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The Ten Worst Purveyors of Antisemitism Worldwide, #10: David Irving

A worshipper at the “shrines” of Hitler and Himmler.

by
P. David Hornik

Bio

September 29, 2013 - 9:00 am
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Anyone who may have thought that, after the Holocaust, antisemitism would be passé is revealed in retrospect as naïve.

Sixty-eight years after the genocide, antisemitism remains rampant in the Arab world and much of the Muslim world. It’s back with a vengeance in Europe, largely—but not solely—Israel-focused. Today the world’s only country to be subjected to a global delegitimization and BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) campaign is the Jewish one.

A study released last spring by Tel Aviv University found that worldwide antisemitism rose 30 percent in 2012 compared to the previous year. That particularly involved “violent acts against Jews,” with “273 attacks on persons of all ages; in addition, 190 synagogues, cemeteries and monuments were desecrated, and over 200 private and public properties damaged.” Most of the attacks occurred in countries having the largest Jewish communities outside Israel—in descending order of attacks, France, the U.S., the UK, Canada, and Australia.

The report also “noted the rise of anti-Semitic parties on the far right in Greece, Hungary and the Ukraine” and observed that in those countries,

vociferous representatives of these parties openly incite in parliament against local Jewish communities. Blatant anti-Semitic and anti-Israel expressions appeared to ignite violent activity in Hungary, and a significant rise in desecration of cemeteries and Holocaust memorials was recorded in Poland.

This series, counting down from 10 to 1, will profile ten of the worst purveyors of antisemitism—whether individuals or groups—in the world at large; an ensuing series will focus on U.S. antisemitism. In our era, antisemitism is most endemic in the Arab and Muslim sphere; outside of that domain, it tends to be most concentrated on the far right (both religious and political) and far left. All the categories will be “represented” in the series.

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Top Rated Comments   
More disturbing to me than anything Irving has said or written, (all I know about him is hearsay, because I haven't read his book), is the fact that he was thrown in jail for a thought crime and or speaking his mind.
The country that he was jailed in is laying down the red carpet for jihad. What fools.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
Unfortunately, in the U.S., the same is occurring [at least] in our military and parts of academia where Israel bashing is too often tolerated as a "balanced view" of things. It is veiled anti-Semitism.

Jimmy Carter belongs to that crowd, unfortunately.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
I've just helped a friend apply for an American visa. The only time I've filled out something that complicated was when I applied for a job at the NSA (really!), So why is Irving allowed in the country?

P.S. The irony is that the crime was committed by the most compulsive record-keepers on the planet, the Germans, which makes it that much harder to imagine it didn't happen.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
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One more applicant to sift, though I'm sure you're aware of him: Gordon Duff from the website "Veterans Today". Barking, barking mad, but no less malevolent for that.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Irving, apparently, wouldn’t have been content to be a decent, respectable historian in an academic department, and instead seized—successfully—on a path to much greater renown."

Imperial College, from which he dropped out, is a science college, by the way. A previous commenter suggested he dropped out for financial reasons, though maybe there were just too many Jewish students competing with him. I know one to whom he bragged about his holiday at Berchtesgaden.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
Supposedly, the first edition of Hitler's War mentioned the Holocaust not at all. This is going to sound like I'm a Holocaust denier myself, but there's really little if any evidence that Hitler himself was ever aware of the Holocaust or what was happening to the Jews in "the East" as the Nazis called it during the war. Irving took the lack of documentary evidence as proof, more or less, that Hitler was clueless. The book was intended to be an account of the war in terms of what Hitler himself knew about it, and if you know anything about Hitler you know that he was a) lazy and b) a dilettante. Most of his time during the war was spent either poring over maps trying to decide where to send the troops next, or around a table with a group of friends, reminiscing into the night about the "old days." He spent little time on things that didn't interest him, and matters of state (like the Holocaust) were supremely boring to him. I'm not saying he didn't know (I find that highly improbable) but that he probably gave a simple verbal order to Heydrich on the order of "Kill them all" and left it at that. Since it was never written down, Irving assumed it hadn't happened.

At some point, he shifted from this to assuming the Holocaust never happened. There's something in Irving's personality that gets his back up when people tell him he's done something wrong, or advocated something that's objectionable. As he shifted to Holocaust denial, Jewish advocates became more vitriolic in their attacks, and the results hit Irving personally, while the Germans whom he'd been interviewing, and their families, became more supportive. In the aftermath of the Lipstadt trial, his publisher in Britain pulped all the copies of one of his books before any had sold, costing Irving a substantial amount of money. It was a biography of one of the Nazis and had little to do with the Holocaust, but the anti-Holocaust denier lobby in Britain was strong enough to demand this, and get it, from his publisher.

I want everyone to understand, I'm not in any way a Holocaust denier. There is however the issue of "thought crime" and the punishment of dissent. While I don't agree with Irving on this (or frankly a few other subjects) I feel that suppressing *everything* the man wrote, and attempting to essentially destroy his life, because he's incorrect on *one* fact, is a bit disturbing.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
OK, this is a weird subject for me, and a rather frustrating one. Irving's case is so complex, and has been so simplified by the anti-Holocaust-denier lobby that it's been distorted past almost all reality. I'll explain below...

First, it's important to understand what Irving is, and isn't. He's not a Holocaust, or anti-Holocaust, historian. He's never written a book about the Holocaust or the plight of Jews in Europe during World War II. Deborah Lipstadt, Saul Friedlander, Christopher Browning: those are Holocaust historians. Irving isn't one.

