[All trial news ] [Earlier press coverage] [Judgment] [[Verbatim trial transcripts | Earlier issues of David Irving's "Radical's Diary" für Jan.: 28 | 31 | Feb: 1 | 2 | 3 | 5 | 7 | 8 | 10 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 20 | 24 | 28 | Mar: 1 | 2 | 6 | Apr 11-18, 2000]
10, 2000 (Monday)
Plane lands around 9 m. Train to London, back at flat around 11 a.m. Hour's snooze. Phone is ringing all day. Newspapermen, we give them all the same answer: no interviews, whatever the verdict. Then I assemble the bike I have brought back from the USA for Jessica. It is large, but she will grow into it.
3 p.m. I pick up the Judgment at the High Court; I take Jessica with me, as Benté has a doctors' appointment. I am concerned to see that there are roadworks in the Strand, with a steel barricade running along the kerb; this makes an approach awkward. Even more disturbing: there are piles of half bricks and stones lying around from the roadworks, which may become ammunition tomorrow if the Lumpenproletariat turns out. Mr Lloyd, the judge's clerk, brings the ring-binder down to me; Jessica gapes at the size of the grand hall. I open the binder in the taxi; it has 333 pages, and the final page to which I at once turn shows that Judge Gray has found that the defence of justification succeeds, and awards judgment to the defendants. That is sad, but not entirely unanticipated. -- Back to the flat. I toss the binder aside unread, and take Jessica as promised to Grosvenor Square for an hour to play with her new bike.
At 5:30 p.m. a gentleman from the Israeli Ha'aretz phones, Sharon somebody, I say again no interviews; he seems to know the outcome, because he asks if I will be appealing in a certain event.
5:48 PM ABC News phones. I say no interviews. [...]
6:25 PM Lee Levitt of Jewish Chronicle phones; he gets same response.
After Jessica goes to bed, I work until 4:30 a.m. reading through and annotating the entire judgment. Gray has failed to grasp most of the historical documents, which is disappointing. Several times people in court had warned me that his mask like countenance actually masked a lack of real comprehension of the historical points, and they had advised me to make the points more bluntly than I had felt necessary. Seems I was wrong.
April 11, 2000 (Tuesday)
Up at 7 a.m.; to High Court at 9:30 a.m. by bus in drizzling rain. At bus stop by Selfridges,Tom P. Reid of the Washington Post jumps off a No. 6 bus and invites me to share a cab down to the High Court with him. A cab comes after ten minutes and grinds its way through London traffic with us aboard. At the High Court we get out 100 yards short of the entrance; as Reid settles the cabfare, I set off for the main entrance, but see a large hostile mob penned behind barricades with familiar "anti-Nazi" posters etc, surging toward me, and the police already making arrests. I invite Reid to walk on the inside of me therefore, between me and the mob (which he has not spotted). As we pass them, missiles and eggs fly. He is hit by several, one and then another hits my back but I stride on into the Court. Get in at 10:29 a.m. A minute to go. What happened to the time!
Courtroom 36 is packed to the gunwales. Not an inch spare. Judge's staff hands out summaries to all and sundry. Judge Charles Gray recites the judgment in a toneless, almost inaudible voice for two hours. He skips the passages on antisemitism, racism, etc., but is decent enough to put in and emphasise the positive passages.
Not a pleasant day all the same; at its end, as I am preparing to battle my way out through the hundreds of reporters and no doubt others, the police order the courtroom cleared for our own safety, pushing out into the hallway everybody but R. and me.
My own views are not asked. After ten minutes we are escorted to a back entrance. It is now pouring with rain. Taxi back to Duke Street; I leave the jacket to be cleaned ("ready on Friday"). Benté has already seen it all on TV, and does not wonder at the missing jacket. Jessica very blasé about it all.
A stream of phone calls all day after that, one every four or five minutes on average: the world's press in a feeding-frenzy; as the television screens fill with Lipstadt's gloatfest, her live press conference at 2 p.m., then with endless repeats from it.
I gradually relent and allow television crews, photographers and pressmen up into the apartment for interviews.
The pace hots up, I do ITN, Australian ABC live, Today, Radio 4, Radio 5, and finally Newsnight with Jeremy Paxman at 10:15 p.m. I have to wear just a waistcoat, as the jacket is still a battle-casualty. Paxman is suave too, remembers coming for a cocktail party here once with Robert Harris. We swap memories. There is no real edge to his questions, though he pretends to apply one as soon as the cameras come on. They show an interview filmed with me in 1983 with Robert Harris: I look young and eager, on top of the world as I claimed even then: "I am indestructible." As true now as it was then.
