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Holocaust Denier David Irving Planning May 12 Talk in Detroit

Prominent Holocaust denier David Irving is scheduled to appear in Detroit, Michigan on May 12 as part of his 2011 tour of the United States. The location for Irving’s talk isn’t public—and indeed there is a good chance it may be canceled given the protests that Irving’s appearances attract.

David Irving’s website posted the following information about the talk:

Who Is David Irving?

David Irving is the most prominent proponent of Holocaust Denial in the world. Holocaust Denial is a component of the white supremacist and fascist movement that involves casting doubt upon the Holocaust and advancing anti-Semitic theories. Heidi Beirich of the Southern Poverty Law Center writes:

“Holocaust denial is a political movement that is inherently anti-Semitic, meant, for the most part, to make national socialism more palatable — how many people, after all, want to support an ideology responsible for the industrialized murder of several million Jews? Many deniers cloak their hatred in academic language, seeking to give the appearance that they are honest, if skeptical, students of history. They prefer to call themselves “Holocaust revisionists,” a phrase hijacked from “historical revisionism,” a school of credible historians who offered new interpretations for the origins of World War I.”

For his part, David Irving is one of the most well-known Holocaust Deniers in the world. He has no professional training as historian and never graduated from college. Despite this, he gained prominence as a writer on World War II and published many well-regarded (at the time) books on the topic and enjoyed mainstream success throughout the 1960s. However, by the 1970s serious historians began to raise questions about Irving’s methodology and claims that Hitler did not order the Holocaust. Most of this criticism came following the publication of the book Hitler’s War in which Irving claimed Hitler did not know about the Holocaust until 1943.

By the 1980s, Irving’s anti-Semitism had morphed into full fledged Holocaust Denial. He appeared at the trial of Ernst Zundel–another prominent Holocaust Denier—and testified that the number of Jewish people killed in the Holocaust is much lower than traditional historical claims:

“I am not familiar with any documentary evidence of any such figure as six million… it must have been of the order of 100,000 or more, but to my mind it was certainly less than the figure which is quoted nowadays of six million…”

Around the same time, he began making more explicit statements denying the Holocaust. These led to charges in Austria—where Irving denied the existence of gas chambers at Auschwitze—and in Germany where a court found him guilty of Holocaust Denial. He has since been banned from Australia and New Zeeland for his Holocaust Denial.

One example of such statements came from a quote in the Institute for Historical Review when he said:

“the holocaust of the Germans of Dresden was real. The holocaust of the Jews in the Auschwitz gas chambers is a fabrication.”

By the 1990s, Irving would become a regular on the Holocaust Denial lecture circuit.

Since being imprisoned for 13 months in 2006 for violating Austria’s law barring Holocaust denial, Irving has undertaken some rather disgusting business ventures: selling Nazi memorabilia online and leading tours of Holocaust sites in Poland. Irving also has bizarrely claimed that Hitler appointed him as his official biographer.

Associations With Organized Racists And Fascists

Like most organized racists, white supremacists, and fascists, David Irving has frequently tried to saying he isn’t a racist and/or that he doesn’t actually deny the Holocaust. While it’s easy enough to call his bluff and support it with a mountain of proof to the contrary, Irving was embarrassed back in 2000 when he lost a lawsuit and a judge in England declared Irving to be an “active Holocaust denier” who “displays a distinctly pro-Nazi and anti-Jewish bias” who has “deliberately misrepresented and manipulated historical evidence.”

Over the years, Irving has associated with a variety of organized racists. These include racists connected to the Institute for Historical Review (the leading Holocaust Denial organization in the world), David Duke (a former member of the Ku Klux Klan), and the National Alliance (who sponsored seven lectures by Irving in the 1990s).

David Irving in Michigan

In addition to his 2011 tour, David Irving has previously appeared in Michigan. He spoke in Detroit during his 2009 tour. That tour was on the topic of “Re-writing history, using the decoded Nazi messages.” The anti-racist group One People’s Project wrote that:

“The re-writing of Third Reich history–especially in relation to the Nazi “Final Solution” for Europe’s Jewish population–is a major item on the agenda of modern neo-Nazis and neo-fascists, who correctly believe that memory of the Holocaust is a significant barrier to the mainstreaming of their beliefs. The Holocaust is denied so that, paradoxically, it can be repeated. Wherever Irving appears, he is backed and promoted by virulent anti-Semites and fascist organizers.”

Nationwide protests have been called for by Anti-Racist Action (ARA), with the Southside Chicago chapter writing:

“David Irving… and all other proponents of holocaust denial, have a very specific agenda that, upon further examination, has less to do with spreading their distorted fantasies, and more about Nazi sympathy, scapegoating Jews, and legitimizing racism. Holocaust deniers are attempting to lift the taboo off the holocaust in order to make Nazism a more accepted mass political ideology; in other words, they deny the holocaust so that it can happen again. Even some Nazis, such as William Pierce, find this to be absurd, claiming that holocaust denial proves one to be incapable of living up to the duties of white nationalism. Pierce and those who recognize that the holocaust happened believe it is something to be proud of and feel it should be understood as something necessary.”

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