Irving jailed for denying Holocaust
Three years for British historian who described Auschwitz as a fairytale
Ian Traynor in Vienna
Tuesday February 21, 2006
State prosecutor Michael Klackl said: "He's not a historian, he's a falsifier of history." Arguments over freedom of speech were entirely misplaced, he added: "This is about abuse of freedom of speech."
Last night Irving's partner Bente Hogh said he had brought his imprisonment on himself by going to Austria despite the ban. She said: "He was not jailed just for his views but because he's banned from Austria and still went. David doesn't take advice from anyone. He thought it was a bit of fun, to provoke a little bit."
Irving pleaded guilty but under Austrian law the trial went ahead. Judge Peter Liebtreu called Irving "a racist, an anti-Semite, and a liar", citing the verdict delivered by Justice Charles Gray at the high court in London in 2000 when the historian lost a libel case against an American writer and academic and was bankrupted.
Irving said that defeat had cost him $13m, but supporters were sending donations to help him fight yesterday's case.
The judge repeatedly asked Irving if he still subscribed to the views articulated in the 1989 speeches. "I made a mistake saying there were no gas chambers in Auschwitz," he conceded. He claimed the Holocaust figure of six million murdered Jews was "a symbolic number" and said his figures totalled 2.7 million.
He said he was not sure how many died at Auschwitz, but he mentioned a figure of 300,000, a fraction of the accepted total. And he still believed Hitler protected the Jews and tried to put off the Final Solution - the systematic killing of all European Jews - at least until after the second world war.
Tuesday, February 21, 2006
Bente: Irving thought it "fun to provoke"
A report in the Guardian suggests that in fact Irving has not really changed his denier spots. Interestingly, Irving's partner, Bente Hogh is also reported as saying that Irving went to Austria, despite the ban, because he "thought it was fun to provoke". Here are some excerpts: