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Posted Friday, October 3, 2008

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We look ahead to one of the literary events of the year, the first book in six years from David Irving.

London, Friday, October 3, 2008


by Hugh Muir

AS AN active Holocaust denier is apprehended at Heathrow, we look ahead to one of the literary events of the year, the first book in six years from David Irving.

We receive an advance copy and some glossy publicity about our favourite historian. No reviews are possible until October 19, but we can tell you that Banged Up - his account of 14 months spent in an Austrian jail for Holocaust denial -- is everything one might expect from him. If you have tears to shed, now's the time.

• Just as engaging is the publicity material that features a photograph of Mr Justice Gray, who presided over the libel trial involving Irving and the US historian Professor Deborah Lipstadt in 2000. Irving lost, but in a lengthy judgment the judge said many things, and the writer quotes a few of them.

"As a military historian Irving has much to commend him," the judge said. "He is beyond question able and intelligent ... his knowledge of world war two is unparalleled."

But Mr Justice Gray said much else in his judgment that is not reproduced here. It was "incontrovertible" that Irving qualified as a Holocaust denier, the judge concluded. "Not only has he denied the existence of gas chambers at Auschwitz and asserted that no Jew was gassed there, he has done so on frequent occasions and sometimes in the most offensive terms." There were in fact soundbites galore. "Irving has repeatedly crossed the divide between legitimate criticism and prejudiced vilification of the Jewish race and people". And "the picture of Irving which emerges from the evidence of his extra-curricular activities reveals him to be a rightwing pro-Nazi polemicist". Perhaps the most relevant quote addressed Irving's political agenda, "which, it is legitimate to infer, disposes him, where he deems it necessary, to manipulate the historical record in order to make it conform with his political beliefs". Or perhaps My Lord, to flog a book?


Frederick Toben

'Holocaust denier' Dr Frederick Toben (right) held at London's Heathrow - Australian Revisionist arrested on stopover - taken off US plane to Dubai | The Times (London): Extradition bid raises fears of 'thought crime' offences| Aussie to face kangaroo courts | accused of "anti-semitism": Toben faces extradition hearing | The Age | The Guardian
Publicity for Banged Up: leaflet (pdf)

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