Scene Setting.. Skip this if you know the Law Courts

What's Going On?—Some Facts and Puzzles about the Case*

Cast of Characters*

What Lipstadt's Book says about Irving*

My Guesses as to Courtroom Battles, and their Outcomes

Will it Become, or is it Already, a Political Trial?*

The first day. Tuesday 11th January 2000 [Opening statements]

Fourth and fifth days

Ninth and tenth days* and Eleventh* [Prof. van Pelt on Auschwitz]
Comedy Corner*
* = new material since last time
David Irving


Irving website
Royal Courts of Justice
Deborah Lipstadt


Penguin website
Rae West's Unofficial Guide to this Case. Part Three.
To be updated about once a week. [ Part 1 archive | Part 2 archive | [ Home Page ]
Day 1 (Mon Jan 11 2000) transcript (146K) | Day 2 (12th) (261K) | Day 3 (13th) (272K) | Day 4 (Mon 17th) (274K) | Day 5 (18th) (252K) | Day 6 (19th) (263K) | Day 7 (20th) (270K) | Day 8 (Mon 24th) (259K) | Day 9 (25th) (264K)
Note: there's a dispute over transcripts; I hope to resume them in the near future...*

Scene Setting... Skip this if you know the Law Courts
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The 'New Law Courts' are (see pictures above—none very recent) late Gothic revival, and have a huge entrance hall which is only partly-decorated, because funding from unclaimed estates and other assets, held by lawyers, ran out. The buildings were opened about thirty years after the better-known Parliament buildings (which, it isn't usually appreciated, were lit by candles or gaslight when new, and must have been visually astonishing).
        As always, vague smears surround Irving: a BBC breakfast programme on the first morning showed the first of three pieces about the Internet and extremism. The man at the Law Courts reception desk told me it would be an unpleasant case. And added that the public were excluded. This in fact wasn't true. He directed me to Court 37, in West Green building, over to the left. The courtrooms all seem to be grouped in fours, with common waiting areas outside which are rather bare, with padded benches and a few hard tables, usually strewn with newspapers. There's standardised dress for officials and lawyers, with the public often looking rather shabby by contrast. The legal system is, or was, stratified by class, with barristers (who do the talking) wearing wigs in more or less exuberant style from the upper classes—having attended public school at 'eaten lunches' (or dinners?*) at the Inns of Court, solicitors (who do the legal spadework) from the middle classes-having done law degrees or worked at legal firms, and the ushers and police and so on firmly from the lower orders. At least, as a first approximation, all this is true enough. Court 37 is modern 1970s or 80s: false and rather low ceiling, fluorescent light, eroded aluminium-framed windows, microphones suspended from the ceiling. I suspect there's no air conditioning, and the room can and does get stuffy. At present, it's winter, and gloom descends at about 4 pm.
        The battleground, or field of play, is:— judge at the back, raised up, visible over a long bench. He's flanked by two people who seem to do nothing. (I've been told one is the clerk to the judge*). In front are several benches taken up by stenographers, and other people who also seem to do nothing. There's a witness box. Facing all this is, on the left, Irving. And on the right, Mr Rampton, wearing a grey horsehair wig. He's the barrister, or QC, or Queen's Counsel, and is surrounded by a squad of people, mostly I imagine from Mishcon de Reya, a law firm, one of the partners of which is Anthony Julius, Lipstadt's lawyer, or 'junior solicitor advocate'. Mr Rampton is something like a Queen bee licensed to talk, and he receives whispers, scribbled messages, and so on. There are several benches of these legal persons, about ten in all, with others, mostly well-dressed young women, whose role seemed to be to sit near the back and 'observe'. Then we have a few rows of seats, some with PRESS signs pinned on. The sides of the room have red lever-arch files of evidence arranged in cardboard shelves.
        An important difference from many courts is the computer technology: a skilled operator working an odd-looking unmarked keyboard enters syllables (I think) directly, and the software does some sort of conversion into English, so the court transcript can be produced almost instantly. There are at least six or eight lap-top computers linked to display the transcript, so the participants can read it, and scroll back to check what's been said. (There are mistakes—especially when several people talk at once—but on the whole the transcripts are reliable. Presumably successful comparisons have been made with results from conventional court shorthand).
        The general crush (I estimate about fifty 'lay' people) included a man who'd written on the Palestinians, an ex-Guardian journalist, six or eight women who seemed to be reporters, or amateur reporters, (they had yellow writing-pads!), and who seemed to know nothing of libel law or of Irving's work. There were several elderly women from somewhere like Los Angeles, a small shabby man in a pullover with the furtive air I've come to associate with ignorant hack writers, a couple of men who struck me as physically unwholesome, and sundry others. Outside were at least two TV crews (cameraman, someone to hold a mike, someone with back wired up—not inappropriately resembling an electrically-controlled ventriloquist's dummy).
        I can't resist a comparison with McDonald's 'McLibel' case, in which the two defendants (not plaintiff, as Irving is) represented themselves, over a long period, also against Rampton, with no jury, in a courtroom in the same building, also lined with files of documents, with, I believe, the first use of the new system of transcription, which allowed the McSpotlight site to have a new transcript every day. However, Irving so far as I know has no legal help, unlike the two McDonalds defendants. (I contacted Dan Mills, one of their solicitors, but had no reply). The McLibel trial probably had no influence on McDonalds new 'restaurants'; it remains to be seen whether this trial will have as little influence.

Since then the case has been moved to the larger court 73 in the east part of the building. The audience seems to have settled at around fifty people at most times, with small groups of people entering or leaving occasionally. They are remarkably silent, apart from an occasional fidgety person; it's impossible to guess what they're thinking, and responses to atrocities or jokes or banter are rare. I'd guess about half, or perhaps fewer, regard themselves as Jews. As usual, the press seems to subtly misdescribe things: I read a newspaper account of a young man dressed all in black with a black baseball cap who apparently would find it natural to believe in a Jewish conspiracy. In fact, there was no such person, at least not that I saw. (I found, by the way, there seems to be no official term for the 'audience', the people who watch: 'members of the public' seems usual. Perhaps the legal profession has its own unofficial expression!)
        Some Poles made a comment which I hadn't thought of, namely that there are hardly any Germans in the audience. Their Polish view was that Irving was helping revive their honour and the least a few of them could do was to attend.
        I've discovered that the row of eight or so young persons, about half female and half female, behind Mr Rampton and his female barrister colleague, who must be Heather Rogers, are researchers for Professor Evans. Their role seems to be to mark passages in highlighter, find documents in the files, and so on. They dress well, presumably to suggest some weight which they might otherwise not possess. (One faintly visualises the endless laboured essays they must have produced between them). I've also found the imposing microphones are record-only; by the end of the day both Mr Rampton and Mr Irving, each of whom has been standing for six hours or so, show some vocal fatigue—though, under the circumstances, surprisingly little.

