Posted Monday, May 7, 2001

Quick navigation

Alphabetical index (text)  

Oxford Union is lending academic credibility to an individual who has been ruled to be an 'anti-semite and a racist' by the courts -- The leftist National Union of Students


Press Association

London, Friday, May 4, 2001

Press Association Newsfile



Dylan Dronfield
PA News

A LEADING lecturer today threatened to campaign for a boycott of one of Britain's most famous academic institutions for inviting notorious far-right historian David Irving to speak in a debate.

David John Cawdell Irving was born in Essex in March 1938, one of four children, to parents Beryl, a writer and illustrator, and John, a naval commander.

The family lived in straitened circumstances and Irving attended a minor public school, Sir Anthony Browne's in Brentwood, Essex - later attended by Home Secretary Jack Straw.

He achieved eight A-levels and 13 O-levels and read physics at London's Imperial College, but did not finish his degree for lack of money.

He then embarked on a love affair with Germany, working for a year in the Ruhr steelworks, where he rose to the position of third smelter.

Back in England, he again began a degree, financing his studies by working as a nightwatchman and writing articles.

The publication of his first book, about the Allied air raids on Dresden, was followed by a score more with another three still in the pipeline.

Irving claims that envy for his early success and research methods turned to malice after Hitler's War - with its claim that the Fuehrer did not know about the mass killings until 1943 - appeared in the US in 1977.

In 1961, Irving married the daughter of a Spanish industrial chemist, who was fiercely opposed to Franco.

Before their divorce in 1981, the couple had four daughters. The eldest, Josephine, committed suicide in September 1999 aged 33 [sic. 36] after a period of mental illness and an accident which led to the loss of her legs.

Irving, who has been banned from the German state archives and expelled from Austria, Italy, Canada and Germany, claims that he has suffered a barrage of abuse and death threats on his unlisted phone number.

He agrees he once had swizzle sticks adorned with swastikas at a book party, but denies Nazi sympathies.

In April 2000 he lost a £2 million libel action against a historian who had branded him a Holocaust denier.

Oxford University Students' Union and the National Union of Students have jointly condemned a decision by the Oxford Union to provide a platform for David Irving, who has 'denied' the Holocaust.

The Oxford Union, renowned for inviting controversial guest speakers to address its members, has asked Mr Irving to speak at the debating chamber in St Michael Street, Oxford, on May 10.

The move has outraged many, who say his views, that the Holocaust never took place, are racist and fascist and should not be allowed a platform to expound them further. The NUS said the Oxford Union's decision was in direct opposition to its policy not to enable known racists and fascists to air their views via the organisation. The policy has been overwhelmingly passed at NUS conferences every year for the past five years.

The Oxford Union society is a private members club and debating society, which operates entirely independently of Oxford University and the Oxford University Students' Union.

Kirsty McNeill, OUSU president, said:

"Only eight per cent of Oxford students come from ethnic minorities, compared to 14 per cent of the student population nationally. How can the University hope to appeal to minorities when an individual who propounds such divisive views is permitted to air those views by a society which comprises many of Oxford University's alumni? The students' union is proud to say 'never again'."

Owain James, NUS national president, said: "This is irresponsible. In providing a platform to David Irving, the Oxford Union is lending academic credibility to an individual who has been ruled to be an 'anti-semite and a racist' by the courts. This is an affront to diversity and tolerance."

Related items on this website:

 Irving visit to union triggers boycott threat
 Boycott threat to Oxford Union over Irving appearance
 Academics threaten to boycott Oxford over Irving speech
[Oxford Union debate update, Monday]
The above news item is reproduced without editing other than typographical
 Register your name and address to go on the Mailing List to receive

David Irving's ACTION REPORT

© Focal Point 2001 F Irving write to David Irving