Telling lies about Hitler
Richard J. Evans worked on the historical evidence on behalf of the defence during the Irving libel trial. In Telling Lies about Hitler, the author discusses the importance of historical writing and the social role of historians in such trials.
In April 2000, a High Court judge branded the writer David Irving a racist, an anti-semite, a Holocaust denier and a falsifier of history. Irving’s attempts to silence his critics by means of a libel suit against the American historian Deborah Lipstadt was decisively rejected in a judgement later confirmed by the Court of Appeal. Faced with mountainous costs to pay, Irving was declared bankrupt on 5 March 2002. But none of this has stopped him continuing to try to prevent the publication of books that expose him as a manipulator of historical documents who has denied the Nazi genocide of the Jews in the gas chambers of Auschwitz and elsewhere.;The key expert witness in revealing Irving’s methods of historical falsification was the Cambridge historian Richard J. Evans, a specialist on modern German history and author of “In Defence of History”. Although Evans’s report was upheld in all its major points by the High Court, Irving’s threats of legal action have succeeded in intimidating a series of publishers into dropping his book on the trial after first agreeing to take it on.;Evans describes how he came to be involved in the case, and reflects on the interaction of historical and legal rules of evidence. He recounts his discovery of how Irving falsified the documentary evidence on which he claimed to have based his account of Hitler, the Holocaust, the Allied bombing of Dresden and other aspects of World War II, and demonstrates his connections with far-right Holocaust deniers in the United States.