The Defendants' historiographical criticisms
I now turn to some of the particular matters which exercised your Lordship, in the list of points at issue.
As a preamble I would say that I trust your Lordship will be bear in mind that the task facing an historian of my type -- what I refer to as a "shirtsleeve historian", a shirtsleeve historian working in the field, from original records -- is very different from the task facing the scholar or academic who sits in a book-lined study, plucking handy works of reference from his shelves, printed in large type, translated into English, provided with easy indices and often with nice illustrations too.
Your Lordship will recall that while researching the Goebbels Diaries in Moscow for the first week in June 1992 I had to read those wartime Nazi glass microfiches plates through a magnifier the size of a nailclipper, with a lens smaller than a pea. The Court will appreciate that reading even post-war microfilm of often poorly reproduced original documents on a mechanical reader is tedious, time consuming, and an unrewarding business. Your Lordship will be familiar with the reason why I saying this. There were certain matters which we dealt with. Notes have to be taken in handwriting when are you sitting at a reader. There are no "pages" to be xeroxed. In the 1960s xerox copies were nothing like as good as they are now, as your Lordship will have noticed from the blue-bound volumes brought in here from my own document archives. Mistakes undoubtedly occur: the mis-transcription of difficult German words pencilled in Gothic or Sutterlin-style handwriting, a script which most modern German scholars find unreadable anyway; mistakes of copying are made; mistakes of omission (i. E. a passage is not transcribed when you are sitting at the screen because at the time it appears of no moment). These are innocent mistakes, and with a book the size of Hitler's War which currently runs to 393,000 words, they are not surprising.
Your Lordship may recall another exchange I had with Professor Evans: may I emphasise here that there is no personal animus from me towards Professor Evans at all. I thought he gave his evidence admirably.
IRVING: Professor Evans, when your researchers were researching in my files at the Institute of History in Munich, did they come across a file there which was about 1,000 pages long, consisting of the original annotated footnotes of Hitler's War which were referenced by a number to a every single sentence in that book?
IRVING: It was not part of the original corpus, it was part of the original manuscript, but it was chopped out because of the length.
EVANS: No, we did not see that.
IRVING: Have you seen isolated pages of that in my diary (sic) in so far as it relates to episodes which were of interest, like the Reichskristallnacht?
EVANS: No, I do not to be honest, recall, but that does not mean to say that we have not seen them.
IRVING: You say my footnotes are opaque because they do not always give the page reference. Do you agree that, on a page which we are going to come across in the course of this morning, of your own expert report, you put a footnote in just saying "see Van Pelt's report", and that expert report is 769 pages long, is it not?
So from this exchange it is plain that I was not just a conjurer producing quotations in my books, producing quotations and documents out of a hat; I made my sources and references available in their totality to historians, even when they were not printed in the book.
The allegation that the mistakes are deliberate -- that they are manipulations, or distortions --is a foul one to make, and easily disposed of by general considerations, which I ask your Lordship to pay particular attention to. If I intended deliberately to mistranscribe a handwritten word or text on which the defence places such reliance, I would hardly on the deliberate nature of the mistranscription, I would hardly have furnished copies of the original text to my critics, or published the text of the handwritten document as a facsimile in the same work (for example, the famous November 30th 1941 note, which is illustrated as a facsimile in all editions of Hitler's War); nor would I have placed the entire collection of such documents without restriction in archives commonly frequented by my criticism.
If I intended to mistranslate a document, would I have encouraged the publication of the resulting book, with the correct original quotation in the German language, where my perversion of the text would easily have been discovered? Yet like all my other works both, Hitler and Goebbels have appeared in German language editions with a full and correct transcription of the controversial texts. Is that the action of a deliberate mistranslator.
As for the general allegation that the errors of exaggeration or distortions that were made were "all" of a common alignment, designed to exonerate or exculpate Adolf Hitler, the test which I submit your Lordship must apply should surely be this: if the sentence that is complained of be removed from the surrounding paragraph or text (and in each book there are only one or two such sentences of which this wounding claim is made) does this in any way alter the book's general thrust, or the weight of the argument that is made?
An example of this test is the wrong weight which I gave to the contents of the 1.20 am telegram issued by SS-Gruppenfuhrer Reinhard Heydrich on Kristallnacht. I think MR Rampton referred to that this morning. It is a famous telegram, printed in the Nuremberg volumes, five pages long or so. Would such an error have been committed wilfully by me, given the risk that it would inevitably be exposed? Is it not far more likely on the balance of probabilities that in the process of writing and rewriting, and of cutting and of cutting and condensing, the Goebbels manuscript, the author, that is me, gradually over the eight years lost sight of the full content and the thrust of the original document? Your Lordship should know, if not then I say so now, that that book witness through five successive drafts and retypes over eight years, filling eventually four archives boxes, a total of eight cubic feet of manuscript, all of which I disclosed to the Defendants by way of discovery. St Martin's Press, my American publishers, particularly asked that these early chapters of the book should be trimmed back in length.
