The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

X: Justification: The claim that Irving associates with right wing extremists


10.1 It is common knowledge that there exist within this country, as well as in Europe, the United States and elsewhere, a variety of right-wing groups and organisations. Of course some stand further to the right in the political spectrum than others. The groups themselves differ in their structure: some are formally constituted and readily identifiable; others are loose-knit and hard to pin down. By virtue of their policies and chosen political methods, including on occasion the use of violence, some of these groups may be characterised as right-wing extremists.

10.2 The same is true of the individuals who make up these groups and organisations. Some are neo-Nazis, dedicated to overthrowing by violent means democratic systems of government and replacing them with the machinery of nationalist totalitarianism. Others are less extreme: they may themselves be non-violent and oppose the stirring up of violence by rabble-rousing public speeches and demonstrations. The political objectives of some of these individuals may be limited to the adoption of right-wing policies on such issues as immigration, housing and social policy within the framework of existing democratic structures. Others subscribe to doctrines of racial supremacy, ethnic purification and national expansion and policies which advance the allocation of resources on racial lines.

10.3 The question is whether and, if so, to what extent Irving associates or has associated himself with such groups and individuals. The question arises for two reasons. The first is that Lipstadt in Denying the Holocaust links Irving to various extremist organisations (though the Defendants do not, as I have already noted, seek to justify the existence of the links mentioned by Lipstadt). The second reason is that, according to the Defendants, the existence of an association between Irving and right-wing extremist groups or individuals supports their case that the reason for his falsification of the historical record is that he is himself a right-wing ideologue.

Case for the Defendants

10.4 The case for the Defendants is that Irving has regular and close relationships with right-wing extremists in various parts of the world. In support of this case they rely on the expert evidence of Funke and upon the written evidence of Ms Rebecca Guttman as to Irving's alleged relationship with an extremist American organisation.

10.5 In his report and in his oral evidence Funke gave evidence of Irving's alleged association with right-wing extremists and neo-Nazis in Germany. He explained how right-wing extremism emerged in Germany. There were, he asserted, three stages: the first was in the late 1940s and resulted in the ban of the Socialist Reich Party ("SRP") in 1952. The second was in the late 1960s and centred on the German National Democratic Party ("NPD") and, after its 1969 election defeat, on Dr Gerhard Frey's German People's Union ("DVU"). The third started in the late 1980s and has involved the DVU and various groups of militant neo-Nazi activists. Amongst the latter he cited in particular the Nationale Offensive or National Offensive ("NO"), the Nationale Liste or National List ("NL") and the Althans Vertriebsbewege und Offentlichkeitsarbeit ("AVO").

10.6 Basing himself on a painstaking study of Irving's diaries, video and audio material and reports from the Office for the Protection of the Constitution, ("OPC"), Funke described the association which he alleged existed between various extremists in Germany. He gave an account how in 1993 Irving came to be banned from entering Germany following action being taken against him at the instigation of the OPC.

10.7 But the Defendants ultimately rested their case for saying that Irving associates with right wing extremists upon a limited number of groups and individual which they identified. According to the Defendants, they share the characteristic that they promote Holocaust denial, anti-semitism and racism. Some of them engage in or advocate the use of violence. I shall list them, summarising in each case where, according to the Defendants, they stand in the political spectrum and what is the nature of Irving's alleged association with them.

10.8 Gerhard Frey/ DVU:

Frey is the leader of the DVU and, it is alleged, a leading right-wing extremist who plays down the crimes of the Nazi period. He helped to organise the meeting at Passau for the DVU on 16th February 1991. He can be seen in a video made by Irving of a meeting at Passau. Irving has corresponded with Frey and spoken regularly at DVU meetings. Frey has also offered Irving advice on the contents of his speeches.

10.9 Gunther Deckert/NPD:

Decekert joined the NPD in 1966. The NPD is a right-wing party which is alleged to have become more radical under Deckert's leadership. He became deputy chairman and head of its youth wing in the 1970's. Deckert has been convicted of incitement to racial hatred and defamation of the memory of the dead. The Defendants claim that the NPD have organised many of Irving's speeches in Germany.

10.10 Ewald Althans:

Althans has had connections with many groups on the extreme right. In particular he was the organiser of the AVO from 1986 until its closure in 1992. The AVO has a programme which is anti-semitic. It has also been associated with revisionists such as Zundel and has contacts with neo-Nazis. Althans has been convicted of incitement to racial hatred and defaming the memory of the dead. According to Funke, Althans was much inluenced by Remer. He can be seen in the video of a meeting at Munich on 21st April 1990 and in a video of the Leuchter Congress in Munich on 23rd March 1991. According to the Defendants, Althans has organised many of Irving's speaking engagements in Germany. He also organised a dinner on the anniversary of Hitler's birthday which Irving attends. The relationship between the two men deteriorated in the early 1990's.

