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Libel Action between DJC Irving v Penguin Books Ltd and Deborah Lipstadt
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Closing Speech by David Irving

  Part VII


May I again remind Your Lordship of my basic principle on lecturing. Unlike the Defendants, who have proudly stated that they refuse to debate with opponents, I have expressed a readiness to address all and any who are willing to listen. Your Lordship will remember my letter of June 24, 1988, to my editor at William Morrow Inc., Connie Roosevelt, in which I wrote:


"I have been invited to speak as a guest speaker at a right wing function in Los Angeles next February. They have offered a substantial fee and all my expenses and until now I have adopted a policy of never refusing an invitation if the organisers meet my terms, namely free speech and fat fee. On this occasion I intend to give the audience a piece of my mind about some of their more lunatic views."180


I may secondly point out that were it not for the clandestine activities of the violent and extremist bodies dedicated to destroying my right to free speech and the rights of all audiences in the United States and elsewhere at Berkeley, at Dublin, at Pretoria, or wherever to hear my opinions; and equally dedicated to intimidating my publishers around the world and smashing bookstore windows;- were it not for their hate-campaign, I would have been enabled to continue in the normal manner with my exemplary professional career. It rings hollow that the same shabby bodies who have generated the hatred against me, now point their crooked fingers at me and abuse me, using the very considerable privileges afforded to them by this Court, for continuing to make my voice heard wherever I can; and that when I use words to describe them in detail which they well deserve, they wring their hands and lament about "extremism."

I have pointed out that so far as Germany is concerned, none of the German bodies who invited me to speak was illegal or banned. In fact when first invited to address the German People's Union, I wrote to, and telephoned, the German embassy, as the documents in my Discovery show, and asked them specifically whether this was a legal and constitutional body. The embassy confirmed in writing on July 25, 1984 that it was.181 The "extremism" was in the eye of the beholder. The further to the Left the beholder squinted from, the more distant these bodies may have seemed from him.

We heard a lot from Professor Hajo Funke, sociologist of the Free University in Berlin. The university may well have become a hotbed of conservative and liberal views since I was last familiar with it and spoke there, but I doubt it. His published sources are all tainted works of the "anti-fascist" genre with which the Court may well be familiar. He readily and uncritically adopted their untruths as his own; thus although we saw with our own eyes in the video of the Munich function on April 21, 1991 that the young people paraded with asses' heads and placards reading, "ASS THAT I AM, I BELIEVE EVERYTHING I'M TOLD" (I have double checked that wording), Funke tried to tell this Court that the wording was: "I STILL BELIEVE IN THE HOLOCAUST, THE ASS THAT I AM", which is something very different.182


As for his allegation here in court that I "should have known" that various organisations were going to be banned in years ahead: it is difficult for an Englishman, coming from a country with deeper democratic traditions than Professor Funke's, to implant himself into the brain, or mind-set, of the authoritarian German mould, where book-burning is now once again de rigueur, where a German academic like Funke does not bat an eyelid upon hearing that a teacher is still serving a seven year jail sentence imposed for chairing a lecture at which I spoke, where the two District Court judges who acquitted that teacher were reprimanded, and finally retired in disgrace, by order of the minister of justice, and where recently governments have begun routinely banning fringe opposition parties and circumscribing even their legal activities. Germany now has several hundred political prisoners in her jails.

The security authorities in Germany, so readily quoted by Professor Funke, are nothing more than the political arm of each provincial or federal minister of the interior. They have little concern with legality. As the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reported on September 15, 1995, Dr Ernst Uhrlau, president of the Hamburg branch of the Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV) said: "The persistent steps taken by the state authorities against right wing extremists have largely paralysed their legal possibilities of action."183 The paralysing of the "legal possibilities of action" of opposition parties can hardly be considered a matter for pride in any normal democratic government. None of these banned parties has anything to do with violence.


My general response to this attempt at "guilt by association" is to compare it with the worst excesses of the inquisitions conducted by Senator Joseph McCarthy. In Britain the courts have always viewed it as repugnant - most recently Mr Justice Morland in another Court here in this building. Hollywood finest scriptwriters, many of them Jewish, had their careers vernichtet by the reckless allegation that they had associated with known communists. Now come these Defendants, levelling the mirror-image of these same charges at my door. McCarthyism was rightly exposed for what it was in more recent, and more enlightened, years. These Defendants, for their own purposes, are seeking to turn the clock back.

