AR-Online logo
Quick navigation

Posted Tuesday, September 15, 1998


Two Days in Court: David Irving vs. Deborah Lipstadt

The writer's diary record


FOR THIRTY-FIVE years author David Irving has kept a private diary. It has proven useful in countless actions. For the information of his many supporters he publishes an edited text in his irregular newsletter ACTION REPORT.



British writer David Irving is suing American professor of religion Deborah Lipstadt for lies about him contained in her book Denying the Holocaust, which she wrote at the behest of Vidal Sassoon, Yad Vashem, and other similar agencies.

The action will be tried in 1999 [in fact over three months from January 13, 2000]. In a preliminary hearing on September 10 and 11, Lipstadt's lawyer Anthony Julius has attempted to trash the list of 2,000 documents introduced by Mr Irving. Julius, senior consulting partner of the megabucks London law firm of Mishcon de Reya, dabbles as an author himself; he wrote a well-received book exposing the antisemitism of T S Eliot.

[S]EPTEMBER 10, 1998



10:30 a.m. At the High Court in the Strand. We have our first day in court on a summons brought by Deborah Lipstadt. It is a rather half-hearted attempt by her to get my entire list of documents, some two thousand of them, thrown out, inflicting on me the oppressive and costly burden of producing a new list (and giving this Atlanta, Georgia, professor, who refuses to debate, yet another breathing space). She is not obliged to attend this interlocutory matter herself and does not.

I do not believe I have met her lawyer Anthony Julius before; it is possible that I did, and did not notice him. No loss. He has the manners and delivery of a hod-carrier, although I doubt this sneering gentleman has ever carried a hod in his life. At first I do not recognise him now, which probably annoys him; in fact, mistakenly, I treat him like a normal human being.

Julius begins by addressing the court on the law, "GCSE-Discovery" as he contemptuously calls it, for my benefit. Master Trench, a judge only a few years older than myself, has however read all of the pleadings and affidavits, and is well briefed. He reminds us -- I had forgotten -- that I was before him in one of my two actions against The Sunday Times, before it came to such a favourable conclusion; and adds, as his eye lights on the 1963 news clipping of Gerald Gable's conviction for breaking into my premises on behalf of Searchlight, a front-organisation of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, that he also had Gable before him as a defendant: in the libel action brought by Alexander Baron. El mundo es un pañuelo, as the Spanish say.

Anyway, Baron and Gable are two smear-mongers between whom I have as much difficulty in choosing a preference as between the Swiss bankers and the scarcely more likeable WJC.

Master Trench, who speaks in a high-pitched voice behind which lie commonsense, depth of wisdom, and learning, mentions affably that he sees from the correspondence that I knew Leo Gradwell, the Marlborough Street Court magistrate in the 1960s (when Mr Julius was no doubt still pooing his nappies, or diapers, which we should not hold against him of course). "I used to appear before Gradwell," the judge reminisces, and in the lunch hour he expands by saying that at that time he prosecuted shoplifters.

Father of IrvingI visited Gradwell, a war hero, many times: like my father [right] he was in the Navy; in the disastrous Arctic Convoy PQ.17, in July 1942, Gradwell commanded a little British minesweeper, the Ayrshire, a converted fishing trawler, with an RNVR crew. When Tirpitz was believed to be just over the horizon, he ordered his crew to stack all available explosives in her fo'c'sle, as he announced that they would ram the mighty battleship if she came in sight.

I wonder how much mercy he gave the shoplifters. Or what he would think of the country that England has now become. A real character; perhaps I should wonder too if he had his hidden hoard of gold stacked away in a Swiss bank, like the rest of the heroes of WW.II. I know my father, a veteran of Jutland, didn't have much time to stop off at his local branch of the Credit Suisse as he commanded a gun-turret in, I believe, HMS Edinburgh, escorting British supply convoys between Iceland and Murmansk.

