Holocaust denier's secret: Hitler 'appointed' him
David Irving, the notorious British writer and Holocaust revisionist, recently revealed an unexpected secret: "Hitler appointed me his biographer."
Described by a British judge as "a right-wing, pro-Nazi polemicist" largely because of his claim that Hitler knew nothing of the Holocaust, Irving is no stranger to outlandish statements. But this one amazed even seasoned Irving watchers.
On Jan. 15, British journalist Johann Hari, writing in The Independent, reported that Irving told him that while researching a book about Hitler, he tracked down the Führer's doctors, including one Erwin Geising. When Irving reached him by phone, Geising supposedly told the writer, "I've been expecting you."
Irving says he then traveled to Germany to meet Geising, where the doctor handed Irving a 400-page diary covering the period Geising spent with Hitler. He said the diary included an account of Hitler's "prophecy." Geising supposedly said that Hitler, while recuperating from the July 1944 bombing that nearly killed him, whispered to him: "One day, an Englishman will come along and write my biography. But it cannot be an Englishman of the present generation. They won't be objective. It will have to be an Englishman of the next generation, and one who is totally familiar with all the German archives." At the time, Irving was 6.
"You actually think Hitler wanted you to be his biographer?" Hari asked Irving in the question-and-answer format interview in The Independent.
"Yes," Irving replied, "and I am not ashamed of that. Hitler knew that."
Irving didn't say why he sat on his "secret," as he called it, for more than 30 years. But if Hitler really saw that the young boy then growing up in Britain would one day be his biographer, he couldn't have been more pleased.
For years, Irving was the world's best-known World War II revisionist and his books were taken seriously by some real scholars, even as he called Hitler "the best friend the Jews had in the Third Reich." But when he sued American scholar Deborah Lipstadt in 2000 for calling him a Holocaust denier, he lost badly, with the judge calling him a Nazi sympathizer and experts roundly debunking his claims. He was forced to declare bankruptcy. Five years later, in 2005, he was imprisoned for more than a year in Austria for Holocaust denial.
During the interview, Irving let it be known that when he gives lectures, he wears medallions that belonged to the homicidal Ugandan dictator Idi Amin under his clothes. That was apparently too much for Johann Hari.
"This interview isn't about history," Hari told Irving. "It's about pathology."