David Irving, the infamous British writer who was sentenced in 2005 to three years in an Austrian prison for denying the Holocaust, returned to England in late December after a Vienna court reduced his remaining sentence to probation.
The 68-year-old Irving didn't take long to repay the favor.
A day after landing in London, Irving, who had told the sentencing court in a bid for leniency that he was "mistaken" about the Holocaust, held a press conference to repeat old assertions that Hitler was not party to the genocide of the Jews and that the number of Jews murdered had been exaggerated. He said actor Mel Gibson was right when he drunkenly claimed that Jews were "responsible for all the wars in the world." He boasted about the success of his World War II books and said he'd made so much money that he once paid cash for a "nigger-brown Rolls Royce." He called for a boycott of German and Austrian historians whose minds were "polluted."
And the once-respected writer suggested that Jews take a look at themselves. "They should ask themselves the question, 'Why have they been so hated for 3,000 years that there has been pogrom after pogrom in country after country?'"
It was a remarkable if not unexpected performance from a man whose professional life has been devoted to writing World War II histories that minimize or deny Nazi atrocities, repeatedly insulting Jews in the most vulgar terms, and giving speeches to neo-Nazi groups in America and Europe. Although some of his early books enjoyed success, Irving was permanently discredited when he brought a libel case against American scholar Deborah Lipstadt in 1998. A British court ruled that Irving was a Nazi sympathizer who manipulated facts for political reasons.
Irving was arrested in Austria in November 2005 on warrants dating to 1989, when he gave two speeches denying the Nazi genocide. Last December, after he was sent home to Britain, Austria announced that Irving was barred from re-entry.