Monday, January 16, 2006

Story on Irving in Der Spiegel

"Der Spiegel" has a major story about Irving in its issue of today. It is available on the following server:

The following is a summary of some of the more important passages, courtesy of Albrecht Kolthoff.

The Spiegel reporter obviously has visited and spoken with Irving in the Vienna prison.

Irving is writing his memoirs in his prison cell, 20 pages each day. Writing his memoirs in prison cells ("in Festungshaft" as the reporter writes, imprisonment in afortress, like Hitler in Landsberg) has a certain tradition, and a grinning Irving is quoted: "Vielleicht sollte ich sie 'Mein Krieg' nennen" ("Perhaps I should call them 'My War'").

His daughter finds it "cool" that her daddy is in prison.

Irving had prepared his two-day visit in Austria very well: he had left 60 blank cheques in London and had packed eight shirts in his baggage. He was always prepared for everything, Irving said.

According to the reporter, Irving knew that there was an arrest warrant for him. In 1989 the then Federal Chancellor Franz Vranitzky himself had threatened to have Irving arrested immediately if he would again appear in Austria. Irving is quoted:

"Ich bin aus einer Offiziersfamilie", knurrt es hinter dem Panzerglas, "wir marschieren in Richtung des anonenfeuers." ("I am from an officer's family", it is growling from behind the bulletproof glass, "we do march in the direction of gunfire".)

He will have sent his famous pin-stripe suit to Vienna for his trial starting on February 20.

Deborah Lipstadt: "Er ist ein größenwahnsinniger Klassentyrann" ("He is a megalomaniacal classroom tyrant").

Irving is quoted speaking about Sir Arthur Harris: "Ich spreche von ihm als Befehlshaber. Wie Dönitz", erklärt er mit leuchtenden Augen. "Wenn man täglich 20 000 junge Menschen in den Tod schicken kann, dann ist man ein großer Befehlshaber." (I speak of him as commander. Like Dönitz", he explains with shining eyes. "If one can send 20,000 young people to death every day he is a great commander.")

Irving is asked why he first declared the faked Hitler diaries as counterfeits and soon after as genuine. He replies: "Das war ein Gag", kommt es wie aus der Pistole geschossen, "so etwas war Entertainment, das hatte alles nichts mit Zeitgeschichte zu tun. Ich wollte sehen, wie die Historiker darauf reagieren." ("That was a gag", he replies like a shot, "that's entertainment, it had nothing to do with contemporanean history. I wanted to see how the historians would react.")

Just three months ago he has moved to a new apartment near Downing Street nd Buckingham Palace, "um das Establishment zu provozieren" ("to provoke the Establishment"). "Es freut mich, jeden Morgen vom Fenster meiner Wohnung aus die vorbeimarschierende Truppe zu ehen" ("I'm glad to see the troops march by every morning from my apartment's window"); the Austrians just were jealous of the British monarchy.

"Nicht seine Bücher, sondern seine Vorträge haben Irving ins Gefängnis gebracht" (Not his books, but his lectures have brought him to prison).

Deborah Lipstadt: "Wenn Sie mir vor ein paar Monaten gesagt hätten, dass ich einmal David Irvings Freilassung fordere", erklärt Irvings schärfste Kontrahentin Deborah Lipstadt am Telefon, "hätte ich Sie für verrückt erklärt." (If you had told me a few months ago that I once would demand Irving's release I would have declared you insane", Irving's sharpest adversary Deborah Lipstadt explains on the phone.)

Irving's lawyer Elmar Kresbach, a counsel experienced with murder amd Mafia cases, is going to assert naivety and new insight for his client, and annonced that Irving wouldn't speak much at the forthcoming trial.

Malte Herwig
SPIEGEL 3/2006, S.152-155

1 comment:

Dave said...

From this little piece, I get the sense that Irving deliberately orchestrated this "arrest" for that noblest of purposes: to get his name back in the news. To a limited extent, he's succeeded.

He still has the outrageous sense of self-importance...that if he lives near Downing Street, his mere presence in the neighborhood will shake up "the establishment." I doubt they give a flying frazzoo.

That quip about "coming from an officer's family...marching to the sound of gunfire," wrong answer... his father was a naval officer. They didn't march anywhere. Especially at Gallipoli. At Gallipoli they sat offshore and fired guns at Turkish positions on shore.

That reference to the 1983 Hitler Diaries incident...that tells me why he sued Deborah: It was all about making life miserable, costly, and irritating for his assorted enemies, while gaining more attention than he has ever deserved.

Which is probably the key to his whole life...he's like Peter Pan. He won't grow up. He's still running into the family dinner and yelling a dirty word so everyone will look at him.

I guess we'll read about his homeric two months in prison on his website when this is all over.

And I'm sure his lawyer's argument is a fun one...

"I was naive." Right, for 50 years.

"I have seen the light!" So has every other prisoner seeking help to win an early release. Neo-Nazis claim the same thing in their letters to Morris Dees and Southern Poverty Law Center when they want his help in getting out early. He writes back to say, "Sure I will...when you outline for me chapter and verse on the violent threats and activities of America's neo-Nazis." They don't respond to that, of course.

Two days after Irving gets loose, having promised the judges he is a changed man who won't cause any more trouble (like Hitler in 1924), he'll be on the next plane to Teheran to set up that "conference."