Respectful Insolence

Well, that certainly didn’t take long

Ever since arch Holocaust denier David Irving was released from prison in Austria after being convicted of denying the Holocaust, I’ve been wondering how long it would take for him to reveal his true stripes and be up to his old tricks again.

The answer, not surprisingly, was: Not long. Witness this story:

ROME — British historian David Irving, who was jailed in Austria for questioning the Holocaust, visited the Auschwitz death camp and renewed his claim that there was no proof it had gas chambers during an Italian TV program aired Friday.

In the Sky TG24 documentary program “Controcorrente” (Countercurrent), Irving is filmed walking down the remains of railroad tracks in the former death camp in southern Poland as he insists that engineering techniques back his claims that mass gassings by the Nazis during World War II didn’t occur there.

His comments were voiced over in Italian.

In Poland, Jaroslaw Mensfelt, spokesman for the Auschwitz museum, told The Associated Press that they heard that Irving probably was there one or two weeks ago, but they did not see him.

“He is a persona non grata here,” Mensfelt said. “It would be best if he never came here. Such people desecrate the place and are not welcome.”

Poland prosecutes Holocaust deniers.

Earlier this year, Irving told Sky in an interview that there was no doubt the Nazis killed millions of Jews, but said the killings did not take place at Auschwitz.

First off, it irks me to no end that the press continues to refer to David Irving as a “historian.” He is nothing of the sort. He is a pseudohistorian who twists historical records to suit his Holocaust denial, as was documented in such detail in Richard J. Evans’ Lying About Hitler. More importantly, though, it’s useful to know that David Irving hasn’t changed one whit.

He’s still a die-hard Holocaust denier.

Comments

  1. #1 Coin
    March 26, 2007

    Wait.

    Sky TG24?

    That’s a News Corporation channel. You know, the News Corporation of Rupert Murdoch / Fox News. They own the SKY channels in Europe.

    So am I reading this right that News Corporation is in Europe giving free air time, repeatedly, to holocaust deniers?

    Wow.

  2. #2 Stuart Coleman
    March 26, 2007

    Of course he is, these people never change. I’m surprised that he’s not touting his release as proof of his idiotic beliefs.

  3. #3 Thomas
    March 26, 2007

    “Irving told Sky in an interview that there was no doubt the Nazis killed millions of Jews, but said the killings did not take place at Auschwitz.”

    If you claim that nazis killed millions of Jews, can you really be called a Holocaust denier? He may be an Auschwitz denier, but that isn’t quite the same thing just somewhat odd.

  4. #4 Joshua
    March 26, 2007

    I’m curious whether that opens Sky to prosecution under the anti-Holocaust denial laws. I would certainly hope not, — as much as I’d love to get any News Corp. network off the air — because if so that means those laws are even more destructive to free speech than I thought.

  5. #5 anonimouse
    March 26, 2007

    OMG David Irving iz a Holocaust denier I am shocked and dismayed by this news the next thing you tell me the Westboro Baptist Church are nothing but white supremacists.

  6. #6 mike stanton
    March 26, 2007

    Irving is a trained historian. He knows that the evidence does not support a denial of the fact that millions of Jews died in Europe during WW2. He does deny the Holocaust, the elimination of the Jews as a deliberate nazi policy and he tries to bolster this claim with a denial of capability.

    If historians were subject to the same rigorous peer review as scientists he would have been sent packing years ago. Meanwhile I appreciate the view that using the law to settle historical truth is inherently dangerous. The same thing goes for scientific truth as we saw with the debacle over MMR and autism in the UK and are about to see with the Omnibus autism proceedings in the USA.

  7. #7 tim gueguen
    March 26, 2007

    I’ve recently been reading Len Deighton’s book Blitzkrieg, and its interesting to see Irving mentioned in at least a couple of footnotes. The book predates Irving’s infamy for denial, but from reading his Wikipedia entry apparently Irving has been dodgy since the late ’50s.

  8. #8 Orac
    March 26, 2007

    If you claim that nazis killed millions of Jews, can you really be called a Holocaust denier? He may be an Auschwitz denier, but that isn’t quite the same thing just somewhat odd.

    It’s kind of a “shit happens during war” form of Holocaust denial, in which deniers will conceded that, yes, the Germans were at times brutal and wanton in killing Jews (the heat of war, you know, plus disease caused by crowded conditions at the camps); yes, Germans did kick a lot of Jews out of their homes; yes, a million (or two or three million) Jews died; but they at the same time deny that there was any state plan to exterminate the Jews.

    Denying that gas chambers at Auschwitz-Birkenau were used to murder Jews is central to denying that there was a state plan to exterminate European Jewry in the territories occupied by the Nazis.

  9. #9 Thony C.
    March 27, 2007

    I thank you for your closing comments, as a historian it makes me feel sick every time I see Irving referred to as a historian.

  10. #10 josh
    March 27, 2007

    Welcome to the fold Thony. Perhaps we need a support group, “Scientists, Surgeons and Historians against Fake Scientists, Surgeons and Historians” The SSHAFSSH?

  11. #11 Josh
    March 27, 2007

    Also, I thing jail sentences for stupidity are a little extreme. They should just legislate that everytime someone spouts rubbish like Irving’s, a sane person has to come on and point out that he’s a moron and he’s wrong.

  12. #12 Thony C.
    March 27, 2007

    Mike Stantonwrote:

    “If historians were subject to the same rigorous peer review as scientists he would have been sent packing years ago.”

    Mike your statement is wrong for several different reasons. Firstly serious academic history journals are peer reviewed in exactly the same way as the equivalent scientific journals although naturally that which constitutes a fact in history is judge by different criteria than that which constitutes a fact in science, also the scope for interpretation in history is different to that in science. However Irving’s essays are mostly published in political opinion magazines and not in academic journals. Secondly Irving’s main works have appeared in the form of monographs and, just as in science, it’s up to the publisher to decide which books he publishes and which not and as Irving’s books sell very well they get published. Thirdly Irving’s early books on which his reputation and his claim to be a historian are based would have actually passed any peer review system and that makes his shit even worse. He is not a moronic idiot spouting some sort of rubbish that he doesn’t understand but a highly intelligent and very capable historian who very deliberately lies for political purposes and as such he is a disgrace to all honest historians

  13. #13 Ian Thal
    March 27, 2007

    > If historians were subject to the same
    > rigorous peer review as scientists
    > [David Irving] would have been sent
    > packing years ago.

    David Irving has, since the very beginning of his literary career, not been accepted by professional historians, due to the his selective usage of evidence to support his political agenda. It is only those ignorant of the practice of historical research, and ideologues whose agenda is served by his works, who label him “a historian.” Nothing I have ever read about him indicates that he has ever taught history at a university. There’s quite a lot written about him by professional historians.

    He never had to be sent packing, as he never arrived.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Irving

  14. #14 Uber Tuber
    March 27, 2007

    “Irving is a trained historian.”

    No he isn’t. He’s published books that purport to be history, but he’s never been within an ass’s bray of academic history.