[PHOTO: Mr Irving's father as a RN Lieutenant in HMS Marlborough between the wars]

In my opening observations I once again refer pointedly to Mr Julius's other hat, as a lawyer acting still for the Board of Deputies of British Jews, who have admitted in an affidavit to doing all they can for thirty years to "monitor" my actions and who are still beavering to destroy my legitimacy as an historian (the words they use in their own documents). I ask Master Trench to bear this in mind each time he considers their requests for further documents, because regardless of the implied undertaking given by those involved in Discovery, well -- what I really want to say, but don't, is that Mr Julius' other clients are a bunch of crooks who will stop at nothing, including organising violence, hatred, lies, and commissioning burglary, to get what they want.

And having got it, they blithely whistle, play pocket-billiards, and look at the sky while they assure the government agencies concerned that No, they ain't got nuffin' on this Mr Irving 'ere.

Julius' tactics are illuminating for an outsider: he tries bum-crawling first, suggesting to Master Trench that he hopes to shorten the two days' proceedings enough to leave room for the two of them to play a game of Scrabble. (Presumably his million-dollar research has identified this as a faiblesse of the court. Master Trench is however above that). More worryingly, preying on the judge's smaller stature, Julius develops the ploy of steamrolling him into decisions, announcing, "Well, that's agreed then. Now to Item number ..." Although the court is wise to these tactics, once I do interrupt and suggest, "It is not agreed yet. I think we ought to allow Master Trench to make the decisions."

LipstadtThey succeed early on in obliging the removal from the list of my papers identifying the nature of Louis Farrakhan, the Hizbollah terrorist leaders, and the Hamas (with whom Lipstadt's ridiculous book accuses me of consorting: rather as the Jewish Telegraph Agency said I was the one who had supplied Timothy McVeigh with the trigger mechanism for his Oklahoma City bomb); in vain I point out that the trial judge may not know who any of these people are. Frantically trawling for any kind of evidence to back Lipstadt's smears -- the famous method, for which no doubt there is some Latin tag, of "no, of course we can't prove the lies we wrote about you, but we're hoping that if we prise open your private papers we may still find something we can dress up as justification ex post facto, or failing that stumble across something really stinky about you to set people against you" -- they come across my correspondence with the historians Trevor Roper, Norman Stone etc.

I mockingly comment that Julius will no doubt describe these fine people, and Gradwell too if he can, as more of my "neo-Nazi friends". I do hope he uses these tactics in the trial, as I shall have refined the sarcasm by then. Better than GCSE-sarcasm. When I refer to Raul Hilberg as a fellow-historian and as a colleague with whom I conducted a correspondence many years ago on the existence of a Hitler Order -- the famous and respected historian wrote me that he had concluded that I was probably right as to the non-existence of any such document, and that perhaps there had never been such an order -- Julius snaps that Hilberg is certainly no colleague of mine. Well, let us have Mr Hilberg in court then. Julius' whole tactics are so transparent that it is laughable. It is an embarrassment to his case that so many famous historians have always treated me as an equal, corresponded with me freely, exchanged documentation with me on a collegial basis, and ventilated opinions.

Back home in the evening, I receive e-mails from people conducting researches into the infamous Oregon ex-skinhead and mobspitter-gangleader Jonathan Mozzochi, upon whom Mr Julius is relying as a witness. I prepare a letter to Mishcon asking for the permanent residence of Mozzochi.

[S]EPTEMBER 11, 1998


In the corridor outside the judge's chambers, I approach Julius and his witches' coven of fellow-lawyers. I inquire if the jurat to the second affidavit executed by Mozzochi has arrived overnight from Seattle. It has, they triumph. They hand me a copy of the last page; it has been signed again by Mozzochi and properly sworn.

As the hearing begins, I ask the court however if I may make a submission as to its admissibility, as it appears deficient in significant respects; given that, if I may quote Mr Julius, they are a "firm experienced in litigation", I am entitled to draw attention to these deficiencies. Master Trench reaches for his copy, saying: "Well, it did strike me as odd too."

