The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: people/i/irving.david//libel.suit/judgment-11.01

Newsgroups: alt.revisionism
Subject: Irving v. Penguin & Lipstadt: Judgment XI-01
Organization: The Nizkor Project
Keywords: David Irving libel action Deborah Lipstadt

Archive/File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/judgment-11.01
Last-Modified: 2000/04/11



11.1 As I have already pointed out, Denying the Holocaust contains no
reference to the bombing of Dresden. As explained in paragraph 4.4
above, the evidence is nevertheless admissible in support of the plea of
justification. Before addressing the way in which the Defendants seek to
place reliance on this topic, I shall summarise the events in question.

11.2 Early in 1945 Soviet forces were advancing on Germany from the East
driving back not only the German military but also a large number of
refugees. It was against that background that the Allies embarked on a
policy of carrying out bombing raids upon German cities, amongst which
the principal targets were Berlin, Leipzig and Dresden. Of these cities
Dresden was at that time the least industrialised. It was an historic
city in which were contained many of Germany's finest old buildings and
cultural treasures. There were industries (including armament factories)
there too but the city's main function was as an administrative,
transportation and communication centre.

11.3 On two successive nights, 13 and 14 February 1945, British bombers
carried out massive bombing raids on Dresden. The ostensible purpose of
the raids was to disrupt military industrial production. However, the
target of the raids was not the industrial sector but rather the
historic centre of the city, consisting for the most part of timbered
residential buildings. The consequences of the raids were on any view
horrific. The effect on industrial capacity was modest and the
disruption of transportation limited. But the damage in terms of loss of
life and destruction of property was catastrophic: a very substantial
number were killed, consisting almost exclusively of civilian residents
and refugees, and some 15 square kilometres of the heart of the city
were razed to the ground.

11.4 One of Irving's most widely read books is an account of these
events, entitled Apocalypse 1945: The Destruction of Dresden, first
published in 1963 under the title The Destruction of Dresden. He has
also made frequent reference to the bombing of Dresden in his speeches
(some of which are mentioned in section VIII above).

The Defendants' criticisms of Irving's account of the bombing

11.5 The Defendants rely on Irving's Dresden as a further illustration
of the manner in which he distorts and twists historical facts in order
to make them conform to his own political ideology. In particular the
Defendants allege that Irving has relied on forged evidence; that he has
attached credence to unreliable evidence; that he has twisted reliable
evidence and falsified statistics; that he has suppressed or ignored
reliable evidence and that he has misrepresented the facts as they
appear from the available evidence. I shall set out the parties'
arguments in relation to each of these allegations. But, since one of
the major criticism levelled at Irving by the Defendants relates to his
claim as to the number of those killed in the raids, I shall first set
out what his claims have been.

Numbers killed - Irving's claims

11.6 The estimates placed by Irving in succeeding editions of Dresden
and in his speeches on the number of fatalities due to the bombing of
Dresden are as follows:

(i) in the 1966 edition of The Destruction of Dresden Irving contended
that 135,000 were estimated authoritatively to have been killed and
further contended that the documentation suggested a figure between
100,00 and 250,000;

(ii) in the 1971 edition the figure for those killed was placed at more
than 100,000;

(iii) in 1989 when launching the 'Leuchter Report' in Britain Irving
informed journalists present that between 100,000 and 250,000 were

(iv) in 1992 Irving told the Institute of Historical Review that 100,000
people were killed in twelve hours by the British and the Americans;

(v) in 1993 in a video made for the Australian public Irving contended
that over 130,000 died;

(vi) in the 1995 edition of The Destruction of Dresden the attack was
estimated to have killed 50,000 and 100,000 inhabitants;

(vii) in 1996 in Goebbels: The Mastermind of the Third Reich Irving
noted that between 60,000 and 100,000 people has been killed in the
raids on Dresden.

11.7 Other such claims made by Irving include the following:

(i) in a speech in South Africa in 1986 Irving stated that 100,000
people were killed in one night in Dresden;

(i) in Ontario in 1991 he told and an audience that over 100,000 people
were killed in one night in February 1945;

(i) in a television documentary screened on 28 November 1991 Irving said
that 25,000 people may have been executed in Auschwitz but five times
that number were killed in Dresden in one night, and

(i) at the launch of the 'Leuchter Report' to in 1989 Irving stated that
there were 1,000,000 refugees in Dresden of whom "hundreds of thousands"
were killed.

