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Creationist Cults

Holocaust denier Irving spoke in Cleveland suburb

By MARILYN H. KARFELD Staff Reporter

Fairview Park police counted about 40 cars in the parking lot at the American Legion Hall on Brookpark Road August 25 as revisionist British author and Holocaust denier David Irving addressed a select group present by invitation only.

Sgt. Thomas Zinsmayer said Fairview Park police patrolled the area, but did not go inside the hall.

Those attending had to show identification, a representative of the American Legion said. While Cleveland police did not initially know the location of the speech, Irving himself provided the address when he was contacted at a toll-free number listed on his Web site.

The event, billed as an American Veterans History Conference, appeared to have been organized by Erich Gliebe, head of the Cleveland unit of the neo-Nazi National Alliance. After the July death of National Alliance founder William Pierce, Gliebe was promoted to the top job. In 1996, Gliebe also brought Irving here to speak.

Secrecy surrounding such events as Irving's speech is important to spreading the extreme right-wing message, says Mark Pitcavage, ADL director of fact-finding. With no one "to debunk their conspiracy theories or extreme claims" or provide "a dose of common sense," hatemongering thrives, he says. To expose these groups, the ADL seeks to "shine a light" on white power activities.

Irving, the author of Hitler's War, reprinted the CJN's story about his Cleveland appearance on his Web site. In a response posted alongside the CJN piece, Irving denied that he had ever written a single book or article about the Holocaust.

In April 2000, Irving lost a libel suit he brought against Holocaust scholar Deborah Lipstadt and her publisher, Penguin, for damaging his reputation as a historian. In her book, Denying the Holocaust - The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory, Lipstadt called Irving, 62, "one of the most dangerous spokespersons for Holocaust denial."

In his ruling, London High Court Judge Charles Gray called Irving a "racist, an antisemite, an active Holocaust denier, who associates with right-wing extremists."

The Anti-Defamation League points out that Irving never graduated from college and has no academic credentials as a historian.

Through the years, Irving's statements on the Holocaust have varied from outright denial that the Nazis exterminated Jews to acknowledgement that a relatively small number of Jews were killed, but nowhere near the reported 5 to 6 million toll.

In Hitler's War, Irving says Hitler never ordered or knew about the Final Solution. He also denies there were gas chambers at Auschwitz to kill people.

Faced with paying 2 million British pounds for Penguin's legal costs, Irving declared bankruptcy. He lives in Key West, Fla., and supporters in the U.S. fund most of his activities, the ADL says.

From Aug. 30-Sept. 2, Irving hosts the fourth annual conference on "Real History" at the Greater Cincinnati Airport Marriott. Cost of the conference alone is $410 per person.

In addition to selling his books, Irving invites speakers who espouse right-wing conspiracy theories. One of the most popular is that Mossad, the Israel intelligence organization, working with U.S. agents and American Jews, was responsible for the World Trade Center and Pentagon terrorist attacks.

Copyright 2002 Cleveland Jewish News

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