10.11 Karl Philipp:

Philipp was an active member of the NPD in the 1970's and 1980's. He has been fined for incitement of the people and defamation. He has written for a number of neo-Nazi newspapers. He has worked with Ahmed Rami. He can be seen in the video of the meeting at Munich on 21st April 1990, which was attended by Irving. Irving met him in 1989. According to the Defendants, Phillip subsequently arranged speaking tours for him. He was involved in the production of Irving's video Ich Komme Wieder.

10.12 Christian and Ursual Worch:

The Worchs founded the Akionsfront Nationale Sozialisten ("ANS"). After the it was banned, Chirstian Worch became a member and later one of the leaders of the Gesinnungsgemeinshaft der neuen Front ("GdNF"). From 1993 he was deputy chairman of the NL. He has a conviction for contravening the ban on the ANS. He can be seen in videos of a meeting at Hagenau on the 12th November 1989; the meeting at Munich on 21st April 1990; the Leuchter Congress in Munich on 23rd March 1991 and the meeting at Halle on 9th November 1991. All these meetings were attended by Irving. According to Funke, he has organised speaking engagements for Irving on behalf of the NL; they have spoken at together in public and they correspond regularly. Ursula Worch is active in the same groups as her husband.

10.13 Thies Christophersen:

Christophersen was an SS-Sonderfuhrer in a plant nursery near Auschwitz. In 1973 he published Die Auschwitz-Luge or The Auschwitz Lie. He has sought the re-legalisation of the Nazi party. In 1988 he appeared at the trial of Ernst Zundel trial in Toronto. In his evidence Funke contended that he was responsible for organising the meeting at Hagenau on 12th November 1989. At this meeting were Faurisson and Zundel among others.

10.14 Michael Swierczek/National Offensive:

Swierczek has been a member of ANS. In 1990 he founded the NO, which was banned in December 1992. In 1995 he was convicted for attempts to revive the ANS/NA. According to Funke, he is one of the more important functionaries in the militant neo-Nazi scene. He has also been involved with the GdNF. Irving spoke at an NO meeting in 1992 where he was introduced by Worch.

10.15 Wilhelm Staglich:

Staglich was stationed at Auschwitz before 1945. In 1972 he was a member of the NPD. Having been disciplined for his connection with a right-wing extremist newspaper, he retired from his job as a judge in 1975. He published a book The Auschwitz Myth. Legends and Reality? In 1987 his doctorate from the University of Gottingen was removed. He has been a member of the Editorial Advisory Committee of the IHR's Journal of Historical Review. He has had contacts with Althans and Christophersen. He died in the middle of the 1990's. He can be seen in the videos of the Hagenau meeting on the 12th November 1989, the meeting at Munich on 21st April 1990 and the Leuchter Congress in Munich on 23rd March 1991. Irving appeared alongside Staglich at the 5th IHR Conference in September 1983.

10.16 Ahmed Rami:

Rami is a Swede. According to Funke, he is an anti-semite who speaks frequently about the so-called 'Zionist Mafia'. He is alleged to be a close ally of Faurisson. He and Irving both spoke at the Leuchter Congress in Munich in March 1991 and at the 11th IHR Conference in 1992.

10.17 Pedro Varela:

According to Funke, he is a revisionist and neo-Nazi who now lives in Spain. He can be seem in the video of the Leuchter Congress in Munich on 23rd March 1991. He organised a speaking tour of Spain for Irving in 1989 and had been in contact with him before that.

10.18 Ernst Zundel:

Zundel is a leading revisionist. His company is alleged to be one of the biggest producers of neo-Nazi and racist material in the world. He is the author of The Hitler We Loved and Why. In his evidence Funke described as a kind of pupil of Remer. He can be seen in the video of the Hagenau meeting on the 12 November 1989. Irving appeared at his first trial in Canada in 1986. Zundel and Irving subsequently corresponded regularly. Irving appeared also at Zundel's second trial in 1988.

10.19 Otto Ernst Remer:

Remer was formerly a Commander of the Berlin Watch Regiment 'Gross Deutschland', which helped to crush the revolt against Hitler on 20 July 1944. He co-founded the SRP which was banned in 1952. In the 1980s he founded the neo-Nazi German Freedom Movement. In the 1990s he was convicted for incitement to racial hatred. Funke alleges that he has extensive contacts with strands of right wing extremism in Germany and abroad. He can be seen in the video of the meeting at Munich on 21 April 1990. Irving has interviewed Remer and written favourably about him regularly in his Action Reports.