Irving's a World War II historian. He's written a large number of books on the subject. His books run to more than 2 dozen, in addition to which he translated 2 memoirs from German (by spy chief Gehlen and Field Marshal Keitel). Much of his stuff isn't about the Holocaust at all, it's about military operations and the like. Some of the early stuff, including a study of the German V-weapons program, is still pretty well regarded.

It's important to remember something else, something more cultural than academic. Irving's British, and he started writing in the early '60s. At that point, if you wanted to be a respected historian in Britain, it helped if you were Lord or Lady so-and-so to start. Many of the published, popular historians of that era were nobility of one sort or other: Antonia Fraser, C.V. Wedgwood, John Julius Norwich, and a whole bunch of others I can't remember right now, are titled nobility who write using their names, without their titles. Everyone in Britain, especially 50 years ago, knew who these people were and what the titles were, even if they didn't advertise them. If you were poor, you could perhaps get into a good school, aping their manners and attitudes, but it was always problematic. Irving dropped out of college (apparently for financial reasons) and spent a couple of years in Germany working in a steel foundry, which solidified his command of that language. He's not from the class that normally writes historical works in England, especially that long ago; he sort of broke the mold.

As to the scholarship of his work, you quoted David Evans as saying Irving's work is completely unreliable. You further quoted him as accusing Irving of inflating the death toll at Dresden. There's a recent book by Frederick Taylor (Dresden: Tuesday February 13, 1945) that pretty clearly shows that Goebbels is the one who inflated the casualty figures from the attack, and until the '90s pretty much *every* historian accepted them. One of the larger conclusions of Irving's book, that the attack was pretty much gratuitous, is even now generally accepted, at least grudgingly, by most historians. Irving was the *first* historian to characterize the bombing as unnecessary.

At some point in there, he got pretty fond of Hitler, and this began to affect his writing somewhat. Some of the books he wrote later deal with subjects that have nothing to do with the Holocaust. He wrote a controversial book on Convoy PQ 17, for which he was sued (he lost), another book on command controversies on the Allied side during the war, and a controversial account of General Sikorski's death, which he deemed an assassination ordered by Winston Churchill. Then he went on to write a series of biographies of major and less major figures of the 3rd Reich, notably Goering and Goebbels, but also Erhard Milch and Erwin Rommel.

I gather over the years he drifted further and further to the right on the subject of the Holocaust. As he became more prominent and appeared to be more sympathetic to the German version of the war, he began to be befriended by surviving aged Nazis and their families. I read another historian who gave an interview about Irving once, in which he said the guy was the champion at sitting in an elderly German lady's sitting room, eating stale cookies and sipping weak tea while listening to her lament her husband's passing, before she agreed to let him look over some papers he'd kept from when he worked for Hitler.

45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
Holocaust deniers and anti-Semites are crazy. God only knows what prompts such characters to hate Jews so much. Maybe someone ought to pose a question to them asking what exactly any Jew has done to deserve such vitriol. I bet not a one of them could come up with a personal grievance. I suppose if you're not gifted with Jewish brains, senses of humor, and the ability to flourish in a world that needs scapegoats, then you're capable of any such nonsense.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
I have a feeling that Arabs and Muslims dominate this list you are making.

But I just wanted to share this bit of hate imagery going around.

http://a.disquscdn.com/uploads/mediaembed/images/646/4220/original.jpg
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
I don't much care who are the 10 worst Jew-haters in the world. I know that individual Jews, mostly Holocaust survivors, and a few Israeli units, took justified revenge on some Nazis, German and other, after the war. Then there were the Nazi hunters, some of whom did very fine work. I guess it's important to monitor the worst of them; beyond that, I don't want to think about them at all.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report: if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. ” Quote from St Paul
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
Rules out most television.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
Hate-speech and defamation against groups is alive and well in America and being mainstreamed and institutionalized from the places one would least expect it: colleges, the DOJ and the fine arts.

The reason this is so dangerous is that there will always be people who don't like Jews, blacks or whites, but without access to institutions, this disdain can do little harm.

For example, given what happened to Jews in Germany in the '30s, we can assume there was a lot of anti-Semitism there in say, 1925. The difference was they weren't putting Jews on trains to places they didn't want to go. In only a few short years, they were.

Institution vs. individual and principle vs. identity are the keywords here.

Our problem in America is that we keep facing in the direction of the KKK and neo-Nazis as if no other form of humanity will ever share their depraved principles. Meanwhile, racial and gender bigotry sneaks up on us from behind, disguised as "social justice" and "anti-racism."

Beware of Nazis in pig-tails bearing allergies to scented products and wheel-chair access.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
It should always be remembered that the people who vehemently deny that the Holocaust happened are the same ones who are fervently glad that it did.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
More disturbing to me than anything Irving has said or written, (all I know about him is hearsay, because I haven't read his book), is the fact that he was thrown in jail for a thought crime and or speaking his mind.
The country that he was jailed in is laying down the red carpet for jihad. What fools.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
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45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
Yes, well said. And do we really need this? Note an unfortunate slip by the author:
Irving also keeps lecturing in [places] including his own UK, where his presence is still legal...
Irving, repellent as he is, retains the citizenship of his birth. Does Hornik long to return to the world of the DP, along with an arbitrary power to strip 'wrong thinkers' of legal status as an alternative to re-education?

Probably not, just part of an ill-edited effort to crank out a 10-part series for cash, manna from heaven for any freelancer. From memory -- frankly, I can't be bothered to dig up the original -- a big part of this article is 'closely based' on a lengthy piece in Atlantic Monthly, as it was then called, at the time of the trial.

Irving is a buffoon, de-fanged and pitiful. Not at all clear why he still matters. What would Simon Wiesenthal have said?
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
I thought Irving just wrote some tripe about Hitler not being responsible for the Holocaust and threw the blame on Himmler?
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
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