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Holocaust Denier David Irving Speaks Tonight in Montana

By Ryan Lenz on May 4, 2011 - 2:09 pm, Posted in Anti-Semitic, Holocaust Denial

David Irving is no historian, as his official biography would have the world believe. The reality is that he a propagandist who has probably done as much as anyone to promote Holocaust denial and to lionize Adolf Hitler, who Irving once said was “not at all anti-Semitic by the time the war began.”

In recent months, Irving has been on a whistle-stop tour of the United States giving a lecture titled, “The Life and Death of Heinrich Himmler, Hitler’s lieutenant/44 years in 44 minutes.” The talks and their venues have not been publicly advertised – a ploy Irving has used repeatedly to avoid an unwelcome presence of protesting anti-racists. But Hatewatch has learned Irving will speak at 7 p.m. tonight at The Museum at Central School in Kalispell, Mont.

Museum officials said they do not support Irving’s message, but their lawyers had advised them they were constitutionally prohibited from discriminating against Irving’s talk based on his viewpoint, no matter how distasteful it may be. “You can’t refuse somebody the ability to use a public space based on ideological content,” said Gil Jordan, the museum’s executive director.

In an official statement to Hatewatch, the museum added: “The Northwest Montana Historical Society, a non-profit organization operating a public history museum in the Central School facility owned by the City of Kalispell, rents rooms for public and private gatherings. Because the facility is publicly owned, and by our lease we have a ‘public purpose,’ NMHS is not permitted to deny any group their right to free speech and assembly based on so-called ‘viewpoint discrimination.’”

Irving is the author of more than 30 books on Germany during World War II, the Nazi Party and the leading figures of the Third Reich. He has claimed for years that his work does nothing more than provide a thorough analysis of history that counterbalances some other accounts. But a British court, in a 2000 libel suit brought by Irving, labeled the writer a “pro-Nazi” ideologue and ruled in favor Deborah Lipstadt, an Emory University professor who characterized Irving as Holocaust denier in her book on the subject. Rather than retreat, Irving’s message has only intensified in the years since.

For instance, in a 2008 video made by journalist Max Blumenthal and videographer Thomas Shomaker and co-produced by the Southern Poverty Law Center, Irving told the audience at one of his speeches: “Adolf Hitler was being kept out of the loop and was probably not at all anti-Semitic… . He repeatedly held out his hand to stop things happening to the Jews.”

  • Albert de Lorge

    I think people should have the right to speak even if most people don’t like what’s being said by the speaker. I also recognize that some speech is highly inflamatory and may incite some listeners to commit violent criminal acts. As pertains to historical events, all I want to know is the truth, consequences be damned! However, revisionists and holocaust deniers’ writings have been the fuel that supports white power skinheads’ violent acts. I know this first hand as I was witness to some events in Atlanta in the late 80′s that were spurred on by belief in Zionist conspiracies, ZOG, holocaust denial, pseudo-scientific papers supporting aryan genetic superiority. Bill Riccio almost killed the founder of the SPLC and he beleived all this stuff. Everybody needs to use their brains a little and also have some courage to stand up and argue against things that are wrong.

  • Flathead Mark

    Montana has become a hot spot for these types, but what bothers me most are the ones living in the valley that are not making a loud noise. My neighbor here in Kalispell was in Chicago at the Edelweiss two years ago when Irving spoke there. He came back with a head full of stitches from the event. My neighbor is the security head with a group called Children of the SS. It is connected to a group called Silent aid. These groups are made up of former Nazi’s and their families that still believe in Nazism. They have been here in Kalispell for ten years now. My neighbor has regular gatherings with them at his house. I attended one last year there were about 60 people there. I do not speak German so most of what was said I was not able to understand. But make no mistake these people are very serious about what they are doing. This group’s purpose is to protect Nazi war criminals, they have at least four former SS men here in Kalispell in charge, they operate pretty much in secret and do not involve themselves with the American white supremacist groups activities. Their were three of them that are the children of very well known Nazi’s from World War II including the some of one of the top SS men during the war.

  • Bob Miller

    I am well aware of these groups here in Kalispell, I have meet a few of them here in the last 10 years. They may have a different perspective than I do, but they still have rights. I thought about going to the speaking engagement featuring David Irving, I wanted to hear his views, but thought better of it because of the protests at the Flathead County library. I wonder what would have been printed in the newspapers if the people showing the films had put on a protest in front of the place where the Holocaust survivor spoke last week. Is intimidation to stop free speech what we have sunk to here in Montana? What are we so afraid they will say? How many subjects in Americas past were taboo in the universities?

  • Gary J.

    This says a lot. How a nation can be so blind to facts about history. I’ve met both Gil and Ken, their behavior in these posts does not surprise me. I have come to expect it from them both. There are those that chase the lime light and have come to believe they know what is best for all. If they had their way every thought, spoken word, Idea, or piece of information you were to hear would have to pass through their censorship. All other books and information would be burned. I get my biggest laugh how much expertise the now have on the subject of David Irving and MR.Irving’s history. The Google generation lmao. I have been following the career closely of MR.Irving and heard him speak at least 14 times. The funny part is the net is filled with the same garbage and misinformation by hundreds of people and dozens of organizations determined to keep you from hearing what they do not want you to. To read this garbage and repeat it is how propaganda is designed to work. Bury the truth in distortions and block all attempts to openly discuss the subject mater so the average person can not tell fact from fiction. Always remember only the information that supports your belief is correct all other information is wrong.

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    Except that he doesn’t write the truth, so as a historian he actually sucks.

  • jack jones

    David Irving is the greatest historian living today because he is answerable to no-one, [he cannot be sacked as, for instance could a college professor] he is free to write the truth, and does, no-one has found any evidence to dispute what he has written, let’s face it, Auschwitz is now nothing more than a money making machine, a cafe and a gift shop on the premises, it’s a Jewish Disneyland and as such loses all credibility.

