Thursday, 15 January 2009

David Irving - absolutely stark staring raving mad bonkers

It looks like David Irving has been treated very unfairly. He's been tried and convicted and jailed (for 400 days, as he points out several times), when he should have been judged not guilty by virtue of insanity. For, indeed, an interview with Johann Hari reveals the man is a loon:
“I made a great point of tracking down all Hitler’s surviving doctors,” he says, “and I identified Erwin Giesing as the doctor who treated Hitler after the bomb attempt on his life in 1944.” He tracked him down in the 1970s to Aachen in West Germany, and when Irving called, he claims Giesing said: “Yes, I’ve been expecting you.”

Irving arrived at Giesing’s surgery and, he says, was immediately handed a 400-page file. “Giesing said it was his diary [of his time with Hitler]. ‘That’s what you have come for,’ [he said]. I asked why, why me? Why haven’t you given it to Jacobson or Hilburg or any of the other great historians?” Giesing said the answer lay on page 385. Irving flicked to this page, and, he says, “it is August 1944 and he is treating Hitler – cauterizing his eardrum – and he says, ‘Mein Furher you realize that you have the same illness now in your inner ear that the Kaiser had?’ Hitler said ‘Yes that is true, how did you know that?’ And Geesing said he had read it in the biography of the Kaiser written by an Englishman, J D Chamier.” And he says Hitler replied: “One day, an Englishman will come along and write my biography. But it cannot be an English man of the present generation. They won’t to be objective. It will have to be an Englishman of the next generation, and one who is totally familiar with all the German archives.”

Irving sits back with an expression of beatific calm. “So [when] I phoned the doctor and he said ‘I’ve been expecting you,’ the Messiah had come. The one he had been waiting for all these years. And of course all the other historians hate that because they don’t fit.” I stare silently for a moment. To clarify: you actually think Hitler wanted you to be his biographer? “Yes. Yes and I am not ashamed of that. Hitler knew that. Hitler himself said that for fifty years they won’t be able to write the truth about me.” (1)
As Hari writes in the next line, suddenly it's all about what is wrong with the man, not what is wrong with his ideas.

Irving is someone I've loathed for years (See my previous comments here (2)). It isn't so much that he's a Holocaust denier - they are mostly beneath contempt - but because of the attitude he brings to the business, the supercilious, sneering tone he adopts. Maybe they are all like that, and it is just familiarity that has bred this contempt. But he's always stuck in my craw. Also, there is the intellectual fraudulance, the blatant, obvious manipulation and disingenuousness that taints almost everything he says. Add onto that the shrill ad hominen attacks he launches on anyone who disagrees with him.

Up until now, I've always thought it was deliberate and conscious, an attempt to influence others and pervert history. After reading Hari's piece, I'm no longer sure. Irving simply comes across as ... insane. He gloating recounts trying to get a copy of Main Kamff as a school prize, without realising admitting a Hitler fixation dating back to his school days weakens his claims to have based his assessments of Hitler and the Holocaust as sober judgements. He claims the publisher of his book on the Dresden bombings altered them without his knowledge, inserting passages condemning Nazi atrocities. Again, he doesn't seem to realise how ludicrous he sounds. Every piece of evidence that is presented supporting Hitler's anti-Semitism and knowledge of the Holocaust is dismissed as a cunning charade by the Furher.

The image that emerges is of a man who is actually incapable of distingushing reality and fantasy. Suddenly, it all falls into place - the Holocaust denial, Irving's ability to overlook mountains of evidence, and feast on morsels of ambiguity, the inability to actually face up to the undeniable facts of Hitler's evil. He is actually insane, a pitiable wreck of a man who never managed to work out that there was stuff going on in his head and stuff going on in the real world and those two things were not the same. As Hari confronts him about the fact that Irving's daughter - who sufferred from schizophrenia - would have been exterminated by the Nazis, the babble of words and random associations Irving puts out is almost painful to read. What it must have been like for Hari, sitting through it, is difficult to imagine. What it must be like to actually be David Irving is beyond comprehension.
1 - "David Irving: 'I'm Hitler's biographer,'" by Johann Hari, published in The Independent, 15th of January, 2008. (
2 - As described previously on lefthandpalm:


Anonymous said...