10.20 Ingrid Weckert:

Weckert is a leader of the GdNF group 'Action Protection of Life', which uses ecological and biological ideas to promote a form of racial purity for Aryans. Irving has been in contact with her since 1979. She has been convicted for inciting racial hatred.

10.21 Thomas Dienel:

Dienel was the state chairman of the NPD in Thuringen. He helped to organise the rally in Halle on 9 November 1991. He also led the Thuringen neo-Nazi DNP founded in 1992. In 1992 he was convicted of incitement of the people and defaming the memory of the dead. He can be seen in the video of the meeting at Halle on 9 November 1991. He was one of the organisers of that meeting; he spoke on the same platform as Irving and Christian Worch.

10.22 Gottfried Kussel:

Kussel has been a member of the NSDAP/AO since 1977. According to Funke, he is a leading activist in the German and Austrian neo-Nazi scenes. He has been sentenced in Austria for National Socialist activity. In his evidence Funke stated that he has worked closely with Christian and Ursula Worch and with Althans. He has been one of the leading figures in the GdNF. He can be seen in the video of the meeting at Halle on 9th November 1991 which had helped to organise.

10.23 The Institute of Historical Review ("IHR") (including Mark Weber, Tom Marcellus and Greg Raven):

The IHR was founded in the US in 1979. It is alleged to be an organisation which is well-known for its denial of the Holocaust. It organises annual 'Revisionist' conferences. It produces the Journal of Historical Review ("JHR"). Irving first appeared at its conference in 1980 and has subsequently participated in five further conferences. In 1991 Irving is alleged to have organised a meeting between Weber of the IHR and Weckert of the DVU in Germany. Irving's works are promoted in IHR literature. The IHR is involved in arranging some of Irving's speaking tours in the United States.

10.24 National Alliance:

the National Alliance is a large neo-Nazi organisation in the US led by William Pierce. It is right-wing, racist and anti-Semitic. In his answers to pre-trial requests by the Defendants for information Irving stated:

"I have no association with the body known to the Defendants as the National Alliance as such or whatsoever. I cannot rule out that members of that organisation ... have attended functions at which I spoke. ... I do not agree that I have spoken at any National Alliance meetings. It might be that on occasions a gentleman who was a member of the National Alliance offered to organise a lecture for me. In other words, he undertook to find a suitable room. But I then circulated 'my' entire local mailing list to provide an audience. No doubt he brought his friends as well...".

It is the case for the Defendants that those answers are false. They contend that Irving has spoken at three National Alliance meetings, one of which was recorded on video and which shows Irving speaking with an Alliance banner visible on a wall to one side of him. They rely further on Irving's correspondence and diary entries as showing that he received an invitation on headed National Alliance notepaper to speak at a meeting arranged by that organisation. One of Irving's diary entries records that the meeting which was he was to address that evening was "also organised by the National Alliance". The Defendants also produced a National Alliance bullet in which report one of Irving talks at a meeting of a branch of the organisation. The rely in addition on the recording of the talk he gave in Tampa, Florida in 1996 in which Irving is welcomed by the chairman "on behalf of the National Alliance". National Alliance literature, which is on sale at the meetings arranged by the organisation, reveals that membership is limited to "non-Jewish Whites", who support the goals of the organisation which include building a new White world, the advancement of the Aryan race and the restoration of White living space.

10.25 Robert Faurisson:

Faurisson is a former French literature teacher who has argued that Anne Frank's diary is a forgery; that the gas chambers and the genocide of the Jews are lies and that there is a Jewish conspiracy to exploit the Holocaust in order to obtain money for Israel. He gave evidence at the first Zundel trial in 1986. He has been found guilty of distorting history and incitement to racial hatred in France. Faurisson has attended and spoken at IHR conferences; he is a member of the editorial board of its journal. Faurisson can be seen in the video for the Hagenau meeting on the 12th November 1989. Irving has on several occasions spoken on the same platform as Faurisson. He also spoke in 1991 at Clarendon Club meeting organised by Irving. The two men have corresponded regularly.

Irving's response

10.26 Irving agrees that he did from time to time, prior to being prohibited from entering Germany, address both the NPD and the DVU. They were organisations which were under German's strict laws both legal and constitutional; they were not extremist. Irving was critical of what he regards as the repressive laws in place in Germany which have the effect of stifling freedom of expression. Irving said that he had disclosed in the action transcripts of his addresses: there was nothing extremist in what he said. He had not spoken of Holocaust denial or engaged in anti-semitism at any of these meetings. Irving agreed that Deckert of the NPD is a friend with whom he is in regular contact. But there has been nothing extremist or anti-semitic in the correspondence which they have exchanged.