  • steve

    I have heard Irving speak and do not agree with his main theses (eg that Churchill should have kept Britain out of the war, that Hitler was ignorant of the mass murder of the Jews) but he is not a crank or even an extremist. He has done his homework—much more of it than most historians bother with, including sources not just in German but also Czech and Polish. (Many of his opponents, including Lipstadt I believe, cannot read or speak German and so cannot reference most of the source materials relating to the Nazis.) Irving has earned his right to his opinions.
    He is also a pretty good speaker able to talk about prominent figures in WWII on the basis of personal acquaintance. I also admire his balls, having to deal daily with leftwing thugs and idiots who seem incapable of independent thought. Most of his critics are completely ignorant of his work. Try the superbly written Hitler’s War for a start, downloadable at his website if your local library is too cowardly to stock it. It does not lionize Hitler. It does not ignore the death camps (though it has been accused of underplaying them). But his real crime in this book was to treat its subject as a human, not the frothing comic-book demon required by most western governments.

  • Giovanni Braschi

    Ruslan, let’s not take examples to an extreme when we are tying to condemn extremism, shall we? Besides, I didn’t say that suppression of free speech is bad because the Nazis did it, but was reminding people that repression of free speech was one of the tactics that the Nazis used. We should show ourselves to be better than the Nazis by not stooping to their level -violating Human Rights- in pursuit of our goals. Also, unless you’re German, National Socialism started in a foreign country, too ;)

    Mitch, so if I follow your line of reasoning, that you didn’t express opposition to any of the other things I said means you are tacitly approving them? So you acknowledge that protesting Irving will only give him a broader audience, but you want to do it anyway? I didn’t think so.

    Just because no one says something is bad, doesn’t mean that it isn’t bad. People should be capable of thinking for themselves and reaching moral conclusions on their own. If you go about saying that the mass murder of 6 million people is OK, it shouldn’t be necessary for a bunch of people to stand around with placards to give the statement “context”. There are people out there who believe all kinds of crazy stuff, from the 9/11 conspiracy to the moon landing hoax. I consider veganism to be an extreme point of view, but that doesn’t mean I should hunt out their meeting places, post hateful comments on their discussion boards and protest in front of their houses or meeting places. But, that’s just my opinion. Live and let live, man: we can’t fix the all the world’s problems.

    But I do think there are bigger and more pressing problems than an old coot ranting about 60-year-old events to a handful of people. Are you seriously going to protest a homeless man yelling on a street corner that Obama is the Antichrist? Because that’s an extreme point of view, too, you know ;)

  • Deep Ecology

    Mitch, the opinion of some (and my own) is that a highly marginalized and discredited academic with a bizarre agenda and few (and I mean really few) followers gets more traction out of publicity (especially negative) than if he were simply ignored. There are lots of movements out there with significantly more adherents and public impact than the holocaust denial advocates. Really, no one takes them seriously in the academic community and by the numbers that show up to hear him speak, few in the peanut gallery do either.

    I have a close family relative who is a government scientist and engineer. Every year his office collects the sincere letters of conspiracy theorists, flat earthers and moon landing hoaxers and votes on the most articulate and well thought out pleas for our government to wake up and share what they have discovered in their basements and on the internet. The numbers stay pretty consistent, but after 25 years of a small number of dedicated efforts to spread craziness, I don’t see us abandoning evidence based science or medicine for shape shifting aliens and conspiracy of the day theories, nor will Irving have any, and I mean any, impact on true historical revisionism. We do them a favor by showing him and his followers any attention at all.

  • Mitch Beales

    Whenever Hatewatch publishes reports of hate speech it is lambasted by commenters for being”against free speech.” It seems to me that most of the opposition to free speech in this forum comes from those who would like to restrict Hatewatch’s right to publish such reports.

  • Mitch Beales

    Giovanni Braschi there is a difference between confronting extremist views and shouting down those who espouse them. In my opinion each of us is responsible for confronting those who express views we consider extreme so long as we can do so without substantial risk of bodily harm. I believe that failing to express opposition to a point of view constitutes tacit approval.

    Gil, I do not have a particularly poor opinion of high school students and stated in my post that I could see how some teachers could make this a valuable learning experience. I am happy that happened in this case. I do not think academic achievement is always accompanied by analytical skills appropriate for evaluating hate mongers posing as academics. I suspect that David Irving was a high school honor student himself. If, as you say, you are “seeking a thoughtful discussion of ideas,” perhaps you should read posts more carefully.

    For several other posters why should holocaust deniers be exempt from pickets outside venues where they spew their hate? Physicians who provide health services to women, Muslims who assemble for any reason whatsoever, and those who advocate for civil rights for homosexuals are subjected to such treatment.

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    “Let’s not forget that is was the Nazis who started with the trying to shout down dissenting opinions and eventually making certain “wrong ideas” illegal (which someone up there was actually advocating).”

    Nazis also wore pants. We should stop doing that too.

    “Because, you know, if you had to stand up to someone who was actually, right now, violating human rights, like, say China, that’d take a little more effort, wouldn’t it?”

    As it is a foreign country, yes.

  • Giovanni Braschi

    Gil makes a very valid point here. I think sometimes we can get a little too caught up in our causes -no matter how good they are- and lose a little perspective on the big picture. Let’s not forget that is was the Nazis who started with the trying to shout down dissenting opinions and eventually making certain “wrong ideas” illegal (which someone up there was actually advocating). Sure, it’s not the SPLC’s policy, but it certainly is the objective of several of the posters here.

    The bit I find particularly dangerous is the idea of “confronting” extremist views whenever and wherever they arise. For one, who decides what is extremist, and therefore unacceptable thought? And who exactly are the ill-informed? Apparently honor-students of Highschools, according to some (which makes me particularly nervous having been only “average” in Highschool.) But, if we don’t actually expose ourselves to dissenting opinions, particularly highly offensive ones, how are we going to develop critical thought?

