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| The Guardian: Archive onIrving: Special report: the David Irving libel trial | Irving fears arrest over speech , Vikram Dodd and John Hooper in Berlin | Irving denies deliberately portraying Hitler as 'merciful' , News Unlimited staff and agencies | Germans want Irving to face incitement trial, BY MICHAEL HORSNELL |


The Guardian, January 14, 2000

Irving fears arrest over speech


Vikram Dodd and John Hooper in Berlin

 




The alleged Nazi apologist David Irving yesterday revealed that Germany had issued a warrant for his extradition on charges of racial incitement.

Mr Irving told the high court in London, where he is suing for libel over claims he is a Holocaust denier, that he feared arrest by police executing the warrant.

He told the judge, Mr Justice Gray, that he was informing him about the warrant in case "this end of the bench should suddenly be empty".

Mr Irving has been indicted since 1996 by German magistrates for allegedly breaking laws protecting the memory of the Holocaust.

The charge relates to a speech the author made to a meeting organised by the far right German National Party in September 1990 in which he said: "The gas chambers at Auschwitz which they show to the tourists are a fake."

He was indicted over the speech six years later. A hearing was fixed for the following year, but Mr Irving did not attend. An extradition plea was sent to Britain last August.

Mr Irving was fined £15,000 in 1992 in Germany for making the same claim.

He said he feared being arrested at any time: "I have warned my family that I might not return one of these days."

Mr Irving is banned from entering Germany. He said he did not attend the trial because his safe passage in and out of the country was not promised. Scotland Yard and the home office refused to discuss the matter.

Meanwhile, back in court, Mr Irving denied accusations that he had manipulated documents to bury evidence that Adolf Hitler had ordered the mass murder of Jews.

He is suing over the book Denying the Holocaust, which said he distorted documents to support his controversial views on the Holocaust.

The book's author Deborah Lipstadt and her publishers Penguin books, deny libel.

In his second day in the witness box, Mr Irving was tackled over his belief that Hitler did not order the annihilation of European Jewry.

In his book Hitler's War he used files detailing communications between German army chiefs to claim that the Nazi leader had intervened to stop the murder of Jews.

But Richard Rampton QC, representing Prof Lipstadt and Penguin, accused Mr Irving of deliberate mistranslation.

One document refers to an order not to liquidate a trainload of 1,000 Jews in 1941. [Please compare with D. Irving's opening statement about this document and the document itself, which alludes to « the Führer'orders » as hearsay.]

But Mr Irving had claimed it was an order from Hitler to halt all such killings.

Mr Rampton said: "You inflated it from one trainload of Jews and you inserted an order from Hitler for which there was no evidence."

Irving denied a deliberate error and later under questioning said: "Why should I lie?"

Mr Rampton replied: "Because you are trying to exonerate, exculpate Adolf Hitler."

In a dramatic intervention, Mr Justice Gray accused Mr Irving of "totally perverting" the sense of a key document in an article he had written.

Again Mr Rampton had alleged the effect was to ignore evidence implicating Hitler to the mass murder of Jews.

Mr Irving, who is representing himself, looked tired after a second day of cross-examination which at times dwelled on German linguistics.

The case continues on Monday, in a bigger courtroom to accommodate the number of journalists and members of the public who want to attend.


The Guardian, special report, january 13, 2000, 5pm update

 

Irving denies deliberately portraying Hitler as 'merciful'

News Unlimited staff and agencies


 

Controversial historian David Irving today rejected an accusation that he had deliberately tried to portray Adolf Hitler as "merciful".

On the third day of his high court libel action over a claim that he is a "Holocaust denier", the 62-year-old author dismissed an allegation that he had deliberately "mis-translated" documentary evidence to achieve his exoneration of Hitler.

The accusations were put to him during cross-examination by Richard Rampton QC, counsel for American academic Deborah Lipstadt and Penguin Books, who deny libelling Mr Irving in Professor Lipstadt's 1994 book Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory.

Mr Rampton told Mr Justice Gray, who is sitting without a jury in London, that Mr Irving had written in the introduction to his book Hitler's War that there was "incontrovertible evidence" that Hitler ordered on November 30, 1941 that there should be no liquidation of the Jews.

But this reference should have been to a particular trainload of about 1,000 Jews deported from Berlin to Riga, Latvia, in November 1941, Mr Rampton said. He accused Mr Irving, who is representing himself, of "deliberate mis-translation".

He said: "You inflated it from one trainload of Jews generally and you inserted an order from Hitler for which there was no evidence." Mr Irving, giving his evidence from the witness box, denied the allegation.

He agreed that he should have written "a liquidation of a transport of Jews", but stressed that there was not a "shred of evidence" of deliberate inflation on his part. As soon as the evidence had been brought to him that the reference was to a trainload, he changed it "to the narrower interpretation" in subsequent editions of his book.

His reference to an order from Hitler was a "commonsense" interpretation of the facts rather than a perverse one. He rejected Mr Rampton's suggestion that he had mis-translated the evidence "so as to make Hitler appear the more merciful".

Asked if he agreed he had been "caught out", Mr Irving replied: "Historians are constantly being caught out by fresh documents."

