelist who has written about the denial phenomenon, says it is nothing
less than "a case that will test the facts upon which the deniers stake
their claim to history." Yet others say that the trial raises questions
about whether or how reputable historians should argue with deniers. "I used
to wonder why you even dignify such an absurd position," says historian Eric
A. Johnson. But given the influence of deniers, Johnson suspects they can no
longer be ignored. The danger, as many scholars acknowledge, is in creating
the impression that deniers represent merely another side of a reasonable
debate=96like the one over global warming, for example. Still, Lipstadt and
her English publisher felt they had to fight Irving, even though the
plaintiff would have accepted a settlement of 500 pounds (about $800). "If
we settled, we would be agreeing that we libeled him," says Helena Peacock,
head of the legal department at Penguin Books. "It would have been a win for

It's tempting to say that the outcome of the trial will have nothing to do
with the reality of the Holocaust. "It's more about the silliness of English
libel law," says Walter Reich, a professor at George Washington University
and former director of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. (Compared with
U.S. law, British libel law puts a much greater burden on the defendant.)
Yet some historians maintain that the trial may have serious ramifications
for how the Nazi genocide is talked about, studied, and represented. One
concern that is often raised regards the burgeoning "Holocaust industry," by
which is meant everything from museums and memorials to Steven Spielberg's
film projects to Holocaust-studies programs. David Cesarani, a professor of
Jewish history at Southampton University in England, vigorously defends
"opposing neo-Nazism and the Holocaust denial that is associated with it."
But he cites respectable academics who argue that memorializing efforts are
"being used wrongly or simply getting out of hand," in some cases triggering
a backlash that benefits deniers such as Irving.

In his recent Holocaust in American Life, University of Chicago historian
Peter Novick argues that American Jewish leaders have used the Holocaust to
advance a range of agendas, including bolstering ethnic identity and
galvanizing support for Israel. And while he acknowledges the anxiety many
people feel as survivors pass away and the Holocaust "recedes into the past,
into 'mere' history," he is concerned that too much emphasis on
memorializing can lead to a corrupted understanding of what history is. "For
the most part, deniers are crazed positivists," Novick says. "They think one
fact can prove or disprove everything, which is why they all seize on the
fact that there is no written document in which Hitler orders the Final
Solution and ignore all other evidence."

These battles come at a time when historians are presenting compelling new
evidence and analysis of how the genocide was carried out. Eric Johnson's
new book, Nazi Terror: The Gestapo, Jews, and Ordinary Germans, for
instance, presents a very different understanding of everyday German
involvement from the one set out in Daniel Goldhagen's controversial=96and
bestselling=96Hitler's Willing Executioners: Ordinary Germans and the
Holocaust. Goldhagen drew heavily on the behavior of police battalions in
Poland to demonstrate that "eliminationist anti-Semitism" extended far
beyond Hitler and the Nazi Party elite to include most ordinary Germans.
Johnson, concentrating on Gestapo interactions with citizens in three German
towns, sees a far greater range of citizen reaction, from direct
participation (spying on neighbors) to silent acceptance of the Final
Solution, which most knew was going on. "Silent complicity is horrible,"
Johnson explains, "but we have to see it in a more nuanced light than
Goldhagen's blanket condemnation." Finding the "local Eichmanns" more
culpable than most ordinary citizens, Johnson shows how the Nazi regime
shaped social psychology from 1933 on.

Fine line. Maybe what is most at stake in the Irving trial is the ability of
the public to distinguish between this kind of nuanced historical
revisionism (and honest disagreements among revisionists) and the outright
distortions that are found not only in books but in neo-Nazi and antisemitic
Web sites throughout the Internet. Writing in February's Atlantic Monthly,
D. D. Guttenplan sees the case as testing a fine but important line between
revisionists, who re-examine the policies and perpetrators of the Final
Solution, and deniers, who resort to half-truths or shoddy proof to deny or
minimize the Holocaust.

Complicating the issue, Guttenplan writes, is that even reputable scholars
sometimes get attacked for questioning any of the supposedly established
facts about the Holocaust. And when these scholars are blocked from doing
their work, "the result is a blurring of distinctions between memory and
propaganda that serves only the interests of the Nazi perpetrators and their
political legatees." There is a world of difference, he writes, between Raul
Hilberg, whose monumental Destruction of the Jews (1961) drew fire merely by
lowering the estimated number of Jewish deaths from 6 million to 5.1
million, and, say, Fred Leuchter, a designer of execution devices who used
questionable experiments to "prove" that there were no gas chambers at the
Auschwitz and Birkenau death camps. (Leuchter, whose findings have been
endorsed and used by Irving, is the subject of a current documentary, Mr.

Because such distinctions have been blurred, Irving and similar deniers have
been able to wrap themselves in the respectable mantle of revisionism=96and
sow doubt among the general public. Signs of their success should give
pause. A 1993 Roper Organization poll found that 22 percent of Americans
thought it possible that the Holocaust never occurred. Unfortunately, a
victory by Irving might win more converts to that muddled skepticism.

With Thomas K. Grose in London

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