Institute for Historical Review
On March 15, 2000, British historian David Irving rose before the High Court of Justice in London to deliver his Closing Statement in a dramatic legal battle that had generated enormous media attention.
At the center of the case is a 278-page book by Jewish- American scholar Deborah Lipstadt, Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory, a detailed polemic against Irving and other revisionists who dispute familiar Holocaust claims. As the plaintiff (“claimant”) in the case, Irving charged that Lipstadt and Penguin Books, the British publisher of Denying the Holocaust, had libeled him. (For more on this, see the Jan.-Feb. 2000 Journal issue, which includes extensive press reports and commentary on the trial. Extensive coverage of the case, including texts of important trial documents, can be found on Irving’s web site.
Much of the grueling nine-week, non-jury trial dealt with such emotion-laden historical issues as Hitler’s role in wartime Germany’s “final solution” policies, and the evidence, or lack of it, for mass killings of Jews in gas chambers at Auschwitz-Birkenau. This historical debate is reflected in Irving’s final address to the court, which differs markedly in tone and focus from his Opening Statement of January 11 (published in the Sept.-Dec. 1999 Journal, pp. 16-35).
At least as importantly, Irving’s final address provides astonishing details of the concerted global campaign by Jewish organizations to destroy his career and silence him. He traces the secretive activities of this widely feared but little-understood international cabal.
In the defendants’ final statement to the court, attorney Richard Rampton — who had spoken on behalf of Lipstadt and Penguin Books throughout the proceedings — echoed claims made at the outset of the trial. “As the evidence in this court has shown,” he said, “Irving is a right-wing extremist, a racist and, in particular, a rabid anti-Semite.” Rampton said that Irving had chosen “to prostitute his reputation as a serious historian … for the sake of a bogus rehabilitation of Hitler and the dissemination of his virulent anti-Semitic propaganda.”
Judge Gray largely agreed with the defendants, and his detailed judgment (made public on April 11) accordingly was a devastatingly severe condemnation of Irving. Understandably, the resulting worldwide jubilation by Lipstadt and her allies has overshadowed the valuable evidence and arguments presented by Irving during the proceedings, and summed up eloquently in his Closing Statement. It is, therefore, all the more important that the text of this address be made widely available.
Here, then, is Irving’s March 15 Closing Statement. (The original text, including reference notes, can be found on Irving’s web site.) This text has been slightly edited for style. Deletions are indicated by ellipses. Brief explanatory or elucidating remarks have been added in brackets.
— The Editor