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In the High Court of Justice






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Statement of Claim

The Parties to the Action

1. The Plaintiff is a well known writer and at all times material to this action an historian and publisher wholly or largely dependent since 1961 on his income from writing publishing and marketing books and from lecturing at home and overseas on topics of modern history. He is the author of a biography Goebbels. Mastermind of the Third Reich.

2. The First Defendants carry on business as a well known company publishing the weekly newspaper The Observer. The Observer is one of Britain's most prestigious newspapers with a very substantial circulation throughout the jurisdiction.

3. The Second Defendant is a journalist. She is the author of an article entitled "Spin Time for Hitler" which the First Defendants published or caused to be published in the newspaper The Observer on April 21, 1996 to the public generally to the whole of which article the Plaintiff will refer at the trial of this action.

The Words Complained of

4. In the said article the Second Defendant falsely and recklessly wrote and published to the First Defendants and caused them to publish as they did falsely and recklessly the following words defamatory of and concerning the Plaintiff and of him in the way of his said calling:

Dresden air raid victims, 1945"Mr Douglas--Stahl has Müller recite here all the stories Peter Stahl told me over the years -- Casement, Churchill, Roosevelt, the bombing of Dresden (with David Irving's 10-times inflated figure of 250,000 dead) [...] and then, folded into it all, more falsehoods about the Final Solution itself, that one crime that none of these obsessed people can leave alone."

"But while Goldhagen's emotion-based -- obsessive -- thesis is simplistic, narrow, and misleading, his book is not a deliberate falsehood. The master of this particular craft, now presenting a new Goebbels biography -- is the British revisionist writer David Irving [...]".

"As reputable publishers will no longer touch him, he published and is distributing his Goebbels, Mastermind of the Third Reich himself -- as he did with his expanded edition of Hitler's War in 1991 -- from his London home in Duke Street, under the imprint 'Focal Point.'[...]".

"[...] It is precisely the clever mixture of truth and untruth that makes Irving dangerous: [...]".

"But although Goebbels was a radical anti-Semite even before Hitler emerged, Irving is yet again trying to manipulate history when he suggests that Goebbels was the originator or even the driving force in the Final Solution. He tries to prove this with selected quotes from Goebbels's diaries, while carefully avoiding passages which show clearly that Goebbels was only informed -- by Hitler himself -- of the annihilation of the Jews many months after it had begun."

Goebbels Diaries on microfiches"The German historian Elke Fröhlich, the greatest living expert on Goebbels, had discovered in Russian secret archives in March 1992 the entire collection of glass plates on to which Goebbels had his diary entries from 1924 to 1945 photographically copied before the war ended.[...] In his book, Irving has to admit that it was she -- rather than he, as he had originally told the Sunday Times when he offered them the story for £75,000 in 1992 -- who had found the microfiches in Moscow. Nonetheless, he cannot resist stating that he had 'the immense good fortune to become the first, and so far only, person to open the complete microfiche records'. What nonsense. The fact is that when he learnt of Dr Fröhlich's discovery he talked his way into the Moscow archives, and 'borrowed' a dozen of the glass plates to show to Andrew Neil, then the Sunday Times editor, while he was on a visit to Moscow. [...] There is no question of his having 'exclusive' access to '80,000 pages' of the diary as he boasts. First of all there are not 80,000 pages (Dr Fröhlich estimates that there will be 50,000). The dozen plates he borrowed contained some 700 diary pages, and these were the only 'exclusive' source he had -- for a few days, until he was discovered. [...] Not surprisingly, however, he makes good use of what he has for his purpose of whitewashing 'our Führer' -- as I have heard him refer to Hitler -- this time using Goebbels as his tool."

"It is here -- as an example only, for there are many obsessions with people, ideas, or even things -- that the four books I cite have a common denominator. All of them, whether founded on love or hate, and whether expressing the obsession by means of invention, omission or distortion share the fatal weakness: the absence of detachment, rationality, and judgement which must inform any historical approach to the Third Reich."

