Holocaust denier David Irving watched closely at Auschwitz.
Imprisoned by Austria in 2006 for Holocaust denial, the historian started a tour around Poland this week with a group of people from the US and Australia and wants to present his, revisionist, interpretation of World War II history.
Irving, the author of several books which question elements of established Holocaust history, has claimed that much of what visitors to Auschwitz see today is a “reconstruction” and a Polish “money making machine”.
Though his original itinerary did not include the most infamous site of the Holocaust, the 72 year-old Irving has confirmed that he intends to lead his tour party around the Auschwitz Nazi death camp.
Irving will probably arrive at Auschwitz on 30 September but has not informed the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum about the visit. The museum says it will not be allowing him to lead a tour as he is not a bona fide qualified guide, however.
“David Irving cannot lead a tour group at Auschwitz because he is not licensed,” said director of the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum Bartosz Bartyzel.
“He can visit the museum, like anyone else, but we will watch him closely and if he starts telling lies about the Holocaust, we will take action,” Bartyzel assured.
The director of the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum admitted, however, that it will be difficult to establish if a person who heads a group serves as a guide, or is just a group member.
“If I’m refused the right to enter a concentration camp or if I’m forced out, it will be methods such as the Nazi used,” David Irving told Italian daily Corriere della Sera after officials at the former Treblinka death camp announced that they will not let the British historian enter.
Irving’s tour has angered Poland’s small Jewish community. “Mr Irving is not a historian but a charlatan and a vicious liar,” said Chief Rabbi Michael Schudrich.
Poland’s Institute of National Remembrance (IPN) says that it is following Irving’s steps in Poland to make sure he does not commit another “Holocaust related crime”. “We know where he is, what he’s doing and what he’s saying,” assured Marcin Golebiewicz from IPN.
Denying facts about the Holocaust is punishable by up to three years in prison in Poland.