David Irving imprisoned in sado-masochistic political ritual

Readers of WW4 REPORT will be aware that we hate David Irving’s filthy crypto-Nazi guts. But we oppose his imprisonment, just as we did that of the vile Judith Miller. We wish the Europeans would realize that locking up these intellectual hoodlums just makes them look like martyrs and paradoxically vindicates them. And then, as in the case of Holocaust revisionist Robert Faurisson (who was just sacked from the University of Lyon, not even locked up), you get people like Noam Chomsky running to their defense in The Nation. And then the right (especially the Zionists and neocons) jump in, portraying the left as a hotbed of anti-Semitism. And then, worse still, the left itself gets all confused about the ethics of genocide and historical truth.

The laws against Holocaust denial are motivated (we strongly suspect) by the need to assuage Europe’s (well-deserved) sense of historical guilt—not by any real commitment to address the problem, which is a considerably more complicated proposition. The laws are, in fact, counter-productive, as they muddy the moral waters, showing “democracy” as the “real” totalitarianism. They serve as effective propaganda precisely for those they seek to silence. Democracy, if it is worth its name, should take the moral high ground. These geeks should be repudiated, but not persecuted. From the BBC, Nov. 18:

Irving faces week in Austria cell

The revisionist British historian David Irving is likely to remain in custody in Austria for at least a week, prosecutors say.

The authorities are considering whether to put him on trial for denying the Nazi mass extermination of Jews, the public prosecutor’s spokesman said.

He was detained a week ago on a warrant issued in 1989 under Austrian laws that make it a crime to deny the Holocaust.

Mr Irving was stopped in the southern province of Styria, en route to Vienna.

If formally charged, tried and convicted, Mr Irving could face up to 20 years in prison, said the spokesman, Otto Schneider.

In his books, Mr Irving has argued that the scale of the extermination of the Jews by the Nazis in World War II has been exaggerated.

He also claimed that Nazi leader Adolf Hitler knew nothing of the Holocaust.

Libel case lost

He told a libel hearing in London in 2000 that there had been no gas chambers at the Auschwitz camp.

He lost the case and the judge branded him “an active Holocaust denier”. A spokesman for the Austrian interior ministry, Rudolf Gollia, told the BBC that Mr Irving was first taken to the town of Graz, but was now in custody in Vienna.

Anti-Nazi groups in the UK congratulated the Austrian government.

The chairman of the Holocaust Educational Trust, Lord Greville Janner, said he hoped the move would “lead to a successful prosecution”.

The head of the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, Stephen Smith, said denial was not a matter of opinion.

“Austrian law demands incisive action to protect its citizens from a repeat of the past,” he added.

Mr Irving was previously arrested in Austria in 1984.

This time, the historian was stopped near the town of Hartberg while reportedly on his way to address a students’ club in Vienna.

Mr Irving came into the spotlight in 2000 when he sued US academic Deborah Lipstadt for describing him as a “Holocaust denier” in her 1994 work Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory.

Giving his verdict, the British judge said Mr Irving was “an active Holocaust denier; that he is anti-Semitic and racist and that he associates with right-wing extremists who promote neo-Nazism”.

Brian Levin, a US professor of criminal justice who has studied Mr Irving’s arguments, told the BBC News website that “to punish him on the basis of his ideas is fundamentally flawed”.

“I believe we have to cherish freedom of speech,” Mr Levin said, arguing that the way to deal with Holocaust denial was through educational campaigns, “not by silencing”.

We agree, Mr. Levin.

BBC also provides the following list:

Czech Republic

May it get shorter, not longer, in the years to come.

See our last post on the legal woes of the Holocuast-denial set.

  1. David Irving
    Whether Irving is a “holocaust denier” remains unproven. That famous lawsuit in London ended up with only *six* lines from his books being questioned and much of that revolved around the definitions of words in German in 1940 or earlier. The six lines were winnowed out of at least 500,000 lines in his printed books (30 books) and recorded speeches. Even his detractors must admit that Irving has produced reams of evidence against the Nazis from original research, has always called Hitler and his regime “criminal,” and has never written a book or article denying the Holocaust. His detractors point only to his famous claim that there is no evidence Hitler ordered or knew of the massacres of Jews. Well? If there is evidence, produce it. No one has. So we infer from the lack of evidence? He certainly does not belong in prison for holding unpopular idea.