    Some time ago, I posted the 25 point plan of the Nazi party in a music form, as an experiment. I cut out the title and replaced “Germany” with “your country”. The rest remained intact, except no-where did I say that it was a Nazi programme. How many people agreed with the material was irrelevant to me, but what particularly disturbed me is that no one recognized it. And there were some really well-informed people on that forum. But no one realized that they’d just read, and many agreed to, the public agenda of the Nazi party. Sure, every single one of them agreed that the Nazis were bad, and their crimes were atrocious. But they couldn’t recognize the thinking that lead to it.

    Everyone recognizes the swastika, and the Nazis have to be the most hated group in the world, So shouting down Irving and the like doesn’t take any amount of courage or original thought. That’s just verbally beating up on a senile old man. Who’s alone. 9 supporters out of how many in the city?

    Nah, going out to protest something like that is just going to give him a broader platform; the controversy is going to get more people interested, and he’s going to sell more books, to people who want to find out what all the ruckus is about. People like me; I haven’t read Irving so I can’t have an opinion on his stuff. But the fact that he’s controversial has got me curious.

    Protesting in the end is only self-serving. You’re not going to convince anyone who shows up to his meetings, because they are already convinced. You aren’t going to change the mind of anyone else, because they aren’t there. Protesting just makes you feel good about yourself, because you “did something” to stop the spread of Evil. You are a good man who didn’t do nothing, following Edmund Burke, right? Then you can get back to picking over people’s posts on the Internet.

    Because, you know, if you had to stand up to someone who was actually, right now, violating human rights, like, say China, that’d take a little more effort, wouldn’t it?

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    Where did the SPLC call for Irving to be censored? When did the SPLC call for people to use violence to disrupt his lectures?

    Next time you want to get outraged, make sure you trying reading the article, and make sure the thing you are outraged about actually happened.

  • William Simes

    It just seems odd that those tht scream loudest for the protection of free speech and dialog and the first to want to shout out uncomfortable information or tht which they do not like. I am no fan of Irving but I strongly dislike hypocracy. Irving is merely giving a lecture and selling books, those that choose to attend are entitled to hear and judge on their own without be disrupted by hooligans. When people go to great lengths to silence a person (Irving) it makes people think what they re saying may have credibility. You cannot demnd respect for all and not grant it yourself.

  • David Catleugh

    Why should gangs of violent protestors decide who I can, and can’t listen to. Am I too dumb to draw my own conclusions from the content of speeches I listen to? You’ll be calling for people to burn his books next.

  • Robert mountford

    David Irving is todays Thomas Carlyle, his knowledge of his subject and who he has met, and his research in his career just takes ones breath away.
    All other historians cannot even come close to this giant of our time.
    a collussus.

  • http://www.yourmuseum.org Gil Jordan

    Mitch, you must have a very poor opinion of high school students if you feel sheilding them from extreme views is the only way to avoid the risk of them adopting those views. I spoke to the teacher and he reports that by hearing Irving live the students were able to recognize the non-sequiters, the unsupported claims, and in the discussion the students and teacher later had on their own, identified the difference between well documented and peer-reviewed history, and the sort of cherry-picked, out-of-context pieces of history that Irving presents.

    These students have well developed critical thinking skills, and they are much more likely to learn about, accept and understand the true nature of a David Irving by seeing him in person for themselves, rather than reading about it in a book or on a blog, or taking the word of some adult with an ax to grind. Give these kids some credit.

    In my opinion, the world will become a much more dangerous place if the only way to overcome abhorent views is to suppress them. I raised the question above as to the wisdom of making a big deal out of a non-event, giving it energy when there is none, but I feel it is just as important that we not be afraid to listen to and confront oposing views when they do emerge. I believe both of those objectives were achieved in last Wednesday’s event, in that there was no widespread coverage that gave a public forum for Irving’s views, but five bright students came away with first-hand knowledge and understanding of how some people choose to distort and re-write history.

  • Mitch Beales

    Gil Jordan I think it is important to confront extreme views whenever and wherever they arise. When extreme views are not confronted and called out for being extreme, the ill-informed may not realize that they are extreme and not widely accepted. I’m not sure it is a good thing for high school students to be exposed to view’s like Irving’s. The fact that a teacher took students to this talk may, in the eyes of the students, lend the views of the speaker a legitimacy that they do not deserve. I can certainly see how some teachers could make this a valuable learning experience. I can also see how high school students could be recruited to white supremacist movements by this kind of exposure. The presence of demonstrators at such an event would, in my opinion, help to lend an appropriate perspective to those attending, making them aware that such views are far from mainstream.

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    Just the tip of the iceberg, CM. Think about what kind of preparation would be needed to create and maintain this “hoax”. First of all, the perpetrators of the hoax would have to work across borders of many countries which were hostile to one another. They would have to know that the Nazis would lose the war, and they would somehow have to know how the world would be divided up afterward. Even leading up to the last days of the war, it was unclear even from private conversations and conferences how things would turn up. The English were pushing for influence in Poland while the Soviets and Yugoslavs were trying to get influence in Italy. The British had also driven the Communist victors in Greece into the mountains and reestablished the monarchy, and who could have said back then if the Soviets wouldn’t have helped the Communists stay in power, especially since Churchill had actually considered the Soviet demand for access through the Bosporus straits and a naval base near Istanbul? Someone with access to Josef Stalin would have been aware of his unusually naive and positive attitude about cooperation with the other two major powers.

    The conspirators would have to somehow see through all of this to “know” that there would be an “Iron curtain”, and then construct the camps there. Of course Holocaust deniers often spout off with nonsense about how the hoax was largely perpetrated by the USSR. Ok let’s run with that idiotic idea. In 1956 Khruschev initiated a huge reversal of Soviet politics on every level, basically denouncing anything and everything that happened under Stalin(while not specifically mentioned, one of these actions included the recognition of Israel). At the same time, the USSR was increasingly supporting the Arab states against Zionism. Gee, wouldn’t this be a GREAT time to reveal that the Holocaust was some kind of hoax, and wouldn’t they have TONS of documentary and eyewitness evidence of this?

