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Monday, 14 February, 2000, 16:47 GMT
Historian 'believed what Nazis told him'

David Irving David Irving is defending himself at the High Court


Historian David Irving has denied claims that he placed too much faith in Nazi accounts of World War II.

In his continuing libel trial at the High Court, Mr Irving insisted that before conducting interviews with senior Nazi figures, he had persuaded them to be frank enough to reveal information even if it was against their interests, or those of Hitler.


An almost entirely uncritical faith was placed in Nazi testimony
Professor Richard Evans
Mr Irving is suing author Deborah Lipstadt and Penguin Books over a claim that he is a "Holocaust denier".

He insists on "numerous occasions", he persuaded Hitler's former aides and other leading Nazis to reveal full details of what had happened.

Mr Irving's comments came as he cross-examined a defence witness, Professor Richard Evans, who states in a 740-page report to the court that Mr Irving placed an "almost entirely uncritical" faith in the details supplied by his Nazi interviewees.

Deborah Lipstadt Deborah Lipstadt denies libel
It was in the interest of former Nazis of all kinds, he wrote: "to deny all knowledge of, let alone participation in, the crimes of Nazism, including the extermination of the Jews".

"They had a motive for persuading Irving to be their mouthpiece in continuing their personal quest for public exculpation at a later date".

Mr Irving put it to the witness that he was accusing him of "gullibility in falling for what they told me".

Rush to judgement

Professor Evans, who says he does not regard Mr Irving as a "reputable historian", replied: "I wouldn't accuse you of being gullible Mr Irving."

Mr Irving claimed that Professor Evans had made "an over-hasty rush to judgement on me which is not borne out by the evidence".

Professor Evans said he did not deny the fact that Mr Irving had obtained "a great deal of material" which others had not, and that his interviews with former members of Hitler's staff "have contributed in some way to historical knowledge".

The defendants, who deny libel, have accused Mr Irving, 62, of being a liar and falsifier of history.

The hearing was adjourned and is expected to last for several months.

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See also:
10 Feb 00 |  UK
Irving 'unworthy of being called historian'
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'
17 Jan 00 |  UK
Holocaust trains 'well provisioned'
11 Jan 00 |  UK
Revisionist scholar with talent for controversy
10 Jan 00 |  UK
High Court battle over Holocaust book

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