by Richard Hughey
Adolf Hitler divided leaders into two categories. First were the agitators. Agitators were men with the rhetorical and administrative ability to move the masses with the power of propaganda. Second were the theoreticians. Theoreticians were the men who created the propaganda that the agitators used to move the masses.
David Irving is a theoretician. He creates the propaganda used by agitators to rouse rabbles like Skinheads and neo-Nazis.
Irving was once also an agitator. A video of Irving was played at his London libel trial in 2000 showing him haranguing a crowd of uniformed neo-Nazis carrying Nazi banners and shouting "Sieg Heil!" at pauses in Irving's speech. It wasn't exactly Nuremberg, but it's a very scary sight nonetheless.
Having been banned from most major European countries, Canada, and Australia, Irving's now cut off from his usual Aryan constituencies except in the United States, where free speech policies give him license to rouse rabbles.
Irving's particular task is to refurbish the image of Adolf Hitler. If he can do that, then the reemergence of Aryan National Socialism will be that much easier. So Irving portrays Hitler as a benign, sometimes bumbling, bureaucrat, who may have had a few warts, but then, he says, "Who didn't in World War II?" What the heck! Churchill, Stalin, and Roosevelt they all had warts.
Irving's central thesis on the Holocaust is that Hitler not only did not order the Final Solution of the Jewish question, he did not even know about it until late in 1943, and then he tried to stop it.
As proof Irving points to the fact that there is no written order with Hitler's name on it directing the extermination of an entire race of people. Scholars have known for years no such order exists, and it is not very intelligent to believe that it does. Eichmann testified to the absence of a written order at his trial in Jerusalem. Otto Dietrich, Hitler's press secretary, testified orders such as that were always given orally to the nearest flunky, who was usually Himmler or Borman.
Irving has offered a $1000 reward to the person who brings him a document with Hitler's name on it that orders the extermination of the Jews of Europe. This is a publicity stunt. Irving's money is not at risk, and it never has been.
Irving points to the fact that Hitler put his name on the document that ordered the slaughter of 70,000 persons whose only crimes were to be physically or mentally impaired. "Too many mouths to feed," was Hitler's rationale. When word leaked out about the order, however, there was such an huge adverse public reaction to it that Hitler was forced to rescind the directive. For those who run and read the writing on the wall: Hitler learned his lesson. He wasn't as dumb as Irving thinks he was.
Irving also takes the position that there were no homicidal gas chambers at Auschwitz. This argument is based in part on a phony forensic report by a junk scientist presented at the trial of a Canadian neo-Nazi in 1988 at which Irving testified as an expert witness for the defendant. The report was thrown out of court, but Irving took a copy back to the UK and published it with his own imprimatur by Focal Point Publications, which he owns.
Irving says the ruins seen at the death camp are of buildings that were used as morgues and air raid shelters. Which raises the provocative question: If they weren't homicidal gas chambers, why did the Nazis blow them up?
To Irving, Auschwitz was little more than a German work camp with a lamentably high death rate caused by disease and over work.
As proof there were no homicidal gas chambers at Auschwitz, Irving points to the fact that there are no holes in the roof of Crematorium II where the Zyklon-B was poured into the chamber. Beginning in October 1944 the Nazis began dismantling the gas chambers and crematoriums, and in January 1945, as the Red Army was approaching, they blew up the buildings.
The ruins of those buildings (very small pieces mostly) were never cleared away, and they've sat on the grounds for over fifty years exposed to the elements, which have made many changes to the materials. It is not surprising to legitimate experts that the "holes" haven't yet been found, but Irving goes around the planet blurting out the slogan, "No holes, no gas!"
Irving will be in the United States in April and May to sell his brand of "Real history," which is Irving's term for historical truth as he sees it, a vision that was judged seriously impaired at his recent libel trial in the United Kingdom, where the judge ruled that Irving was not only an Holocaust denier, he was also a racist, an antisemite, an Hitler apologist, a right-wing extremist ideologue; and that he was an irresponsible historian who would pervert the historical record to foster a view that supported his political agenda.
Irving lost his libel trial - that's another story - and now he's saddled with a £2,000,000 cost bill for the winning side's attorney fees and litigation expenses; and he's coming to the United States to get financial help to pay off his tab at the courthouse. In the UK, the matter is in the bankruptcy courts. His donors ought to be careful. Not only might donors' money go to the trustee in bankruptcy; but there's a quirk in English libel law that may compel the disclosure of their identities - something that neither they nor Irving can afford.
from the May 2002 Edition of the Jewish Magazine