The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

David Irving:
Intrepid Battler for Historical Truth

The Journal of Historical Review
Vol. 13, Number 1 (Jan./Feb. 1993)

Not long ago, an official of the American Jewish Committee, a certain Kenneth S. Stern, declared that Irving "NEVER has been considered a serious historian." (The Oregonian, Portland, Oct. 7, 1992.)

That is simply a baldfaced lie.

[Photograph captioned, " Irving refers to a document during his presentation at the 1990 IHR Conference in Washington, DC."]

In fact, Irving's remarkable abilities have been acknowledged by some of the most prominent names in the field. British historian Hugh Trevor-Roper, writing in the Sunday Times of London, once declared, "No praise can be too high for Irving's indefatigable scholarly industry." Trevor-Roper also called Irving one of the "few guides I would entirely trust . . . indefatigable in pursuit of the evidence, fearless in face of it, sound in judgment . . ."

Another prominent British historian, A. J. P. Taylor, once wrote of him: " David Irving is a patient researcher of unrivalled industry and success."

David John Cawdell Irving was born in Hutton, Essex, England, on March 24, 1938, the son of an illustrator and Royal Navy commander. His father and mother were both well-known writers. After a liberal arts education at the four-century-old Sir Anthony Browne's school in Brentwood, Essex, young Irving won a scholarship to study physics at the Imperial College of Science and Technology in London.

It did not take long, though, for him to realize that his life's calling would not be in the hard sciences.

In 1959 he moved to Germany's industrial Ruhr region to spend a year working in a steel mill to perfect his fluency in German. Then, after a stint working as a clerk-stenographer with the US Strategic Air Command at an airbase near Madrid, he returned to England to study political economy at London's University College.

Irving speaks fluent German, very good Spanish, and quite passable French, and reads several other languages.

On a personal note, he is the father of four daughters. His hobbies are oil painting, travel, and cinematography, and his favorite song is the English naval hymn, "For Those in Peril of the Sea."

He lives in the Mayfair district of London's West End, although in recent years has spent quite a lot of time at a south Florida retreat, where he now prefers to do his serious writing.

You'd need a pickup truck to carry away all the newspaper and magazine clippings that have appeared over the years about Irving.

In January 1992, for example, a flurry of reports appeared in newspapers and television broadcasts around the world suggesting that he had abandoned his highly skeptical view of the Holocaust extermination story because of what he had found in the postwar "memoir" of Adolf Eichmann, the German SS officer who coordinated the wartime deportations of Jews.

Had Irving defected from the Revisionist camp? In the wake of this uproar, he told the IHR: "My position remains unchanged." There were "certain My-Lai-type atrocities" by German troops in the occupied Soviet territories, but the "gas chambers and factories of death are legend," and there is no wartime evidence of an order by Hitler to exterminate the Jews. In an interview at the time with the London Jewish Chronicle (January 17, 1992), Irving said, "The Jews are very foolish not to abandon the gas chamber theory while they still have time."

Last May, a German court fined Irving 10,000 marks--about $6,000--for public statements he had made challenging the Holocaust story. His crime? At a meeting in Munich in 1990, Irving had said that the building in the Auschwitz main camp that has been portrayed for years as an extermination gas chamber is a phony reconstruction (or, in German, "Attrappen").

The Munich district court refused to permit the defense to present even a single witness or exhibit. For example, it would not permit Irving's attorneys to call as a witness the director of the Auschwitz State Museum, Dr. Franciszek Piper, who has privately confirmed on several occasions that what Irving had told the meeting in 1990 is, in fact, the truth. After his attorneys dramatically walked out of the courtroom to protest the judge's outrageous rulings, Irving delibered [sic] a stirring plea for truth and justice that has since been widely circulated in Germany on audio cassette and as a leaflet. (For more on this trial, see the July-August 1992 IHR Newsletter.)

Also last year, Irving played the key and highly publicized role in bringing to light the long-suppressed diaries of Third Reich propaganda chief Dr. Joseph Goebbels. Last July, the London Sunday Times, one of the world's most influential papers, published extensive translated excerpts from the diary, which Irving found and transcribed. (See report in the October 1992 IHR Newsletter.)

International and British Jewish organizations lost no time in attacking the paper for employing Irving, and the resulting furor made headlines in newspapers and magazines around the world. A report in the London Jewish Chronicle headlined "Sunday Times comes under pressure" (July 17, 1992), described the extent of the campaign to punish the paper for its collaboration with Irving. Officials of the American Jewish Committee added their voices to the worldwide pressure campaign, expressing particular anger because the historian has addressed several IHR conferences. The Sunday Times capitulated, and in breach of contract, refused to pay Irving the agreed-upon fee of 83,000 pounds. He is suing.

On July 3, more than 300 Jewish demonstrators gathered outside Irving's London residence to denounce him. The next day, July fourth (by the way, the ninth anniversary of the devastating 1984 arson attack against the IHR office-warehouse), a larger crowd of several hundred met at the same place to shout more insults. Among the banners carried by the crowd of Marxists, Jews, homosexuals and Rastafarians were placards reading "Return to the Road of Lenin and Trotsky!," and "Build a Bolshevik Party, Tribune of ALl the Oppressed!"

That same day, though, about 250 persons defied intimidation and threats to hear and cheer Irving and other speakers at a Revisionist seminar in London. Besides Irving, the audience heard addresses by Kirk Lyons, Leuchter's US attorney, and Georgia attorney Sam Dickson (who addressed the 1986 IHR conference).

In all this, it is gratifying to note that it is a Revisionist historian who was--once again--at the forefront of historical discovery. In spite of the well-organized international campaign to boycott and silence him, David Irving remains at the vanguard of his profession--and, by the way, SOLELY on the basis of his indisputable knowledge, skill and industry.

It is also gratifying to realize that, as a result of each of those recent controversies, hundreds of thousands--if not millions--of newspaper and magazine readers around the world are now aware that a historian of recognized international stature rejects critical aspects of the orthodox Holocaust extermination story.

[end of first article]

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