London, March 10, 2000
Trial adjourns ahead of closing statements next week
'Jewish fraud' statistics prompt heated exchange
BY LEE LEVITT
RIGHT-WING historian David Irving used a "rabid Nazi" source to authenticate an allegedly disproportionate Jewish involvement in fraud cases in pre-Nazi Berlin, the High Court was told last Thursday.
As his libel case against American academic Professor Deborah Lipstadt continued, the defence pointed out that in his biography of Nazi Propaganda Minister Josef Goebbels, Mr Irving had written that 31,000 cases of insurance fraud were committed by Jews in the German city in 1932. Drug-related crimes and smuggling were also held to have been disproportionately committed by Jews.
But defence QC Richard Rampton declared that Interpol, cited as the principal source for the statistics, was not known as such until after the war.
He maintained that Mr Irving's real source was German police chief Kurt Daluege, who had received a more oblique reference in the book, and that Mr Irving had proceeded to double the figures provided by Daluege.
Mr Rampton said that, according to official German statistics, there were only 74 cases of insurance fraud in the whole of the country in 1932.
During an at-times-impassioned exchange, he said to Mr Irving: "You have effectively doubled the figures given by a rabid Nazi.
"Maybe it was a mistake," Mr Irving replied.[*]
"Assuming that it was an innocent mistake, which I don't, then, Daluege being your source, you uncritically put it down as fact," Mr Rampton went on.
"You have to take some kind of figures from somewhere," the author protested.
Continuing the attack, the QC accused Mr Irving of "a most appalling distortion of the truth."
He denied this. "Daluege was head of the German police system. In this particular matter, we have to rely on a dodgy source. You have to pick and choose."
The 62-year-old plaintiff, who has conducted his own case, also claimed that the British government invented the idea of homicidal gas chambers in Poland in late 1941, and that the Psychological Warfare Executive and the BBC had put out "black propaganda" to further the story.
On being shown original documentation which the defence said proved the gas chambers' homicidal nature, Mr Irving termed it "low-grade evidence."
Challenged on his links with the British National Party, Mr Irving dissociated himself from its supporters, contemptuously dismissing them as "a band of hopeless right-wingers going nowhere."
He also sought to distance himself from the white supremacist American National Alliance, whose meetings he had addressed during a nationwide tour.
Mr Irving said that he had been unaware which organisation he had spoken to, adding that addressing its meetings was not tantavermount to agreeing with its views.
"When did you last address a meeting of the South Balham Trotsky party?" Mr Rampton responded tartly.
Mr Irving is suing Professor Lipstadt and Penguin Books over allegations that he is a Holocaust-denier who has twisted history.
The case has been adjourned until next week, when final statements will be delivered.
Anger over interview
From MARGARET SAFRAN,
AUSTRALIAN Jewish leaders have been outraged by the publication of an interview with David Irving by a woman who wrote a novel in the mid 1990s suggesting that the Jews had brought the Holocaust on themselves.
Helen Darville's interview with Mr Irving appeared in Australian Style magazine.
He comes across as an eccentric genius facing financial ruin. In contrast, the object of his libel action, Professor Deborah Lipstadt, is portrayed as an employee of a "Coca-Cola university," and her historical expertise queried.
Executive Council of Australian Jewry vice-president Jeremy Jones has criticised the article's publication, calling it "gimmickry of the most offensive kind."
Miss Darville assumed a Ukrainian identity when authoring her novel, in which Jews are said to have induced a 1930s famine in the Ukraine in which five million died. She won a number of literary awards before it emerged that she was in fact an Australian of British background.
London, March 10, 2000
Courtesy links: Professor Evans' witness report click to download
Dr Longerich's witness report click to download
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