Denying the Deniers

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About 40 years ago, a palindromic professor named Revilo P. Oliver came up with the weirdest theory I had ever heard: Adolf Hitler was a Communist agent. Why, you ask? Because what would Josef Stalin most like to see happen? That Germany be defeated and destroyed. Hence, Hitler, whose policies led to that outcome, must have been Stalin’s secret agent.

Now I have found another theory that tops that one: David Irving, the notorious Holocaust denier, is secretly a Zionist agent! Why, you ask? Because his ignominious defeat in his libel action against Deborah Lipstadt and Penguin Books discredited.his notion that the Holocaust never occurred, and that Hitler, in any case, never knew about it. According to arch-conspiracy theorist ‘Alfred Baron, the inevitable verdict against David Irving would undermine Holocaust denial forever, so Irving must be a Zionist agent. At the trial in London, Baron placed a note on the seat of every reporter and journalist, declaring: “Irving is a paid agent of political Zionism. This trial is staged. Don’t be deceived.”

I found this morsel. of illogic quoted in a brilliant new book, Lying About Hitler, by Professor Richard J. Evans of Cambridge University (Basic Books, 2001). The book is .an incredible piece of detective work, in which Evans examines all of David Irving’s writings, exposing countless errors in quoting and translating, as well as falsifications and inventions, plus – most vicious of all – believing every loving anecdote about Hitler told by his manicurists and bodyguards, while systematically denying the testimony of concentration-camp victims, claiming they are delusional and that they tattooed numbers on their own arms. Read this fine book and you will never take David Irving and his ilk seriously again.

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