The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

"Mr. Irving is a liar..."
Mr. Rampton's Closing Remarks

MR RAMPTON: My Lord, I start with this, that if one had read some of the media reports of this trial, which I realize that your Lordship probably has not, one might have supposed that Mr Irving had been dragged into this court to defend his freedom of expression as an historian.

In fact, of course, that is not so. The history of the matter is quite the reverse. Professor Deborah Lipstadt, an America academic, wrote a book called "Denying the Holocaust", which was first published in the United States in 1993. It was then republished by Penguin Books in this country in 1994. The book contained trenchant criticisms of Mr Irving's historiographical methods and his political views and associations. Mr Irving then issued legal proceedings claiming aggravated damages for libel and an injunction against Professor Lipstadt and Penguin. This trial has taken place only because they decided to defend their right to publish the truth.

The principal accusations made against Mr Irving by Professor Lipstadt in her book were, in summary: first, that Mr Irving deliberately falsified history in order to make it conform with his ideological leanings and political agenda, and, in particular, in order to exonerate Adolf Hitler of responsibility for the Nazi persecution of the Jews.

Second, that in order to achieve his objective, Mr Irving distorted historical evidence and manipulated historical documents.

Third, that Mr Irving had become one of the most dangerous spokespersons for Holocaust denial.

Last, that he himself held extremist views and allied himself, with other right-wing extremists, in particular Holocaust deniers and anti-Semites.

My Lord, those were undoubtedly serious charges and, had they been untrue, Mr Irving would clearly have been entitled to a large sum of money and an order of the court preventing the Defendants from repeating their accusations. But, as it turns out on the evidence before this court, the accusations are true, in every significant respect.

Mr Irving had in the past claimed that there was a chain or series of documents which showed that Hitler was innocent of the persecution of the Jews, and in particular their mass-murder during the War; indeed, that he was, in fact, "the best friend the Jews ever had in the Third Reich.

The Defendants decided to put that claim to the test. They asked a professional historian, Professor Richard Evans of Cambridge University, to investigate it.

His findings were astonishing. Upon examination, virtually every single one of the links in Mr Irving's chain crumbled in his hands, revealing a falsification of history on massive scale. Equally revealing was the discovery that each of Mr Irving's falsifications led to the same end: the exculpation of Hitler.

In addition, in order to test Mr Irving's historiography by reference to his work on a topic other than Hitler -- in a sense, a control sample -- Professor Evans examined a number of successive editions of one of Mr Irving's most successful works, his book on the Allied bombing of Dresden in February 1945. Here again Professor Evans found deliberate falsification on a grand scale, all of it tending to the same result: a gross inflation of the numbers of German civilians killed in those raids.

The long written submission of the Defendants which is before your Lordship contains a detailed account of Professor Evans' findings and the evidence which supports them. By the Defendants' estimate, there are, in relation to Hitler alone, as many as 25 major falsifications of history, as well as numerous subsidiary inventions, suppressions, manipulations and mistranslations employed to support the major falsifications. If those relating to Auschwitz, Dresden and other matters are added in, the number goes well over thirty.

My Lord, in order to illustrate the extraordinary nature and extent of these falsifications, I will give but two examples.

On the evening of 9th November 1938, and through the night until the following morning, there was an orgy of violence and destruction against Jews and Jewish property throughout Germany. This was Reichskristallnacht.

It had been prompted by the assassination in Paris of a German diplomat by a young Polish Jew. The Nazi leadership in Berlin exploited it to the full. It was orchestrated by the SA and the SS, and the police were ordered, by Hitler, not to intervene.

Mr Irving has described this pogrom in various places, but most particularly in his book "Goebbels: Mastermind of Third Reich", which was published in 1996, where he devotes a whole chapter to it. In summary, his account of it is that the whole thing was initiated and orchestrated by Goebbels, without Hitler's knowledge or participation; and that when, in the early hours of 10th November 1938, Hitler found out what Goebbels had done, he was "livid with rage" and took immediate steps to put a stop to it. This account purports to be based partly on the postwar testimony of former Nazis, but principally on the contemporary documents. On examination of those documents, Mr Irving's account turns out to be completely bogus. His use of two of those documents will suffice to illustrate the point.

On page 276 of his Goebbels book, Mr Irving writes this:

"What of Himmler and Hitler? Both were totally unaware of what Goebbels had done until the synagogue next to Munich's Four Seasons Hotel was set on fire around 1 am. Heydrich, Himmler's national chief of police, was relaxing down in the hotel bar; he hurried up to Himmler's room, then telexed instructions to all police authorities to restore law and order,; protect Jews, and Jewish property, and halt any ongoing incidents. I emphasise the last part of that sentence, to restore law and order, protect Jews, and Jewish property, and halt any ongoing incidents.

The reference given by Mr Irving in his book as his source for this is a telex sent by Heydrich at 1.20 am on 10th November 1938. In fact, so far from ordering "all police authorities to restore law and order, protect Jews and Jewish property, and halt any ongoing incidents", it read as follows:

"(a) Only such measures may be taken as do not involve any endangering of German life or property (e.g. synagogue fires only if there is no danger of the fire spreading to the surrounding buildings).

(b) The shops and dwellings of Jews may only be destroyed, not looted. The police are instructed to supervise the implementation of this order and to arrest looters.

(c) Care is to be taken that non-Jewish shops in shopping streets are unconditionally secured against damage.

(d) Foreign nationals may not be assaulted even if they are Jews." That was what Heydrich stayed at 1.20 a.m. on 10th November 1938.

Then, on page 277 of his book, after a colourful account of Hitler's supposedly furious intervention, Mr Irving writes this: "At 2.56 am Rudolf Hess's staff also began cabling, telephoning, and radioing instructions to gauleiters and police authorities around the nation to halt the madness", and I emphasise those words.

The source given by Mr Irving for this is a report made by the Nazi Party Court about the pogrom in February 1939. It records this order from Hess's office, made on Hitler's authority. This shows that, in truth, all that the order forbade was the continuing of arson attacks on Jewish shops. Synagogues, houses, apartments, cemeteries, and, in particular, Jewish people were left to the mercy of the continuing violence.

