Life Under Fire

(Presented at the Eleventh IHR Conference, October 1992.)

Thank you, United States, for letting me come and speak. I mean that seriously because the fight is now getting quite creepy. For two years now, in country after country, I have been conducting this international Campaign for Real History. During this period, in country after country, I’ve come up against an international campaign against real history — an international campaign full of lies, an international campaign to suppress the truth. The truth of this campaign is quite clearly something that I had previously not wanted to believe: there is, in fact, an international force out there with an influence that transcs frontiers. Day after day, country after country, month after month, I come up against this international force.

In my apartment in London, I’ve accordingly opened a file titled “Jewish Harassment.” This should not be taken to mean, in the slightest, that I am anti-Jewish, because I’m not. The fact that many Jews are anti-Irving does not mean to say that I am anti-Jewish. There’s no paradox in that statement. Week after week, month after month, they are causing me immense harassment, embarrassment and distress. But journalists come to me, again and again, and ask me: “Mr. Irving, are you anti-Semitic?” And I reply, “Not yet.”

For two years now, I have been the target of this worldwide campaign — in Germany, France, Spain, South Africa, the United States, Canada, Argentina, Brazil, and England. Let me tell you a little about what has been happening in some of these countries.

In Germany, I’m now technically a prohibited person. I can’t go there because the German authorities have ordained that David Irving shall no longer cross their frontier. A free democracy, and yet that’s the only way they can fight against me: by forbidding me to come in. That edict was issued in March 1990. But since then, I’ve been in and out of Germany 60 times. I’m not going to tell you how I’ve done it — but there are ways of doing it.

In Austria, there’s an arrest warrant out against me, but no entry prohibition (whereas in Germany there’s the entry prohibition but no arrest warrant). So between the two of them you can find a way of getting in. As I said to the Germans the last time I spoke to a mass meeting of 7,000 people in Passau: there are enough people here in plain clothes taking notes for the Ministry of the Interior, and tonight they’ll be asked: how did he get in again? To this I can only say: “Go ask your colleagues in Austria how David Irving got in this time.”

Banned in South Africa

Besides Germany and Austria, officially I am not permitted to get into Italy or South Africa. Last January and February, I spoke for two months in South Africa, this time visiting 15 towns and cities. Two weeks after I returned to England, a letter arrived from the South African government in Pretoria. It told me: “Mr. Irving, as an Englishman you normally do not require a visa to enter South African territories. For you we are going to make an exception.” I reported this ban to the South African newspapers, which discovered in a matter of days that this unique embargo was being placed on me by the South African government at the request of South African Jewish organizations. This was followed by an outcry by other South Africans who wanted to hear me on radio and television, and in person. It was another encroachment on freedom of speech.

Of course, I am able to come and speak here in the United States because you have something very important, your First Amment guaranteeing freedom of speech. It is very unlikely, I think, that the United States government would actually stoop to trying to prevent me from coming here to speak. It would be a very, very serious day indeed if that should happen.

In Canada, I have a big speaking tour lined up that is due to start on October the 26th. Yesterday, here in this very hotel [in Irvine, Califronia], I was handed an express letter from the Canadian government informing me that I would not be allowed to enter Canada. Once again, pressure has been exerted by these international groups to keep me from speaking. In this case it was the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, but the reason given me was this: “Mr. Irving, under the immigration act, a person is not permitted to enter if he has committed a criminal offense in another country, or if he is likely to commit a criminal offense in Canada. We may consider you likely to commit a criminal offense.”

After receiving this, I straight away instructed my attorney in Canada to point out that I’ve been to Canada some 30 times since 1965, and not once have I committed a criminal offense. So, prima facie, I am unlikely to commit a criminal offense on the 31st occasion. [On October 26, Irving legally entered Canada. He was illegally arrested — after lecturing on freedom of speech — at Victoria, B.C., and deported on November 13 after a three week court battle. He is appealing.]

Detention in Rome

In June of this year, I went to Italy. I arrived in Rome, after a stop in Munich, from Moscow, where I had been working for two weeks in the former Soviet government’s secret state archives. As I got off the plane in Rome, six Carabinieri police cars were waiting for me at the airfield, and as I got into the airport bus, the police stormed the bus, rifles drawn, and called out my name, “Mr. Irving.” Ladies and gentlemen, now that’s embarrassing! Under the circumstances, I tried to make it look as if this was my VIP escort!

