David Irving's comments on the expert Richard Evans
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Answer: I don't want to get into a prick-comparison contest, particularly when one of us is such a bigger prick than the other.

April 29, 2000 (Saturday)

London (England)

Varsity [the Cambridge University newspaper] asks me to comment on points made by Prof Richard Evans in an interview:

HERE are some limited responses, bearing in mind that I proceed from here to an appeal. I formed a low impression of Evans' abilities. He appeared clearly motivated by malice from the outset, although he denied this; the malice was evident to every person in the public gallery, and many commented on it to me. I was astonished by his ignorance of Third Reich personalities, terminology and events; asked a relatively easy question, as the transcripts show -- I have posted them in full at


he usually refused to answer from his own knowledge, but insisted on referring to his written report. He did this so often that the Court realised that the report had evidently been written for him by others, or by him so long ago that he had forgotten meanwhile what he had written. I.e., the knowledge was not properly imbibed. He ducked and dodged every significant direct question, reading out instead pages of the sludge of which his dreary report consisted. Small wonder that his was the only report on which even the Judge passed a negative comment in his findings.

My advisers advised me to go less easy on this professor of history, and to expose his total ignorance of both the language and the history more ruthlessly: e.g., not to inform him that Albert Speer was Hitler's munitions minister, but to ask him if he knew what Speer was; I thought at that time he probably knew the answers, but when I tested him on a really easy name -- "You are aware who Otto Abetz was, are you not?" he came back with the answer that the lawyers had no doubt rehearsed for such emergencies: namely, "You will have to remind me." (Abetz was Hitler's ambassador to Paris throughout the war occupation years; yet Evans did not even know that). I then regretted that I had not shown up his ignorance earlier.

To my astonishment, from the first moment he showed the utmost discourtesy to me (and the Court) by standing, a little dumpy scowling Welshman, with both hands thrust deep into his trouser pockets fumbling with something -- I imagine counting his cash -- throughout the days he was in the witness stand, and on occasion turning his back to both me as cross-examiner and the judge as he spoke to us. I attach some of my diary entries: (you can read most of them all on the website, go e.g. to


and scroll down to near the bottom):

Evans was paid £70,181 for his report. You will find all the payments listed on


I hear he also intends to publish his magnum opus in a Penguin edition (which I have instructed my solicitors to enjoin, among other reasons being that its libels will no longer covered by court privilege). I will not embarrass him by stating how many hours he actually billed for (certainly not the "two years" you write of; and most of the legwork was done by teams of researchers, who were also funded by Spielberg et al.) By way of comparison: I worked for eight years writing my biography GOEBBELS. MASTERMIND OF THE THIRD REICH, for which I obtained the Goebbels diaries from the Moscow archives, and transcribed them first (and made them immediately available to all other historians). For those eight years' work the US publisher St Martins Press contracted to pay $25,000; but then they came under blackmail threats and pressure, violence, etc., from the "free speech lovers" Deborah Lipstadt and her cohorts the ADL, and in April 1996 they and Doubleday (who had nominated it Book of the Month for May 1996) withdrew from publication. So I got nothing.

I disapprove of witnesses being paid, particularly such obscenely large amounts, and particularly if they are already drawing a full salary as an academic: or did Evans take an unpaid sabbatical from Cambridge while working those "two years" on this case?

He must have found it hard to keep a straight face when he signed the notice at the end of his witness-report confirming that he had remained neutral as between the parties in the action, despite the fact that one party (the defendants) had paid him over £70,000; remaining neutral must have been a truly Herculean struggle.

One wonders too what all the academics whose reputations he so carelessly trashed under cross examination for manifesting negligence and ignorance (e.g. Trevor Roper, Gordon Craig, John Charmley, etc etc) think about him now; indeed, one wonders what Dr John Casey, who invited me some time back to speak at Caius, thinks of him. I wonder if, two years from now, Evans will think it was worth the £70,000.

[Question: He says he now has a very low opinion of your historical work and your motives for producing it. What do you think of his?]

Answer: I don't want to get into a prick-comparison contest, particularly when one of us is such a bigger prick than the other. The truth is, as I stated in the transcripts, when Lipstadt nominated him as one expert, I had never heard of him; I put out an appeal on the Internet for anybody who could identify him, and none of the historians I commune with had heard of him either. sludgeThen I found his book sitting on my desk, unopened, where it had been stacked for six months after somebody sent me a free copy. I confess too that I tried to read it, but rather like Mein Kampf I gave up after less than a dozen pages; scarcely a page-turner of a book, anyway.

[Question: I see that your website says you have only needed to correct one mistake as a result of the case. But will people take you seriously in future?]

Answer: Time will tell. I have inserted the July 2, 1941 Heydrich document, found in the Moscow archives, as having relevance; I have ignored the Müller document of August 1, 1941, as its content shows quite clearly it had everything to do with the non-homicidal work of the Einsatzgruppen, and nothing to do with the liquidations. I have corrected the date of the Horthy conference from April 16 to 17, 1943 (to which Evans et al attached such importance that the word "Big" as used by Barclays' hardly seems big enough).

[Question: Evans says that he was fighting on the side of free speech: that in his experience, 'real' historians do not sue each other even over clearly libellous claims, and that if somebody had been suing you, rather than the other way around, he would have been much more reluctant to appear against you. What do you make of this?]

Irving in cuffsAnswer: Evans has clearly followed none of the conspiracy origins of the attempt by Lipstadt et al to destroy my publishing base. She was the only one of the gang I could get at, as she was peddling her lies within the jurisdiction while the others are careful to remain outside. I don't remember Evans protesting when I was being deported from Canada (November 13, 1992) in manacles on the basis of fake documents planted in Canadian government files by Lipstadt's friends. See photo at:


or is that kind of thing okay, because Evans disapproved of the views I was lecturing on anyway . . .which rather answers the point, does it not?

I would be happy to return to Cambridge to debate Evans or any other so called historian; but with no crib sheets allowed -- answers coming straight off our respective expertises. Incidentally I spoke to a full house of the Fabian Society in 1977: chairman was Robert Harris, and we have remained good friends since then. I am a great admirer of him, and his politics do not bother me one jot.

Richard Evans' response to some of his critics

Richard Evans was one of the expert witnesses chosen by Prof Deborah Lipstadt for her defence of David Irving's libel action

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