    Then of course the USSR collapsed, and the archives were open. Somehow, agents of the conspiracy managed to predict what would happen, get on planes, and suppress any documentary evidence from getting out of the archives. Also, despite a rise in antisemitism in the Former Soviet Union, nobody has come forward to say that they were involved in some aspect of faking the Holocaust.

    That is some well thought out conspiracy!!

  • CM

    To deny the reality of the Holocaust is necessarily to affirm the existence of a vast, international, multi-generational, almost supernaturally effective conspiracy. I don’t want to over-generalize, but every Holocaust denier I’ve ever talked with finds the ultimate basis of this conspiracy in that antique, scurrilous hoax, “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion” (often with the Knights Templar, the Illuminati and/or the Freemasons thrown in to spice things up).

    Also inevitable is the fact that if one eliminates the Holocaust and the other violently anti-Semitic acts and policies of the Nazis, one is in effect declaring Hitler and his cronies innocent of any crimes, clearing the field to make the claim that World War II was not Hitler’s fault. Instead, the deniers claim, he was just a patriotic German who was forced to make war by – guess what – a vast, international, multi-generational conspiracy led by the “Jewish bankers.”

    Needless to say, all of this is anti-Semitic, and it suggests that anti-Semitism is the only reason Holocaust denial exists at all.

    As for Irving’s often-touted use of “primary sources,” when this consists of using the Nazis’ own fictitious anti-Jewish propaganda as if their grotesque fantasies were fact, it’s just another example of his intellectual dishonesty.

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    Bruce is probably so confused about his own ideology that he meant to say that nobody claims Jews were gassed WITHIN Germany, which is a far cry from “Nazi German territory”. There is some evidence to suggest that gassings were planned to take place at Dachau, and the T4 program certainly took place within Germany. The fact that most gassings took place outside of Germany territory, in Poland mostly, was acknowledged a long time ago and is irrelevant. Not to mention that large numbers of victims in the Holocaust were killed by Einsatzgruppen death squads, never to make it to any camps.

    I love when Holocaust deniers use totally pointless assertions to argue their own case.

  • Mark Potok

    Bruce W. Hain’s comments are completely asinine and unsupported by the facts, of course. Suffice it to point out a couple of remarkable assertions he makes. The first:

    “Today, no Jewish historian worth his salt would argue that Jews were murdered in homicidal gas chambers at any time or anywhere in Nazi territory.”

    I don’t think that comment even needs a reply, it’s so foolish and uninformed.

    And the second: Irving brought the libel suit against Lipstadt, not vice versa — so it’s remarkable to see Bruce whining that poor David Irving “and his publishers have been beset by legal actions for years, among other shenanigans, robbing him of his income as an author.” Excuse me, Bruce. Irving specifically waited until the book was published in the UK so he could bring a suit there, where the law puts the onus of libel actions on the defendants (Lipstadt and her publisher) to affirmatively prove that there was no libel, rather than on the plaintiff (Irving), as American law demands. Still, he couldn’t prevail at trial.

    Perhaps Bruce should really read about the Irving/Lipstadt trial, rather than merely claiming to have. Unless, of course, he’s getting his information from neo-Nazi websites and the like, in which case there’s no help for him.

  • lo ma sek to

    Why do people want to use violence in response to dissent?
    Do they judge other people as incapable of making up their own minds? Have they appointed themselves as our guardians? Does it matter that they only want to guard us from opinions that differ from theirs?
    Or do they have something to fear from an open discussion of events?

  • Andy

    I have read some of Irving’s books and i have seen him talk in England on a couple of occasions. However, having said that I don’t regard myself as an Irving supporter.

    In my analysis Irving is on some sort of mission to rehabilitate Adolf Hitler while at the same time acknowledging the crimes of the Nazi regime in general. This is a strange position seeing as Hitler personally spelled out his attitudes in Mein Kampf and those attitudes were what informed National Socialism.

    When it comes to the Holocaust itself he doesnt actually deny that the vast majority of the events took place, he seeks to somehow distance Hitler from the responsibility.

    Is he a Nazi? Not really, but hes certainly very right wing.

    Protesting and hounding him? I really fail to see the point, his support is really tiny and doesnt have any serious traction.

  • Roy

    The sole motivation behind attempts to censor Irving isn’t to stop him speaking, but to stop other people hearing him. Lenz opened this article with a character assessment of Irving, so presumably he has had direct exposure to Irving’s opinions. Was Lenz incited to ‘hatred’ after learning Irving’s opinions? Why should we trust the SPLC anyway? Why can’t I hear Irving myself?

    How dare the SPLC try to control what opinions I have access to. Why are they so scared of freedom of speech anyway?

  • brucewhain

    I think SPLC is engaged in rabble rousing, or to use another well worn term: Volksverhetzung. Given full knowledge of the agitation and violence that frequently attend Irving’s events SPLC endeavors to promote it.

    Irving would not be doing this if it were not necessary to make enough money to live. It must be a grueling task. Both he and his publishers have been beset by legal actions for years, among other shenanigans, robbing him of his income as an author.

    I have read the Irving-Lipstadt trial and appeal thoroughly and it is this reading in 2006 that has made me a Holocaust denier. The two judges involved have managed to twist the truth in both instances into something that it clearly is not, for whatever reason.

    Irving has moderated his position incredibly in recent years, especially as regards the number of deaths occuing in the Action Reinhart camps. This is necessary if he is to conduct his annual tour of the camps. Anything else and the authoritarian government would ban him. His view regarding Operation Reinhart now conforms with the totally unsupportable figures posited by Jewish groups and mainstream historians, Reinhart being the final gasp of the Holocaust Lie to which they are determined to cling.

    Today, no Jewish historian worth his salt would argue that Jews were murdered in homicidal gas chambers at any time or anywhere in Nazi territory. The sources simply do not support it, and the lie has been debunked, lingering statements and references in Wikipedia and the New York Times notwithstanding.