Do you truly believe that a man should be jailed for having an opinion?

Anonymous said...

David Irving is a brave man and a great scholar. He deserves the respect of us all. I have read all his books and many others by recognized historians who toe the line. Irving is infinitely superior in every way. He goes to sources;he speaks very good German.
Compare his Goering book with that of Peter Padfield for example.
Davind Irving was punished by imprisonment for the holding of beliefs - a fact that should worry all of us.
Those who curse and condemn him appear to have only hate-filled rant and little or no reasoned argument supported by the facts.

Anonymous said...

Assuming that the Holocaust actually occurred can you point to any evidence that Hitler had knowledge of it? Irving has rummaged around archives for decades and found none. What convinces you?

Also as someone who criticises Irving for ad hominem attacks perhaps you ought to rewrite this piece. It does nt really matter whether Irving is a loon or a Nazi - all that matters is whether what he argues is true. Deal with the case as presented and not the man.

Finally viewing Irving through Hari's eyes is never going to lead to anything worthwhile, at least on this subject. As an individual Hari ticks a fair few PC boxes and is quite incapable of an impartial viewpoint on things 'right-wing'. That he would portray Irving in a poor light is a given.

lurgee said...

How depressing. The biggest flurry of comments this blog has ever received, all about David Irving.

Anna - did I ever say that I believe someone should be jailed for having an opinion?

Anonymous - Irving's scholarship has been shown to be poor many times. He twists and manipulates information to suit his ends and alters his opinions at the drop of a hat. Accusing his critics of having only "hate-filled rant and little or no reasoned argument supported by the facts" is to miss the point (and commit the crime you accuse his critics of). It is impossible to reason or argue with Irving - or Holocaust deniers in general - because they have no interest in facts or evidence. They twist and manipulate. Anything not convenient, they ignore. Anything that might - with a little bit of spin - be useful - they present as the most astonishingly reliable and valid evidence ever presented.

It matters not a jot that Irving is dilligent in his research and is fluent in German. The issue is that he uses his ability to present a perverted and false view of history.

Also, he wasn't imprisoned for holding beliefs - he was imprisoned for expressing them in defiance of the law of the land, which he knew about. His absurd decision to return to Austria with an arrest warrant hanging over him is further evidence of his parlous mental state.

Against the Wall - I'm convinced the Holocaust happened and I'm convinced Hitler had knowledge of it. Why? Because he was a raving anti-Semite, who stated that he wanted to purge Europe of Jews.

You will also know, I'm sure, of the record (found by Irving, I believe) of a command from Hitler that a particular transport was not to be liquidated - a command that makes sense only if he knew that transports were gonig to be liquidated.

And, bluntly, he was the Furher. Claiming Himmler and Heydrich could have conducted the Holocaust without Hitler knowing anything is absurd.

As for my alleged ad hominem attack on Irving, I was responding to the PROFILE written by Johann Hari. It shed light on Irving as a man and made me reassess him in light of this, which is why I was writing about him as a person. His 'historical' efforts were of secondary importance in this instance - though I have dealt with them at length on this blog.

Your final paragraph, on the otherhand, is straighforward and unjustified ad hominem.

Anonymous said...

Poor, poor people - those who take all this seriously. His comments are tongue-in-cheek. He is bantering about with this quote as it applies to his profession and his controversial biography. And good for him! Why should he not claim he is the 'One foretold' to write Hitler's biography? Were it not for him, this conversation and Hitler's surprising statment would never have come to light, and by the coincidence of historical developments, he now 'assumes the mantle' and designates himself that biographer. He is not serious that he fulfills any prophecy, but he quite craftily advances the controversy surrounding his work with the objectivity that Hitler felt would be some time in coming. And must we not admit that the details of Hitler's comments fit Irving in every detail. Merely a curious unfolding of the quirks of history and nothing more.
I also agree with Anonymous that Irving is a brave man and a great scholar. Many others before him have been jailed, but always for political or social agendas. But for holding a peculiar historical interpretation? That is unique. -Markus

Anonymous said...

