The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Shallit Report: Lies of Our Times

David Irving

David John Cawdell Irving is a British "historian", born in 1938. According to David Cesarani of the Wiener Library in London, England, he attended Imperial College at the University of London, but never graduated. He holds no academic degree and no academic position at any university or college. He calls himself a "moderate fascist", and claims, among other things that the gas chambers at Auschwitz (in which an estimated 2--3 million people died) were "built by the Poles after the war as a tourist attraction." (For this remark, he was fined DM 10,000 by a Munich court in May 1992. The judge was quoted as saying that the gas chambers of Auschwitz were "an historically certain fact.")

Irving denies being a "Holocaust denier" or "Hitler apologist", and seems willing to resort to legal action if necessary. In a recent fax printed in the K-W Record, he is reported as saying, "I have warned 22 British newspapers that I shall not hesitate to commence libel action if they use smear phrases such like 'Hitler apologist' or 'Holocaust denier' to embellish their writings." But Bernard Levin, writing in the Times of London in May of this year, quoted Irving as saying, "I hope the court will fight a battle for the German people and put an end to the blood lie of the Holocaust which has been told against this country for 50 years."

Irving first entered the headlines in 1970. In July of that year, he was forced to apologize in the High Court of London for "making a wholly untrue and highly damaging statement about a woman writer." -- not an auspicious start for someone who claims to be in pursuit of the truth. Later that year, Irving was back in the headlines, concerning publication of his book, "The Destruction of Convoy PQ17". Ostensibly an expose of an ill-fated 1942 Arctic convoy headed for the Soviet Union during World War II, it eventually resulted in Irving being fined 40,000 British pounds for libel. Irving's book faulted Captain John Broome, commander of the convoy at the time, saying he was guilty of "downright disobedience" and "downright desertion of the convoy." Broome brought suit against Irving for false statements, and won a judgment in August of 1970. Irving's lawyers appealed, and lost in March, 1971. The case is revealing because of what it says about Irving's abilities as a historian and his motives as an author.

According to the Times of London, Irving showed a copy of the manuscript to Broome before publication. Broome objected to the accuracy of some thirty passages in the book, and threatened to sue for libel if Irving did not make changes. At that point, William Kimbers Ltd., Irving's publisher, notified him that they would not publish the book as it was then written. Later, Irving published the book with another publisher.

The court found that Irving "was warned from most responsible quarters that his book contained libels on Captain Broome... To make [the book] a success he was ready to risk libel actions... Documentary evidence .... showed that [Irving] had deliberately set out to attack Captain Broome and in spite of the most explicit warnings persisted in his attack because it would help sell the book." The court labeled Irving's conduct as "outrageous and shocking."

Irving's misrepresentations did not end with the publication of his book. According to Cesarani, in 1979, a German publisher had to pay compensation to the father of by Anne Frank after printing the German edition of Irving's book, Hitler's War. Irving had claimed that Anne by Frank's diary was a forgery.

Irving claims that according to his "research", the Holocaust is greatly exaggerated. (He was recently quoted in the K-W Record as saying that the number of Jews who died in concentration camps was "of the order of 100,000 or more.") But during the 1988 trial of pro-Nazi publisher Ernst Zundel, he was forced to admit under cross-examination that he hadn't even read all of Eichmann's 1960 trial testimony. (In this testimony, Eichmann admitted that Nazi leaders discussed the so-called "Final Solution to the Jewish problem''-- extermination, in 1942.)

In November 1991, a reporter from the Independent showed that Irving omitted crucial lines from a translation of Goebbels' diaries -- lines that would have contradicted his theory that Hitler knew nothing about the extermination of the Jews.

Irving's record is clear: he is not an historian, and he has made false statements and been forced to apologize for them. As Andrew Cohen, reporter for the Financial Post, has said, "David Irving should be denied credibility."

The original plaintext version of this file is available via ftp.

David Irving's reply to Mr. Shallit is available from the CODOH web site.

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