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The Independent, London

London, March 16, 2000

[transcript of last day]


Irving 'falsified history on a staggering scale'

Home Affairs Correspondent


THE AUTHOR David Irving is a rabid anti-Semite whose prejudices led him to "prostitute his reputation as a serious historian", the High Court was told yesterday. Richard Rampton QC said Mr Irving was so obsessive in his desire to exonerate Hitler of responsibility for the Nazi persecution of the Jews that he had falsified history on a staggering scale.

Mr Rampton for the defendants, was making his closing submission in a packed courtroom during in Mr Irving's libel action against an American academic, Deborah Lipstadt, and Penguin Books over claims in a book by the former that the historian is a Holocaust denier.

He said: "As the evidence in this court has shown, Mr Irving is a right-wing extremist, a racist and, in particular, a rabid anti-Semite, How far, if at all, Mr Irving's anti-Semitism is a cause of his Hitler apology, or vice versa, is unimportant.

"Whether they are taken together, or individually it is clear they have led him to prostitute his reputation as a serious historian -- spurious though it can now be seen to have been -- for the sake of a bogus rehabilitation of Hitler and the dissemination of virulent anti-Semitic propaganda."

Mr Rampton accused Mr Irving, author of Hitler's War, of being a liar whose Holocaust denial had been exposed as a fraud, and said he had falsified history on a massive scale. "By the defendants' estimate, there are, in relation to Hitler alone, as many as 25 major falsifications of history, as well as numerous subsidiary inventions, suppressions, manipulations and mistranslations employed to support the major falsifications," Mr Rampton said. "If those relating to Auschwitz, Dresden and other matters are added in, the number goes well over 30."

Mr Irving, 62, who is representing himself, seeks damages over Professor Lipstadt's 1994 book, Denying the Holocaust, which he says has generated waves of hatred against him, He told the court the case was not about the reputation of the Holocaust but about his reputation "as a human being, as an historian of integrity".

He added: 'A judgment in my favour does not mean the Holocaust never happened; it means only that in England today discussion is still permitted."

Mr Justice Gray is due to give his verdict next month.

March 16, 2000
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