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.
shoot him in the face.
And there was also a time you could be punished for saying the earth isn't flat.
But I am reminded that history is written by the victors.
Same piano, different song.
Quite so, as constrained by the normal principles concerning speech expressly intended to bring about injury, such as libel and slander, incitement to riot, and such. The answer to the Michael Moores of the world isn't to clap them in irons but to refute them in public.
Irving shoulda not set foot in Austria - of all people he oughtta have known what a vengeful hornets nest that would be. I'm assuming this came from a voluntary visit to Austria, not some extradition deal where Britain sent him there.
I'm not sticking up for Irving. The man is clearly a scum, a bigot, and a liar. I just wonder whether legal prosecution is the correct answer to such people.
Where we may disagree is that I don't think a resurgence of Nazism or right-wing antisemitism is nearly as big a danger in Austria today as leftist antisemitism. As a matter of fact, it's not clear at all that Nazi was, as liberals pretend, a conservative aberration. It resembles Communism much more closely than it resembles any kind of rational conservatism, and it is well known that Mussolini started out as a Communist.
The worst present danger to Jews in Europe is the coalition of leftists and Islamists. If the Jews once again have to flee Europe, I expect that is what they will be fleeing from--the sort of thing we have just seen in the French riots.
If there is any danger from the right, it is the constant habit that the socialists have of demonizing the right. They do this, basically, for political reasons, so the centrists will always feel obliged to form coalition governments with the left rather than the right. We saw that with Haider. If the socialists and centrists leave people no where else to go to solve the Muslim immigration crisis, for instance, then they will probably eventually turn to the bigots, because they are the only ones who are suggesting a solution. In other words, if something like fascism rises again, it will not be from nostalgia, but from desperation.
I agree that doing it in Austria is different from doing it in England, because presumably some group of Austrians must have invited him to speak.
But see my post above. I don't think we disagree about Irving, we just disagree on what the most prudent way of dealing with it is.
How Austrians deal with hate crimes (a dubious category but perhaps sometimes justified) is their business. But since Irving evidently hasn't spread his lies there for 16 years, this prosecution doesn't strike me as an imminent necessity to prevent the spread of Naziism.
So you even seek to control any words I have to say too, by demanding my answer fit your format--else you will call me names.
If there is nothing to hide, what do you fear?
You called it
Canadian Universities are replete with students and a professor or two, supporting death to living Jews(Israelis). Irving was turned back from Canada to lecture on an unrelated subject,not the holocaust.
The Canadian Government steers well clear of any possible organization that could hit back.
Precisely. Irving, Zundel and their like are reprehensible. But to act as if they are the threat, rather than the mullahs, is foolhardy in the extreme.
That's a good observation.
Conditions are what cause different kinds of governments to arise, not idealism of itself.
The repression of free exchange of ideas is like the repression of relgion or of democratic thinking the Soviet Union.
What is to fear if one is doing the right thing, compared to the danger of repressing the free exchange of ideas?
People should remember that we often bring about the very thing we most fear by being too much afraid of it.
It's well known that Hitler rose to power largely because of the desperation of the German people, who were suffering from the corruption and ineptitude of the Weimar government, hyperinflation, the threat of Communist agitators from the East, and the stupid insistence of France that Germany repay war debts they simply could not meet.
This is not to excuse what happened, but simply to point out that it's not smart to back desperate people into a corner. The allies pushed the Germans when they were hungry, weak and desperate, and then they made the opposite mistake and tried to appease them after Hitler came to power.
"How are Irving's claims in any way "Opinions"? It seems more like slander."
Slander is a personal crime.
Who has he slandered? He is talking in broad historic terms about the Holocaust.
He's an idiot but that's not a crime....yet.
Actually, your answer was crystal clear.
Perhaps what you are saying is that it is not good to make him a martyr in the eyes of his followers, much less to resurrect him long after he'd been discredited.
That, certainly. There are still a few holocaust deniers around, but there has never been much danger that this particular kind of historical revisionism would spread very widely, I don't think. I move in academic circles and I have never once run into it personally, anywhere.
I don't worry so much about making him into a martyr as criminalizing speech, even vile and offensive speech, which is tempting but can breed more problems than it solves.
When I look around at the faculty of American universities, at the people who shape our future citizens, I see no apparent Nazis at all, but I see huge numbers of leftists who demonize Israel and glorify Palestinian terrorists, and who for all intents and purposes spread a vile kind of antisemitism far and wide under cover of anti-Israelism. Even some of my leftist friends have been discouraged by the extremes to which this sort of thing can go.
To change the subject somewhat, that's my problem with the ADL under Abraham Foxman; they aren't looking for their current enemies in the right places.
Just as I thought: you cannot even respond simply and directly to a yes or no question.
The whole Holocaust Denial deal is absurd on its face. The Germans were the most meticulous record-keepers on the planet: all i's dotted, all t's crossed. The documentary evidence alone is irrefutable. Thousands of eyewitnesses. Mountains of corpses. By the way, did you know the largest technical obstacle to murdering millions of people is body disposal? The crematoria at Auschwitz, for example, simply couldn't keep up.
You wrote: "So you even seek to control any words I have to say too, by demanding my answer fit your format--else you will call me names. If there is nothing to hide, what do you fear?"
First of all, what you've done is answer a question with a question, which is not an answer. Secondly, I have nothing to fear from your kind, and I certainly don't fear the truth--which, by the way, is blatantly self-evident insofar as the Holocaust is concerned.
Call you names? No name quite captures the contempt and loathing I feel for you and your ilk.
"You're right insofar as the threat in Europe is concerned: the odd bonding between the Left and the Islamic extremists is both unsettling and illogical"
It's also real stupid strategically for the left - if the Islamofacists should ever win (God forbid) the individual rights that left so cherishes would evaporate. On the other hand they might like the mandatory political correctness.
I used to believe the second part of your post--but I am beginning to learn things may have beem more complex then they first appear.
It is possible they allowed Germany to grow in power in the expectation it would stop the spread of communism--perhaps even that Germany and Russia would destroy each other.
Things did not turn our that way--although they almost might have; so maybe the appeasers weren't quite so foolish as they seem in hindsight.
You can certainly make a case for that. I don't think I would go so far, but it's true that Communism was a terrible threat.
In the end, of course, we went in on Stalin's side and helped save the Soviets, so if that was the plan it didn't turn out too well.
I suspect an alternate view of history to that which most of us have been taught.
I believe that had Churchill not made the English and others paranoid over the growing German military, then there is a chance England might not have joined with France to declare war on Germany.
Many leaders in England believed that Germany had no quarrel with them.
They may well have been correct (at least in their day), for Hitler pursued the war with England half-heartedly, desiring above all to attack Russia.
But to give credit to Churchill--while it may be true that he aggravated tensions at a time when Germany may have had no desire to war with England, Churchill may have been correct in the long run--that it would be unwise to allow Germany to conquer too much of Europe and seriously upset the balance of power in Europe.
And besides, Churchill would have known that weakness sooner or later invites attack no matter what.