    The dirty work is left to people like Lipstadt and Evans, who know better, but are paid very highly. Evans has not only benefited from his position as the most important “debunker” of David Irving, returning us to the “paths of rightiousness” in mainstream historicism, he has also benefited from research perloined from David Irving when a lein was placed on his property in conjunction with the Lipstadt trails. The papers – which Lipstadt and thereby Evans had access to – were said to be lost, and never returned to the rightful owner.

    As a historian Irving makes Lipstadt look like a child. Dispite her nice-old-Middle-European-lady looks, it’s what’s inside that counts. Her website at Emory University contains manifold instances of libel and defamation which are highly offensive to me and many others, but nobody seems capable of getting it removed, least of all SPLC, who’s too busy dispatching Antifa Thugs to David Irving’s events.

  • Deep Ecology

    I appreciate the thoughtful comments by both Mark and Ken.

    Fringe academics like Irving are so thoroughly marginalized and ignored by the mainstream, that like Mr. Jordan, I am somewhat surprised that SPLC takes any special notice of him. His lectures are basically an amen session for a very small coterie of fellow travelors and are usually a non-event.

    Ironically, publicity and awareness raising by organizations like SPLC may provide him more of a public platform and notice than he otherwise would receive, something I am sure is not in anyones interest.

  • Big Man

    Mr Lenz are you against free speech? Are you against presenting history as recorded in diaries, documents, discussion with primary sources? For shame.
    I highly suggest you and others read at least his tome, Hitler’s War. It is a fascinating, meticulously compiled book. When it was first published it received plenty of accolades. Oh, btw don’t know where there’s denial of treatment of jews (and many others for that matter) – it’s all there in b/w print.

  • Steve Fairweather

    Reading the ill informed, middle class, liberal twaddle spouted here by the likes of Gil Jordan and Ken Toole is highly amusing both in terms of their need show their outrage on a subject of which they clearly know very little about but also their need hit David Irving where it hurts with as many insults as they can muster. What is a “Pseudo Historian” anyway? One is either a historian or they are not.

    CM cites dreary, self-righteous Richard Evans as being critical of his peers in not bothering to examine Irving’s work closely enough. David Irving only uses primary sourced documents in his research while Evans can’t even speak German and is quite happy to quote other history books. Evan’s hatred of Irving is born from a deep rooted jealousy and envy of Irving’s access to material denied to him. That and a nice fat $2 Million Dollar fee, paid to him during the Lipstadt Trial.

    Commenting on the “apparent nine supporters” who attended the event, if it wasn’t for the violent attacks perpetrated by the far left at events such as these, David Irving would be able to advertise them properly. His talks contain no hate speech, contrary to the opinions printed on this page by people who have clearly never been to hear him speak. I have seen him several times in the UK with my son who is an A level history student. His historical talks are always interesting and thought provoking and he has an encyclopaedic knowledge of World War II – much to the chagrin of Evans and his ilk.

  • http://www.yourmuseum.org Gil Jordan

    Thank you Ken, that was the response I was hoping to elicit. You make the case well, and I understand your position. I am pleased to hear you believe MHRN and SPLC look at each event on a case by case basis. That’s all I was hoping for, based on our personal experience from last Wednesday’s Irving event. From the phone calls I received, I had the feeling no one really cared what the event was, what the circumstances were on the ground in our specific community, and the reaction to publicize it was a foregone conclusion. I take you and MHRN and SPLC at your word, that you will be careful not to give energy to groups where there is none, but will be vigilant in making sure they are not allowed to grow their network undetected. Thank you for your efforts on behalf of human rights everywhere.

  • Ken Toole

    Gil,

    I appreciate your support in the past so I’d like to take the time for a more thoughtful and thorough response.

    First, your assumptions regarding David Irving are not accurate. Yes, he is doddering, old, discredited fool. He is also an icon to many in the hate movement consistently supplying them with a patina of credibility, data and arguments regarding the Holocaust. Within the movement he clearly has a role, position and power. While we can debate about his ability to reach the mainstream and bring in new members, it is also true that his appearances provide a number of things to the activists who organize them. These include enhancing their own positions among their peers, providing opportunities to organize and make contacts among similar minded individuals, and opportunities to discuss and develop strategy with someone who has been in the game for years. Irving would not come to Montana to do those things if public appearances were not part of the gig.

    Second, the majority community basically middle class, white folks, tend to have a very different perspective on the public appearances of activists in the hate movement. Generally, we are not terribly threatened by them. We know that they are marginal in the political realm and don’t have much ability to do mass recruitment. However, those who are the historical targets of these groups (Jewish people, racial and ethnic minorities and gay folks) often have a very different perspective which can best be summed up as fear. I think we have an obligation to support these communities by confronting and challenging the hate movement where ever it appears.

    Third, failing to respond to the activities of these groups allows them to create their own public image. The Militia of Montana consistently tried to portray themselves as the “home guard” or “neighborhood watch”. It is important to confront the benign images they seek to portray in the public square. Failing to do that enables them to reach a more broad audience and facilitates their efforts at recruitment. For years I have argued that these groups use a process of radicalization of their members. Obviously, some of these groups lead with their most radical positions but more often they recruit (and tell the public) that they simply have a different opinion on some matters. . . .no big deal. In reality, they are looking for the 2, 3 or 4 curious people who come to get more info at subsequent meetings, join e-mail lists etc. They are also looking to identify “soft supporters” who may agree with them on some points but have not been active in organizations.

    Fourth, bigotry and intolerance takes many forms. Hate group activity and the rhetoric of people like Irving are the most extreme. Part of the job of groups like the Human Rights Network is to connect the dots. The same prejudices that are so obvious in the hate movement are practiced regularly in the larger community. So, for example, a business person in the community may readily condemn race based violence, but wouldn’t want to hire a minority person because they believe many of the stereotypic assumptions which are pervasive in our society. The appearance of people like Irving raises these issues in the larger community.