As I leave, Paxman is just starting an interview with Lipstadt on a large screen: she refuses of course to be seen to debate with me. Ho-ho. I hear he gives her a rough time. He doesn't stand for clichés. BBC World TV grab me while I am there, then Breakfast TV ask me to come in tomorrow morning at 7 a.m. Aaargh!, but I agree. Back home at 11:15 p.m. I upload items to the website, then fetch the latest e-mails: 433 more messages on one, and fifty on AOL. Aaargh again. A splitting headache has pounded me all day, thanks to the germs inhaled from the ten hour British Airways flight from Miami.
April 12, 2000 (Wednesday)
Strenuous day. Up at 6 a.m., taxi comes at 7 a.m., 7:40 a.m. with BBC Breakfast TV at BBC's Westminster studios, Millbank. They tell me that Lipstadt is quoted in this morning's press as spitting fury that the upshot of the trial has been that I am in every television show, I am on Newsnight; she won't like to see today's press then -- the television preview of them shows my name and face as the main headline news on every front page of the broadsheet newspapers. Back to the apartment at 8:30 a.m. and straight to bed. The phone rings all morning every thirty seconds, every line is lit up. I ignore the phones until 12:45 p.m. when I start answering. BBC Question Time ask can I do their programme in Edinburgh tomorrow? Yes (later they cancel on a pretext, citing impossible difficulties encountered; but, what's new!)
Immense press coverage begins. Front pages headlines in every main broadsheet, with photographs, special pull-out sections, and interviews as though I have died. I now know what the obituaries will say if I ever die. Rare privilege. But I feel curiously immortal. Nothing even remotely resembling an aura of doom hangs over me.
2 p.m. BBC's Horatio Clare with female interviewer comes round for BBC Radio 3.
3:30 p.m. Jewish Chronicle's Lee Levitt. I let him leaf at random through the three supporters' address lists to satisfy himself there are no Nazi bigwigs or other skeletons in the cupboard, but he is not permitted to write down names.
5:20 p.m. Italian radio woman phones; I repeatedly have to put her off, she then does a five-minute recording, she then phones back that the tape recorder has not worked. I regret that I cannot spare five more minutes for a repeat, and mean it.
6:30 p.m. A reporter from The Independent, Julia Stuart, wangles her way in; plumpish female in a green cardigan. She wants really to see Benté, but Benté has stayed in bed, ill, all day. She asks about Josephine's death, and it is very hard to keep back the tears, even now. She is never out of my thoughts. Poor Josephine. Mr D. phones, from Portugal, offers me a villa on a Portuguese island to live in for as long as I want.
Los Angeles radio phones, the Michael Jackson Show (not that Michael Jackson, the other one); he has film-star Roger Moore with him in the studio (Moore volunteers the learned comment that Mr Irving would no doubt deny the suffering the children in South America -- he's on the payroll of UNICEF, it turns out; wonderful what money can do for people's opinion-making processes) and on the other line a hostile gentleman who turns out to be the ubiquitous Alan Dershowitz again. I spar with D., once more; he screeches that he has contacted his friend Noam Chomsky to tell him that I have used his name in my own defence on Court TV. Chomsky, he says, has assured him he would never have wanted that. I say, "Tough, but he let the cat out of the bag in his published memoirs, about what your pals the Anti-Defamation League were doing to him, just as they were doing it to me!" More screeches. Toward the end I say, "If the Anti-Defamation League gets up to this kind of thing, one wonders what a Defamation League would do!" Dershowitz is silent, then mutters, "That's some kind of joke?"
The rest I forget. Jessica, sitting on my lap, begins tearfully demanding that I abandon these endless telephone talks and Take Her To The Disney Store as I promised earlier. I hand the phone to Jessica to deal with Alan Dershowitz, and all of Los Angeles hears her plaint. Reminds me of the time that Benté came into the drawing room, found me on the phone (I was speaking to the whole of New Zealand, a live radio broadcast), -- snatched it out of my hand and told New Zealand what she thought. I wonder what the Maoris made of that. At 5 p.m. to the Disney Store with Jessica to buy her a video. Our assets are increased by one copy of The Lady and the Tramp.
Meanwhile Swedish reporter Maria Zumwalt comes, for Espressen, a pretty blonde of 25 or so with a photographer. Flirt outrageously with her during the interview; all the old lines come out effortlessly: "You are too intelligent to be flattered, etc."
At 12:10 a.m. I get round to reading the national papers and downloading them off the Web. The Times has a whole page photo showing me halfway through the trial, clutching a bundle of books, with red rimmed eyes having obviously worked all night (note the envelopes -- filled with copies of my speeches etc?) John Keegan is embarrassingly fulsome. I must write and thank him.
