Fakes & Frauds II: David Irving
The Pathologist's Report:
An autopsy on the remains of David Irving
By Gregory Douglas
Although Irving has written, co-authored or translated, thirty-odd books, the great majority of them have the greatest overall similarity to a meringue; there is bulk but no substance. These plenitude of books must be viewed by their owners as being of great value because they are so seldom touched. A fair number of Irving's works could have been found, in palmier days, in many major, and some minor, public and academic libraries but as he has diminished in an accelerated fashion, these books have been removed from the shelves in increasing numbers. Their author attributes this to the underhanded work of malicious Jewish groups but since the index cards have also been removed from the library files, it would be safer to assume that librarians, like so many others, have had quite enough of David Irving.
Another exposition of Irving's literary mendacity can be found in a chapter of a 1994 book entitled "The Churchill Papers" by Alexander Baron, pages 13 through 17. This study lists a large and significant number of serious errors of fact appearing in Irving's book, "Churchill's War." In all of his books, Irving consistently misstates or invents facts, invents important dates and proper titles and generally acts as if has never read any of the works in the lengthy bibliographies he always provides as proof of his research.
Probably the worst example of this can be found in "Hitler's War", published in 1977, in which Irving discusses the German Freikorps leader, Albert Leo Schlageter. This man was involved in the Ruhrkampf in the 1920's and was caught and executed by the French in Dusseldorf in 1923. This part of Irving's reportage is correct. What is not correct, however, and is an error exposing such a gross unfamiliarity with the subject of German history as to stagger the imagination, is the connected statement that at Schlageter's side on that date was also shot one Andreas Hofer. As any legitimate scholar of German history will instantly recognize, Hofer was the man who raised the Austrian Tyrol against Napoleon I and was indeed captured and shot by the French but in Mantua, Italy in 1810!
Also in "Hitler's War", on page 260, Irving speaks of a "secret meeting" held at the Kremlin by Josef Stalin on May 5, 1941. Present at this alleged meeting were top members of his government. In this "secret meeting", Irving claims that Stalin outlined his plans to attack Hitler. This episode was tailor-made by Irving to support his thesis that Hitler did not have any reason to attack Stalin in 1941. Unfortunately, this "secret" speech (and another one on the following evening) was not secret and copies of it survive in the Russian archives. In them, Stalin speaks of the need for not upsetting Hitler and provoking a military attack. There is no mention whatsoever of any Soviet attacks on Germany in these speeches but of course as this is at odds with Irving's ideas, he manages to create a scenario more to his liking. Irving, who once had access to Russian archives, must doubtlessly have seen these files that are certainly not secret nor permitted to be viewed by only a select few, among whom Irving, by inference, includes himself.
If he ever had such a positive relationship with the Russian archives, it was quickly terminated when the archive authorities discovered that Irving had been systematically pilfering their papers and selling them to document collectors. The brilliant historian was promptly jailed and, looking like an unshaven and sockless refugee from Bosnia, was physically expelled from the country. Once he had gained the safety of England, one heard his loud cries of Jewish persecution for his heroic activities in search of the Real Truth as he likes to term his pathological flights of fancy.
This light-fingered, and very profitable lifting, (an original Hitler signature is worth over a thousand dollars on the autograph market) has not been limited to the contents of the Moscow archives but extends to the German Bundesarchiv, the American National Archives and several other prominent repositories of Third Reich documents.
In 1996, Irving attempted to sell a number of valuable papers from this era to Charles Hamilton, New York-based autograph expert and dealer. Hamilton became suspicious of the origins of these documents and contacted a number of archives. Discovering that most of them had been stolen, Hamilton informed various authorities both in Germany and England. An article appearing in a Toronto, Canada, paper of November 9, 1996 was headed: AUTHOR'S LONDON HOME RAIDED, bylined by Canadian Press and covered a raid conducted by British police at the London apartment of David Irving wherefrom a large number of documents allegedly stolen from British, American and German archives were recovered.
It is also interesting to note that the raid also uncovered a "considerable quantity of documents with Nazi letterheads, a folder containing what appears to be Adolf Hitler's personal note paper, 1940's-era German typewriters, Nazi document stamps and seals and examples of original signatures of prominent Nazi officials." Perhaps this latter information indicates the source of the oft-repeated comments from outraged, legitimate historians that if Irving can't find a supporting document, he makes one.
Now this is merely speculation since it is not impossible to be a collector of nazi memorabilia, and be a genuine researcher. However given these and other mistakes, should we be surprised if Irving has forged documents to make his case before? I would not be. Especially considering his mixes truth with lies about always being hunted in public. From the same source...
Two examples of Irving's bizarre pursuit of any kind of public attention he can obtain are herein dissected.
According to a number of British newspaper articles, on November 27, 1963, Irving excitedly informed the media that a number of "dangerous men" attempted to smash down the door of his flat and assault him. He claimed he drove them off by physically confronting them.