11.8 In his Reply in the present action Irving asserted an intention to
prove at trial that estimates of casualties in Dresden have indeed
ranged between 35,000 and 250,000. At trial he testified that the best
margins for figures which he would accept were between 60,000 and
100,000. Irving contended that earlier estimates had been inflated by
the communist government of East Germany (in which Dresden was situated)
for essentially political reasons. He denied that he had been
responsible for some of the claims made on the dustjacket of the
paperback editions of The Destruction of Dresden.

The Defendants' claim that Irving relied on forged evidence

The case for the Defendants

11.9 The main plank of the Defendants' case against Irving in relation
to his book about Dresden is the way in which he used forged evidence,
namely Tagesbefehl (Order of the Day) no. 47 ("TB47"). This document was
dated 22nd March 1945 and attributed to a Colonel Grosse. It purported
to quote a brief extract from a statement made earlier by the Police
President of Dresden. It put the number of dead at 202,040 and expressed
the expectation of a final figure of 250,000. TB47 features in the 1966
and 1967 editions of Irving's book and is reproduced in both as an

11.10 Irving had previously in 1963 denounced TB47 as spurious and as an
ingenious piece of propaganda. In the 1963 edition of Dresden Irving had
referred to Goebbels having deliberately started a rumour about the
death toll in Dresden "wildly exceeding any figure within the realms of
possibility". He also referred in that edition to the leaking of what he
described as a "spurious" order of 23 March 1945 which gave a figure for
deaths of 202,040 and an estimate of more than 250,000 for the final
total. TB47 had already been denounced as "false and fraudulently
invented and publicised" in a book by Professor Seydewitz.

11.11 But Irving subsequently changed his mind about the authenticity of
TB47 when he was provided with a copy of it. In the 1966 edition of
Dresden Irving was coy about naming his source. The indirect source was
a resident of Dresden named Dr Funfack, who according to Irving had
received the document through official channels. Dr Funfack showed the
document to a Dresden photographer, Walter Hahn, who made a copy of it.
Irving visited Hahn in November 1964 and saw the copy of the so-called
TB47 and asked for a copy of that copy. Hahn's wife obliged and typed
out a copy for Irving. Walter Lange, the Dresden City archivist was also
at the Hahns' that day and he told Irving that the document was a patent
forgery. Irving's copy was not authenticated by any official stamp.

11.12 The Defendants contend that, in these circumstances, Irving should
not have made any use of TB47 or the figures contained in it. Yet,
despite the lack of verification and despite the doubts which he himself
expressed about the figures at the time, Irving began to circulate
information about TB47, claiming that he was in no doubt as to the
authenticity of the document, adding that it remained to be established
if the figure for casualties was equally genuine.

11.13 Whatever may have been his reservations about the figure, Irving
on 28 November 1964 wrote to his German publisher that the information
in TB47 was "sensational". On 6 December 1964 he wrote to the Provost of
Coventry Cathedral in connection with a forthcoming exhibition enclosing
a copy of his copy of TB47:

"To drive home the impact of the exhibition I also suggest that you have
the text of the Police President's report on the Dresden raids
(attached) printed in large type; I think that its nonchalance and the
casualties it mentions have a shattering impact.I am myself in no doubt
as to the authenticity of the document, having obtained it from the
Dresden Deputy Chief Medical Officer responsible for disposing of the

11.14 When the German edition of The Destruction of Dresden was reviewed
in December 1964, Funfack was named in the press as the author of the
new casualty figures. This prompted the latter to write to Irving on 16
January 1965 to say that he had not been the Dresden Deputy Chief
Medical officer; that he had only ever heard the numbers third hand and
that he had not been involved in any official capacity. He also pointed
out that he was only given a copy of TB47. In the same letter Funfack
told Irving that General Mehnert, the city commander, had spoken of
140,000 deaths and that Professor Fetscher, head of civilian air
defence, had spoken of 180,000. Mehnert and Fetscher had both since died
but Funfack told Irving that an International Red Cross delegation had
visited the city and that the head of that delegation would know best.
Funfack suggested that Irving contact the Red Cross. However, the Red
Cross informed Irving that, whilst a delegate of theirs named Kleinert
had been in the area at the time, no information concerning the numbers
killed in the raids had been gathered by him. His reports had not even
referred to the air raids.

