Fakes & Frauds II: David Irving
The Pathologist's Report:
An autopsy on the remains of David Irving
By Gregory Douglas
An aging David Irving, who has begun to look more and more like a demented Rudolf Hess with lantern jaw and sunken eyes, was once considered the enfant terrible of the world of historical writers.
Now, he is merely the enfant, having slipped into almost total obscurity. This diminution of public attention is highly distressing to Irving, the victim of a deprived, fatherless childhood, who lusts after public attention like a hart panteth after water, but in his case the well has run dry.
His early books such as the "Destruction of Dresden," first published in 1963, were well-researched and crafted but the decline set in early and progressed to the terminal state, an awful biography of Hitler's propaganda minister, Josef Goebbels, published in 1996, and based to a considerable degree upon Soviet forgeries:
The Moscow " Goebbels Diaries"
There are other episodes discussed here which encompass both documentary frauds and what Trevor-Roper termed "unchecked human testimony." (H.R. Trevor-Roper, "The Last Days of Hitler", New York, 1947, p. 197, notes)
The collapse of the Soviet Union may have seen the temporary end of Russian expansionism, but it did not see a termination to an incredible outpouring of documentary forgeries which have plagued the historical world since the beginning of the Twentieth Century.
Russian historical experts working for the NKVD and its successor, the KGB, conducted, and still are conducting, a prolific forgery factory in Moscow. These products have sown dissension and confusion in the ranks of legitimate historians and journalists. The former are more difficult to delude, but the latter, eager for sensational material with which to reap profits, are extraordinarily careless in assessing the accuracy of offerings from Muscovite document peddlers.
Aside from extensively rewriting their own history, Russian forgery experts spent most of their time in producing material designed to delude, confound and mislead their perceived enemies, both domestic and foreign. Much of this began after the Second World War with extensive rewriting, editing and deliberate forgeries of German military and political documents designed to embarrass the United States and its client, the West German government, as well as to elevate the image of their own regime.
Faked reports dealing with the purported death of Hitler began the deluge and these were followed by endless papers concerning the fate of Martin Bormann who the Soviets claimed was living somewhere in the West, probably protected by the insidious Americans. The same creative writers also heavily edited and enhanced the records of German Army Group Center, captured by their military units, when that entity was overrun during the war.
The purpose of this exercise was to supply proof that German General Adolf Heusinger, nominated for a high NATO position, had been involved in war crimes on the Eastern Front during the course of the war. The KGB intermingled original, relatively unimportant documents with doctored or completely invented papers, released these through their agencies in the West and awaited the results. Fortunately, other period copies of the original documents were safe in German and American archives and comparisons quickly disclosed the fraudulent nature of the Heusinger attack. (See Security and reduced tension: On the occasion of the 70. birthday of
general (ret.) Adolf Heusinger. 4 August 1967. Markus-Verlagsgesellschaft, Cologne 1967.)
Many documents were prepared over the years in the event that they might be needed for a future propaganda assault and then left secure in Soviet archives.
In addition to these activities, the KGB experts also concocting material proving that many American prisoners of war remained in Vietnam after the American withdrawal, and Mr. Morris, an American historian, was taken in by these as period articles in the New York Times show. Also produced was a series of badly forged papers proving that US citizen, John Demjanjuk, was a notorious German concentration camp guard, which was exposed in U.S. Federal Court proceedings in Virginia. Both of these projects were eventually exposed as frauds, but the problems they engendered during their brief life span were monumental.
One of the most ambitious Soviet productions concerned the writings of Dr. Josef Goebbels, Hitler's brilliant Minister of Propaganda, who killed himself and his family in the Berlin Führerbunker in 1945. Dr. Goebbels was a devoted diarist, setting forth his experiences and thoughts on a daily basis beginning in the 1920s and running through to the final days in Berlin.
After he became Minister of Propaganda, these records were dictated by Goebbels on the following day and typed by a secretary on special paper using a large-type continental typewriter. An original and two carbons were made and the completed documents carefully stored. It should be noted that with the increasing pressures of his offices, Goebbels no longer had the time to write out his diary by hand, but always dictated it to a secretary on the day following the events he wished to record.
