May 26, 2000
David Irving and recent history
I AM quite simply astounded by the letter from the Rev Paul M James. I agree with him wholeheartedly that written history should be engaging and "certainly never dull", and absolutely concur that historical events ought to be continually re-examined in a "serious way".
Historians are ever aware of the need to keep their interpretations of past events under constant review especially in the light of fresh material surfacing. The basis, however, of such re-examination is an accurate assessment of the evidence and a refusal to twist it against the clear nature of the evidence itself. David Irving has been proven to have not only wilfully misread and distorted the plain meaning of documents relating to the Holocaust, but deliberately falsified evidence in order, in my opinion, to further his political ideology. The falsification of evidence has been at the heart of this case, as it was also in a previous case with which David Irving was involved, the story of what happened to Convoy PQ17.
The Rev Paul M James might ask himself why David Irving has so obviously associated himself with Neo-Nazis across the globe? Why has David Irving sought to exculpate Hitler with regard to the Holocaust? Why has he also denied the existence of gas chambers at Auschwitz in spite of the mass of eyewitness testimony and other documentary evidence? Perhaps the Rev Paul M James would welcome a David Irving interpretation of the resurrection events appearing in print, with a similar mistreatment of documentary evidence and eyewitness testimony? At least it would be a good read...
THE Rev Paul M James (Letters, May 19) should maybe consider the impact that defending the work of Nazi sympathisers like David Irving has on the image of Christianity.
Irving's crime was not, as James suggests, "that he has questioned certain aspects of the Holocaust".
The Irving case was not, as some constantly try to claim, about the freedom of thought and the freedom of speech. That is simply a cop-out for accepting that it was a case about finally laying to rest such pathetic 'scholarship' that was laid bare when Mr Justice Gray reported:
"Irving has, for his own ideological reasons, persistently and deliberately misrepresented and manipulated historical evidence."
Irving was not about honest, objective revisionist writing, as James suggests. He was not about questioning history in a serious way. He was about 're-writing history' from his own warped viewpoint, and formulating a new history that robs the Jewish people of the memory of their ancestors murdered at the hands of the Nazis.
I, and I am sure, many of your other readers, am glad that this issue has now been settled in court. But as long as some hold that Irving was 'gagged by political correctness'. The victory over anti-Semitism and attempts to legitimate it through 'history' will never be won.
Related files. Original letter by Rev. Paul James
May 26, 2000
If you thought some Jews were bad, Lord preserve us from the Christians!
Website fact: The stamina of the defence team in the Lipstadt libel action was aided by a six million dollar slushfund provided by Steven Spielberg, Edgar J Bronfman, and the American Jewish Committee, which enabled them to pay 21 lawyers and "experts". A million pound lollipop was figuratively brandished from the defence lawyers' table throughout the trial, and all those who behaved got a lick at it; their experts like the "scholars" Prof. Evans, Prof. Longerich and others were paid up to £125,000 each (on top of the academic salaries they continued to draw) to testify as they did. Nobody was paying for Mr Irving. His defence witnesses testified without payment, from conviction. [Help!]