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The Search for Truth in History

A Videotaped Speech for Australia, 1993

Part 1:

DAVID IRVING: Ladies and gentlemen, I suppose there is irony in that the more they try to silence you and stop you from speaking in public, the more the public becomes aware of you and the message you are trying to put across.

Our enemies, our traditional enemies, you all know who they are, in this respect they impress me, and I think that we have all been concerned about the level of their intelligence and the breadth of their connections and the network of their control world wide, and yet surely if they wanted to ensure that the legend that they have been studying for the last fifty years, this historical legend, the "blood lie" on the German people, if they had wanted to ensure that this legend survived, they would have done everything they could to see that I was ignored.

Instead of which, by the matters that they adopted, not just in Australia, but previously in Canada and before that in Argentina, before that in Germany and England, around the world, the -- methods they have adopted have succeeded in attracting international attention to the whole controversy, the whole debate.

In the latter part of this talk I'm going to go into detail about what the debate is about, but first of all, I thought I would look at the controversy, I'd look at the methods that have been used in an attempt to silence me, some of which are pretty ugly, some of which I think are reminiscent to the Nazis.

These are methods that are being used now about people in the late 1990's and that you might imagine that you were back in the 1930's that you were living in the era of Mussolini, and the spoonful of caster oil, or the concentration camp or the Fascist methods, methods of the Nazis.

If I tell you that, six months ago, organised gangs of people were going around the leading bookshop chains in the Midlands of Britain smashing the plate glass windows of book stores like Waterstones or Dillons or W. H. Smith's, and then writing letters to them the next day on the stationery of the local Jewish organisation saying that "we are terribly sorry that your windows got smashed, it's probably because of the book by David Irving that you are stocking and we recommend you stop stocking that book and then probably your windows won't get smashed in anymore". The letters had obviously been drafted by lawyers because there was no way that the police can have at the organisations themselves.

I only know about this campaign that went on in Britain last summer because the local newspapers, the provincial newspapers, Norwich, Nottingham, Newcastle, reported this -- not the national newspapers you notice. It's a telling comment on the cowardice of the national press if in many matters of great national importance they show less courage than the provincial editors do.

Window smashing. Not just window smashing, but book burning. In Southern England there is a bookshop chain called Volume One. The Volume One book shops in Southampton, in Portsmouth, in Southsea, all the way along the southern Coast of England, they were subjected to visits by the same gangs, the same thugs, even, in one bookshop the manager was actually required to take my books off his shelves and burn them.

Now, what is book burning about, for God's sake? Book burning, it's like the Nazis, it's like 1933 all over again, they're using the methods of the Nazis in order to try to preserve their inventions.

Now, I'm not so arrogant as to say "thou shalt have no other truth, thou shalt have no other version of history but mine". It is quite possible that in the version of history that I tell you about later on in this talk, I'm wrong. I'm not going to say that what I say, what I found in the archives, my interpretation of history, is 100 % pure gold, 22 carat, and that there is no flaw in it.

However, if freedom of speech means anything at all, it means the right to express opinions that may prove wrong.

It means, freedom of speech means, the right to be wrong in fact and this is an important right I think, it is a right which I feel very strongly about.

I've got no particular axe to grind about the Nazis, or about Winston Churchill, or about the Holocaust, or about the Jews, or about Poland, or about any other great controversies like Pearl Harbour or World War II. I've got no axe to grind.

The only axe I've got to grind as a historian is my total commitment to the truth as I interpret it and as I find it in the archives.

It may be that I'm wrong. If I'm wrong, of course, I regret it. But the great delight, the relish that one has as a controversial historian -- somebody who every morning I suppose, is going over the top again fighting some fresh battle -- the relish that I find, is the knowledge that I am very seldom proved wrong.

Usually I am proved right. Sometimes the case remains open.

Adolf Hitler, the diaries of Adolf Hitler, the Goebbels Diaries, the death of General Sikorski in that mysterious plane crash in July 1943 -- all the historical controversies, sometimes you never really can draw a line underneath it and say "that is what actually happened".

In fact the more that the years pass -- we are now 50 years past the end of World War II -- the more difficult it becomes; not the easier, but the more difficult it becomes to establish what really happened.

Some files have to remain open, and it's own great ambition as historians, really to find a particular file and prove it, and say, that's what happened, now we found the final verse, now we've found the final truth.

For example, one great historical controversy, the Reichstag fire in February 1933 when the German Parliament building mysteriously burnt to the ground at 9.00 one evening and it enabled Adolf Hitler and the Nazi party to round up all the communists and lock them all away in concentration camps, and it, in effect, was the first step of Adolf Hitler towards to road to absolute power.

The Reichstag fire. All the communists, all the Jewish organisations and newspapers around the world said: obviously it was a Nazi set-up, a Nazi stunt in order to enable them to that first step, the Reichstag fire. Obviously it was the SS, SA the brown shirts who set fire to the Reichstag building.

For fifty years and more that controversy has raged back and forth around the historical corridors of universities, between historians and publicists and journalists and lawyers and the court rooms, and people have been hanged for it.

