The notorious British Holocaust denier David Irving has announced that he will lead a tour of Nazi death and concentration camp sites in Poland later this year.
The 81-year-old Irving advertised the tour on his personal website over the weekend. “The 2019 tour starts on September 1 from Warsaw, Poland, and ends back there on September 9,” Irving wrote. “It includes the bunker headquarters of Adolf Hitler (‘The Wolf’s Lair’), SS chief Heinrich Himmler (‘Hochwald’), and the German Army high command, and the sinister Operation Reinhardt sites (Treblinka, Sobibór, Belzec, Majdanek).”
Since his reputation as a historian was destroyed by his failed libel action in the British High Court against the American scholar Deborah Lipstadt in 2000, Irving has supplemented his income with World War II-related historical tours in Europe, as well as sales of his reissued books and occasional speaking tours of the US. According to his website, Irving’s next American tour is scheduled for the spring.
Denial of the Nazi Holocaust of six million Jews is illegal in Poland — where the September tour takes place — under legislation dating back to 1998. Treblinka, Sobibór, Belzec and Majdanek were Nazi death camps that became operational from the middle of 1942, as the German regime stepped up the extermination of the Jews through its “Operation Reinhardt.” About 1.7 million Jews perished in the Operation Reinhardt camps, the majority in purpose-built gas chambers, along with an unknown number of Poles, Roma and Soviet prisoners of war.
By his own admission, Irving and his groups have behaved disruptively and provocatively on previous similar tours. A journal kept by Irving on his 2011 tour contained repeated references to the antics of Hugo Haig-Thomas, his personal assistant. Standing outside a gas chamber at the Majdanek camp, Irving related that “Hugo H-T says rather blasphemously, ‘If I were a prisoner, I think I’d ask for the window seat.’” Another entry recounted Haig-Thomas playing the “Horst Wessel Lied,” the Nazi party’s anthem, on the piano in the bar of the hotel where the group was staying.
Irving himself proudly confessed to having disrupted a school student’s tour of Majdanek while on the same visit. “The guide delivers a brief and impassionate (sic) account of the horrors which occurred in this ‘gas chamber,’” Irving wrote. “I suggest loudly that ‘skepticism’ is called for, and she is stunned.”
Irving went on to say that teacher had made “some retort” to his uncalled-for intervention. However, “unable to speak Polish,” he continued, “I reply in Russian, which is much the same: Not possible. She gathers up her flock and sweeps out clucking indignantly.”
The Algemeiner (c) 2018 . Ben Cohen