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.”