After the war, in 1946, a book appeared in East Berlin entitled Extracts and Confessions of a War Criminal and purported to be quotes from the Goebbels' diaries. It was later discovered that the book, which was entirely fictitious, was written by one Max Fechner, a well-known German communist, once the deputy head of the Socialist Unity Party, and a colleague of the German communist leader, Walter Ulbricht, who had spent the war in Moscow amongst his friends.
In 1967, Soviet historian Jelena Rshewskaja published a book in East Berlin entitled Hitlers Ende ohne Mythos (Hitler's end without Myth) in which she discusses having inspected "thick folders of handwritten Goebbels material" found in the bunker. In the same year, the pump was further primed by a similar report from Juliusz Stroynowski, a historian from Communist Poland who had fled to the West. He disclosed that he had accidentally discovered "several stacked folders" of handwritten Goebbels' diaries "in the archives of the Soviet Ministry of Defense." Stroynowski claimed that he had been permitted to examine the material, but was not allowed to make copies of any of it.
The stage was now set in the press and interest aroused. The actual purported diaries were disclosed once again, this time to British journalist John Costello, who again was only permitted to look and not to copy, according to a letter from Costello to Robert Crowley in 1991. A copied document is, in the hands of any journalist or academic, a published document. And a published document which has passed from the control of its owner, and in the case of the Goebbels material, its creator, cannot be sold for profit.
Because handwritten documents on the original, special paper Goebbels used would have been nearly impossible to successfully fake, the new Soviet line was that the documents had actually been typed and then put onto glass negatives. These were hidden by the Germans in cases where the Soviets were able to "discover" them after the war. Having altered the Goebbels' diaries from "several stacked folders" of handwritten material to a box of more easily forged photographs of typed manuscript, the Russians began to offer their rare, politically-incorrect material to sources in Germany for sale and publication. German experts universally rejected these productions as completely fake.
Genuine Goebbels papers are to be found in the archives of the Hoover Institute at Stanford University in California (1942-1943), the German State Archives in Koblenz, the Institute for Contemporary History in Munich, and in the hands of the collector and archivist, Francois Genoud in Switzerland. Much of this original material has been published and is well-known to the academic world. But the documents originating in Moscow, especially the glass-negative photographic copies, are entirely spurious and were initially designed with political propaganda in mind, though later sold for a considerable sum of money to a British tabloid journalist intent on publishing them as his own political propaganda, and, of course, the unavoidable David Irving tried to make profit from this as well.
Like the fictitious Walter Schellenberg "memoirs" published under the title The Labyrinth, the dissemination of the equally fake Soviet produced Goebbels' Papers does a tremendous disservice to legitimate historians and researchers into whose works some of this contaminated material will eventually seep.
The temptation to embroider historical facts to fit a particular ideological point of view is difficult for some journalists to successfully resist. Some might well accept a faked Goebbels file, if, for example, it were prove that Hitler did not order a holocaustic killing of European Jews, while others might well use the medium of a questionable interview to prove the contrary.
Based to a very large degree on completely fictitious documentation prepared by the former Soviet KGB as political disinformation, Irving's biography of Dr. Goebbels is full of pointless anecdotes, sniggering sexual innuendo and leaves an objective reader with the distinct feeling that the book should have been written in the sort of soft crayon supplied to therapy patients in locked wards.
Flaws and Deficiencies in Irving's Books
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.
Irving ascended, or descended (depending entirely upon the view of the reader), from a pro-German writer to a fierce and highly partisan supporter of Adolf Hitler, his acquired and well-worshipped father figure, and an intemperate and completely inaccurate denigrator of his legion of critics. He had access to the personal diaries of a number of luminaries of the Third Reich and was able to publish a great deal of interesting information that proved to be of limited use to legitimate historians. Unfortunately for students of history, most historical diaries are, more often than not, completely self-serving and Irving's interpretations of them have proved to be equally so.
His major fault as a historical writer, aside from a serious lack of literary style, has been that he wrote to an idea and instead of making a study of authentic documentary, as opposed to anecdotal, sources, he selected material that supported his various ideological thesis and deliberately ignored anything else that might refute the ideas he tried to nourish in the minds of his readers. Also, Irving has no problem whatsoever in inventing conversations or archival records and putting these spurious evidences into his political screeds with perfect aplomb.
The respected historian John Lukacs has devoted what amounts to more space than he deserves to Irving in his 1997 book, "The Hitler of History." In this work, which is a scholarly and reasonably balanced work on Hitler's place in historical reporting, Lukacs, on pages 229 through 232 points out a small sampling of Irving's deliberate distortions of records and his habit of not identifying any references for important assertions.
