Group blasts revisionist historian Irving
Holocaust Survivors say David Irving represents white supremacy and urge Portlanders to stand up for the truth
By JOHN SNELL
The head of an Albany, N.Y., organization of Holocaust survivors urged Portland on Thursday to "stand up for the truth" and debunk the views of revisionist author David Irving.
Irving, 54, is scheduled to speak Friday night at Mt. Hood Community College. He has written numerous books about World War II and Nazi Germany. Irving contends that it's a "myth" that the Nazis killed 6 million Jews. He also claims that the gas chambers at camps such as Auschwitz were built after the war as tourist attractions.
Shelly Shapiro, director of the Holocaust Survivors & Friends Education Center, said the greatest threat from Irving's writing is that son may view it as little more than an alternative view of historical facts.
"David Irving represents white supremacy in the United States," Shapiro said at a Thursday afternoon news conference. "We should look at David Irving as though he wearing the white hood of the K Klux Klan."
For more than 20 years, Irving has been a best selling author of popular World War II histories. His credibility plummeted with the publication of "Hitler's War," a biography written from Adolf Hitler's perspective. In it, Irving claimed Hitler never ordered and had no knowledge of the Nazi program of Jewish genocide, It later writings and speeches, Irving said he believes the Holocaust is a hoax initially perpetrated during the war by British propagandists, and later kept alive by pro-Israelis to extort reparations payments from West Germany.
"Irving's only credibility is that he is able to sell controversial books to Americans who want to see another side in every controversy," Shapiro said. "There is no other side to the Holocaust."
Shapiro said Irving's greatest effort to sabotage the memories of the millions who were killed occurred in 1988 when he published The Leuchter Report.
October 16, 1992
The report was prepared by a Massachusetts technician who builds gas chambers, electric chairs and other execution devices for states with capital punishment.
Leuchter claimed to have conducted a "forensic study" of Auschwitz and two other death camps and concluded there was no evidence of cyanide in the walls to support the idea that the camps housed gas chambers.
Leuchter later signed a consent agreement in Maryland after he was accused of practicing engineering without a license.
In it he agreed not to refer to himself as an engineer any longer and since that time the conclusions of his report have been refuted by a number of sources.
"This all would be laughable were it not for David Irving," Shapiro said. Irving published Leuchter's report himself and wrote a foreword for it in which he argued that Leuchter's conclusions were irrefutable. Since publishing The Leuchter Report, Irving issued a revised edition of "Hitler's War" and expunged all references to the Holocaust from it.
Shapiro said Irving generally limits his appearances to private groups of sympathizers, such as his appearance last weekend at the Institute for Historical Review, a "revisionist" group that held Its national conference In Southern California. She said Irving generally will not appear In an open forum.
"He must feel pretty comfortable here," she said, adding that Irving is sophisticated enough to make his message seductive.
"He's slick," she said. "He doesn't seem like a wildeyed maniac with a shaved head."
© Focal Point 1998 write to David Irving