The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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From Sun Oct 20 10:18:15 PDT 1996
From: (Hilary Ostrov)
Newsgroups: alt.revisionism
Subject: Speaking of David Irving
Date: Sun, 20 Oct 1996 05:30:28 GMT
Message-ID: <54cdp5$>

From: The Globe and Mail, Saturday, Oct. 19/96 Page D5

[All ellipses and typos mine.  hro]

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

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

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.


Hilary Ostrov
Co-Webmaster - The Nizkor Project

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