London, March 17, 2000
[transcript of last day]
Defence counsel queries historian's motives
Irving views are 'music to the ears of neo-Nazis'
BY LEE LEVITT
DAVID IRVING'S "Holocaust denial" was grounded in anti-Semitism, defence QC Richard Rampton told the High Court in his closing statement on Wednesday.
Mr Irving is suing American academic Professor Deborah Lipstadt and her publisher, Penguin Books, over allegations in her book, "Denying the Holocaust," that he is a Holocaust denier who has distorted the facts of history.
Describing Mr Irving's "Holocaust-denial" as a case of "fraud," Mr Rampton said it had originated with "a piece of so-called scientific research" -- the Leuchter Report, which maintained the Auschwitz gas chambers could not have been used for that purpose -- and was adorned with "fragile conjectures based on no significant research at all."
The historian had never himself been to Auschwitz to examine either the remains or the documentary evidence contained in the archive, said Mr Rampton.
"Given that Mr Irving has repeatedly falsified history in pursuit of his obsessive desire to exonerate Hitler of responsibility for the Nazi persecution of the Jews and of responsibility for the Holocaust," he said, "and in the face of overwhelming evidence that the Holocaust took place on the scale generally described by reputable historians, the question arises why Mr Irving should have engaged so actively in the promotion of these historical falsehoods.
"The answers suggested by the evidence are that Mr Irving is an anti-Semite.
"Holocaust-denial, in the form it is purveyed by Mr Irving, is an obvious expression of anti-Semitism, and is music to the ears of the neo-Nazis, and other right-wing extremists to whom he purveys it.
"Mr Irving is a Hitler partisan, who has falsified history on a staggering scale in order to 'prove' Hitler's innocence, which, like Holocaust denial, is obviously very appealing to his fellow-travellers.
"After all, if the Holocaust were a 'myth,' then, obviously, Hitler could have had no responsibility for it," he said.
"How far, if at all, Mr Irving's anti-Semitism is a cause of his Hitler apology, or vice-versa, is unimportant.
"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 Irving's "partisanship," maintained Mr Rampton, revealed "a deliberate blindness to the evidence -- what he doesn't like he ignores."
BY HELEN JACOBUS
IN HIS CLOSING statement on Wednesday, David Irving stood by his view that Hitler did not know about the Final Solution.
He also said no gas chambers had been used for mass extermination at Auschwitz. And he told Mr Justice Gray, before a packed public gallery, that there had been "no meaningful research" into the Holocaust until his book, "Hitler's War," in 1977.
"Far from being a 'Holocaust-denier,' my work has directly increased historical research into, and understanding of the Holocaust," he said.
He said the defence had not proved he had "falsified" history. Though they were backed by "multimillion-dollar research, this does not invalidate me as an historian."
He maintained an international network -- which he later said included the Board of Deputies and the Institute of Jewish Affairs -- had waged a campaign against him. Professor Deborah Lipstadt's book, "Denying the Holocaust," had been "the climax of this campaign."
This had resulted in loss of income. "Because of the inescapable conclusion that Hitler had probably not ordered, or been aware until relatively late, of the ultimate fate of the European Jews, I forfeited "perhaps half-a-million dollars" in publishing deals, he said.
Much of Mr Irving's closing submission focused on what he termed proof at the trial that a complex of buildings at Auschwitz was not "a slaughterhouse" -- a contention that prompted defence counsel Richard Rampton QC to intervene, at one point, to contend that the historian was misrepresenting evidence heard in the two-month-long libel hearing. Mr Irving said there was no forensic evidence to prove the roof of a gas chamber at Auschwitz had been built with holes through which SS guards could have thrown "canisters of cyanide-soaked pellets."
He said the defendants' "entire case, the untruth that crematorium II was used as a factory of death. . . has caved in, as surely as had that roof." He also said the figure of six million Jewish victims of the Holocaust had been a "back-of-the-envelope calculation by American Jewish leaders" whom the prosecutor in the Nuremberg trials had met in 1945.
Referring to right-wing groups in Germany which he had addressed and had since been outlawed, Mr Irving added: "Germany now has several hundred political prisoners in its jails."
London, March 17, 2000
Courtesy links: Professor Evans' witness report click to download
Dr Longerich's witness report click to download
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