11.15 Despite Funfack's expressed inability to authenticate TB47, Irving
continued to promote TB47 in the German press. Irving had received the
letter from Funfack in late January 1965 at the latest. Yet in February
1965 he wrote a draft article for the Sunday Telegraph which persisted
in the claim that he had received TB47 from Dr Funfack, who Irving
continued to describe as Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Dresden District,
and as such responsible for the cremation and disposal of the victims.

11.16 On 19 March 1965 Irving wrote to his Italian publishers that his
then figure of 135,000 for the death toll was "probably too low". He
told them that he had obtained copy of an official police report which
gave a final figure for the death roll of between 202,040 and 250,000.
He asked that, if the Italian edition had not gone to press, this new
fact and document be inserted. He added that it was going into the
German and East German editions.

11.17 The Defendants contend that the use made by Irving of the
purported TB47, as described at paragraphs 11.13, 15 and 16 was
unconscionable. The Defendants contend that, in the light of Funfack's
denials, it was worse than irresponsible for Irving to promote the new
figures without revealing Funfack's denials. Irving was making use of a
document which he knew might well have been forged. He was well aware
that the Nazis themselves had used similar figures and versions of TB47
when promoting the numbers of dead in Dresden to the foreign neutral
press and to Germans for domestic propaganda purposes.

11.18 Evans claimed that there were internal reasons why Irving should
have been suspicious about the supposed TB47. Apart from the lack of
official stamps or signature, the text of TB47 is indicative of a clumsy
forgery. It opens with the words 'In order to be able to counter wild
rumours' and closes 'As the rumours exceed the reality, open use can be
made of the actual figures'. But the rumours themselves never pointed to
more than 200,000, so quoting 202,040 could do little to counter the
wild rumours. Furthermore, Evans noted that comparable raids on other
German cities had led to casualties representing between 1% and 3.3% of
their populations. In Dresden 250,000 dead would have meant 20-30% of
the population. How, asked Evans, would it have been possible to have
removed 200,000 bodies within a month. Moreover the claim in TB47 that
68,650 were incinerated in the Altmarkt defies belief, according to
Evans, since it would have taken weeks and many gallons of gasoline to
burn so many corpses in the available space.

11.19 In February 1965 Theo Miller, who had been a member of the Dresden
clearing staff in 1945, wrote two letters to Irving in which he gave a
detailed account of the system whereby commanders of the rescue units
reported the number of corpses found and the numbers were entered in a
book kept by him. He continued:

     "Soon after the attack we heard in (sic) the radio Joseph Goebbels
     reporting on the attack on Dresden. He spoke of 300,000 deads
     (sic). In your book you mention the figure of 135,000. My records
     at the Clearing Staff showed 30,000 corpses. If you assume that
     amount of deads (sic) completely burnt etc would reach 20%, the
     total figure of victims will not exceed 36,000. Still this figure -
     two full divisions - is terrible enough".

Miller's second letter went into even greater detail and reiterated the
figure of 30,000 which he said that he remembered well.

11.20 The Defendants say that this was apparently credible evidence from
a witness who on the face of it was ideally placed to know the true
facts. They contend that no conscientious seeker after the truth could
honestly have ignored this evidence. Irving never mentioned Miller or
his testimony.

11.21 Irving went on 10 July 1965 to interview the widow of Colonel
Grosse, the purported author of TB47. She showed some letters her
husband had written in 1945. Irving later claimed that their style and
expression resembled that of TB47 (which was typewritten). He did not,
however, spell out what the similarities were. Subsequently Irving
claimed that Frau Grosse remembered her husband saying that the final
toll of the dead would be 250,000. In the 1966 Corgi edition of his book
Irving wrote that she had said that her husband spoke of the final total
as having been 250,000.

11.22 The 1966 Corgi edition of Dresden continued to rely on TB47 and
the doument was quoted in an appendix. Irving included in this the claim
that Kleiner, the leader of the Red Cross delegation, had been informed
in the presence of witnesses by Mehnert that the death toll was 140,000.
In the 1995 edition Irving went further and claimed that the report of
the representative of the Red Cross might well have contained other
information than about the number of prisoners among the casualties.
Whilst it is true that Funfack had told Irving of Mehnert's figure of
140,000 (which figure Mehnert had stressed was not based on any
documents he had seen), there is, according to Evans, no evidence that
the figure of 140,000 was ever supplied to the Red Cross. The Defendants
contend that no honest-minded objective historian would rely on a story
told to him at third hand by a source (Funfack) who himself had no
reliable evidence on the number killed. Moreover the Red Cross had no
connection with the figure given by Mehnert. The Defendants allege that
the reference to the Red Cross in the 1966 edition was designed by
Irving to give spurious credibility to what Mehnert is claimed to have
said about the number of deaths.

