Poland says Holocaust denier David Irving ‘not welcome’ on death camp tour
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Poland says Holocaust denier David Irving ‘not welcome’ on death camp tour

After Israeli appeal, Warsaw says it won’t allow British conspiracy theorist to ‘present his opinions’ during planned visit

Holocaust denying writer and historian David Irving (AP/Alik Keplicz/File)
Holocaust denying writer and historian David Irving (AP/Alik Keplicz/File)

Poland has said it will bar entry to British Holocaust denier David Irving if he plans to present his opinion on the Nazi genocide of Jews during his planned tour of death camps in the country later this year.

“Negation of the Holocaust is not allowed by Polish law, therefore he will not be welcome here in Poland if he wants to come and present his opinions,” Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz told reporters on Friday, according to the Reuters news agency.

Earlier in the week, the UK’s Jewish News reported that Irving’s website was taking deposits for the tour of Nazi historical sites scheduled for September, prompting Israel to urge Warsaw to deny his entry.

“Given Irving’s record of abhorrent statements and outright lies about the history of the Holocaust, it is quite clear that he intends to use this opportunity to spread further falsehoods and vitriolic narrative,” Diaspora Affairs Minister Naftali Bennett wrote in a letter to Poland’s ambassador to Israel, Marek Magierowski.

Polish Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz speaks during a joint press conference with his Romanian counterpart (unseen) at the Romanian Foreign Ministry in Bucharest on February 1, 2018. (AFP Photo/Daniel Mihailescu)

“In so doing, he will doubtless cause deep offense to the memory of the victims of the Holocaust and to all the Jewish people, as well as stoke the already raging fire of hatred and anti-Semitism we are witnessing around the world today,” Bennett added.

“I therefore respectfully request that the Government of Poland make it quite clear that Irving and his party will not be granted access to your country, and certainly not to the camps and other sites of memorial to the millions of my people who were murdered in that dark period of history.”

Education Minister Naftali Bennett speaks at a conference in Ramat Gan , November 15, 2018 (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Irving lost a libel suit he brought against Holocaust historian Deborah Lipstadt in 2000 for calling him a Holocaust denier. The suit was dramatized in the movie “Denial” starring Rachel Weisz as Lipstadt.

He initially claimed that Hitler was not aware of the program to exterminate the Jews. He later transitioned to outright Holocaust denial, including claiming that there was no evidence to prove the existence of gas chambers at Auschwitz.

Irving’s nine-day tour, which costs $3,650, is scheduled to visit Treblinka, Sobibor, Belzec and Majdanek. Publicity for the tour calls the death camps “controversial.”

It also will visit the bunker headquarters of Adolf Hitler known as “The Wolf’s Lair” and the headquarters of SS chief Heinrich Himmler.

Irving is described in promotional material as a “Hitler expert.” He led a similar tour in 2013.

JTA contributed to this report.

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