Posted Tuesday, May 28, 2002

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 Lipstadt is an academic whiz-kid who does not know her Arsch from her Ellenbogen. She refers to the Gestapo chief Heinrich Müller, head of Himmler's Amt IV, as Hermann Müller -- David Irving






May 28, 2002 (Tuesday)
Salt Lake City (Utah) -- Key West (Florida)

THE speaking tour is over. In one month I have driven around thirteen thousand miles up and down this great and beautiful continent -- from Key West to Harvard, from Los Angeles to Seattle and Salt Lake City. Plus ten thousand miles of flying, that makes some circuit. But the odious Lipstadt seems to get around quite a bit as well, though I doubt she pays for much of it out of her own pocket. That is Professor Deborah Lipstadt: well, an American professor, that is; at a university, at Emory University, that is.

A friend in South Africa tells me that yesterday evening (Monday) they interviewed the ubiquitous professor live on Radio 702 in Johannesburg. She "spent half the interview telling John Robbie not to interview you which definitely irritated the interviewer."

The interviewer was an Irishman, John Robbie, who although a liberal has enough of the rebel in him to give the other side a chance. "He once slammed the phone down on the Minister for Health when she wouldnt give him a straight answer about the government AIDS policy."

I wonder if he bothered to bone up on my list of twelve suggested questions to Lipstadt -- to which a thirteenth one now comes to mind: Why did the University of California refuse to grant you tenure? Why did you leave, and gravitate downward to Emory? Was it because of the quality of your research, or did allegations that you plagiarised a student's work, in the grand tradition of Alex Haley ("Roots") and Stephen Ambrose, have anything to do with it?

Those were two of the questions we had lined up for her cross examination at the London libel action -- Lipstadt however pleaded the Fifth, and never took the witness stand.

On Radio 702 yesterday, this poet and scholar spent five minutes slagging me off from a satisfactorily safe distance, arguing that Robbie should not give time to "fascists" like me. If people write to him a polite letter explaining which of us two, Lipstadt or myself, is the fascist, and why Judge Gray said what he did, maybe he would give me some of his radio prime-time. (His email address is But I doubt it. The usual and traditional enemies of free speech, who cocoon the ignorant Lipstadts of this world, are there to gag me.

When I was in Johannesburg in February 1992, Radio 702 invited me for a live interview. Ten minutes before I left the hotel they phoned to say "don't bother". They had come under pressure from SAJBOD, the South African Jewish Board of Deputies ("What, us? An international conspiracy?") Pretoria 1987Other Johannesburg and Pretoria functions were also cancelled under Jewish threats of violence, but an overflowing audience in the university of Pretoria heard me speak. My audiences there (right) are always vast.


AT fifteen minutes past midnight I set out from Miami airport in a rented Grand Marquis and cruise down the 160-mile Overseas Highway back to Key West. The narrow highway, traversing forty-six bridges and islands, is deserted -- the low season has begun, and we are into months of mosquitoes and hurricanes. I complete the trip in just over three hours.

Gigantic cumulus clouds rear up like motionless towers towards the moon: its full orb is a dazzling white, as there is no man-made atmosphere out here to cast a veil across it; the moon illumines the whole ocean to my left. The Atlantic glistens like a bed of black, grey, and white diamonds as far as the eye can see; occasional tropical rain squalls splatter the windshield. The Gulf, to my right, is quiet and darkly obedient.

4:00 a.m. Two hundred e-mails have piled up during the day. Coincidentally, I see that Lipstadt, this eminent scholar who must surely one day rank for a Pulitzer, if not indeed the Nobel prize for Literature, has an article in Sunday's Washington Post, reviewing the book Masters of Death: The SS-Einsatzgruppen and The Invention of the Holocaust by Richard Rhodes.

Sarcasm aside, that really does take the matzos: It borders on the absurd; she is a teacher of religion at Emory, she knows even less German than Richard Evans, she has no knowledge of World War II history or its documents and archives -- yet she gets to pass judgment on an evidently important work on the subject of Heinrich Himmler's SS task forces, in the pages of a leading United States newspaper.

Lipstadt is an academic whiz-kid who does not know her Arsch from her Ellenbogen. She refers to the Gestapo chief Heinrich Müller, head of Himmler's Amt IV, as "Hermann Müller".

The Washington Post helpfully enlightens its puzzled readers at the end of the piece that she is "currently writing a book about her legal victory over Holocaust denier David Irving." Oh. That's all right, then.

Of course, as Prof. Evans also knows, "currently writing" a book on the trial does not mean that it will be published. (The best, Don Guttenplan's, has already been out for over a year).

Spielberg crushes IrvingWhen publishers hear the name Deborah Lipstadt now, they must blanche even whiter than when the name of Richard Evans is mentioned. Her last literary effort, Denying the Holocaust, was originally funded by Yad Vashem in Jerusalem and subsidised by the widely admired media-mogul and Mediterranean swimmer Robert Maxwell (Jan Hoch); but it cost her backers Stephen Spielberg and Edgar J Bronfman and the American Jewish Congress six million dollars in unrecoverable costs -- unrecoverable, because the High Court in London did not award her any costs in my failed libel action against her.

It cost her publisher Penguin Books another £2 million. London journalists wickedly asked them, on the day of their Pyrrhic victory in April 2000, if they had any plans to publish her book -- Lipstadt had been seen busily pecking at her laptop throughout the trial. Penguin's chief executive evaded direct reply; the London press quoted him as saying tartly that they would consider that question when the time came! Hardly a vote of confidence in their co-defendant's marketability.