As your Lordship knows, there was an aftermath of Reichskristallnacht. Mr Irving describes one aspect on page 281 of Goebbels in these terms:

"Hess ... ordered the Gestapo and the party courts to delve into the origins of the night of violence and turn the culprits over to the public prosecutors".

Thus Mr Irving gives the impression that those who had perpetrated the violence were to be brought to justice and properly punished.

Nothing could be further from the truth. As the contemporary documents, and in particular the Party Court of February 1939, which Mr Irving himself used as a principal source for his account of Reichskristallnacht, reveal:

First, the Ministry of Justice ruled, on 10th November 1938, that those who had "merely" caused damage to Jewish shops, synagogues and the like should not be prosecuted at all.

Second, other more serious offences, such as looting, rape, assault, murder and the destruction of Jewish homes for selfish motives were to be referred to the Party Court, which would first decide whether any of the offenders should be referred to the ordinary criminal courts or acquitted by order of the Fuhrer.

Third, in the event, as was no doubt intended, the proceedings of the Party Court were a farce. Of 16 cases dealt with in the report of February 1939, 14 were disposed of with little more than a rap on the knuckles for the culprits, including 13 cases of murder involving the deaths of 21 Jews. The two cases which were referred to the criminal courts were sexual offences against Jewish women - not because of their gravity, however, but because the offenders had been guilty of "racial defilement" (Rassenschande)!

Finally, the reason the Party Court gave for its leniency in the other 14 cases was that the criminals were in fact "only carrying out the unclearly expressed but properly recognized will of the leadership" - that is, Hitler.

Mr Irving knows all of this, but suppresses it entirely in his book.

The second striking example, amongst many, of Mr Irving's shocking falsification of history relates to 1943.

By the beginning of 1943, many of Europe's Jews had already been murdered. Hungarian Jews, however, of whom there were perhaps 600 to 700,000, had, so far, escaped the destruction. The reason was that the ruler of Hungary, Admiral Horthy, although Hitler's ally, had steadfastly refused to deliver up Hungary's Jews. There was much agitation about this in Berlin. Eventually, on 16th and 17th April 1943, Hitler and his Foreign Minister, Ribbentrop, summoned Admiral Horthy to Klessheim, near Salzburg, in order to put pressure on him to surrender the Hungarian Jews into Nazi hands. The notes of the meetings were taken by a man called Paul Schmidt and are agreed by Mr Irving, who used them for his own accounts of these meetings, to be very reliable.

According to Schmidt's notes at the first meeting on 16th April, Horthy protested at the Nazi leader's demands. "But they" (the Jews) "can hardly be murdered or otherwise eliminated", he said. Hitler's response was palliative: "There is no need for that", he said, and added that they could be sent to remote work camps or down the mines."

The next day, 17th April 1943, Hitler's and Ribbentrop's demands became a good deal cruder. Horthy again protested that he "surely couldn't beat the Jews to death". Ribbentrop replied that they "must either be annihilated or taken to concentration camps. There is no other way". Hitler then followed up with this:

"Where the Jews are were left to themselves, as for example in Poland, gruesome poverty and degeneracy had ruled. There were just pure parasites. One had fundamentally cleared up this state of affairs in Poland. If the Jews there didn't want to work, they were shot. If they couldn't work, they had to perish. They had to be treated like tuberculosis bacilli, from which a healthy body could be infected. That was not cruel", said Hitler, "if one remembered that even innocent natural creatures like hares and deer had to be killed so that no harm was caused. Why should one spare the beasts who wanted to bring us Bolshevism once more? Nations who did not rid themselves of Jews perished".

Mr Irving's account of this exchange in his 1977 edition of "Hitler's War" (at page 509) is extraordinary. First, as an invented pretext for Hitler's remarks, he introduces the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, which did not in fact begin until two days later. Then, immediately following Hitler's brutal assertion of the need to kill the Jewish "beasts", Mr Irving adds this:

"Horthy apologetically noted that he had done all he decently could against the Jews: 'But they can hardly be murdered or otherwise eliminated', he protested. Hitler reassured him: 'There is no need for that'. But just as in Slovakia, they ought to be isolated in remote camps where they could no longer affect the healthy body of the public; or they could be put to work in the mines, for example. He himself did not mind being temporarily excoriated for his Jewish policies, if they brought him tranquillity. Horthy left unconvinced."

As, my Lord, will immediately be apparent, this was a quite brazen piece of manipulation: as Mr Irving knew perfectly well, because he was familiar with Schmidt's notes, this exchange had, in fact, occurred on the previous day (16th April), not 17th. It is apparent, therefore, that Mr Irving quite deliberately transferred it to 17th April in order to mitigate the chilling impact of Hitler's stark observation about the need to kill the Jewish "beasts".

The account given in the 1991 edition of "Hitler's War" (at pages 541 to 542) is no better. True, the spurious reference to the Warsaw uprising has been removed. But so, too, has Hitler's repellant analogy between the need to kill animals which cause damage and the need to kill the Jewish "beasts". And the brazen transfer that Hitler's palliative remark on 16th April to this meeting on 17th is perpetuated.

My Lord, these two examples are but the tip of a large iceberg imposed of numbers of other equally egregious falsifications by Mr Irving in his written work and in his public utterances.

I conclude here, my Lord, with this, that the Defendants say, on this part of the case: "Case proved: Mr Irving is, as was proposed at the outset of this trial, a liar".

My Lord, it might be thought that that would be enough to dispose of Mr Irving's claim, given the emphasis he places on the damage to his reputation as an historian which he says was caused by Professor Lipstadt's book. But the evidence in the case has covered a lot of other topics as well, and I shall, therefore, briefly mention them too.

Until 1988, Mr Irving had accepted the historical reality of Holocaust, but denied that Hitler authorized it or, until late on in the War, knew anything much about it. This position, for an historian, was described by Sir John Keegan, the well-known military historian, who was called on subpoena to give evidence in this court by Mr Irving, it was described as "perverse" and as "defying reason." Dr Peter Longerich, a distinguished historian of the period, who gave expert evidence for the Defendants, called it "absolutely absurd".

