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The Search for Truth in History

A Videotaped Speech for Australia, 1993

Part 2:

THIS is the great tragedy now -- that around the world our opponents are establishing new laws in order to protect a legend, because the old methods of historical debate are no longer strong enough to shore up the legend.

They can't find the evidence in the archives, they can't find the evidence in the museums, they can no longer believe the eye witnesses because the more eye witnesses who come forward to say that I saw it happen with my very own eyes -- somehow, it's difficult isn't it -- somehow the less credible it seems.

click to helpThe more eye witnesses who come forward to say I saw the gas chambers, I saw the crematorium smoking, Elie Wiesel, the Nobel prize winner, he says that, -- in his memoirs -- that he could tell by the colour of the smoke coming from the crematorium chambers in Auschwitz whether they were burning Poles or Jews that day.

Now, I don't know how many of you have got a crematorium in your home town, but you'll find that they don't smoke, the chimneys, one colour or the other; and yet the eye witnesses have been believed until now and our enemies are so foolish, our traditional enemies, that they believe that if 100 eye witnesses aren't believed then they will be more believable, more credible if we produce 500 eye witnesses, and if 500 don't suffice then, hey, let's produce 5,000 eye witnesses. And all the time the story is becoming less credible and not more.

Of course, as the years pass, the man in the street says to himself -- fifty years later in 1993 -- surely the archives in London, or in Washington, or in Canberra, or in Moscow; surely the archives should by now produce one single sheet of paper, bearing that word, "gas chamber" in German?

And they don't.

Nowhere in all of the archives in the world, and I've worked in them for 30 years now, nowhere is there one single sheet of German war time documentary evidence referring to gas chambers or factories of death or any of these other propaganda words that we British invented so cleverly in 1942.

And so they have to protect the legend now in laws.

In France they introduced a new law two years ago -- on the 14th of July in fact, the great historical festival in France, Bastille Day -- they introduced a new law, making, it is called "an amendment to the Press Act", making it a criminal offence in France to challenge the veracity of any of the crimes as defined in the Nuremberg Charter, the charter under which the Nuremberg trials were held in 1945-1946. So in theory, if I go to France now and say I don't believe that the Germans killed 15,000 Poles in the Katyn Forest, I am committing a criminal offence in France and my traditional enemies would gleefully see me taken off to be fined or imprisoned, or who knows, even put before the guillotine.

But you all know, that in the mean time, -- although in Nuremberg the Allies held the Germans responsible for the Katyn Forest massacres of 1940-41, although we all know that the Germans were held to be guilty of that -- in the mean time a year ago the Kremlin has finally admitted that the Poles were murdered by the NKVD, the Soviet Secret Police.

So that's the truth, but I'm not allowed to go to France to challenge it because they have a law protecting the lie, and it's the same in Germany.

In Germany anybody who goes and stands in public or writes in a reader's letter to a newspaper or in a book and imputes or infers or implies or suggests or mentions that the gas chambers did not exist in his opinion, he is committing a criminal offence.

In Germany the law doesn't say you shan't say the gas chambers didn't exist, the law is called, "Defamation of the Memory of the Dead." If you want to ask what connection there is between defaming the memory of the dead and saying that these concrete buildings didn't exist in Poland, then you are entitled to ask that question, I don't know the answer for it, but all I know is that I myself have been held to be guilty of that particular misdemeanour. I made that statement in a speech, as you will understand having spoken with Professor Bernd Martin, the head of the history department in Freiburg, who himself told me that he knew from Franciszek Piper, the head of the Auschwitz state museum and archives, that what they showed the tourists was a fake.

So in their famous beer hall in Munich, the Löwenbräu, on April the 21st, 1990, I spoke to an audience of about 1,000 people and said in my opinion "the gas chamber they show the tourists in Auschwitz is a dummy produced after the war."

In the meantime we had other evidence to support this which I'll set out in the later part of this talk.

Although this was a private meeting of 1,000 people, I was arrested by the police, held in custody for a few hours, released on bail; a few months later I received a notification from the German courts that I had been fined 3,000 Deutschmarks, 1000 pounds, a couple of thousand dollars for this political statement. In the meantime of course the Deutschmark has gone up, the pound has gone down; it doesn't matter, because we appealed that particular verdict against me. On May 5, 1991, I went to Germany and appealed against that particular sentence and the judge in his infinite wisdom, the judge I mentioned before, the 30 year old wearing the jeans and sneakers, he said that because Mr Irving has proven so stubborn, and because I was refusing to see reason, he was going to increase the fine to 10,000 Deutschmarks, which is now 4,000 pounds, or pretty close on $10,000 Australian dollars.

10,000 dollars to express an opinion which happens to be true of course, you might think that this is an injustice, but that wasn't the injustice, the real injustice was that the judge refused to hear any evidence.

I invited Dr Franciszek Piper, the director of the Auschwitz state museum and archives himself to come to Munich and give evidence. He refused to come.

Now why should he refuse to come? I offered to pay him a witness fee, I offered to pay his airfare from Warsaw, or whatever was the closest Polish city to Auschwitz, the closest airport, fly to Munich, give evidence for that one day, or two days that the trial is going to last.