Someone tells me that the Associated Press quotes me as saying Judge Gray only did it because he was angling for a peerage. That is unfortunate. I don't remember saying that. I probably said that as a judge he was anyway in line for a peerage, and deserved it; in my view he leaned over backwards during the trial to be even-handed. I do not know what went wrong as he composed his judgment. I thought I had stressed to AP how impartial his conduct of the case was (though I regretted his judgment).
April 13, 2000 (Thursday)
1:52 AM Thomas W. phones from Canada to say he's devastated. I ask him to look at the clock, before he phones next time!
3:05 AM a blank call on 499 line. "We do not have the caller's number to return the call."
The first hate mail comes. A mortgage broker Rob A. of Boulder, Colorado, writes:
"If there were some way to spit at you and slap your face over e-mail, I would do so immediately.
I reply: " Dear Rob, if you will be good enough to provide your full address and phone number for verification purposes I will be happy to respond. Meanwhile you will be glad to hear I have selected your letter and email address for publication in our readers' letters section later this week."
Work until 5:30 a.m. reading the e-mails and answering them.
At 8 a.m. the phone starts ringing again. Sky TV to remind me a car is coming for me at 12:20 p.m. Call from Australia, am I going to apply for a visa (yes: Cat among the pigeons again). Fax machine, when I get up, already has the resulting Australian headlines. A bookshop, a Waterstone's phones, to order books. At 12:20 to Millbank for Sky programme, Answer the Question. Against me editor of History Today and a journalist of The Spectator. I am grilled for thirty minutes on the trial and Holocaust; great fun. I let rip. Why not.
3:27 PM Viva Voce of Italian Radio 24 phoned, fix one-hour radio interview with Italian radio tomorrow at 8 a.m. A Jewish lady will oppose me. The caller says that La Stampa today runs Keegan's piece.
3:30 PM phone back Avery Millar of ABC Television in Washington DC: 202 222 7100. She asks would I agree to be online from UK with Deborah Lipstadt in the studio? I say no problem; but she won't agree, I warn them. I would prefer live, and say I would be available. Time: 3 p.m. Sunday UK time.
Radio Teheran phones for an interview. Radio Qatar want to interview me.
5:28 PM BBC Radio Four phones to confirm tomorrow's evening in depth me-as-a-person programme. Yes.
Phone calls from One Nation, and from Eastern Eye (both ethnic magazines) following up the racism angle. I suggest they locate Wenona B., and give them the 1980 address of her parents in Wanstead in the East End. She was the Barbadian who worked for me as a researcher, and married a white Cambridge student. She worked for me from 1978 on.
11:15-34 PM what a surprise, Wenona phones, the first time in twenty years. Still the same laugh, the same exuberance. She has spoken with a reporter (One Nation) who phoned her about her time with me. She says she discussed me in detail, told him straight away that I was never a racist. We laugh about one of the occasions when I drove her home after work, to Wanstead Marshes in the Rolls, to meet her parents. I said, "People around here are going to wonder what you're doing in a Rolls with a Honky." She said, "That's exactly what you said, and I told him." She has now four children; she's still at her Twyford address. She's a mental health care social worker. She has followed the entire Lipstadt trial with fervour, had discussed me with her psychologist friend, etc. I said, "Wenona, Wenona, why didn't you contact the press when Rampton first started the 'racist' lie about me!" She replies she was frightened it would damage her job.
April 14, 2000 (Friday)
At 8 a.m. Viva Voce of Radio 24, Milan, phones, to conduct the radio interview. I can hear only the male interviewer, speaking in Italian, not the female translator, so after three or four minutes I hang up and ignore their phone calls for the next hour. Aaargh. Phone calls in first hour or so from Fox Television, Australia, setting up a Monday morning live satellite broadcast to all Australia. Then from the Daily Express, at length; then from Miss Riddell of Daily Mail (Paul Dacre's page), setting up a major interview for next week. And so it goes on all day. The Jewish Chronicle comes out with a mulkti-page gloatfest, but reveals that (a) Stephen Spielberg put up a large part of the defence fund ("what us, a conspiracy?"), (b) James Libson and Anthony Julius [of law firm Mishcon de Reya] worked for two years pro bono -- [...]
Fax this letter goes to The Australian [they publish it 18.4.00]:
It is dishonest for Jamie Walker to report (April 14), in his article on how I am funding the legal battle, that I "also had contact with David Duke." Duke approached me five years, as he did many other publishers, to publish his memoirs. I refused.