    Fifth, many communities have found that failing to respond to them simply encourages them to grow. I think this is particularly applicable in Kalispell right now. You clearly have a very motivated and organized group which is having some success in attracting people from other areas of the country to move there. While the public figures in that effort (like April Geades) may not shy away from attention, others in the movement are not so enamored with the idea that their activity will be scrutinized and challenged.

    Finally, I do want to address the idea implicit in your comments that groups like MHRN and SPLC have a template for responding that is applied in all circumstance. That is not the case. We try to be thoughtful about how best to respond on a case by case basis. We try to rely on the judgment of our local base of supporters. You are correct that the option of doing nothing is rarely the path we choose. Our experience is that “do nothing” option is almost universally the first choice of many existing community institutions and it is completely ineffective. As an example, coverage of hate group activity in the Daily Interlake has been very poor to non-existent, even criticizing those who object as the real creators of the problem.

  • Deep Ecology

    Bad ideas are like bad science, they don’t stand the test of time and close scrutiny.

    Some, not all, anti-fa groups practice abhorrent practices, and engage in the kind of violent, threatening tactics that are anti-free speech. Any group, left or right, that use them should be condemned.

  • http://www.yourmuseum.org Gil Jordan

    I probably should let this drop and walk away, but I really was seeking a thoughtful discussion of ideas by presenting my perspective (not arguments, Ken–I’m not “arguing” a position, I’m raising questions).

    It is disappointing to hear Ken Toole, who’s opinions and positions I respect, and who’s campaigns for public office my wife and I have supported with our hard earned dollars, to hear Ken casually dismiss what I thought was my fairly nuanced thoughts with his broad brush “ignoring them won’t make them go away”. I said that as well Ken, but you ignored my main point, that there’s a big difference between a tiny unnoticed gathering of sympathisers sharing ideas (no matter how repugnant to others) and a public effort to win support and rally people to hateful action. And further, that if we don’t make that distinction, we risk giving energy and light to bad ideas where there was none to begin with.

    Appaently your position is that there is no distinction, that if any of the David Irvings of the world appear anywhere talking to anyone about anything, we need to shout it from the roof tops, turn out the protesters, and make sure it gets on the evening news. If you would have been here Wednesday night and heard first hand, like the high school honor students who came to judge for themselves, you would have heard a sad old, thouroughly-discredited man drone on with his tedious version of history, listing minute detail, unsubstantiated and out of context, and you would understand that no moderately intelligent, thinking person would give it any credence at all. He didn’t influence anybody, except maybe to prove to the honor students that he’s speaking nonsense.

    But if SPLC and MHRN had succeeded in their attempt to rally the troops and the media, David Irving’s far out distoritions of history would have become front page news, printed in the papers and read by thousands, some of whom might not have been as discriminating as the honor students, and so might have been influenced into believing some of these far out ideas.

    I understand (and said repeatedly) that when hate speech is getting traction anywhere, we all need to stand together to confront it. But I question the wisdom of bringing attention to it when no one is paying any attention. I would appreciate it if someone would articulate an answer to that question that does not just fall back on the generic and simplistic staement that “ignoring them won’t make them go away”.

    If that is the best or only argument to be made, then it can be said the opposite is equally true: “Giving them energy and attention where there is none can only help and strengthen them.” I don’t think that simplistic statement is any more valid than “ignoring them won’t make them go away,” and that’s the point. I want the human rights community to be effective in it’s actions and not do things that hurt achieving the goals. So far no one has made a convining case that making a big deal out of a non-event helps rather than hurts the cause we all believe in.

  • Ian

    Peter,

    What is the citation for the “secret report” by the Board of Deputies?

    The main problem with the list of praise for Irving is that most of them aren’t about denial. It’s like printing a list of quotes praising Isaac Newtow to show that alchemy is true.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I.....d_writings

    I’m not sure when the Norman Stone quote was made or which book he was referring to when he wrote it, but at least in retrospect, it would sound silly if the topic wasn’t so serious. Are you suggesting Irving does not currently “deny that Jews were horribly butchered or just kept in such conditions as to die in their millions”? If you’re not suggesting that, why did you include that quote?

  • CM

    Sorry, that’s Focal Point Publications, not Press.

  • CM

    Peter’s compilation of pro-Irving blurbs appears to be a slightly abridged version of one on Irving’s own website (Focal Point Press). It’s as disingenuous as everything else Irving has written. For a thorough debunking:
    http://www.salon.com/books/rev.....7/lipstadt

    There’s also this somewhat personal review of a book about Irving’s defeat in his libel suit against Deborah Lipstadt, written by the historian who proved Irving’s falsification of the historical record:
    http://www.newstatesman.com/200207220038

    Notable in view of Peter’s comment: “Professing himself shocked at ‘the sheer depths of duplicity which I encountered in Irving’s treatment of historical sources,’ Evans also flayed his colleagues in the academy for never bothering to look beyond Irving’s surface plausibility. Evans left little doubt that Irving’s defenders could – and should – have known better.”

  • CM

    As Mark and many others will remember, reserving space at public facilities like museums and libraries – which legally could not refuse them – was a tactic used by the neo-Nazi World Church of the Creater about a decade ago. The “events” routinely drew crowds of protesters that outnumbered the participants by 100-to-1. I’m not aware of any of those protests (I only witnessed one of them personally) turning violent.

    The events also generated widespread media coverage, which is what the “church” wanted. However, it’s debatable whether such coverage was automatically “good” for the neo-Nazis and bad for the community as a whole. And in any case, it seems to me, it’s better for people to be informed about such events so they can choose for themselves whether to come out and express their opinions. One hopes they will always do so lawfully and peacefully.

    One further point: As mentioned, public facilities cannot legally refuse to host events based on their political or religious or other such content, but privately owned venues such as hotels or restaurants are under no such constraints. Thus, it’s perfectly legitimate to call the owner’s attention – lawfully and peacefully – to the objectionable nature of these kinds of events, and the possible future consequences to the owner’s profit margin.

