Skip to comments.Irving bid to recant Nazi line [Irving acknowledges gas chambers did really exist]
Posted on 11/25/2005 8:15:26 PM PST by REactor
BRITISH historian David Irving now acknowledges Nazi gas chambers existed, and admits some of his past statements could be interpreted as denying people were gassed.
On the day before Irving faces a court hearing, his lawyer Elmar Kresbach said the historian had "changed some of the views he is so famous for".
"He told me: 'Look, there was a certain period when I drew conclusions from individual sources which are maybe provocative or could be misinterpreted or could be even wrong'," Mr Kresbach said.
Prosecutors this week charged Irving, 67, with denying the Holocaust, which is a crime under Austrian law.
The charges stem from two speeches Irving gave in Austria in 1989 in which he reportedly denied the existence of the Nazi gas chambers.
He faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted.
In explaining Irving's change of heart, Mr Kresbach said yesterday that additional research the historian carried out after Soviet archives were opened to scholars had persuaded him his former beliefs were "not really worthwhile to hold up".
But Irving's new position was met with scepticism by the Simon Wiesenthal Centre, which works to track down former Nazis before they die.
"It's an admission designed to extricate himself from imprisonment and in no way truly reflects his views," said Efraim Zuroff, director of the centre, based in Los Angeles.
Dr Zuroff said Irving had learned from his previous legal battles and was "trying to minimise the danger". Under Austrian law, Irving cannot be interviewed while he is in custody.
But in the past, Irving has claimed Adolf Hitler knew nothing about the systematic slaughter of 6million Jews, and has said there was "not one shred of evidence" the Nazis carried out their "Final Solution" to exterminate the Jews.
He is the author of nearly 30 books, including Hitler's War, which challenges the extent of the Holocaust and looks at the conduct of World War II from Hitler's perspective.
Mr Kresbach said Irving was now "correcting himself", insisting that the historian "sees himself as somebody who can influence marginal groups who have difficulty believing in the Third Reich".
He said he would argue at a custody hearing overnight that Irving should be released on bail.
No date for the trial has been announced.
In Austria, suspected violations of the law banning attempts to publicly diminish, deny or justify the Holocaust are heard in court by an eight-person jury and three judges.
Irving's arrest won praise worldwide. Earlier this week, Lord Greville Janner of the Britain-based Holocaust Educational Trust praised the Austrians "for doing what our law should but does not permit".
In 2000, Irving brought a libel case against US academic Deborah Lipstadt, who described him as a Holocaust denier.
But the case, heard in London, backfired when the judge ruled against Irving, leaving him bankrupt with huge legal bills.
Lol! And if he get out of jail and Austria, he'll change back.
I think Holocaust denial is antihistorical and disgusting, and I don't like historical revisionism, but I can't see what purpose is served by criminalizing the expression of an opinion and charging a British historian with a crime for speeches given in Austria in 1989, some 16 years ago.
There are a great many far more dangerous antisemites out there.
His recantation shows him for what he really is; a cowardly, self-serving and lying hack and media w#0re.
Yes, hang this clear and present danger to the post-WWII Utopia. How dare he question the orthodoxy?
Obviously the Austrians disagree.
Needless to say though, the "Palestinian historical narrative" of our times is the latest extension of Nazism.
I suppose the Austrians disagree because after the Anschluss they joined the Nazis, and because Hitler was originally Austrian. Nazism needed to be rooted out. But I'm not sure that charging a foreigner for expressing his opinions sixteen years ago--or to put it more bluntly, for telling historical lies sixteen years ago--is helpful.
Nobody likes this kind of thing, but I don't think it's the equivalent of shouting "fire" in a crowded theater.
Uh, while I don't agree with criminalizing speech and censorship of any kind, I don't think he is reviled because he questions 'orthodoxy.'
And what 'orthodoxy' would that be? That millions of Jews died in the Shoah?
"On the day before Irving faces a court hearing, his lawyer Elmar Kresbach said the historian had "changed some of the views he is so famous for"."
Being threatened with 1-10 years of hard time will tend to get one's attention.
Guess how many citizens would change their opinions if threatened also.
Considering a large percentage of Americans can't pull their fat a$$es off the couch to vote, my guess is the majority.
Originally the Germans actually encouraged Jews to leave Austria. Some 130,000 left,about 30,000 to the United States.
Caught by the advent of war, 65,000 Austrian Jews were sent to concentration camps. Only 2,000 souls survived, this at the end of WW2. Some 800 Jews survived in Vienna itself, helped by Viennese.
Yeah, I guess the guilty conscience of these people is assuaged somewhat. I wonder how many Jews Irving killed? (Sarcasm).
Certain of the Europeans do not fool me- for I know what THEY did. The amount of Austrians who SAID they hid a Jew in the war,I believe, is of somewhat large,very large, proportions.
Sadly, probably. That is why our Founders, in their infinite wisdom, instituted the First Ammendment to the Constitution. To be able to expose liberalism for the cancer it is, we must tolerate sharing the pulpit of free speech with odious morons such as the Brownshirt wannabes, KookyKrazyKrackers, lunatic leftists, and other losers of all stripes. Once you deny speech for the "right" people, there will come a day when the "wrong" people could not speak.
"That is why our Founders, in their infinite wisdom, instituted the First Ammendment to the Constitution. "
That's my point exactly. I don't trust the government to decide what is ok (in the political field) and what is not. And certainly not to punish someone with prison for merely stating an opinion.
This Irving guy is a nutjob, just like Michael Moore but I would defend their right to show the world what total asses they truly are.
As you clarified, it's not an opinion. Irving is spouting blatant lies. Mentally ill nut jobs spouting similar incoherent nonsense have been arrested and ultimately committed to psych wards after being swept off city streets.
I would tend to agree with you in the end, but this is pretty damned close to shouting "fire".
Understandably, it crosses the line in Austria and Germany.
How are Irving's claims in any way "Opinions"? It seems more like slander.
I had no idea this ludicrous nutjob had been arrested by the Austrians. When and how did that happen?
Lying is legal, though one could always be sued for damages.
(One can also be so sued for telling the truth...)
I was friends with a Polish Jew who lost 17 members of his family. He was the only one left. He harbored no animosity towards anyone including the Nazi's. He saw it for what it was a time of madness.
His name was Louis Perel and he created the Holocaust museum in Vancouver BC. He's gone now. God rest his soul.