If the Dalai Lama had said "I was hand-picked because I am the 434th incarnation of Shiva, as written in the Sutras," everyone would say "what a great and holy man." If Whitney Houston said, while clasping a grammy award in her hands, that she was "guided by god to sing like a bird and bring joy to people's hearts," everyone would applaud her. But if Irving says anything even remotely metaphysical, people are ready to send him to Colney Hatch! In other words, Business As Usual. The imperfect Irving is so much more interesting than his adversaries -- Deborah Lipstadt ("The Betty Crocker of Zionism"), and mediocre bought-paid for-sold out hack-whores like Evans, Van Pelt, and all the rest. Madoff sits in his New York Penthouse, while Irving is jailed -- but if you speak of Jewish Power, you are a conspiracy nut or anti-semite? Put down the crack pipe. Irving has a better sense of reality than his detractors, and more courage in his little pinky than they have in their entire beings.

Anonymous said...

I would appreciate one example of poor scholarship on the part of David Irving. Do not rant: give examples. All you have done is rant and accuse. It is sad and counterproductive. If the anit-Irving crows had anything concrete to say we would have heard it by now. Instead we only hear that he is is very naughty and ought to go to bed without any supper. If you want to take part in reasoned, adult discussion: GROW UP!

Anonymous said...

To the author of a blog post entitled "David Irving -- absolutely stark staring raving mad bonkers," I would say:

Who's Raving?

lurgee said...

The world's financial system is falling a part, World War Three might be kicking off in the Middle East and we're still cooking our planet in CO2, but the topic that gets people worked up is the sanity - or otherwise - of an intermittent Holocuast denier. This is even worse than criticising Sensing Murder.

Anonymous #1 - if his comments are tongue in cheek, you appreciate it it very hard to take anything he says seriously. If he's joking about being predicted by Hitler, and his 'Aryan teacup,' how can we tell when he's being serious about anything. Your line of argument seems to be that he's neither insane, nor a Holocaust denier, merely a charlatan having a laugh at the expense of the historical establishment. Which would be an endearing trait if he wasn't cosying up to some of the nastiest people on the planet.

Joseph Romanov - when the Dalai Lama says he's the reincarnation of the last Dalai Lama, we smile nicely, nod our heads and say "Of course," while thinking, "What a loon." There's a general rule that we accept people's rather odd religious beliefs, because their spiritual and subjective and not really amenable to investigation. Irving isn't setting himself up as a potentate, he's claiming to have a testable historical thesis that can be verified. But he keeps coming up short on the evidence.

Also, your claim is wide of the mark - people who say the DL is a good person generally do so because of his dignity in the face of persecution, his criticism of the abhorrent regime in China and his advocacy of non-violence, not simply because he makes preposterous claims.

Anonymous #2 - There is ample evidence of Irving's poor scholarship, deceit and disingenuousness. For a sample, refer to Evan's testimony, recorded at Holocaust Denial on Trial:

Though I suspect Evan's testimony will receive little credit from those posting here. WHich is amusing, given they accuse peoplee criticisng Irving of being close minded shills.

IF THIS THREAD DRAWS ANY MORE COMMENT, AT LEAST HAVE THE DECENCY TO ATTACH AN ID TO YOUR POSTS. It makes it easier for me to respond, as posters may be left wondering if they are "ANonymous 1' or 'Anonymous 7' or whatever.


Anonymous said...

