Pittsburgh Post Gazaette 01.22.00. http://www.post-gazette.com:80/columnists/20000122roddy.asp New twists on history Saturday, January 22, 2000 By Dennis Roddy To get inside the noggin of David John Caldwell Irving, historian and provocateur, it is useful to consider that he believes a band of Jewish organizations has conspired for 10 years to destroy him. Suing in plaintiff-friendly British libel court, Irving intends to prove that American author Deborah Lipstadt defamed him by calling him a Holocaust denier. In the course of preparing for trial, Irving says he discovered documents that show various Jewish groups calling him "dangerous" and trying to halt his speaking tours. "You can see the defendants plotting to destroy my legitimacy as a historian," he says. "This has been an ongoing campaign." Irving is a man already consigned to the public margins, his audiences often short-haired types for whom the Horst Wessel Song is dancing music. He tells them Hitler did not order the wholesale slaughter of the Jews, that the Holocaust body count is a gross exaggeration, that there were no gas chambers at Auschwitz. Irving does not deny the Holocaust - just the parts of it that make it unique from the usual wartime train crash that kills loads of civilians. Talk of an international Jewish conspiracy is, of course, the kind of thing many in an Irving audience would like to hear, and confirms long-standing suspicion by his enemies that he is just another right-winger with a case of Jews on the brain. "Then they ought not to engage in this sort of endeavor," Irving says. "If they didn't want that perception to arise, they shouldn't have done this." That sort of talk is why Irving, once lauded as a World War II historian of equal parts energy and promise, is now depicted as a right-wing loose cannon. He entered the public scene with a 1961 book that revealed the horrors of the Allied firebombing of Dresden. It was an astonishing illumination of an unnecessary wartime horror - hell on earth for the hell of it. Irving's historical technique approximates a long wall coal mining machine: a crush-proof cab attached to an endless digging belt that simply ploughs through a likely seam, pulls it all loose, and lets everything collapse around it. "I don't think historians can afford to be sensitive. They've got to report what they find," he says. The problem here, of course, is that what Irving sometimes finds, nobody else does. Or he turns to documents that are pure lunacy, such as the Leuchter Report, a hodgepodge of amateur science and fatuous speculation that concludes there were no gas chambers at Auschwitz. As the libel trial enters its third week, Irving promises fresh proofs that Auschwitz had no gas chambers, evidence he'll unleash when he gets one of Liptstadt's expert witnesses on the stand. "The battleship Auschwitz as the capital ship of the Holocaust legend will have sunk," Irving assures me. Is his work being put to use by people like Kim Badynski, the Seattle Klan leader who provided security at one of Irving's speeches? Has his work helped people he ought to detest? "It has in fact, but I couldn't care less," Irving says. His job is to tell the truth. What others do with it he can't dictate. He did directly help at least one extremist - blow-dried Kluxer David Duke, who turned up a few years back and asked Irving to read a manuscript of his autobiography. "I said 'You're going to have to use the word Jew substantially less,' " Irving recalls. "He's got an obsession about the Jews. He's an intelligent person, and it's a pity he's got these obsessions." It's always a pity. == Saturday January 22 2:54 PM ET Sweden Hosts Holocaust Conference http://dailynews.yahoo.com/htx/ap/20000122/wl/ sweden_holocaust_conference_1.html By KIM GAMEL Associated Press Writer STOCKHOLM, Sweden (AP) - Three years ago, the government was stunned to learn that nearly a third of Swedish youths did not believe the Holocaust took place. It immediately launched an ambitious information campaign, a so-called Living History project that included films, lecture series, seminars and a free book, translated into several languages, to guide parents in talking to their children about the Holocaust. ``I have my doubts if there is anybody in Sweden who doesn't know about the Holocaust anymore,'' said Lena Posner-Korosi, president of the Stockholm Jewish Community. Sweden's effort is being highlighted at a conference starting Wednesday in Stockholm. The three-day International Forum on the Holocaust is drawing more than 600 delegates and more than 650 journalists from more than 40 countries and dozens of organizations. The gathering - which coincides with the Holocaust Remembrance Day commemorated Thursday in many countries - will feature speeches by Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel, German President Gerhard Schroeder and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, as well as panel discussions and remembrance ceremonies. The 150-member executive committee of the World Jewish Congress also has planned a two-day meeting starting Tuesday in Stockholm to discuss Holocaust education, restitution and the future of Jewish communities. ``The international conference will turn the spotlight on the past and the future at one and the same time,'' Prime Minister Goeran Persson said Wednesday in a speech to the Riksdag, Sweden's parliament. ``Naturally, the same applies to Swedish history.'' The Swedish government began efforts to raise public awareness of the World War II-era genocide of 6 million Jews and 5 million other victims after a 1997 survey showed that nearly a third of youths between ages 12 through 18 did not believe the Holocaust took place. The New York-based American Jewish Committee is releasing a Swedish public opinion survey on Monday in Stockholm that examines knowledge about the Holocaust, the importance given to Holocaust memory and attitudes toward Jews and other minorities. While the current government has gone to great lengths to raise awareness, Sweden has come under more recent pressure to confront its own relationship with Nazi Germany. A recent Swedish television documentary, which profiled Swedes who volunteered to fight for Adolf Hitler, has prompted some politicians and Jewish leaders to call for an official war crimes investigation. Sweden was neutral during the war and traded with both sides. Persson has said he would consider a commission or research project to investigate but has stopped short of requesting a formal investigation. ``I would like to see a full analysis of both the official Swedish policy on Hitler Germany and the attitude of individual Swedes to the Holocaust,'' he told parliament. The Scandinavian country, whose egalitarian ideals have been tested by an enormous immigrant flow, also has experienced several violent acts linked to neo-Nazi groups. ``It is really to worry about in a democratic society like Sweden that 55 years after the war (Nazis) are showing their ugly faces again,'' Posner-Korosi said. Organizers said they hoped the forum would keep its focus on research, education and remembrance. ``The general goal is to prevent that these things happen again in any society,'' spokesman Goesta Grassman said. ``We shall of course look at the history but not only stay there ... it's very much a conference about looking ahead.'' ###
Site Map ·
What's New? ·
© The Nizkor Project, 1991-2012
This site is intended for educational purposes to teach about the Holocaust and
to combat hatred.
Any statements or excerpts found on this site are for educational purposes only.
As part of these educational purposes, Nizkor may
include on this website materials, such as excerpts from the writings of racists and antisemites. Far from approving these writings, Nizkor condemns them and
provides them so that its readers can learn the nature and extent of hate and antisemitic discourse. Nizkor urges the readers of these pages to condemn racist
and hate speech in all of its forms and manifestations.
Home · Site Map · What's New? · Search Nizkor
© The Nizkor Project, 1991-2012