Courtesy link: Professor Evans' witness report click to download
[verbatim trial transcripts]
London, February 18, 2000
Angry clashes as witness rejects Holocaust theories
BY BERNARD JOSEPHS
OPEN ANTAGONISM between David Irving and the main expert witness for the defence was a feature of this week's High Court hearings in the right-wing historian's libel action against American academic Professor Deborah Lipstadt.
The judge, Mr Justice Gray, was forced to intervene on a number of occasions as Mr Irving challenged Cambridge history professor Richard Evans's contention that his writing and speeches on Hitler and the Holocaust were "a mass of distortions and manipulation."
In one highly charged confrontation last Thursday, Mr Irving told Professor Evans: "You don't like me... You have something bordering between loathing and distaste towards me." This was denied by the witness, who said he had "no personal feelings" about him. His 740-page report [see link on left] on Mr Irving's writings -- which had been presented to the court -- was as objective as possible, he declared.
Hostility was clear from the outset of Mr Irving's cross-examination of the professor, as he accused him of having his "knife out for right-wing historians." This was untrue, Professor Evans countered. "I have also criticised left-wing and Marxist historians."
Mr Irving complained that he had been "held up around the world as a racist who has poisoned the minds of my children." He then proceeded to show the court pictures of black staff he had employed.
Professor Evans agreed the pictures did not indicate a racist. But asked if he considered him to be anti-Semitic, Professor Evans replied: "It does seem to me that in your writings you do blame the Jews for the Holocaust and pin their misfortunes in the Third Reich on themselves."
The witness rejected claims that there was a Jewish-led international conspiracy to silence Mr Irving and prevent the publication of his books as a 'kind of insanity, like the world of Lewis Carroll."
Mr Irving accused the professor of a "sweeping and brutal judgment" in describing his writing and speeches as duplicitous and distorted.
Professor Evans defended his remarks, claiming that he and his assistants had found the assessment to be "characteristic" of Mr Irving's work.
Moreover, Mr Irving did not merit the title of historian and scholar.
Was this not harsh? Mr Irving shot back.
"Harsh, yes, but justified," Professor Evans insisted.
The clashes continued on Monday Mr Irving said the professor was "obsessed" with Holocaust-denial. Did any questioning of the number of dead constitute denial?
Most experts believed that between five and six million Jews were murdered, Professor Evans told the court.
"So if someone was to knock off two to three million that would be Holocaust denial?" Mr Irving queried.
Pictures of old and new
memorials at Auschwitz (above) and Prof. Faurisson in
hospital after being attacked by a French Jewish unit 1989
have been inserted by this website
"Yes, if it was done arbitrarily," the professor answered.
Mr Irving claimed that he had exposed himself to physical risk by expressing his views on the Holocaust.
And he raised the case of French Holocaust revisionist Robert Faurisson who, he said, had suffered a broken jaw and had had acid "poured into his eyes." [right]
He acknowledged that his website included a blacklist of "traditional enemies," some of them "Jewish in character." [See index]
Professor Evans observed that "traditional enemies" meant Jews.
Not so, Mr Irving replied. The list included "enemies of free speech" including governments, trades unions and would-be censors of the Internet.
"When I checked it out, they were nearly all Jewish," Professor Evans retorted.
Harking back to the number of dead at Auschwitz, Mr Irving asserted that many of those said to have been killed had, in fact, been smuggled to Palestine by the Haganah Jewish underground after the liberation of the camp.
Professor Evans dismissed the argument as "a fantastic claim backed by no documentary evidence." Mr Irving had been "simply suggesting this out of thin air," he said.
'Cockroaches' jibe defended
BY SIMON ROCKER
DAVID IRVING defended having called the Board of Deputies "cockroaches" as the trial entered its sixth week on Tuesday.
Cross-examining Professor Richard Evans, Mr Irving asked whether people were not entitled to use "lurid language" about groups that tried to prevent the publication of their works.
"I think it is over-the-top to describe the Board of Deputies of British Jews as 'cockroaches'," the Cambridge don asserted.
By lunchtime, Professor Evans had already spent two-and-a-half days in the witness box, most of it studiously avoiding eye-contact with his pinstriped adversary who had promised to "demolish this witness in detail." But less than a quarter of his massive written testimony had been covered in that time -- a fact which plainly bothered the judge.
At several points, Mr Justice Gray's patience wore thin as he urged Mr Irving to "move on." At one stage, he told the historian: "I'm going to have to be a little more firm with you."
Finally, he threatened to impose a time limit on the cross-examination -- a step, he said, he would be "very loath" to take.
Justifying having referred to Anne Frank's Diary as a "novel," Mr Irving argued that it had been written first as a "fragmentary diary," then rewritten and finally rewritten as a "novel." It was "prejudicial" to say that he was calling it "a pack of lies."
But the judge reminded him that in 1993, he had referred to it as "a romantic novel, like "Gone with the Wind."
Clashing over the value of eyewitness testimony, Mr Irving suggested that evidence about the Holocaust given after the war had been discredited by inconsistencies. Hitting back, Professor Evans accused him of "double standards. You wholly dismiss post-war testimony of victims of Nazism and you accept post-war testimony of perpetrators."
'Lies' row over Hitler order
BY LEE LEVITT
A CLAIM that Adolf Hitler was furious with Nazi Propaganda Minister Josef Goebbels over the excesses of Kristallnacht and ordered them to be stopped was dismissed on Wednesday as "a tissue of lies."
David Irving drew on documents and post-war interviews with SS and
German police officers to maintain that Hitler had made "a frightful scene" on hearing of the anti-Jewish pogrom.
But Professor Richard Evans responded: "I think they are lying."
Mr Irving also produced a telegram to contend that Hitler had ordered a halt to the attacks, Mr Evans countered that this was '"a shameless manipulation of the text."
The case continues.
London, February 18, 2000