The Natural or Ordinary Meaning of the Words Complained of

5. In the premises the said words as thus published by the First and Second Defendants in the context of the said article meant and were intended and understood to mean

(i) that the Plaintiff deliberately inflated the death roll in the 1945 air raids on Dresden by tenfold
Boxes of Goebbels Diaries in Moscow(ii) that the Plaintiff writes and publishes deliberate falsehoods in his biography Goebbels. Mastermind of the Third Reich

(iii) that reputable publishers were unwilling to enter into agreements with the Plaintiff to publish his work Goebbels. Mastermind of the Third Reich and will no longer inquire about the availability of rights in or enter into agreements to publish future writings of the Plaintiff

(iv) that accordingly the Plaintiff had no option but to publish Goebbels. Mastermind of the Third Reich in Britain himself

(v) that the Plaintiff publishes a dangerous mixture of the truth and untruth in his works and particularly in his book Goebbels. Mastermind of the Third Reich

(vi) that the Plaintiff has several times tried to manipulate history in particular in the book Goebbels. Mastermind of the Third Reich by publishing selected quotes from diaries while carefully avoiding passages not favouring his views

(vii) that the Plaintiff tried to rob Dr Elke Fröhlich of the real credit for discovering the Goebbels diary microfiches in Moscow [see document]

(viii) that the Plaintiff lied to the Sunday Times in concealing from them in 1992 that it was Dr Fröhlich and not he who had discovered the Goebbels diary microfiches in Moscow, and has now had to admit that he so lied

(ix) that the Plaintiff talked his way into the Moscow archives and obtained the diaries by subterfuge and was able to use them until his illicit use of them was discovered

(x) that the Plaintiff acted at all material times without the knowledge of and behind the back of Dr Fröhlich, thereby cheating her of her rightful gains and credit

(xi) that the Plaintiff boastfully exaggerated the number of pages in the aforementioned Goebbels diary

(xii) that the Plaintiff has spoken in the hearing of third parties of the Nazi leader Adolf Hitler as "our Führer"

(xiii) that the Plaintiff used the means of invention, omission or distortion to express an obsession, thereby demonstrating a lack of the detachment, rationality and judgement appropriate to an historian.

The Damage is of a Lasting Nature

6. The damage is of a lasting nature which notwithstanding the publication of any purported apology or retraction lasts long after the actual date of publication of the libel or libels by the Defendants.

The Plaintiff is entitled to Aggravated Damages

7. In justification of a claim for aggravated damages the Plaintiff will rely on the following facts:

(i) the First Defendants resisted the Plaintiff's request, communicated to them by facsimile message and by letter on the third day after publication of the words above complained of, that they publish a timely reply by him. Furthermore, on the occasion of the publication of similar libels by one Chaim Bermant in August 1992, the First Defendants published in The Observer newspaper a withdrawal and apology but have now published what are essentially the same libels;
(ii) the Second Defendant has pursued a sustained campaign of defamation against the Plaintiff for nearly twenty years and published the words complained of without any attempt at verification.

8. By reason of the premises the Plaintiff

has been brought into hatred, ridicule, and contempt, and

has suffered damage to his reputation in his said calling as an historian and writer and publisher, and

has suffered injury to his feelings

and claims

damages, including aggravated damages, for libel; and

an injunction restraining the defendants and each of them, whether by themselves, their servants, or agents or otherwise, from further publishing or causing to be published the said or similar words defamatory of the Plaintiff.



David John Cawdell Irving


served the first day of May 1996 by the Plaintiff acting in person, David Irving, 81 Duke Street, Grosvenor Square, London W1M 5DJ

The illustrations which were not of course part of the Statement of Claim show (1) air raid victims laid out on Dresden's Altmark, February 25, 1945, ready for mass cremation; (2) a sample of the microfiche glass plates containing Goebbels' diaries; (3) the original boxes in which they were contained, photographed by David Irving on a table in the Moscow archives.