Unless correspondents ask us not to, this Website will post selected letters that it receives and invite open debate.
Ashleigh W. of Australia asks David Irving, Sunday, May 6, 2007, a few questions on the aftermath of the Lipstadt trial.
Lipstadt Trial and the Lessons of History
I AM a senior school student in Australia. For my major work in history extension this year, I have chosen to use the Lipstadt/Irving trial as a focus. The court case and the historical theory behind it fascinates me and I would love to hear some of your personal opinions. I have prepared a few questions for you to answer if you don't mind: [see the questions and answers, below]
Please excuse any naivety in my questions, I only know what I have learnt from other sources so far, and therefore do not mean any offence when questioning your methods as a historian.
Your answers need not be long, I do not wish to burden you in any way. I very much look forward to hearing from you.
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David Irving responds:
HAVE a look at the links I provide below. I do not think I can provide much more in initial correspondence than you will find in my website.
You can of course quote anything you want for free and use the photos - let me know if you need high resolution versions.
As for the famous Lipstadt ("Holocaust denial") trial, you will find all you need at these addresses on my website:
The "pleadings" are on my Lipstadt index at link. Our "print" version of the adverse judgment is at link. or download it direct at this link. The official html version of the judgment is (or was) at link but you will find our "print" version easier to follow as it is illustrated with many of the documents.
The daily transcripts are on my website at link. You may find our subsequent appeal pleadings of particular interest. We learned the negative result of our appeal on July 20, 2001: the appeal judgment is at link.
Have a look also at the "print" version of my five-hour closing speech, which will tell you the rest; it is at link (use the menu). It is fuller than the version actually spoken in Court as the Judge required me to trim out certain passages.
if you have specific questions, come back to me by email!
Now to your questions:
1. Do you think the outcome of the trial had anything to do with your historical methodology? If so what effect did it produce and why do you think it produced it?Answer: Not with my methodology, but it inevitably produced a number of new documents of which I was not then aware and which I shall make use of my in forthcoming biography of Heinrich Himmler. No doubt the documents I used also gave the "enemy" food for thought, but I think they are less flexible than I.
2. What do you think of 'Holocaust denial'? Is it a relevent or credible term in relation to you, your methodology or your work?Answer: It is a cheap and silly phrase that they use. They seized upon the word Holocaust in early 1970s, gave it a capital letter, put an all-importnant "the" in front of it, and all else flowed from that public-relations brainwave: Holocaust survivor, Holocaust denial, Holocaust trauma, Holocaust industry, and ... much cash, very much cash indeed. Whoever hit on the idea for this cash-cow was even cleverer than the guy who designed the Coca-Cola bottle.
3. What is your position on subjectivity? How relevent do you think subjectivity is when history is being studied and written.Answer: It should be irrelevant, like political inclination; but it is not. You see from the testimony of the very expensive "expert witnesses" hired by Lipstadt -- they cost her backers millions of dollars -- how their subjective hatreds coloured everything they said and wrote. Their books are consequently much diminished in objective value ... in my subjective view.
4. What do you believe to be the purpose of history?Answer: It should teach us all lessons. A short answer, which is what you want, is that George W Bush and Tony Blair have evidently learned none of the lessons of History. -- At a Berlin press conference on October 3, 1989 I predicted that Germany would be reunited in twelve months. The journalists hooted with derision. German Reunification was pronounced on October 3, 1990. People asked me how I knew, and I replied: "I am a Historian. We study the Past. Those who study the Past can predict the future." To which I would add: Within Limits.
Madrid, Tuesday, May 8, 2007 10:10 a.m
5. There must have been a reason for critics to focus the nonsense upon you. What do you believe was this reason?Answer: This is of course only my own construction on events. My first book published in 1963 was "Apocalypse 1945: the Destruction of Dresden". It attracted worldwide attention. It described a real holocaust, on February 13/14, 1945, of thousands of people burned alive in two hours. Nobody outside Germany had heard of it before. It threatened to diminish, or distract, or divert attention from the Jewish holocaust. Big money was involved in that, billions of dollars being extracted over the years, beginning around then until now, from Swiss banks, the German and Austrian governments, corporations etc., in compensation.
The people behind what U.S. Professor Norman Finkelstein calls The Holocaust Industry did not want one ounce of sympathy or compassion diverted from "their" tragedy. They began in 1963 in a small scale to hammer away at "my" Holocaust and me. I call it The Pottersman Effect (you will see why from my memoirs, when they are complete). This counter attack grew in scale as the Dresden disaster seeped more and more into world awareness, and just recently it has become a major onslaught against me: go to my website search engine, http://www.fpp.co.uk/search, and enter "Vonnegut", and you will see the latest ad hominem attacks on me, which are all a part of this campaign against me.
6. What was it about your work that made people like Lipstadt make the claims she did?Answer: which brings me to this person. She is a Jewish professor of Jewish history. I do not know her qualifications, and I do not question them (though others have, and she failed to gain tenure at her University of Southern California). An Israeli body, Yad Vashem, and the late multi-millionaire fraudster Robert Maxwell (real name: Jan Hoch), began paying her large sums of money to write a book denouncing those people they call "the Holocaust deniers."
The deniers were asking some really awkward questions about "their" holocaust; and bit-by-bit the legendary elements therein were shriveling away to nothingness. The "4 million killed at Auschwitz" were replaced by one million, in itself already a threefold exaggeration. The Israeli historians denounced the "Jewish soap" legend. Even the corrupt German government dismissed as fiction the gas chamber at Dachau.
The Auschwitz site itself is riddled with fabrications. The Jewish organizations, and their greed for the billion-dollar compensation -- which never seems to reach those who really suffered, like Finkelstein's mother -- are to blame for the rise of the Holocaust deniers.
Lipstadt produced a book on them, what we writers call a "cut-and-paste" job. I have seen her "research" -- one benefit of the lawsuit I brought against her. When Lipstadt finished her manuscript, Yad Vashem, the Israeli Holocaust research body (and not a bad one at that) ordered her in a secret letter, of which I have a copy, to include me in her book, which she had signally not done until then; since they were paying her, she obliged.
When I sued her for defamation (libel), she turned to these Jewish billionaires for support, and they flooded eventually over thirteen million dollars into the various courts to pay her lawyers and witnesses, fees which even the judge called "obscene" when he eventually heard about them. I can only presume they targeted me because of my global reputation for (so I maintain) objectivity, research, and incorruptibility. I was, she said, particularly "dangerous"; and now you see what she meant.
And now a warning: Ashleigh, do not just listen to what I say; your essay must be even-handed, listen to all sides and form your own judgment.
Keep 'em coming!