And so it was, for reasons which can be stated quite shortly.

The Holocaust - that is the systematic mass murder of millions of Jews, gypsies and others - took place in stages.

The first stage, beginning in the autumn of 1941, after Hitler's invasion of the Soviet Union, consisted of mass shootings carried out specially-formed SS groups and their local allies. This continued through into 1942 and resulted in the deaths of up to 1.5 million Jews living in Russia and the Baltic states.

The second stage, which began in December 1941 and continued through into 1943 or later, consisted of the gassing of the Jews of the Warthegau and Poland. This resulted in the deaths of probably as many as 2.6 million Jews (300,000 in the Warthegau and 2.3 million in Poland).

The third stage, beginning with mass deportations to the East in the autumn of 1941, culminated in the deaths by gassing, mostly at Auschwitz, of Jews from Central, Western and Southern Europe. This stage lasted until late 1944. Reliable recent estimates of the numbers gassed at Auschwitz/Birkenhau give a figure of about 1.12 million.

Thus the total achievement of this horrendous exercise in systematic mass murder was probably somewhere between five and six million innocent lives.

The whole of this gigantic operation was orchestrated by Heinrich Himmler, the Reichsfuhrer SS, and his able subordinates, such as Heydrich, Globocnik and Eichmann.

As Dr Longerich explained in court, Hitler and Himmler were long-time intimate associates. Himmler had been with Hitler during the 1923 putsch and Hitler appointed him Reichsfuhrer SS in 1929. Throughout the War, and certainly while the Holocaust was underway, they met frequently, sometimes two or three times a week, often for hours at a time and often alone together. It is, therefore, wholly inconceivable that during the whole three and a half years for which the killing lasted, Himmler could, or indeed would, have concealed from Hitler the enormous, systematic operation that he was directing.

This becomes all the less credible when it is remembered, as the documents show, that Hitler was the mainspring and driving force of Nazi anti-Jewish policy from 1923 onwards and that his anti-Semitism became noticeably more radical, if that were possible, from the date that he declared war on America (11th December 1941).

Thus, leaving aside all the specific evidence to be found in the contemporary documents, including documents written by Himmler himself, which, fairly read by an open-minded, careful historian, plainly implicate Hitler, the overall picture is compelling: the Holocaust could not possibly have happened without Hitler's knowledge and authority. It takes only a moment's light reflection to realize that the contrary idea is both absurd and perverse: suppose, say, in July 1942, when Himmler went to Lublin and Auschwitz to review and advance the mass killing in Poland, and on his return had lunch with Hitler (as he did) that Hitler, previously in a state of complete ignorance, and in any case opposed to any Final Solution that involved any more than deportation of the Jews to Siberia or Central Africa after the War, had suddenly found out what Himmler was doing. What, one wonders, would have happened to Himmler? Well, of course, it didn't, not then or at any time thereafter.

In 1988 Mr Irving's position changed dramatically. Not only did Hitler not know about the Holocaust, the Holocaust did not happen (which is why, of course, Hitler did not know about it).

The question is why? Why this change in Mr Irving's position? The one-word answer is: Leuchter. In April 1988, Mr Irving went to Canada, for reasons best known to himself, to give expert evidence at the trial in Toronto of a man called Ernst Zundel, a dedicated Holocaust denier, and since 1988, one of Mr Irving's staunchest allies and promoters. While he was in Toronto, he met a man called Fred Leuchter, also proffered by Zundel, but rejected by the Canadian court, as an expert witness. Leuchter was, it seems, some kind of consultant on execution facilities in the USA. He'd been to Auschwitz and Birkenau to seek "scientific" evidence of the existence of homicidal gas chambers. He made a report on his findings.

Mr Irving gave this report a cursory reading. His conversion was instantaneous. Even as he gave evidence to the Canadian court, the Holocaust had suddenly never happened.

In June 1989, Mr Irving gave a press conference in London, triumphantly announcing the English publication of the Leuchter Report, with a foreword written by himself. In his foreword, Mr Irving trumpeted the virtues of the Report, with particular emphasis on the chemical analysis of the samples which Leuchter had brought back from Auschwitz/Birkenau. "Forensic chemistry" proclaimed Mr Irving, "is an exact science".

And, my Lord, indeed so it is. Fred Leuchter had taken samples from the remains of the gas chambers and one sample from the delousing facility in the women's camp at Birkenau. The samples from the gas chambers showed small, but significant, traces of cyanide, the active element in the Zyklon-B pellets used for the gassings, the sample from the delousing facility, relatively high traces. Therefore, concluded Leuchter, the "gas chambers" could never have been gas chambers, because, according to Leuchter, the concentration of hydrogen cyanide needed to kill humans was higher than that needed to kill lice.

The Leuchter report (as Mr Irving has accepted during this trial) was riddled with numerous errors of various kinds, but this error was colossal. As the material contained in the Leuchter report itself showed, the concentration of hydrogen cyanide required to kill humans is, in fact, some 22 times lower than that required to kill lice. Thus, so far from disproving the existence of homicidal gas chambers at Auschwitz, the Leuchter Report actually succeeded in proving the opposite.

Despite this, Mr Irving continued to cling, and still clings, to Leuchter's "forensic chemistry" as the flagship of his Holocaust denial. In consequence, Mr Irving has, ever since 1988, used the Leuchter Report as the foundation not only for his denial of the existence of any homicidal gas chambers at Auschwitz, but also, quite illogically, for the existence of any gas chambers anywhere.

In the end, at the trial of this action, Mr Irving has been driven, in the face of overwhelming evidence presented by Professor Robert Jan van Pelt, Professor Christopher Browning and Dr Longerich, to concede that there were indeed mass murders on a huge scale by means of gassing at Chelmno in the Warthegau and at the Reinhardt camps of Belzec, Treblinka and Sobibor; and even that there were "some gassings" at Auschwitz.

His last remaining defence against the evidence showing that the crematoria at Birkenau were used to murder vast numbers of Jews by means of Zyklon B was to make the slippery concession that the gas chambers -- known as Leichenkeller I at crematoria II and III at Birkenau -- were, indeed, gas chambers, but for gassing only (I quote Mr Irving's words) "objects and cadavers".

