Letter: 'Revisionist' historian who lacks an impartial eye

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The Independent Online
Sir: It is with astonishment and disgust that Holocaust survivors have learnt from your columns that the transcription of the Goebbels diaries is to be entrusted by the Sunday Times to David Irving.

The astonishment is all the greater in that this news comes in the very week that Mr Irving presides at an international conference of 'revisionist historians' devoted to the proposition that the Holocaust is an invention - a figment of all our imaginations.

In his apologia for this bizarre decision, Andrew Neil (the editor of the Sunday Times) tries to distance himself from Mr Irving's claim that Hitler had no responsibility for the Holocaust. Is Mr Neil really completely unaware that that claim was the Irving assertion of 10 years ago and has now been wholly superseded by the new one: that the Holocaust never happened at all?

Mr Neil proclaims his faith in Mr Irving as a pure technician. But would Mr Neil entrust the editing of material on the origins of modern anti-Semitism to the author of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion?

The act of editing historical documents involves much more than technical competence; a very high degree of impartiality is also surely required, the exact opposite of the degree of commitment to a denial of the historicity of the Holocaust that has already been exhibited by Mr Irving.

There are thousands of survivors and eyewitnesses of the death camps alive in the world, many in this country, who know from their most bitter personal experience that the principal Irving thesis is a simple lie.

The fact that the chief propagator of that lie is now cloaked in the additional respectability of a Sunday Times contract is deplorable for all those interested in truth and integrity. Those are not just Holocaust survivors; they ought also to include the Sunday Times for whom this may yet prove to be a scoop too far.

Yours faithfully,

BEN HELFGOTT

Chairman, 45 Aid Society (Holocaust Survivors UK)

F. BARSCHAK

Committee, The National Yad Vashem Charitable Trust

London, WC1

5 July

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