The defendants' case is that this subject is just one example which illustrates "disreputable methods" in Mr Irving's work.

Mr Irving says Professor Lipstadt's book alleges that he has denied the Holocaust and distorted statistics and documents to serve his own ideological purposes and reach historically untenable conclusions. He claims her book has generated "waves of hatred against him".

Mr Rampton referred Mr Irving to a document about the interrogation of Walter Bruns, which came into Mr Irving's hands before 1985, in which Bruns described his experience as a colonel in the German Army Engineers force in Riga, Latvia, in November 1941.

Bruns recounted that when he tried to prevent the shooting of 5,000 Jewish women and children, he was told by a 21-year-old SS officer, Altenmeyer, that they were to be killed "in accordance with the Fuhrer's orders" and shown the orders.

Bruns said that a few weeks later, the same officer showed him a just-issued order prohibiting future mass shootings on that scale. Bruns recalled the officer saying that they were to be carried out "more discreetly".

Mr Rampton said that the reference to the "Fuhrer's orders" had never appeared when the incident was alluded to in any of Mr Irving's books. "Absolutely true," he replied. "I discounted it."

He added that he was familiar with other instances when officers would say they were acting on Hitler's orders as a way of fending off criticism and shutting someone up. "There are no orders. They have not been found. We have now been in and out of the archives of the world for the last 55 years and no primary, secondary or tertiary evidence has been found of the existence of these orders.

"I concede that in interrogations in war crime trials, people are ready to talk about these orders but the fact remains that if there had been any such order, it would have surfaced by now."

Asked why he had not put these exchanges into his biography of Hitler, Mr Irving said that would have been descending into an inappropriate and boring level of textual analysis.

"I discounted it because other evidence shows that Adolf Hitler had not issued the order - it is not in the archives."

Mr Rampton said that this amounted to an "absence of evidence - a negative piece of evidence".

Later, Mr Irving told the court that "the German government has asked for my extradition to Germany on an alleged offence that I committed".

He referred to a press clipping, dated January 12, from a German newspaper about the extradition request and told Mr Justice Gray it was another "incidence of the kind of hatred I face and the problems I face because of the repugnant allegations against me".

Mr Irving is the author of Hitler's War and Goebbels: Mastermind of the Third Reich.


The times, January 14, 2000

 

Germans want Irving to face incitement trial

BY MICHAEL HORSNELL


THE German Government has requested the extradition of the Hitler historian David Irving on charges of alleged racial incitement.

The move was disclosed yesterday by Mr Irving, 62, at the High Court on the third day of his libel action over what he claims is an international conspiracy to ruin his reputation as an historian. If extradited and found guilty, he could be jailed for three years.

The request to the Home Office concerns a lecture he gave in Weinheim, near Stuttgart, at the invitation of the right-wing NPD, at which he allegedly challenged Hitler's blame for the Second World War and maintained that the Holocaust had not happened.

After the lecture, made nearly ten years ago, the NPD chairman Günter Deckert was jailed, but a trial of Mr Irving was cancelled when he failed to appear. A subsequent attempt to summon him via the German Embassy failed after Mr Irving left for the United States.

Mr Irving revealed the extradition request to Mr Justice Gray as an example of the "hatred" and problems he faced because of "repugnant allegations" against him. He said that the court could find "his end of the bench empty" one day if extradition proceedings interrupted his libel action. The judge, sitting without a jury, said that he would not intervene. Mr Irving said that he believed disclosure in the German press 24 hours earlier of the extradition proceedings was "not just coincidence". The paper suggested it would have to be dealt with quickly before the issue "ran out of time". In Germany it is illegal to question the Holocaust.

Outside court, Mr Irving said: "I have written to the Home Secretary warning him that if they tried to serve the warrant on me I will prosecute the Home Office for assault."

Of the Weinheim meeting, he said: "I was talking about history and somebody asked me questions. Police were there and made a record of what I said." In 1992, he said, he had been fined £15,000 for views he aired at a subsequent meeting in Munich, and was banned from Germany.

Mr Irving is suing Deborah Lipstadt, the American historian, and Penguin Books, which published her Denying the Holocaust. In the book she claimed that he was a "Hitler partisan" who had twisted history by denying the Holocaust occurred.

Mr Irving says that he has never claimed that the Holocaust did not take place. He does, however, question the number of Jewish dead and denies there was a systematic extermination of Jews in concentration camp gas chambers.

Yesterday he rejected an accusation that he had rewritten history by portraying Hitler as a "merciful and benign" dictator who wanted to save the Jews, and allegations that he had deliberately mistranslated or suppressed documentary evidence. The case continues on Monday.

As he left court Mr Irving was approached by a woman who said that her grandparents had died at Auschwitz in gas ovens - said by Mr Irving to have been built after the war by the Poles. He told her: "You may be pleased to know that they almost certainly died of typhus, as did Anne Frank."

A German court confirmed last night that the British Government was formally asked to help in extraditing Mr Irving five months ago on charges of incitement to racial unrest after a speech in 1990 to a far-Right rally of the National Party of Germany on the Holocaust (Roger Boyes writes from Berlin)


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