What's Going On?—Some Facts and Puzzles about this Case
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You may like to see some of the official, full-length documents, from Irving's website. (Close the new window to return here):—
The Statement of Claim with Writ alleging Libel
Defence by Deborah Lipstadt's counsel (page 1; 4 pages in total)
Reply by David Irving (page 1; 5 pages in total)

Cast of Characters
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What Lipstadt's Book says about Irving
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* Denying the Holocaust is online on at least two sites. One site is aaargh (chapters are separate). There are a few scanner errors; I haven't checked whether the text is otherwise correct, although it certainly seems to be. I dislike linking to sites without copyright clearance, and will remove this link if asked; the site itself claims to be presenting information in a way which doesn't infringe copyright.

Note: it's important to understand that this legal action could only take place because the book was published for a time in Britain, I think in 1994. If publication had been confined to the US, Irving, had he started a case, would have got nowhere. Irving insists that Viking-Penguin merely had to phone him to check the contents, but didn't. From his point of view, the book appears to have been something like the last straw.
        My own guess is that Viking-Penguin in effect dumped the book; they have thousands of titles, and the standard way to issue ones printed in America is to send a few thousand spare copies to Britain, a few hundred to Australia, a thousand to Canada, a few hundred to South Africa, and so on, in their shipments. I've seen a figure of 2,000 copies distributed in Britain, though I forget where I found this; and I suspect most copies ended in libraries, either bought or donated. There is a theory that the publishers cunningly engineered this situation, hoping to provoke a law case; but my guess is that the trial was not foreseen by the publishers—the title probably wasn't seen as anything special, just another low-selling title which wasn't worth editing for the local market.

Irving states that Lipstadt's book had passages about him inserted at a late stage, suggesting she hadn't even heard of him. This seems likely, as the references to Irving, which are few, are inserted into chapters on other subjects. The 'research' seems to be of extraordinarily low quality—or perhaps it's just ordinarily low. There's little evidence and Lipstadt seems to have no facility for separating hearsay, testimony, and evidence.
        Anyway, below I attempt to extract the main points she makes about Irving, ignoring the rest of the book. (My edition, available in Britain, was published by 'The Free Press', which has some connection with Maxwell, the well-known fraud, and Macmillan; Viking-Penguin isn't listed, and is perhaps involved through a merger or buyout—I don't know. It's dated 1993 and already seems careless—for example, she takes Pressac seriously, and is casual in her treatment of pre-World War II Judaism. My copy, judging by spelling, is identical to the US edition, so I'll assume its page numbering applies generally.)
        The only four passages found for me about Irving are on pages 8 (1 paragraph), 111 (part para only), 161-162 (3 paras), and 179-181 (8 paras). There are about 40 statements made about Irving, then exact depending on how they're counted. Of these, about half are referenced—they have endnote numbers. The remainder are, of course, unreferenced. This gives a manageable set, which I'll now examine at not too great a length:—
  1. Referenced Statements.
    About twenty: Page 8: denier, gas chambers a "propaganda exercise" (n22), regular participant at Deutsche Volks Union (n23), women built to "produce men" and be subservient (n24), not a credible figure to German deniers (n25). Page 111: David Irving quoted by Nolte re prewar Nazi persecution of Jews (n33). Pages 161-2: Scholars have accused him of distortion (n16), scholars have dismissed the idea that Hitler did not know about the Final Solution (n17), has been accused of skewing and misrepresentation (n18), spiritual experience at Hitler's retreat (n19), Hitler helped Jews (n20), self-described "moderate fascist" (n21), Hess should have received Nobel Peace prize (n22), marriage a detour and being born in 1938 (n23). Pages 179-181: converted by Leuchter to Holocaust denial (n105), swindle of 90 Bn deutsche marks over Auschwitz (n106), Auschwitz monument a "tourist attraction" (n107), British Psychological Warfare 1942 story of killing millions (n108), Sunday Times in 1992 may have revived his reputation (n110), ludicrous to refer to Irving as transcribing technician (n111), TV rarely addresses neofascist or denial connections (n113), double standard of absolute proof for Germans, circumstantial to condemn allies. (n114). Page 180 has a footnote relating to the glass plates on which the Goebbels diaries are microphotographed. The reference is dated January 1993, (Lipstadt's foreword is dated Jan 14th 1993), so one guesses it was shoehorned in after the main text had been assembled. This is important as regards Irving's competence, and much of Irving's opening speech dealt with the claims as regards archival material. In full, this is:
    The Russian archives granted Irving permission to copy two microfiche plates, each of which held about forty-five pages of the diaries. Irving immediately violated his agreement, took many plates, transported them abroad, and had them copied without archival permission. There is serious concern in archival circles that he may have significantly damaged the plates when he did so, rendering them of limited use to subsequent researchers.
            Irving believes Jews are "very foolish not to abandon the gas chamber theory while they still have time." He "Foresees [a] new wave of antisemitism" due to Jews' exploitation of the Holocaust "myth". C.C. Aronsfeld, "Holocaust 'Revisionists' are Busy in Britain," Midstream , Jan. 1993, p. 29.
    Comments: It's possible all the above points will be examined in the trial. Irving's behaviour at the Russian archives certainly will, as we've seen. I'll point out here that the endnotes refer mostly to newspapers and small magazines which are probably unobtainable for most people in the USA. We've just seen, above, a magazine called Midstream treated as a serious source, with no information about the article's author; I wonder how many people have heard of either? Other sources include Daily Telegraph , a book by Robert Harris called Selling Hitler , and a magazine called Searchlight .
            Unwary readers may get the impression that there's some form of scholarship behind Lipstadt's footnotes, rather than a paperchase which mostly leads nowhere. To take the quotations on page 8 , we find they are from the Daily Telegraph , which is a vicious and grubby rag, the sort of thing read by vicars and retired persons who lovingly recall running over blacks in tanks in Africa. For years it supported apartheid, and other things—but I won't weary you with this. We find, consulting the relevant CD ROM, an article by Mick Brown, in which we find: 'The ‘legend’ of gas chambers, he says, was ‘a propaganda exercise’'—a phrase repeated by Lipstadt. That's all. The reader might imagine that the intrepid reporter would enquire of Irving what he meant, whether he was serious, or what evidence he had. But Brown, no doubt accurately assessing his readership, prefers to discuss Himmler in the east, Irving's daughter, his school beatings, and his lack of homosexuality. Thus, Lipstadt's quotation is simply quoting someone else, without supporting evidence. If this is research, anyone quoting something they've seen on TV or read in any newspaper is a 'researcher', or 'scholar'.
            The next claim made on page 8 is that Irving 'regularly participated in the annual meetings of the extremist German political party Deutsche Volks Union.' What we actually find in the Sunday Telegraph article of 19th Jan 1992 is: 'In March he is due to speak at the annual conference of the neo-fascist Deutsche Volks Union in Passau. He expects 10,000 people to be there—if the Germans let him in. He has been banned before.' In other words, Lipstadt has lied—one projected talk has been represented as 'regular meetings'. The Deutsche Volks Union, whatever it is, is not described; on the face of it, it seems unlikely to be neo-fascist, since one gathers there are German laws banning this. However, the Telegraph , like Lipstadt, prefers not to worry over small matters like evidence.
            Page 161 has bits taken from Selling Hitler (1991) by Robert Harris, about the 'Hitler Diaries' fraud. Unfortunately, again we find that Lipstadt has simply quoted someone else's unsourced quotation. Harris says, for example, 'Irving admitted that in writing Hitler's War he had identified with the Führer. Looking down upon him.. was a self-portrait of Hitler.. He did not smoke or touch alcohol. .. He shared Hitler's views on women.. In 1981.. he had founded his own right-wing political group, built around his own belief in his 'destiny' as a future British leader. ..' This may be true, but there's no background and an irritating lack of detail: what was the 'right-wing political group'? This book repeats the 'moderate fascist' comment, but I haven't been able to identify the source—forgive my laziness. Incidentally, I noted Hitler's War was, says Harris, 'savaged by Walter Laqueur in the New York Review of Books and boycotted by the major US paperback publishers.' (Without commenting on Laqueur, Lipstadt seems to think the New York Review of Books , which is of course an ordinary commercial/state rag which routinely censors material its advertisers or owners doesn't like, gives some sort of imprimatur—she mentions a review of Churchill's War , though, perhaps wisely, hiding the reviewer's name in the endnotes).
            Page 179 has a "one-man intifada" quotation attributed to Searchlight , a shady publication, which I think is subscription only, and so far as I've found, essentially an anonymously-funded one-man operation; my specimen copies are full of intelligence jargon.
            I suspect therefore that Irving will be able to make a good case here, more especially as he is accustomed to dealing with the intricacies of documents, and following threads from one to another. However, we shall see.
  2. Unreferenced Statements.
    These of course tend to be vague. Page 8 includes: 'long considered a guru of the extreme right', and 'extremist-sponsored rallies', 'an ultra-nationalist'. No evidence is adduced. (It might be amusing to hear Lipstadt try to explain exactly what she means by 'the extreme right'. Trevor-Roper wrote that to describe Hitler's takeover as 'far right' was part of the 'sterile vocabulary of the left.')
            An important issue could be Irving as a revisionist of Second World War historiography. Several times Lipstadt says this sort of thing: '[Irving is] The writer of popular historical works attempting to show that Britain made a tactical error in going to war against Germany and that the Allies and the Nazis were equally at fault for the war and its atrocities' ( p. 8 ) and '[Irving is] convinced that Britain's great decline was accelerated by its decision to go to war with Germany...' ( p. 181 ). One gets the impression that anyone examining the Second World War—which after all was quite an important event—and its conventional presentation—which was almost entirely shaped by thoroughly-controlled wartime propaganda— would be automatically condemned by Lipstadt.
            Another little trick is worth pointing out, namely the ascribing of a point of view to an entire well-known organisation, when in fact it's the viewpoint of one person or group. Thus ( p. 180 ) Lipstadt's book says the 'British House of Commons denounced the former [Irving] as a "Nazi propagandist and longtime Hitler apologist"..' And 'Condemned in The Times of London in 1989 as a "man for who Hitler is something of a hero.." ..'

