Monday, February 27, 2006

Some insights into David Irving's background from his brother

People frequently ask me how did David Irving become the kind of person he is. I provide the few details I know about his life [father was a naval officer who abandoned the family and left them in poverty] and then say, I really don't know.

Furthermore, I caution for looking for a "rational" explanation for his antisemitism and racism. They are prejudices and prejudices are irrational. Therefore, to seek a rational explanation is useless. [Can you rationally explain why someone hates all Black people? It makes no sense, unless they are beset by a prejudice.]

In this article Irving's twin brother tells a great deal about his childhood and how he liked to do the outrageous [e.g. giving the Nazi salute when a German bomber knocked down a London home] even as a child.

In addition to the insights about his childhood, note that Irving who claimed bankruptcy after my trial, moved into a Mayfair home worth £1 million. So much for the so-called financial ruin I caused him by defending myself.
'David, what on earth would Mother think?'

By Olga Craig(Filed: 26/02/2006)

Nicholas Irving leans forward. "Let me try to explain my brother. Some years ago, he invited his publisher and wife, a Jewish couple, to his home for dinner. He was rather bewildered when the chap stormed out before the meal had even begun.

David simply could not understand why this Jewish gentleman was offended when he sat at the table to discover that it was laid with cutlery embossed with the Nazi swastika [...] he truly thought it was hilarious."

Even as a child, David had a horribly malicious sense of humour. He loved to play cruel pranks [...] Like the time, when we were six, that he gave a 'Heil Hitler' salute when a German bomber destroyed a nearby house. I knew it was wrong, I wouldn't do it, but David went right ahead. Anything to outrage, anything for attention."

The home he shared with his girlfriend, Bente Hogh, and their daughter, Jessica, 12, before he went bankrupt, was a £1 million apartment in Mayfair.

Even after he lost a £2 million libel battle against the American academic Deborah Lipstadt, who had accused him of Holocaust denial, he still managed to rent a £6,000-a-month Kensington home. Nicholas, by contrast, is a balding, mild-mannered and self-effacing former civil servant who lives in a £70-a-week maisonette in a shabby council block by the Barbican.


"All my life I have thought of my relationship with David as akin to looking after a sick relative," Nicholas says. "I'm sad he's in jail for three years, after all he's my brother, but I thought he would get at least five. He antagonised the court - but then he's been antagonising people all his life.

"Take the driving incident, for example," he says. A few years ago David was driving his Rolls-Royce with Nicholas in the passenger seat when they were overtaken by a small, battered car. David honked his horn and yelled at its driver. When the car stopped and its irate driver got out, David turned to his twin and said: "I'm not being overtaken by a black man."

[Regarding his trip to Austria] "I mean, what part of 'you cannot come here' didn't he understand," says Nicholas.


"But, like now, he liked to shock, to scandalise. When the house down the road was bombed and he gave his Nazi salute, he egged me on to do it, too. I remember him saying: 'Like this Nicholas, click your heels together like this.'


I don't think he's ever been scared of anything in his life. Then, of course, there was the time he chose Mein Kampf, Hitler's book, as his school prize. Yet for all that, our best friends were another pair of twins, friends of the family - and they were Jewish."

At school, David, unlike Nicholas, was something of a loner who specialised in playing malicious pranks on teachers. "David was incredibly clever but instead of doing homework he would be up in his room plotting ever more cruel pranks."

The twins' Latin teacher was an elderly man suffering from sciatica who needed to relieve the pain by leaning on things every few moments when he walked.

"David worked out where he would stop and he would take the peg out of the blackboard so that, when the master leaned on it, he and it crashed to the ground. Then there was our French master. David spent hours making an intricate model of him that tapped a pencil as was his habit and left it on his desk to
humiliate him."

When pupils were allowed to stage mock elections, David led a neo-fascist party.


"I want to say to him: 'David, what on earth are you doing? And what on earth would Mother think?'"


Dave said...

I feel saddened for David Irving's brothers, who have to put up with his arrogance and behavior.

I am reminded of my father's comment that "You have to love your relatives. You don't have to like them."

My epiphany on the subject was realizing that a family is a club one joins without anyone asking you if you wanted to or not.

You are stuck with them. The bad news is that they are always there. The good news is that they are always there.

Hilary Ostrov said...

Given what we know of Irving's public performances, none of the info from his brother was particularly surprising; it's almost as though Irving is afflicted with a severe case of the Peter Pan syndrome - emotionally and socially, he just never grew up. And the hysteria at his brother's presence in the hospital room of his daughter and newborn grandchild suggests to me that Irving's so utterly self-absorbed that he is incapable of relating to other human beings. None of which, of course, makes him any less of a highly culpable creep who is the sole author of his own misfortune!

There are a couple of quotes in the original article which I find very telling:

David Irving's latest claim to infamy was to enter Austria, the country of Hitler's birth, from which he was barred in 1989 after he asserted that the Auschwitz gas chambers never existed. "I mean, what part of 'you cannot come here' didn't he understand," says Nicholas.


" [...] I see what he does and listen to his outrageous views - none, I think, are genuine, merely designed to cause controversy."

Although I would have said, "merely designed to get attention - and cause pain to others"