Let's see now --

Lurgee needs to learn to spell. Perhaps the "truth content" of his diatribe is as poor as the spelling? Bad spelling, bad education, poorly-trained and therefore faulty thought processes. Right. He/she/it also needs to recognize that the Orwellian threats to our freedom, and freedom of speech, are just as important to thinking persons as the other threats he mentions. Maybe more so! It is a characteristic of Irving-Bashers that they don't value freedom, freedom of speech, or other freedoms. Rather, they are nanny-staters, dysfunctional utopians (often but not always academics) who believe that they know the best way, and would enforce it at gunpoint given half a chance.

As for metaphysics, judge not! Maybe there is a God. Maybe the Dalai Lama IS the 434th whatever. Maybe Whitney Houston does bring joy to others by exercising her god-given gift of singing like a bird. And maybe Irving is Hitler's Biography! The level of snobbish presumption in these know-it-all bloggers is phenomenon. Of course, the whole blogging phenomenon is symptomatic of this. Every idiot with a computer thinks he or she is Tolstoy.

The Irving Detractors believe that if they say something often enough, idiots (bloggers and those who read blogs, for example) will believe it.

Where is the Hitler order for the extermination of Jews? Doesn't exist, although there is plenty of evidence of instances where he protected the jews. Maybe he didn't love 'em, but he often said that he would leave the jewish question until after the war. He would have loved to ship them to cyprus or something. Right.

Where are the blueprints for the homocidal gas chambers?

Where are the records of how many jews were killed by Nazis? Not in Germany. Not in the Russian Archives. Not nowhere!

Where are the photographs of jews being killed in the gas chambers, taken by efficient german underlings to show their supervisors that they were meeting killing quotas? Non-existent.

Plenty of jews were killed in the war. Plenty of British, Americans, Germans, Poles, Russians too. Holocaust deniers are sick of jews claiming their own unique form of suffering and victimization --an age-old strategy, used simply to gain advantage over others. Any idiot can see through this strategy.

I remember watching a YouTube video of Evans, before I even got onto the whole Irving thing. I didn't know who he was, but I remember thinking, "Who is this idiot, this boor? He isn't saying anything. His presentation is content-free. I don't believe a word he says. Some academic mediocrity, some wannabe historian-celebrity." After I learned more about Irving, I understood.

Many holocaust deniers have read ALL the evidence on both sides, and have drawn their own conclusions. And they wish to live in a world that permits them to hold the opinions they have reached based on their own research, learning, and experience -- not to mention the evidence of their senses.

Those who would stifle free speech and/or the freedom to hold independently-reached opinions and beliefs are Orwellian Monsters who should be approached and treated accordingly.

lurgee said...

What a lot of fluff.

After several paragraphs of general venting, we get down to the usual list of denier claims. ALways interesting to see how Irving's position of 'The Holocaust happened, but hitler did not know of it' rapidly blurs into suggesting the holocaust did not happen at at all.

Where is the Hitler order for the extermination of Jews? Doesn't exist

Does it have to? It is reasonable to assume Hitler had knowledge of the Holocaust and it could not have happened without his authorisation, regardless of whether a physical copy of the order is ever located - unless you can produce good evidence to the contrary.

If you're going to argue that Hitler didn't know about it, you need to provide that evidence - and not just vague waffle and phhotographs of Hitler with Jewish girls. Something along the lines of an entry in Himmler's diary, reading, "Ordered the liquidation of Europe's Jewish. Must remember to not tell Adolf, the damn Jew-lover is such a softy."

Where are the blueprints for the homocidal gas chambers?

Do they have to exist - and, bluntly, if tey did exist, would you honestly accept them? You refuse to accept all the other pieces of evidence, so why on Earth would some drawings make adifference. Since Holocaust 'revisionists' have jumped through every possible logical and illogical hoop to disprove official documentations exists, would they not do so again?

Where are the records of how many jews were killed by Nazis? Not in Germany. Not in the Russian Archives. Not nowhere!

Where are the Jews of Europe? Not in Europe, not in Israel, not in Russia or the USA.

Where are the photographs of jews being killed in the gas chambers, taken by efficient german underlings to show their supervisors that they were meeting killing quotas? Non-existent.

