London, April 19-24, 2000
The Times Diary has a Suddenly Insatiable Interest in Mr Irving ... (or: How Legends Begin)
Monday, April 17, 2000
DAVID IRVING's calm in the face of bankruptcy may owe more to his education than the quantity of well-wishers queueing to donate money to his fighting fund, I learn.
In 1955, while he attended the Brentwood School in Essex, at which he chose Mein Kampf as a school prize, Irving stood as the Labour candidate in the mock general election. "I have a clear memory of his leftward aberration," a fellow Brentwood old boy informs me. "He lost then, as well."
Wednesday, April 19, 2000
THE President of the Oxford Union has received a volley of hate-mail after a dust-up with the racist historian David Irving.
The present holder of that August chair, Jeffrey Bell, has found himself vilified by neo-Nazis after Irving posted his telephone number and e-mail address on his personal website. Bell's crime? Canceling a speaking engagement that the historian was due to undertake at the famous debating chamber.
"When I invited him originally, I had no idea how unorthodox he is," Bell tells me. But he soon found out. "Ever since he published my name and details on the Internet I've been receiving a large number of e-mails from right-wing extremists in America," confirms Bell. "The content was overtly Nazi. They talk about a Jewish conspiracy and how I'm converting to political correctness."
Fortunately, since the outspoken Irving lost his libel action against Deborah Lipstadt last week -- he was found guilty of being a "Holocaust denier" and asked to pay £2 million in costs -- the Nazis have gone quiet.
Saturday, April 22, 2000
An unreformed character
DAVID IRVING'S social life has livened up considerably since he was humiliatingly branded a racist in the High Court.
Earlier this week. Irving slipped into the Reform Club, to dine as a guest of the Economics and Current Affairs Club. Regulars of the liberal, free-thinking bastion were decidedly unimpressed -- "There was uproar," I am told. "A lot of people were very unhappy."
"We will treat any complaints we receive with sensitivity," says the club secretary, Robin Forrest. "But Irving was not a guest of the Reform Club. He was here in order to attend a private dinner."
Monday, April 24, 2000
ANECDOTES continue to seep in from school contemporaries of David Irving. The pubescent revisionist (the little angel; pictured above in his Brentwood School uniform) sounded a touch batty even then. One friend. recalls: "During French lessons, he developed a strange habit of clambering on top of a cupboard and staying there while pulling faces at Monsieur Jacotte (sic. Jacqottet), the teacher, who would then spend the entire lesson telling us how eccentric young Irving was."
[The blurred portrait photograph picture reproduced with characteristic accuracy by The Times with the article is however not of Mr Irving but of the Head Boy, Bowden, a fine sportsman in the same class, Upper Sixth Arts, who distinguished himself by failing all his "A" Levels in his last year. Irving eventually gained eleven, and seventeen "O" Levels.]
April 19-24, 2000