11.23 In 1965 the document on which TB47 was based surfaced. It was the
Final Report issued by the Dresden police on 15 March 1945. It bore the
initials of a Dresden police officer named Jurk, whose daughter-in-law
gave it to an historian named Weidauer. It was signed by Thierig, who
had been a colonel in the Dresden police force at the material time. It
recorded the number of deaths up to 10 March 1945 as 18,375.

11.24 In May 1966 another document came to light which confirmed the
authenticity of the Final report. It was a Situation Report No 1404 of
the Berlin Chief of Police dated 22 March 1945 (the same day at TB47).
It recorded the same data as the Final Report, giving the current death
toll as 18,375 and predicting a final toll of 25,000. Another Situation
Report No. 1414 also made by the Berlin Chief of Police and dated 3
April 1945 put the figure for the number of killed recovered persons at
22,096. Evans argued that, in the light of these documents, Irving
should have abandoned all reliance on TB47. He noted that Irving
affected to take the matter seriously and announced his intention to
publicise the new evidence. Evans claimed that when Irving did finally
reveal the existence of the 'Final Report', through The Times and Sunday
Telegraph in June and July 1966, it was too little and too late.

11.25 Moreover Irving began publicly to cast doubt on the veracity of
statistics in the Final Report, suggesting that the circumstances in
which the data contained in it was collected meant that the final
figures could not be relied upon. Evans made the point that, if the
ability to count 18,375 in the 'Final Report' could not be relied upon,
as Irving contends, how then could the figure of 202,040 in TB47 be
trusted. When asked in the summer of 1966 by his Italian publishers if
he wanted the text of his letter to the Times reproduced in the
forthcoming new Italian edition, Irving replied that he did not and
added "despite what I wrote to the Times I do no think that too much
importance can be attached to the figures given in the new German

11.26 Despite Irving's professed intention to publicise the 'Final
Report', the figure given for the number of dead in the 1967 Corgi
edition of The Destruction of Dresden was revised from 135,000 down to
100,000 but no lower. The German edition of the same year gave the same
prominence to TB47 as it had enjoyed in the 1966 Corgi edition and gave
135,000 as the "most probable" figure. The 1977 edition of Hitler's War
made the following reference to the raid: "The night's death toll in
Dresden was estimated at a quarter of a million". The Defendants
maintain that, on the evidence which had then become available including
the discrediting of TB47, no honest historian would have put forward a
figure for the death toll in excess of 35,000.

11.27 The Defendants contend that in 1977 TB47 was conclusively proved
to have been a forgery. The historian Bergander obtained a copy of the
original of TB47 from a reservist, Werner Ehlich, who had had the
original document in his hands and, in his capacity as a member of the
Dresden police force, had made one typed and one hand-written copy of
it. Ehlich's copy of TB47 put the total number of deaths at 20,204 and
the expected dead at 25,000. Evans surmised that the fake TB47 came into
existence when someone doctored the genuine document by adding a '0' at
the end of each number. Evans expressed the opinion that the version of
TB47 on which Irving had relied for so long was beyond question a

11.28 But Irving continued, perversely and unforgivably say the
Defendants, to make claims for a higher number of casualties. For
instance in Goring Irving claimed that the death toll would rise to
100,000. At the press conference held in June 1989 to introduce the
Leuchter report, he said that anything between 100,000 and 250,000 had
been killed. In an interview with This Week on 28 November 1991 Irving
referred to 25,000 having been killed at Auschwitz, adding that "we
killed five times that number in Dresden in one night". Other speeches
in Canada and in the US in 1991 and 1992 included similar claims. The
1995 edition of Destruction of Dresden gave a figure of between 50,000
and 100,000.

Irving's case as to the death toll and his use of TB47

11.29 By way of general answer to the criticism of manner in which he
has made exaggerated claims as to the number of those killed in the
bombing, Irving submits that at all times (a) he has set and published
the proper upper and lower limits for the estimates that he gave, giving
a range of figures which necessarily decreased over the years as the
state of information improved and (b) that he had an adequate basis for
the figures which he provided in his works.

