Posted Sunday, August 13, 2000

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UNDER pressure from the usual sources, -- three unnamed 'students" -- books by David Irving are removed from the shelves of the Normandy Memorial Museum, France. We have momentarily forgotten what principles World war Two was fought to preserve. Comment

Le Soir
Le Soir is said to be the leading French-speaking newspaper in Belgium.

Belgium, June 15, 2000

[French original ]


The shadow of Nazism darkens Normandy beaches

IN Normandy, two places dedicated to the remembrance of the allied landing, two museums that symbolise the fight against Nazism and fascism are in the centre of a controversy. Last April, three students found, on the shelves of the Peace Memorial shop in Caen, about forty books written by authors known for their far-right opinions, prominently David Irving and Roger Garaudy. The former, a British specialist of the Second World War, had been found an "anti-Semite, racist and holocaust denier" by the High Court in London on the 11th of April 2000. The latter has been convicted in France, in 1998, of "denying crimes against humanity".

The students stressed the contradiction: do these authors have their rightful place in an educational memorial? This discovery has, however, created enough of a fuss that the incriminated books have been withdrawn from the bookstore and the media library. Permanently. The decision was taken by the Memorial Scientific Council made up of approximately twenty historians, researchers, academics and librarians and was approved by its board of directors. "I didn't want any books to cloud the 'raison d'être' of our Memorial" underlined Jacques Belin, the Museum director. Its president, the Mayor of Caen Jean-Marie Girault (UDF [centre-right]), thought that "if this world war had taken place, it is because 'Mein Kampf" existed. Visitors also need to be made aware of the current arguments that are spreading, this is also part of our informing the public."

In the Battle of Normandy Museum, in Bayeux, the debate has centred for the last two years on a single man: Philippe Chapron, designated by the City Council in 1981 as the museum's curator, he is incidentally also an elected representative of the National Front. Since he was elected in 1998 to the Regional Council, three associations -- Ras l'Front [Fed up with the Front], Association liberté et tolérance (ALT) and the Human Rights League -- have regularly distributed tracts demanding his dismissal. "That such a place be managed by a representative of a party that advocates xenophobic and racist ideas is an insult to those who sacrificed their lives here" declared an outraged Michel Hérard, ALT's president. While Philippe Chapron regrets "the confusion made between political activities and a purely technical position", Jean-Léonce Dupont (UDF), Mayor of Bayeux, declared he opposed a "witch hunt".

A scientific committee made up of historians and witnesses from the time should, however, soon be set up to "reflect on the collections and the evolution of the Museum" as well as to represent a "moral authority". A safeguard against aberrations?

CAROLINE GOURDIN [="bludgeon"]

David Irving comments on the above news item:


AND yet my books are still displayed at the Smithsonian Institution, at the National War Memorial in Canberra, and at the Frauenkirche memorial exhibition in Dresden; forty of my books are on the shelves of Harvard's Widener Library, thirty on the shelves at Stanford University, etc. -- and we don't think that those librarians are likely to bow to pressure from nameless "students". I was shown, when I last visited Australia, a secret letter written by a Jewish organisation to every librarian in the country, urging them to remove my books from the library shelves. I also have copies of letters that these people have written to the commandant of West Point, the U S Army at Carlisle, Pa., and the corresponding US Air Force institution in Alabama. skunkBut keeping the lid on Real History is an uphill, global, task for these traditional enemies of the truth. It all reminds us of the testimony of Prof. Richard Evans (right) that when he asked for a copy of my Hitler's War at the government-run British Library in London, he was told it was now kept in the restricted access section with pornographic titles etc. This "witticism earned him from Judge Gray one of the few rebukes to the immensely (fee: $200,000) neutral Evans that this otherwise over-indulgent jurist permitted himself in the Lipstadt trial: Day 18, Feb 10, page 112). No doubt the British Library had had a visit from "students" too.

BermantNote the increasingly frequent mocking reference in articles and broadcast programmes to the fact that my books are no longer being published, and that they are available only on the Internet, and published by my own imprint Focal Point. The late Chaim Bermant, that wise writer (left), once wrote after interviewing me that he found my apartment filled with boxes of "hundreds, if not thousands of unsold books." I pointed out that if he visited Barnes & Noble or Waterstones he would find himself surrounded by unsold books too. . .

Yes, -- my books are available on the Interenet with, at the last count, some 300 million "shoppers". The sad corollary is, of course, that the books of my opponents are currently available only in bookshops. All of my books will eventually be available permanently on the Internet, as free downloads, as my way of saying Thank-you to the international community for its forty years of support.

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