David Irving disturbs Holocaust lecture

Mar 5, 2009

David Irving, the right-wing historian who served a prison sentence in Austria for "glorifying and identifying with the German Nazi Party", caused something of a rumpus when he invited himself to a seminar held at the German Historical Institute in London on Tuesday night.

For it soon became apparent that Irving was there for no other reason than to challenge the speaker, Professor Peter Longerich, with whom he had some past history: the academic served as an expert witness at Irving’s infamous High Court libel trial nine years ago which concluded that Irving was a Holocaust denier and anti-Semitic.

As Longerich looked on nervously, Irving plonked himself in the front row. Then, according to the Times, Irving proceeded to shake his head vigorously as the professor detailed incontrovertible evidence of the Nazi’s mass extermination programme as he read from his paper, Himmler and the Holocaust.

However, Irving got his comeuppance at the end when Dr Andreas Gestrich, the director of the institute, invited all of those present for a glass of wine, but said that this offer was definitely not “extended to those that deny the Holocaust”. Applause followed, and Irving began shouting about free speech and the “hypocrisy” that his books were still kept in the Institute’s library.

Wisely, Richard Williamson, the Roman Catholic Bishop who claims that no Jews died in Nazi gas chambers during World War Two, and who Irving is advising on how to deal with the media, stayed away from the event.

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