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Reports by expert witnesses have now been exchanged (July 30, 1999) in the Libel Action between DJC Irving v Penguin Books Ltd and Deborah Lipstadt
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Special to AR Online Friday, July 30, 1999


Identities of Lipstadt's courtroom experts revealed

Debate-dodgers now obliged to face questions


London, Jul. 30, 1999 -- THIS afternoon lawyers for Deborah Lipstadt served on British writer David Irving the statements drafted by the expert witnesses they propose to call for the defence in the Libel action he has brought in the British High Court against Lipstadt over remarks in her book Denying the Holocaust. Although the bulk of the defence work is undertaken by leading London law firm Mishcon de Reya, attorneys for Lipstadt's London publishers Penguin Ltd. are relying on the same experts.

There are few surprises in the identities of the experts thus revealed today. There are four:

  • Professor Richard Evans
  • Professor Christopher Browning
  • Professor Peter Longerich
  • Professor Robert Jan Van Pelt

All four are reputable historians of the highest calibre. Evans is a well known social historian, author of works on the history of feminism, etc. It is understood that only Pelt is Jewish; born in Holland, he is Professor of Cultural Histor at the School of Architecture of the University of Waterloo, Ontario. Mr Irving has had words of high praise for Pelt's recent book Auschwitz 1270 to the Present, in which a chapter is largely devoted to exposing the gas-chambers on display to tourists at Auschwitz (as opposed to Birkenau) as being a regrettable post-war fraud. Professor Pelt has so far failed to acknowledge or answer the lengthy letter which Mr Irving sent to him in May 1997, raising detailed questions of historical importance.

Ironically, Pelt, Browning, and Longerich have hitherto all explicitly dodged debate with the British writer, as indeed has Professor Lipstadt, who has on several occasions publicly refused to discuss historical issues with revisionists (she boasts of having coined the phrase "Holocaust deniers"): When Mr Irving rose to ask questions of her at a public lecture in Atlanta, Georgia, in November 1994, she had armed campus police called in to silence him, and in March 1995 she secretly persuaded Britain's chief rabbi Emmanuel Jakobovits to ensure that the Community Security Trust (a vigilante organisation of 2,000 paramilitary thugs in London) was on hand in case he should put in an "embarrassing" appearance during her keynote speech at the London Book Fair (he did not).

As for Professor Browning, a regular commuter to the prosecution witness box in trials of alleged war-criminals and historical revisionists, both Mr Irving and university students have on several occasions invited him to attend the latter's lectures on the Pacific West Coast of the United States, and to take the stage to answer him; Browning has either not acknowledged the invitations or has declined them. Nor has he answered letters written him by Mr Irving.

In October 1998 the German-born historian Professor Peter Longerich lectured to a large audience at the German Institute in London, where he developed the interesting theory that Hitler took his decision to exterminate the Jews in the first week of April 1942; he admitted that there was not the slightest documentary evidence in support of this hypothesis. When Mr Irving rose at question time to put to him the genuine document which he had in his hand, namely the Reich Ministry of Justice memorandum recording that at that very moment in history, the spring of 1942, Hitler had ruled ("repeatedly") that he wanted the Solution of the Jewish Problem postponed until after the war, Longerich sulked and took refuge in silence. The chairman then announced, to gasps of astonishment, that the young professor had flatly stated before the lecture to him that if Mr Irving asked any question, he would refuse to answer.

IN RESPONSE to the four statements, running to several thousand pages, Mr Irving has filed a statement by Dr John Fox, former editor of The British Journal of Holocaust Education and an expert on the historiography of the World War II extermination of the Jews. The statement details among other things attempts by the international organised Jewish community to suppress the well known books of Mr Irving, including one particularly shameful incident in December 1991.

UNTIL Tuesday, August 3, 1999 at 8:44 PM e-mail links to the defence experts listed above were provided on this page, in accordance with universal Web etiquette. These addresses are readily available in academic directories in the public domain. Solicitors for Penguin Books threatened Contempt of Court proceedings, and we have therefore removed the links. We apologise for the inconvenience. The e-mail addresses of Mr Irving's witnesses will remain posted.

THIS Website will now begin to post part of its Browning dossier; we invite worldwide submissions and contributions to this and our parallel dossiers on Pelt, Evans, and Longerich.

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