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Moscow Pullman Daily News

Moscow, Idaho, Thursday, December 11, 2003


Holocaust revisionist may visit Palouse

by Alexis Bacharach

DAVID Irving would have people believe the Holocaust never happened. The internationally known Holocaust denier may bring his message to Moscow on Tuesday, according to his Web site. The time and location of the event are not listed.

Irving speaks to audiences of all sizes. In some cases, his presentations are given to small groups of people in discreet locations. Other times, though less frequently according to the Anti Defamation League, Irving speaks to large audiences on college campuses or other places where he can draw a large crowd.

Even then, details of his appearances are released just ahead of the scheduled events to avoid organized protests. This would be Irving's second visit to the Palouse. He spoke at Washington State University in 1998, at the request of a then-WSU student. He stood before a large audience with images of Hitler and his followers in the backdrop.

He told the Daily News, just after the event, that particular speech was one of his best received. Some local residents remember Irving's visit well. Myron Schreck, a member of the local Jewish community, has spent years studying Holocaust denial. He said every denier has a different angle, but the overall argument is the same: Hitler never ordered the extermination of more than 11 million Jews, Gypsies, Slavic people, disabled people and others viewed as inferior by the Aryan Race.

Schreck finds Irving particularly dangerous, because he masks his "political motivations" under the guise of scholarship. "It certainly bothers me that he may be able to influence vulnerable students in university towns, who may not have a great deal of knowledge about Holocaust denial," Schreck said.

"He is always asking for people to debate. He has an amazing command of facts that makes it very difficult. People want to believe his lies. No one wants to believe the Holocaust happened."

Lately Irving has lost momentum, according to an Anti Defamation League profile. He gained notoriety as an author, who specialized in World War II history. The ADL indicates that Irving's books, dating back to 1963, present apologist arguments for the Third Reich and suggest Hitler wasn't really anti-Semitic.

Irving has been a high-profile and controversial figure for many years. In 1996, Irving filed a libel suit against a professor and a publishing company, after a book was published that referred to Irving as a Holocaust denier. A British court ruled against Irving in 2000.

"He was thoroughly discredited when the court said the way (Irving) used his facts was not right," Latah Human Rights Task Force Co-chairman Alan Rose said. "I don't know if he will show up or not. Last time he was here we ran an alternative program on the same night of his speech. I don't know if anything will be done this time. I'm reluctant to give him any publicity. That's what he wants."

Schreck agreed. Unless Irving makes his presence known and widely publicizes his views, Schreck said it may be best to ignore the man. What worries Schreck is the possibility that Irving will come into town and gather more followers.

"History of the Holocaust is well documented, but that doesn't stop people from believing the lies," Schreck said. "It may be worthwhile to organize something and correct any misrepresentations after he is gone. If you really listen to him you can tell he is politically motivated. My mother always said, 'the most effective way to counter hate is just to give the people enough rope and eventually everyone will see them hang themselves.' "


Alexis Bacharach can be reached at (208) 882-5561, ext. 234, or by e-mail at


David Irving speaking tour details
On Apr 13, 1998 Mr Irving spoke at nearby Washington State University, Pullman [partial transcript].[dossier]
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