Letter: Publish and be refuted

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Indy Lifestyle Online
Academics are more concerned with David Irving's use of documents than his "evil" homelife ("The nature of the beast", Review, 6 April).

His insistence that no record exists of Hitler ordering the mass murder of Jews is an irrelevant banality, first noted decades ago in Harvest of Hate by Leon Poliakov, a leading authority on anti-semitism. It ignores the implicitly exterminatory character of Hitler's published utterances over 25 years, plus his explanations to Admiral Horthy and Frau von Schirach of the purpose of deportation. Also not new are his doubts about six million deaths, nor are they entirely unreasonable. Estimates range widely. And Irving's assertion that only a fraction of the death toll was actually the result of gassing appeared long ago in Gerald Reitlinger's pioneering study The Final Solution.

What is important in Irving's work is his original critique of limitations on the possible scale of corpse-disposal. This invites detailed refutation. It is counter-productive to criminalise such "denial".

Martin D Nolte

Holt, Norfolk