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Thursday, 10 February, 2000, 19:31 GMT
Irving 'unworthy of being called historian'

David Irving David Irving: Work regarded as 'anti-semitic'

Author David Irving is not worthy of the title "historian", a leading academic has told the High Court.

Richard Evans, professor of modern history at Cambridge University, told the libel trial brought by the writer that he was not prepared for the "sheer depth of duplicity" he encountered in Mr Irving's analysis of Holocaust-related historical sources.

Mr Irving, 62, the author of Hitler's War and Goebbels: Mastermind of the Third Reich, is seeking damages against academic Deborah Lipstadt and Penguin Books, over a claim that he is a "Holocaust denier".

He has fallen so far short of the standards of scholarship customary among historians that he doesn't deserve to be called a historian at all
Professor Richard Evans

Professor Evans made his comments after being called as an expert for the defence.

The academic has produced a 740-page report on Mr Irving's historical method, which he insisted was objective as he had no personal feelings towards the author.

He said he had been "shocked" at what he found, adding that Mr Irving "has fallen so far short of the standards of scholarship customary among historians that he doesn't deserve to be called a historian at all".

'Brutal' assessment

But his comments were challenged by Mr Irving, who said that Professor Evans' "sweeping and rather brutal" assessment of his career stemmed from personal animosity.

"I think you dislike what I write and stand for and what you perceive my views to be," he said.

Mr Irving said that he was "scrupulously fair " in everything he did in public life - "the total opposite of being unscrupulous and manipulative and deceptive as you say in your report".

Professor Evans said that he acknowledged Mr Irving's wide knowledge of source material relating to the Third Reich, but questioned his interpretation.

Deborah Lipstadt Prof Lipstadt: Mr Irving "denies" Holocaust
He said the author's published writings and speeches contained numerous statements which he regarded as "anti-Semitic" to the extent of blaming the Jews for the Holocaust.

His report also concluded that Mr Irving relied on the fact his audience lacked "either the time or the expertise" to check his sources for the "distortions and manipulations" he allegedly perpetuated.

Professor Evans said he accepted that people were entitled to challenge the "general consensus" of history, but asserted that there was a duty to conform to academic standards when evaluating evidence.

Mr Irving, who is representing himself, refutes the defendants' claims that he was a liar and that he falsified history.

The hearing, expected to last several months, was adjourned until Monday.

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See also:
02 Feb 00 |  UK
Historian denies 'racist' accusation
26 Jan 00 |  UK
Gas chambers did not exist - historian
20 Jan 00 |  UK
Historian denies anti-semitism 'slur'
18 Jan 00 |  UK
Hitler historian branded 'mad or liar'
17 Jan 00 |  UK
Holocaust trains 'well provisioned'
11 Jan 00 |  UK
Revisionist scholar with talent for controversy
11 Jan 00 |  UK
Hitler historian branded a 'liar'
10 Jan 00 |  UK
High Court battle over Holocaust book
12 Jan 00 |  UK
Historian: Gas chambers are 'big lie'

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