The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: people/i/irving.david/press/irving-vrs-lipstadt/Press_Summary.000416

Sunday Times
April 16, 2000

   Hunt for Irving's
  backers as lawyers
    seek #2m costs

    Nick Fielding 

SUPPORTERS of the racist historian
David Irving are to be pursued for
payment of #2m in costs incurred in his
libel action which failed last week. 

Although Irving appears to have little
money, defence lawyers say they will
not let the matter go. "Irving will be
pursued for every penny of the costs,
and if we don't get the money from him
we will go to the judge and ask him to
order Irving to divulge the names of his
financial backers," said Mike Whine, a
spokesman for the Board of Deputies
of British Jews and a member of the
defence team in the action. 

Irving sued Deborah Lipstadt, an
American academic, and her publisher,
Penguin Books, for libel, claiming she
had accused him of denying the
existence of the Holocaust. He lost the
case and was described by the judge as
a racist who falsified history to
exonerate Hitler of involvement in the
mass murder of Jews. 

Facing humiliation, Irving said he
received backing from about 4,000
supporters, including 2,000 in the
United States, 900 in Britain and 1,200
in other parts of the world. He has said
that donations to his "fighting fund"
have ranged from #1 to #50,000,
reaching a total of #340,000. 

These donors will now be chased for
payment of costs by Mishcon de Reya,
the lawyers who acted for Lipstadt and
Penguin, on the grounds that they
helped to sustain the case. A similar
move was made earlier this year when
defence lawyers in a failed libel case
brought by Neil Hamilton, the former
MP, decided to pursue his backers for

Irving has few funds to meet the bill.
His income appears to have declined in
recent years and he has a history of
financial difficulties. He has faced at
least three bankruptcy hearings on
petitions brought by former solicitors
whom he had failed to pay, although
each time he then managed to produce
funds at the last minute. 

His prime asset is a flat in Duke Street,
central London, but it is heavily
mortgaged to the Bradford & Bingley
building society. It has also been beset
with claims including a caution in
favour of Rowohlt, the German
publisher, and a petition for bankruptcy
from a firm of London solicitors. 

There have been at least six other
charges on the property, mostly
resulting from disputes over legal fees
during the past eight years. Nor has he
always managed to maintain his
mortgage payments. In 1998 his arrears
on the property were over #65,000 after
he had not paid his monthly mortgage
for two years. 

Irving also has a number of county
court judgments against him, mostly for
small amounts. 

Although discredited, Irving may hope
to earn some money from lecture tours,
but even his "fighting fund" support is
patchy. In Germany and the United
States - where he has an account at a
bank in Florida - his funds have
received only modest donations on a
regular basis and are both effectively

His main source of income continues to
be from his books, which still sell
reasonably well in American and
produce a monthly income in the
region of $10,000. 

When in America, where he has spent a
great deal of time, Irving often stays in
Key West, Florida, in a house owned
by Sam G Dickson. There were calls to
exclude Dickson from Britain in 1992
when he was due to speak at a
conference organised by Irving and

Dickson supports an organisation
called American Renaissance, whose
website carries advertisements for the
American Friends of the British National party. 

According to Irving's website, the
historian is likely to resist any move to
unmask his supporters. "They know
what is at stake and they have
wholeheartedly supported him," it
stated last week. "He has no intention
of revealing their names and identities."

If he cannot meet the costs himself and
refuses to divulge the names of his
backers, it is possible that he could face
jail. In another financial dispute in 1994
he refused to disclose details of his
assets and spent a short spell in
Pentonville prison for his trouble. 


 Sunday 16 April 2000 Electronic Telegraph
  Irving faces arrest over widow's $10,000

By Chris Hastings and Jessica Berry

DAVID IRVING, the disgraced historian, is being pursued by a US court over
allegations that he failed to pay back several thousand pounds to the widow
of one of his supporters.

The Telegraph can reveal that the court has given police the power to
detain him in America in connection with unpaid debts to the family of Max
Kerstan, a former German soldier who financially supported the historian's
work. Irma Kerstan sued Irving after he refused to repay more than $10,000
(=A36,300) lent to him by her late husband. The 78-year-old former Wehrmacht
corporal handed over the money in 1997 to help Irving to publish and
reprint four of his controversial books.

A copy of the loan agreement obtained by The Telegraph stipulates that the
money should be repaid over a four-month period at a rate of interest of 15
per cent. But shortly after Mr Kerstan's death in 1997, the historian
claimed that he and Mr Kerstan had reached an oral agreement that the money
should be treated as a donation rather than a loan. He also claimed that Mr
Kerstan had altered his will to leave the majority of his estate - worth
almost $2 million- to him rather than to the soldier's children.

Both claims were strongly rejected by Mrs Kerstan and her family who went
to court. Irving, who attended proceedings instituted by Mrs Kerstan at
Santo Manteo county court in California in 1998, claimed that Mr Kerstan
had intended to cancel the debt and alter the will because his family did
not share his controversial beliefs on Holocaust denial.

Despite losing the case Irving has so far failed to repay any of the money.
He has also failed to attend a debtors' court which was held shortly after
the original judgment was made. As a result of his absence he was found to
be in contempt of court and a warrant was issued for his arrest.

Jenifer Gardella, a lawyer acting for Mrs Kerstan, said: "The court has
issued a warrant for Irving's arrest in connection with the unpaid money."
Irving described Mr Kerstan as a friend and supporter but said he was
unaware of the warrant. He added: "A number of witnesses will testify that
Mr Kerstan wanted to leave me a substantial part of his estate. He did make
alterations to his will, the problem was he didn't sign them. If I had won
the money I would have shared some of it with the family."

The court action in the United States could not have come at a worse time
for Irving, who hopes that an army of extremist supporters there will help
him to meet the crippling costs of his failed libel action against Deborah
Lipstadt, the author who described him as a Holocaust denier.

Last week a High Court judge in London upheld Lipstadt's description and
went on to describe Irving as an "active Holocaust denier" and an
"anti-Semitic racist . . . who associates with Right-wing extremists who
promote neo-Nazism". Steven Spielberg, the Oscar-winning director of the
Holocaust film Schindler's List, has emerged as a leading figure in the
downfall of Irving.

It has been revealed that his Shoah Foundation, set up to raise awareness
of Hitler's Final Solution, donated a sum of money to the Lipstadt defence
fund. Irving, 62, who sued Lipstadt and Penguin Books, must now pay costs
of almost #3.2 million.

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