These general considerations disposed of the defence arguments on the "Policeman Hoffman" evidence as rendered in the 1924 Hitler treason trial. For the limited purposes of writing a biography of -- my Lord, these are points you have asked me to address specifically in your list of issues. I say that because those who listen to MR Rampton's speech will not have heard them referred to and may be puzzled as to why I am addressing them. For the limited purposes of writing a biography of Hermann Goring -- not of Hitler -- I relied on the thousands of typescript microfilmed pages of the transcript of this trial. So far as I know, nobody had ever used them before me at that time. Now the handy, printed, bound, indexed, cross-referenced edition, which Professor Evans drew upon had not appeared at that time. The printed edition appeared in 1988, two years ago.
Eleven years after my Goring biography was published. In other words, even more years after I wrote it by Macmillan Limited. I extracted -- with difficulty -- from the microfilmed pages of the original transcript the material I needed relating to Hitler and Goring and I was not otherwise interested in that man Hofmann at all. I do not consider the printed volume on the trial which is now available shows that I made meaningful errors, if so, they certainly were not deliberate.
The Kristallnacht in November 1938 is a more difficult episode in every way. I do not mean in that sense, my Lord, that it is difficult for me personally. It is a difficult episode to reconstruct from the material available to us. As said, I clearly made an error over the content (and reference number) of the 1.20 a. M. telegram from Heydrich. It was an innocent error. It was a glitch of the kind that occurs in the process of redrafting a manuscript several times over the years. The Court must not overlook that by the time was completed in 1994 and 1995 and as I described in the introduction to that book, Goebbels, the Mastermind of the Third Reich, by that time I had been forcefully severed from both my own collection of documents in German institutions and from the German Federal archives in Koblenz. On July 1st 1993, my Lord when I attended the latter archives in Koblenz explicitly for the purpose of tidying up loose ends on the Goebbels manuscript, I was formally banned from the building in the interests of the German people I was told, for ever on orders of the minister of the interior -- that is one of the gravest blows that has been struck at me in my submission by this international endeavour to which I shall shortly refer.
The allegation of the Defendants in connection with the Kristallnacht is that in order to "exonerate Hitler" I effectively concocted or invented, a false version of events on that night, namely that Adolf Hitler intervened between 1 and 2 a. M. in order to halt the madness. I think that is a fair summary of the charge against me. I submit that their refusal to accept this, my version, is ingrained in their own political attitudes. There is evidence both in the archives and in the reliable contemporary records like Ulrich von Hassell, the diaries of von Hassell, Alfred Rosenberg and Hellmuth Groscurth, and in the independent testimonies. By which I mean independent from each other, testimonies of those participants whom I myself carefully questioned, or whose private papers I obtained -- I mention here Nicolaus von Below, Hitler's adjutant. Another adjutant, Bruckner, Julius Schaub, Karl Wolff and others -- which the Court has seen, to justify the versions which I rendered. It therefore was not an invented story. It may well be that my critics were unfamiliar with the sources that I used before they made their criticisms. The dishonesty lies not with me, for printing the "inside" story of Hitler's actions that night, as far as we can reconstruct them using these and other sources; but with those scholars who have studiously ignored them, and in particular the Rudolf Hess "stop arson" telegram of 2.56 am, which was issued "on orders from the highest level", which the Defendants' scholars are agreed or testified is a reference to Hitler.
Your Lordship may well have marvelled to hear the Defendants' witnesses dismiss this message from Rudolf Hess -- like the Schlegelberger Document, referred to later -- as being of no consequence.
The Kristallnacht diaries of Dr Goebbels, which I obtained in Moscow in 1992, some years after I first drafted the episode for my biography, substantially bore out my version of events, in my submission, namely that he and not Hitler was the prime instigator, and that Hitler was largely unaware and displeased by what came about, or by the scale of what came about, would be a fairer way to put that. Your Lordship will recall that Professor Phillippe Burrin, a Swiss Holocaust historian for whom all the witnesses expressed respect when questioned by me, comes to the same conclusion independently of me. Now he (and I have given the quotation at the foot of page). Now, he is manifestly not a "Holocaust denier" either. The Court will also recall that the witness Professor Evans admitted that unlike myself he had not read all through the available Goebbels Diaries. It is a massive task. A mammoth task. He had not had the time, he said, and we must confess a certain sympathy with that position -- for an academic, time is certainly at a premium. But reading all of the available Goebbels Diaries is however necessary, in order to establish and recognize the subterfuges which this Nazi minister used throughout his career as diarist, in order to conceal when he was creating what I call alibis for his own wayward and evil behaviour.