11.30 Irving Irving emphasised that he had not been responsible for the
claims as to the number of casualties made on the dustjacket of the sub-
licensed Corgi edition of Dresden. He agreed that in the 1977 and 1991
editions of the book he wrote that the death toll was estimated at a
quarter of a million. There were estimates as high as that. One such
estimate derived from a West German government publication. Irving
referred also to a US Air Force document dated 19 July 1945 which gave
an estimate of 250,000 for the number of casualties in Dresden but had
to accept that there was no indication where the informants identified
in the document (who were Nazi medical officers) had got their
information from.

11.31 Irving accepted that he had been aware that during the war
Goebbels had sought to make use for propaganda purposes of the raid on
Dresden and that to that end he had put into circulation a forged
document giving a figure for deaths of 202,040. He mentioned this in the
first edition of Destruction of Dresden published in 1963 as well as in
a letter to his publisher in 1the same year.

11.32 Irving agreed that in 1964 that he was provided with a copy of
TB47 by Hahn in the circumstances I have described. It was because of
its provenance that Irving did not immediately dismiss it as a forgery
on the ground that the figures contained it were the same as those
contained in Goebbels's propaganda forgery. When he first saw TB47,
Irving believed that his indirect source for the document, Dr Funfack,
had been the Deputy Chief Medical Officer who had been responsible for
disposing of the corpses of the victims. He agreed that in January 1965
he received a letter from Dr Funfack in which the doctor denied having
been Deputy Chief Medical Officer or having been involved with the
disposal of corpses. But Irving testified that he did not believe what
Funfack said. He produced a photograph depicting piles of corpses in
which he claimed that Funfack can be seen in the background wearing Nazi
uniform. The reason, according to Irving, for Funfack's false denial is
that he, living in Communist East Germany, was terrified to admit that
he had been a senior medical officer in a Nazi city during the war.
Irving claimed that he had been informed that Funfack had indeed been
Deputy Chief Medical Officer but he did not vouchsafe who
provided that information. Irving agreed that he had never revealed the
fact that Funfack had denied knowledge of TB47.

11.33 When Irving first saw the figures in TB47, his reaction was that,
if true, they were sensational. However, Irving accepted that from the
first there was grave doubt about the figures contained it and that
there was concern that the figures for deaths (202,000) and expected
deaths (250,000) might be forged. Asked about letters he wrote soon
after coming into possession of TB47, Irving agreed that he had
expressed himself as entirely satisfied as to the authenticity of the
document, despite his reservations about the figures for deaths
contained in it. He did, however point out that in his letter to Irving
of 19 January 1965 Funfack wrote that in February 1945 General Mehnert,
City Kommandant of Dresden, had mentioned to him a figure of 140,000
dead and that Professor Fetscher of the Civil Defence Organisation had
spoken of 180,000 dead. Even so, he agreed that the figures in the
purported TB47 called for proper enquiries and for further
investigations to be made. Irving duly wrote to the German Federal
Archive enquiring about the document and sought information as to the
whereabouts of its author, Colonel Grosse.

11.34 In relation to his letter to the Provost of Coventry urging him to
display TB47 because of the impact the figure for deaths would achieve,
Irving pointed out that TB47 mentions not only casualties but also
damage to property. He conceded that the figures had not been
substantiated but added that a figure for deaths of 35,000 would have
been equally shocking. Irving said that the higher figure of over
200,000 deaths appeared to him to be in line with the number of deaths
in Hiroshima and other major air raid disasters. Irving saw nothing
improper in the use of TB47 made in his letter to the Provost.

11.35 Irving claimed to have gone to great lengths to follow up the
suggestion made in Funfack's letter to Irving of 16 January 1965 that
the Red Cross might be able to provide him with information. He agreed
that in the event the Red Cross had been unable to provide any
information. He denied that in the 1966 Corgi edition of Destruction of
Dresden the assertion that Kleiner of the Red Cross had been informed by
General Mehnert that the death toll was 140,000 was an invention by him.
But he was unable to be specific as to where the information came from.

11.36 Irving acknowledged that in February 1965 he had received a letter
from Theo Miller, formerly of the Dresden clearing staff. He conceded
that there was no reason to doubt Miller's good faith but claimed
(despite the fact that Miller's figure of 30,000 is very close to the
figure in the genuine TB47) that he may have been fantasising. He agreed
that he had made no mention of Miller's evidence. But he rejected the
suggestion that he had been guilty of applying double standards in
placing reliance on third-hand hearsay accounts provided by Funfack and
ignoring first-hand evidence from someone directly involved in dealing
with the bodies of those killed in the raid. Irving explained that it is
part of the skill of an historian to select and reject evidence
according to his assessment of its reliability. Irving indignantly
denied the suggestion that he had deliberately suppressed the evidence
of Miller.