My Guesses as to Courtroom Battles, and their Outcomes:—
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  1. Things which I think will happen:
    • Witnesses: I'm all but certain these will include an architectural expert on the plans of Auschwitz, sociological evidence on Judaism, evidence of ground-penetrating radar used at Treblinka, and John Keegan subpoenaed to talk on the Second World War, on which he's regarded as a military historian.
  2. Things which I think may happen:
    • Jewish conspiracy against Irving I think probably has to be raised, since Irving's damages depend (I think) on his showing that there were plots to prevent his books being published, distributed, reviewed and so on, and so damage his income. If he can show action was taken to damage him, presumably he'd be in a strong position. But this raises difficult questions—is such action in fact illegal; can private organisations legally do it? And what surveillance in fact actually goes on? (Also, if a conspiracy were investiagted and proven, and damages decided, should Penguin pay all damages, or others too?)
              The question also may arise as to what is a 'conspiracy'; everyone laughs at conspiracy theories, but, when there are problems, they start to see them everywhere. All this is a can containing many unpleasant and varied worms.
    • Gas chamber controversy seems likely, but not certain, to surface. This is because the conventional definition of 'the Holocaust' includes gas chambers, but Irving's definition doesn't. So presumably either side, depending on how it views the evidence available to it, might decide not to investigate the issue, and it might not arise.
    • Follower or admirer of Hitler is an accusation often made about Irving. Close examination of his books may incline the defendants against, or for, this view; I can't guess. I'm not sure what is needed to make such an accusation libellous. But clearly the issue is likely to surface.
    • Part played by Jews in the Soviet Union and for example Hungary. Irving claimed that all the worst Hungarian torturers were Jews. If the disputes start to rage about eastern Europe, as they presumably must, issues of this sort will probably come up.
    • International Law , such as it is, and Hitler and Jews before the Second World War, might be investigated. It would be interesting to have light shed on this, and, on the face of it, it's a topic which ought to be investigated, but, one guesses, probably won't.
  3. Things which I think won't happen:
    • Khazars as Jews. The Khazaria theory has existed for most of the 20th century, although it's been suppressed for various reasons. Despite its importance, I doubt it will surface here. This is because (1) the plaintiff, Irving, accepts many or all Christian beliefs, and seems to feel obliged to believe modern Jews originated in ancient Israel; (2) Lipstadt and her supporters can't consider it, since it's incompatible with their system of pretences; (3) Rampton probably won't have heard of it.
    • Christian forgery as a comparative money-making scheme to what may be Holocaust forgery. This, or indeed any other established fraud, and there are many, from AIDS and NASA to physics and weapons, could make an instructive parallel. The reasons I don't expect this to happen are similar to those relating to the previous idea, plus the extra effort needed to reorient thought in several fields. I expect, analogously, links between Catholicism and Fascism will probably be avoided.
    • WW2 War crimes against (say) Germans, Indians, Chinese. Again, despite the obvious importance of these comparisons, I doubt they'll be made. Nor will such issues as the non-bombing of Ford factories in Germany be raised. The taboos are probably too strong.
    • What is fascism? This seems a fair question, especially as the press and many statements use the word rather freely. I predict however that discussion will be discouraged, on grounds familiar to readers of (for example) Chomsky. Any of the possible characteristics—killings of civilians, cruelty on a large scale, forced movements of populations, racist discrimination, for example—took place and take place in the 'post-War' world.
              There may however be some interesting footwork as the defendants in particular talk about themselves—but not of course others. An example might be Irving's audiences, which Rampton in his opening speech said 'often consist of radical right wing, neo-fascist, neo-Nazi groups of people.' A video of Irving in the US shows him speaking to what appeared to be Billy-Graham-like fundamentalists, no doubt with an admixture of US war criminals. Will they be pleased to be described as likely neo-fascists? Another example might be some groups, described as campaigning for repatriation and the like. Will the comparison be made with Israel, campaigning to remove Palestinians?
    • What is genocide? This is unlikely to be brought up, for reasons similar to those applying to the previous category. But again there may be some interesting footwork.
    • Once-important publicists and potential witnesses such as Vrba, Fleming, Hilbert, Elie Weisel, et al. will refuse to appear, because the Zundel trials in Canada have shown such people what happens on cross-examination. (I now note that Professor Browning will appear).
    • Theology: Why didn't God prevent killings of his chosen people? Lipstadt is supposed to be a professor of this sort of thing. However, long-established convention dictates that, even if she were required to speak, such questions would almost certainly not be put.
              Another possibility might have been that Irving may have pointed out that she presumably takes the Kol Nidre seriously, which explicitly pledges her testimony in a non-Jewish court to be deceptive. Conceivably the decision not to use her as a witness may have been to prevent Irving accomplishing this coup de théâtre .