MicrofichesNobody really knew what had happened in the Reichstag building on that February evening in 1933 until I went to Moscow last July and there in Moscow I found 1,600 glass slides, the microfiche containing the original hand written diaries, 50 pages per page microfilmed on these primitive glass slides, of the Nazi propagandist of Dr Joseph Goebbels who was actually with Adolf Hitler that evening, in February 1933.

And he writes how the telephone rings at 9:00 that evening and a phone call comes to say the Reichstag, the parliament building, is on fire in Berlin.

And the two of them, Hitler and Goebbels are deeply shocked, and they jump in their car and they drive across Berlin and they're very astonished to see the building on fire.

And this is the private diary of the Nazi propagandist, Dr Goebbels. He was appointed Minister a few days later.

Nobody had seen this page before I had set eyes on it in Moscow in July last year [1992] so I have the greatest pleasure of being able to close this file, the file of the Reichstag fire.

And the same type of historical evidence enabled me to close another file, I have to say rather shamefacedly, one where I was wrong, or appear to be wrong. The Night of Broken Glass in November 1938.

Remember -- that's when Adolf Hitler was in Munich and in reprisal for the Jewish assassination of a German diplomat in Paris, the Nazis went out onto the streets and committed outrages against Jews and against Jewish property, about 100 Synagogues were burnt to the ground, about 60 Jews were killed that night a huge number of Jewish businesses and shops were burnt to the ground or looted or smashed to pieces.

The night of the broken glass. It's gone in history.

And from Hitler's private staff whom I interviewed a few years later I drew a very firm picture that Hitler was in the dark that night about what happened and that he was very angry -- that he had sent his staff out into the streets of Munich ordering them to protect the Jewish businesses.

In Goebbels' diaries, on those Moscow microfiches, I found for the first time the four or five hand written pages, close pages of his almost illegible handwriting, describing how he was with Hitler that night and here he describes how Hitler thoroughly endorses what he, Goebbels had done, namely, starting that outrage that night.

This was a deep shock for me and I immediately announced it to the world's newspapers that I have discovered this material, although it appeared to go against what I had written in my own book "Hitler's War". But, even now, you have to add a rider in saying, wait a minute -- this is Dr Goebbels who is writing this, Dr Goebbels who, who took all the blame for what was done.

So did he have perhaps a motive for writing in his private diaries subsequently that Adolf Hitler endorsed what he had done?

You can't entirely close that file -- so some of the great historical mysteries will be open, others remain closed.

And what an axe to grind.

On the Holocaust on the gas chambers, on Auschwitz, on these great issues of Jewish history we independent historians, should we say, the non-Jewish historians, the ones with an entirely open mind, we have no real axe to grind; although they try to make out that it's some kind of anti-Semitic crusade for us, it isn't.

If somebody came along to me tomorrow or if in the archives in Moscow last July, I had found the document signed Adolf Hitler, saying, "I order herewith that 6 million Jews should be put to death in gas chambers in the concentration camp known as Auschwitz," then I would not have been sorry.

I would say well, it has been an interesting debate, we had an interesting controversy for the last 10 years about this and here is the document that proves my theory was wrong and now I can close the file.

Because you see it means nothing to me.

I'm not earning huge sums of money from one version of history or the other.

But for my opponents, precisely that is what is the obstacle, because the Holocaust, with a capital H, is what's gone down in history in this one sentence form, so to speak.

"Adolf Hitler ordered the killing of 6 million Jews in Auschwitz"

And because of that, the Israel, Israeli Government has received from the German government in compensation about 4 billion dollars a year, together with the payments made by American tax payers, and this is the contribution on which the state of Israel depends, so it's a matter of vital urgency that this Holocaust statement, I don't call it legend or I don't call it truth, I just say it's a statement.

It's a matter of vital urgency that statement should remain intact.

So if you wonder why around the world the most extraordinary methods are being used to try to silence me, not just me but other people who are beginning to question that statement, not every detail about it, but just some elements of the statement, some elements of the Holocaust package.

The answer is that we are being attacked because we are infringing on somebody else's big business.

As the Chief Rabbi of England, the Lord Jakobovits said only a couple of years ago, the Holocaust has become big business world wide.

He deplored it.

It's become big business, he said -- for the film stars, for the movie makers, for the directors, the producers, the television organisations, the publishers around the world, they are all doing what I said perhaps less tastefully in, a reader's letter in an Australian newspaper: I said the Jewish people have been dining out on the Holocaust for the last 50 years, and you may think that was a tasteless remark and if there are people who are offended by it then I apologise.

But unfortunately the methods that are being used against us are not just tasteless, they are brutal, they are criminal, they are, in many ways, worse than the Nazis themselves adopted in this oppression of free speech.

Now it would be wrong of me to suggest that I alone am conducting this fight.

I'm not so arrogant, or selfish, to maintain that I am the only person who has gone over the top in this particular historical debate. Later on in the talk, I'll be mentioning the names of some of the real heroes who have been fighting this particular campaign.

What does surprise me is that our opponents have decided to use the wrong tactics in order to try and win the debate.