I drew attention to this historiographical conundrum several times in the book, my Goebbels biography, the fact that Goebbels Diaries were not trustworthy. I discussed both in my scientific annotated German language edition of the 1938 diaries and in my full Goebbels biography which your Lordship has read, a characteristic example from this same year, 1938, although the one episode which most deeply harrowed and unsettled him that year was his affair with the Czech actress, Lida Baarova, an affair which drove him to the brink of resignation, divorce, and even suicide, neither her name nor any of those events figures explicitly in the diary at all, unless the pages be read particularly closely, when certain clues can be seen. That is an example ...
The Goebbels diary is sometimes a very deceitful document; it must be recognized as such and treated very gingerly indeed. It is the diary of a liar, a propagandist. The fact that it was evidently written up not one, but two or even three days later, after the Kristallnacht episode, calls for additional caution in relying on it for chronology and content.
My Lord, your Lordship will notice that I have not dealt specifically with the number of the issues you put in your list. I hope your Lordship does not take umbrage with that, but I felt that I dealt with them adequately in my cross-examination.
MR JUSTICE GRAY: It is entirely a matter for you.
MR IRVING: If this was wrong of me then all I can say is culpa mea (sic) but I now continue with the various narratives of the Nazi shooting of the Jews in the East.
There is little dispute between the parties on what actually happened in my view. This is the shootings of the Jews in the East by the Nazis and their collaborators. There is little dispute between the parties on what actually happened in my view, and your Lordship is aware that I have given these atrocities due and proper attention in the various biographies I have written; I however add the one caveat, that they are not intended to be reference works on the Holocaust, but just orthodox biographies.
I believe that I was the first historian anywhere in the world to discover and make use of the CSDIC reports relating further details to these killings, particularly the Bruns Report, and I made these reports available to many other historians. I should explain to the people who are not familiar with them that these CSDIC reports are eavesdropping reports on Nazi prisoners that we British made using hidden microphones. It took -- it takes many days to read them. There are thousands and thousands of pages in these files. Over the last twenty years I have read these horrifying narratives out repeatedly to public audiences, they describe the killings of the Jews in the most horrifying detail, including "right-wing" audiences. This fact alone entitles me to express my contempt at those who would describe me as a "Holocaust denier".
We have seen the Defendants scrabbling around at the end of the Bruns Report for its seizing on its third-hand reference by this SS murderer and braggart in Riga, Altemeyer, to an "order" that he claimed to have received to carry out such mass shootings more circumspectly in future. But we know from the late 1941 police decodes -- we British were reading the SS and police messages passing between Berlin and the front. We know from the late 1941 police decodes, which is a much firmer source-document in my view than a snatch of conversation remembered years later, in April 1945, we know precisely what orders had gone from Hitler's headquarters, radioed by Himmler himself to the SS mass murderer, SS Obergruppenfuhrer Friedrich Jeckeln, stating explicitly that these killings exceeded the authority that had been given by himself, Himmler, and by the Reichsssicherheitshauptamp (the RSHA). We know that the killing of all German Jews stopped at once, for many months upon the receipt of that message. When I first translated the word "Judentransport" a word which I emphasise again can mean "transportation of the Jews", as "transports of Jews", in the plural, in the 1970s, being unaware of the surrounding context of data which helps now to narrow down the purport to the one Riga-bound trainload from Berlin. I was thus inadvertently coming closer to the truth, not further from it; because the liquidation of all the trainloads from Germany was halted next day, December 1st 1941, by the order radioed from Hitler's headquarters (whether initiated by Himmler or Hitler seems hair-splitting in this context).
As I stated under cross-examination, I did not see the Schulz-Dubois document when I wrote my books and I have not seen it since; having now read Professor Gerald Fleming tells us about it, I confess that I would be unlikely to attach the same importance as does learned counsel for the Defendants, to what the famously anti-Nazi Abwehr Chief Wilhelm Canaris allegedly told Lieutenant Schulz-Dubois of Hitler's reaction. The British decodes of the SS signals, to which I introduced the Court, and the subsequent events (the actual cessation for many months of the liquidation of German Jews) in my submission speak louder.
