Posted Friday, June 22, 2001

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Thursday, June 21, 2001

"Page Six"



with Paula Froelich and Chris Wilson

Photo by: Reuters


CONTROVERSIAL columnist Christopher "Hellbound" Hitchens is vowing to sue Henry Kissinger if the former Secretary of State persists in calling him a Holocaust-denier. Hitchens started it with a scathing two-part series he penned for Harper's earlier this year that argued Kissinger should be put on trial for his role in the secret bombing of Laos and Cambodia.

Henry the K launched his counter-attack in an interview last week with talk show host Mitch Albom. "Well, Christopher Hitchens is a great fiction writer who accused Mother Teresa of human rights violations and denied that the Holocaust ever took place," Kissinger told Albom in a conversation broadcast last week on Msnbc.

An angry Hitchens fumed to PAGE SIX: "Mr. Kissinger will be hearing from my attorney, who will tell him two things he already knows: what he said is false, malicious and defamatory, and if he says it again we will proceed against him in court.

"I take this very seriously," he declared. "It's unbelievably horrible."

Hitchens - the Vanity Fair scribe who earned his demonic moniker for calling Mother Teresa a "ghoul" and a "lapdog to dictators," and saying Princess Diana used the poor and the sick as "accessories" - has written in support of Holocaust "revisionist" David Irving's right to be published.

In a recent review of a book about Irving in the Los Angeles Times, Hitchens summarized "the best case that the revisionists can make," which included assertions that there "were no gas chambers or extermination camps on German soil," "there were no Jews made into soap," and "the 'confession of Rudolf Höss,' commandant of Auschwitz, was extracted by force.

"These are, however, the now-undisputed findings of all historians and experts on the subject," Hitchens wrote. "And if they are sound, then it means that much 'eyewitness' testimony is wrong. It necessarily changes our attitude toward the everyday complicity of average Germans."

But Hitchens, who says both he and his wife Carol are Jewish, insists that he is far from a Holocaust revisionist.

"My wife's uncle was one of the leaders of resistance in Auschwitz," Hitchens says. "My mother's family had to leave. I can't let this stand. It's an insult to my family and my wife's family. It's a very damaging thing to have been said about me."

Hitchens, whose Harper's series has been turned into a book, "The Trial of Henry Kissinger," added: "It's amazing he refuses to comment about what I've said about him. He refuses to answer any of my charges."

Kissinger could not be reached for further comment.

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