THE DEFENCE subsequently offered a plethora of reasons
why they did not call Auschwitz survivors as witnesses.
The obvious one might seem to be that they
were fearful that their survivors would crack under
cross-examination, as they did dramatically in the
Zündel trial -- the most famous survivor of all,
Vrba finally admitted under oath that he had never
seen a gas chamber, or a gassing, and that his statements to
that effect were consequently untrue.
A more likely reason why survivors were
not called was that this was a case being heard by a judge
alone; emotional survivors, in their striped pyjama suits,
might impress a jury, but not a judge.
Moreover, there was nothing they could
formally testify to, except perhaps that Mr Irving had not
interviewed them in writing his books -- but he is not a
Holocaust writer and never has been. The case was about
Lipstadt's lies, not about the history of Auschwitz.
As for the stated fear that Mr Irving
might bully these aged witnesses, Lipstadt's own counsel
Richard Rampton in a later press interview commented
favourably on the courtesy displayed by Mr Irving towards
all witnesses in cross-examining them.