The historian David Irving was declared bankrupt yesterday almost two years after his failed High Court libel action to challenge claims that he was a "Holocaust denier".
The author had sued Deborah Lipstadt, an American academic, and Penguin Books over her 1994 work, Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory. He said it destroyed his livelihood and generated waves of hatred against him. In April 2000, Mr Justice Gray said Mr Irving had, for his own ideological reasons, deliberately misrepresented historical evidence and portrayed Hitler in an unwarranted favourable light.
He awarded costs to Ms Lipstadt and Penguin, who expected their bill to be in excess of £2m, and made an interim order of £150,000 to Penguin. Mr Irving, of Mayfair, London, was served with bankruptcy proceedings on 18 January on his return from America, but no payment was forthcoming, said the publisher's solicitors.
Mark Bateman, an associate at Davenport Lyons solicitors, said: "Our client has been very patient but Mr Irving was clearly not going to meet the interim payment which is a fraction of their total costs."
Mr Irving denied during the libel action, in which he represented himself, that he had ever claimed the Holocaust did not occur. But he did question the number of Jewish dead and denied their extermination in gas chambers.
Richard Rampton QC, for the defence, branded Irving "a falsifier of history".Reuse content