I have a feature in the Express on “Denial”, the compelling new film about the David Irving vs Deborah Lipstadt libel trial.
When Richard Rampton rose to deliver his opening statement he was blunt: “My Lord, Mr Irving calls himself an historian. The truth is, however, that he is not an historian at all but a falsifier of history. To put it bluntly, he is a liar.”
Denial shows how Lipstadt herself had major doubts about some parts of the strategy.Some potential Jewish donors to her campaign made it clear they thought the whole trial could only give Irving publicity. Not only did Julius not want her to testify he also refused to allow any Holocaust survivors on the witness stand. For Lipstadt the idea seemed almost perverse. Julius, though, insisted that it would be a mistake to give Irving – who was representing himself – a chance to ridicule or humiliate elderly survivors. In the end, Lipstadt agreed it was the right decision.
One of the characters I mention in passing is Fred Leuchter (he pronounces it “Loocher”, btw, not in the German style used in the film) the execution equipment manufacturer – yes, really – who eventually became a minor celebrity in the Holocaust denial industry. I interviewed him about his business many, many years ago, and still have the two pens he gave me as a memento.