They held me there in the police station at Rome’s airport for four hours until the plane turned round and flew back to Munich. And half way through, they let in the Italian student who had arrived to meet me there. (I had been invited by a university professor.)

During the police interrogation, I “hadn’t understood” a word of Italian, and I made them speak English to me. But when the students came in, I spoke with them in Italian, explaining how sorry I was. Seeing this, the police colonel became very indignant and said: “Silenzio, Don’t Speak.” So I said, “Where does it say that I can’t speak?” He repeated, “Silenzio, Don’t-a speaka.” And I repeated: “Excuse me, but nowhere do I see a sign that says Silenzio.” At that, he seized a thick felt- tip pen, and in a blind, Italian temper he went to the magnificently painted wall inside this beautiful, brand new police station, saying “You can’t-a see-a? Here!,” and wrote the letters S I L E N Z I O on the wall, and then shouted: “Silenzio!”

Last October [1991], I spoke in Argentina. On the morning of the first day, I took part in a two-hour television program. (I also speak Spanish.) I was on with a man named Maurizio Maro, but whose real name turned out to be Goldfarb. If only they had told me beforehand! But too late.

Goldfarb asked me questions like: “But Adolf Hitler, he was crazy wasn’t he?” And I said: “No, he wasn’t.” “But of course he was crazy,” he retorted. I responded by saying:

There’s no evidence for that at all. The evidence is that we — the British and Americans — captured seven of Hitler’s doctors. We interrogated all seven of them on that specific point: Hitler’s own physicians were asked if they considered him clinically sane or out of his mind. All of them came to the conclusion that, even until the very last moments of his life, he was totally sane. And not only that, I have personally found Hitler’s medical diaries — the diaries kept by his doctor, Theodor Morrell, which I found in the archives in Washington, DC. After transcribing them, I published them. These diaries also confirm, without a doubt at all, that Hitler was perfectly sane and physically normal.

Now considerably agitated, Goldfarb responded: “But the man must be totally crazy because he killed forty million human beings.” The first time he threw out this figure, I let it pass, but the second time round, I stopped him, saying: “Forty million? Excuse me, where does this figure come from then?” Goldfarb then said: “A person who kills even one man is a criminal.” In this case, then, I said, President Bush is a major criminal because of the damage he did in the Gulf War this very February.

At this point, the interview was dramatically cut short. And the very next day, all the other interviews that had been lined up by my publisher in Argentina were cancelled. Newspaper and television interviews, and a Belgrano University appearance — all were cancelled. It was an object lesson on the influence that certain people have. The day after that (October 18, 1991), a major daily newspaper, La Nación, published a communique issued by Argentina’s Jewish governing agency, with a headline calling me an “International Agitator.” Well, I’m sorry that the Jews get so easily agitated. But it’s not my fault. My job is to go there and lecture on the historical truth as I see it.

The Right to be Wrong

I admit that we may be wrong. Each of us in this room may be wrong on this or that matter. But I demand the Right to be Wrong! That is the essence of freedom of speech in any country.

No one is going to define for us what the received version of history is or should be. But that is what they are trying to do now in Germany, and all around the world.

Every other aspect of world history is open to debate and dispute — except one. Anyone who challenges this one aspect of history is automatically, ipso facto, described as an anti-Semite. Jewish leaders are now saying that anyone who questions any aspect of the Holocaust is an anti-Semite. Of course, that’s not true. We are just lovers of the truth, and determined to get to the bottom of what actually did and did not happen.

I do not insist that what I tell you here today is necessarily the only version of the truth, and that thou shalt have no other truth than this. I’m not as arrogant as that. I do say that this is the best that I can do, given limited resources, and against the harassment that I’ve come up against in the last few years.

That harassment has gotten worse and worse, particularly with the recent Focal Point publication of the new edition of Hitler’s War. This new edition contains material never seen before. If you want to see a photograph showing what it looks like when 17,500 people are killed in 30 minutes, here it is. Everyone’s heard about Hiroshima and Dresden, but no one knows about what happened in Pforzheim, a small German town in Baden-Württemberg, where one person in four was killed in the most horrible manner in mid-February 1945. We have photos of that crime. I’ve shown this photograph to audience after audience.

On the previous page of Hitler’s War are the well-known photographs of Dresden, where a hundred thousand people were killed in a period of twelve hours by the British and Americans. So many were killed so quickly that there weren’t enough living left to bury the dead. So the corpses had to be burned on these huge funeral pyres in the Dresden Altmarkt. I published the photographs in 1963 in my first book, The Destruction of Dresden and, now, in Hitler’s War, I publish them for the first time in color.

