Irving supports Australian ‘Holocaust denier’
Controversial historian David Irving has jumped to the defence of Gerald Frederick Toben, the Australian man who was detained by British police earlier in the week on a German arrest warrant.
Germany alleges the Australian denies the mass murder of Jews by the Nazis in World War II.
Denying the Holocaust is an offence that carries a five-year jail sentence, and the German authorities are seeking his extradition.
Toben set up the Adelaide Institute in 1994, an organisation that is considered to be a Holocaust denial group.
Overnight the South Australian appeared in a London court where he fought against his extradition, and there to support him was Mr Irving.
Mr Irving says the prosecution of people he calls revisionist historians is a direct attack on free speech.
‘I think it’s a contagion that’s going around the world. It began in Australia, it began in Canada,’ he said.
‘I think if you have one version of history that is government-approved then all society suffers.
‘It’s the job of us, the revisionist historians, to ask questions, even if they’re awkward questions, questions that governments don’t like.’
Despite his show of support, Mr Irving is not holding out much hope for the extradition fight and he expects Toben to come before a German court.
‘What scandalises me is that this is obviously a political offence that he is being charged with, and you cannot be extradited for political offences,’ he said.
‘This used to be one of the great securities of the human rights. But under the legislation in Europe now people who criticise aspects of holocaust history are denied the protection of the Human Rights Act in Europe.’
Mr Irving has offered to have Toben stay at his house and to guarantee his appearance at any subsequent court dates.
Toben will reappear in court next Friday.