Crazy people do crazy things

November 23, 2006

David Irving, the disgraced historian and rabid anti-Semite currently serving time in an Austrian prison for denying the Holocaust, is a very odd man. Let’s just take the time to look at one particularly funny thing I came across on his website just now.

On his “… your career so far” page (the navigation menu is structured around completing a sentence, the beginning of which is “Mr Irving, take me to…”), Irving provides a couple of quotes about his writing, one of which can be seen below:

“ES IST EIN GLÜCK für uns . . . einen Irving zu haben, der den Historikern zumindest neue Anstöße gibt.” Professor Hans Mommsen, Ruhr-Univ. Bochum, 1978.

Quote from professor Hans Mommsen translates as “It is our good fortune to have an Irving, who gives historians new stimuli.” Immediately after it on the page, though, Irving goes on to laugh “now look at his panic!”, linking the user to this page reproducing a letter Mommsen wrote him in 1998, asking for his original quote to be removed from the site.

Why did Mommsen request such a thing? Well, in the two decades between his two statements, Irving had developed from being a vague sympathiser of the Nazis to a full-blown anti-Semite and Holocaust-denier — a fact that was demonstrated in early 2000, when he was utterly disgraced in court. In that time, Mommsen realised that the quote he provided was now used out of context and as for it to be removed.

Instead of removing it, though, Irving links to his letter and invites to reader to “look at his panic!”, as if to say to Mommsen, “I may be a laughing stock, utterly disgraced and clearly unable to rid myself of an insane and broken view of the world, but I’m taking you down with me!

Hah, nicely done, David. Very smooth.

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