As far as the United States are concerned apart from the Institute of Hitorical Review (IHR), which I shall deal with separately, the one organisation identified by learned Counsel for the defence is the National Alliance. First, let me point out that no doubt with good reason the Defendants have decided not to call their expert on Political Extremism in the United States, Professor Levin, and they have withdrawn his expert report - Mr Rampton used the word "junked" or "dumped," I believe. Had they not, it would have been "debunked" - by me. We have therefore no general expert evidence as to the nature of the National Alliance, and the Court is probably as much in the dark about this group as anybody else. The defence invites the Court to study the leaflets put about by that body at one meeting, but can offer to the Court not the slightest evidence that I was aware of such leaflets - or for that matter, if they are once again falling back on "negligence," that I ought to have been. If, as I submit, the meetings were organised by individual friends of mine, acting outside whatever their capacity, if any, within the National Alliance may have been, there is no reason why I should have read such leaflets if indeed they were on offer.

As for the IHR: I have little to add to what I stated in my various written replies. It is clearly unsatisfactory, though not surprising, that establishment scholars feel the need to dismiss any rival body of scholars as "extremist", merely on the basis that these others propagate a different version of history from their own "consensus" version. The officials of the IHR nearly all hold academic qualifications. True, they are not all trained historians, but then neither are some of the most famous names of historians in both ancient and contemporary times. It is clear from correspondence before the court that I recognised shortcomings in the old IHR, and was keen to introduce them to new speakers including main line scholars and historians like John Toland (who did in fact speak there), Professor Ernst Nolte, and Michael Beschloss.

I am not, and never have been, an official of the IHR; at most, one of many friendly advisers. As for speaking engagements, my association with the IHR has been the same as my association was with, for instance, the Cambridge University Fabian Society, or the Trinity College Dublin Lit. & Deb., or any other body of enlightened people keen to hear alternative views. Professor Evans, in his odious attempts to smear and defile my name, which I hope will long haunt him in the common rooms of Cambridge, called me a frequent speaker at the IHR. And may I say, So what: none of my lectures had a Holocaust-denial, or anti-Semitic, or extremist theme. I spoke on Churchill, on Pearl Harbor, on Rommel, on the Goebbels diaries, on my Eichmann-papers find, and on general problems of writing history. The Court has learned that I have in fact addressed functions of the IHR only five times in seventeen years, one lecture each time. No amount of squirming by this expert witness could increase that figure. It is true that I socialised before or after the event with the IHR officials and their wives. So what. It is true that I use their warehousing facilities. So what. It is true that the IHR (along with thousands of other retail outlets) sell my books. So what.

It is also true that I introduced them to subjects which some members of the audience found deeply uncomfortable, for instance the confessions of Adolf Eichmann, the harrowing Bruns Report, and the Kristallnacht. I would willingly read out the relevant extracts of my lectures to the IHR, but my Lord, through the courtesy and industry of the Defendants solicitors, which I have had cause already to praise, Your Lordship is already funded with extensive transcripts of those talks, and I would ask that Your Lordship read them with this paragraph in mind. I am accused of telling audiences what they want to hear; that may partially be true, but by Jove, having done so I then used the goodwill generated like that to tell them a lot of things they very much did not want to hear! The Defendants would willingly overlook this aspect of my association with the IHR. I trust that the Court will not.


As for the National Alliance, an organisation of which the defence makes much. As an Englishman I am completely unfamiliar with the nature of the National Alliance, its logo, and its name. It may be that the name means more to the Defendants and to those who are financing their efforts than it does to me. It certainly meant nothing to the English members of the public gallery on the days that it was mentioned here. It may be that Your Lordship was, even before the trial began, thoroughly familiar with the National Alliance and its officials and policies. But I doubt it. Even now I suspect it does not count for more than a relatively small row of beans.

I have had no meaningful contacts with the organisation as such. One or at most two of its individual members, who were already on my mailing list, volunteered, like scores of other Americans, to organised lectures for me. One was Erich Gliebe, who has always organised my lectures in Cleveland, Ohio; on the evidence of his notepaper from the year 1990 he is also a National Alliance member. I ask the Court to accept that, when asked about it ten years later, I had long forgotten receiving that one letter from him with its heading and logo. Before each lecture date, I mailed an invitation letter to my entire mailing list of friends in each state. The audience was therefore largely of my own "people," if I can put it like that. That is why Mr Breeding rather superfluously welcomes the strangers in his opening remarks on the Florida videotape as seen. Had he told me he would also claim to do so on behalf of his organisation, I would have told him not to. It was my function, and the audience were largely my guests, not his.