In a number of specific cases, it is obvious that Irving has simply invented sources, quotes and other supportive data.
British author and historian Martin Middlebrook has dealt with Irving's failings very clearly in his 1973 book, "The Nuremberg Raid." On pages 293 through 296, Middlebrook dissects a story that Irving reported in his work "And the German Cities Did Not Die-A Documentary Account" published by a small, right-wing Swiss house in 1963. In this book, Irving stated categorically that the Germans had learned in advance about the disastrous 1944 British air raid on Nuremberg in which a very large percentage of the raiding aircraft were lost to German action. Irving quotes three British airmen, who were prisoners of war in Germany, to the effect that the Germans had prior knowledge of this raid. Very extensive research on the part of Middlebrook proved that two of the named airmen had no knowledge whatsoever of the statements attributed to them by Irving, in fact flatly denying them, and the third alleged witness simply never existed anywhere except in Irving's imagination.
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.
Irving has developed an understandably strong interest in the subject of forgeries, loudly criticizing the authenticity of any documents discovered and utilized by any other writer whose work refutes his own pet theories and postulations. In these denunciations, he is shrill, vindictive and completely devoid of substance, lending some credence to the old saying that it is the kicked dog that yelps.
Also in his "Hitler's War", Irving states on page xxiii that postwar faked Mussolini diaries were "perpetuated by two Italian nuns." If Irving had taken the trouble to research the subject, he would have found that the forgeries, which fooled all of the recognized experts, had been prepared by an Italian woman named Amalia Panvini and her eighty-four-year old mother. At the time Irving made this statement, the actual and accurate information on these faked diaries was certainly well-known, especially in England, and reference to it can be found in the highly entertaining book by Robert Harris entitled "Selling Hitler" which appeared in 1986. The section on the Panvini fraud can be found on pages 289-290. This work also contains a number of uncomplimentary commentaries on Irving's personal behavior in the Hitler diary scandal including references to a £26,000 overdraft on Irving's bank account.
It is an enormous series of errors of omission and commission that render Irving's literary excursions into historical fiction as little more than propaganda pamphlets for the promulgation of the godhead of Adolf Hitler and which have no place in the history section of any library. A compilation of these errata would fill, at the very least, a small book and are viewed as absolutely appalling by any serious historical researcher, regardless of whatever point of view they espouse. Most of this exposed errata is of such a nature as to very clearly establish that David Irving is either an ideological fabricator of the worst kind or a grossly incompetent and thoroughly careless researcher.
On Irving's Personality
His desperate craving to be noticed, to be the cynosure of all eyes, once led him to initially attack the authenticity of the Stasi-created "Hitler Diaries" that caused so much amusing havoc in the publishing world in 1983, and then, seeing that the tide appeared to be running in the favor of their authenticity, Irving at once publicly reversed himself and claimed that the terrible fakes were indeed authentic. According to a British writer, Irving was the first to call the documents fake and the last to authenticate them. By doing this, Irving certainly obtained the print media attention that he so frantically craves, but in the long view, he forever destroyed the tattered remnants of his professional reputation.
Irving, who once enjoyed considerable fame and recognition in ideological circles, has certainly given validity to the statement by Charles DeGaulle that old age is shipwreck. His extramarital adventures in sundry different arenas cost him his wife and daughters and his increasingly polarized and erratic political views resulted in his being banned from Germany, Canada, Australia, Italy, Russia and New Zealand. There is a strong, and hopefully successful, movement in train to have him permanently banned from entry into the long-suffering United States. This would leave only France and England for Irving to sport in. The French, it should be noted, revere the actor Jerry Lewis as a brilliant performer and the British are simply stuck with him.
Being banned from a county in no way discourages Irving. In August of 1998, Irving ostensibly came to America to address what he claimed was a "crowd" of thousands at a meeting in Buffalo, New York. He did indeed travel to Buffalo but instead of addressing the multitude from the balcony of the city hall in emulation of the Führer or the Pope on Easter Sunday, he was quietly driven into Canada via Windsor, and did address a meeting of his Canadian minions in Montreal where he regaled the house with his daring exploits in swimming across a river in the dead of night and escaping Canadian border guards and their snarling dogs. Since Irving has considerable difficulty getting in and out of his bathtub due to various infirmities, it is doubtful that he could brave more than a tepid wading pool at a day care center.
