© Focal Point 2001 David Irving
Letters to David Irving on this Website
Unless correspondents ask us not to, this Website will post selected letters that it receives and invite open debate.
Donald Macangus of Utah, USA, writes July 7, 2001
Several Questions of a Delicate Nature
I HAVE written to you in the past -- I am working on a thesis at the University of Utah in the United States, and the subject I have chosen is your recent Penguin (Lipstadt) case. As part of my research, I dutifully sought out a copy of Prof. Lipstadt's book. It undoubtedly will not surprise you that I was able to find a copy of it at the University's main library. I would like to bring to your attention, however, another book which I noticed sitting on the shelf alongside it.
The other book is called "Holocaust Denial" by Kenneth S. Stern, (right) published by the American Jewish Committee. I was overcome with curiosity, and decided to pick it up as well. I flipped to the index and checked the reference section for your name, and bingo! (as we Americans say) there you were. I checked the dozen or so references to your name, and this, among other things, is what I found. I am curious as to whether you have seen this book, and if you have any plans to take legal action against them.
DAVID IRVING writes:
ANSWER: I have not heard of this book.
Pg. 2, line 2, "In 1992 the Sunday Times of London hired one of the world's leading Holocaust deniers, David Irving, to translate the diaries of Joseph Goebbels -- for a fee of $150,000."
ANSWER: In May 1992, acting on a tip, I learned of the location of the Goebbels Diaries in a Moscow archives. I approached The Sunday Times with a deal, whereby I would retrieve, decipher, translate and edit and comment key sections of the diaries. I did so. The project was mine throughout, not The Sunday Times's. The contractually agreed price was £75,000. Under Jewish international pressure the newspaper failed to pay up. I sued them in the High Court in 1996. A settlement was reached which I am not permitted to disclose.
Pg. 9, line 17, "Each professional denier has developed an "expertise." For the British David Irving, for example, it is the rehabilitation of Hitler."
ANSWER: No comment. I am an acknowledged expert on Hitler's war years. Ian Kershaw could not have written his book without the work I did and published.
Pg. 27, line 21, "David Irving reportedly visited Hitler's mountain retreat in Bavaria over thirty years ago, considering it a shrine."
ANSWER: I visited Berchtesgaden twice, like half a million tourists every year. Once in 1959 and once in 1988 or so; not a very devout pilgrim, I am afraid.
Pg. 29, line 32, "It is no surprise that David Irving's book Hitler's War became a best seller in Germany. According to Gill Seidel in The Holocaust Denial: Anti-Semitism, Racism and the New Right, "It is not difficult to explain its appeal. The argument of the book may be summed up as: 'If only the Führer had known about the murder of the Jews, he would have stopped it.' For Germans who do not want to face up to thepast, it was easy to be persuaded that if Hitler did not know, then neither did the person on the street."
ANSWER: no comment.
Pg. 37, line 28, "Not only David Irving's work, but David Irving himself has been in Rome. Although he was deported, he was interviewed in the magazine section of La Republica, during which he denied the existence of gas chambers, claiming that "the Germans were extremely precise" and thus documents proving the chambers should exist. Asked about the documents showing huge orders of Zyklon-B for Auschwitz, Irving commented: "We cannot exclude that this was used in the crematoria where bodies were incinerated. Not for gas chambers."
ANSWER: I have been to Rome several times, e.g. to research in Mussolini's papers in the secret State archives. There were large orders for Zyklon B supplies to Auschwitz, but as the Nuremberg documents show exactly the same quantities were shipped to Oranienburg concentration camp (and nobody claims there were gas chambers there).
Pg. 38, line 8, "David Irving and Ernst Zündel have traveled to Spain, promoting Holocaust denial."
ANSWER: I never travelled to Spain with Zündel. I have been to Spain perhaps 30 times (my wife of 20 years was Spanish, and my first four children were half Spanish, one being born there).
Pg. 46, line 17, "Zündel's conviction was overturned in 1987, and he was retried. A veritable "who's who" of Holocaust deniers testified on his behalf, including David Irving, Bradley Smith, Ditlieb Felderer, and Fred Leuchter."
ANSWER: I was called by the defence, and accepted by the court, as an expert witness on Third Reich history. Such a witness is neutral as between the parties. The judge later stated to lawyers that he had seldom been impressed by the testimony of a witness as much as he was by mine. So I was told.
Pg. 48, line 10, "Canada remains a favored location for the well-traveled group that purveys Holocaust denial. David Irving, after appearances at the IHR's annual International Revisionist Conferences routinely traveled around Canada, where his speeches were noted in the press. In 1991 in Regina he called the Holocaust "a major fraud There were no gas chambers. They were fakes and frauds." Although now barred from Canada because of his May 1992 conviction in Germany for Holocaust denial, Irving sneaked into the country later that year and spoke. His message was protested by many Canadians, including Monna Zentner, a 55-year-old professor of sociology. Immediately after the protest, Zentner's house burned in a suspicious fire."
ANSWER: I was not barred from Canada because of any German court's action, but because in October 1992 I failed to leave Canada pursuant to a voluntary departure notice; the US immigration authorities inexplicably turned me back at the US border, with this regrettable consequence. I have since visited the USA a score of times. I have always held a valid US immigration visa. I have no idea what happened to Ms Zentner's home; the local newspapers reported that the house was uninhabited, had been on the market for some time, had failed to find a buyer, and was heavily insured, so she was well rewarded by the fire. This is not to say she set the fire herself. I myself was in Canadian custody at the time, so Stern's innuendo would be highly actionable if printed in the UK.
Pg. 62, line 14, "Professor Robert G. L. Waite of Williams College, in calling David Irving's work (which advances the "the Führer didn't know thesis) "a calumny both on the victims of Hitler's terror and on historical scholarship," noted that "no one but Hitler had the authority to give the orders to murder more than six million people in the midst of war."
ANSWER: Waite is a lightweight who has not done a stroke of work in the original archives, let alone discussed the matter with every one of Hitler's surviving staff members as I did.
Pg. 63, line 30, "Deniers like David Irving perpetually harp on the fact that there was no single extermination order signed by Hitler, as if that proves something."
ANSWER: In UK and US law everybody is innocent until proven guilty; the burden of proof lies on the prosecution. Is Stern making exceptions, and if so why?