International Campaign for Real History

In the High Court of Justice

DJC Irving

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Penguin Books Ltd and Deborah Lipstadt

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In 1993 American scholar Deborah Lipstadt published Denying the Holocaust, product of a research contract funded by an Israeli agency.

British writer David Irving claims that it libels him.


Witness Statement of Peter Pringle

I, PETER PRINGLE of 14 East 17th Street, Apartment No.6, New York, New York 10003, USA WILL SAY as follows:

1. I have been a journalist for 33 years, 23 as a foreign correspondent. I have worked as a staff correspondent for The Sunday Times, The Observer and The Independent. I am currently working as a freelance journalist and author in New York.

2. At the beginning of July 1992, I was working in Moscow for The Independent. I had received a tip from one of my sources that the Plaintiff, Mr Irving, was in town and staying at a hotel in the centre of Moscow. I had been told that he was in Moscow to look at what was supposed to be the original Goebbels Diaries for a scoop on behalf of the Sunday Times.

3. I found Mr Irving in his hotel and followed him by car from his hotel to a state archive building on the outskirts of Moscow. I took a picture of him as he came out of the hotel. At the archives I waited for him to come out and then took another picture of him.

4. The following day I spoke to Mr Irving at his hotel. I found him having breakfast and told him what I knew. He was concerned. When I asked him where the Goebbels Diaries were, he said he could not tell me because he was under contract to the Sunday Times.

boxes of microfiches5. That day, or later in the week, I'm not quite sure, I returned to the archive and spoke to a Mr Bondarev, the director of the state archive where Mr Irving was working. Mr Bondarev told me that Mr Irving was allowed to look at two plates under the terms of the Russian contract with the Munich Institute, which had discovered the archives. As I recall, Mr Bondarev said Mr Irving was allowed to "see and publish" information on the two plates only. I never saw a written agreement to this effect. Mr Bondarev said Mr Irving had chosen two plates with 45 pages on each plate.

6. While I was in the archives I met again with Mr Irving in the room where he was working. He was entirely on his own and was looking through boxes of glass plates, each containing about 20 or so plates. Mr Irving was again surprised to see me as he had not told me which archives he was working in. I said that Mr Bondarev had told me that Mr Irving was only allowed to look at two slides, according to the contract with the archives, Mr Irving replied. "Rules are meant to be broken."

7. For further questions, Mr Bondarev referred me to his superior, Mr Vladimir Tarasov, the then Director of the Central Government archives, near Red Square. I interviewed Mr Tarasov and subsequently wrote an article about my interview and Mr Irving's activities in Moscow. The article was published in The Independent on July 3, 1992. I did make contemporaneous notes, but I cannot locate them now.

8. I asked Mr Tarasov about Mr Irving's access to the archives and he repeated what Mr Bondarev had told me. He added that he had been introduced to Mr Irving by a Peter Millar, a journalist who was working for The Sunday Times. He said Mr Millar had told him that Mr Irving was an historian of great repute.

9. Mr Tarasov said that he had subsequently found out (not from me) that Mr Irving was very controversial, and he (Mr Tarasov) felt he had been misled. He had also heard (nor from me, but from the Munich Institute, as I recall) that Mr Irving may have taken slides out of the country, and he was upset about that. Mr Tarasov regretted that, in trying to pursue an open policy towards researchers under the post communist regime, that policy had led to this controversy. He thought that the incident with Mr Irving would make the Russian archivists more reluctant to grant access to other researchers. Mr Tarasov said his archive committee (which arranged visits for foreign researchers) was reviewing Mr Irving's position, and they were probably not going to let him back into the archives. I reported this in another article in The Independent on July 4, 1992. I do not know whether this ban was implemented.

10. The contents of this statement are true to the best of my knowledge and belief.

SIGNED: Peter Pringle

DATED: December 21, 1998

For the purposes of this action Mr Irving would welcome informed opinions on Peter Pringle, and facts about him, from his hundreds of journalist friends.