Your Lordship asked in your list of questions for my comments on the reference in Hitler's table talk of October 25th 1941. Well, your Lordship is familiar with the Defendants' argument and with mine. My extract from this document which I used was based originally on the original Weidenfeld translation, in fact, I used the original Weidenfeld translation into English, as is well known, in disagreement with the Defendants' experts I still maintain and others have followed me in this (notably Professor Phillippe Burrin, who translates Schrecken as "the ominous reputation") in that context, that the appropriate translation here for the word "schrecken" is indeed "rumour" and not "terror", a word which makes for a wooden and uncouth translation anyway.
Ladies and gentlemen, it will make no sense, unfortunately, this passage, unless you see the document. A relevant passage from the SS Event Report from activities in the rear of the eastern front, dated September 11, 1941 front (provided by the Defendants), shows that this is precisely what was meant: "The rumour that all Jews are being shot by the Germans had a salutary effect". The Jews were now fleeing before the Germans arrived. The rumour! To accuse me of wilful mistranslation and even worse distortion when (a) I used the original (sic) Weidenfeld translation, not at that time having received the original German from Switzerland, and (b) the word "rumour" gives precisely the nuance, the correct nuance that the surrounding history shows the word was meant to have, this accusation seems to me an excessively harsh judgment on my expertise.
The next in line is the Goebbels diary entry for November 22nd, 194: Again, I just pick out what seems to matter to me in that particular entry here, for the purposes of today's submissions.
This diary entry, my Lord, includes a fair example of how dishonest the reporting by Goebbels was when it comes to his meetings with Hitler. He records "the exceptional praise" of Hitler for the weekly newsreel produced by his ministry, the propaganda ministry; in fact Hitler was forever criticising this very product of the Goebbels ministry, as the diary of Rosenberg shows. Goebbels then continues, here is the quote: "With regard to the Jewish problem too the Fuhrer completely agrees with my views. He wants an energetic policy against the Jews, but one however that does not cause us needless difficulties." Goebbels diary entry continues: "The evacuation of the Jews is to be done city by city". So it is still not fixed when Berlin's turn comes; but when it does, "the evacuation should be carried out as fast as possible". In other words, he had not got his way. He had been agitating once again that the evacuation should start but Hitler had not come into line. "Still not fixed when Berlin's time comes". Hitler then expressed the need for "a somewhat reserved approach" in question of mixed marriages -- that is marriages between Jews and non-Jews. What do you do with them? Are you going to keep them in Germany or deport them? Hitler's view was the marriages would die out anyway by and by, and they should not go grey worrying about it.
Now I have suggested that on the balance of probabilities Hitler was alluding to the public unrest when he said he wanted a policy that does not cause us needless difficulties. I have suggested on a balance of probabilities Hitler was alluding to the public unrest caused by the suicide a few days earlier of the popular actor Joachim Gottschalk and his family. Apart from "needless" becoming "endless", in an irritating typo which hardly amounts to manipulation, in other words, in the original German, the original translation started off as "causing us needless difficulties", which is correct, and somehow it became "endless difficulties" is an irritating typo which hardly amounts to "manipulation". This passage bears out what I have always said of Hitler. While Goebbels was the eternal agitator, as witness his anti-Semitic leading article published in Das Reich only a few days before, November 16th 1941, Hitler was (even by Goebbels own account) for a reserved approach towards the Jewish problems; and he was doing so, even as the trainloads of Jews were heading eastwards from Bremen and Berlin, for example to the conquered Russian territories and the Baltic states. Your Lordship will not need reminding of the curious British decodes, which revealed the provisioning of the deportation trains with tonnes of foods for the journey. These are messages which we British decoded, which reveal the provisioning of the deportation trainloads of Jews with tonnes of food for the journey, stocks of many weeks food for after they arrived and even deportees' appliances, "Gerat", appliances. So the evacuation at this time evidently meant just that to very many Reich officials, and no more.
My Lord ----
MR JUSTICE GRAY: Press on.Let us get as far as the Schlegelberger document, shall we, on the next page.
MR IRVING: Jolly good, yes, good point.