Surely the correct procedure, if they had any confidence in the strength of their case, be it Winston Churchill's role in World War II or the truth about Pearl Harbour or the truth about the Holocaust -- surely the correct thing would have been to have accepted our invitation to open-forum debates.

They would put up their best men, and I would put up myself or any one of a number of other historians who are coming round to our revisionist point of view, and then the free public could decide, after a free and open debate, which of us had the stronger case.

This is precisely what our opponents are anxious to avoid, they are trying to stifle the debate, they say there is no debate, they say that the Holocaust is not negotiable.

They say that they are not going to meet on the same platform as Mr Irving.

Around the world in fact television producers who have invited me to appear in their program said they subsequently had to telephone to say Mr Irving, we are terribly sorry we're going to have to cancel the invitation.

For example, in Berlin on October the 3rd, 1989, I was invited to appear in a television program by Sender Freies Berlin and a few days later the producer of the program telephoned me to say that he was terribly sorry but the other historians on the panel had unanimously refused to round a table with myself.

Dr Eberhard Jäckel, Professor Eberhard Jäckel in fact, the head of the history department of the University of Stuttgart -- now you would think that in that kind of position this would be a historian who would be open to new ideas, who would be open to new documentary evidence, new challenges, and who is sufficiently confident of his own case to be able to debate in front of millions of television viewers -- and yet he is frightened, they are such cowards that they refuse to debate with me.

I might mention that Professor Eberhard Jaäckel, the head of the history department at the University of Stuttgart, actually recently published on a 'television program in Germany, a film, a photograph, which he claimed showed a train load a Jews being shipped off to the gas chambers in Auschwitz.

It subsequently turned out that these weren't Jews at all, they were the citizens of Hamburg going on a shopping expedition to the Ruhr and that the photograph was taken in 1946, one year after the war was over.

So he is not just a liar and a coward, but also a falsifier a counterfeiter of historical evidence as well. Professor Eberhard Jaeckel of the University of Stuttgart.

When the Sender Freies Berlin in 1989 uninvited me from that program I said well I'm terribly sorry because I've bought the air ticket already, and I've booked my hotel room and I told Kempinski I'm going to be in Berlin on October the 3rd, 1989.

And the producer Dr [Wilfried] Rott was very apprehensive and he said, Mr Irving you don't understand, they are not inviting you anymore, because the other historians have refused to be at the same table with you.

And I said Dr Rott, you don't have to worry, I'm not going to be inside the studio that evening, I'm going to go outside the studio with my friends.

And we staged a demonstration in Berlin.

Demonstration in BerlinMy friends and I, oh, about a 100 a 150 of us outside his studios of Sender Freies Berlin with placards marching up and down outside the studio, placards reading "German historians are liars and cowards", and that basically is what I still think of them today.

They are liars and cowards, they know what the truth is, but they are frightened to speak it.

I can give just one example of it, the head of the University of Freiburg history department, Dr Bernd Martin, Professor Bernd Martin now, a very good friend of mine for 20 years.

You know the way historians are, we write each other letters, we give each other tips, he writes me letters saying could I have the diary of Walther Hewel and so on, and we help each other.

And I visited him in September 1989 and had a bottle of wine with him one evening, and at 2:00 in the morning he said, "You know Irving, I think you are a bit wrong about Auschwitz. I've been to Auschwitz, not like you, he said, I've been to Auschwitz, I know the director of the Auschwitz state museum, Dr Franciszek Piper."

(Dr Franciszek Piper is a reputable historian, he is a Jewish historian, one of the leading historians on the Auschwitz tragedy). And Piper told Martin, according to what Martin told me, that the gas chamber, the one they show tourists in Auschwitz is in fact, a fake, built after the war by the Poles.

I was astonished when Martin told me this: the head of the History department in Freiburg in Germany, admitting that he knew that the gas chambers that they show to the tourists in Auschwitz is a fake.

Well, I mentioned this in a reader's letter in a German newspaper a week or two later, as historical fact which should be brought to the attention of the German people who are paying thousands of millions of dollars to the State of Israel ever since the end of World War II, for that particular thing.

Dr Bernd Martin wrote me a letter formally repudiating our friendship -- rescinding the right to call each other "du", saying that he didn't want to have any more to do with me, please would I not write him any more letters. I wrote him a letter despite that, saying, "Dr Martin, I have the utmost sympathy if you and I understand the Zwangslage [critical position], the position, that you are in as a Federal German historian..." -- it's quite plain to me he's terrified of his future.

They are all terrified of their future.

In a German court only a year and half ago [May 5, 1992], I said to the judge who was sentencing me, I said, [Schlusswort, closing speech] "I've got the utmost sympathy for your position, you are young", -- he was a judge of about 28 or 30, -- I said, "You are young" (in fact he wore jeans and sneakers under his gown, because I saw him in the canteen afterwards). click to helpI said, "I have the utmost sympathy for your position, you are young, you have your entire career ahead of you, but I'm old, I've got my period as an historian behind me, I can afford to write the truth. You can't afford to say the truth yet as a judge, because you are worried about your opposition in the German judicial system." [continued]


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