This last proposition is ludicrous. If this were not such a serious matter, it would be hilarious. For the evidence, clearly explained by Professor van Pelt, is that the gas-tight doors in Leichenkeller I at both those crematoria were equipped with thick glass spyholes, protected by metal grilles. Why, it was asked of Mr Irving, should these be required for the observation of the gassing of lice-infested "objects" and corpses? Faced with this, Mr Irving retreated to the position that Leichenkeller I had been intended to serve an alternative purpose as an air-raid shelter. This last refuge will be dealt with shortly below. Meanwhile, Professor van Pelt also explained that when the plans of crematoria II and III were redesigned in late 1942 and early 1943, the corpse-slides or chutes appearing on the original plans were removed, and the entrance to the basement moved to the other side of the building. Thus, if the re-design was intended to facilitate the gassing of corpses, people who are already dead, it had only succeeded in compelling those who were carrying the corpses to negotiate a series of small rooms, narrow passages, and staircases to reach the gassing-space. Moreover, the plans were re-designed at that time so as to change the way in which the doors of the gassing-space opened from inwards to outwards, thus further impeding the carrying of corpses into the space.

Mr Irving's air-raid shelter proposal is equally absurd. It is obvious that the Leichenkellers could never have served as air-raid shelters for an inmate population of 100,000 or more, even if it thought likely that the SS should have wanted to protect the inmates against air-raids. Therefore, if the Leichenkellers were ever intended to be used as air-raid shelters, they must have been intended for the SS. In fact, crematoria II and III are about one and a half miles from the nearest SS barracks. The picture of SS personnel running from their barracks, round the perimeter wire, in full gear, one and a half miles to the crematoria, under a hail of bombs, is just plain daft.

Mr Irving's concession that Leichenkeller I was indeed a gas chamber is, of course, entirely inconsistent with his continued adherence to Leuchter's chemical analysis as being conclusive evidence that Leichenkeller I never was a gas chamber. It is also wholly inconsistent with his final line of defence, which is that Leichenkeller I could never have been a gas chamber because the remains of the roof that can be seen at Birkenau do not show the holes through which the gas pellets were thrown.

This last line of defence, which emerged at a very late stage in Mr Irving's Holocaust denial, is, in any case, easily demolished. In the first place, Professor van Pelt, who has subjected the remains of the roof of Leichenkeller I at crematorium II to careful examination (which Mr Irving has never done), told the court that the remains are so fragmentary that they do not allow any firm conclusions to be drawn as to the existence or non-existence of the holes. Second, if, as Mr Irving accepts, Leichenkeller I was a gas chamber (for whatever purpose) it would always have needed apertures for inserting the Zyklon-B, since it never had any windows and only one gas-tight door. Third, even if Mr Irving were right that it was used for gassing objects and corpses, the concentration of hydrogen cyanide required for this would have been comparatively high, with the consequence that the need for tight fitting apertures which could be opened and closed quickly and easily, would, for the protection of those throwing in the pellets, have been all the greater. Finally, leaving aside all the mass of eyewitness testimony, there is a coincidence between two pieces of independent evidence which demonstrates conclusively the existence of these holes or apertures. In 1945, a former inmate of Auschwitz, David Olere, an artist, drew the ground plan of Leichenkeller I in crematorium III. This drawing shows a zigzag alignment of the gassing columns in Leichenkeller I. These are the columns which would have ended in the apertures through which the gas pellets were inserted. It happens that that zigzag alignment is precisely matched by an aerial photograph taken by the Allies in 1944, which was not released to the world until 1979. There can, therefore, be no possibility of any cross-contamination between Olere's drawing and the aerial photograph. No doubt recognizing this, Mr Irving sought to suggest at this trial that the aerial photograph had been faked by the CIA. Professor van Pelt, however, explained to the court that he had had the photograph tested by Dr Nevin Bryant at NASA and that the result of those tests showed conclusively that the photograph was authentic.

In the light of Mr Irving's concession that Leichenkeller I was indeed a gas chamber and of the fact that it is clear that it was never intended for the gassing of corpses or other inanimate objects, or for use as an air-raid shelter, the stark conclusion can only be this: It must have been used for gassing people, live people.

One residual shred of this aspect of Mr Irving's Holocaust denial remains. He disputes the numbers of people murdered at Auschwitz/Birkenau. This last barricade of Mr Irving's is based on three distinctly unstable legs.

The first leg is the so-called "death books" released in recent years from the archive in Moscow. These are incomplete. They show a total of some 74,000 recorded deaths from various causes. They relate, however, and could only ever relate, to the deaths of prisoners registered upon arrival at Auschwitz, that is to say, those destined to be accommodated in the camps at Auschwitz and, more particularly, Birkenau, as workers (for a time at least).

There was, however, a preliminary process at Auschwitz, which involved separating those deemed to be fit for work from the rest. This was called "selection". The vast majority, including the old, young children, and mothers with small children, were "the rest". They were gassed immediately without ever being registered; their deaths were never recorded.

There is a great deal of eyewitness evidence about this from both sides, perpetrators and surviving victims. This evidence is confirmed by photographs taken by the SS during the so-called "Hungarian action" in the course of which, over a matter of months, some 400,000 Hungarian Jews were gassed, in the summer of 1944. Thus, once again, eyewitness evidence is corroborated by contemporary documentary evidence.

In the result, the fact that the "death books" fail to record the deaths of perhaps 1 million people killed on arrival is unsurprising and inconsequential.

The second leg of Mr Irving's last barricade consists of German police radio messages decoded by the British during the war. Some of these came from Auschwitz, and of course none mentioned gassings. For exactly the same reasons as the death books make no reference to those murdered on arrival, it is not reasonable to expect that the radio messages from Auschwitz would: people who were not registered on arrival at Auschwitz because they were not destined for work in the camp but, instead, for immediate death in the gas chambers, would obviously not be mentioned in messages about recorded deaths.