    Anyway, check his website for yourselves: http://www.fpp.co.uk

    1. You said “denier”—I say “revisionist”
      The naivete of our readership never ceases to amaze me. Irving is far more sophistcated than Ernst Zundel or the Institute for Historical Review crowd, but his revisionism goes way beyond denying that Hitler ordered the Final Solution (which is itself a bizarrely ahistorical assertion, at best.) Do you believe that “more women died on the back seat of Edward Kennedy’s car at Chappaquiddick than ever died in a gas chamber in Auschwitz”? Do some more poking around on his website yourself, before you recommend it to others, and also check out the Nizkor Project‘s page on Irving. You wrote exactly one sentence we agree with (even if it is not quite grammatical):

      He certainly does not belong in prison for holding [an] unpopular idea.

      All the rest is utter bosh.

    2. David Irving is a Holocaust Denier
      Henry is very wrong. English High Court Judge Charles Gray, who presided over the lawsuit, considers it incontrovertible that Irving is a Holocaust denier – and that he is anti-Semitic and racist as well.

      The lawsuit was not about what Irving wrote. It was brought by Irving against Deborah Lipstadt for what she had written about him.

      The Guardian published the following:

      Excerpts from High Court Judge Charles Gray’s ruling in the David Irving libel suit

      Tuesday April 11, 2000

      It is my conclusion that no objective, fair-minded historian would have serious cause to doubt that there were gas chambers at Auschwitz and that they were operated on a substantial scale to kill hundreds of thousands of Jews.

      It appears to me to be incontrovertible that Irving qualifies as a Holocaust denier. Not only has he denied the existence of gas chambers at Auschwitz and asserted that no Jew was gassed there, he has done so on frequent occasions and sometimes in the most offensive terms. By way of examples, I cite his story of the Jew climbing into a mobile telephone box-cum-gas chamber; his claim that more people died in the back of Kennedy’s car at Chappaquiddick than died in the gas chambers at Auschwitz; his dismissal of the eyewitnesses en masse as liars or suffering from a mental problem … I reject as being untrue the claim made by Irving in his evidence that in his denial of the existence of any gas chambers at Auschwitz, he was referring solely to the gas chamber constructed by the Poles after the war for the benefit of visitors to the site or, as Irving put it, as a ‘tourist attraction.’

      Having grossly underestimated the number who lost their lives in the camps, Irving is prone to claim that a greater number than that were killed in Allied bombing raids on Dresden and elsewhere. He has, moreover, repeatedly claimed that the British Psychological War Executive ingeniously discovered the lies that the Nazis were killing Jews in gas chambers in order to use it as propaganda.

      Irving is anti-Semitic. His words are directed against Jews, either individually or collectively, in the sense that they are by turn hostile, critical, offensive and derisory in their references to Semitic people, their characteristics and appearances … Irving has made claims that the Jews deserve to be disliked; that they brought the Holocaust on themselves. He speaks regularly at political or quasi-political meetings in Germany, the United States, Canada and the New World. The content of his speeches and interviews often displays a distinctly pro-Nazi and anti-Jewish bias. He makes surprising and often unfounded assertions about the Nazi regime which tend to exonerate the Nazis for the appalling atrocities which they inflicted on the Jews. He is content to mix with neo-facists and appears to share many of their racist and anti-Semitic prejudices.

      The charges which I have found to be substantially true include the charges that Irving has for his own ideological reasons persistently and deliberately misrepresented and manipulated historical evidence; that for the same reasons he has portrayed Hitler in an unwarrantedly favourable light, principally in relation to his attitude towards and responsibility for the treatment of the Jews; that he is an active Holocaust denier; that he is anti-Semitic and racist and that he associates with right-wing extremists who promote neo-Nazism.