Will it Become, or is it Already, a Political Trial?
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I consulted several books on the political aspects of law (for example, Peter Hain's Political Trials in Britain ) and some historical works, but none seem very satisfactory: few people seem able to separate the power structures from the coccooning verbiage of law. We find accounts of Socrates, Bruno, Joan of Arc; blasphemy trials; and people variously described as racists and fascists; and descriptions of judges as conservatives who are appointed in secret ways. I doubt whether military law (with peremptory removal of dissidents) is much of a guide. Possibly there may be analogies from trials of the sort that occurred and occur in what was the Empire; these of course were and are normally kept secret. My only conclusion is that law is generally on the side of the powers-that-be, as one would expect—lawyers have supported slavery, exploitation, and so on, but, then, what else would they do? Change doesn't usually take place as a result of a verdict—changes in the law are more important.

It's possible this case will be decided politically; perhaps it's already been decided Irving must lose. Looking at a mixed bag of cases, it seems clear enough that the British government's recent treatment of Pinochet was political, not legal. The Birdwood case perhaps is a precedent: her prosecution petered out in what I take to be a trumped-up medical let-out, and the copyright status of her booklet was left in suspension. John Pilger was forced to make an obviously unconvinced apology as regards atrocity allegations he made. I haven't made much attempt to follow the 'denial' law in France; but clearly there must be pressure for a similar law in Britain, and if European Union law spreads this may be applied across all Europe.
        Unfortunately, Prime Minister Blair seems to be the sort of politician who sees his role as counterbalancing existing groups; not as encouraging some groups and discouraging others. For example, the billion-dollar 'dome' looks like a submission to vested interests; so does his, to my taste, rather contemptible deferring to religious superstitions, and his deferring to NATO. The medical system is in the balance. He has been reported as accepting money from Monsanto. Such a person, under pressure, seems likely to adjust laws to reflect pressures being applied, rather than aim at worthwhile but difficult goals.
        Perhaps the money flowing to Jewish survivors has been deemed to be excessive; possibly this rather banal cause will, unexpectedly, cause influential people to change their tune. This seems possible; Catholicism wasn't weakened because princes objected to superstitions amongst their peasantry, but rather because too much money was wanted to pay for them.*
        Another aspect is the effect on the future; no doubt scare stories will be manufactured, as happens all the time on many subjects. Is it the case that the risk of exposure of myth will cause people to adopt strange ideologies, vote for people with little moustaches, and invade foreign countries? May there be trade threats, or pressure to prevent media people, teachers and historians look foolish? Does it in fact such a trial make any difference?—if Irving won, there would still be countless films, novels, and books in circulation, huge funds to continue the tradition, endless actors and hacks willing to turn out anything paid for. Some revisionists think the newspaper reporting of this trial is a breakthrough; in my view this simply isn't true (see for example the cuttings which Irving put in his website) since the basic assumptions aren't challenged. The effect may be as transitory as the Pentagon Papers .

The first day. Tuesday 11th January 2000
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Note: Unless otherwise stated, my descriptions apply only to hearings I've attended in person.

The first day was mainly taken up by the reading out of opening statements: Irving's was first, and it was rather long, partly for some technical reason about the following day which I didn't fathom.
        Irving appears to be going for the basis of the libel being that he manipulated and falsified history, i.e. he wasn't lazy or careless, but deliberately lied. His statement began with his account of his life and his histories, and continued with a long passage on the Goebbels diary glass plates, I think to establish his credentials as a serious obtainer, decipherer, and preserver of otherwise-endangered documents. He also mentioned Jews as opponents of the truth (he intends to call a sociologist from America on this subject) and of himself.
        Rampton, representing the defendants (Lipstadt et al) seems to follow rather closely the claims made in Denying the Holocaust , putting for example emphasis on Leuchter (perhaps Rampton doesn't know that other forensic investigations of Auschwitz have been made since 1993), and repeating the claim about the DVU (perhaps he can't operate CD ROMs). There's some suggestion that he will treat Irving's lawsuit as a 'campaign'; at any rate, that word surfaced in The Times report. Rampton read out what he regarded as an example, or perhaps the only example, of Irving's lies and fakery: a case in Riga involving orders about liquidation. Irving's account in Hitler's War was supposed not to correspond with the facts. And two editions of Hitler's War were very different.
        After this, Irving wished to show a video, but the equipment was not available(!). So it was agreed to adjourn.

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Fourth and Fifth Days. Monday 17th, Tuesday 18th January 2000
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Note: Unless otherwise stated, my descriptions apply only to hearings I've attended in person.