MR Rampton went to some effort and expense to suggest that I suppressed vital information from the newly discovered Goebbels diary, December 13th 1941. In this day's entry Goebbels reported on various things and he reported on Hitler's rhetoric to the Gauleiters, speaking on December 12th 1941 in Berlin, the Nazi governors. Anybody who is as familiar as I am with Hitler's speeches, and with Goebbels' diary entries relating to be them will effortlessly recognize this entire passage as being usual the Hitler gramophone record about his famous 1939 "prophecy". It was part of his stock repertoire when speaking to the Party old guard -- they had carried him into power, the Party old guard had carried him into power and they expected to hear from him that he had not abandoned the hallowed Party programme. I can understand the temptation for the younger generation of scholars, unfamiliar with Hitler's rhetoric, to fall greedily upon such freshly discovered morsels as though they were the answer to the great Holocaust mystery: None of the witnesses to whom this item was put by myself, or by counsel for the Defendants, was able to identify any part of this passage which was out of the ordinary for Hitler.
Even if I had read that far on that day's glass plate in the Moscow archives, and even if I had seen those lines of diary entries, some 20 pages after the page where I in fact stopped reading for that that day -- and I must emphasise again that I did not read that far on that day because that did not come within my remit, I doubt that I would have attached any significance to them other than adding this list to the occasions -- adding this entry to the list of occasions on which Hitler harked back, for whatever reason, to his famous "prophecy" of 1939.
I have read again the printed version of the meeting of the generalgouvernenent, the Polish authorities, the German occupation authorities in Poland, Hans Frank, on December 16th 1941. It is significant to see the amount of space taken, even in this abridged published version, by the typhus epidemic sweeping through the region, the climax of which was expected to come in April 1942. Hans Frank states that he has begun negotiation with the purpose of deporting the Jews to the East, and he mentions the big Heydrich conference which is set down for January 1942 on this topic in Berlin. Then comes the sentence which pulls the rug out from beneath the Defendant's feet, in my submission: Hans Frank says: "For us the Jews are exceptionally damaging mouths to feed. We've got an estimated 2.5 million here in the Generalgouvernement, perhaps 3.5 million Jews now, what with all their kinfolk and hangers-on. We cannot shoot these 3.5 million Jews, we cannot poison them, but we will be able to do something with them which somehow or other will have the result of destroying them, in fact, in conjunction with the grander measures still to be discussed at Reich level". I think that is a fair translation of that passage.
MR JUSTICE GRAY: It is not complete, but it is fair.
MR IRVING: Ah, your Lordship says it is not complete. This is an extract taken from a seven or eight page printed volume.
MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes, it is what Frank says he was told in Berlin that I think perhaps is not there, but, anyway, press on.
MR IRVING: I would -- well, I will press on. The December 18th 1941 diary entry by Himmler reads, this is the diary entry made by Himmler, it is an agenda for his meeting with Hitler on December 18th 1941, Himmler jotted down the words "Judenfrage", Jewish question, and next to that in German the words "als partisanen auszurotten", Himmler had, as I pointed out to the Court, repeatedly referred in earlier documents to the phrase "Juden als Partisanen". This was nothing new or sensational therefore, and the words he was recording were, in my submission, not necessarily Hitler's but more probably his own stereotype phrase. The correct pedantic translation, is in any case "Jewish problem, to be wiped out as being partisans". Not "like partisans", which would have been "wie partisanen". There can be no equivocating about this translation of "als". Wie is a comparison, als is an equivalent.
MR JUSTICE GRAY: I think that probably is a convenient moment.2 o'clock.
MR JUSTICE GRAY: Schlegelberger, MR Irving.
MR IRVING: Before Schlegelberger, my Lord, on December 16th 1941, there was a meeting in Poland which Hans Frank referred to discussions he had in Berlin, in the course of which he said in Berlin the people asked us ----
MR JUSTICE GRAY: Liquidate them yourselves, something like that, was it not?
MR IRVING: He said to the people in Berlin: "Imagine that we are housing these people in nice little housing estates here in the Baltic, in the Eastern territories. We tell them we cannot handle it here, liquidate them yourselves. My submission on that is that this is a reference to the Gauleiters from the Ostland whom he had met in Berlin, on whom the Jews being deported were going to be dumped, and they had made that remark to him, it is remiss of me not to have put that in this closing submission. I looked at that text again actually three or four days ago and my attention was drawn to the sentence before the remark about "liquidate them yourselves", in which it becomes quite plain he is referring to the Gauleiters of the Eastern territories by inference on whom these people are going to be dumped.
MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes, thank you very much.
MR IRVING: I now come to the Schlegelberger document, which is another most difficult piece of historical paper for my opponents. It is a document -- I would explain for the benefit of those who do not know it -- which comes in a file of the German Ministry of Justice.
