The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

David Irving, Holocaust denial, and his connections to right-wing extremists and Neo-National Socialism (Neo-Nazism) In Germany

Irving's arrest as leader of an illegal demonstration, and the consequences (continued)

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6.2.2. Originally the investigation against Irving had been because of his part in the demonstration [Verstoss gegen das Versammlungsgesetz]. The Munich prosecutor [Staatsanwaltschaft] interviewed Peter Köpf, a journalist with the local Munich Abendzeitung who had been present in the Löwenbräukeller.<505> Köpf mentioned that the meeting had been filmed by a team from Spiegel-TV from Hamburg, and the prosecutor duly invited the journalist concerned, Michael Schmidt, to give a statement.<506> Schmidt `declared that he had actually recorded Irving's speech. It is correct that he [Irving) said that Auschwitz was a dummy. In addition he said "We know that there were never gas chambers in Auschwitz. Auschwitz gas chambers were built in Poland for the tourists." Mr. Schmidt declared himself willing to appear as a witness.'<507> At some date Irving underlined the quote and wrote in pen in the margin `This is dangerous.'

6.2.3. At some point in 1990 this preliminary investigation then became one for defamation and reveiling the memory of the dead [Beleidigung und Verunglimpfung des Andenkens Verstorbener].<508> The investigation also resulted in an investigation into Karl Philipp's press releases and articles on Irving's activities.<509>

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6.2.4. The Staatsanwaltschaft Munich duly asked the British authorities that Irving be advised of the offence, the penal provisions, his right to consult a lawyer and 'to have the accused person interrogated by the police in regard to the described state of facts and to thereby grant to him the opportunity of being heard.'<510> Irving's lawyer Michael Hubertus von Sprenger began preparations for the charges, asking Irving amongst other things for `a copy of the tape recording of my speech'. Irving commented in his dairy `I may have inadvertently broken the law with my statements that there were no gas chambers'.<511> Sprenger had represented Irving since the early 1980's .through the. DVU.<512>

6.2.5. On 17 July 1991 the court found against Irving and issued a summary award of punishment [Strafbefehl]. As guilty of defaming the memory of the dead Irving was fined in absetia DM 7,000.<513> The court recorded:

Amongst other things in your speech you said the following: "In the meantime. we now know, I only need to mention this as a footnote, that there were never gas chambers in Auschwitz." Further you explained the following: "In the meantime we believe that just as the gas chamber which the Americans built in Dachau in the first days after the war a dummy is, so the gas chamber facilities, which one as a tourist in Auschwitz, were built by the authorities in Auschwitz after the second world war .... Because the German taxpayers have had to pay a complete 13 thousand-million German marks as a punishment for Auschwitz ...for

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a dummy.<514>

6.2.6. Irvings lawyer von Sprenger duly appealed against the fine on 21 August 1991.<515> The trial came to appeal before the Munich magistrate's court on 5 May 1992.

6.2.7. Despite ominous warnings that the facts of the Holocaust were regarded as manifest or evident [Offenkundig], and that German courts would accept no witnesses or documents to the contrary, Irving was eager to try and capitalize on the trial.<516> This time the trial was to be fought with different tactics and with as much media attention as could be found.

6.2.8. In September 1991 Michael Hubertus von Sprenger wrote to Irving.

I presume that a court no longer investigates evidence if a gassing took place in Auschwitz or not. The court will see this as a irreversible fact.

In the defence you also can not withdraw from it in that you say the results of the Leuchter expert's report are correct. The point here is not the correctness or incorrectness of this expert's report, rather your statement that there were no gassings in Auschwitz, it was all a fairy tale.

If you really want to conduct a new "Auschwitz trial" here, I recommend you avail the services of a specialist defendant in such questions.<517>

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6.2.9. One plank of Irving's preferred strategy was a vain attempt to call the head of the Auschwitz Museum Archive, Dr. Franciszek Piper. This attempt ,had it's roots in two occurrences.

6.2.10. Firstly, early in August 1989, Irving and Zündel discussed a video project at the same time as Irving made his first concerns about flaws in the Leuchter Report known to Zündel.<518> The correspondence is not complete, but it would appear to have been some sort of. attempt to lend the Leuchter Report more credibility; with Irving as authority. Zündel had written to Irving in August 1989,

Philipp seems to have an eager young publisher with some money and expert television crews and equipment interested in going back there to Auschwitz, Majdanek, etc....

You seem to get along with him. Could you not expand that LEAD into a full-fledged [ ] with you being the narrator on the scene both in German and English, on location. With proper [ ] Cameras, good footage, excellent still photos, possibly taking along a British expert in [ ] and a German one as well as a "mobile notary", to notarise samples taken on the spot.