  • Peter

    Other historians opinions on David Irvings books:

    On Hitler’s War: “It was thoroughly researched and employed a variety of themes. . . It also confirmed Irving’s reputation as one of the world’s most thorough researchers and an exciting and readable historian.”

    - Board of Deputies of British Jews, 1992, secret report

    On Churchill’s War: “Enormous mastery of the sources and ability to maintain a sweep of narrative and command of detail that carry the reader along.”

    - Professor Donald Cameron Watt

    On Hitler’s War: “No praise can be too high for Irving’s indefatigable scholarly industry. He has sought and found scores of new sources, including many private diaries. Mr Irving’s craftsmanship as a writer has improved immensely, and I have enjoyed reading his long work from beginning to end.”

    Professor Hugh Trevor-Roper

    “DAVID IRVING has ransacked the world’s archives; he has discovered eye-witness accounts; he has unearthed diaries and correspondence which were thought to have been destroyed. . . a narrative which is, for all its inevitable complexities, remarkably comprehensible and, surprisingly readable.”

    - Professor J.E. Molpurgo,
    The Yorkshire Post

    “British historian, David Irving, perhaps the greatest living authority on the Nazi era”

    - Professor Stephen Spender,
    The New York Times review of books

    “Irving does not deny that Jews were horribly butchered or just kept in such conditions as to die in their millions. Nevertheless, the book has received execration in some American pre-publication reviews for its alleged denials of the Holocaust and exculpations of Hitler. . . . There is no truth in these accusations.”

    - Professor Norman Stone,
    The Sunday Times

    “David Irving knows more than anyone alive about the German side of the Second World War. He discovers archives unknown to official historians … His greatest achievement is Hitler’s War … indispensable to anyone seeking to understand the war in the round. Irving as usual, knows more than anyone of the details [of the death of the Goebbels family in 1945]. He does not spare us.”

    - Professor Sir John Keegan,
    The Daily Telegraph

  • Ken Toole

    I wish I had a dollar for every time I have heard Gil Jordan’s arguments about responding to racist activity in a community. History has shown that ignoring them won’t make them go away. Confronting them prevents them from portraying themselves as some sort of benign dissenting opinion.

    “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” Edmund Burke

  • Linnea

    @Concerned Citizen,

    I don’t like Irving any more than you do, but criminalizing this kind of speech comes dangerously close to violation of the First Amendment. Also, it would have the result of letting him play the victim, which in turn (IMO) would just gain him more sympathy. I think it’s better to let these idiots spout off and then show them up for what they are, as SPLC does so well.

  • http://www.yourmuseum.org Gil Jordan

    I’d like to report from here on the ground in Northwest Montana what actually went down last night with the David Irving event (I’m the Director of the Museum, and I was there), and offer my perspective as a beginning of what I believe is a much-needed discussion in the human rights community on the merits and efficacy of what it seems to me is an automatic policy of confronting every “event” without regard to either the specific nature of the event, nor consideration of actual circumstances in the community, or with the venue “hosting” the event. I’m speaking here as an individual, not as a representative of the Museum.

    I’m glad to see Mark Potok say “unequivocally that SPLC condemns the kind of [violent]“ action” the ARA was bragging about”, but when spur of the moment decisions are made at SPLC in Alabama to publicize an event in Montana, with no knowledge of the local community, its atmosphere and sensibilities, in hopes of stirring up notoriety and protest, I don’t see how you can’t expect that the results on the ground may sometimes spiral out of control.

    Earlier in the day yesterday when I got calls from SPLC and the Montana Human Rights Network, when I expressed concern that SPLC insistence on posting the event on their blog immediately (instead of waiting a few hours until after the event) might result in blowing up a non-event into a big deal that would make the local papers, I was told by SPLC’s Mark Potok and Mt Human Rights Network’s board member Neil Brown they thought that would be a good thing (to make a big deal out of it).

    As it happened, we dodged a bullet, so to speak, and were relieved to have a “non-event”, with just nine apparent supporters showing up to hear Irving deliver his version of “history”, plus what I think was a refreshingly inspired local high school history teacher bringing five of his IB (International Bachaloriat) students, the best and the brightest of our young people, to hear first hand what Irving-types are spouting, so they can then return to the classroom and discuss it based on first hand knowledge, rather than someone else’s version of what these folks are saying. That’s brilliant, as far as I’m concerned, and is what true education and free speech are all about.

    When I said in those phone calls with SPLC and MHRN that I hoped local press would not show up and blow this out of proportion, Neil Brown assured me, “Oh they’ll show up, you can be sure of that, they’ve been notified”. Turns out thankfully that was not the case–no local papers or TV, only the one Flathead reporter for Montana Public Radio, and no notice or stories appeared in today’s local papers.

    This is the question I’m raising for discussion: Is it always the best course to make a big deal out of a non-event and give these people energy and press where there is none to begin with? I fully agree that whenever hate speech is getting a public hearing and appears to be gaining traction in a community, we all have an obligation to confront it, and I’ll be right there on the barricades beside you. But what happened here last night? A thouroughly-discredited 73 year-old psudo-”historian” showed up with four cardboard boxes of literature (apparently they were expecting a larger crowd) and gave a 70 minute lecture on his version of history to nine apparent supporters, and five honor students who came to get an objective view of this kind of rhetoric. As far as I can tell, except for readers of the SPLC blog, virtually no one else in the Flathead Valley knew it even happened. Would it really be better (and help further the human rights cause) to have demonstrators show up and have it splashed all over local press and media, giving Irving a forum for his views? Like I say, I understand we need to confront it when it is getting traction, but is it always wise to give it energy when there is none?

    It seems to me that by un-critically making a knee-jerk response to EVERY “event” without regard to local circumstance, community and venue, we risk making the error of giving them notice where otherwise there is none. I’m well aware of the “when they came for such and such I said nothing and when they came for me there was no one to turn to” argument, but does David Irving speaking quietly and un-noticed to nine supporters in Kalispell, Montana rate the same response as a jack-boot rally in a public park in, say, Idaho? There is a definte and profound difference in the element of danger in those two examples, and I am asking the human rights community to ask itself if it might be wise to at least think about it carefully, and measure the response to each event on a case by case basis.

