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Freedom of speech means you can say whatever you want. What you can't do is lie, and then expect not to be held accountable for it. Not all opinions are equal and some things happen, just like we say they do. Slavery happened. The Black Death happened. The Earth is round. The ice caps are melting and Elvis is not alive.
I don't see any reason to be tasteful about Auschwitz. I say to you quite tastelessly that more women died on the back seat of Senator Edward Kennedy's car at Chappaquiddick than ever died in a gas chamber at Auschwitz.
Well, all historians make mistakes.
-But there is a difference between negligence, which is random in its effect, and a deliberateness which is far more one-sided. All Mr. Irving's little fictions, all his tweaks of the evidence, all tend in the same direction,
the exculpation of Adolf Hitler. He is, to use an analogy, like the waiter who always gives the wrong change.
If he is honest, we may expect sometimes his mistakes to favor the customers, sometimes himself. But Mr. Irving is the dishonest waiter. All his mistakes work in his favor. How far, if at all, Mr. Irving's anti-Semitism is the cause of his Hitler apology, or vice versa, is unimportant. Whether they are taken together or individually
it is clear that they have led him to prostitute his reputation as a serious historian in favor of a bogus
rehabilitation of Adolf Hitler and the dissemination of virulent anti-Semitic propaganda.
Well, the man's an anti-Semite and a racist. It's like having shxt on your shoe. You wipe it off. You don't study it.
I'd be prepared to accept that the BBC should have a dinner-jacketed gentleman reading the important news... followed by a lady reading the less important news... followed by Trevor McDonald giving us all the latest news on muggings and drug busts.
My question is this, if somebody is anti-Semitic and extremist, he is perfectly capable of being honestly
anti-Semitic, yes? He's holding those views and expressing those views because they are indeed his views?
And so it seems to me, if it comes down to it, that the anti-Semitism is a completely separate allegation and has precious little bearing on your broader charge that he has manipulated the data?
And all I have is my voice and my conscience and I have to listen to it.
Yes. They're strange things, consciences. Trouble is, what feels best isn't necessarily what works best. I mean, by all means, stand up, look the devil in the eye, tell him what you feel. Why not? It's very satisfying.
See what happens. And risk losing. Not just for yourself. For the others. For everyone. Forever.
Richard Evans gave us plenty of places where Irving got his facts wrong. But we have to prove he got 'em wrong intentionally.
I find the whole Holocaust story utterly boring. ... The Jews keep going on about the Holocaust because it's the only interesting thing which has happened to them in 3,000 years.... I'm not interested in the Holocaust,
I don't know anyone who is.
Professor, would you agree it is the duty of historians to remain completely unemotional?
-One's duty is to be unemotional, to be objective, but one's duty, I think, is to remain human in the exercise.
He's making it respectable to say that there are two points of view. People are gonna see the news now
and they're gonna think, "Oh, okay. "Some people think there were gas chambers at Auschwitz, "and, oh, this is interesting, some people don't."
Remember the Zundel trial. Remember the Exodus trial. They were torn apart. Because survivors don't remember. Not every detail. They forget something. They say a door was on the left, when actually it was on the right, and then, wham! Irving's in. You see? "They're liars, you can't trust anything they say."
Yeah. Yes, we know what it is. It's how we prove what it is, that's what we're interested in. We're not here on a pilgrimage, we're preparing a case.
Why would you give away our strategy?
-Deborah, there is no strategy. We're gonna box him in with the truth.
He is a falsifier of history. To put it bluntly, he is a liar.
We can criticize his methods, but it's his conclusions we have to discredit.
The word "denier" is particularly evil. For the chosen victim it is like being called a wife beater or a pedophile. It is enough for the label to be attached for the attachee to be designated a pariah, an outcast from normal society. It is a verbal Yellow Star.
He used to be a Holocaust denier, and now he's a verdict denier.
But he's an anti-Semite. You'd be amazed how many military historians see that as just a detail. They see him
as a serious historian who happens to see things from Hitler's point of view.
-Yeah, but it's not a detail.
You know, I think it's at the center of everything he thinks and does.
-So do I. Yeah. He's a liar and a falsifier of history.
You see, as I see it, it's academia versus the rest. Remember, the greatest historians have never been academics. We're outsiders. Cato, Thucydides, Gibbon, Churchill... I field a very strong team.
What if we lose? Huh? It suddenly becomes acceptable, it becomes respectable to say the Holocaust didn't happen? Has anyone thought about what that will mean? But the wonderful thing is, you see, if we play this right, it's not going to be Irving putting the Holocaust on trial. No. It's going to be us putting Irving on trial.
You can have opinions about the Holocaust. You can argue about why it happened and how it happened.
But what I won't do is meet with anyone, anyone, who says it didn't happen. Because the Holocaust happened. It happened. And that isn't opinion. That's fact. And I won't debate fact.
What did you say about him?
-I think I called him a Hitler partisan who distorted evidence in order to reach historically untenable conclusions.
In Britain, solicitor and barrister are two quite different functions.
Over here in America, uh, if you're accused of defaming someone, then it's up to them to prove that what you said is untrue.
-In the UK, the reverse is true.
Holocaust denial rests on four basic assertions. Number one. That there was never any systematic or organized attempt by the Nazis to kill all of Europe's Jews. Number two. That the numbers are far fewer than five or six million. Number three. That there were no gas chambers or specially built extermination facilities.
Number four. That the Holocaust is therefore a myth invented by Jews to get themselves financial compensation and to further the fortunes of the State of Israel. War, the deniers say, is a bloody business.
There's nothing special about the Jews, they're not unique in their suffering. They're just everyday casualties of war. What's the fuss?
"Well, you know, maybe Irving actually believes it. He's an anti-Semite and he believes it. You can't accuse
someone of lying if they genuinely believe what they're saying." That's crazy. That's insane.
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