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David Irving: Call me a denier and I'll sue the JC
By JC Reporters
Holocaust denier David Irving this week threatened to bring a libel action against the Jewish Chronicle for continuing to suggest that he holds the same discredited views on the second world war.
Irving, 69, who was jailed in Austria last year following speeches in which he denied the existence of the Nazi gas chambers, walked free in December.
Last week, after the JC revealed how he plans a nationwide speaking tour in an attempt to rehabilitate himself, he insisted that we stop calling him “an active Holocaust denier” or he would sue.
In a letter to “the legal department” of the JC, Irving claims that the term is “demonstrably untrue” and warned that any repetition would result in a claim for defamation “without further notice”.
American academic Professor Deborah Lipstadt, whom irving unsuccessfully sued in london in 2000 for calling him “one of the most dangerous spokespersons for Holocaust denial”, immediately dismissed the threat.
“He hasn’t changed,” she said. “OK, so he said he has a document showing that 2.4 million Jews were killed in three camps. What about auschwitz, what about the Einzatsgruppen [SS death squads] and all the rest? He is playing the media like a skittle. He needs publicity for his speaking tour and for his book sales. Irving is denying the documentary evidence and has said that the Jews have caused all the wars in the past 100 years.”
In his judgment on his london action, Mr Justice Gray branded Irving an “active Holocaust denier... antisemitic and racist” who “has for his own ideological reasons persistently and deliberately misrepresented and manipulated historical evidence”.
Not only had he “denied the existence of gas chambers at Auschwitz and asserted that no Jew was gassed there, he has done so on frequent occasions and sometimes in the most offensive terms”.
When he was jailed in Austria last year, state prosecutor Michael Klackl said: “He’s not a historian, he’s a falsifier of history.”
The charges related to 1989 speeches in which he had described the Auschwitz gas chambers as a fairytale and maintained that Hitler had protected european Jews. He had been arrested in austria in November 2005 on a warrant dating back to the time of his comments.
Pleading guilty, Irving said he had made a mistake in asserting that there were no gas chambers in europe, conceding: “the Nazis did murder millions of Jews.”
But interviewed in his cell by the BBC shortly afterwards, Irving asked: “Given the ruthless efficiency of the Germans, if there was an extermination programme to kill all the Jews, how come so many survived?”
He was freed in December after an appeal, despite the prosecutors’ argument that the three-year sentence was insufficient and that irving was an idol for far-right elements in Austria and abroad.
Irving told the JC on Wednesday: “I am indignant at being called a Holocaust denier. i am not sure that i have changed my position, it is just that i was not properly represented in the press.”
At the libel trial, he said, “I spoke about the killings in the Reinhardt camps and in the eastern front. But i question much about Auschwitz. Jews were killed in two villas... just outside the camp. they were used probably for gassings but on a relatively small scale.”
Meanwhile, Irving has said he will not now participate in a “free speech” debate at the oxford union next month, alongside British national Party leader Nick Griffin.
OK, Mr Irving, here are our lawyers' details:
Reynolds Porter Chamberlain LLP
Tower Bridge House, St Katharine’s Way, London, E1W
Tel: 020 3060 6000; Fax: 020 3060 7000
Why Irving regretted his days in court
His letter to us in full
A litigious history
Survivor: 'He was a coward'
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