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U.S Scholar Is Victorious In Holocaust Libel Trial

By T. R. Reid

Washington Post Foreign Service
Wednesday, April 12, 2000; Page A18

LONDON, April 11 –– David Irving, a British historian who sought to chronicle World War II from Adolf Hitler's point of view, lost his long libel battle today as a High Court judge ruled he had "deliberately misrepresented and manipulated historical evidence" when he wrote that the Nazi leader was unaware of the Holocaust.

In a lengthy opinion, Justice Charles Gray said that American scholar Deborah Lipstadt was "substantially justified" in describing Irving as "one of the most dangerous spokespersons for Holocaust denial."
Lipstadt--a professor of Jewish studies at Emory University who coined the term "Holocaust denial"--has charged that Irving is a "Hitler partisan . . . a racist, and an antisemite" who provided a "crucial degree of respectability" to neo-Nazis and others seeking to deny the Nazi effort to exterminate Europe's Jews. Gray ruled today that each element of Lipstadt's description was "substantially accurate."

A prolific author who was once praised for his research by leading historians, Irving is now shunned by his former publishers. He sued Lipstadt and her publisher under Britain's plaintiff-friendly libel laws in an attempt to restore his academic reputation; instead, he now stands humiliated by the verdict and liable for the defendants' court costs, about $3 million. "There's no way I can pay the costs, because I have no money," he said today.

Standing alone at a bus stop in the rain after hearing the verdict, Irving, 62, said he was "defeated but unbowed." "No publisher will touch me after this," he said, adding that he intends to publish his own books from now on. "I am higher-profile now than I was" before the trial, he went on, "and I think the negative sign in front of the profile will be erased over time."

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