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May 6, 1999
The newspaper of Central Washington University

photo: Kelly Christensen/Observer


David Irving speaks to a packed Chavez Theater Tuesday

by Mike Jenkinson Staff reporter


THE visit of British revisionist historian, David Irving, on Thursday, was accompanied by a great deal of controversy. There were arguments the event between members of The Euro-American Student Union (ESU) and the Kittitas Coalition for Human Rights.

A police presence was highly evident inside the event, no doubt sensing that the charged atmosphere could boil over into violence. Irving also came with an escort of young men, some in Marine Corps t-shirts, who stood along the walls and doorways, apparently to keep order.

May 6, 1999
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The Kittitas Coalition for Human Right handed out pamphlets decrying Irving as "Banned for lies against humanity" and "Hitler's apologist." The literature also claimed the Euro-American Studdent Union supports "textbook bigorty." The pamphlets claimed that Irving and Central's ESU founder David Stennett are both holocaust deniers. In fact, many people expected Irving to make a speech implicitly denying that the holocaust had ever happened.

Irving's visit to the Central campus was sponsored by Pepper Inc. and a group calling themselves "Students for Real History." Posters advertising the event featured the word "Banned" in large letters. The history student who introduced Irving said his visit marked Irving's third trip to the Pacific Northwest. She said Irving had agreed to speak at Central for free because he was dedicated to introducing students to other points of view on the topic of the holocaust.

Irving was introduced as Britain's "most feared, hated and respected" historian, a highly debatable reference. He took the stage and immediately began trying to win over his audience.

He told stories about his past as a historian, even eliciting a few laughs from members of the crowd.

Irving further gained the confidence of the audience by giving evidence that Jews were routinely killed in Hitler's Germany, and many in the crowd may have begun to wonder what all the controversy was about. Irving tried to put across the view that Hitler did not know about the executions, and that when he found out he "ordered a stop to the liquidation".

He moved away from the discussion of Nazi Germany to discuss British knowledge of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, before returning once again to Hitler.This time Irving told the audience that he found no evidence that the mass gassing of Jews ever took place.

During the question and answer session, Irving was asked whether or not he used Jewish testimony which suggests very strongly that mass gassing did take place. Irving said that he was "very nervous about using Jewish eyewitness testimony" because, he said, it is "full of conflicts." He also dismissed Jewish holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel as a "monstrous exaggerator." Irving later went on to say that some gassing may have occurred at Auschwitz to get rid of "unwanted inmates".

Another audience member pointed out that by accepting eyewitness testimony from Hitler's former staff, but not from Jews, Irving gave an unbalanced view of history.

When asked why his speeches at universities were sponsored primarily by neo-Nazi groups and Klu Klux Klan supporters, Irving said that he did not know who was sponsoring his events. Irving was also somewhat hazy on the subject of whether or not he knew Stennett


This article attracted this reader's letter from Justin Cowgill, one of the talk's organisers:

May 7, 1999: -- MR IRVING is neither a "neo-Nazi," nor any of the other childish names people label him. He is a sincere, honest historian.

It was Mr. Irving who coined the term "innocenticide." War-crimes are crimes not because of the religion or nationality of their victims, but the innocence of their victims. The problem with this term is that if we use innocence as a measure to determine war crimes, history is not so simple. The bombings of Dresden, Nagasaki and Hiroshima, as well as the forced deportation of 16 million Germans from their historical lands in Prussia, the Czech republic, Poland, Silesia, and Moravia, in which nearly two million people perished as a result of being shot to death, starved, raped and beaten would also be considered "ethnic cleansing" and "war crimes."

Surely we can't have Hollywood movies about , memorials dedicated to, nor reparations paid to these victims who suffered, as these people were on the "wrong side." Historical revision is long overdue! Instead of debating history with Irving, a non-student member of the "C.H.D." attacked Irving personally by claiming, falsely, that a member of the Klan provided security for one of Mr. Irving's lectures.

This lecture was sponsored by an American WWII veteran who has nothing to do with the above mentioned group. While there certainly could have been audience members who were in the Klan, Greenpeace, worked at Taco Bell, ect., there would have been no way for Mr. Irving to know this. However hard it is to believe, anyone who wished to attend could do so.

All of this really doesn't matter, as Revisionism is taking hold of academia. Personal attacks no longer convince people to disregard revisionists. The cartoonish portrayal of pure-good vs. pure-evil is no longer accepted. Students are no longer afraid to question once taboo subjects. As the emotional attachment to WWII continues to fade, we may one day find out exactly what happened and why during this terrible war.

The time for Real History is now! Those interested can obtain a copy of Irving's lecture from our school library.

Justin Cowgill (phone 933-3765)

©Focal Point 1999 e-mail:  write to David Irving