captions, and panel on Auschwitz fakery are added
by this website]|
New York, Wednesday, October 3 2007
is revising his revisionist thinking -- and the
move is opening up a rift among his fellow
Rankled by Their Standard Bearer's
DAVID IRVING, who was released
last December  in
Austria after being
convicted of Holocaust denial, recently announced
that he is rethinking his position on the fate of
European Jews during World War II. Irving now
concedes that a mass slaughter of Jews may have
In a series of interviews,
including one with the Forward, Irving
outlined his new beliefs. After his release, he
said, he discovered in a volume of trivial Nazi
memo from SS major Hermann Höfle that
refers to "S," "B" and "T" -- code, Irving
claims, for the concentration camps Sobibor, Belzec
and Treblinka. He said he is 80% sure that the
document is genuine and that no other piece of
Holocaust evidence has seemed as legitimate.
incidentally, how the reasons for Austria
imprisoning me vary as we go around the
fact: Austria sentenced me to three years
jail for Wiederbetätigung, literally
reactivation (of the Nazi Party!) under a
Stalin-era law passed in 1945, on account
of a lecture I had delivered sixteen years
earlier, on November 6,
The law is also called
the Verbotsgesetz, or Banning
"democratic" and "Free Speech" Austria
still has this law on its statute book and
uses it to jail people of whose views it
disapproves -- on this particular occasion
it was at the written request (November 7,
1989) of a Jewish-Marxist body, the
Dokumentationsarchiv des Widerstandes.
AWPOW! Are we Powerful or What!
"This is the only one,"
Irving said. "If [the document] is
genuine, it refutes the view of the revisionists
that nothing happened."
Irving's current conclusions still lie far from
those of mainstream Holocaust scholars. He believes
that around 2.4 million Jews were killed by the
Nazis, that Auschwitz
was not a death camp and that SS chief Heinrich
Himmler ordered the murders behind Hitler's
Lipstadt, an Emory University professor whom
sued for libel in 1996 after she described him
in print as a Holocaust denier, was unimpressed by
Irving's new stance.
"Do I care whether he said 2.4 million or zero?"
Lipstadt said. "Bottom line is, he's an
unrepentant, committed antisemite."
Lipstadt questioned the wisdom of devoting
airtime to Irving, who by many accounts craves the
"He should be met with a big yawn," she
Indeed, the conclusion will likely have no
effect at all on mainstream Holocaust scholarship,
a field in which Irving has long been discredited.
It has, however, illuminated a rift between those
revisionists who refuse to entertain the
possibility that the Holocaust occurred and those
who say they are skeptical.
Irving confirmed that he has made many new
enemies in the revisionist community and kept old
"I've received a number of e-mails from around
the world," Irving said. "They're not very happy
with me at all."
Among the unsympathetic is Michael
Santomauro, who runs the revisionist Web site
Reporters Notebook. "[Irving] is a
flip-flopper on the Holocaust," Santomauro said. "I
think he's positioning himself to sell more
Irving, 69, began writing about World War II in
his youth, often expressing sympathy for the Third
Reich. His books were dismissed by critics and
historians but sold well. In 1988, the American
execution specialist Fred
Leuchter's claim that there was no evidence
of gas chambers at Auschwitz convinced him that the
Holocaust had never occurred.
Eight years later, Irving sued Lipstadt for
libel after she described him as a Holocaust denier
in her book "Denying the Holocaust: The Growing
Assault on Truth and Memory." Irving lost the
In 2005, Irving was arrested in Austria
for having publicly denied the Holocaust in
that country in 1989 [SEE PANEL
AT RIGHT]. He was convicted and
sentenced to three years in prison, but the
decision was overturned on appeal late in 2006,
after he had served about a year.
One of Irving's main allies in the United States
is Mark Weber, director of the revisionist
Institute for Historical Review. Weber countered
the claim that Irving is simply engaged in a
"Those people who are disappointed that Irving
has switched [sides] shouldn't be, because
he's always been ambivalent," Weber said, adding
that Irving's current stance marks a return to the
way he was thinking when he published "Hitler's
War" in 1976.
Irving agrees with this interpretation of his
"You must not think that I've done anything to
rehabilitate myself," he said.
Irving made to the Guardian newspaper
suggest the extent to which he does not wish to be
rehabilitated. Irving called the Jews "architects
of their own misfortune," responsible for most of
the 20th century's wars.
Likewise, he continues to defend those
revisionists with whom he now disagrees.
"They're doing very important work," he said,
adding that revisionists keep mainstream Holocaust
scholars on their toes. He dismissed the charge
that revisionists are motivated by factors other
than the pursuit of historical truth, such as
And he is confident that his turnaround will not
win him any fans in the academic world.
"I think that's a dead duck." he said.
Our dossier on The Board of Deputies of British
Irving: A Radical's Diary: On The Forward
interview on the Holocaust, and the "Mel Gibson"
theory that the Jews have been behind many of
20th Century wars
Mr Irving's diary of his visit to
Irving's diary of his visit to the three
Reinhardt camps, Sobibor, Belzec and