11.37 Irving confirmed that he had tracked down the widow of Colonel
Grosse, the author of TB47. He said that Frau Grosse remembered her
husband having spoke of a figure of about 202,000 deaths.

11.38 Irving received a copy of Situation Report 1404, which estimated
the final death toll at 25,000, in May 1966 (see paragraph 11.24 above).
Irving says that he was advised at that time by his London publisher to
keep quiet about the new figures. But he emphasised that he promptly
made the new figures public in his letter to the Times, in which he made
clear his acceptance of the fact that the figures in the copy of TB47 on
which he had relied had been forged. He circulated 500 copies of his
letter. He suggested that this was a highly unusual step for an
historian to take. Most historians would wait and publish the new
information in their next book. He argued that his conduct demonstrates
that he has not sought to obfuscate the true number killed in the
bombing. Asked to explain why, having done that, he had written to his
Italian publisher that he did not think too much importance should be
attached to Situation Report 1404, Irving replied that he had in mind
the estimates reportedly made by Mehnert and Fetscher; death tolls in
other comparable disasters and the view expressed in letters to him by
Dresden civilians that the upper limit was 250,000 deaths. Irving added
that the author of the report, being the man in charge of civil defence,
had a motive for understating the number of casualties.

11.39 Irving testified that he was unaware of the genuine TB47,
discovered by Bergander, until it was put to him in cross-examination.
He accepted, however, that the figures contained in it (deaths 20,000,
expected ultimate death toll 25,000) are correct since they tally with
the report of the Dresden Police Chief and the Situation Report 1404.
Despite this concession Irving argued that the true figure for the
number of deaths is between 60,000 and 100,000. He maintained that, at
the date of TB47 and the two reports, the corpses in the cellars of the
city's houses had not been cleared. He agreed, however, that research
indicates that only 1,800 bodies were recovered from beneath the ruined
buildings in Dresden. Irving suggested that many would have been burnt
literally to ashes. He pointed out that the city was at the time crowded
with refugees fleeing from the Russians advancing from the east. It is
impossible to know how many refugees there were or what has become of
them. Irving would not accept the suggestion put to him that the maximum
total figure is 35,000.

11.40 When asked why, after authentic reports had come to light all
giving figures for deaths in the region of 30,000 he had repeatedly
mentioned, on the occasions I have already itemised in paragraph 11.6
and 11.7 above, vastly higher figures, Irving explained that the top
bracket was based on many letters he had received over the years. It is,
said Irving, a matter of paying your money and taking your choice. As to
the reference in Hitler's War (1991) edition to a death toll of a
quarter of a million, Irving explained that this was the estimate which
had been given to Hitler. The lowest figures became available to him in
1997 when he received the book which Friedrich Reichert had published in
1994. Unfortunately this information was received after the most recent
edition of Dresden had gone to press.

The claim that Irving attached credence to unreliable evidence

The case for the Defendants

11.41 This part of the Defendants' case has been largely summarised
already in paragraphs 11.9 to 11.40. As examples of the credence given
by Irving to unreliable sources, the Defendants cite his reliance on the
forged TB 47; his reliance on evidence from unidentified individuals as
to the number of deaths (see paragraph 11.38); his speculation about the
number of refugees in the city that night (see paragraph 11.39 above);
his reliance on the figure given to him by Frau Grosse (see paragraph
11.37 above) and his reliance on the figures provided by Mehnert and
Fetscher (see paragraph 11.33 above).

11.42 Another instance where Irving is alleged by the Defendants to have
given credence to unreliable testimony is the evidence of Hans Voigt. He
was the sole source for Irving's claim that 135,000 people died. Voigt
worked for the Saxon Ministry of the Interior in a central bureau of
missing persons. His job was to collect the records of the dead and of
those still buried in the ruins. His department was responsible for
arriving at a final estimate of the death toll. Using four different
systems for filing different data, Voigt's department was apparently
able to identify some 40,000 of the dead. Irving took this figure as the
absolute minimum for those killed. He adopted Voigt's estimate of
135,000 for the total number of those killed. This figure was confirmed
to Irving by Voigt. According to Irving, Voigt told him that the
estimate of 35,000 made by the Russians had been arrived at by striking
off the first digit from the figure of 135,000.

