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Sunday Express

London, April 16, 2000

Serious Money (Page 16)


Will Barclays help Nazi apologist?


IT IS becoming fashionable again to boycott Barclays Bank in the wake of the rural branch closures fiasco. MPs have demanded it and seething account holders appear to be voting with their feet.

But will the bank in turn boycott one of its more, er, high profile customers?

Lucre has learned that revisionist historian David Irving -- now officially tagged as a Holocaust denier, anti-Semite and Nazi apologist -- enjoys a civilised personal banking agreement with ... the Big Bank.

According to the Board of Deputies of British Jews, the man who dismisses the gas chambers at Auschwitz as an invention of pro-semitic activists runs a number of accounts with Barclays, along with other US-based banking arrangements.

But having run up a failed libel case debt in the region of £2 million, will Irving be able to count on the internationally minded Big Bank to extend him a generous overdraft facility?

Or will it want to claw back a vestige of credibility and cease doing business with a man regarded by many as a Third Reich sympathiser masquerading as a respectable academic?

A "statement" duly rumbles out of the fax machine. "Barclays places great importance on maintaining the confidentiality of its customer details. As such we are not in a position to comment."

Readers will perhaps make up their own minds.

Sunday 16th April 2000

ONE MAY be forgiven for wondering, What is the connection between Auschwitz, gas-chambers, and Barclays Bank? And how does the Board of Deputies of British Jews come to know where Mr Irving has his one British bank account (thinking in terms of their own members, they naturally assume that he juggles several). Answer: the Board of Deputies of British Jews and its foreign counterparts ("What us, a global conspiracy?") have a record of putting pressure on banks to deny supposedly right-wing customers bank accounts, as a means of harassing them.

Fact: the Ruhr bank at which Mr Irving has banked since 1959 (when he was a local steelworker) informed him in January 1994 that they were about to close down his account, as they had received such representations. Since Mr Irving had maintained his account there correctly for nearly forty years, he instructed his Mannheim lawyer to start injunctive proceedings: at which the bank meekly changed its mind. Small wonder that we have no hesitation in declaring the Board of Deputies of British Jews one of Britain's foremost enemies of free speech. In Judge Gray's Court, their spokesmen objected to the description of them as "cockroaches"; but they do seem to move in dark circles, nibbling away at the fabric of free speech, from the unseen underside.

Website fact: The stamina of the defence team was aided by a six million dollar fund provided by Stephen Spielberg, Edgar J Bronfman, and the American Jewish Committee, which enabled them to pay 21 lawyers and "experts"; the experts like Evans, Longerich were paid up to £109,000 each to testify as they did (while the defence's star legal team was paid considerably more). Nobody was paying for Mr Irving, who has been fighting this battle for three whole years. Nobody was paying for Mr Irving, who has been fighting this battle for three whole years. Nor did he pay his defence witnesses one cent or sous: they testified from conviction, not for reward. [Help!]

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