Posted Thursday, July 23, 1998
PRESS STATEMENT FROM THE OFFICE OF DAVID IRVING
For Immediate Release
12:00 midday EST, July 23, 1998
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BBC TEAM and BRITISH HISTORIAN DAVID IRVING BANNED FROM AUSCHWITZ +++
THE AUSCHWITZ state museum authorities have banned the BBC from filming British historian David Irving at the historic site. They have also banned him from researching in their archives. The BBC had scheduled documentary filming with him at the former Nazi concentration camp in Poland next month. No reason was given for this unprecedented ban.
"What are they fearful of?" asks Mr Irving. "It shows a grave insecurity, a lack of historical detachment. It's like the suspect saying: We don't mind investigators -- just don't let in Lieutenant Columbo!"
Mr Irving is well known as a ruthless exposer of frauds. In 1975 he exposed the "Admiral Wilhelm Canaris" diaries offered to Williams Collins publishers Ltd as fakes. At the famous press conference held by Stern magazine in Hamburg in April 1983 he denounced the "Hitler Diaries" for which they had paid $5,000,000 as fakes (the furious magazine editors had him evicted from the conference).
In a letter to Mr Irving's office received in London on Tuesday the Auschwitz deputy director Krystyna Olesky has stated:
"Permission will not be given for you to have any access to the Museum including the photographic and document archives. The BBC have been advised of the position."
BBC producer Nicholas Fraser has been preparing the filming since last autumn. Arrangements had been made to fly Mr Irving to the site for two days' filming on August 18. Mr Irving had asked the museum and archive authorities for permission to research in their extensive holdings of blueprints and pictures. He has expressed criticism of the cosmetic refurbishing going on at the site.
[SOME BACKGROUND: Mr Irving's biographies of Adolf Hitler (Hitler's War) and the Nazi propaganda minister Dr Joseph Goebbels have recently figured on Polish best-seller lists, and there is competition among respected Polish publishers for his works. In England his books were published by Macmillan Ltd. But he has come under increasing attack. In 1992 there was controversy when Mr Irving was the first historian to exploit in formerly secret Moscow archives the Goebbels diaries seized by the Red Army in Berlin in 1945. Under pressure from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) New York publishers St Martin's Press and Doubleday abandoned production of this book at the last moment in 1996. Under pressure from local organisations the governments of Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and Canada had barred his entry.]
He recently wrote a highly critical letter to Professor Jan Van Pelt, Dutch architectural historian and author of the authoritative work Auschwitz from 1270 to the Present. (Pelt has declined to reply). Mr Irving first aroused the anger of the Polish museum authorities by dismissing the gas chamber building which they have shown to tourists for years as a clumsy post-war communist fake. Van Pelt determined in his book that this was in fact true. Mrs Olesky herself recently admitted (to a journalist on Paris news magazine L'Express, Jan. 26, 1995) that the building was in fact erected in 1948. Tourists are still not advised of the deception.
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