        Mr Rampton's strategy seems to be this: his aim is to establish a number of what he calls bricks, from which, presumably, to complete his structure. (1) One such brick is 'system': he intends to show the Germans had a system. (2) Next, I think, he intends to establish that Hitler knew of and originated the system. (3) And then he intends to establish extermination. (4) Then he must show Mr Irving is a 'Holocaust denier'. (I'm uncertain how the rest of the case is to be treated).
        Mr Irving's counter as to these points is, I think, as follows: (1) He states the Germans unquestionably had a system for moving Jews from the parts of Europe under their control to areas which seem to have been as far east as possible. This was definitely a 'system' (involving e.g. the Gestapo, late-night evictions of families, and train journeys.) But, says Irving, the system ended there; when they arrived, they were expected to build camps (or in some cases moved), and there appears to have been chaos, including murders, which, Irving says, show no signs of having been authorised by Hitler. (2) As to whether Hitler knew what was happening, Irving stated he is "absolutely certain" (his exact words) that the defendants cannot find a single document that shows Hitler was informed of killings or approved of them. (3) Irving states that mass killings certainly occurred; his figure for all shootings of Jews was from 500,000 to 1,500,000. He never denied this and all his books include it where relevant. (4) On 'Holocaust denial', Irving simply states that, in fact, his books describe it perfectly clearly, I think from the documents.
        My personal impression was, frankly, that Irving wiped the floor with the opposition. His replies are, or seem, so assured that any statement he makes on dates, German translations, documents, the reading habits of Hitler and Churchill and so on, is simply assumed to be true; I suspect that, if he chose to deliberately manufacture a fake statement (e.g. "Sigmund Freudssohn became temporary adjutant of 2nd August 1942 when Martin Bormann's usual adjutant was ill, and composed a note to.." etc. This example is made up! ) nobody would or could query it. This is rather extraordinary. I can't think of any other witness who could retain credibility after announcing "I never read books." At one point, he pointed out the word 'geheim' (secret) in the middle of a document, which Mr Rampton hadn't noticed, and clearly didn't understand, despite being concerned at the document's security classification. Again, Justice Gray asked Irving whether the 'fragmentary' nature of the documents wasn't a difficulty; Irving replied that the Washington archives have so many documents that they're still unsorted now, more than fifty years later; and that the entire archives of Auschwitz and Maidanek had been captured by the Russians. Justice Gray, who of course seems fairly impassive, looked rather astounded—and it's perhaps significant that it was Irving who had to make that point. (And Mr Rampton seemed a little nonplussed when Irving stated that most of the concentration camp commandants were lawyers). Again, very often Mr Rampton in effect complained that an original document could not be found; on numerous occasions Irving replied that the same document was in his 'discovery' (i.e. copies disclosed before the trial, and now stored in files in the same courtroom). When faced with documents new to him, Irving's practised eye immediately makes deductions: the typewriter keyboard lacked the SS rune, the language has a suspiciously illiterate ring to it; he's just noticed the box has 'AR' in it—probably the German abbreviation for Operation Reinhard, or Operation Reinhardt—the correct spelling is disputed. Again, Mr Rampton seems often to be wrong-footed: he makes a very good observation, but is then floored by a better observation: for example, the questioning turned to Hitler on sending Jews to Madagascar, and (e.g.) Professor Evans (whose report on Irving is frequently mentioned) says something like: Irving is being totally misleading in saying Hitler intended to send the Jews to Madagascar. This was by then firmly in British hands, as of course Hitler knew. So Hitler couldn't possibly have meant this. Clearly, it was a nonsense, a euphemism. One thinks: oh, that's a good point. And Irving replies: the remark makes perfect sense: Hitler was an optimist—he hoped to win the war (and presumably then control Madagascar). In the same way the defendants hope to win the case.
        At this time, I concluded that Mr Rampton must have started the case, a few months earlier, all but certain that he'd have a walkover on his hands. He has several professors and numerous helpers on his side—although an observer could be pardoned for feeling that the helpers might more accurately be described as a hindrance. I think this must account for what I take to be his somewhat lacklustre performance, the long pauses, and occasional snaps. In fact it wouldn't surprise me if there's a certain tenseness, some harsh words, behind the scenes in the defendants' camp. It even occurred to me that they may seek an out-of-court settlement (you may recall an offer was made in the McDonalds trial, which however broke down because, I think, McDonalds would not accede to the McLibel Two's request that McDonalds stop suing activists).
        What does Justice Gray think of this? One sees him making notes, and putting documents in his own files. Possibly he makes some mark or indication at each point claimed and made, or lost, or left uncertain, by the parties.
        One begins to see one reason, at least, while Irving is unrepresented. The replies he makes simply could not be made by someone unfamiliar with the material; questioning would take twice the time as Irving whispered comments or passed notes to his counsel.
        Another unsuspected advantage accrues to Irving: since he's a claimant in person, the judge allows him more leeway than ordinary counsel is allowed. In this way he can put in his remarks (you have the document—it was in my disclosure/ Mr Rampton; you have teams of researchers/ the intention is producing a more readable book/ there is an embarrassing superabundance of German material) which might perhaps never be made effectively.

Next week is to be (as I understand it) inquiries into Auschwitz and perhaps other concentration camps. Expert witnesses are to be called, starting, I believe, with Professor van Pelt. I'm not sure whether forensic evidence in the popular sense—actual objects and artefacts—will be examined; I suspect maps, plans, films and photographs will be the extent of the evidence. There may well be some considerable upsets. Irving has already stated, I think as an established fact, that the first references to gas chambers were in British intelligence broadcasts to Germany, which, he said, predate the claims made by some historians as to the starting date of gas chambers.

Ninth and Tenth Days. Tuesday 25th, Wednesday 26th January 2000
Prof. van Pelt on Auschwitz/Birkenau

[Back to start]

Note: Unless otherwise stated, my descriptions apply only to hearings I've attended in person.