He should come with his hand on a stack of bibles or Talmuds or whatever other holy scriptures he chose to use, he could say, "Irving is liar, because I am the director of the Auschwitz state museum or archives and I know that the gas chambers existed," and yet he didn't dare to come, because he knew he would have been committing perjury.

It didn't matter anyway because the judge announced in advance that he wasn't going to allow the appearance of Dr Piper as a witness, nor was he going to hear any other evidence that we were producing, I'll talk about it later, the chemical evidence, the forensic evidence, he wasn't going to allow us to produce any documents about Auschwitz, he allowed the introduction of no evidence at all using one word, "offenkundig", which in German means this is a, an established fact.

Gas chambers are an established fact, therefore for all eternity no one is going to be allowed now to challenge whether they existed or not.

Now, if I was an average German citizen and I felt that, two or three generations down the road, I was being blamed for something which probably didn't happen, the massacre of millions of people in gas chambers, in factories of death, and we now begin to suspect that the factories of death were just brutal slave labour camps, that the gas chambers are a figment of enemy, in other words Allied, propaganda -- if I was a German I would be getting pretty steamed up about this.

But they can't get steamed up about it, because the law in Germany says that anybody who challenges it is committing an offence. They are defaming the memory of the dead. So we appealed again.

By this time I had an army of lawyers working for me, not just ordinary lawyers, let me mention who they are.

photo: David Irving with lawyers Hajo Hermann, Karl Schaller

Irving, Hermann, Schaller

The first lawyer who represented me in the appeal was Hajo Herrmann, a Colonel in the German air force in World War II, who by his singlehanded efforts as a fighter pilot in World War II, -- by the new innovations, the tactical innovations he introduced -- probably saved the lives of half a million Berlin citizens in the autumn of 1943. A brave man, now 75 years old, he volunteered to act as a lawyer for me in the German law courts, and said that I would not have to pay any legal fees.

Immediately at his side came two more lawyers, Dr Klaus Goebel, Dr Karl Schaller, both Austrians.

They both had to put up with quite a lot of fight, in fact, when the appeal came to be heard, the day before, one of them wrote me a letter that unfortunately he'd come under such pressure that he was going to have to withdraw from the case; and I protested to the judge and I said that "I demand this court protect my lawyers from external pressures, because I as a citizen and as a defendant, am entitled to know that my lawyers are not being intimidated and subjected to pressures with their future livelihoods and careers put at risk."

The judge refused to intervene.

It's a very lonely fight we're fighting there in the German law courts and you can see how lonely it was when I mentioned that the outcome of this particular appeal, which was heard on January the 13th this year, 1993, the fine of 10,000 Deutschmarks was arbitrarily increased by the judge to 30,000 Deutschmarks -- 30,000 Deutschmarks.

You are looking of a fine of 12,500 pounds or in round figures about 25 or 30,000 dollars.

A fine on me as an established historian for expressing an opinion which I sincerely hold on the basis of 30 years' work in the archives and which none of the historians of Germany or Britain or France or Australia or anywhere around the world is prepared openly to contest.

The only way that they can contest this opinion is by banning me, and my colleagues, the people who try to voice the same opinions as myself; but gradually our voice is being heard and we are making our case in a kind of backhanded way, because journalists -- who are not noted for their quickwittedness or insight or perspicacity -- journalists are now beginning to scratch themselves and say, "That's a bit funny isn't it, a 30,000 Deutschmarks fine on somebody for expressing an opinion."

Germany, a democracy, a free country, what's going on here?

Auberon Waugh, who is the son of the noted British novelist Evelyn Waugh, he is now a journalist for the Daily Telegraph, he wrote a column in the Daily Telegraph after I was fined saying, "What kind of historical truth is this, that needs the protections of fines and prison sentences and deportations in order to exist as fact, what kind of fact is it that it can't exist just by itself, historical facts can normally exist by themselves without this kind of armour plate."

So by their very actions our opponents are discrediting themselves.

Let me give you another example.

I was in Moscow last year [1992] in July, finding the Goebbels Diaries on microfiche which I mentioned earlier.

Irving serial in SpiegelFrom Moscow I flew to Munich, which in itself is now a hazardous task for me because I'm banned from Germany; I still go to Germany -- I've been to Germany probably 10, 15 times the last year and a half -- but I'm technically banned from going to Germany; the Minister of the Interior in a frantic attempt to try and preserve his image, has banned me from going into Germany, the author of the "Destruction of Dresden" and the "Rommel Biography" and all these other great books about German history, but I flew from Moscow to Munich because the next day I had to go down to Rome to address a meeting in the university of Rome, I had been invited by a university professor.

Our traditional enemies were so frightened about what I might say, that when I stepped down the steps of that plane in July last year at Rome's Fiumicino airport, at the foot of the steps of the plane, I found, I suppose, ten cars with flashing blue lights loaded with carabinieri all carrying rifles and calling out my name, "Mr Irving, Mr Irving!"

And they weren't there just to carry my baggage it turned out.