Christopher Hastings phones from Sunday Telegraph. More dirty tricks afoot. He has the file on the 1998 Max Kerstan family claim; I say that on principle I never talk about the names of people who are supporting me. Gardella (the widow's lawyer) claims there is an arrest warrant out against me in California. I: first I have heard of it. It is about the late Max Kerstan's estate. Since Kerstan is dead, and the Gardella lawyer has evidently issued a statement, I find my April 1998 diary and give him the address of Kerstan's own lawyer who confirmed to me that Max had left me the fortune (but never signed the will before he died on May 31, 1997). Evidently the Spielberg clan have put a fortune into scouring the USA for smut and dirt and anything they can to sink me: they won't find anything, but that won't stop them inventing some fantasy. That's the business they're in..
Rachel Douglas of the Sunday Express phones again, to fix date; then BBC Northern Ireland, for a Sunday talk show also.
1:19 PM Long call from the Financial Times; I deal with financial aspects, and draw his attention to the amounts paid for the "experts."
1:27 PM D. phones, another voice from the past. Had been distressed to read in The Times yesterday of Josephine's death.
Lunch with [...] at [...]. We discuss the appeal and other matters. A stranger comes over to my table, claps me on the shoulder, and says: "We're all behind you." He doesn't specify who he is, so I assume it's the rest of the human race. I try all afternoon to get started but the interruptions are ceaseless. Three gentlemen from Al-Ahram come at 4 p.m. for an interview that drags on for an hour or more. Their leader, Amer Sultan, asks am I getting support from any Arabs. I hoot with laughter. Schön wär's. [...]
5:45 p.m. at BBC Broadcasting House to tape a sound and television interview with a psychiatrist. It is a long, rambling, seemingly "in-depth" interview, trying to make out whether I had a happy childhood (I did, I did) and the like. I am strongly tempted to do an abused-child/recovered-memory-syndrome act, but millions might have believed it, and there would have been another legend to dispel. The airwaves are already vibrating with lies about me and, as Churchill once said, "The damnable thing is that most of them are true." The interviewer asks at the end if I ever felt the need for one of his profession. I respond good-naturedly that the last time I was asked that was back in 1959, I think by the son of a (Jewish) shrink, at Imperial College. They all think they're indispensible. "Anybody who goes to see a shrink," I say to him -- and it's not my own line -- "needs his head testing."
9:30 PM ABC television Avery Millar phones: tomorrow's satellite link is off (the George Wills interview), because, she volunteers, the stock market has crashed and he'll be doing that instead. Quoi de neuf. -- I switch on Sky TV: there I am, being interviewed by their panel yesterday. It looks good and is edited well. You win some, you lose some. Like life itself.
April 15, 2000 (Saturday)
Australian Fox Television emails me at 2:31 AM. I reply to her questions:
At 7 a.m. I am back at Broadcasting House again, to record a radio programme for "Today"; I thought it was just for Ireland, somehow, but in fact it goes out over the whole of the U.K. The other participant being interviewed by John Humphries is a frail Mrs Levy or Levi, who says she has met me when I used to research at the Wiener Library in the 1960's; a Holocaust-, indeed Auschwitz-survivor, who had lost both her parents there too. Toward the end I gently ask her when her parents died. She says, her father died August 4, 1944; she does not know about her mother. As she clearly does not know more details about how they died either, I do not ask. I would have liked to talk with her at much length, years ago, but survivors are not pleased to be questioned by the sceptical.
Phone call from The Sunday Telegraph during the morning, checking up on the Spielberg funding. "Are other papers doing anything tomorrow?" I say I understand they are. Today's Independent carries Julia Stuart's piece -- very fine, well written, but a bit obsessed at the end with male chauvinism (I had remarked on her pretty dress). Benté not pleased to be described as ill. I ask her why she did not see the journalist. "I was very unwell that day." Hah!
Very nice e-mail from Captain Jack E Broome's daughter in law Katharine. Her husband died 1977. I make the alteration that she requests to the website, and thank her.
A Swiss Israeli journalist Shraga Elam writes:
I find it a real pity that a brilliant researcher like yourself got mixed up with this stuff of the so called "Auschwitz-denial", because I agree with you completely that Hitler was no part of the project Auschwitz. According to my theory, it was even part of a plan of Himmler against Hitler, just as is quiet good proven in the case of the destruction of the Hungarian Jewry in 1944.
Fascinating. Let us correspond more, particularly when the heat of the present ugliness is vorbei. In understand that you are an Israeli journalist? Some of my best friends are ...