        Professor Robert Jan van Pelt's examination and cross-examination took up most of these two days; and he's due back on Friday (the court is not sitting on Thursday, today,as I write this). The following account is an attempt to describe both days' testimony. I fear it's rather long; however, the subject is important, even if the relevance to the libel case is disputable, so I've taken some trouble to sort out and arrange the claims. I haven't checked the spelling of some names; if they're wrong, I apologise.
        Almost all the talking was between Irving and van Pelt; Mr Rampton remained mostly silent. (Indeed, at one point late on the second day, he seemed to be accusing Mr Irving of deliberate rambling to cost Mr Rampton's side more money.)
        Van Pelt is Dutch; his English and German are both very good. He is a professor of architecture—or, at least, he is in the department of architecture—at Waterloo University, Ontario, Canada. (Fees something like $10,000 per term, I believe). He's the joint author of a book on Auschwitz with Deborah Dwork, described as 'his partner' by Irving, who now holds the Chair of Holocaust History, endowed with $5M, apparently at Clark University. (I couldn't find this establishment in my reference book collection). She seems to have supplied the historical material for their book. If Irving is to be believed, this book is one of the few which he has read cover-to-cover; he said he couldn't put it down. As well as jointly-writing this book, Professor van Pelt wrote an expert report specially for the trial. He is an attractive figure, somewhat like (I hope this isn't insulting) Benny Hill in a suit. At the start of Irving's cross-examination, he modestly admitted to being the world's leading expert on Auschwitz—or perhaps only the second most expert. It's not entirely clear on what basis this opinion is based: he's apparently in a cultural history department, and has no architectural qualifications, as Irving rapidly established, despite appearing as an expert witness on the architecture of Auschwitz/Birkenau. He delivered his answers with smiles and aplomb, at least at first—later, he became more rattled, refusing, for example, to comment on his own work unless the exact words were in front of him.

        What happened is, roughly, that Mr Irving attempted to pin him down, first, as to the building, presumably to avoid changes of subject: Irving showed a video (which his little daughter seemed to have moved to the wrong place) of Fred Leuchter, with Van Pelt's voiceover, talking of the leichenkeller next to crematorium 2 at Birkenau, the centre of 'any map of human suffering', in which 'millions' had died. Irving repeatedly drew attention on his huge recently-taken aerial photo of the ruins of this elongated building. Yes, this is the subject they're discussing. And he had to establish the figures: van Pelt had said 'millions' on the video, but this of course was a slip of the tongue which anyone could make, and not of course a falsification. Van Pelt stated the true figure was probably 500,000. This figure was settled on by both Mr Irving and Professor van Pelt.
        Second, Irving's pinning down moved to the evidence which van Pelt could produce with regard to this building. Van Pelt's corpus of evidence is as follows:
  1. Eyewitness testimony. The professor proved a little shy of answering the direct question: how many eye-witnesses? The figure appears to be five; all are dead. One is Bimko, who, said Irving, had claimed to have examined the cremation records, and that these proved 4M deaths, and who, they seemed to agree, must have been something of a liar. Another, Henryk Tauber, gave the wire mesh pillar evidence, and is described by van Pelt as 'one of the most important witnesses'. Other names were Pery Broad. Shlomo Draga, Hiss, Kramer.
            (At this point, I'll mention that Tauber's testified that the gas chamber, or morgue, below ground, had wire-mesh pillars arranged next to the supporting, structural pillars; the wire mesh protruded above ground, in five or six (I forget) chimney-like structures, down which cyanide-containing diatomaceous earth, Zyklon, was dropped from tins or lowered in a container. The mesh was surrounded by other mesh in the actual room; I think the mesh was supposed to be arranged with a square cross-section. This remains the standard, establishment picture of the gas chambers at Crematorium 2.)
            NB: Professor van Pelt felt able to exclude a Russian report in Pravda, which mentioned no gas chambers, and had an account of buildings housing old, sick, young, and otherwise non-working Jews. He excluded the testimony, or alleged testimony, of Hoess—the actual kommandant of Auschwitz! Doubtless other eyewitness evidence is excluded too, though it's of course hard to estimate exactly how much. And let me point out that no living eyewitnesses appear on van Pelt's list. There are (says an e-mailer) hundreds of thousands of holocaust survivors, for example in Israel. Surely the Professor might call a few of them? Granted it's 55 years later; but surely some people, then 20-25, now 75 or 80, might be available?
  2. Eyewitness testimony in the shape of drawings by a fairly experienced sketcher drawn several years after the event. They include a crematorium chimney belching smoke and flame—something revisionists point out doesn't happen with crematoria. If, perhaps, something specially inflammable could produce this effect, van Pelt (supposedly Professor of Architecture, remember, and world's leading expert) didn't know of it. Mr Irving claimed, though he produced no examples, that the artist had also painted near-pornographic images, mostly with nubile naked young women in the same series. Why had the Professor excluded all of these? One of the drawings (out of style with all the rest) showed a cross-section through a building, with cartoon-like figures; this suggested to Mr Irving that possibly there had been 'cross-pollination' of ideas. Had the artist been supplied with blueprints to assist his memory?
            ('Cross-pollination' is a phrase selected by Mr Irving to name the process by which people can in principle produce evidence which social pressures point to; think for example of 'UFO' testimony. And Professor van Pelt uses the expression 'convergence of evidence' to indicate the process by which traces of evidence can cumulatively point to the truth; the Tichborne Claimant being my example. There's no doubt this is essentially true; the question is whether, in fact, the bits of evidence exist at all).
  3. Documentary evidence. Mr Irving seemed to lose his way in the jumble of documents, or perhaps I lost my way, but the point seemed to hinge around a document from the manufacturers of cyanide, Tesch, giving delivery figures to Auschwitz, which used about 9 tonnes in a year or two (I think). Granted that legitimate disinfestation could be applied to barracks, and also to standard 10 cubic metres chambers, did this indicate enough surplus to gas half a million people? Mr Irving pointed out that Auschwitz had a history as a quarantine camp, at least since the 1880s, and quoted Bruno Tesch, who was an expert on fumigation, but also a suspect witness. The point was left hanging (I think) partly because little attempt was made by either side to quantify the amount needed to kill people.