Her books routinely bomb, and are shovelled off the shelves into the furnaces, pulp machines, or remainder buckets, unreadable, unloved, and unsaleable at even one-tenth of their original price.


THE best piece of news comes however right at the end; it is morning before I read it. After we had all feared that the famous work Lying about Hitler by Prof. Richard ("Skunk") Evans would never see the light of day in English bookstores, he brags to Sweden's biggest newspaper Dagens Nyheter, which prints the interview in Stockholm this morning, that he has found a tiny left-wing British publishing house, Verso, with enough balls to take the "risk" of a libel action from me -- i.e., from David Irving, a bankrupt racist, fascist, mendacious, distorting, anti-Semitic, Holocaust denier, who has now had his home of thirty-four years, his British bank accounts, and his research archives seized by the enemy.

It is an illuminating review, its beams casting glinting rays askew the bland image that Evans has hitherto attempted to convey. When the reporter, Lennart Lundmark, arrives for his appointment with the illustrious professor in London's West End, he finds Evans disgruntled and in a hurry:

"I meet him in the British Academy's premises a block from Piccadilly Circus. His meeting had run on nearly an hour longer than he estimated, and he seems irritated when he shows up. Maybe he has been overruled in some question. He walks a little stooped and moves somewhat jerkily. You feel a lot of stress behind that body-language. Even before the interview has started he is leafing though the timetable to find a train to Cambridge."

Evans A reminder: Evans was the leading historian -- in fact, the self-proclaimed doyen of the Cambridge University historians -- to whom Penguin Books Ltd paid a quarter of a million pounds to express an objective and neutral opinion about my worth. (His own worth is a matter of printed record. Sample: he scoffed back in 1987 that "German reunification is simply not a realistic possibility, and to talk about it . . . is to indulge in political fantasizing." Richard Evans, 'The New Nationalism and the Old History -- Perspective on the West German Historikerstreit,' in Journal Of Modern History, Dec 1987, page 785.)

It cannot have been an easy task to remain as neutral as he did in the face of such wealth, lavished on him by just one side in the legal battle; he built an extension to his own house, which he humorously called The Irving Extension in honour of the source of its funding.

No, not easy, but Evans rose to the task with gusto, as the interview displays. "He [Mr Irving] can sue as much as he wants, it will not turn out any better this time," the Swedish journalist today quotes him as bragging. "Evans smiles and triumphantly brandishes the sheaf of proofs." Proofs? So publishing plans are evidently far advanced. I take it that that this "sheaf of proofs" has, like the Lipstadt book Denying the Holocaust, not been read for libel.

Lying bookWhen I expressed mild curiosity, cross examining Evans on February 10, 2000 in the witness box, as to whether he did not in fact hate my guts, he swore on the Bible that he was completely objective about me (at the same time as he was writing in this book, which he originally called Telling Lies about Hitler, that he felt that my very presence in the room defiled it.) The book was so libellous that, without my seeing it or saying a word, his own publisher, the highly respected Jewish firm William Heinemann, refused to print it on the advice of their own lawyers.

Granta, another London firm which came galloping up, loudly braying their support for him, also went metaphorically white when they read it, and (less loudly) decided not to go ahead. As I wrote to the Evening Standard, I could only hope that Evans would eventually publish, because this is the stuff of a really rewarding libel action: An author who has demonstrably perjured himself as an expert witness; and a publisher who publishes a book, knowing that other publishers have dropped it as manifestly libellous. Not even a Judge Gray could save Evans this time.

Today's Dagens Nyheter, of Stockholm, makes plain that their journalist left the interview liking the professor as little as I did. Much of the article recapitulates Evans's views on history and on me and my work: "It does not turn out to be the relaxed chat I had expected", writes the reporter. (In fact, it is evident to the Swedish readers that Evans has not worked any charms on him).

a skunkEvan's legal advisers had also noticed and fretted over his emotional involvement, the article reports. Coaching him before the Lipstadt trial, they had advised him not to look me in the eye while under cross-examination. (Of course, the skunk never does -- look its opponent in the eye -- he would not be a very efficient skunk if he did.)

He did not obey this advice on the first day (February 10, 2000) and as anticipated he became so worked up, he admitted to the journalist, that he did not make a good expert witness. After that -- no doubt he was firmly taken in hand by the lawyers that night -- he never looked me in the eye again.

I must admit that I had always wondered, and remarked in my trial diary at the time, why he stood with his back partially turned toward me, his hands thrust deeply and insultingly into his trouser pockets as he testified.

Evans says that a person who "deliberately falsifies" the meaning of the sources, as I do, must be regarded not as a historian but as a propagandist.

Not taken in by Evans, the Swedish writer concludes by remarking that many respected historians admire my work -- he mentions particularly Christopher Hitchens's recent review of Churchill's War in the April issue of Atlantic Monthly: "Nor will that probably be the last attempt at restoring Irving to within the boundaries of scientific decency," the journalist predicted. "So it will be long before Evans can ease off" -- he uses the Swedish phrase for "revving down", or slipping back into a lower gear.

Yes, Evans seems to have been the ideal "neutral witness" -- for the enemy: it is odd that the judge did not see through him too.

Supper at Harpoon Harry's. A fierce, umremitting head wind, as my legs polish the accumulated rust off the bike chain, going along the Gulf boulevard.



Previous Radical's Diary
Dagens Nyheter, Tuesday, May 28, 2002: Historikern Richard Evans vittnesmål i rätten avslöjade Förintelseförnekaren David Irving som en lögnare
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