London, April 12, 2000
Irving: The aftermath
Irving's cash backers stay in the shadows
BY ALEX O'CONNELL, MICHAEL HORSNELL AND LINUS GREGORIARDIS
THE search was under way last night to identify the loyal supporters who financed David Irving's legal battle. The Jewish Board of Deputies in London believes[*] that his main supporters are German Nazis who fled to America after the Second World War and young neo-nazi white supremacists living in the United States. The board last night claimed that Mr Irving had raised at least £2 million, although he has denied repeatedly having more than £315,000 in the coffers.
Although Mr Irving has refused to name his backers, it is believed that funds have been received from some of the 4,000 supporters mentioned on his official website.
The historian is believed to have been funded by such far-right groups as the National Alliance, based in Tampa, Florida. It was mentioned during the trial that he had spoken at eight fo the alliance's events between 1990 and 1998.
It is also believed that Mr Irving has been supported by the German People's Union, an anti-Semitic party. For ten years, until he was banned from Germany in 1993, he had a close relationship with the GPU leader Gerhard Frey, a wealthy publisher.
Mr Irving has been a "star speaker" at revisionist conferences organised by Ewald Althans, named in court as a leading neo-nazi in Munich who sells and distributes the historian's books, videos and cassettes.
One independent name with far-right links who has been associated repeatedly with Mr Irving is David Duke, a former Ku Klux Klansman who is now a chairman of the New Orleans-based National Organisation For European American Rights (NOFEAR). He is known to be one of Mr Irving's admirers.
Mike Whine, of the Board of Deputies, said he believed that Mr Duke had either directly or indirectly supported Mr Irving. "He will have introduced a lot of people to him for fundraising purposes over the last four or five years," he said.
Vince Edwards, Mr Duke's administrative assistant and NOFEAR's media co-ordinator, said yesterday that he was disappointed, but not surprised, by the judgment. He said that Mr Duke had been "supportive" of Mr Irving. Commenting on the judge's decision, Mr Edwards said: "I was extremely disheartened but I couldn't have imagined what the judge would find in his favour. The way the system worked, he would probably have found himself out of a job. You can imagine if the judge had sided with Irving, what the Jewish Board of Deputies would have done to his family. There would have been a campaign aginst him."
He added: "I think it is a disaster, but hopefully he can appeal."
Mr Edwards said that the two men had met but were not "intimate" friends. "David is just supportive," he said.
Mr Edwards did not believe that Mr Duke had given Mr Irving financial support.
The historian's website lays out payment options for potential contributors who may "mail a personal cheque", "mail cash in an envelope", "make a bank transfer" or "simply use your credit card". The payment, it adds, will appear on the card as "History Bookshop".
* The Times published Mr Irving's letter refuting the Board's lies. In 1991 and 1992 the Board peddled similar lies in a secret report, which it smuggled on to the files of foreign governments, as Mr Michael Whine subsequently admitted on oath.
April 12, 2000