10.27 In regard to the list of alleged extremists compiled by Funke, Irving described them as an "ugly ragbag of neo-Nazi extremists". He claimed that most of the names were completely unknown to him. He pointed out that the Defendants and their team of experts and lawyers have spent many man-hours trawling through his diaries and other papers looking for mention of them. For the most part the trawl has been unsuccessful. Irving also mounted the argument that it would not be in the least reprehensible for him to associate with somebody holding extremist views. It would be objectionable to associate with extremists only if they were violent.

10.28 Irving sees this part of the Defendants' plea of justification as an attempt at "guilt by association", comparable with the worst excesses of the McCarthy era in the US. As an illustration of what he regarded as an attempt by the Defendants to smear him, Irving cited Funke's claim that a man named simply as "Thomas" in his diary was in fact Thomas Dienel. But Irving said never learned Thomas's last name and has not, to his knowledge, ever encountered Dienel. In the same way, the Defendants had introduced into the evidence Michael Kuhnen. But, said Irving, he had explicitly said he would not attend any function at which he was present and had never had anything to do with him.

10.29 Of the individuals identified by the Defendants, Irving submitted that "shorn of their commercial packaging, they do not amount to very much". Althans was accepted by Irving to be an extremist, although that had not been apparent when they first met. Irving regretted his acqaintance with him. As to Philip, Irving agreed that he is a friend and a revisionist. His position in relation to Zundel was similar: he agreed that he is a revisionist holding right-wing political views but considers him to be a respectable man who is "free of any conviction". He holds no brief for Zundel's particular views and "wild horses would not make him read some of his books". He described his relationship with Christopherson as "tenuous". Irving admitted to an association with Varela and Weckert. Despite the evidence of meetings which they attended together and the correspondence exchanged between them, Irving was reluctant to admit any association between them. As to Staglich, Irving testified that he did not speak to him at the Hagenau dinner to commemorate Hitler's birthday but did have breakfast with him the following morning. Irving denies any association with Rami or Kussel (although he agreed that he has shared a platform with both of them on one occasion). His only contact with Remer (who he accepted is "an unreconstructed Nazi") was to interview him for a book He had no recollection of Swierczek and categorically denied any association with Dienel.

10.30 Irving acknowledged that he is friendly with both the Worches but not intimately so. It was Ursula Worch who invited him to speak at the rally at Halle. Irving was at pains to refute the Defendants' claim that the video of that meeting revealed him to be associating with well-known extremist in an environment where Nazi slogans, salutes and uniforms were much in evidence. In the first place, asserted Irving, the video has been edited and re-edited so as to make it appear compromising. In any case he spoke briefly at the meeting, taking no part in the procession beforehand and leaving promptly after he had spoken. He can be seen shaking his head in disapproval at the Nazi slogans. He paid little attention to the others on the platform. There was nothing about Holocaust denial in his speech.

10.31 In relation to the IHR, Irving said that it included elements which are "cracked anti-semites". But he said that its officials nearly all held academic qualifications. Irving claimed that he had tried to introduce to the IHR what he called "mainline historians". He said he had never been an official of the IHR. He agreed that he has on several occasions spoken at their meetings (though he put it that he had done so no more than "occasionally"). He spoke on historical events, some of them uncomfortable for his audience. There was nothing extremist in what he said. It was not his decision to include reports of those speeches in the IHR Newsletter. He accepted that he regards the IHR as an ally but claimed that his association with them is minimal.

10.32 Irving claimed that he had no knowledge of neo-Nazi nature of the National Alliance. He had not seen or read the literature put out by the organisation. He had no interest in it. Although his diary records his having "set up the room" for one of his talks, he had not noticed that the literature of the Association was on sale at the meetings at which he spoke. He asserted that his denial in the pre-trial answers to the Defendants' request for information of any association with the National Alliance was true. He had not noticed the National Alliance banner which can be seen in the video of his talk in Tampa, Florida in 1996. He corresponded with Gliebe (who is a prominent member of the Alliance) because he is a personal friend. The headed National Alliance notepaper used by Gliebe meant nothing to him. The three meetings at which he spoke were not National Alliance meetings. He agreed that an entry in his diary refers to meetings being organised by the National Alliance but claimed that he had not the slightest notion who those people were. He also agreed that his diary makes reference to a Nazi-style introduction at one of the meetings at which he spoke and to Nazi-looking crackpots being present but explained that he had no control over who was present.

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