Window Smashing

There are 60 color photographs in this book, a work that no other publisher could have published so lavishly. Of course, our traditional enemies are absolutely livid because of this book, which is very sought-after in Britain. We published it ourselves, and personally delivered 5,000 copies to 800 book shops up and down the country and around the world.

Our traditional enemies have been fighting back. Their local cells, branches and agents have been visiting — patiently and methodically, one by one — every book shop that stocked this book, demanding that it be “un-stocked.” Because most book shop managers are not open to intimidation in the way newspapers are, they get their windows smashed. As result, there’s been a campaign of window smashing throughout Britain during the last three or four months.

During the night, the big plate-glass windows of the book stores are smashed, and the next morning the stores receive a letter on letterhead of the local synagogue, or the local Jewish Board of Deputies. The letters say “we are very sorry that your windows were smashed, but what can you expect? We promise that if you stop stocking David Irving’s books, you will find that this kind of problem ceases.”

This campaign — smashing the windows of book stores, big and small, including chain book stores in Britain such as Waterstone’s and Dillon’s — has been reported in all the local newspapers. I subscribe to a press clipping service, so I get all these clippings. But there’s been nothing in the British national newspapers.

And why not? Well, the answer is that these wondered where these journalists come from, these spineless, nasty little creeps such as Bernard Levin of The Times of London.

I am philosophical about newspapers. I remember one Monday morning ten years ago when my secretary came to me, saying: “David, how can you stand for it? Have you read what they’ve written about you yesterday in the Sunday Times? It’s only a short thing, but you now might as well pack up. You’re finished.” He read from the article: “David Irving, who appears substantially to have over-estimated his mental stability this time …” “They’re calling you mad!”

Recycled Lies

I responded by saying, “Okay, so what? Are they going to assign me to some kind of psychiatric gulag archipelago? That’s from the Sunday Times, and this is Monday.” That’s the difference between being an author and being a journalist. When I write a book it goes into a library and stays there — especially if it’s on acid-free paper. What a journalist writes for the Sunday Times appears on Sunday, but by Monday it’s wrapping fish ‘n chips! So who cares? Or if it’s not wrapping fish ‘n chips, the paper’s being recycled to be made into new newsprint for new lies.

One South African journalist wrote to me during the height of my South African tour in March 1992. I was speaking at meeting after meeting, addressing packed halls. In Pretoria, as usual, 2,000 people came to hear me. In Cape Town, another huge audience turned out to hear me at the Goodwood Civic Centre. The next day, I received a fax letter from a Cape Timesjournalist named Claire Bisseker who earlier had bombarded me with questions about what I thought about President de Klerk, the prospects for South Africa, the ANC, and all the rest of it. This time her letter was quite brief:

Mr. Irving, the Cape Times would like to have your response to the following allegations made by a Capetonian who atted your meeting at Goodwood [Centre] on March 8. The source said that the meeting was of a neo-Nazi nature. Complete with Nazi banners and Nazi salutes. We would appreciate it very much if you could fax back to us your response as soon as you are able.

So I turned this matter over in my mind. “Remember,” I told myself, “you’re dealing with a journalist — a journalist who will twist whatever you say. If I say that I have no comment, they will print the lies and say that Mr. Irving had no comment. If I deny it, they will print the lies and say that Irving denied it. They will print lies whatever you do.” So after some thought, I sent this brief letter to Claire Bisseker:

Dear Clair,

Thank you for your fax, and I appreciate your inquiry. Yes, you do have excellent sources. Neo-Nazi nature, Nazi banners, and Nazi salutes — the lot. As I marched in, an orchestra struck up the Slaves’ Chorus from Verdi’s opera, “Aida.” Later, the orchestra played the first bars of Franz Liszt’s “Les Préludes,” and it concluded with Liszt’s Opus 63 String Quartet. Meanwhile, searchlight batteries stationed around the Goodwood Civic Centre lit up, their crystal beams joining in a cathedral of ice ten thousand feet above the site; a thousand hands were once more flung aloft in the holy salute, and a thousand throats roared the Horst Wessel anthem. A video is available, directed by Leni Riefenstahl.

I hope the above material suffices for what you have in mind.

That’s the way to deal with journalists! I have developed my own techniques in dealing with them.

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