Now this is silly. You're inventing a category of evidence and demmanding to know why it doesn't exist? Get real!

Why would the 'efficient underlings' bother to stop to take photographs? If they weren't meeting their quotas, the death camps would have been swamped in a matter of days.

Please don't be silly.

Plenty of jews were killed in the war. Plenty of British, Americans, Germans, Poles, Russians too.

You got that bit right. Congratualtions.

Holocaust deniers are sick of jews claiming their own unique form of suffering and victimization --an age-old strategy, used simply to gain advantage over others. Any idiot can see through this strategy.

I'm totally confused now. Are you saying that the Holocaust didn't happen, that it was a hoax perpetuated by the Jews to further their own ends?

Many holocaust deniers have read ALL the evidence on both sides, and have drawn their own conclusions.

And have failed to treat the evidence properly, no doubt. It is a classic denier strategy to dismiss tonnes of evidence on one side because of some perceived ambiguity on the other. Their grasp of the evidence is usually faulty and their claim to have read it all is specious. What they have read, they've wilfully misinterpreted, or failed to question properly.

Classic example - the variance in 'kill time' of Zyklon B, often used to suggest that the witnesses were lying because their testimony was not identical. Obviously, the fact that it concurred on several major points is ignored, and one minor discrepency is focused on ... and the sensible reason for that discrepency (that the gassings took place a t different times, under different conditions, which affected the lethality of the gas) is ignored in favour of the preconceived idea that the Denier is seeking to prove to themselves ... that it is all a lie.

Unknown said...

An interesting blog post. I make just a few comments in answer to questions and statements in the comments on your blog:

“Hitler and Himmler were long-time intimate associates. Himmler had been with Hitler during the 1923 putsch and Hitler appointed him Reichsführer SS in 1929. Throughout the War, and certainly while the Holocaust was underway, they met frequently, sometimes two or three times a week, often for hours at a time and often alone together. It is, therefore, wholly inconceivable that during the whole three and a half years for which the killing lasted, Himmler could, or indeed would, have concealed from Hitler the enormous, systematic operation that he was directing.

“This becomes all the less credible when it is remembered, as the documentary evidence shows, that Hitler was the mainspring and driving force of Nazi anti-Jewish policy from 1923 onwards and that his anti-Semitism became noticeably more radical, if that were possible, from the date that he declared war on America (11th December 1941). Thus, leaving aside all the specific evidence to be found in the contemporary documents, including documents written by Himmler himself, which, fairly read by an open-minded, careful historian, plainly implicate Hitler, the overall picture is compelling: the Holocaust could not possibly have happened without Hitler's knowledge and authority.

“It takes only a moment's light reflection to realise that the contrary idea is both absurd and perverse: suppose, say, in July 1942, when Himmler went to Lublin and Auschwitz to review and advance the mass killing in Poland, and on his return had lunch with Hitler (as he did) that Hitler, previously in a state of complete ignorance, and in any case opposed to any Final Solution that involved any more than deportation of the Jews to Siberia or Central Africa after the War, had suddenly found out what Himmler was doing. What, one wonders, would have happened to Himmler? Well, of course, it didn't, not then or at any time thereafter.”

Evidence of Hitler’s knowledge of the mass killings of Jews etc is contained in the documents discovered by Christian Gerlach discovered in the old Soviet archives: these documents, include notations by Heinrich Himmler, “establish Hitler did, indeed, make a personal decision to put to death German and all other European Jews under Nazi occupation, and announced it to his most senior Nazi followers on Dec. 12, 1941.” See Gerlach’s article in the journal Werkstatt Geschichte.

It should also be recalled that the British intelligence Enigma decrypts of German telegraphic traffic also included German police and security reports of their mass killing of Jew's in Russia and the Ukraine in the autumn of 1941 onwards. These are a matter of record.

