March 25, 2005
Barry Steiner's claims
that had I written more extensively about David
Irving in "Denying the Holocaust" this lawsuit
might have been avoided is completely unfounded
(Letters, Mar. 11). He might have better served his
argument by offering some proof, however
ISN'T it wonderful what
Lipstadt can achieve by selective
one-word quoting: now see what
Mr Justice Gray really
said in his
of it highly favorable to
Justice Gray interrupted my five-hour
closing speech to make the very point
to Mr Richard Rampton QC that Prof Steiner
did: Is it impossible for a historian
accused of political extremism to write
He left the question
-- which evoked loud stage-gasps from the
Press benches -- hanging in the air,
Perhaps others got on
the phone to answer it for him before he
wrote his Judgment.
LIPSTADT harps once again on the book
The Destruction of Dresden, written
in 1961 (when I was 23) and published in
1963. No new editions were published until
1996, thirty-three years later. The Court
failed to take this simple fact on board.
No matter what "errors"
I had detected in the interval, I could
not have corrected them -- other than by
writing to The Times (which
I did, in 1966). Lipstadt has yet to
correct the lies about Hamas and Hizbollah
which she published in her book.
Secondly, his question suggests to me that he has
neither read [sic.
read neither] "History on Trial: My
Day in Court with David Irving" nor the trial
record. [Website note:
Lipstadt read none of Mr Irving's books before
agitating for their prohibition].
He asks: "Is it possible for a Nazi sympathizer or
any other political extremist to be a good
historian?" It may be, but in Irving's case, the
answer is no.
Justice Gray on David Irving: |
knowledge of World War II is
Judge Gray's words
[sic. Mr Justice
Gray's words] to describe Irving's
writings about the Holocaust were unambiguous:
"perverts," "distorts," "misleading,"
"unjustified," "travesty" and "unreal."
Irving's "falsification of the
historical record was deliberate and ...
motivated by a desire to present events in a
manner consistent with his own ideological
beliefs, even if that involved distortion and
manipulation of historical evidence."
Steiner contends that Irving's earlier writings
are not fraudulent. I urge him to look at the
section of "History on Trial" devoted to Irving's
distortions regarding the
bombing of Dresden, about which Irving began
in the 1960s.
He might also check www.hdot.org and read the
sections of the trial devoted to the topic. Gray
found Irving's treatment of the evidence about
Dresden to be "absurd" and a "travesty."
Given Irving's distortions of both the Holocaust
and Dresden, I believe any good historian would be
skeptical about Irving's other work and would,
before relying on his findings, do what my defense
team and I did for this legal battle: follow his
Finally, regarding Irving's ideological views, I
again rely on Gray's words: Irving had
"repeatedly crossed the divide between
legitimate criticism and prejudiced vilification
of the Jewish race and people."
If Steiner wishes to rely on Irving, that's his
choice. I just worry about what he teaches his
Deborah E. Lipstadt
Emory University, Atlanta
Index to the
media scandal surrounding Prof Lipstadt's
attempt to silence C-Span and the history
Lipstadt writes a paid OpEd in New York Sun:
'Why I said No to