The last leg in the barricade is Mr Irving's contention that Auschwitz did not have sufficient incineration capacity for all the corpses of those whom it is generally held by historians were killed there. As Professor van Pelt convincingly demonstrated, by reference to a letter of 28th June 1943, from Karl Bischoff, the head of the building programme at Auschwitz, to Berlin, the potential incineration capacity at Auschwitz/Birkenau at that time far exceeded any possible mortality rate amongst the registered inmates from "natural" causes, including the possibility of a repeat of the typhus epidemic which had struck the camp in 1942. This means that the incineration capacity must have been calculated and built, as it was in due course, to accommodate the mortal remains of the hundreds of thousands of people who were gassed on arrival.

Faced with this, Mr Irving's only possible response was (as ever) to challenge the authenticity of the Bischoff letter. This challenge, in the end, turned out to be based on nothing more than the fact that the administrative reference on the letter did not contain the year date. In fact, copies of this document have been retained in the archive at Moscow since 1945, when the Soviets liberated Auschwitz and acquired the documents which the SS had forgotten to destroy. Moreover, the document was used at the trial of the Auschwitz commandant, Rudolf Hoess, in 1948, and again at the trial of the Auschwitz architects, Dejaco and Ertl, in 1971. Not unnaturally, Professor van Pelt saw no reason whatsoever to doubt the authenticity of the document. Amongst other reasons for rejecting Mr Irving's proposal that the document might be a postwar communist forgery, is the fact that the incineration capacity shown in the document -- that is 4,756 corpses per 24 hours -- is very significantly lower than that estimated by the Soviets and the Poles (both communist regimes) shortly after the War. It follows that if the document were a communist forgery, it would be a very strange one.

Mr Irving's last challenge to the incineration capacity was that the amount of coke delivered to Auschwitz at the relevant time would not, in the ordinary way, have been sufficient to meet the required rate of incineration. As Professor van Pelt demonstrated, this challenge is demolished by two considerations which Mr Irving had evidently ignored: first, the procedure for incineration at Auschwitz involved the simultaneous incineration of up to four or five corpses even in every muffle of the ovens; and, second, in consequence, the corpses themselves served as fuel for the ovens, the more particularly so if, as they generally did, they included the comparatively well fed corpses of people recently arrived on the trains and gassed on arrival.

Mr Irving's Holocaust denial is thus exposed as a fraud. It originated with a piece so-called scientific research which, on analysis, turns out, if it has any value at all, to support the overwhelming historical evidence that Auschwitz was indeed a gigantic death factory. Mr Irving's later adornments to his gas chamber denial also turn out to be fragile conjectures based on no significant research at all: it should be noted that Mr Irving has never himself been to Auschwitz to examine the archeological remains or the documentary evidence contained in the archive. It follows that some other reason must be sought to explain his devotion, over many years, and even in this court, though his case has changed and changed back again throughout the trial, to the bizarre idea that no significant numbers of people were murdered in the homicidal gas chambers at Auschwitz/Birkenau. The reasons are not far to seek.

As the evidence in this court has shown, Mr Irving is a right-wing extremist, a racist and, in particular, a rabid anti-Semite.

Two examples, again, amongst many, will suffice to illustrate this proposition.

In a speech which he made at Tampa, Florida, on 6th October 1995 to the National Alliance, a white supremacist and profoundly anti-Semitic group, Mr Irving said this about the Jews:

"You have been disliked for 3,000 years. You have been disliked so much that you have hounded from country to country, from pogrom to purge, from purge back to pogrom. And yet you never ask yourselves why you are disliked, that's the difference between you and me. It would never occur to you to look in the mirror and say "Why am I disliked, what is it the rest of humanity doesn't like about the Jewish people, to such an extent that they repeatedly put us through the grinder?" And he (a heckler whom Mr Irving said he had perceived to be Jewish) went beserk, said Mr Irving. He said (the heckler), "Are you trying to say that we are responsible for Auschwitz ourselves"? And I, that is Mr Irving, said, "Well, the short answer is yes". The short answer I have to say is yes ... If you (the Jews) had behaved differently over the intervening 3,000 years, the Germans would have gone about their business and would not have found it necessary to go around doing whatever they did to you. Nor would the Russians, nor the Ukranians, nor the Lithuanians, Estonians, Latvians, and all the other countries where you've had a rough time. So why have you never asked yourselves that question?" So much for the Jews.

As to the blacks (and homosexuals), Mr Irving, in an entry in his private diary on 10th November 1987, on the occasion of a visit to South Africa, recorded his own thoughts:

"God works in mysterious ways, but here (that is South Africa) we agree he appears to be working remorselessly towards a Final Solution which may cruelly wipe out not only blacks and homosexuals, but a large part of the drug addicts and sexually promiscuous and indiscriminate heterosexual population as well."

These examples, again the tip of, I am afraid, a very large iceberg, demonstrate, beyond doubt, that Mr Irving is a profound racist and a radical anti-Semite. But this is not the end of the story. For many years, Mr Irving has travelled about the world giving vent to his views at gatherings composed of, and organized by, others of similar opinion.

Until he was banned in 1993. Mr Irving's energies were particularly devoted to the propagation of his ideology in Germany, where pro-Nazi sentiment has not only persisted but alas, since reunification, undergone a significant revival, particularly in the East.

This is chilling exposed by a demonstration of neo-Nazi boot boys, waving Nazi flags and chanting racist slogans, which was addressed by Mr Irving at Halle in East Germany in November 1991. In his diary Mr Irving described his speech at this rally as "rabble rousing", no doubt for good reason. The speech was greeted with enthusiasm, not least, perhaps, because he predicted the recreation of a greater Germany, by the reconquest, through economic power, of the former Third Reich territories in the East. This speech was greeted with enthusiasm and, unsurprisingly, shouts of "Sieg Heil!".

Holocaust denial is forbidden in Germany (notwithstanding which Mr Irving has, from time to time, managed to slip in direct statements that there were never any gas chambers). Elsewhere, however, it has been a constant theme of Mr Irving's public utterances. He has expressed it, on numerous occasions, in terms which variously attribute the blame for the Holocaust on the Jews themselves, accuse Holocaust survivors of lying in order to extort money from the German Government, and pour scorn on the suffering of Holocaust victims, both alive and dead. These utterances are often greeted with warm applause and loud laughter by his audiences.

