Saturday, July 21, 2001
Irving's tag as
'Holocaust denier' upheld
The discredited historian of the
Third Reich, David Irving, may face
bankruptcy after the court of appeal yesterday
rejected his application to appeal against a libel
trial ruling branding him a racist Holocaust denier
who deliberately distorted historical
faces a final legal bill of more than £2m.
Yesterday the court agreed that he could be asked
immediately for an interim payment of
£150,000. Richard Rampton QC, counsel
for Penguin Books and Deborah Lipstadt,
whose book, Denying the Holocaust, led to the case,
said: "There lurks the real possibility of the need
to take bankruptcy proceedings against Mr
He was not in court when the judgment -- a
ringing endorsement of the conclusions reached by
Mr Justice Gray at the libel trial last year
-- was handed down by Lord Justice Pill with
Lord Justice Mantell and Lord Justice
Buxton. Mr Irving was "somewhere in a van on
the south coast"
trying to sell his
latest book, Churchill's
War, to book-shops, said his lawyers.
After Mr Justice Gray's devastating judgment
that he was an apologist for Hitler, Mr Irving
has been unable to find a
mainstream distributor for the book, which
he has published under his own imprint, Focal Point
Press, with finance from American investors.
Mark Bateman, solicitor for Penguin,
said: "[Today's ruling] is a very
predictable outcome. It is a shame we have been
dragged through the court of appeal when there was
really no issue in Mr Justice Gray's judgment --
his judgment was sound."
Lord Justice Pill said that the trial judge was
right to conclude Irving "may be described as a
Holocaust denier". He went on: "We acknowledge he
has over the years modified, and in some respects,
significantly modified, his views upon some of the
"However, the respondents were justified in
describing him as 'one of the most dangerous
spokespersons for Holocaust denial' having regard
to the views he has expressed and in some respects
persisted in, and the manner and force with which
he has expressed them.
"The use of the word 'dangerous' was justified
by reason of his historiographical methods
considered by the judge and in this judgment."
Last month Irving's counsel, Adrian
Davies, had argued before the court that Mr
Justice Gray's conclusions were wrong and unjust
and that Irving had come to reasonable conclusions
in his books based on the available evidence.
Lord Justice Pill said: "Mr Davies has not
persuaded us that it is arguable that the judge's
general conclusions were unjustified."
On the trial's central question of Auschwitz,
said Lord Justice Pill, Mr Irving argued that the
evidence for mass gassing at the camp was nowhere
near so strong that it was perverse for him to
entertain doubts about it. Mr Irving's view was
that there were no gassings at Auschwitz and only
random gassings at Auschwitz II, and had submitted
there were good grounds for scepticism as to what
had happened at Auschwitz.
Justice Pill said that having considered the
evidence, they considered Mr Justice Gray "fully
entitled" to reach his conclusion that "no
objective, fair-minded historian would have serious
cause to doubt that there were gas chambers at
Auschwitz, and that they were operated on a
substantial scale to kill hundreds of thousands of
(left) said she was
gratified by the ruling: "I hope Mr Irving's six
year battle against my attempt to tell the truth
about him will end.] do not delude myself that,
though my battle with Mr Irving may be over, the
fight against those who will pervert the historical
record for their own political and ideological
goals has ended. That battle will continue for as
long as history is written. Those of us writing
history and those of us who care about truth and
memory will have to be ever ready to stand against
Special report on tho Irving case at www.guardianunlimited.co.uk/irving.© Copyright 2001
Guardian Newspapers Ltd.