A head count of the Montreal meeting disclosed that the total number of attendees was one hundred and five, three less than his biggest house in Los Angeles, earlier in the year. At the Los Angeles meeting, held in a motel meeting hall by the Institute for Historical Review, Irving sold an incredible fifteen copies of his book on Goebbels. The impressively titled Institute was once a reputable historical revisionist entity but was taken over by ideological radicals. They once produced a historical journal with a large circulation, but chronic mismanagement coupled with expensive legal problems has reduced their subscription list to a few hundred individuals of the type who once worshipped Irving, and their slim "Journal" appears about as often as Irving's books after the fall. One of its two "directors" was once arrested in Germany for defacing a Catholic church.
On this particular trip to Los Angeles, as on many others, Irving was accompanied by a very young woman who was passed off as a "research assistant." His antics with her were such that his California host had to remove them from his home and put them up at a local hotel where the bill for three days of frolic and extensive overseas telephone calls amounted to over three thousand dollars. But still Irving made his presence known to the masses, diminished though their numbers might be.
Where once he addressed large crowds of screaming young former East Germans, his later meetings with his admirers are confined to small motel rooms with thirty or forty strange, pale people of the sort who believe in flying saucers and Martin Bormann's survival as a fruit stand operator in Brazil.
When Irving's book on Goebbels was finally rejected by the mainline American publishing company of St. Martin's Press as being absolutely impossible from a literary standpoint, Irving lost his last pretense to being a legitimate historical writer and has been reduced to publishing his own screeds.
However, as long as vanity presses exist, Irving will always be able to pay someone to print his increasingly disoriented books.
These he has dragged around the United States in a rented car, offering them like so many wilted cabbages to the attendees of Nazi relic shows. Even this avenue has finally been closed to Irving who was unceremoniously forbidden entrance to the prestigious American Military Extravaganza show held on a yearly basis in Pennsylvania and he is now totally dependent on occasional sales to those of his devoted followers who are still at liberty or above room temperature.
In England, a photograph was published in a British newspaper in 1984 that showed Irving, in shabby clothes, selling his book, "The Destruction of Dresden" on the sidewalk in front of his apartment house on Duke Street, a practice that eventually resulted in his being ordered by the police to cease and desist because of a flood of complaints by his neighbors.
At the same time he was proffering his books like overripe melons to disinterested passersby, Irving was also accused by the same police report of making "loud and incoherent" speeches about his persecutions by "powerful Jewish groups." Stories of persecutions, including break-ins at his flat and public assaults, are part and parcel of Irving's standard speech to his loyalists.
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.
Irving constantly alludes to death threats, assassination plots, attempted kidnappings, avoided beatings, projected arsons and on and on to impress upon others, having first impressed it upon himself, that he is indeed a man of great importance in the scheme of things and a heroic and dauntless fighter for what he calls "Real History."
This small band of fanatical followers continue to fan the dead ashes of his career with worshipful, if badly scrawled, letters, homemade fruitcakes and small checks. If it were not for this support, Irving and Bente, his young Danish paramour, would have to go onto public assistance.
Of course there is a very strong belief in many circles, some official, that Irving has, in the past, received large amounts of money from various Saudi and Syrian groups in order to encourage him to harass and embarrass the Jewish community.
Once Irving drove a Rolls Royce, but now rides a bicycle or takes public transportation. He lives in an apartment that has one small room set aside as "David Irving's War Room" and the walls of the entire establishment are covered with hundreds of pictures of David Irving in various mock-heroic poses as well as a number of sketches by the late, former Nazi Minister of Armaments, Albert Speer.
This interesting individual spent his own declining years making small ink sketches and passing them off, for considerable sums of money, to true believers and the gullible as "original Hitler artworks."
It seems ironic that Irving, whose career has been based on self-delusion, prevarication and a frenzied campaign of Hitler-worship, would, in the end, have his apartment walls covered in sacred Hitlerian relics that are as fake as his own documentary references.
Miss Hogh was interviewed for an article in the "Spectator" on April 27, 1996, and her comments on her lover are both amusing and instructive. The reporter, Nicholas Farrell, noted that Irving was constantly complaining in his presence about the fact that his mistress was not keeping the apartment clean and certainly not ironing his shirts. The interview was then moved to a nearby cafe where Ms. Hogh explained that Irving was a very moody, unpredictable man, an egoist who reveled in his disruption of governments and institutions and who boasted often, long and loudly about his many lawsuits against anyone he disliked.
