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Tidsskrift för folkets rättigheter is published by "Föreningen FiB-juristerna" (the Union of FiB-lawyers) ( Its editor is Mr. Erik Göthe. Mr. Göthe was the defence attorney in the case where the German authorities tried to ban the publication of Mein Kampf in Swedish (see our file).


Tidsskrift för folkets rättigheter
(Sweden, No. 1-2/2000 (Vol. 19)

This article was also published by the conservative magazine SALT ( in its latest issue.

There have been difficulties with the publication of David Irving's books since the Library Service (Bibliotekstjänst) and its Investigating committee tried to prevent the libraries purchasing the first part of Irving's biography about Goebbels. [Full Swedish text of article ]


IN liberal spirit Fredrik Malm, David Lagerlöf, Daniels Schatz and Peter Wolodarski demanded in "Dagens Nyheter" ( on March 14 a ban on selling David Irving's biography about Goebbels, with a motivation typically for our time that "Nowhere is the Holocaust mentioned."

It is about the first part of the biography, which deals with the period until 1933, i.e. 8 years before the mass killings of the Jews started. Part 2 and 3 was not published since the Library Service stopped the first part. The little publishing house (Valkyria Förlag) which published Irving's work, was dependent on its orders from libraries, and was forced to close down.

by Erik Göthe

THE censorship of this book happened this way -- a way which does not conflict with existing law, but which clashes with a free academic exchange of views:

The purchase of books by the libraries is directed by the short reviews which are published by the Library Service every fortnight in "BTJ Böcker & AV-media". Up to 1000 reviewers have their reviews published as an advice for the libraries in their purchasing of books.

The experienced reviewer Håkan Philipsson did not hide his opinion about the book when he reviewed the first part of David Irving's biography of Goebbels in the autumn of 1997:

"This is a book about the growth of the triumph of fanaticism and evil -- the seizure of power by the Nazis in Germany in 1933. Presented in a biography, 1897-1933 (it is planned to publish the work in 3 parts), about the unpleasant wizard of propaganda, the agitator Joseph Goebbels.

Here we are introduced to the transformation of a human being from poor student with religious dreams to a National Socialist fanatic and one of Adolf Hitler's nearest collaborators. The author, who has studied the diaries of Goebbels, which are kept in Moscow [archives], writes about the political life, but also about an eventful love life. Goebbels' intricate and a little indecent affair with women occupies a too dominant place in the book. It is a frightening text, well written and absorbing, but also disgusting in a deeper sense. The book contains an important lesson of history, and a message which humanity never must forget. The psychological importance, that millions of Germans chose National Socialism, with leaders like Hitler and Goebbels, shall neither be forgotten. The book is illustrated with five black & white pictures, and is ended with an extensive collection of notes. David Irving, researcher and controversial historian, has earlier written the book "Göring" (1989)".

The Investigating committee of the Library Service received an extreme unusual complaint from the city library of Borås. The purchasing manager, Ms. Birgit Jacobsson, was of the opinion that the reviewer ought to have advised against buying the book:

"Irving is a well-known so-called revisionist and has been accused of being a fellow traveller of the Nazis. This ought to have been mentioned in the review of the book, because it is an important fact regarding the judgement of the book … Irving is using Goebbels to defend Hitler. …"

Birgit Jacobsson had not read Irving's book, but an article of one Gita Sereny (left) about Irving in "Dagens Nyheter". In addition she had noticed that the publishing house had earlier published a book about runes and pre-Nordic mythology. The publishing house was under suspicion. The board of the Library Service now engaged the Investigating committee. Now and then publishing houses makes a complaint against reviews of books when the contents are against the Library Service PM, which states that reviews shall be fair and serious. Now and then they are right, and the reviews are changed, and new orders follows.

But the immediate result of this complaint was very extraordinary: The Library Service stopped all orders of the book (177), with the motivation that the review of the book had been "too positive", and therefore had to be reversed. After a while the Library Service sent out a circular letter informing that the orders of the book would be cancelled if they were not renewed. It was as in the military when a soldier is corrected for bad salutation: - You are wrong! Do otherwise! A minority [of the libraries] re-ordered, but those orders were not effectuated either by the Library Service. An efficient consideration laid behind this procedure: If the Investigating committee should find out that there was something wrong with the review, then the result of the cancellation will be that the libraries will not get a new opportunity to order. To be absolutely certain, the Library Service immediately erased all information about the book in the database of the libraries.

Even if it technically seen maybe was not the opinion from the beginning, Philipsson was in his time corrected by the Investigating committee, who unanimously (Lars-Erik Böttiger, Inger Eide-Jensen, Immi Lundin, Per Nilsson, Ullar Rhedin, Helen Sandberg, Karin Stjernström and Maarja Talgre) decided to set aside the review:

"… To describe David Irving as a researcher and controversial historian is not enough. Specifically, it ought to has been mentioned that Irving is known for his revisionist view of history, whose main object is to get satisfaction for Nazism and reduce the role of Adolf Hitler in its crimes …"

But because Philipsson's review was set aside in this way, there was nevertheless no new review published. It can't have been the intention either, because how is a reviewer with a sound intellect to follow such a decision by the Investigation committee.

The unpleasant impression that one is left with, because of the intrigues of The Library Service, is sharpened when considered against the background that precisely this book was also never published in the USA, after the publishing house -- the recognized St. Martin's Press -- after repeated repression and threats, ended the contract with the author on the pretext that the consultants of the publishing house, after eight readings of the manuscript, had reached the decision that it was anti-Semitic.

 THE same issue of "Tidsskrift för Folkets Rättigheter" also contained a objective article about the British libel action brought by David Irving against Deborah Lipstadt, entitled "David Irving and the Truth" ("David Irving och sanningen"), where the lawyer Rolf Andersson writes about the case and makes comments about the judgment by Charles Gray.

[Full Swedish text of article ] [Translated excerpts below:]

[….] SEVERAL factors contribute to the fact that he [Irving] has influential enemies. One of these factors is that Irving, who is no historian by profession, has been very successful. He has without doubt left a lasting contribution to the research work about the Third Reich through all the important documents he has found hidden in archives, and presented these documents for a large public.

[….] By reading the judgment it is difficult to avoid reflecting that it would have been interesting to see what Gray would have arrived to by a similar inquiring into a book of for example Professor Evans, if the enquiry was carried out by bitter enemies, with the help of a hostile staff of researchers and error-finders with unlimited resources. Such an inquiry would surely produce a long list of error. And it should also have been possible to at least indicate that some of the errors are deliberate and has come into being because Evans has a ideological motivation because he is a Thatcherist, New Labour, misogynist (Lipstadt's lawyers did in fact argue during the case that Irving was a woman-hater, but Gray could not see that this had any relevance!) or what could be valid.

[…] The great risk is that the judgment will contribute to a situation where others will avoid keeping digging into sensitive historical questions. The judgment will be used as a weapon: the truth is now finally proved. The risk that someone without any foundation in truth, in order to silence him, is accused of being a "holocaust denier" was already a factor before the judgment. That risk has now increased. Lipstadt's McCarthyist edition of her "justification" and Gray's total acceptance of it bodes no good.

[Full Swedish text of article ]

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