  • Concerned Citizen

    Mr Irving may be entitled to his opinions. However. When it comes to preserving history as we know it. It ought to be against the law for people like Irving to pruposely manipulating the truth of the holovaust. The holocaust is a fact. Also. There has been other holocausts like in Rwanda in 1994, with the war between the Hutus and Tutsis. In Cambodia when over 1 million were killed by the Khmer Rouge between 1975-1979. Other holocausts have taken place but are too numerous to mentions.

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    ” it’s that the whole book is essentially an apologia for everything Hitler did.”

    I know this type. Their creed is: “How DARE you call me a Nazi! I may defend everything Hitler ever did, I may love every fascist dictator, I may attack any atrocity accusation against the Nazis or fascists, but I am NOT a Nazi!!!”

  • Reynardine

    Irving and his ilk have been all the more industrious with their fabricated “documents” and “scientific proof” that the Holocaust didn’t happen as the survivors who could refute them have died off, until I myself have met quite a few earnest young people who think there is “proof” it didn’t happen. I know damn well it did. One of my vivid memories of my youth was going to the Olympia Theater in Miami Beach to see “The Diary of Anne Frank”. Quite as arresting as the story on screen was the sobs and moans from the audience: the outcry of survivors, some then not yet thirty, confronted again with grief, loss, terror, and Hell. One of my doctors was a survivor; two of my professors had barely escaped the Anschluss, and I knew numerous people whose family members had not survived. A colleague of mine had to counsel many of these survivors in their waning years, who nonetheless carried their agony to their graves. Yet I am today confronted by otherwise bright and well- meaning youngsters who think the Holocaust has not been “proven”. They are innocent; Irving, Leuchter, Zuendel, and their ilk are not. No, I wouldn’t do them violence, but I’d sure feel like it.

  • Mark Potok

    B.B., let me say unequivocally that SPLC condemns the kind of “action” the ARA was bragging about in the post you quote. However, I don’t think there’s anything theoretically wrong with exposing where Irving is speaking. I think it’s a good thing that he’s met with protesters almost everywhere he goes — so long as those protesters limit themselves to democratic (non-violent) expressions of protest or actually taking on Irving with questions and comments at his lectures. I don’t agree with the idea that if we just let Irving do his thing without paying any attention, it will be essentially insignificant and probably just go away. I do think that as a society we need to confront the kind of entirely false propaganda that Irving regularly issues. And I’d like to add here that we in no way condemn or criticize the museum/historical society that rented Irving the space — they had to do that as a matter of following the law. One last point: I bet I’m one of the few people around who actually has read Irving’s two-volume Hitler’s War. What is most interesting about it isn’t that it minimizes the Holocaust (Irving become more of an overt denier, saying there were no gas chambers and so on, later in his life); it’s that the whole book is essentially an apologia for everything Hitler did. It’s quite a remarkable piece of propaganda.

  • B.B.

    The talks and their venues have not been publicly advertised – a ploy Irving has used repeatedly to avoid an unwelcome presence of protesting anti-racists. But Hatewatch has learned Irving will speak at 7 p.m. tonight at The Museum at Central School in Kalispell, Mont.

    “Protesting” is a rather mild term for describing what so-called “anti-fascists” have done to disrupt Irving’s speaking events.

    Here is Anti-Racist Action bragging about what they did to try to prevent Irving from hosting one of his lectures in Indianapolis:

    On April 8th, the night before holocaust denier and nazi sympathizer David Irving’s Indianapolis speaking event, we paid the hosting restaurant an early visit. Three Bricks written with “Shut David Irving Down” and “No Nazis” were launched through the windows to harass the MCL Cafeteria and to prevent Irving from speaking there.

    But thats not all, here they recount what they did to disrupt his lectures in New Jersey, New York City and Chicago.

    In New Jersey, dozens of anti-fascists filled the Pompton Plains hotel, chanting and struggling with attendees. They were so effective in disrupting the event that police had to escort attendees out. Thesame happened a day later in NYC, where the event was not only disrupted, but both Irving’s tour manager Jaenelle Antas and neo-Nazi friend Alex Carmichael were pepper-sprayed. Faced with humiliation and defeat, Irving was forced to cancel his next few scheduled appearances, but the chaos did not end there. Days later his Chicago event was shut down when dozens of masked anti-fascists stormed into the Edelweiss restaurant turning over tables, destroying his merchandise, and assaulting attendees, while Irving and Antas locked themselves in a supply closet in a magnificent display of cowardice.

    Since the SPLC monitors this issue so closely, I’m sure they are well aware of the consequences of leaking this information to the public for all so-called “anti-fascist” groups to see. I know they have previously condemned various far-right groups for publishing information of the whereabouts of various public figures that are disliked in far-right circles, because of the implicit threat of violence that goes along with it. But I guess the SPLC just doesn’t care enough about peoples safety and well-being when those people have political views they find disagreeable.

    Also, before I’m accused of being a holocaust denier/negationist/minimizer/etc. I have a fairly low opinion of David Irving’s skills as a historian. He nonetheless is a human being, who deserves the same rights that are afforded and taken for granted by those who don’t have marginalized political, historical, philosophical, etc views.

  • Shadow Wolf

    The “Holocaust Denier” was just in Phoenix recently, as reported by our own–The Feathered Bastard. This guy gets around booking lectures at public places by deceiving and lying to the participating establishment. Most of which, if ever learned of who David Irving true identity and his intentions. They would not have granted him a reservation.

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    David Irving’s “Current Holocaust Opinion Status” has two possible variants: 1. It didn’t happen. 2. Okay it did happen.

    #2 is used when he is in court. Speaking of which, Lipstadt’s book on the Irving trial is a riot. Irving sues Lipstadt for calling him a Holocaust denier, then he gets in court and proceeds to…..DENY the Holocaust. Brilliant!