And Irving apparently disliked nearly everyone who did not view him as having a nimbus surrounding his fundament.
The interview also disclosed that Irving was obsessive about his eating habits, demanding that his coffee cup be pre-heated in boiling water, that his beer be served in a frosted glass and that he refused to cook any meals or perform even the most simple of household tasks. This lack of breeding has manifested itself a number of times over the years when Irving is engaged in speaking engagements in the United States. He has been known to severely criticize his hosts for not serving him the kind of food he is used to or in neglecting to provide the sort of creature comforts he deems proper to his station in life. Also, Irving, as a rule, will never thank his hosts for their hospitality.
While Ms Hogh expressed no particular animosity towards Jews, one of Irving's most obsessive topics, she did indicate that both of them shared a hearty and highly vocal detestation of individuals of the colored persuasion who have emigrated to the United Kingdom from its former colonies. At one time, Irving founded a political party in England, with a mercifully short lifespan, that advocated rounding up all the "Coloured people in England", putting them into detention camps and then deporting them to any country that would accept them. It is obvious from this that Irving has made excellent use of his research into similar activities during the course of what he firmly believes is his very own Third Reich.
In conclusion, Ms. Hogh also stated that her lover was sadistic towards others, supporting published interviews with Irving himself who stated that he was a very strong believer in corporal punishment.
Irving has always denigrated women, claiming that they were intellectually inferior to men, and it has been openly discussed, and published in at least one book, by Alexander Baron, whether or not Irving was homosexual. Given his frenzy to sue anyone who publishes even the most mild criticism of him, it is strange that Irving never filed a suit against Mr. Baron for his published and well-circulated accusations.
While Irving takes every opportunity to criticize women, he very publicly and aggressively drags around an assortment of attractive younger women on his book-selling tours. One of these, a 22-year old Miami waitress named Charlene Touhy, a high school dropout, was introduced as his "research assistant" and shown off to his hosts and admirers in America. Eventually a severely chastened, and apparently well-blistered, Charlene departed the Irving menage and has made a number of very unkind remarks about the world-renowned writer, calling him, among other printable things, "Mr. Spanky", which needs no further comment.
Mr. Baron has produced no evidence in support of his accusations but there are a series of letters that have surfaced between Irving and someone named Diane Schreiber that might bear on this issue. Schreiber, a resident of Keene, New Hampshire, ran a Nazi relic emporium called "Brandenburg Militaria" and became closely associated with Irving when he was still permitted to attend the larger militaria shows in America. After establishing contact in the mid-90s, Schreiber and Irving have kept in constant touch with each other by letter, fax, email as well as personal contact.
The only flaw in what on the surface might appear to be a romantic interlude is that Diane Schreiber is actually one Frank Russo, a fact which becomes quickly obvious to any first-hand observer. It is doubtful in the extreme that Irving is unaware of the real gender, cross-dressing and other inclinations of his close associate but perhaps their shared interests extend well beyond busts of Josef Goebbels and photo albums of blonde, well-muscled former East German soldiers.
As Irving's star sinks quickly, and mercifully, from the sight of mortal men, the failed writer had loudly blamed a great catalog of mythic enemies for his eclipse and obliteration. He sets these earth-shattering truths forth in a newsletter for his true believers called "David Irving's Action Report" which reads like the product of a remedial middle-school class in beginning journalism and contains such weighty statements as ..."Today a man gave me a ride in a big car"...and shows a picture of a small child looking at plant life over the caption..."Jessica sees the big leaf." This occasional publication, printed on yellow paper, covers Irving’s daily activities, his travels, his sore feet, waitresses he has met, the weather in various cities he visits and a plethora of miscellany of endless and boring intensity.
In the years following his decline and fall, Irving has increasingly sought more publicity by filing legal actions against as many people as he can identify as having criticized his inaccuracy, ideological nonsense and general literary buffoonery. His lawsuits, which he files in his own name, being unable, as he falsely claims, to afford an attorney, are universally thrown out by the courts but only after he has put his victims through great expense and travail.
