LONDON, Jan. 23 (JTA) A British Holocaust revisionist who is suing a U.S. Holocaust scholar in a London court has admitted that the Nazis “systematically” gassed 97,000 Jews in trucks.
David Irving, whose trial against Deborah Lipstadt, a professor of Emory University in Atlanta, is now entering its third week, said last week that he was “willing to eat humble pie” after he admitted that he had been “quite plainly wrong” for statements in which he said the Nazis used gassing trucks “on a very limited scale to experiment.”
Irving is suing Lipstadt and her British publisher, Penguin Books, over passages in her book, “Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory.”
He says that by labeling him a denier of the Holocaust and accusing him of distorting historical data to suit his own ideological goals, Lipstadt has ruined his career as a writer and historian.
Irving told the High Court that what he had said in the past about the scale and number of the gas truck deaths was based on his knowledge at the time.
But under cross-examination by Richard Rampton, Irving admitted he was mistaken after he was shown a document that specified that 97,000 Jews were gassed in three trucks in a period of just five weeks.
When the judge, Justice Charles Gray, asked Irving if he would describe that as “very limited and experimental,” Irving replied: “No, this is systematic.”
In another exchange, Rampton said Irving must be “mad or a liar” to suggest Jews who were deported to the East during the war were not being sent to their deaths.
He was responding to a claim by Irving that messages intercepted by British wartime intelligence indicated trains transporting Jews to the camps were equipped with a “very substantial amount of food” and “tools of the trade” for their occupants.
Irving said this indicated “the system that was sending them was apprehending that they would be doing something when they got there.”
Rampton asked why he thought the Jews were being sent to “little villages in the middle of nowhere” in eastern Poland in 1942.
“The documents do not tell me,” replied Irving, adding that “there could be any number of convincing explanations.”
At an earlier hearing, Irving told the judge that his extradition was being sought by a German court for telling a meeting in Germany that the gas chambers at Auschwitz were erected as a tourist attraction by Poland’s postwar Communist regime.