In a verdict widely seen as a blow to the growing enterprise of Holocaust denial, a British judge has found that World War II historian David Irving was not libeled by a Jewish author who labeled him a Hitler partisan who falsifies history.
After being pelted with eggs on his way to the London High Court, the British author of some 20 books arrived to hear judge Charles Gray condemn him for his anti-Semitic "political agenda."
The judge said Irving "displays a distinctly pro-Nazi and anti-Jewish bias." And he went on to call Irving "an active Holocaust denier" who "deliberately misrepresented and manipulated historical evidence."
"No objective, fair-minded historian would have serious cause to doubt that there were gas chambers at Auschwitz and that they were operated on a substantial scale to kill hundreds of thousands of Jews," Judge Gray said.
Irving had sued Deborah Lipstadt, author of the 1994 book Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory, for libel. And although few doubted Lipstadt's allegations, many experts worried that she could lose the case in Britain, where it is far harder to defend libel suits than under U.S. law.
Irving was repeatedly embarassed during the trial, as when a defense attorney read aloud a racist ditty Irving used to sing to his 9-month-old daughter.
The latest bizarre incident occurred when Irving, evidently forgetting where he was and who he was addressing, called Gray "mein Fuhrer" rather than "my Lord."
Now, Irving has been ordered to pay Lipstadt's full legal costs — an estimated $5 million. Lipstadt's attorneys say that if he does not, they will go after Irving's supporters. Irving has said he received backing in the legal case from over 4,000 people, including 2,000 in the United States, who donated some $500,000.
Despite everything, Irving did his best to hold his head high. "I have no regrets," he told reporters after the verdict. "It's been the most exhausting phase of my life, but I put up a good fight. They wanted a scrap, so I gave them one."