London, March 3, 2000
Irving challenged over 'cynical anti-Semitism'
BY MICHAEL HORSNELL
DAVID IRVING, the controversial Hitler historian, faced accusations at the High Court of mocking the victims of the Holocaust as the evidence in his long-running libel action concluded yesterday.
The case was adjourned until March 13 when the two will make final speeches. Amid acrimonious exchanges, Mr. Irving, 62, was accused by Richard Rampton, QC, of "feeding and encouraging the most cynical anti-Semitism" in his audience during public speaking engagements.
Mr. Rampton is representing the American academic Deborah Lipstadt and her publisher, Penguin Books, which Mr. Irving is suing over her claims that he poured doubt on the Holocaust and was a Hitler partisan who twists history. Mr. Rampton said:
"What you are doing is feeding the anti-Semitism in your audience by mocking the survivors and dead of the Holocaust." Mr. Irving said he was actually "mocking the liars" who he said had told lies about what had happened to them.
Mr. Rampton queried why he got so much applause from his right-wing extremist audiences. Mr. Irving: " I am a good speaker." Mr. Irving, who denies that gas chambers were used for the mass extermination of Jews at Auschwitz, was referred to a speech he gave in Alberta, Canada, in 1991.
He told his audience: "I don't see any reason to he tasteful about Auschwitz. It's baloney, it's a legend. Once we admit the fact that it was a brutal slave labour camp and large numbers of people did die, as large numbers of innocent people died elsewhere in the war, why believe the rest of the baloney? There are so many Auschwitz survivors going around, in fact the number increases as the years go past, which is biologically very, very odd to say the least. I'm going to form an association of Auschwitz Survivors, Survivors of the Holocaust and Other Liars, or the ASSHOLS."
Defending his remarks on the victims of the camp, Mr. Irving told the court: "It's become an important part of their social and religious awareness and it is almost blasphemy to them to tread on that holy ground. There have been increasing numbers in recent years who have capitalised on the Holocaust."
Mr. Irving says he has been the victim of an international-conspiracy to destroy him and rejects the claim in Professor Lipstadt's book, Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory, that he has distorted history in order to exonerate Hitler.
March 3, 2000