With regard to Mr Irving’s “ban” from Germany (and Austria) one must remember exactly what it was he often “preached” (“rabble rousing” is how he describes it in his diary). For example: “Halle in East Germany in November 1991. His speech was greeted with enthusiasm, not least, perhaps, because he predicted the recreation of a greater Germany, by the reconquest, through economic power, of the former Third Reich territories in the East. This speech was greeted with shouts of "Sieg Heil!". These meetings of “neo-Nazi boot boys, waving Nazi flags and chanting racist slogans” were an affront to the vast majority of Germans. Hence the German and Austrian authorities bans on him (Few countries allow in “trouble makers” and racist Rabble rousers after all said and done) – he entered Austria knowing he was banned from entry and that there was an outstanding (since November 1989) warrant for his arrest. Not the actions of a logical man, I’d suggest.

Anonymous said...

Just as the US government is the best recruiter for Al Qaeda, the ADL, Deborah Lipstadt, posts like these, etc. are the best recruiters for David Irving.

For example, if it hadn't have been for Lipstadt's efforts to get Irving's biography of Goebbels canceled (aka "soft banned") I'd have never heard about him, would never have purchased and read all his books, would never have donated money to his cause, and would still be a believer in the Holocaust(tm) myth. I must thank her for her actions which opened my eyes to the truth and have allowed me to see through the biggest lie in all history.

The more you people attempt to suppress Irving, the more followers he will gain. So please, keep it up and eventually the majority of people will no longer believe the Holocaust(tm) hoax.

Unknown said...

“The more you people attempt to suppress Irving, the more followers he will gain. So please, keep it up and eventually the majority of people will no longer believe the Holocaust(tm) hoax.”

Now doubt your most earnest wish will be granted, and in great abundance, too, I suspect. When anyone mentions poor David Irving with all his many eccentricities and egocentric views, others will most definitely respond – which is just as it should be! A man of advanced years, blisteringly aware of his own mortality, desiring attention and courting controversy more than anything else – I say yes, yes, yes, we will not disappoint him!

And not only will David’s ego be assuaged, but others may achieve an epiphany such as you experienced and described. Which reminds me that throughout the seventies Erich von Däniken had an even larger following than David, a following that grew from readership of his comprehensively researched works – but a following that has now largely, sadly, dissipated.

Which only serves to demonstrate (if such demonstration were necessary) how tenuous individual notoriety can be. I wonder if David has an plans to emulate von Däniken and open his own theme park based upon his view of German history?

We could all ride the Auschwitz-Birkenau express to oblivion!

Ummmm. Not sure how popular it'd be. Still, I'm sure that wouldn't put him off.

Anonymous said...

Irving is an interesting narrative historian (who tries to be fair to both sides). That's why he has sold more books than most of his contemporaries - some of whom have said nice things about him. Johann Hari mined his interview with Irving for anything that the public might regard as eccentric or non-PC, and then put that out there. Anything sensible Irving said was bound not to make it to print. There is a similar phenomenon when it somes to "mainstream reporting" about so-called Holocaust revisionism. Revisionists are condemned and vilified, but the reasons for why they believe what they do are seldom, if ever, published in mainstream media. The great defenders of open debate and free enquiry in the western media apparently have no stomach for offending Jewish lobby groups. If people weren't going to jail in some European countries while fearing loss of employment in others, maybe the reading public could have a look at both sides of the argument and judge for themselves. As it stands now, saying there might be something to Holocaust revisionism is similar to saying, in the former Soviet Union, that there might be something to a market economy. The truth shall set us free.

Anonymous said...

Why does any society have to shut a man up for debate? The truth stands alone, is unassailable. Who is afraid of what here? its akin to cui bono. who benefits from the holocaust? as Deep Throat told woodward and bernstein, "Follow the money"

Lurgee, are you for the Hate bills?

Go listen to Michael Collins Piper on RBN, should he be put in the Bastille?

Dear striking British workers: F___ You! Love, the Labour Party

  From the desk of Keir "Patriotic Duty" Starmer : “We have robust lines. We do not want to see these strikes to go ahead with the...