The actual truth of the matter, in an article in the "Evening Standard" of November 28, 1963, was that three men attempted to gain entrance to Irving's apartment by displaying a stolen government television technician's card. Irving invited them in, called the police and the three men were arrested for "an attempt at burglary." The police reports indicated that no one attempted to smash down a door. Irving, needless to say, did not chase the putative burglars away, being genuinely terrified of anything over ten years of age and not confined to a wheelchair.
Another incident, often mentioned by Irving in his speeches, is one that occurred in 1992. Irving claimed that on Sunday, July 12, 1992, he was having lunch at the Richoux restaurant in London with his mistress, one Bente Hogh, then 28, a Danish citizen. He again called the press and claimed that he was attacked by an irate mob, whom he was able to drive off although there were "a large number of them, all armed." This got into the press the next day but was immediately refuted by the manager of the restaurant, along with other witnesses, who stated that the "armed mob" consisted entirely of a young man having dinner in the expensive Mayfair restaurant. The diner had addressed several negative remarks to Irving on his way out of the building. Irving, the witnesses stated, immediately jumped up from his table, and his mistress, and ran into the back of the Richoux in what was described in the police report as a state of terror, barricading himself in the men's lavatory. He remained there, inconveniencing other patrons, and wouldn't leave until a waitress gallantly escorted him out of the establishment through the kitchen. By mixing both stories together, it is apparent that Irving covered himself with glory on the one hand and flour on the other.
These entirely fictional accounts hearken to the bombast of the Baron von Münchhausen and are designed to impress a shrinking legion of the awestruck with the importance of David Irving.
On page 95 of Baron's book on Irving, Baron reproduces a letter he got from the owner of this restaurant who claimed David Irving blew this story out of proportion. Michael de Costa signed his name and then his position, "chairman" in that letter. In the letter he says, "A minor but insignificant altercation occured and Mr Irving sought refuge in the public facilities of the restaurant. He subsequently asked the Manageress to be escorted out of the premises...Mr Irving was claiming he was the subject of a premeditated attack. This was patently rubbish and frankly he was only trying to use the incident for his own ends."
Next post I will post clips from Baron's book showing how Irving has gotten dates and times wrong that should have been easy to get correct the first time. Shall we say, he's a bit sloppy? You may agree when you read the following.
ON page 2 of his tome, Irving says that Churchill was gazetted from Sandhurst in March 1895, and a year later his father died, "alcoholic and incoherent, aged only forty-six."
It's always best to make a mistake at the beginning. Lord Randolph Churchill's death was reported in the Times for January 25, 1895. He was said to have died in the early hours of the previous morning. The cause of death was given as general paralysis, but it is common knowledge that he was afflicted with syphillis. The lengthy obituary gave his date of birth as February 18, 1849, so actually he died some three weeks later short of his forty-sixth birthday, at the age of forty-five. There was no reference to Lord Randolph Churchill's alleged alcoholism in his obituary, or in any of the biographies the current writers consulted.
Also on page 2, Irving says: "later that year, still aged only twenty-two, he went on furlough to Cuba". Gilbert tells us that "In October 1895 Churchill decided to go with a friend, Reginald Barnes, to Cuba..." Churchill was born November 30, 1874 remember, so in fact he was not yet twenty-one!
On page 8, Irving says "two years later he was back at the desk of Under-Secretary for the Colonies - the same desk he had vacated fifteen years ealier." He was actually Colonial Secretary, his junior days having ended in 1908.
Irving goes on to refer to "the treaty ultimately signed with the new Irish Free State on December 6, 1922."
This treaty was actually signed in Downing Street the previous year. According to The Annual Register for 1921, page 146, it was ratified in the Commons on December 16 by 401 votes to 58; the Lords voted 166 to 47. The Irish Free State came into existence officially on January 15 1922, when the treaty was approved.
Yet another gaffe on the same page is the clami that "The Dundee electorate expressed their personal displeasure with Mr Churchill at the subsequent general election: they turfed him out of the House for the first time since 1900." He'd actually lost his Manchester, North West seat in the 1908 by-election, then compulsory for all new Cabinet Ministers, and had had to get a fresh one in Dundee.
On page 10, in an egregious mistake inexcusable in anyone with the slightest pretension to being a historian of the Twentieth Century, he states that US President "Coolidge was now defeated by Herbert Hoover." This is complete nonsense; the truth is that: "after President Calvin Coolidge, in August 1927, announced that he would not seek reelection, Hooever became the leading Republican candidate for his party's nomination."
Alexander Baron. "Revising the Revisionists." pg 13-14.
I tend to agree with Douglas way above and Baron just now. Irving getting simple facts wrong doesn't bode well for his reputation. Neither does his apparent gas chamber affirmation. Am I the only one who sees a pattern with David the wack job Irving? If Ernst Zundel, Germar Rudolf and Jurgen Graaf have problems with Irving, then maybe we should listen.