This would give you "instant expert" status let you talk more forcefully and convincingly with "eyewitness status", I was there etc. It would make.the whole thing a serious archaeological history finding endeavour.<519>

6.2.11. On the 2 August Irving wrote in his diary,

[Zündel] Discusses Karl Philipp expedition idea. I am warming to it: we could invite leading German historians (who will refuse), or their PhD students as representatives of a new, more open-minded generation! Lots of mischief there. However Sally is rightly concerned that these loonies ace,trying to haul me, over into their corner, which orthodox publishers will not like at all.<520>

6.2.12. On the 29 August Zündel wrote to Irving `Good news. Our friend S.[epp] G.[eiger] is back [ ] from Poland with 22 [illegible prefix] samples and good video film! The

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bridgehead is therefore enlarged.;.<521>

6.2.13. On 3 October 1989 Irving had been filmed by Philipp's `excellent video cameraman' Sepp Geiger in front of the Reichstag in Berlin for 'a 15 minute Einleitung [introduction] for the film on KZ Auschwitz' for which Philipp paid Irving DM 5,000..<522> Irving had seen Geiger's videos the day before, and was obviously impressed.

...Sepp Geiger and Frau Hart arrived, former straight from Auschwitz camp where he has made eight first-rate, professional-standard videos which he showed us in his hotel, Econtel. They are impressive proof of evident falsifications there: a square hole chopped through one "gas chamber" ceiling to accord with eye witness testimony, but abandoned after the choppers found steel reinforcing bars! And crematorium chimneys which are apparently not even connected in any way to the crematorium furnaces.

Geiger is a strange type; he does not stand very close to the razor blades, it seems, but he is a dedicated, professional photographer who knows what he is doing..<523>

6.2.14. Secondly Irving had met a then friend, historian Professor Bernd Martin, on 4 September 1990.

He [Martin] has visited Auschwitz three times, says that Piper, Archivleiter [head of the archive], confirmed to him that [Sic] the Gaskammer [gas chamber] shown in Auschwitz I was built after the war for tourists to see, the "real" ones are in Birkenau. Logical questions were apparently not asked..<540>

6.2.15. In notes made on the same afternoon Irving also recorded that Martin had told him that `there were never any gassings in Auschwitz I, where there were not many Jews. The gassings were all in Birkenau (which he however did not visit).'.<525> Irving promptly

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published this statement of Mart. Martin's. newspaper CODE as an extra piece of proof that there had been no gassings in Auschwitz..<526> Martin demanded his right of reply and a reader's letter was duly published explaining that the fact that the gas chamber in the Auschwitz main camp had been `partially reconstructed' [`teilweise rekonstruiert'] in no way negated what had happened in Auschwitz and that he had repeatedly told Irving to visit Auschwitz himself instead of relying on `rumours' ['Geruechte'] to minimise the Holocaust. Martin added that in their conversation Irving himself had `admitted the fact of the extermination.' [`...hat Herr Irving selbst die Tatsache der Vernichtiutg zugestanden.'].<527> Irving wrote to Martin to correct him. `...readers might think I admitted the Menschenvernichtung [human extermination] in Auschwitz - and this I certainly do not ....`.<528>

6.2.16. Hajo Hermann wrote to Irving on 21 January 1992

As you have said during other occasions, you did not hear Piper's dummies from his own mouth, rather through Prof Martin. On the assumption that Prof. Martin heard correctly Piper's statement in court would have the same effect as a middle-sized atom bomb.

6.2.17. Herrmann advised that Irving approach Piper, perhaps pressuring him with his statement to Martin, as a request from a lawyer might alarm Piper..<529> A few days later Irving was informed by Hans-Rudolf von der Heide,.<530> who knew the director of the Institute for Forensic Research in Cracow, who in turn had `close contacts' with Piper, that Piper would be unlikely to come to Munich 'since he finds himself under severe pressure from Polish/Jewish authorities, for obvious reasons.' Nevertheless Irving's

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correspondent went on `My friend suggest[s] that you should at any rate make sure that both Frantisczek Piper and Dr. Markiewicz are summoned to appear, if only for tactical reasons..<531>

6.2.18. Irving contacted Herrmann saying `He [Piper] has told various people including Mr. Prof Dr. Bernd Martin, that the "gas chamber" shown to the tourists is a post-war dummy - precisely what I established in the Löwenbräukeller on 21.4. 1990..<532> Hans-Robert yon der Heide was in turn contacted by Hajo Herrmann and Heide again addressed himself to Irving on 28 February, suggesting Irving make an approach to a Dr. Dragquan [of the Polish Historical Society, Connecticut, spelt `Dragon' by Heide] who had told von der Heide that `he entertains friendly relations with both Piper and Markiewicz, and he would try to persuade the two gentlemen to come to Germany.' Heide continued:

...he (Herrmann] came up with a fine idea. He said. rather than officially summoning the two persons from his office - which would most likely be ignored - somebody should suggest to Piper and Markiewicz to come to Germany as tourists or for some other "inoffensive" reason. Once these gentlemen are in the country, he could send them a summons to appear and they would have to comply. This might provide them with a perfect excuse for their "friends" in Poland who we suspect are not very keen about the idea of these men testifying before the Munich court.

It might therefore be helpful to contact Dr. Dragon again and tell him about Herrmann's proposal. Another possibility would be to ask Tjuda Rudolph to write to Piper, but as far as I am concerned it is always better to travel on two tracks at the same time ....'.<533>

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