David Irving: Spanish police study speech

Historians in the News

Spanish police were this week examining a recording of a speech by revisionist historian David Irving, condemned by a British High Court judge as a Holocaust denier, after the Jewish community failed to have him banned from speaking in Barcelona.

Under Spanish law, justifying genocide or inciting racism and xenophobia can carry a sentence of up to three years. Police were authorised by a judge to examine Irving’s words to see if he had broken the law in his speech at a bookshop last Saturday.

According to agency reports, he told his audience of about 20 that there was no proof that Hitler was aware of the Holocaust. But, he said, there was no doubt that the Nazis killed “two or three million” Jews.

During his speech, about 100 people protested outside the bookshop which was guarded by police.

Dahliah Levinsohn, secretary of the Federation of Jewish communities in Spain, said: “The Federation asked the High Court to cancel Irving’s talk, as we thought there could be acts of incitement to racism and antisemitism.

“Although it [the court] did not cancel the conference, Catalan police were present and the court issued them with an official order to enter and record the talk.

“He [Irving] was very careful not to negate the Holocaust, precisely because the Catalan police were there. Now the police will analyse the talk and see if something comes up.” In 2006 Irving was sentenced by an Austrian court to three years in prison for Holocaust denial but was released after serving one-third of his sentence.

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