11.43 Evans criticised Irving for giving any weight to so unreliable a
source. Voigt's estimate is not corroborated by anyone else; nor is it
supported by any documentary evidence. There is no corroborative
evidence for Voigt's theory that the Russians struck off the first digit
from the figure of 135,000. Walter Weidauer, the author of Inferno
Dresden, disputed Voigt's claim that the death register records between
80,000 and 90,000 deaths. The register is still in Dresden Town Hall.
Deaths by reason of the bombing are recorded on numbered cards. The
highest card number for an unidentified body was 31,102. This number
tallies with the number given in the so-called street books where deaths
were recorded by reference to the streets and houses where the dead were
found. Evans alleged that no objective historian would rely, still less
adopt, the evidence of such a source as Voigt.

Irving's response

11.44 I have summarised Irving's response at paragraphs 11.8 and 11.29
to 40 above.

The allegation that Irving has bent reliable evidence and falsified

The case for the Defendants

11.45 The first example provided by Evans of Irving's alleged
falsification of statistics and misuse of figures is his attribution to
the Federal Ministry of Statistics of a figure of between 120,000 and
150,000 (and later 500,000) deaths. The source for these figures was Dr
Sperling of that Ministry. But in reality Dr Sperling concluded that the
most probable figure was 60,000.

11.46 As evidence that Irving bends reliable sources, Evans cited a
letter that Irving wrote to Suddeutsche Zeitung which claimed that the
police chief who wrote the Final Report had a reason to minimise his
losses as he was charged with air-raid protection.

Irving's response

11.47 In relation to Sperling's estimate of the number of those killed,
Irving pointed out that Sperling had given the figures of 120,000 and
150,000 in a letter which he produced. Irving explained that Sperling's
"best estimate" of 60,000 was arrived at because he wanted to play down
the figures. Irving adhered to his suggestion that the police chief was
likely, by virtue of his office, to have minimised the number of

The allegation that Irving suppressed or failed to take account of
reliable evidence

The case for the defendants

11.48 The Defendants rely on the suppression by Irving of the evidence
of Miller, which is referred to at paragraph 11.36 above. It was, say
the Defendants, perverse and unwarranted for Irving to have preferred
the uncorroborated hearsay evidence of Mehnert to the credible, first-
hand testimony of Miller.

11.49 The Defendants also criticise Irving for his treatment of the two
reports which are referred to in paragraph 11.23 and 24 above. Irving
made clear on several occasions at the time when he received copies of
these reports that he regarded them "with extreme caution" and that he
remained "a little suspicious" of the new figures. He told his Italian
publishers not to attach too much importance to them. According to the
Defendants, there was no justification whatever for such caution in the
face of the hard evidence of the two reports.

11.50 Thirdly, the Defendants allege that Irving is perverse when he
sticks to his estimate of 60,000 to 100,000 when Reichert (definitively,
according to Evans) fixes the figure at 25,000 (see paragraph 11.40

Irving's response

11.51 The only explanation offered by Irving for his disregard of the
testimony of Miller was that he had been fantasising. It was, however,
not made clear by Irvin on what evidence he based this assertion.

11.52 Irving gave as his reasons for being cautious about the two
reports that the figure given in them conflicted with the figures quoted
by Mehnert and Fetscher; the conflicted also with the figures for those
killed in comparable disasters in other cities and with estimates given
by Dresden civilians. The Chief of Police had every reason to minimise
the figure.

11.53 I have already spelled out at paragraphs 1.39 and 40 the reasons
given by Irving for his adherence to figures greater than Reichert's

The allegation that Irving has misrepresented evidence

The case for the Defendants

11.54 The prime instance cited by the Defendants is the persistent
misrepresentation by Irving of the evidence (referred to above) as to
the number of those killed in the bombing of Dresden. They rely also on
his misrepresentation of the evidence of Dr Sperling as to the number
killed (see paragraph 11.45 above). Finally they rely on what the
Defendants assert to be not merely misrepresentation of the evidence but
an invention on the part of Irving, namely his claim that the figures of
140,000 and 180,000 had been supplied at the time to Kleinert of the Red
Cross (see paragraph 11.39 above).

Irving's response

11.55 I have already summarised Irving' answers to these criticisms (see
in particular paragraphs 11.56 and 11.45.

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