I point out that Mozzochi has withheld details of his residence, describing himself merely as one Mozzochi, "who can be contacted through the Coalition for Human Dignity in Seattle, Washington," and I explain that Portland Police have ruled that we need the residence to further our investigations into him. Trench pulls down the White Book to check: sure enough, under the rules Mozzochi is obliged to identify his permanent or business address, and he has not. Before the court can rule on my submission, however, Anthony Julius airily announces: "It doesn't matter, we will withdraw the Second Affidavit then." He also agrees to Trench that he will notify me of Mozzochi's address. Ho: I suspect he has meanwhile also discovered what my "neo Nazi" friends on the West Coast have in the last few days, about his chosen witness's police record; and he is getting cold feet about him too.

On one point I expatiate at length, since Master Trench now allows the Defendant to have sight of the copy of the 1939 Heinrich Himmler Diary which I obtained from the late James Townsend for my collection.

When they make the same demand to see all of the Goebbels Diaries which I brought back from Moscow in 1992, I argue that in my view these are stock in trade -- they are technical secrets like the Coca-Cola secret ingredient, and that I am averse to making these papers freely available to enemies and rivals. (Since 1997 it is established that any document in Discovery that is even referred to in open court, let alone read out, thereby comes into the public domain.)

I have invested, I say, not just days in retrieving those Goebbels Diaries from the KGB archives but the expertise of thirty-five years' work as an historian. I succeeded, where others failed. It should not be possible for the enemy now simply to lay hold of them just by saying, "show 'em." Master Trench consults the authorities, and comes down on my side: I am obliged to show the diaries, but Julius and his experts must give strict undertakings, which the court now formally dictates in a decision, not to make any use of them for their own purposes.

It is a useful argument all round, and serves to concentrate minds on broader issues than Mr Julius' monomaniac repetition of smears about "neo Nazis" which I shall stuff down his throat when the time comes. Julius even takes exception to the fact that in my affidavit I write, quite innocently, "Since the topic of gas chambers in Nazi Germany will be ventilated..." He takes the word ventilated to be deliberately insensitive, which of course it was not.

God, these people are so sensitive it is a wonder they're not covered in a permanent and unsightly rash. Yet they ruthlessly smear others who get in their way. He describes Fred Leuchter and others as "masquerading" as engineers, experts etc. I remark, "Rather like lawyers masquerading as historians."

At lunchtime, Master Trench makes most of the Order sought, though with important concessions to myself. The new Discovery now required of me will however impose a crippling burden on my work schedule: all relevant diaries, all telephone logs, all correspondence with Ernst Zündel, Ewald Althans (!), Mark Weber, etc., etc. I have nothing to conceal, so it is purely a time problem. The Defendants wanted to include "everybody of a similar nature," and have even included it in their draft Order, typed up overnight, but I raise obvious objections (pace Lord Woolf) and the court refuses to go along with that demand.

   I notice today that there is a quiet young man taking notes on the bench behind us. He is representing the unfortunate English publishers Penguin Ltd, Lipstadt's co-defendants, whom Lipstadt has catapulted into this mess by peddling her reckless smears against me. In response to my challenge in a letter two days ago, he now admits that Penguin did not have the Lipstadt book checked for libel before printing it over here: the architects of their own misfortune, as a judge said a year ago of them.

In the lunch hour I make certain proposals to him, to refer to his clients. He returns to this subject as we part in the evening. Let us concentrate this action against the real villains; if Penguin Ltd do not accept the proposal, then they are the victims of their own folly. [...]

I discuss this with my lawyer friends -- more "neo Nazis" -- in the evening. They say that Anthony Julius is hated within the profession: a pompous ass, full of himself, with an overbearing ego. Members of his staff have told others much the same. Of course if anybody were even to hint at that, he would no doubt whine: "anti-semitism." In my case, it is not. He is handsome, admirable, and no doubt endlessly kind to animals: a clever lawyer, funded by millionaires, defending a worthless hired charlatan.

 © David Irving 1998.

 Register your name and address to go on the Mailing List to receive

[ Go back to AR Online Index | Index to AR.#14 | Go to Main Action Report Index ]

© Focal Point 1998 write to David Irving