Charles W. of [a major...] Univ History Society writes:
"I am emailing you as a preliminary, and as yet informal and provisional, enquiry about your availability to deliver a talk to the [...] University History Society, perhaps during May or October. I stress this is very much a 'sounding out' and not a formal invitation, but if you would be at all interested, I should be grateful if you would reply to me at [...], providing a postal contact address so that the Society might in due course enter into more formal correspondence (and indeed confirming that this is your current email address!).
April 16, 2000 (Sunday)
A day when the press makes it all worth while. Numerous comments, e.g. one by that toady Andrew Roberts in The Sunday Telegraph, who laments that despite having been defeated in the High Court I had emerged as "the winner." Precisely. That is what the term Pyrrhic Victory was invented for. 10:08 AM BBC Radio Belfast phones to remind me to be at Broadcasting House at 12:50 p.m. for live panel discussion at 1 p.m. Okay. "I was wondering what my note about 12:00 Broadcasting" was, I say.
I decide to write a shoal of letters to the Sunday papers.
I lunch with the family, then leave them in the restaurant and walk to Broadcasting House. Amusing discussion, with eight or nine others, including three Jewish participants, all very friendly and even favourable. Including Norman Finkelstein from USA, who attacks the "Holocaust industry" using language of a strength that I, as a non-Jew, would never have risked.
I feel very groggy during the afternoon. Jet-lag, overwork, strain and other things are catching up on me. At 6 p.m. Gillian Glover of The Scotsman comes to interview me; a friendly but penetrating conversation. They all have their agendas.
"Good news" is announced by an e-mail, "email@example.com", I wonder what it can be. It comes an hour later -- an e-mail which has attached something that I recognise straight away as "Happy99.exe", a well-known computer-virus: I trash it, unopened.
A message comes in the small hours from a stranger, that the Channel Four dramatisation of the trial is to be broadcast on April 29, and that the actor portraying me is to be Tom Conti: I have always admired his suave, sinister, well-spoken Cambridge-intellectual style. [In fact the information is wrong]. Who will play Lipstadt? Not many lines to memorise there. Hermione Gingold would have been a good choice; James Cagney even better. I announce the news on the website at once; this will irritate the pants off the Mike Whines of this world: a trouserless Whine is however not an appetising prospect, and I hastily revert to more congenial projects.
April 17, 2000 (Monday)
I work until 4 a.m. on mail, the website and catching up in general. Three hundred messages have come in, I send around 250 out. Bed, then up again at 6:05 a.m. The car comes at 6:10 a.m. already; I make the driver wait five minutes. To Millbank then for a live satellite broadcast to Australia for Fox Television, the John Laws Show; prime time evening for them. Laws is abrasive, but friendly after the broadcast ends. I pull no punches; in fact, I never have. Back at Duke Street at 9 a.m. I go to bed for three hours and catch up. Like a departing thunderstorm, there are still little claps of thunder in the newspapers this morning -- reader's letters, items in gossip columns about when I was at school in 1955, and the like. How very satisfying it has all been.
Down to the High Court about [...]; shuffled from office to office, then told [...]
April 18, 2000 (Tuesday)
I work until 2 a.m. Up at 9:30 a.m. A good sleep, with odd dreams.
11:55 AM Mr Lloyd, Judge Gray's clerk, phones -- when can they expect the letter re the hearing on reduction of costs? I say: today I will fax it. It is ready, but needs final thinking over. I fax the letter to Judge Gray's office at 2:30 p.m.
2:45 p.m. Benté says she's been called to see the headmistress at Jessica's school.
6 p.m. girl Rachel -- comes from The Daily Express for interview. I chat with her until 7 p.m., then have to get ready for dinner at The Reform ("The Club's burning, Sir," the implacable doorman told a telephone caller during the blitz in 1940). It's a dinner of the Current Affairs & Economics Forum. Some thought-provoking speeches by former Russian provincial governor Boris Nemstov and a Russian colleague. Count Nikolai Tolstoy, who shares my end of the top table, asks the final question and gets heckled from one corner table.
Tolstoy tells me some of the events at his famous libel trial, where he was represented by Richard Rampton QC (he sounds anything but impressed by him), and Lord Aldington by Charles Gray QC. Tolstoy tells me the content of some truly scurrilous letters he has obtained about one of them, which he intends soon to post on his website; I would not go in for that sort of thing myself. There are some odd stares as I walk in, but I get on well with all those members I talk with. Odd, the contrast between "public opinion" as represented by the press and journalists, and real opinion as reflected at gatherings like these. I hear afterwards that there had however been some opposition to the invitation extended to me: mostly from the usual quarters, the traditional enemies of free speech.
The opponents were overruled. I stay talking with some of the overrulers until around 1:30 a.m., then taxi back to Duke Street.