I was taken straight over to the police station in the airport building, held in the police station, rather amusing, of course for the purpose of that particular interrogation I refused to understand Italian, so they had to interrogate me in English. Which is more painful than that; I suppose it was painful for each of us, the English they had to speak and the English I had to listen too.

And at the end of this interrogation, -- which consisted of me saying that I was an English citizen and a citizen of the European community, and I refused to answer any questions, -- at the end of the interview, I sat there for a few minutes and then the man who had come to meet me was brought in and I had quite a conversation with him in Italian, at which the Italian police colonel went frantic, and he instructed us to be silent, and I thought, this isn't the third Reich, this isn't even Israel, I can say what I want here. Why not?

I said, "I'm going to say what I want and I'm going to continue talking to the man," and he said "no, silencio", and I said "where does it say silencio, there is not even a sign anywhere saying silencio." He said, "I tell you to be silent", and I said, "there is no sign saying silent so I will continue speaking to my friend who came to the airport to pick me up".

And this police colonel, in this brand new airport building, he was so frantic at the overriding of his authority, that he took a felt pen with a half inch thick nib and on the wall of this brand new airport building he wrote in letters one foot high, "I tell you what the word silencio is, watcha this: silencio -- SILENCIO!!"

So there you have it. Moments of humour, moments of comedy, in this particular fight.

And I was put on a plane that very same afternoon back to Munich. And, was I unhappy? The answer is, no.

It was another victory. It was another victory over our traditional enemies, they thought they had silenced me but no -- because what they are admitting by having me sent straight back out of Italy so that I couldn't speak to that audience in Rome, -- the traditional enemies are admitting that nowhere in the whole of the entire Italian country, from one end to the other, from the thigh down to the tip of its toe, did they have one professor or one academic or one historian who is capable of refuting me in a free and open debate.

And in every country where they ban me, and in every country where they kick me out or deport me or won't let me in, -- right now, Australia, late at the end of last year in Canberra,-- where our traditional enemies succeed in having me excluded from the country, they are passively admitting that, "Here too in the entire country of Canada and in the entire continent of Australia we have not one historian who is qualified to challenge me and prove me wrong." And if that isn't a victory then I don't know what is.

So, what is the roll of honour of this list of countries where my opponents have admitted that they cannot confront that they can't debate, they've got no one capable of debating, not only me but any of the other historians who share my opinions.

Well we are indebted to the Australian Jewish community for listing these countries, as they have repeatedly done in letters to the Australian newspapers and in their articles and in their representations to the Australian Government, ever since I made it known in October 1992 that I intended to conduct a tour of Australia.

They themselves have listed the countries saying, Mr Irving, in fact, I think one of them, Michael Marx, one of the Australian Jewish leaders, said "Mr Irving has convictions in South Africa, Italy, Australia, Austria, Germany, Canada, the United States," virtually around the world in fact; convictions of course, is going a bit too far, which Mr Michael Marx is going to find out shortly when he receives our first writ, along with the Australian Jewish News which published that kind of rubbish.

More accurate is to say that Mr Irving has difficulty in getting into certain countries and these are listed by my traditional enemies as Italy, South Africa, United States, Canada, Germany, Austria.

In each of these countries it's the same people behind the difficulties.

The Simon Wiesenthal Centre in Los Angeles for example, -- and this is what rather surprised me about Australia: because when I heard that the Simon Wiesenthal Centre put the pressure on the Australian government and the Australian government had collapsed within only a few days of the pressure being put on them, I was disappointed; because I thought the Australians are made of tougher meat than that, I thought that if I could put up with that kind of pressure for two years just as an individual, that the Australian people, the Australian Government could tell these people in Los Angeles to go take a running jump if they'd wanted to, or told their front men down in Australia to go take a running jump.

But they didn't, and I think it's for the Australian people, the Australian electorate perhaps in March 1993 to decide whether that's the kind of weak-knee'd government that they want or if they want that kind of Government then they are going to have to ask the government, what kind of stranglehold these people have on them, that they can allow them to run rings round them, and dictate terms to them, who can come and who can go.

I haven't got a criminal record, I've been in Australia a couple of times before and I can't remember having robbed the banks or mugged old ladies, or bludgeoned people to death with shillelaghs or any thing -- so what exactly was it that made me persona non grata in Austria or Australia or Italy or any of these other countries?

Well it's the same gang of liars who are trying to protect a legend, and they do it from country to country in exactly the same way.

It began in fact, in June 1983, ten years ago, when I was on a speaking tour of Austria. On that occasion a body known as the Austrian Documentationsarchiv des Widerstandes, the Archives for Documenting the Resistance, insisted that the Austrian Government turf me out; and the Minister of the Interior in Austria, who was at that time a man called Karl Blecha (which is the Czech word for a flea in fact), Karl Blecha, had me turfed out and driven at very high speed to the frontier and booted into Germany; for which he then had to apologise, click to helpbecause we took legal action against the Austrian Government very shortly afterwards; and the Austrian Government was then ordered to pay me compensation for the illegal deportation. I've yet to see a single schilling of that money, I don't know who took that money -- I wouldn't be surprised if it was our traditional enemies who managed somehow to get the money as well as having me thrown out!   [continued]


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