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[verbatim trial transcripts]


Der Tagesspiegel

Berlin, Jan 18, 2000

[German original]

Denier as Plaintiff


Of all names he is called David, like the Israelite hero of the Old Testament. And of all nations he belongs to the fairest, the English, who as Allies helped to defeat the racist German regime. And the father of this 62-year old David served in the army at that time. But his son has three big problems, which have changed him into the mediocre monster who is taking up the time of the Royal High Court in London.

IrvingThere this hobby-historian and Hitler-apologist, a man declared persona non grata in Italy, Germany, Austria and Canada, is plaintiff in an action for "defamation" and "libel" against historian Deborah Lipstadt.

His first big problem: Irving belongs to the ranks of those who want to prove the "Führer" didn't "know a thing about it" -- i.e., the Holocaust. Somebody who plans to rescue the memory of a mass-murderer wants to have the feeling of doing this power-personality a favour. He erects walls of delusion. If that person at the same time wants to be taken seriously as a historian, that at once conjures up the second problem: bad company. Serious researchers and institutions avoid people like him. Thus the third problem arises all by itself: no name, no job, no money. Normally birds of that feather keep together, rummaging around in militaria shops for trinkets, and don't do much to disturb public discussion or expert debae; rather they disturb our sense of morality.

What makes a self-taught paranoid like David Irving a repellent irritation, a permanent source of insult to the victims, is the obsessive dedication to detail with which he goes to work. He's written twenty books about the Third Reich, entangling lies and facts in them. He particularly denies the scale of the crimes of the Third Reich and the complicity or paternity of Hitler in the Shoah [the "in" Jewish word-of-preference for Holocaust]. Most accurately Deborah Lipstadt has contradicted him, professor for Jewish History and Holocaust Studies at Emory University in Atlanta. Lipstadt's important study, "Denying the Holocaust" ( German edition: 1996) imputes to Irving the intention of distorting history. He denies that too, and wants to dispose of all his three problems by court action. Irving, who ekes out an existence with little donations from a handful of neo-Nazis, is suing Lipstadt and her publisher Penguin Books Ltd. He wants to be taken seriously as researcher, to belong to the circle of the recognized, and to win big bucks in "damages".

Not only England is following with consternation the absurd theatre into which Irving has turned Court 37 at the High Court. The perfidy of bringing this action in a country of free speech, where denial of the holocaust is -- still -- not a criminal offence as it is here [Germany], lies in the burden of proof. The Court must be shown that Irving deliberately and maliciously falsifies historical facts. The plaintiff insists that his history books are strictly scientific. "There are so many survivors running around now," he is alleged to have said in a 1991 speech, "in fact there are more and more, that biologically speaking it is pretty questionable."

In alliance with his research accomplices Irving has been trying since 1988 to prove in detail that while Auschwitz was a labour camp, it was no factory of death. He calls his website "The Fight for Real History," but produces at present Real Hysteria.

Nothing else, thank God -- Caroline Fetscher.

January 18, 2000


Website note: The publication of this article by a newspaper within the jurisdiction of the High Court would be a con-tempt of court while the matter is sub judice; in Germany newspapers can get away with it.

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