Whatever Happened To David Irving?

Posted by – February 16, 2011

David Irving’s Uprising is certainly one of the most exciting and gripping books that I’ve ever read. Not only is Uprising thrilling, it’s also a true story. Uprising is a factual account of the Hungarian uprising against the Soviet occupation in 1956, an uprising that saw 12-year-old boys successfully destroying Soviet tanks and that, for a period of four days, actually appeared to succeed before the Russians rolled back in and 200,000 Hungarians rolled out, most never to return.

David Irving

The tragic failed uprising nevertheless partially succeeded, since the hated ÁVH, the Hungarian secret police installed by the communists, were quickly disbanded, never to return. But Hungary was not to free itself from the communist grip until 1989, when the country began allowing people to cross the iron curtain freely into Austria, an act which ultimately spelt the end of the USSR.

On the whole, David Irving has done a fantastic job of chronicling the events of the failed revolution. So why is it that no large bookshop sells this book, and indeed the book can apparently only be had a reasonable price direct from Irving himself?

There is one simple, unfortunate answer to that question: David Irving believes that the Jewish Holocaust, that terrible low point in European history in which around six million Jews and five million non-Jews were gassed by the Nazis, never happened.

As soon as I discovered Irving’s views, I was intrigued. How can a man who has spent his life studying history, a man with obvious dedication and passion to his craft, come to a conclusion that contradicts the evidence of many eye witness accounts, as well as being sharply at variance with the opinion of all mainstream historians?

Reading Irving’s own books doesn’t really help to answer this question definitively, but elsewhere Irving states that it was the publication of the Leuchter Report that convinced him that the Holocaust never happened.

Amateur Chemistry

In 1988, an American by the name of Fred Leuchter secretly visited the former gas chambers at Auschwitz and took samples from the brickwork inside the chambers. Leuchter sent the samples to a chemist, Dr. James Roth, who, not knowing what they were, ground them up and analysed them for cyanide content. Roth found little or no cyanide in the samples; a result which was, as a horrified Roth later explained, entirely unsurprising. The techniques that Roth had used to analyse the samples were completely useless for the purpose Leuchter had in mind. Roth later said that analysing entire ground-up chunks of brick for cyanide that was potentially adsorbed onto the surface was like “analyzing paint on a wall by analyzing the timber that’s behind it”.

And yet such considerations have little impact on Irving’s opinion. Rather, Irving states that chemical tests of this kind represent cast-iron evidence, worth more in his view than the eye-witness testimony even of the Nazi guards who poured cyanide crystals into the gas chambers or the survivors who were forced to clear away the gassed bodies.

So here we have a man who in many ways is a brilliant historian, and yet who seems to be so insanely anti-semitic that he is prepared to take deeply flawed chemical evidence over and above the evidence of numerous eye-witnesses, not to mention a vast body of evidence documenting the barbarism of the Nazis and Hitler’s avowed intention to wipe out the Jews. What exactly happened to Irving that caused him to form such bizarre views?

The Destruction of Dresden

Irving apparently studied for a while at two British universities; then in 1959 he spent a year working as a steel worker in Germany, where he perfected his German. Indeed Irving now speaks with a German accent and at times gives the distinct impression of being more fluent in German than English. Prior to his time in Germany, he had apparently already displayed some tendencies towards being sympathetic with fascism and Nazism, among other things seconding the British fascist Oswald Mosley in a university debate.

David Irving Interview, 2008: “I was beaten heavily at school.”

While in Germany, Irving says that he was startled by the first-hand accounts he heard of the bombing of Dresden — a somewhat ironic statement given Irving’s later dismissal of eye-witness accounts of the Holocaust. Irving subsequently wrote a controversial but highly-acclaimed book, The Destruction of Dresden (1963). Irving would go on to write a biography of Adolf Hitler, Hilter’s War in 1977, a book which, as Irving’s intended publisher pointed out, failed to mention the wholesale gassing of the Jewish people. Perhaps this was the real beginning of the Jewish backlash against Irving and his works, a backlash that was to culminate in Irving’s books being removed from major bookshops, while major book publishers refused to publish Irving’s works.

Irving began to see himself as the victim of an organised international Jewish conspiracy directed against himself. Indeed, Jewish organisations had correctly identified a new and virulent possible source of anti-semitism in Irving; Irving was intelligent, methodical, charismatic — and willing to radically reinterpret the facts to suit his own anti-semitic view of history.

