Anorak News | The Truth Outs

The Truth Outs

by | 21st, February 2006

‘“I MADE a mistake when I said there were no gas chambers at Auschwitz,” David Irving told a court in Vienna after pleading guilty to charges of denying the Holocaust 17 years ago. ‘I am absolutely without doubt that the Holocaust took place.’

Fair enough. The judiciary functions to turn the wayward onto the path of truth. And here was the unlovely far-right British historian acknowledging the fact that Jews were systematically murdered in the Holocaust.

But still it was not enough to save Irving from jail. As the Telegraph reports, Judge Peter Liebetreu said the court was not convinced that Irving had altered his views.

“We’ve seen no evidence that he tried to come to Austria to say ‘I’ve changed my mind’ and to prove that he was a different person,’ he said. Which meant Irving was in line for three years jail time. It’s on the record. It’s historical fact. You can deny it. But you’d be wrong.

While the Telegraph watches Irving turn red in the face and vow to appeal, the papers hear people argue the rights and wrongs of sending the man down.

Elmar Kresbach, defending Irving in court, tells the Telegraph: “He has apologised for what he has said. He has made mistakes and has been willing to admit to them.

‘You can go on the streets of England and say ‘Hitler was a great bloke’ and nothing will happen to you. It should be allowed to make such statements here after 60 years of successful democracy.’

If only that was all he had said, then fine. It’s freedom of speech and all that. Irving, of course, said something more. He broke the law of the land in Austria.

Noah Klieger is happy with the verdict. The Holocaust survivor who flew in from Israel to watch the trial, tells the Guardian: “This is a big day for Israel and all Jews, as the Pope of Holocaust deniers has finally been brought to justice.”

And here’s Lord Greville Janner, chairman of the Holocaust Educational Trust. He too is happy with the verdict. ‘It sends a message that we must not tolerate the denial of the Holocaust. They murdered every one of my family on the continent, except those who lived in Denmark.” He calls Irving’s conviction “important” and “appropriate.’

It sends out a message. Although not to parts of the Middle East where, as the Times’s leader says, “far too many argue that the Holocaust never happened.”

For such people with a malevolent axe to grind, truth matters little. Take Lady Michelle Renouf, in court to support Irving. “The obvious thing would be to exhume the bodies and determine whether they died from typhoid fever or from gas,” says she of the millions of Jewish dead. The Times hears a reporter point out that the bodies were now ash (remember the ovens). Lady Renouf stops talking. She smiles at Irving.

For some, Irving will become some kind of martyr. As the Times leader says: “His jail sentence will earn him martyrdom among the twisted ranks in neo-Fascism.”

But should we care about them? Let them come and worship at his cell door. It gives them something to do.

As Karen Pollock, chief executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, tells the Guardian, Holocaust denial is ‘anti-semitism dressed up as intellectual debate’ and should be treated as such.

We may never know Irving’s motivation for being what the Times calls a “biased and dogmatic” historian. Only that he is one.’

Posted: 21st, February 2006 | In: Uncategorized Comment | TrackBack | Permalink