In her book, Lipstadt had accused Irving of distorting history
to exonerate Hitler. Here is how Irving describes his attitude towards Hitler's
>> I have always accepted that Adolf Hitler, as Head of State and
government in Germany, was responsible for the Holocaust. I said, in the
Introduction to my flagship biography, "Hitler's War": "
If this biography were simply a history of the rise and fall of Hitler's
Reich, it would be legitimate to conclude: "Hitler killed the Jews".
But my years of investigations suggested that many others were responsible,
that the chain of responsibility was not as clear cut as that." Nothing
that I have heard in this Court since January 11th has persuaded me that
I was wrong on this account. <<
This hardly sounds like Irving is exonerating Hitler. But Judge Gray ruled
So despite David's winning (in my opinion) most of his battles, it was Goliath
that won the war.
In his final judgement Judge Gray ruled that David Irving 1) had distorted
history to exonerate Hitler, 2) was a "holocaust denier" and 3)
an antisemite. Lipstadt had falsely accused Irving of consorting with Hamas
and Hezbollah but this libel was ruled to be minor compared to the other
charges the judge had sustained. (The Irving trial was pre-911, so the charge
of "consorting with terrorists" was also less libelous then than
it would appear today.)
Even in defeat, Irving achieved a victory of sorts, for now every word of
Irving's battle is recorded for posterity at various locations on the Internet,
opening the debate to professional historians who can form their own judgements
based not on newspaper accounts but on the actual events themselves. Teachers,
students and mere intellectual sports fans have now available a rich source
of unfiltered first-hand information from which they can draw their own
conclusions. For students seeking to understand how free speech can be silenced
in modern times there is material here for a thousand PhD theses.
For me and for most of the members of the "Olympian Club", the
Irving trial was nothing less than a Salem witch hunt, with one difference.
The Salem trials produced no transcripts.
Here, like a spectator interviewed in the aftermath of a championship boxing
match, is one Olympian's opinion of Judge Gray's decision against Irving:
"Because of the blatant anti-Irving media coverage, Judge Gray had
no choice but to find Irving guilty. Had he done otherwise he would not
only have rendered a highly unpopular verdict, but a verdict, that based
on media reports would seem to fly totally against what every newspaper
reader would have thought the evidence to be. This would have been the end
of his legal career, and Judge Gray clearly did not want to be a martyr
for the cause of justice, preferring to ruin Irving's career rather than
In other words: "We was robbed!"
Whatever the reason, David Irving lost the war.
Irving was convicted, among other things, of being a "holocaust denier".
I think that, in this matter Judge Gray's decision was correct, but not
in the sense that the judge intended.
One of the most bizarre aspects of this trial was that when one is convicted
of a crime, one has a right to expect that there exists some legal definition
of that crime, and that a trial consists of discovering whether or not the
actions of the accused fit that legal definition (guilty) or do not fit
that legal definition (not guilty). In a post-trial scenario that George
Orwell or Franz Kafka could have scripted, the appeals judges summarily
rejected Irving's appeal for a new hearing and admitted that although no
one had actually defined what it meant to be a "holocaust denier",
it was certain that David Irving is one.
And he is.
David Irving is a holocaust denier for maintaining that the standards of
historical research on the holocaust do not measure up to the standards
of historical research demanded of scholars in less controversial fields.
See for instance Irving's cross examination of holocaust historian Robert
Jan Van Pelt (DAYS 9-12) in which one has the opportunity to compare the
methods and standards of historical research employed by both men.
David Irving is a holocaust denier because of his insistence that research
on this tragedy called "holocaust" should be just as exacting,
just as open to questioning, just as open to many-sided debate as research
into other historic tragedies such as the Sinking of the Titanic--listen
carefully to survivor stories, for sure, but supplement their testimony
by documents, scientific evidence from all branches of forensic science,
add in chemistry, metallurgy, bring in the deep-sea divers. Making clear
sense of a human tragedy of this magnitude demands no less than the best
research tools our modern science can muster. So sayeth David Irving.
David Irving is a holocaust denier because he challenges the keepers of
the official holocaust story to demonstrate that they have left no stone
unturned, that they have left no voice unheard in humanity's curiosity to
discover what actually happened in that immense human tragedy.
Before the Irving trial I was not aware that every country in Europe has
quietly passed laws against so-called "holocaust denial"-- stunningly
ambiguous laws under which thousands of men have been fined, imprisoned
and financially ruined for holding opinions and presenting facts that run
contrary to the official holocaust story. How can holocaust research be
taken seriously if historians can be jailed for coming to the wrong conclusions?
Judges who try such cases are no better than the Holy Inquisitors who burned
alive Jews and other "heretics" for "thought crimes"
against The Faith. Not yet in America do such laws exist but pressure to
pass such laws is building under the deceptive rubric of "hate speech".
Hate speech, indeed! And who, may I ask, gets to decide whose speech qualifies
I say the truth does not need the protection of legislation--only falsehoods
do--something I might have stolen from Thomas Jefferson who said: "I
swear eternal enmity against any tyranny over the mind of men." The
freedom to say what you think is the heart of all good science and is the
heart of what it used to mean to be a good American.
Listen. Here's what REAL hate speech sounds like:
"Shut up." "Shut up or we'll hurt you."
That's the kind of speech Nick Herbert wants to censor.
On the subject of hate speech, you might ask your local hate-site-filter
provider if any of the websites listed below are blocked by their hate-sensing
software, and, if so, for what reason?