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We believe it is important firmly to challenge what we see as his cynical attempt to reinvent himself as just another respectable historian.

The Jewish Chronicle
London, Friday, October 12, 2007 7:08 PM

Leading article

Irving and the JC

THERE will be readers today wondering why the JC is wasting valuable editorial space covering the latest self-serving legal threats from the widely discredited Holocaust denier David Irving. They will, no doubt rightly, be exasperated that a former convict, with no reputation of any substance to maintain, will only be delighting in winning himself the publicity and attention today that his "academic" work or his "lecture tours" could never achieve.

After all, this is a man clearly in desperate need of some measure of public rehabilitation if he is to end up as more than just another far-right blogger whom history will remember only for his abject humiliations in both the criminal and the libel courts.

Yet, whatever pleasure Irving takes from today's coverage, and however distasteful we consider him as subject matter, we believe it is important firmly to challenge what we see as his cynical attempt to reinvent himself as just another respectable historian. Irving has conscientiously reconsidered the evidence, he tells us; he has recently visited the Nazis' death camps, he informs us, and by reading the voluminous diaries he has published thereon we would clearly conclude that he is in no way "an active Holocaust denier".

Why, he even accepts that there were "mass shootings of Jews and others behind the Eastern front", and that "the Nazis and their accomplices murdered 2.4 million Jews in Treblinka, Belzec and Sobibor" (just don't complicate matters by bringing up Auschwitz, which seems to be open to all sorts of Irving interpretations). But the more commonly accepted, witness- and evidence-backed historical truth of the Holocaust -- the six million Jews killed, the industrial-scale mass murders using gas chambers, the sheer unthinkable scale of the Auschwitz death machine -- Irving has a few little problems still in accepting.

His strategy may be to retract in part his earlier notorious views in order to cast doubt on whether he is currently in denial of the full story; he may play with numbers of dead, or raise questions on individual camp artefacts, in order to detract attention from the greater scale of his historical revisionism. But any self-proclaimed historian whose career has been built upon shaming the memory of the six million and those who survived must not be allowed to reinvent his own story as he seeks to appeal to a new generation of misguided supporters.

The few remaining survivors today at least bear witness to the falsehoods that Irving has sought to misrepresent as fact. As this generation passes on, it will be ever more incumbent on newspapers such as this to challenge and expose his claims at every turn. Even if he relishes the prospect.


Our dossier on the Lipstadt Trial
 David Irving issues a warning letter: "I shall without further notice issue a Claim in Defamation"
What David Irving really thinks about the Holocaust - Hitler's apologist
Why Irving regretted his days in court
A Radical's Diary: The Jewish Chronicle is becoming Irving-obsessed



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