The understandable Jewish backlash against his work was perhaps the thing that finally pushed Irving towards the unsettling position he holds today, but his growing doubts about the Holocaust were undoubtedly fostered by his own research methods.

While researching Hitler’s War, Irving was remarkably good at getting the wives and former associates of dead Nazis to talk to him and hand over important documents, and Irving developed a style of historical research that involved laboriously getting to know the handwriting of former Nazis, reading their journals, diaries and memos and gradually piecing together an independent view of history.

Irving asserts that he found no evidence of the Holocaust anywhere in these documents; and indeed the Nazis were scrupulous in referring to the gas chambers by such vile euphemisms as “special treatment” or “resettlement”. A combination of his own fascist sympathies, the cameraderie he enjoyed with former Nazis, an excessive focus on documentation at the expense of eye-witness accounts, together with the Jewish reaction to his works, all seem to have combined to lead David Irving to the views he holds today.

Irving continues to sell books via his website and to tour the world giving talks. Besides the obvious tragedy that a man of Irving’s calibre has allied himself with anti-semites, thus ensuring that his books continue to be eschewed by major book stores and publishers, Irving’s historical research is also a casualty of his Nazi sympathies. Regarding his otherwise-excellent book, Uprising, Irving claims that he uncovered evidence that the Hungarian uprising started as an anti-Jewish pogrom. To bolster his claims, Irving reports a handful of comments regarding the Jewish origin of four of the leaders of the post-war communist government in Hungary. Yet his own book nowhere supports the idea that the uprising was any sort of pogrom.

Perhaps the bulk of Irving’s remaining audience now positively demands that his books be anti-semitic.

“I would like you to believe me. I saw the gas chambers. I saw the crematoria. I saw the open fires. I was on the ramp when the selections took place. I would like you to believe that these atrocities happened because I was there.”

– Oskar Gröning, former member of the SS stationed at Auschwitz concentration camp

Selected references:

Uprising! Hungary 1956: One Nation’s Nightmare

David Irving [Wikipedia article]

Focal Point Publications

Holocaust Denial On Trial

Leuchter Report [Wikipedia article]

Leuchter Report

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7 Comments on Whatever Happened To David Irving?

  1. Luis says:


    “Before we started work, few historians had actually gone to the trouble
    of subjecting any of Irving’s publications to a detailed analysis by taking
    his historical statements and claims and tracing them back to the original
    and other sources on which he claimed they rest. Doing so was
    an extremely time-consuming exercise, and most historians had better
    things to do with their time. Historians assumed that the work of fellow-
    historians, or those who purported to be fellow-historians, was reliable in
    its footnoting, in its translations and summaries of documents, and in its
    treatment of the evidence at a basic level. They might make mistakes and
    errors of fact, but they did not generally deliberately manipulate and distort
    documents, suppress evidence that ran counter to their interpretations,
    wilfully mistranslate documents in a foreign language, consciously
    use unreliable or discredited testimony when it suited their purpose, falsify
    historical statistics, or apply one standard of criticism to sources that
    undermined their views and another to those that supported them.


    In a very real sense, indeed, he evidently conceived of himself as carrying
    on Hitler’s legacy. Speaking to an audience in Calgary, Canada, in 1991, he
    revealed that he had once been described as a “self-confessed moderate fascist,” and added: “I strongly object to that word ‘moderate.”’


    All these facts cast serious doubts on the reliability of Hofmann’s testimony at Hitler’s trial. Hofmann was a long-standing Nazi supporter and party official who tried hard to present Hitler in a favorable light as a law-abiding citizen. This
    tactic was even recognized by the lenient court in 1924, which did not
    take his evidence on oath because it regarded him as biased. At the end
    of his evidence, the presiding judge complimented the ex-policeman on
    the fact “that you are speaking out on behalf of your leader.”

    The most important feature of these discrepancies, it seemed to me,
    was that Irving must have known the basic facts about the police witness
    and his testimony because he had read the transcript of Hofmann’s evidence.
    His failure to mention these facts could not be accidental in view
    of his intention to use the testimony in support of his position that Hitler
    was a friend of the Jews. So Irving must have deliberately concealed these
    salient facts about Hofmann and his evidence, and he made it more difficult
    for others to discover his deception by failing to provide a proper
    footnote reference to the document in which it was revealed.