On July 22, 1994, the "Guardian" published a story about Irving receiving public aid to permit him to file suit against "The Sunday Times." Public aid, in this case, was granted because Irving was believed to be significantly below the poverty level. How much money Irving has is not known. It is known that he keeps several accounts in Florida banks in which he hides the money he gets from selling books in America. Irving does this to avoid the payment of taxes to the British Inland Revenue and the American IRS.
Libel laws in England are very severe and Irving has delusional hopes that his victims will pay him off and avoid the expenses of lawsuits. To date, no one has accommodated him and he has seen case after case thrown out of court by indignant judges as having no merit whatsoever.
There is a provision in British law called barratry which prohibits the continuous filing of frivolous lawsuits and the courts in England have repeatedly threatened Irving with this but to no avail.
Irving became outraged by negative comments about his activities by American religious history professor, Deborah Lipstadt, a fanatic holocaust supporter and Jewish equivalent of David Irving, filing a libel suit against the academic and Penguin Books, her pubisher. Claiming, in this case rightly, that he had no funds, Irving made the enormous error of appearing as his own attorney in the case while Lipstadt was ably supplied with an the services of an excellent firm of British attorneys, paid for by the Jewish community. The outcome was never in doubt and Irving lost his case, the judge finding that he was not libeled.
British law had a provision that a litigating party in a civil action that loses his case, is responsible for the legal expenses of the winner. In this case, Irving would owe Lipstadt and her backers over three million dollars!
In essence, this defeat means that Irving can never publish, or republish, another book because all of his advances and royalties are subject to attachment. His publishers, one must note, are not held to answer for this but any monies intended for the author are now subject to seizure.
His Action Report has been filled with paranoid mutterings accusing anyone criticizing him with being an agent provocateur, a probable Zionist spy and a functional idiot. Irving’s newsletters read like the diaries of a paranoid in the final stages of disintegration, and he sees the hand of Zionism behind every unpleasant episode in his life, from inflamed piles, electrical problems to his recent eviction from his London apartment for bankruptcy. This Action Report, sent to his drooling devotees, was seized upon by the Lipstadt attorneys and used, very tellingly, against Irving in court.
Being what he is, Irving has viewed his crushing defeat as a stunning victory and has regaled cheering dozens throughout the United States with such idiotic phrases as "Yes, Irving has scored once more!" and "We certainly showed the other side who was right and who was wrong, didn’t we?"
In addition to his own lawsuits against others, Irving himself has been sued for copyright violations and accepting moneys given to him by foolish, small publishing houses for books that he has not, never will, or can, write for them. An article in the "Independent" of February 22, 1994 discussed Irving being thrown in jail in England because of a lawsuit against him for his refusal to return a £50,000 advance from a gullible German publisher. As Irving loudly claims to have no money, these lawsuits only serve to goad him into greater frenzies of manic activity.
No one seems to be successful in halting his increasingly disordered behavior and the catalog of his baseless charges, complaints, lawsuits and slanders continues unabated. One of his most insistent and meglomaniacal charges is that criticism of him and his scribblings has made him fearful of assassination! Famous, public figures like presidents and popes are assassinated, but the killing of David Irving would be far more in the way of euthanasia than assassination.
Instead of being ashamed of his lunatic antics, Irving boasted of them on what he called his "Inner Circle" website. This site, which he terms "a confidential location which I have created for the inner circle of my supporters at http://www.fpp.co.uk/ Inner/Circle.html" was a bizarre arena that was a compendium of whining pleas for money, psychotic and badly written attacks on everyone whom Irving sees as his enemy and delusional pages about his importance in the world order.
In addition to his Internet nuisances, Irving produced a pamphlet that was a color copy of a cover from the German "Stern" magazine, an institution that loathes him. This counterfeit printing, which Irving takes very seriously, is filled with pompous pictures of himself and is accompanied by a thoroughly faked cover story about his greatness, coupled with a fictitious abject apology from the editorial staff of the German magazine for having defamed him.
There have appeared, from Irving's hand, a number of his printed speeches which would indicate that he addressed a "Clarendon Club" in London. These speeches appear to be very well received by the audience with a number of textual comments such as "loud laugher" and "wild cheering" from what one would assume were the assembled, aristocratic guests. Unfortunately, there is no such club. Irving invented it and copyrighted the name so he could use it for his reportage. The speeches are made not to cheering upper-class Britons but to a tape recorder in his London flat and the background noises are not loud laughter and wild cheering but the domestic sounds of his housekeeper-cum-mistress vacuuming his carpets and dealing with a screeching child.
