Melbourne, Tuesday, February 29, 2000
Irving interview under attack
By STEPHEN CAUCHI
Helen Darville's interview with the British Holocaust revisionist David Irving, due out this week in Australian Style magazine, was attacked yesterday by Jewish community leaders.
Mr Mark Leibler, [right] the national chairman of the Australia-Israel Jewish Affairs Council, said it was remarkable that Ms Darville could be taken seriously given that she had been exposed as having committed literary fraud.
Ms Darville, formerly known as Helen Demidenko, won the 1996 Miles Franklin prize for a novel about Ukrainian complicity in the Holocaust. The book was supposedly based on anecdotes from Ukrainian relatives. It was later revealed she had no such relatives and was of English descent.
"Demidenko and Irving do have one thing in common: that's their integrity and reliability of their information, or should I say the lack of it," Mr Leibler said.
The editor of Australian Style, Mr Jack Marx, has said Ms Darville is "perfectly placed" to write the article, is "pretty knowledgeable" about Nazi history and shares with Mr Irving "a passion for documentation".
Mr Danny Ben-Moshe, the executive director of the B'nai B'rith Anti-Defamation Commission, described Mr Marx's statement that Ms Darville was knowledgeable about Nazi history as "preposterous" and "ridiculous".
"If she's an expert on that whole area then I'm an expert on the exploration of outer space ... she's got a biased lack of understanding," he said.
"But we have to keep it in perspective. We know who Demidenko is, we know what her views are."
Her anti-Semitism was "the thin edge of the wedge that leads to Holocaust denial", he said. But what was concerning was that, unlike far-right groups such as the Adelaide Institute, her reputation allowed for her work to be published in the mainstream press.
Mr Irving, who was refused entry to Australia in 1997 on the ground of poor character, is suing an American academic for calling him a Holocaust denier. He is facing financial ruin as a result.
Tuesday, February 29, 2000