Mystery of Chas Stavros, Darville Helen

On Feb. 21, Chas Stavros decided to delurk and provide us with his
student’s-eye view of Irving v. Lipstadt and Penguin Books as trial
unfolded in the courtroom:

[…] I’ve kept this as short as I can, only mentioning aspects that I
think are unfamiliar to a North American audience. If people want an
expanded version, and post me privately, I’ll think about doing one
should I receive enough requests. I will attempt – time permitting –
to answer specific questions.

Unfortunately, it would appear that Mr. Stavros’ time did not permit
him to address some specific questions I had raised, regarding
contradictions between his words in October and his words in February.

From: Hilary Ostrov
Subject: Re: Irving v Lipstadt: A courtroom view. Part I – “Issues”
Date: Fri, 25 Feb 2000 01:18:47 -0800

Only – like many British people – in relation to the Dresden bombing, and
>then only insofar as to recognise that Dresden was a very poor choice of
>target so late in the war. For many British people in the early sixties
>(when _Destruction of Dresden_) was published, the idea that the Allies also
>committed atrocities (albeit on a _much_ smaller scale than the Axis) was
>something of a shock to the system.

Hmmm … how did you become so very knowledgeable about British people
in the early sixties, I wonder! That would have been well before your
time, would it not?! Anyway … “Only” in relation to Dresden, Mr.
Stavros? Sorry, but that is not the impression I was left with when
you wrote in October:

Of course there are times when I will disagree with what are
considered “mainstream” interpretations of Second World War history,
although I suspect that much of what I say is merely the difference
of perspective provided by geography. I am English, and many English
people hold similar views to mine on the Dresden fire-bombing, for
example. And yes, I suspect that David Irving has had some real
influence on the shaping of those opinions – he is British, afterall,
and his books were viewed with high regard here before he started to
go off-beam WRT his opinions on the Holocaust.
(Page doesn`t exist)

[re teacher’s comment on Hitler’s butchery, “We’ve gone too far. We
shouldn’t have done that.”]

>teacher in question was quoting a politician speaking shortly after the war.
>I _suspect_ the politician concerned was the Canadian individual who also
>remarked – in relation to Jewish immigration into Canada immediately before
>the war – that “none is too many”, but would need to check. _None_ of my
>teachers would make such an anti-semitic remark without its historic

Perhaps not. But, according to you, at least one of your teachers put
considerable weight onto the contents of an outdated pamphlet from a
Holocaust museum, did s/he not? IIRC, the museum was at Auschwitz,
which you had described as “touristic kitsch”.

But in any event, I’m glad you mentioned context, Mr. Stavros. This
was the historic context when you initially wrote of the remark:

[discussion of Yorkists] If
classics has taught me one thing, it’s to be very, very careful of
ascribing late twentieth century motives to people in the past, even
in the case of cultures (the Romans are a good example) that bear a
superficial resemblance to our own.

Read Trollope’s “Palliser” novels, and you’ll find it impossible not
to read his (anti-semitic) Jewish characters in the awful light of
twentieth century history. However, as several teachers have pointed
out to me, when Trollope was writing, most people in Europe were
anti-semitic. Only Hitler’s butchery served to prove that (in the
words of one teacher) “We’ve gone too far. We shouldn’t have done

[more discussion of Yorkists]
(Page doesn`t exist)

Hmmm … no sign of any teacher quoting a politician – Canadian or
otherwise. And, strangely enough, there’s been no sign of any apology
from Mr. Stavros for his obviously faulty recollections of his
towering words.

Mr. Stavros had also noted in his prefatory remarks:

“I’ve attended about half of the “trial days” or “sitting
days” so far. I’ve read all the British coverage of the trial and most
of the US, German, Canadian and Australian coverage. I’ve spoken with
most of the journalists in the “press gallery”


The “Press” section provides a brief background on the journalists
covering the trial, including their names and newspapers, comments on
their technical competence (or otherwise), the nature of their
reporting thus far, their responses to the case and – where possible –
some of their “off the record” views.

Mr. Stavros’ comments about Don Guttenplan included:

Message-ID: <[email protected]>
Date: Mon, 21 Feb 2000 08:48:59 +0000
From: [email protected]
Subject: Irving v Lipstadt: A courtroom view. Part III – “Press”

The most notable, of course, is Don Guttenplan of _The Atlantic
Monthly_ ( Guttenplan’s feature for the magazine is
in excess of ten thousand words and he is now writing a book about the
trial (to be published by Norton). He is astonishingly careful and
impartial, although he finds his lack of specific prior knowledge
about the period and the fact that he has no German incredibly
frustrating. Like British journalists – perhaps because he lives in
London – his article takes no sides and strives for the journalistic
goal of “objectivity”. [Perception of content of Atlantic article
-hro]. It is lightly written, even humorous, but covers everything

His comments about Helen Darville:

Helen Darville – of _the Australian_ is the sole representative from
“Down Under” in the courtroom. She has been commissioned to do two
features, both 4000 words. One has already been filed, and I think
published (she let me read the manuscript, pointing out that her paper
doesn’t make its features available on the web), but she is still in
the process of writing the other. Like Guttenplan, she has elected to
follow the British lead – also perhaps due to the fact that she lives
in London – and her first piece does not take sides. She also broke
the story about Irving’s daughter’s newly acquired Australian
citizenship, which means that it is going to be almost impossible for
the Australian government to keep him out any longer. Darville is
knowledgeable about the period and speaks German, and if anything her
writing style is even better than Guttenplan’s. Her piece interweaves
a vivid account of a late afternoon interview with Irving at his
Mayfair home with her own research on the background to the trial and
the history of the Holocaust, and manages to be genuinely chilling.

