David Irving, who was jailed in Austria for denying the Holocaust, has caused outrage among Jewish and anti racist groups as a result of his plans to start a tour of World War II sites, including the former Treblinka death camp in Poland.
In a desperate attempt to attract publicity British historian, Irvine has pushed ahead with his plans despite the repugnant nature his tour.
“I am now in Warsaw and I am not at liberty to discuss my itinerary, as I am sure you understand for security reasons,” Irving told AFP on Tuesday via telephone.
“I will be in Poland for the next nine days,” Irving said, confirming a weeklong-guided tour of World War II and Holocaust-related sites he is leading to Poland from September 21-29.
In a brochure published on his Focal Point Publications website, Irving calls the tour an “unforgettable journey” and a chance to see “real history”.
It includes a visit to the former Treblinka death camp, in eastern Poland, where more than 800,000 people, mostly Jews, were murdered.
Demonstrating his admiration for fall things fascist and racist Irvine will lead a trip to Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler’s “Wolf’s Lair” headquarters at Ketrzyn in northeastern Poland and to the base of SS commander Heinrich Himmler.
There are now strong calls from campaigning groups around the world demanding that the Polish authorities ban his visit.
Irvine recently bizarrely accused Polish authorities of turning Auschwitz into a “Disney-style” tourist site, complete with fake watchtowers.
“I have been a historian for 40 years, I know a fake when I see it, when you look at old photographs of Auschwitz, those towers aren’t on the photographs,’ he told Britain’s Daily Mail newspaper, adding the camp had a “Disney” atmosphere.
Speaking to the Telegraph he feigned surprise at the reaction to his visit,
“I am baffled by the reaction I’ve had in Poland because they should be very grateful that I am here.
“Here I am lecturing to the revisionists and setting the record straight. I am saying to those who believe that not a hair was harmed on the head of the Jewish community that you couldn’t be more wrong.”
In Poland, anyone found guilty of denying the Holocaust or publicly propagating anti-Semitism, fascism or other totalitarian ideologies faces a penalty of up to three years behind bars.
According to Poland’s Institute of National Remembrance, between 5.47 million and 5.67 million Polish citizens died at the hands of the Nazis.
Dr Rafal Pankowski, of the Never Again Association, which campaigns against racism and anti-Semitism, described Mr. Irving’s presence in Poland as “unacceptable and offensive to the memory of the victims” of the war.
Open Republic a Polish anti-racism group has requested a Warsaw court to begin a criminal investigation against Mr. Irving in an attempt to block the tour.
Dariusz Gabrel, from the group, Open Republic, said that Irving was one of the “foremost Holocaust deniers” and called for his prosecution under Polish laws that prohibit the denial of Nazi crimes.
“Material evidence clearly shows that he has broken the law,” he wrote in the request to the court. “Poland, the country in which the Nazis committed their crimes against humanity, should be especially sensitive to Irving’s kind of crime.”
Polish Jews represented around half of the six million Jews who perished in the Holocaust.