  4. Air photography evidence. (No photos taken on the ground are being produced. Whether they exist is another matter; van Pelt never spontaneously volunteers what may be called the total universe of discourse of his pieces of evidence.) There are essentially just two: one shows the roof of the leichenkeller under construction, with five (I think—the photo wasn't shown to the public) objects arranged not very evenly down the length of the roof of the leichenkeller. These must be the ends of the wire-mesh cylinders! The other picture showed five rather large blobs on the same roof.
            Irving, being aware that these photos have been adduced many times before, counter-attacked by pointing out that the first picture could perhaps be explained as well by barrels or some other sealant being on the roof. (As I've said, the actual photos weren't produced; I can't say how irregularly or asymmetrically these objects were placed.) There was also some dispute as to the height of the objects, based on the shadows they cast; and also on stereo interpretation. These latter topics weren't gone into in detail. The second picture with blobs on the roof was not really dealt with satisfactorily; however, van Pelt certainly seemed to estimate the size of such blobs incorrectly. Irving claimed also to have a picture of the leichenkeller under snow, no protuberances being visible, though he hadn't brought it with him (and apparently the world's leading expert hadn't, either).
            Neither of these adversaries showed much grasp of photography. As examples, van Pelt got into a tangle over moiré patterns, which he thought showed on high enlargements, and Irving hadn't checked up on stereo photos.
  5. The last type of evidence is blueprints and/or drawings of the structures. Irving says van Pelt's video used an expression like "we have the blueprints!" But, on cross-examination, it seems that the world's leading expert has a bit of difficulty here; my notes say he said "by itself that drawing means nothing." The evidence here will be produced on Friday. Van Pelt promised a video, including computer graphics, made by several of his students. It will probably take the world's leading expert only a few hours to show his doubtless convincing evidence, which, one gathers, will have no drawings whatever of the wire mesh cylinders.
This was Irving's cross-examination. But he made points of his own; I think these are most of them:—
  1. The collapsed roof of the leichenkeller was finished with 'fair-faced concrete', which shows the marks of the wood planks which formed it; it's impossible to repair holes through it invisibly; there's always a line or evidence of botching. If the wire mesh had been there, it must have left a hole through the roof (which was reinforced concrete). Irving states he has photos showing there are no such holes. (Incidentally, they should show up on metal detectors too above ground). This is what Robert Faurisson meant when he said "No holes, no holocaust" , presumably in English, as the pun seems unworkable in French. Mr Irving timed his coup, as he hopes it is, on this subject, to 4 pm on day 9, though, unfortunately for him, several press reporters had gone, e.g. from the Times , and others preferred to rely on a handout, perhaps thoughtfully supplied by the defence. (Next morning, asked whether the Auschwitz/Birkenau authorities had looked for evidence, van Pelt said he didn't know; he 'couldn't second guess them.' This is from someone who has access to Auschwitz and has written a big book on it).
  2. Van Pelt wrote somewhere the "Germans had managed to kill every Jew they had got their hands on". When Mr Irving proposed to dispute this, van Pelt backed away.
  3. Priority argument. If, as we're told, the whole object of the Nazi program was to kills Jews, how come the building project at Birkenau was delayed by problems in electrical supplies, and building supplies? Irving's reading of documents about V1 and V2 rockets showed that documents stamped as having Hitler's top priority faced no such problems.
  4. Coke figures; one document, which Irving says is suspect (for one thing, official rubber stamps from that period are still in the Auschwitz archives) says 3.5 kg of coke is enough to cremate one corpse. Is that credible? Unfortunately, van Pelt seemed not to have done any work on this.
  5. Elevator figures. The leichenkeller has an elevator, apparently occupying a space about 9 feet by 4, which was an open platform. How many bodies could be moved in such a device to the crematoria above, on ground level? There may be a counterweight occupying some of this space. Again, van Pelt, despite being in an architecture department, surrounded presumably by architects whose stock in trade is knowing things like the wattage consumed by large buildings, the percentage of walls occupied by glass, or, in this case, planning of elevators, seems to have made no attempt to examine the possibilities here. (This theme is to be resumed on Friday).
  6. Phenol injections are a standard typhus treatment, asserted Mr Irving. Professor van Pelt seemed unaware of this.
  7. Pre-warming the leichenkeller. Ernst Neufert's Bauentwurfslehre (a bit like British building regulations), of which a copy was found in the Auschwitz building department, states corpses have to be kept above freezing by heating, and below (I think) 12 degrees by cooling, if necessary. Van Pelt seemed uninformed on these points, as he did on the question of the temperature of the ground in the leichenkeller; the average must be rather low, rather similar to Canada perhaps, but anyway van Pelt provided no useful information on this.
There's also evidence that neither side seems to be taking very seriously:
  1. Archaeology. Van Pelt several times has talked of 'the field of ashes'. What, in fact, is the evidence for burning pits, mass graves, and exhumations followed by burning? Neither side seems to broach this topic. (NB I've heard from a Polish source that Auschwitz was, in fact, investigated by archaeologists as long ago as the 1960s, with negative results. Perhaps something will come of this. Something beginning with H!)
  2. Auschwitz death books, which I think I recall were given by Gorbachev back to Germany, seem not to be mentioned, perhaps because the figures are low—it's essential for van Pelt's presentation that the gassed dead should have never been recorded.
  3. Professor van Pelt has mentioned that there were changes of policy, changes of the use of buildings, sorting of Jews (but not gentiles) on arrival by rail and so on. Again, this is essential to his presentation, but of course has the problem that it looks as if he's inventing things ad hoc, especially where there's no support from documentation.