Given that Mr Irving has repeatedly falsified history in pursuit of his obsessive desire to exonerate Hitler of responsibility for the Nazi persecution of the Jews and, in particular, of responsibility for the Holocaust, and given that he has repeatedly denied the Holocaust, without any historical foundation, and in the face of overwhelming evidence that the Holocaust took place on the scale and in the manner generally described by reputable historians, the question now arises why Mr Irving should have engaged so actively in the promotion of these historical falsehoods.

The answers suggested by the evidence are:

Mr Irving is an anti-Semite; Holocaust denial, in the form in which it is purveyed by Mr Irving, is an obvious expression of anti-Semitism, and is music to the ears of the neo-Nazis and other right-wing extremists to whom he purveys it; Mr Irving is a Hitler partisan, who has falsified history on a staggering scale in order to "prove" Hitler's innocence; this, like Holocaust denial, is obviously very appealing to his fellow travellers -- after all, if the Holocaust were a "myth", then, obviously, Hitler could have no responsibility for it.

How far, if at all, Mr Irving's anti-Semitism is a cause of his Hitler apology, or vice versa, is quite unimportant. Whether they are taken together, or individually, it is clear that they have led him to prostitute his reputation as a serious historian (spurious though it can now be seen to have been) for the sake of a bogus rehabilitation of Hitler and the dissemination of virulent anti-Semitic propaganda.

MR JUSTICE GRAY: Mr Rampton, can I raise with you now the points I think I need to clarify?


MR JUSTICE GRAY: I do not think it will take very long. There is just one point that occurred to me as you were reading out the statement, and it relates to paragraph 41, where you are dealing with incineration capacity.


MR JUSTICE GRAY: The point you are making is that it is strange to suggest that the Bischoff document is a communist forgery, since it shows a rate of incineration lower than was estimated by the Soviets and the Poles. Am I right in thinking that the estimate you are there talking about by the Soviets and the Poles is the estimate of the total numbers killed, rather than of incineration capacity or rate of incineration?

MR RAMPTON: No, my Lord. Well, I think that is partly right, if I may say so. But also on page 207 of Professor van Pelt's report, there is rather a dense paragraph. I cannot remember now off the top of my head how the answers come out. There is rather dense paragraph from which one can certainly work out, and I know Professor van Pelt told me what the totals were by but I have forgotten them. One can certainly work out that the 4,756 corpses per 24 hours was significantly lower than the Russian and Polish estimates for incineration. I think the Russian figure was 50 per cent higher and the Polish figure about 30 per cent higher.

MR JUSTICE GRAY: Thank you very much. I did not know that. You have given me the reference so that has dealt with that. The other questions are really all rather broader ones. Can I take them in what I hope is the sensible order? The first one relates to deportation, and I will ask Mr Irving the same question in due course. It is not really clear to me what, if any, is the issue between the parties as to that particular phase.

MR RAMPTON: No. I have never understood that there was.


MR RAMPTON: Dr Longerich told your Lordship, and we accept, we have to, he knows a lot more about it than we do, that in the beginning the transportation of the German and other central European, French and Greek, Italian Jews was just to the East, where they were put into ghettoes which had been vacated by the murder of the Polish Jews.

MR JUSTICE GRAY: A sort of two phase deportation exercise?

MR RAMPTON: Yes. Then eventually, probably sometime in 1942, they started killing the arrivals. There is a notable document your Lordship will remember from the Gestapo at Lodz, explaining how they cleared one lot and made room for the other lot.

MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes. Leaving aside the extermination, which is a separate issue and I understand what Mr Irving says about that, you do not understand there to be any argument or dispute between the Defendants and Mr Irving as to the fact that the deportation took place, and indeed also as to the fact that Hitler knew about it, because it is Mr Irving's case that that was all that was involved.

MR RAMPTON: No question. Hitler gave the order for it. As your Lordship will have seen, in one of the passages in our long submission, we draw attention, I forget which book it is, to a statement by Mr Irving where he says Hitler was neither consulted nor knew anything about the deportations. Why he should say that, I have absolutely no idea, but the fact is that Hitler gave the order.

MR JUSTICE GRAY: That was Hitler's preferred solution, as opposed to extermination, according to Mr Irving's argument.

MR RAMPTON: In 1941 it may or may not be so, so far as the German Jews are concerned.


MR RAMPTON: So far as the rest, anyway.

MR JUSTICE GRAY: I noticed something this morning which I had not noticed before, which is that -- have you got your more detailed written submissions?

MR RAMPTON: Yes, I have.

MR JUSTICE GRAY: Would you go to Tab 5 (i)?


MR JUSTICE GRAY: There is at page 56, paragraph 4, which seems to continue over the page on page 57.

MR RAMPTON: Yes, it does.

MR JUSTICE GRAY: The next paragraph is 12. I see what I have done. Yes, there is an 11 somewhere lurking way back.

MR RAMPTON: Paragraph 11 is on page 53. It has a large number of subparagraphs.

MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes. The next broad question is this. I am really asking for perhaps a bit of assistance on this. It is what we have called the genesis of the gassing programme, or the extermination programme.


MR JUSTICE GRAY: And what you have done, and this is your (ii), is very helpfully to set out what you say are gathered together from various files the various documentary references which demonstrate the setting up of the gassing in the Reinhardt camps and so on.

The slight problem I have with this way of dealing with it is that one has to try to confine the judgment within some sort reasonable bounds -- it is going to be horrifically long anyway -- and I do not think it is feasible to even begin to try to incorporate all those references. It would just overload it.

MR RAMPTON: No, we were not expecting that your Lordship would, of course not. It seemed to us, though, that now that one -- I mean, I am only a lawyer too -- had the chance to look at the thing with some considerable care, that that table led the eye through the stages really quite well; but if that is not so, then all I perhaps need to do is to refer your Lordship back to the little summary that I have given in this latest statement starting on page 10.

MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes, but I think the problem is what I would really ideally want to aim at myself in order to give anyone reading the judgment a sufficient but not overextended view of what the documents show to have happened is something in between the two.