In late March or early April 1942, after seeing Germany's top civil servant who reported only to Hitler, Franz Schlegelberger, who was acting as Minister of Justice, dictated this famous memorandum, the Schlegelberger Document as we call it here in this courtroom, upon which all Holocaust historians, and the Defendants' experts witnesses in this case have hitherto turned enough blind eyes to have won several battles of Trafalgar. For many years after the war it vanished, this document, but that is another story. Asked about this specific document after a lecture in the German Institute, here in London in November 1998, Dr Longerich, who is now the Defendants' expert witness, who had the function of chairman, rose to inform the audience at that meeting that the speaker was not prepared to answer questions from David Irving. It is a genuine document, the one I was going to ask him about, the Schlegelberger Document, and he refers in one breath both to Hitler and the Solution of Jewish Problem. Confronted with it in the witness box, he, Longerich, and his fellow experts have argued either that it was totally unimportant, notwithstanding its content, or that it concerned only the Mischlinge, the mixed race Jews, and not the Final Solution in any broader sense. Ingeniously in fact, Dr Longerich even tried to suggest it may have originated in 1940 or 1941 and not in 1942 at all. The document has them, in other words, in a breathless panic.
The document's own contents, and this is the wording of the actual document, it is only very short, the document's own contents destroys their latter argument. In the first sentence, it says: " MR Reich Minister Lammers informed me that the Fuhrer had repeatedly declared to him that he wants to hear that the Solution of the Jewish Problem has been adjourned (or postponed) until after the war". That that is the broader Final Solution is plain from the second sentence which follows. It shows, namely the Mischling question, the mixed race question, was something totally different: "Accordingly", the memorandum continues, "the current deliberations have in the opinion of MR Lammers purely theoretical value". Those deliberations were, as my opponents themselves have argued, solely concerned with what to do with the Mischlinge and the like. The document is quite plain. It was dictated by a lawyer, so presumably he knew what he was writing. There is no room for argument. My opponents have pretended for years that the document effectively does not exist. So much for the Schlegelberger Document.
I have dealt at length in my statements in the witness box, my Lord, again, and while cross-examining the witnesses with the other contentious items or issues, namely the Goebbels Diary entries for March 27th in future to write about the Zulu wars, because of the controversies that would arise.
Because of the inescapable conclusion that Hitler had probably not ordered, or been aware of until relatively late, of the ultimate fate of the European Jews, the ones who had been deported, I forfeited, as my US agent predicted, in that book Hitler's War, perhaps half a million dollars, or more, of lucrative sublicencing deals with major corporations, the Reader's Digest, paperback houses, reprints, the Sunday Times in this country and so on.
After I completed -- and this is important -- a first draft of that book in about 1969 or 1970, I realized that there was this totally inexplicable and unexpected gap in the archives, namely no evidence showing Hitler's personal involvement. I hired a trusted friend, a historian, well known to this court, Dr Elke Frohlich of the Institute of History in Munich, to go through all the then available German archives again, with the specific task of looking for documents linking Hitler with the Final Solution. She did a conscientious and excellent job, working for me in the files of the Nuremberg State Archives, the Institut fur Zeitgeschichte, the Berlin Document Centre, the Bundesarchives and the military archives in Freiburg -in this connection I should have added, of course. Her resulting research materials, my correspondence with her, the index cards and photocopies, form a part of my Discovery in this action. It was she, for example, who produced for me the then unpublished diary entry of the Governor-General Hans Frank, the one that I just dealt with, it was actually a meeting transcript of December 13th, 1941. It was currently being edited by her colleagues at the Institute and she provided me with a privileged copy of that.
I would incidentally, my Lord, rely on this episode, namely hiring a historian to prove that I had got it wrong at my own expense as one further instance of my integrity as an independent historian. Inherently dissatisfied with the results of my own research, I hired and paid out of my own pocket for this second opinion, acting as an avocatus diaboli, to trawl once more, and with a net of finer mesh, across the same fishing grounds for documents that might in fact destroy me, destroy my then still tentative hypothesis. In a similar step, which I think I took to appease the now worried American publishers, I wrote in December 1975 to four or five of the major international Jewish historical research institutions -- I remember writing to the Institute in New York, and to the Wiener library in this country and to the equivalent bodies -- appealing for "evidence proving Hitler's guilt in the extermination of Jews". That is from the actual letter I sent. All of these enquiries by me drew a blank, except for one. As I summarised in a letter to the Sunday Telegraph on June 19th 1977, "all offered their apologies except Professor Raul Hilberg, who is the author of the standard history on the subject, who honourably conceded that he too has come to the view that Hitler may not have known". This actual letter is my discovery and was available to the Defendants. This letter to me was December 12th, 1975.
