[UseNet header trimmed] From email@example.com Sun Oct 20 10:18:15 PDT 1996 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Hilary Ostrov) Newsgroups: alt.revisionism Subject: Speaking of David Irving Date: Sun, 20 Oct 1996 05:30:28 GMT Message-ID: <email@example.com> NNTP-Posting-Host: van0408.tvs.net From: The Globe and Mail, Saturday, Oct. 19/96 Page D5 [All ellipses and typos mine. hro] _Nazism_ When history is written by bad men By Jacob Heilbrunn The New Republic "David Irving, author of a sympathetic new biography of Joseph Goebbels, is revered by some as a serious scholar. To others he is a vicious anti-Semite"
[...] A British historian who views Nazism with nostalgia, Mr. Irving has begun to depict himself as a victim of an international conspiracy aimed at suppressing him and his works. Mr. Irving's difficulties have elicited sympathy from some unexpected quarters. Writing in the June issue of Vanity Fair, Christopher Hitchens dismissed Mr. Irving's critics as "hysterical and old-maidish" and hailed Mr. Irving as a "great historian of Fascism." Even more surpisingly, Gordon Craig, the dean of German historians, also weighed in on Mr. Irving's behalf. In the Sept. 19 New York Review of Books, Mr. Craig reminded his readers that historical truth is not engraved in stone. Like Mr. Hitchens, he depicted Mr. Irving as a serious historian with a few eccentric views about the Holocaust. I took Mr. Craig's admonition to heart. When Mr. Irving appeared at an advertised luncheon in his honour at the Polo India Club Restaurant in Washington on Sept. 15, I went. [...] [Snip description and excerpts from Irving's July 1996 Action Report] [...] Perhaps the most notable feature of the Action Report was Mr. Irving's own running diary in which he called [Wermacht veteran Reinhold] Elstner a "hero." My curiosity piqued, I phoned the number listed for more information about Mr. Irving's luncheon and was heartily welcomed by one Andrew L. Gray, a Washington rentier [sic] who was hosting the event. I arrived at 12 o'clock sharp to find Mr. Irving aranging his books for sale across from a framed self-portrait by Hitler he had brought for the occasion. [...] In all, there were about 15 of us: a gym instructor from Bethesda, an elderly German couple and several nondescript men who might have been mid-level government bureaucrats. As we milled around Mr. Irving, he unleashed a litany of complaints. The object of his wrath that day was the Jewish Board of Deputies in London. "They're the ones who sent the report to Canada that ended up in my being deported in handcuffs," Mr. Irving said, "by an immigration official who looked like a real immigrant." [...] During a lull in the conversation, I asked Mr. Iriving about a comment he'd made earlier: that critics saw the message of his new books as, in Thomas McCormack's words, "the Jews brought it on themselves." Mr. Irving paused. The first boycott of Jewish-owned businesses was preceded, he explained, "by a Jewish declaration of war on Germany. The Nazis were simply retaliating." Anyway, he added in a mocking tone, Goebbels called the boycott for April 1, which was the Jewish Sabbath. He was simply trying to get them to obey their own faith. [...] [...] Mr. Irving said he couldn't help noticing that the letters from publishers in New York are more and more often signed with names like "Goldberg." Why not go with a publisher other than the New York ones, asked a white-haired man who looked like a colonel from the Raj. "No," Mr. Irving replied, "I will not do that. I can't go to a lesser publisher. That means giving in to the enemy." The enemy. Mr. Irving did not need to spell out to his acolytes who that was. His Goebbels biography makes it abundantly clear who the enemies are and who the heroes. [Snip book details] In short, Mr. Irving's books cannot be divorced from the man and his historical mission. That mission is to normalize Hitler and Nazism so as to remove the unique stain of the Final Solution from Germany. [...] since the second World War, it has been taboo in the West to espouse anti-Semitism publicly. Mr. Irving's project is to smash this taboo. But good history does not have to be produced by bad men. Challenges to accepted historical verities have been produced by many scholars over the years, scholars who are constantly wrangling over every conceivable aspect of German history. Mr. Irving has made no contributions to these debates. If revising British and American history has meant toppling heroes [...] from their plinths, revisionism has taken on a rather different meaning when it comes to Germany. The statues have already been smashed. The challenge facing the would-be revisionist is to sweep the shards under the rug and attempt to start with a fresh mold. But as the symbol of human evil Auschwitz has resisted both denial and relativization. Mr. Craig to the contrary, there are certain absolute truths in history, or at least truths that it is futile to dispute. We know that the Holocaust occurred. This is not a topic for debate. A reputable publisher does not have a moral obligation to publish a book by Mr. Irving; to give him the patina of respectability that he craves, for a book, moreover, that contains no revelations about Goebbels and much misinformation. Mr. Hitchens wrote that in meeting Mr. Irving, "I learned a lot in the process of doing so." I learned nothing new about Nazism from David Irving. I did learn that his hatred of the Jews is bottomless. hro ======================= Hilary Ostrov e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org http://users.uniserve.com/~hostrov/ Co-Webmaster - The Nizkor Project http://www.nizkor.org/
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