MR RAMPTON: I think what I am being asked ----

MR JUSTICE GRAY: You will think I am by very awkward.

MR RAMPTON: No, of course not. I do not know how much time I have, that is all. What I think I am being asked for and will willingly supply -- I might even get Dr Longerich to write it actually -- is really a chronological summary with a bit more detail than I have put in here and a bit less than I have put into the main submission.

MR JUSTICE GRAY: I think that is probably right. Really in a way it perhaps will highlight the most significant documents. I think it is right, I mean, as you realize, I have been trying to sort of keep a tag on what the evidence has revealed as it has gone on, so I think I have quite a lot of them, but I suspect I am missing some of the important ones and I would like to ----

MR RAMPTON: Yes, I mean, I do not say I have covered everything either.

MR JUSTICE GRAY: Can I invite you to do that? Not at enormous length, but I think it would be helpful.

MR RAMPTON: We will do it in the course of the rest of this week.

MR JUSTICE GRAY: And bearing in mind, if I may suggest it, the issues that arise on the genesis of the gassing as opposed to Auschwitz, which I will deal with separately, seem to me to be, firstly, on what scale the extermination took place, and that is not really much of an issue now, as I understand Mr Irving's case.

MR RAMPTON: Not an issue at all.

MR JUSTICE GRAY: But also Hitler's knowledge. So that is the thing to concentrate on, and I appreciate to some extent that may not any longer be as stark an issue as it was.

MR RAMPTON: That is covered specifically, not only with what I said today in general terms, but there was an exercise that I did in re-examination with Professor Longerich which is referred back to in here, just that really the month of July and into August 1942, which demonstrates in Professor Longerich's view, which we obviously adopt, that it is inconceivable that while Himmler was supervising the mass extermination of goodness knows how many people in the General Government Hitler did not know about it.

MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes. One of the things I was going to ask Mr Irving is whether he accepts the concessions that you attribute to him at various stages of your submission.

MR RAMPTON: I have given the reference to it somewhere in here.

MR JUSTICE GRAY: You have, indeed, but I think it is right it should be put to him.

MR RAMPTON: I mean, what he says now, his position has changed throughout the case, but really the concessions, if I may say this now, which we have listed in various places in this long submission are those which were first driven out of him by cross-examination, no cleverness on my part, but by the evidence which was presented to him, and it was not selective, in cross-examination. His first reaction, eventually in some case, sometimes quite quickly, was to say, "Yes, are you right, it did happen".

MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes, but I must find out what the up-to-date position is because I think it is fair to say that sometimes Mr Irving has fluctuated.

MR RAMPTON: As I say, I do not attach much weight to what I might call back tracking.

MR JUSTICE GRAY: Right. If Professor Longerich can perform that exercise, but also focus, if he would, on the extent of Hitler's knowledge and the reason for saying that he knew about the gassing at Chelmno and all the rest.

The next question is a very short one and I think I know what your answer is, but I will ask it all the same: part of your case against Mr Irving is that he is a racist, leaving aside anti-Semitism, that he is a racist and you have a number of quotations from his speeches.


MR JUSTICE GRAY: How does that bear on (a) the words complained of, and (b) the meanings that you seek to justify?

MR RAMPTON: I suppose we seek to justify simply that he holds extremist views in the written bit. In the statement of case, I cannot remember. It says something ----

MR JUSTICE GRAY: There is a bit right at the back.

MR RAMPTON: --- rather more specific than that.

MR JUSTICE GRAY: Perhaps my question really is, there is nothing about racism, is there, in ----


MR JUSTICE GRAY: --- Professor Lipstadt's book?

MR RAMPTON: Perhaps I should ask her. There is some allusion to it, she says.

MR JUSTICE GRAY: I am not sure there is; if there is, I would like to know what it is.

MR RAMPTON: But, maybe your Lordship is right, there is this to be said, perhaps, if a man is and out and out racist which we would propose that it is obvious from his own private jottings, never mind what he says publicly, that Mr Irving is, and if anti-Semitism is a form of racism, which it plainly is, then it is a bit like a case where you accuse a man of grievous bodily harm and at trial succeed in proving that he is a murderer.

MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes. I thought that would be your answer, that anti-Semitism is just one form of racism.

MR RAMPTON: Yes, indeed.

MR JUSTICE GRAY: And, therefore, it is relevant, you would say, by way of justification of an anti-Semitic allegation that there is a general streak of racism to be perceived in what Mr Irving has said and done.

MR RAMPTON: It is evidence of his general disposition to disparage and be hostile towards people of different colours, ethnic backgrounds and cultures.

MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes. Now perhaps, for me, at any rate, the most important question is to be absolutely clear about what you are saying in the section which is section 9, I think, or (ix) towards the back of your written submission about assessing Mr Irving as an historian.


MR JUSTICE GRAY: Do you mind turning it up because I just want to be absolutely clear about it this because I think it is exceedingly important. You first refer back to your historiographical criticisms, and I am right in taking it, am I not, it is pretty obvious from what you there say by way of criticism of Mr Irving that a number of the criticisms are criticisms that he has deliberately falsified the record.

MR RAMPTON: Every single one.

MR JUSTICE GRAY: All right, every single one. Now, you do not expressly say so, but you may tell me it is implicit, that when you deal with his partisanship for Hitler which is (ii), you do not expressly say that that is all deliberate distortion and manipulation and so on.


MR JUSTICE GRAY: But that I understand to be your case, am I right?

MR RAMPTON: No, what I say is that he has sought to exculpate Hitler; that he has done that by a massive falsification of the underlying historical record on a large number of occasions.

MR JUSTICE GRAY: But going beyond what you have selected or Professor Evans has selected as the historical criticisms?

MR RAMPTON: Then I say if one looks at the general evidence as an objective, open-minded, careful, dispassionate historian, that Hitler was, indeed, responsible, knew all about it, and authorized it, the conclusion is irresistible that he did. Mr Irving has shut that window, as it were, and has got on with the shut window behind him with the falsification of history so as to exculpate Hitler.

MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes, so this is again another instance of deliberate manipulation which kind of runs through ----

MR RAMPTON: It is a kind of deliberate blindness to the evidence. What he does not like, he ignores.

MR JUSTICE GRAY: Deliberate blindness?

MR RAMPTON: Yes, it is deliberate blindness. He knows about, he has known for years, about report No. 51, for example.

MR JUSTICE GRAY: So it is telescope to the wrong eye?

MR RAMPTON: Yes, and for years, despite report No. 51, until we got him into this court, until he got us into this court, he did not accept that Hitler sanctioned the mass shootings in the East. It is that kind of phenomenon.

MR JUSTICE GRAY: So that the partisanship. Then Auschwitz, well I think it is pretty clear what your case is about that.


MR JUSTICE GRAY: You do not specifically rely on the denials of the Holocaust, but, presumably, you say in relation to those that they are denials which Mr Irving must have known were false when he made them.

MR RAMPTON: No, again this is a bit like the sort of general refusal to accept Hitler's knowledge. What I say about that is that his denials of the Holocaust have been made without any reference whatsoever to any reliable evidence. They started to be made on Leichter which is an obviously completely hopeless position for any kind of self-respecting historian or, indeed, anybody else for that matter. Then much later on down the road he adds in one or two other things like the death books and the decrypts. Finally, just before this trial or a year or so before this trial, he comes to the runes. He has never been to Auschwitz. He has never looked at any o the documents or the plans. Such evidence as he knows about he dismisses out of hand as being mere eyewitness testimony. When he comes to see an aerial photograph showing the holes in the roof, he says it is a forgery; the incineration capacity document is also a forgery, and so on and so forth. This means that his denial must have another agenda because it cannot be the product of genuine bona fide historical research and contemplation.

MR JUSTICE GRAY: So his state of mind which is -- and it is important that I am absolutely clear what it is that is being suggested in relation to the various issues that have arisen in the case -- this is an area where you put it as being deliberately perverse blindness and acting in pursuance of what is, effectively, a neoNazi agenda, is that right?

MR RAMPTON: Yes, I put it in two ways and I will say it as shortly as I can. I put it forward as evidence of somebody who cannot be regarded as a serious historian, because what he has done is to allow his historical apparatus to be distorted by something beyond -- extrinsic or ulterior. Looking at the way in which he expresses Holocaust denial and the audiences to whom he expresses that denial and the things that he says on those occasions, one is driven to the conclusion that the hidden agenda, the reason for the historical incompetence, if I can I call it that (though there is a much stronger word that I could think of) is that he is at root deeply anti-Semitic and a neo-Nazi, as your Lordship just said.

MR JUSTICE GRAY: Well, that raises the last question that I wanted to canvass with you, and it is anti-Semitism and, indeed, the racism and the extremism and all the rest of it. I find it a little, and I find it throughout the case, bit difficult to see how, if at all, those allegations against Mr Irving dovetail with the general allegation that he falsifies to an extent deliberately the historical record because it seems to me, and I just want to know how you put it, that if somebody is anti-Semitic, and leave aside racism, but anti-Semitic and extremist, he is perfectly capable of being, as it were, honestly anti-Semitic and honestly extremist in the sense that he is holding those views and expressing those views because they are, indeed, his views.


MR JUSTICE GRAY: Now, it seems to me that probably, if you come down to it, that the anti-Semitism is a completely separate allegation which really has precious little bearing on your broader and perhaps more important case that Mr Irving has manipulated the data and falsified the record, or do you say that they are corrected in some way and, if so, how?

MR RAMPTON: I propose that they probably are connected. I do not have to do that, but I propose that they are connected, and that the link between them, I have no doubt at all he is genuinely anti-Semitic and all the more defamatory it is of him to say so, and it is true. I propose that certainly, that he is genuinely profoundly anti-Semitic. But the bridge between the Holocaust denial and the Hitler apology from anti-Semitism is a very easy one to build, because what more would an historian who is an anti-Semite want to do in exculpation of Hitler which he has been trying to do by telling lies about history for years, what more would he want to do than to deny the Holocaust?

MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes, but he might believe what he is saying. That is the point. That is why it is important.

MR RAMPTON: Believe what he is saying about what?

MR JUSTICE GRAY: About the Holocaust.

MR RAMPTON: There is no way he could believe what he is saying about the Holocaust if it ----

MR JUSTICE GRAY: I understand that, but that has nothing to do with his anti-Semitism. I am not sure I am making my point clear to you that ----

MR RAMPTON: No, I take a profound anti-Semite, I see that he has denied the Holocaust without any historical justification whatsoever.

MR JUSTICE GRAY: But I understand all of that.

MR RAMPTON: Then I ask myself, what is his reason for denying the Holocaust because he has not got a good historical one, there must be another one? And the most obvious thing for a profound and genuine anti-Semite to do because it suits his book is to leap into Holocaust denial without any proper evidence at all, any evidence at all, and cart it around the world in front of him and to audiences at other anti-Semites and neofascists.

MR JUSTICE GRAY: That is another agenda, you would say?

MR RAMPTON: Yes, that is the other agenda; the promotion of anti-Semitism.


MR RAMPTON: And given that there is, as I say, absolutely no historical foundation, no proper historical foundation, for Holocaust denial, and given that there is evidence that Mr Irving is an anti-Semite, as I say, the bridge between the one and the other is very easy to build indeed.

MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes, thank you.

MR RAMPTON: And the same goes for Hitler exculpation.

MR JUSTICE GRAY: Thank you very much. Now, Mr Irving, it is your turn.


[ Index ]

Home ·  Site Map ·  What's New? ·  Search Nizkor

© The Nizkor Project, 1991-2012

This site is intended for educational purposes to teach about the Holocaust and to combat hatred. Any statements or excerpts found on this site are for educational purposes only.

As part of these educational purposes, Nizkor may include on this website materials, such as excerpts from the writings of racists and antisemites. Far from approving these writings, Nizkor condemns them and provides them so that its readers can learn the nature and extent of hate and antisemitic discourse. Nizkor urges the readers of these pages to condemn racist and hate speech in all of its forms and manifestations.