The photographs taken at this meeting show, as the Defendants' own agents have warranted, no formal National Alliance presence (flags, armbands, or whatever). The witness statement of Ms Gutman has confirmed this. Learned counsel for the Defendants has drawn attention to one eighteen-inch wide pennant displayed at the function, on a side wall, with what they state is the National Alliance logo on it, visible on a video film. Its logo appears to be based on the CND design. I did not notice it at the time, nor would I have had the faintest idea what it was if I did. Evidently Mr Gliebe told me that his pals at the National Alliance had had a hand in organising my successful Cleveland function; and that is why I noted in my diary, with a hint of surprise, that it "turns out" that the National Alliance had organised at the other meeting too. The Court may agree that this phrase alone is evidence that their involvement was (a) not manifest, and (b) not known to me before; and given that the audience was largely of my own making it does not seem worthy of much note. I submit that this kind of defence evidence does not meet the enhanced standard of proof required by the law on defamation for justification of serious charges.


As for the United Kingdom - the British National Party - the defence have no doubt rightly decided to junk their own expert's report on my alleged contacts with British extremists as well. Despite complete access to all my records, their joint effort managed to establish that in a twenty year speaking career I addressed on one occasion what can fairly be described as a half-BNP audience, or a hybrid audience, in Leeds. The invitation came from a BNP official whose letter asked me to reply to his private address. No doubt I gave them the usual uncomfortable litany - the Bruns report, which I had just discovered, and the other transcripts too. I probably also told them what I had found in Mussolini's files, the evidence that Sir Oswald Mosley had been in the pay of the Italian fascists, picking up large sums of money in brown paper parcels at anonymous street corners in London. I was the first person to find that fact out, and to publicise that, too. It is in my 1981 newsletter. All other BNP invitations I refused, as the exchange on Day 29, pages 74-5, shows; and it seems disingenuous at best, and at worst rather dishonest, for Mr Rampton, funded and furnished as he was with my entire personal diaries and files, to suggest otherwise.

In general it is also to be stated that at the material times, namely when I associated with those individuals, they were not extremists, nor has it been shown to the Court that at that time they were. Thus at the time I first met this young man, Ewald Althans, late in October 1989, he seemed full of promise, and eager to learn. I later learned that he had been to Israel for six months on a German-government voluntary scheme for young Germans who wished to atone. Over the two or three years that our orbits occasionally intersected, I could see that he was growing more extreme and provocative in his actions. He also became undependable, and wayward in a number of non-political ways that I mentioned to the Court. According to Der Spiegel, reporting his 1995 trial in Berlin, Althans had acted for the Bavarian BfV as a Spitzenquelle (top agent) until 1994, when they ended the liaison.184 The BfV had, as Professor Funke agreed, a record of hiring agents provocateurs. Only a few weeks ago, Gottfried Timm, minister of the interior in Lower Saxony, found that the NPD chairman in Wismar, "Martin", was a paid agent provocateur of the BfV (OPC) who had committed a series of atrocities including attempted murder while acting for the OPC. Timm demanded an inquiry after the agent was unmasked during his trial for arson.185

Ernst Zündel is a German-born Canadian for whose own particular views I hold no brief. I later learned that he had apparently written some provocatively-themed, books with tongue-in-cheek titles (on flying saucers in Antarctica, and on the Adolf Hitler that I Knew and Loved) which are said to be worse than outré; wild horses would not make me read such books myself. I had met him in 1986,and found that as a personality he was not as dark as had been painted in the media. I was asked to give expert evidence at his trial in Toronto in April 1988, relating to the Third Reich and Hitler's own involvement in the Holocaust. I did so to the best of my professional ability, and I was told that I had earned the commendation of the Court for doing so. It is plain to me from what I know that Mr Zündel has been subjected to a twenty year onslaught by the Canadian organisations dedicated to combatting what they regard as Holocaust denial because of his dissident views, which are certainly more extreme than mine. My own relationship with Mr Zündel has been proper throughout, and the Court has not been given any evidence to the contrary. At times it has even been strained, because of the misfortune inflicted on me in retribution for having spoken at his trial.