Notebook

Often, even in court, one had to pinch oneself to realize the enormity of the events we were discussing. Much of the time, however, merely to keep oneself from becoming uncontrollably angry, it was necessary to erect some kind of emotional curtain between the court proceedings and the death camps, to distance oneself from the horrors of Auschwitz and Treblinka… Before going into the witness box to be cross-examined by Irving, I had two pieces of sound advice which constituted in fact the only kind of coaching I received from the defence. “Remember, Richard,” said Anthony Julius, “you’re on the stand for two and a half hours without a break, so don’t take too many sips of water from the glass they give you; it would be embarrassing to have to ask the judge for a comfort break while you go to the loo.” I followed this as closely as I could, though the dry atmosphere of the air-conditioned courtroom obliged me to have frequent recourse to the water-glass all the same, and on or two occasions it was touch and go.

The other piece of advice was from Robert Jan Van Pelt, who went into the box before me. “Don’t look Irving in the eye,” he said, “it’ll just make you angry.”

Richard J. Evans, “Telling Lies About Hitler: The Holocaust, History and the David Irving Trial”.

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