    ‘Goebbels’, he wrote in 1996, ‘would highlight every malfeasance of the criminal demi-monde and identify it as Jewish. In the closing years of the Weimar republic, he was unfortunately not always wrong. In 1930 Jews would be convicted
    in forty-two of 210 known narcotics smuggling cases; in 1932
    sixty-nine of the 272 known international narcotics dealers were
    Jewish. Jews were arrested in over sixty percent of the cases concerning
    the running of illegal gambling dens; 193 of the 411 pick-pockets arrested
    in 1932 were Jews. In 1932 no fewer than thirty-one thousand cases of fraud,
    mainly insurance swindles, would be committed by Jews.’

    Where did he get these convincing-looking crime statistics? Irving
    gave the following detailed footnote reference for his claims:
    Interpol figures, in Deutsche Nachrichten-Buro (hereafter DNB),
    Jul 20, 1935; and see Kurt Daluege, ‘Judenfrage als Grundsatz,’ in
    Angrzfl, Aug 3, 1935 (Hauptamt Ordnungspolizei files, BA file R.
    19/406); on the criminal demi-monde of 1920s Berlin, see Paul
    Weigh, Unverruistliches Berlin. Bilderbuch der Reichshauptstadt
    seit 1919 (Zurich, 1955) and Walther Kiaulehn, Berlin: Schicksal
    einer Weltstadt (Munich, 1958).

    On checking out these references, which were, typically for Irving,
    without specific page numbers, I eventually managed to establish that
    while there were indeed sections in Kiaulehn’s and Weigh’s books that
    dealt with the Berlin criminal underworld, not a single reference could
    be found in either of the books to back up Irving’s claim that Jews
    dominated the crime scene.


    He relied on material that turned out directly to contradict
    his arguments when it was checked. He quoted from sources
    in a manner that distorted their authors’ meaning and purposes. He
    misrepresented data and skewed documents. He used insignificant and
    sometimes implausible pieces of evidence to dismiss more substantial
    evidence that did not support his thesis. He ignored or deliberately
    suppressed material when it ran counter to his arguments. When he was
    unable to do this, he expressed implausible doubts about its reliability.”

    Lying About Hitler, History, Holocaust, Holocaust And The David Irving Trial

    Prof. Richard Evans, Cambridge University

  2. Squiffy says:

    Thanks for the interesting information Luis. It’s really hard to tell with Irving what’s fact and what’s fiction! Hopefully this stuff doesn’t violate copyright …

  3. Godwin says:

    Actually, Oskar Gröning did NOT refer to gas chambers; see this post: http://holocaustcontroversies.blogspot.fr/2006/04/when-deniers-are-right.html.

  4. john thames says:

    This blogger is fudging the facts – badly. Leuchter’s results and conclusions were dupicated by several subsequent investigations, including a secret report by the Polish camp authorities themselves. The forensic investigations of the “gas chambers” have been confirmed by the German camp records that show the Zyklon B was used to kill lice and disinfest clothing – not kill people. The German death books show only about 100-150,000 deaths from all causes none from “gassing”. The disposal rate of the crematoria are consistent with the death books, not with millions of “gassings”. The German camp commandants made no mention of “gassings” in their reports back to Berlin in secret SS codes.

    As to eyewitnesses Jews deliberately lie per their Talmudic scriptures – a fact bearing directly on their credibility.

    • Squiffy says:

      I hardly know where to begin in replying to this. If you want to believe this then I can’t dissuade you. But I’d like to stick to my main point, which is that David Irving states that Leuchter’s results are some kind of irrefutable chemical test. As someone who has studied chemistry and is the son of a chemist, I can tell you that this is nonsense. Leuchter’s own results were ridiculous for numerous reasons; besides of which you cannot expect every surface exposed to cyanide to form Prussian blue, and when you form an opinion about historical evidence, you have to employ critical thinking, not just test one wall for some compound or other and base everything on that.

  5. Vladimir says:

    The quotation of Oscar Groning,the SS member about the gas chambers is actually fake & it’s been proven. The documentry where he says that line is actually ill-translated “accidentally” by addingthe gas chamber part whereas actually that soldier said nothing about has chambers!

    • Squiffy says:

      Yeah, apparently while Gröning did say repeatedly that he had personally witnessed the Holocaust, some nutcase translator at the BBC decided to insert the words “gas chambers” where he hadn’t actually said them, even though he talked about them elsewhere. It is very frustrating!! And ironically, I only added this quote a long time after writing this article, to underline the fact that there are many eye-witnesses to the whole thing (not even Irving denies that!). And it seems I hastily pasted in the least reliable quote from the whole Internet …..

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