Holocaust denier Irving's Polish trip upsets Jews

Wed Sep 22, 2010 1:05pm EDT
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By Gabriela Baczynska and Gareth Jones

WARSAW (Reuters) - Polish Jewish leaders expressed disgust Wednesday over a visit to Poland by British writer and convicted Holocaust denier David Irving, and an anti-racist group called for legal action against him.

Irving, 72, is the author of several books which defend Adolf Hitler and deny that the Nazis murdered six million Jews during World War Two. He has begun an 8-day study tour of wartime sites in Poland with a group of followers.

Poland was home to one of the world's largest Jewish communities before 1939. The vast majority were killed by the Nazis, many in death camps such as Treblinka which Irving said he plans to visit.

"In Poland, the ideas of Mr Irving sound exceptionally absurd and absolutely unacceptable," said Piotr Kadlcik, head of the Polish Jewish community.

Poland's chief rabbi, Michael Schudrich, said: "Mr Irving is not a historian but a charlatan and a vicious liar ... The fact that he is here justifies the strength of democracy in Poland that it does not close its doors. He is not a terrorist threat but a moral threat, to the truth."

Irving, who spent more than a year in an Austrian jail in 2005-06 for denying the Holocaust, told Reuters he would keep a low profile in Poland for the sake of his "guests" who he said had paid more than 2,000 pounds ($3,000) for the trip.

Their itinerary will include a visit to the "Wolf's Lair," Hitler's Eastern Front headquarters, and the camps of Majdanek, Treblinka, Sobibor and Belzec.

AUSCHWITZ   Continued...

<p>David Irving, the British Holocaust-denier, holds his book titled "It happened in the XX century Hitler's War" as he speaks to Reuters during an interview in Warsaw September 21, 2010. Irving has begun a controversial visit to Poland for a tour of World War II sites and places where Jews were persecuted. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel</p>