Irving Has No Regrets

April 12, 2000

'Racist' Historian Irving Has No Regrets

By Reuters

LONDON (Reuters) - British historian David Irving, branded by a judge as a racist anti-Semite with neo-Nazi sympathies, insisted on Wednesday he did not regret his libel action against an American professor and her publishers.

"I have no regrets. It's been the most exhausting phase of my life but I put up a good fight," Irving told the Times newspaper, describing the eight-week case which ended in his humiliating failure on Tuesday.

"They wanted a scrap, so I gave them one," he said of his opponents Professor Deborah Lipstadt, of Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, and her publishers Penguin Books.

The judge ruled that Lipstadt was justified in branding Irving a "Holocaust denier" and an associate of right-wing extremists who promote neo-Nazism.

Irving now faces a ruinous two million pound ($3.17 million) legal bill.

Penguin, owned by Pearson Plc, said on Tuesday it would "resolutely pursue the costs" incurred in their defense. But Irving later said in a television interview he simply did not have the money.

He told the Times: "I have no doubt (the defendants) would drive me to bankruptcy."

"I WILL NOT BE GAGGED"

But he dismissed any idea that he would be silenced by the verdict.

"I will still continue to write what I find to be true history. I can't be intimidated," Irving told Sky television hours after he lost the case.

Flying in the face of all the evidence, Irving maintains that Adolf Hitler did not mastermind the mass slaughter of Jews and that the Nazi death camp Auschwitz was no more than a "Disneyland for tourists" built after World War Two.

In a damning verdict, Judge Charles Gray on Tuesday condemned Irving as "an active Holocaust denier...anti-Semitic and racist."

"Not only has he denied the existence of gas chambers at Auschwitz and asserted that no Jew was gassed there, he has done so on frequent occasions and sometimes in the most offensive terms," Gray told a packed courtroom.

"The charges which I have found substantially true include the charges that Irving has for his own ideological reasons persistently and deliberately misrepresented and manipulated historical evidence."

Lipstadt said after the ruling that the historian had "danced on the graves" of those who perished in the Holocaust.

In tears, she told a news conference: "It was evil."

"DISGRACE"

British media almost unanimously pilloried Irving.

The Sun, Britain's best-selling tabloid newspaper, said Irving had no place in a civilized society. "Irving is a disgrace to Britain," it screamed from its editorial page.

The Times called Irving "an intellectual bruiser" and said his rout in the libel case was a fitter punishment than the bans on Holocaust deniers in some countries including Germany.

"A British court has produced a more sophisticated and effective cross-examination of the Holocaust denial than a ban could ever provide," its comment page said.

Irving hit back, saying the judgement was "perverse." He vowed to appeal, although it was unclear where he would find the money required to do so.

"There are any number of grounds for appeal," he told Reuters on Tuesday. "I have no doubt that the Court of Appeal will hear the appeal on grounds of public interest."

Lipstadt said the ruling signaled "a great day" for authors and publishers. But she said the victory was tainted with sadness that victims of the Holocaust had had to listen to Irving's perverted and distorted view of history.

"There were moments that were disgusting, just disgusting," she said.

 

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