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Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung , Feuilleton, February 25, 2000

[German text]


Irving's actual reality

On Eva Menasse's David Irving libel action against Deborah Lipstadt and Penguin Books Ltd in London (your report in F.A.Z.-Feuilleton of February 16):

The more we hear about David Irving as a "historian" and the way he deals with the trial subject of "Holocaust denial" the faster we come to the conviction that the "Irving case" does not really belong before a proper court but in a psychiatric clinic. One can only marvel that a "basically intelligent and well-read man" like David Irving has shunted himself into a railway-siding of history that is completely blocked by facts and figures and that he has become derailed by wrongly set railroad-points. Because of ideologically tainted know-it-allery, perhaps?

The very selectively deployed detailed knowledge of the author Irving is completely complementary within itself. It is torn bodily out of the context of history. It becomes detached from the real world. Irving has createdhis own virtual reality. He then believes implicitly in this self-made "reality" and he is defending this, for him completely "realistic," viewpoint with everything he's got. In the process, incorrigible and stubborn paintiff that he is, he does not hesitate to keep on reiterating the same claims, no matter how often refuted, as new "facts". As a neutral, one is inclined to see either "malice" or outright provocation in this.

By these means the "peasant-cunning" David Irving is working away on the endurance [Durchhaltevermögen] of his trial opponents -- the Penguin publishers and their author Deborah Lipstadt -- and the team of historians from Cambridge under history professor Richard Evans: he would like to wear them down with his endless and "burdensome" repetitions, and trick the defence into "shooting themselves in the foot".

He's had no luck in this so far, but the ruthless flexibility with which Irving coins anew the facts of history for "his own cause" makes demands not only on the patience of the court. As a reader of the reports [Verhandlungsberichte] on the trial, one gains the impression that Irving, even if Judge Gray does not "find for" him, will regard himself as a victor or martyr for "his own just cause." His own and better knowledge of the facts notwithstanding.

Peter Krusche, Bad Krozingen


Website fact: The Durchhaltevermögen of the defence team is aided by a five million dollar fund provided by the American Jewish Committee, which enables them to pay the "experts" Evans, Longerich, etc., £750 (DM2500) per day (while the defence's star legal team is paid considerably more). Nobody is paying for Mr Irving, who has been fighting this Existenzkampf for three whole years. [Help]


SUGGESTION: Fax a reader's letter to this newspaper the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung at (+49) 69 7591 1743 or 

February 25, 2000




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