As a matter of fact, in reading through these dismal anti-Semitic and anti-black babblings, the observation could well be made that anyone who would either laugh at or wildly cheer the speaker's dismal bigotry would have to be either completely drunk or coked to the gills. Anyone who doubted that David Irving is a sane man needed only visit his "confidential location" to realize that Irving entertained a strong possibility of eventually ending up in a padded room, hopefully sooner rather than later, eating cold beans from a tin tray while someone with a monocle watches him through a peephole in the door.
Instead of a diet of bubble-and-squeak, an appalling cockney dish of fried cabbage and potatoes that Irving regularly indulges in, he will end up gobbling fistfuls of Thorazine and spending his golden years, tightly wrapped in a sheet and immersed in a tub of cold water. Here he will be able to endlessly chant paragraphs from "Mein Kampf" for the edification of his West Indian ward attendants and thoroughly soil the tub water.
Irving, in his "David Irving Fighting Fund" newsletter, written and mailed from a shabby, cut-rate shack in Key West, Florida, his "American Battle Headquarters", produces an endless series of whining requests for funds from the true believers, the "Inner Circle." Accompanying these tearful entreaties is a colored picture of an aging Irving clutching a very small child. This is presumably his out-of-wedlock daughter but if not, it makes him appear as an aged poster boy for pedophiles.
Irving moans that if he does not pay his rising legal bills, bills incurred solely because of the dismissals by various British courts of his endless and meritless lawsuits, he will be "driven from the battlefield of Real History forever." This is a consummation devoutly to be wished by anyone with a respect for written history and these feelings include historians of all beliefs and persuasions.
Eventually, as Irving's fortunes descended to somewhat below sea level, he has been reduced to asking his readers to pay the printer's bill for reprints of his "Hitler's War." Investors are assured that they will be given a note personally signed by the Master and will have the rare privilege of purchasing these books (which they have already paid for in advance) at a special low price. It would be entirely up to the investor to sell these charitable productions and since bookstores will no longer handle Irving's works, it is to be assumed that the investor will have to stand on street corners with a pushcart full of Irving's books in order to recoup his investment.
As an added incentive to the tardy of donation, Irving personally offers a color poster of Adolf Hitler and some of his staff. Heavy investors receive one of these rare treasures absolutely free but the general public has to pay for them. Irving's lecture tours are rapidly assuming the general appearance of something produced by the famous P.T. Barnum who, like Irving, believed that there was a sucker born every minute. Perhaps future listeners will be entertained by an Irving-operated Punch and Judy show followed by Irving singing "Knees Up Mother Brown." while strumming a five-string banjo.
Even those who espouse a right-of-center philosophy find him to be an acute embarrassment and spend a good deal of their time in distancing themselves from his shrill, hysteric mouthings.
In point of fact, if Irving wishes to view the enemy who has destroyed him he need only look in the bathroom mirror while shaving.
The British have a long record of cherishing eccentrics, and Irving is precisely the kind that ends up giving wild and emotional public speeches about his persecution by mysterious Jewish groups, speeches that would be filled with dramatic, Hitlerian gestures and what he considers biting sarcasm and wit. These speeches are not to crowds of cheering, teen-aged neo-Nazis, but to an audience composed of one small child engaged in picking his nose and a pensioner asleep on the same bench at London's famed Hyde Park corner. Here he can join legions of other eccentrics who daily fulminate on Global Warming, Scientology and Martians who send radio messages to the select via their dental fillings.
Instead of the cheers of hundreds, the only noises that now greet Irving's rants are the hootings of passing police vehicles and the rude, but not entirely unfitting, sounds emitted by a flatulent dog off to one side, and hopefully, downwind.
Should Irving, by some very remote chance, escape permanent residence in an asylum, and as his Inner Circle of admirers diminishes due to death or confinement, he will quite predictably end his career talking to himself in public transportation and writing long, rambling screeds, dealing in the main with the Passion of David Irving, incoherent mumblings that the local newspapers will soon cease to publish.
Finally, he will burst a blood vessel when he tries to find a rare, unautographed copy of one of his earlier books in a second hand book stall and hears a clerk say, "David Who?"
About Irving Dealing With Stolen Documents | About Irving's Paranoid Attacks on the Author
© Gregory Douglas, May 3, 2002
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