The other institutions stated that that too had no such evidence, or that did not reply.
So I did what I could to establish the truth of that particular allegation.
My Lord, I now come to what I call the international endeavour to destroy my legitimacy as an historian, and the participation, in my submission, of the Defendants in that particular endeavour. I have abbreviated it and much of what I have put in the pages which I supplied to your Lordship I shall not read out. I shall say when I am not going to read out what follows, not because it is not true but because your Lordship has probably quite rightly questioned the strict relevance of it to the matter before the court.
MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes, I think that is sensible, if I may say so.
MR IRVING: If it does not appear to be immediately relevant, then it is because I shall rely on it in the other matters that I put, namely the aggravated damages aspect and the fact that, if I am accused of certain postures or uttering certain tasteless remarks, these momentary lapses are not justified, but explicable on the basis of what I had been through, if I can put it like that.
Before I proceed to the problems with the accepted version of the history of Auschwitz, I turn first to the submission that your Lordship will allow me to make on the 30 year international endeavour by a group of organizations to destroy my legitimacy as an historian. I use that phrase for a reason. I submit that I am entitled to draw these documents to your Lordship's attention, because these bodies, acting with that secret and common purpose, compiled dossiers and reports on me with the intention of destroying me. That did so, exercising no proper care for accuracy, and, as is evident from the second Defendant's, discovery, Professor Lipstadt's discovery, and from the introduction to her book, in which she explicitly acknowledges the assistance provided by many of these bodies, she drew upon these tainted well springs as the source for much of the poison that she wrote about me. We shall hear that, buried in the files of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre in Toronto, is a document now also in MRs Lipstadt's files -- that sent it to her -- which forms something of a blueprint for the attempt to destroy my name. A researcher for the Centre, an anonymous researcher for the Centre, commissioned to investigate -- why was a person in Toronto commissioned to investigate my life? I do not know -- to investigate my life in detail, recommended in that compilation after referring to my thorough archival research and general historical insight as follows:
"Given this accurate version of reality, it is all the more clear why this activities must be curtailed, and why this alleged legitimacy must be eradicated".
This document is from Professor Lipstadt's own papers.
I have been subjected, since at least 1973 and probably before then, to what would be called in warfare a campaign of interdiction. I know of no other historian or writer who has been subjected to a campaign of vilification even 1/10th as intense. The book "Denying the Holocaust" was the climax of this campaign. There exist, as I have said in my opening speech, various bodies in this country, and around the world, who have at heart the interests of special groups. I make no protest about that but many other Englishmen have noticed, or found out, usually by chance, that these bodies keep files on us, which that use to our disadvantage if that believe we are a danger to their interests. To give one particularly gross example, under the cover provided by the United States First Amendment, the Jewish Telegraph Agency accused me in 1995 of having supplied the trigger mechanism for the Oklahoma City bomb. That item was picked up by the American press and then faintly echoed by the British press. It was only months later that I found out who started that particular lie.
But regrettably this has become a campaign to defame people whom they regard as a danger. A number of special bodies exist solely for this purpose. Professor Kevin MacDonald, of the University of California at Long Beach, a sociologist who is the world's leading expert on these things, expressed forceful opinions to this court in this expert report, on which he offered himself for cross-examination, it has to be said, and I urge your Lordship not to disregard the substance of what he had to say.
These bodies will not endear themselves, if found out, to the victims of their campaigns.
MR Rampton made much of MR Ernest Zundel's gross and ill considered reference to the Judenpack, as anti-Semitic a word as one might wish to hear. MR Rampton labels this man as an extremist, and anti-Semitic in consequence. This court, of course, has been told nothing by MR Rampton of what, if any, remarks or incidents preceded the outburst by MR Zundel that was very briefly quoted. We do know, and I can so inform this court, that his home has been torched and burnt to the ground. Such violent incidents certainly cannot excuse the violent remarks but that can explain them -- a difference. Because that do not like what he writes or publishes, these bodies have attempted to destroy this life with criminal prosecution in an attempt to have him deported or jailed.
Going on down the page, my own experience at the hands of these self-appointed censors has not been so very different. It began in 1963 when agents of Searchlight raided my home and were caught red handed in this criminal attempt. Ever since then that publication has tweaked my tail with a stream of defamatory articles, a 37 year onslaught to which, as a good Christian, I turned the other cheek. In fact, the man who runs that magazine turns out to have been one of the producers of the film which has been put to the court, one of the editors.
