London, February 25, 2000
Irving warned to "mind his tongue" after clashes
Judge loses patience over 'offensive' exchanges
BY BERNARD JOSEPHS
DAVID IRVING was admonished by Mr. Justice Gray on Monday after angry High Court exchanges with an expert witness during his libel action against American academic Deborah Lipstadt, which has entered its seventh week.
The judge intervened following protests by defence QC Richard Rampton, who accused Mr. Irving of being "offensive" and called on him to "mind his tongue," in his questioning of Cambridge historian Professor Richard Evans.
He appeared to side with Mr. Rampton, warning Mr. Irving that "lack of civility" was not the way to respond to Professor Evans's 740-page report, in which he contended that the right-wing historian's writings on Hitler and the Holocaust were "a mass of distortions and manipulations."
This followed heated debate between the witness and the plaintiff, which included lengthy arguments about the meaning of words, particularly those spoken about the Final Solution by prominent Nazis.
At one stage, Mr. Irving complained that the professor was quoting at length from his own report about the gassing of Jews in Belzec, Treblinka and Sobibor.
"I had to," responded Professor Evans. "Mr. Irving [in his writing] has left so much out."
Exasperated, the judge appealed to the adversaries to "stop the argument and get on with it." However, the exchanges continued, prompting him to lament that the proceedings were 'degenerating.'"
Professor Evans told the court that despite Mr. Irving's insistence that Hitler did not know about the systematic extermination of the Jews, documents showed that his entourage did not believe this to be so.
"Do you know that I questioned them [members of Hitler's staff] myself?" Mr. Irving asked.
"You waited for them to give you the answer you wanted and then did not dig any further," Professor Evans sniped back.
Mr. Irving said he had been particularly close to Hitler's secretary, Christa Schroeder, who had "sent me from her death bed" a self-portrait drawing by Hitler, which he "kept at home."
If she had "reason to be disgruntled with my books, why would she have continued an amicable correspondence with me until the last weeks of her life?"
Moving on, the professor said that in his argument that Hitler opposed the killing of Jews, Mr. Irving had pointed to a document indicating that the dictator wanted the Jews of Rome taken to the Mauthausen concentration camp, where they were to be held as "hostages," rather than being liquidated by the SS.
This was "camouflage," Professor Evans asserted. "They went instead to Auschwitz and it was quite clear Hitler knew that would happen."
Mr. Irving said that around 1,000 of Rome's 8,000 Jews were sent to Auschwitz and ""never seen again." But this had been a "flagrant violation" of Hitler's orders.
The professor disagreed, arguing that telegrams from Berlin did not say the Jews were not to be liquidated. Rather, the matter was left in the hands of the SS.
Website picture: Adolf Hitler, a unique self-portrait (from Mr Irving's personal collection).
BY LEE LEVITT
DENIAL-RELATED matters of a different nature surfaced in court number 73 last Thursday during Professor Richard Evans's marathon stint in the witness box.
At issue was whether his professed denial of any feelings towards David Irving was truly the case.
The Cambridge don was witheringly contemptuous as he variously accused Mr. Irving of poor scholarship, deliberately manipulating facts and statistics and misreading German.
Yet, not for the first time, Professor Evans assured him: "I have no personal feelings towards you." And Mr. Irving again insisted: "You don't like me."
Meanwhile, Mr. Irving brought to bear his experience of digging pits as a navvy to allege that only 5,000 (rather than 10,000) Jews could have been killed on a said day in 1941 by the SS and a police chief at Riga and buried in two or three pits.
When defence counsel James Rampton kept popping up to interrupt his "killer points," irritation was evident.
"It's a barrage of tiny points, it's death by 1,000 cuts," complained Mr. Irving at one stage as Mr. Rampton rose wearily to his feet to remind Mr. Justice Gray of a particular matter.
Website picture (left) shows Mr Irving, working his way through university in 1958 in the John Laing Ltd concrete gang.
The varied views from the public gallery at court 7
BY LEE LEVITT
SUCH HAS been the clamour to see the Irving libel case that the "court full" sign has regularly been posted outside.
Communal personalities including Lord Janner, Sir Martin Gilbert, and Professor David Cesarani have variously joined the 10-or-so journalists covering the daily hearings. But the case has also attracted students, office workers, Holocaust-survivors and supporters of Mr. Irving.
Among this week's interested spectators was semi-retired Oldham history teacher Kevin McPhillips, 61.
He told the JC that he had read some of Mr. Irving's books and been "impressed" by his "very thorough" research. Having learned of the case through The Guardian, he had stopped by with a friend while in London, "just to have a look at him [Mr. Irving], to see what his style is."
Lodz-born Michael Lee -- a 75-year-old Auschwitz, Birkenau and Dachau survivor now living in Chiswick -- said he had attended on six days, sometimes with an Italian neighbour.
"At times it's upsetting, at times surreal, arguing about the sort of points they have. "A female Holocaust-survivor friend who attended once had found it too emotional."
Berlin-born Christiane Roux, 72, of Maida Vale, felt the case served a useful purpose.
She said she had come across many people who shared Mr. Irving's views, mainly in France, where she had lived with her second husband.
At the other end of the age spectrum, 14-year-old Alex Hamilton, of Hampstead Garden Suburb, was finding the cut-and-thrust stimulating.
Alex -- who attended with his mother, Gillian, and a friend, Joseph Faith -- commented that it was interesting how those who questioned the extent of the Holocaust "could justify their beliefs when there are so many surviving witnesses."
But despite the many Jews among the packed gallery, an 80-year-old Viennese-born Jewish woman, from Edgware, was sceptical of the case's wider impact among the community.
The woman -- who wished to remain anonymous -- said: "The people in my block of flats, I don't think they even know about it. They are second-generation Jews. It doesn't interest them."
Meanwhile, an American freelance journalist sympathetic to Mr. Irving said the proceedings had reinforced his view there were "no homicidal gas chambers."
Irving: Hitler was 'cynical anti-Semite'
BY LEE LEVITT
ADOLF Hitler was a "cynical anti-Semite," who used hatred of the Jews to whip up support, David Irving told the court on Wednesday. But "in private, his state of mind was slightly different."
Mr. Irving earlier declared that two members of Hitler's staff -- his onetime chauffeur, Emil Maurice, and dietary cook, Marlene Exner -- were both Jewish.
Cross-examining Dr. Peter Longerich, a doctor of history at the Royal Holloway College, he asked: "Doesn't it strike you as odd that Hitler would have a Jewish chauffeur?"
Dr. Longerich replied: "The greatest anti-Semites sometimes had Jewish friends. It's a typical stereotype. I don't think one can conclude anything from the fact."
Mr. Irving is suing Professor Deborah Lipstadt and Penguin Books over allegations that he is a Holocaust-denier who has twisted history. The case continues.
London, February 25, 2000
Courtesy links: Professor Evans' witness report click to download
Dr Longerich's witness report click to download
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