Elvis may have left the building but David Irving is back. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Irving he is a holocaust denying historian who was sentenced to three years in an Austrian prison for being a bigot and holocaust denier.
On November 11, 2005, the Austrian police in the southern state of Styria, acting under a 1989 warrant, arrested Irving. Four days later, he was charged by state prosecutors with the speech crime of trivialising the Holocaust. His application for bail was denied on grounds he would flee or repeat the offence. He remained in jail awaiting trial. On 20 February 2006 Irving pleaded guilty to the charge of trivialising, grossly playing down and denying the Holocaust. Before Irving’s sentencing hearing, he stated through his lawyer that he had changed his views and his ways. At the trial, Judge Liebtreu quoted numerous statements of Irving’s, including that “There were no gas chambers at Auschwitz” and “It makes no sense to transport people from Amsterdam, Vienna and Brussels 500 kilometres to Auschwitz simply to liquidate them when it can be more easily done 8 km from the city where they live”. Irving informed Judge Liebtreu that he “regretted the formulation”. Towards the end of the hearing, Irving again publicly recanted, saying that “I’ve changed my views. I spoke then about Auschwitz and gas chambers based on my knowledge at the time, but by 1991 when I came across the Eichmann papers, I wasn’t saying that any more and I wouldn’t say that now. The Nazis did murder millions of Jews. ..I made a mistake by saying there were no gas chambers, I am absolutely without doubt that the Holocaust took place. I apologise to those few I might have offended though I remain very proud of the 30 books I have written.” However, Irving continued to insist that Hitler knew nothing of the death camps, and that “The figure of six million killed Jews is just a symbolic number”. In an uncompromising summary, Michael Klackl, the prosecuting attorney, stated:
David Irving only uses words, but these words are used by right-wing extremists to give them an ideological position. Mr Irving might have said he has changed his views, but that has all been a show for you. Theatrical exhibition to save himself from the maximum sentence. He has played a role for you today. The thread of anti-Semitism runs through him.
The judge, Peter Liebtreu, summarized:
He showed no signs that he attempted to change his views after the arrest warrant was issued 16 years ago in Austria. … He served as an example for the right wing for decades. He is comparable to a prostitute who hasn’t changed her ways. … Irving is a falsifier of history and anything but a proper historian. In the world of David Irving there were no gas chambers and no plan to murder the Jews. He’s continued to deny the fact that the Holocaust was genocide orchestrated from the highest ranks of the Nazi state. Source: Wikopedia
Now Irving is out of prison and he is on his come back speaking tour where he says that he believes the Jews were responsible for what happened to them during the second world war and that the “Jewish problem” was responsible for nearly all the wars of the past 100 years: “The Jews are the architects of their own misfortune, but that is the short version A-Z. Read the longer version below:
Discredited Irving plans comeback tour
Ten months ago he was languishing in an Austrian jail, less than halfway through a three-year sentence with his career – and professional reputation – in tatters.This week David Irving, the discredited British historian who was described by a high court judge as a Holocaust denier and a racist, says he is launching a comeback with a speaking tour of British cities and a series of new books. “I have kept a low profile for several months because I have had to sort out where to live and to address my financial situation,” said Mr Irving, who was declared bankrupt in 2002 after an unsuccessful libel action over claims he was a Holocaust denier. “But now I am ready to start again.”Mr Irving’s career has been littered with controversy, culminating with his arrest in Austria in 2005. He was sentenced to three years in jail after a judge ruled that two speeches he made in 1989, dismissing the Auschwitz gas chambers as a “fairy tale” and questioning the existence of extermination camps, breached Austrian law. His appeal was upheld, with the judge saying the crimes were a long time ago and that Mr Irving had undergone an “impeccable conversion”.However, drinking tea on the sofa of a 10-bedroom house he has begun renting near Windsor, Mr Irving says that his views on the Holocaust have crystallised rather than changed. He says that he believes the Jews were responsible for what happened to them during the second world war and that the “Jewish problem” was responsible for nearly all the wars of the past 100 years: “The Jews are the architects of their own misfortune, but that is the short version A-Z. Between A-Z there are then 24 other characters in intervening steps.” Mr Irving was due to address a meeting in Coventry last Friday – although that event was disrupted by protesters – and held another meeting at his home on Saturday. He plans to speak in Halifax and Birmingham as well as at several unnamed universities.Last night, news of his attempts to kickstart his career were met with disbelief and anger from Jewish groups and political opponents. Lord Foulkes, of the Labour Friends of Israel, said: “It is a frightening thought that he is still pursuing his agenda.” Jon Benjamin, chief executive of the Board of Deputies, said Mr Irving no longer had any legitimate claim to be a serious historian. However, Mr Irving still insists he is a respected academic. He says that a document, which he is 80% sure is genuine, suggests that 2.4 million Jews were killed in Poland, but goes on to claim that the gas chamber at Auschwitz was fake. “It was not the centre of the killing operations – it has only become a focus because it is the site that is best preserved. Much of what is shown the tourists there is faked postwar – watchtowers, even the famous gas chamber.”He added: “In my opinion now the real killing operations took place at the Reinhardt camps west of the Bug river. In the three camps here [Sobibor, Belzec, and Treblinka] Heinrich Himmler’s men (mostly Ukrainian mercenaries) killed possibly as many as 2.4 million in the two years up to October 1943. There is now nothing to be seen of the Reinhardt camps, neither stick nor stone, so few tourists go there. I have visited all four sites earlier this year.”Pressed as to whether this change undermined his previous stance, Mr Irving replied: “It is a crystallisation of my view.” Asked if he now accepts there had been a Holocaust against the Jewish people he said he was “not going to use their trade name”. He added: “I do accept that the Nazis quite definitely, that Heinrich Himmler, organised and directed a programme, a clandestine programme, for the liquidation of European Jews … and that in 1942-43 alone over 2.5 million Jews were killed in those three camps.” He added that Hitler was “completely in the dark” about the programme.Last night Gerry Gable, of the anti-fascist organisation Searchlight, said: “This man is a hardened rightwing extremist and this latest development proves he is determined to pursue his agenda.”