It might be said, and I have turned the page now, my Lord, that the real Defendants in this case are not represented in this court but their presence has been with us throughout like Banquo's ghost. These are the people who commissioned the work complained of and provided much of the materials used in it. I understand that provided considerable funds for the defence.
I know very little about these bodies, but I am aware that the anti-defamation league of the B'nai Brith, which is an American body, has a 50 million dollar annual budget, substantially greater than an author commands whose livelihood has been destroyed by their activities. When your Lordship comes to consider such things as costs and damages, I would respectfully submit that you bear these things in mind.
We have them to thank for the spectacle that has been presented in this court room since January. Without their financial assistance, it is unlikely that MR Rampton and this defence team and his instructing solicitors could have mounted this colossal onslaught on my name.
Further down, for over three years this well-funded team sitting opposite me, next to me, has drilled down deep into my private papers, burrowed on a broad front into the archives of the world and a multi-pronged attack trying to establish that what I have written over the last 35 or more years is distorted or mistranslated in pursuance of an agenda, namely the exoneration of Adolf Hitler, trying to dig up every little morsel of dirt on me that that can.
My book Hitler's War was published by the Viking Press in New York and by Hodder and Stoughton in this country in 1977. That is when what can be seen as the coordinated attack on the book began. The Viking Press was and is one of that nation's most reputable publishers and in fact I believe they are owner of the first Defendant company in this case.
Turning the page now, the Anti-defamation League issued a report with more fervour than accuracy, saying:
"David Irving is the nom de plume of John Cawdell" -- this not true, I hasten to say, do not get it wrong, it is totally untrue -- "a revisionist historiographer of Adolf Hitler, particularly regarding Hitler's role in and knowledge of the mass extermination of European Jewry. His major premise", says the Anti-defamation League, "is that Hitler was largely oblivious to the large scale killings of Jews in the death camps".
I carry on: The agent's report -- this is a report put out in 1977.
MR JUSTICE GRAY: I wonder, MR Irving, really whether one might just go to the middle of page 35 without doing any injustice to your case.
MR IRVING: Yes. When I then began my lecturing activities around the United States in the early 1980s, speaking at private functions, schools and universities, the headquarters of the ADL sent out a secret circular, a "Backgrounder", in 1983, to all their local agents. The backgrounder, dated July 6th 1983, began with the words, "British author David Irving has been of concern to ADL, as well as to the Jewish community generally, since the 1977 publication of his book Hitler's War", and it indicated that it was the controversy over Hitler and the Jews that was the reason. We have heard of similar such circulars being generated by them on other famous names. In my case the ADL instructed its"regional offices":
"Should he surface in your region, please notify the Fact Finding Department and your Civil Rights Co-ordinator".
It is quite plain that the ADL were not concerned with promoting civil rights. I am mentioning them because of course that collaborated very closely with the Second Defendant in the preparation of the book that is the subject of this trial.
It is quite plain that the Anti-defamation League were not concerned with promoting civil rights, but in abrogating one of the most basic rights of all, the right to freedom of speech.
Further down, correspondence with my literary agent showed by 1984 that already the international smear campaign was inflicting substantial financial damage on me. It was at precisely this time, 1984 -- I will not comment on the year -- that the Second Defendant, then teaching in the Near Eastern Languages Centre of the University of California at Los Angeles, Professor Lipstadt, offered her services to Yehuda Bauer in Jerusalem, a very well known Israeli Professor. She attached "A proposal for research: The Historical and Historiographic Methodology of the Holocaust revisionists". This was the genesis of the book that we are complaining about. I ask your Lordship to note that on page 38 of the synopsis prepared by the Second Defendant, which is in my bundle E at page 38, The Second Defendant, Professor Lipstadt, mentioned my name in the following words: "They [the deniers] also find it expedient to associate themselves with those such as David Irving who do not deny that the Holocaust took place but seek to shift the blame to others."
To conclude this, on the matter of her employment: On May 31, 1988 Professor Lipstadt was awarded and additional agreement for research on this topic by the Vidal Sassoon Centre for the study of Anti-Semitism at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. So at all material times, the book was being commissioned by that University in Jerusalem. This research, it should be added, was what finally bore fruit as the book complained of, "Denying the Holocaust". The publisher at that time was to be MR Robert Maxwell, who was liaising with Professor Yehuda Bauer.
Briefly summarizing the next page: During this period the international campaign against me achieved some ugly successes. I was illegally deported from Austria. The Austrian government had to pay me compensation when it was overturned.
[ Previous |
Site Map ·
What's New? ·
© The Nizkor Project, 1991-2012
Home · Site Map · What's New? · Search Nizkor