What he did *not* tell us, was that some weeks prior to posting his
student’s eye view, he had written to Dan Yurman (whose Media Updates,
posted on Nizkor, he had mentioned) first asking if Mr. Yurman was
interested in Irving’s visa troubles in Australia. When Mr. Yurman
declined, indicating that this matter was not relevant to the trial,
Mr. Stavros then offered him the (then) unpublished articles of an
Australian journalist named Helen Darville. [see “The Return of Helen

12th MEDIA CLIPPINGS UPDATE: Irving vrs. Lipstadt & Penguin Books
UPDATED 03 March 2000 Dan Yurman [email protected]

Press clippings about the trial may be found at this URL.
Broken link

Permission granted to post this article for non-profit purposes on any
public data network, web site, or mailing list. This is an
independent index and comments on the press coverage of the trial.
The update is posted at the above site in collaboration with Ken
McVay’s Nizkor Project

The Discovery of Helen Darville – a Side Show in Two Parts


It turns out Darville had worked as a journalist, but lost her column
in the Courier Mail, Brisbane, in 1996 after taking material from the
Internet and claiming it was hers. Darville’s literary ambitions had
earlier come to grief after her prize winning autobiographical novel
“The Hand that Signed the Paper” published in Australia in 1994 turned
out to a hoax. She is not Ukranian and had no relatives involved in
the Holocaust. Her former editor at the Courier Mail told the
Vancouver Sun in January 1996 Darville holds extreme right wing views
and is anti-Semitic.

The Jewish Telegraphic Agency on 03.01.00 described Darville’s book,
written under the name Helen Demidenko, as “a fictionalized oral
history of how the Jews brought the Holocaust on themselves due to
their mistreatment of Ukranians . . . After an inquiry into the
writer’s background it was learned that Darville had taken “Demidenko”
from a real perpetrator of one of the most notorious incidents in the
Holocaust, the massacre at Babi Yar.”

The significance of all this is that Darville was in fact in London
this winter masquerading in the Irving / Lipstadt court press gallery
as a working journalist. She did have a freelance contract with the
Australian Style Magazine, but was not confirmed to be a credential
carrying journalist on the staff of the Australian newspaper, one of
Sydney’s largest papers. There is a big difference between the two.

Once her presence in the courtroom was known it caused an uproar in
Australia. The Sydney Morning Herald took the extraordinary action of
publishing a critique of Darville’s expected article two days **
before ** it was published in Australian Style Magazine. The ‘OP ED’
piece by political commentator Robert Manne took her to task for her
sympathy for David Irving’s position. Titled “Tears for David
Irving,” it was also posted on the Internet on 02.28.00 at (Page doesn`t exist)

D.D. Guttenplan, the author of a major article about the trial
published in the Atlantic in February 2000, is covering the trial
end-to-end for a book he is writing about it. He said in an email to
me on 02.29.00 that he became suspicious of who Darville was “after
listening to her make bizarre remarks about Richard Evans,” the
historian who testified for the defense. Guttenplan estimated that by
the time he talked to her Darville had been in the court press gallery
every day for about two weeks. He said, “she knew perfectly well who
I was and also the names and affiliations of several other people in
the press section.” This included, he said, Eva Menasse, who covers
the trial for the Frankfurter Allgemeiebe Zeitung in Germany.

While Darville was posing as a journalist in London, Chas Stavros was
at the same time posting messages in alt.revisionism with details
about Guttenplan’s forthcoming book about the trial which only could
have come from a chance conversation Guttenplan had with Darville.
Further, Stavros’ essays, presented as the work of a “6th Form”
student, are much more likely to be the work of a mature writer in
terms of style and command of Holocaust and the trial’s legal issues.
Interestingly, Stavros’ essays also mention Eva Menasse’s work.
Stavros said he talked to Guttenplan, but Guttenplan says no “bright
sixth former” did. Either Stavros the British student is really
Darville the Australian novelist, or the two are in very close
communication. Stavros denied any knowledge of Darville’s
controversial background in response to an email inquiry from me on
02.27.00. It’s a mystery that’s likely to remain unsolved unless
Darville tells us.

Readers will remember that on Feb. 21, Stavros told us that the
knowledgeable Helen Darville’s article “does not take sides” – and
that she “managed to be genuinely chilling”.

However, considering Mr. Yurman’s report, readers might well ask: Was
Mr. Chas “research, research, research then debate, debate, debate …
I am passionate about history” Stavros lying then, or is he lying

Perhaps Mr. Stavros will find the time to again grace us with his
presence – and shed some light on this mystery.

Posted/e-mailed to Chas Stavros who had also told us:

“I am not a journalist and don’t have the experience to filter
information the way better journalists in the courtroom obviously do.”
– Chas Stavros, Feb. 21, 2000

Hilary Ostrov
E-mail: [email protected]
WWW: (Page doesn`t exist)
The Nizkor Project

From: Hilary Ostrov
Newsgroups: alt.revisionism
Subject: The Mystery of Chas Stavros and the Press
Date: Fri, 03 Mar 2000 17:44:22 -0800
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