I knew it!
I knew it was just a matter of time until arch-Holocaust denier David Irving emerged from whatever rock he’s been hiding under ever since he was released after his prison term in Austria for having denied the Holocaust, decided he wanted to be in the limelight again. Back in December, I made a little bet about just how long it would take Irving to mount a comeback tour. I guessed weeks. I was wrong. I’ll give Irving credit; he held out nine months before making a play for vindication:
Ten months ago he was languishing in an Austrian jail, less than halfway through a three-year sentence with his career – and professional reputation – in tatters.
This week David Irving, the discredited British historian who was described by a high court judge as a Holocaust denier and a racist, says he is launching a comeback with a speaking tour of British cities and a series of new books. “I have kept a low profile for several months because I have had to sort out where to live and to address my financial situation,” said Mr Irving, who was declared bankrupt in 2002 after an unsuccessful libel action over claims he was a Holocaust denier. “But now I am ready to start again.”
Oh, goody. I can hardly wait. (Yeah, that’s sarcasm.) Why on earth, though, did The Guardian dignify a Holocaust denier with the appellation “historian”? Especially when he starts out his interview with a blast of pure anti-Semitism (in other words, the real David Irving reveals himself):
However, drinking tea on the sofa of a 10-bedroom house he has begun renting near Windsor, Mr Irving says that his views on the Holocaust have crystallised rather than changed. He says that he believes the Jews were responsible for what happened to them during the second world war and that the “Jewish problem” was responsible for nearly all the wars of the past 100 years: “The Jews are the architects of their own misfortune, but that is the short version A-Z. Between A-Z there are then 24 other characters in intervening steps.”
What I find rather interesting, though, is that David Irving is so enamored of Adolf Hitler that, in admitting that there was indeed a Holocaust (although denying that Auschwitz produced a major component of the death toll), he’s ready to throw Heinrich Himmler under the bus:
He added: “In my opinion now the real killing operations took place at the Reinhardt camps west of the Bug river. In the three camps here [Sobibor, Belzec, and Treblinka] Heinrich Himmler’s men (mostly Ukrainian mercenaries) killed possibly as many as 2.4 million in the two years up to October 1943. There is now nothing to be seen of the Reinhardt camps, neither stick nor stone, so few tourists go there. I have visited all four sites earlier this year.”
Pressed as to whether this change undermined his previous stance, Mr Irving replied: “It is a crystallisation of my view.” Asked if he now accepts there had been a Holocaust against the Jewish people he said he was “not going to use their trade name”. He added: “I do accept that the Nazis quite definitely, that Heinrich Himmler, organised and directed a programme, a clandestine programme, for the liquidation of European Jews … and that in 1942-43 alone over 2.5 million Jews were killed in those three camps.” He added that Hitler was “completely in the dark” about the programme.
Yep, according to David Irving, as unbelievable as it sounds, Hitler knew nothing about the Holocaust (which David Irving dismisses as “their trade name”). It was all Himmler, doing it in secret. Like Deborah Lipstadt, I wonder what his former admirers in the Holocaust denial movement will think of his latest statements.
Truly, Oliver Kamm got it just right when he referred to David Irving as the “unsinkable rubber duck,” at the same time pointing out that in April 1945 Hitler explicitly “declared that National Socialism would earn eternal gratitude for exterminating the Jews of Germany and Central Europe (“So gesehen wird man dem Nationalsozialismus ewig dafÃ¼r dankbar sein, daÃ ich die Juden aus Deutschland und Mitteleuropa ausgerottet habe“). In this, Irving is like psychics and astrologers, whom the Amazing Randi also termed “unsinkable rubber ducks.” No amount of evidence will sway him. No matter how outrageously obvious the internal inconsistencies of his ever-shifting claims, it does not deter him. Truly, David Irving is unsinkable in his Holocaust denial.