Eleventh Day. Friday 28th January 2000
Prof. van Pelt on Auschwitz/Birkenau, continued

[Back to start]

Today was intended as a presentation and examination of the blueprint, or rather drawing, evidence of the function of crematorium 2. (Professor van Pelt wanted to shift to crematoria 4 and 5, and Gray suggested he was entitled to look at any evidence, supported by Mr Rampton. Mr Irving didn't like this, since, of course, the entire emphasis had been on crematorium 2. In fact most of the evidence dealt with crematorium 2).
        As might be expected, van Pelt's visual presentation wasn't very convincing. The courtroom was darkened and slides projected; architectural drawings plus more comprehensible coloured sketches (and a few photos) showed, according to van Pelt, that the building had been through several stages. There was, as we've come to expect, no direct evidence whatever of gas chamber use: no holes were demonstrated in the roof of the underground leichenkeller, nor was there any evidence of drainage to remove the various disgusting by-products—difficult to do underground. Van Pelt's evidence was that the door seem to have been re-hung to open outwards at one point—though even this seemed not visible on the drawings. His computer reconstructions, whether deliberately or otherwise, weren't very convincing. For one thing, there were no indications of scale, such as human figures; the impression was of cavernous interiors, but it's impossible to judge such blank computer-drawn rooms. Also, as van Pelt admitted, his students hadn't done a very accurate job; the light detailing was taken from modern lighting styles, so the impressions had an IKEA-like feel about them. In particular, the elevator, which should have been shown as an open space, and would have benefited from an indication of scale—since one of the essential points is its carrying capacity—appeared inaccurately as a modern metal elevator doors. The surrounding areas weren't shown, so that no feeling was given of the size of the camp and the relation of this building to everything else. There was an Agatha Christie-like feel about the evidence; we were invited to believe in rooms with only one entrance on the basis of, literally, sketchy information.
        Much of this evidence was hard to follow; I imagine most of the audience dozed through it. I'll take one substantial point: van Pelt wishes to maintain that the underground entrance, the outside stairway, was the only way into the building; people must he thinks have walked in, but not come out; there was, he thought, little scope for getting corpses into the building. Irving asked him: what about the August 1942 typhus epidemic; were those bodies cremated? For that matter, what about natural deaths? If so, they must have been taken into the building—possibly through the newly-constructed entrance, which was made on the side of the building facing the main camp, so people wouldn't need to go the long way round.
        The crematorium drawings showed five sets of three crematories, a total of only fifteen, each designed for one body. Mr Irving established that the shortest distance to the chimney was (I think) seventy feet—quite a way for flames and smoke to travel, as shown in the drawings produced by van Pelt's 'eye-witness'.
        Another piece of evidence produced by Mr Irving was a bundle of air photos of the location taken at about the same time, including his snow-covered ground picture (the latest was a German photograph when the site was under Russian control). I think these were based on Ball's air photo evidence, published by him in the early 1990s. Irving asked van Pelt whether he could see the inlets for cyanide on these pictures. Van Pelt (the world's leading expert on the site, according to himself) said he would need a magnifying glass. Irving's photos also included a pair, one, an original, from the Beate Klarsfeld Foundation; the other, identical save for fake smoke put into the background, from Simon Wiesenthal's organisation's website. (This picture has now been removed).
        Mr Irving again attacked the credibility of witnesses: Vrba (whose report had been edited by Slovakian Jews, and who had admitted to Christie at a Zundeltrial that he'd never been inside the 'gas chamber building'), the Soviet Report (with Lysenko among the signatories) which sated 4 million had been killed, Tauber again, and a dozen 'eyewitnesses' in the Demjanjuk trial, all, said Irving, liars.
        After all this wearying material Mr Rampton had the last word, at about two thirty, re-examining Professor van Pelt. (I think Mr Irving hadn't realised he wouldn't be able to ask any more questions). His material included: a patent document on continuous-flow cremations (with no evidence that it was ever built or would have worked); Pressac (a village pharmacist, apparently) saying that Tauber was a sober, careful witness; the separation of people who'd arrived by train (accepted by the judge, despite being a new point); and a metal grille inside the spyhole of a door—which Irving would have claimed was simply a standard fitting. Mr Rampton also estimated that the hoist could carry 25 corpses; his method was to divide the carrying capacity by average weight of a corpse, irrespective of practicability. Van Pelt also stated that the SS barracks are about a mile and a half from the building; not much use in air raids?
        And Mr Rampton caused a minor stir by producing a document, which he said he'd received the previous day from an anonymous source, supposedly dated 8 May 1943 and relating to Auschwitz, complaining that lots of useless Poles had been delivered to the camp, and they can't treat them as they do Jews. (I wonder what the e-mails to Lipstadt/Penguin are like? One imagines enormous numbers of them...) Gray seemed likely to allow this, there and then, but Mr Irving, saying it might take three months to check the validity of such a potentially important document, managed (I think) to postpone assessment of it.
        At the end of all this, the judge said he'd like maps of Auschwitz/Birkenau to study, as the arrangement wasn't quite clear to him. I was pleased he said this, since it shows his honesty. I'm certain a poll of the people watching would have yielded a very low comprehension score.

On Monday, Professor Kevin MacDonald is due to give evidence, on, I think, techniques of group survival considered in a Darwinian, socio-biological sense.

[Back to start]

COMEDY CORNER. Headlines they'd hate...
Cartoon from Private Eye, Britain's satirical 2-weekly WHIRLWIND ROMANCE FOR HOLOCAUST AUTHOR
Bride-to-be Deborah Lipstadt, from Georgia, USA, announced her forthcoming marriage to British author David Irving today. Irving nibbled a kosher vinegar-soaked gherkin dipped in preserved chicken fat, which he said was "delicious". He made no denial when Deborah said "His name may be David, but, believe me, he is Goliath!" The couple are planning to rebuild the kitchen of Irving's Mayfair apartment to include ritual dairy equipment, and to amalgamate their papers into a Second World War research center. Irving, who has a reputation for flirting with younger women, quipped "Now I'm off to beddie with Debbie!"

Professor Robert van Pelt said he was surprised by a new twist in the Irving/Penguin Books case, when it was announced that 546,439 Holocaust survivors would be called as witnesses. It is intended that witnesses will be shipped into court in groups of 25 on an elevator hoist the size of a table, and on cross-examination will withdraw all the assertions they have made in the past. But, outside, they will announce that millions of people died in the hot air of the small courtroom. Van Pelt said: "In the search for truth, no stones must be left unturned—unless they are in Auschwitz."

In a ceremony dating from the Middle Ages, noted barrister Richard Rampton was yesterday expelled for life from Britain's legal profession after charges of Grandiloquentia cum nulla substantia and extra pecuniarius horrendis were made against him. A kangaroo court composed of men dressed as penguins produced their documents at the last possible moment, according to long-established tradition. Rampton's black gown and horsehair wig were burnt at a symbolic stake, and Latin oaths were chanted. It is reported that he is considering taking to the London comedy circuit in a double act with author David Irving.

Yawns as obscure case continues
A law case, forgotten by almost everyone, still continues, largely unnoticed. Davod Irvine is believed to be an author who sells few books, and who is living somewhere in London during a libel action. He is not to be confused with Clifford Irving, author of a notorious book on recluse Howard Hughes, which was proven a fraud some decades ago, when Hughes himself dramatically denounced it in a telephone transmission. Yesterday Mr Irvin called a press conference, but nobody attended. David Irven's case created something of a stir when it started, some time ago, but most people have forgotten it now.

Key words, subject terms: Allies Anthony Julius Auschwitz Britain Christianity Churchill David Irving Deborah Lipstadt Denying the Holocaust Fascism France Germany Goebbels Heydrich Himmler Hitler Hoess Holocaust revisionism Holocaust denial Holocaust Judaism Khazaria libel Kevin MacDonald Mischon de Reya Nazism Nuremberg Trials Nuremburg Trials Palestine Robert van Pelt Penguin Second World War Soviet Union Treblinka USA Vietnam War Viking Penguin Viking-Penguin visible defamation War Crimes
© Rae West 31 Jan 2000. This piece doesn't represent legal opinion. It's my personal interpretation of the event. I believe the content to be essentially correct, but of course the situation is complex, and unfortunately I can't guarantee that I haven't missed the point of some events, or the significance of other non-events. In fact, I probably have, since the courtroom situation has evolved in an opaque way—out-of-court settlements, for example, often being secret. The relevant pages of Denying the Holocaust were found by a friend of mine and may be incomplete. I'll archive my pieces for future reference; I don't want to be misrepresented. The court transcripts are completely unedited; I've left even very obvious mistakes, in case I might be accused of altering the sense. In such cases keyword computer searches with the correct spelling will not work.
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