On day seventeen of the Irving vs. Penguin & Lipstadt trial at the High Court in London, American Holocaust historian and defence expert Christopher Browning spent his second day in the witnesses box. During cross-examination by Irving, Browning stated that denying Hitler ordered the Holocaust is not a form of Holocaust denial, and Lipstadt's barrister quickly stepped up to clarify that they (Lipstadt's legal team) did not consider denying Hitler instigated the Holocaust to be Holocaust denial.
IRVING: It would be a grave injustice to call either of those two professors Holocaust deniers, would it not?
BROWNING: Yes. The argument over whether Hitler gave an order or not is not commonly part of the issue of Holocaust denial.
IRVING: Thank you very much for saying that. Hans Mommsen, would you identify him? Is he a Professor at the Royal university in Bochum?
BROWNING: Yes, he was. He is retired.
IRVING: A very eminent historian, is that correct?
IRVING: Very well. I hope your Lordship pardons me for having made that little excursion?
JUSTICE GRAY: Yes. You picked up the answer that Professor Browning gave about whether denying Hitler's having given an order was an aspect of Holocaust denial, but I do not think the Defendants really say that it is.
RAMPTON: We do not.
JUSTICE GRAY: I was checking your summary of case.
RAMPTON: The Hitler exculpation, exoneration, apology part of the case has nothing to do with Holocaust denial at all. They may have a similar motive at the end of the day but that is completely different. We have focused on Hitler's exoneration to prove what we call distorted history.
JUSTICE GRAY: Yes. I think what you do say is that it is part of Holocaust denial to deny that there was a systematic programme.
JUSTICE GRAY: That is not the same as denying that it was Hitler who instigated that programme.
RAMPTON: That is right. It is number 3, no systematic programme of exterminating Europe's Jews, whether on the part of Hitler or the Nazi leadership.