A few years ago the so-called Shroud of Turin was front-page news. An image of a naked man impressed upon a linen cloth had been traced by historians as far back as the 14th century, and was rumored to be the actual burial cloth of the Son of God. Scholarly opinion on ancient crucifixion and burial customs, and the almost magical nature of the image itself convinced many people that in touching this cloth they were touching material that had contacted the body of Jesus Himself. Because of the holiness of this relic, it seemed almost sacrilegious to submit a part of the shroud to radio-carbon dating. So partly for technical reasons and partly from religious inertia, scientific requests for shroud material were refused by its custodians. No science please.

The advent of more sensitive techniques that used smaller samples to make an accurate dating changed things. In 1988, samples of the shroud were sent to three separate labs, and the results came back, substantially the same, that the linen in the cloth dated from 1260-1390 AD, giving credence to the hypothesis that the shroud was a medieval forgery. That's what we think now. But scholars are free to question this conclusion (and some do)--that's the way science works. Questioning authority is not only permitted in science--it is mandatory.

I say that David Irving is a holocaust denier not because of his low standards of historical research but, on the contrary, because he insists on impeccably HIGH STANDARDS of historical research. David Irving is a "holocaust denier" in the same sense as the bishop of Turin who dared to submit the holy shroud to carbon-14 dating was a "Shroud of Turin denier".

I have yet to read one of David Irving's best-selling books. Neither do I know enough history to properly criticize David Irving's version of the facts. But I do know, after watching this man in action, that he embodies the intellectual virtues that make good science possible--curiosity, honesty, fearlessness, and a willingness to challenge any position no matter how entrenched plus the ready granting of that freedom to others.

Like Galileo, like Bruno, like Baruch Spinoza and Thomas Jefferson, I consider David Irving a bold gladiator of the intellect. All who think otherwise, I welcome your best arguments. But don't bore me with uninformed prattle. Not me, not you, not his critics, but Dame History herself, of whom David Irving has been a faithful and passionate lover, will decide how this remarkable man shall be remembered.

David Irving, I salute you.

From what I have read on his web site, from how I have watched him behave at his trial, I have formed the impression that David Irving is a brilliant and courageous champion of truth willing to wager, win or lose, "his life, his fortune and his sacred honor" on his words and work. And to those of you who still recognize where that quote comes from--I urge you not to rely on the opinions of others--including myself and the newspapers--but study the man's own works and judge for yourselves the character of David Irving and the character of those who oppose him.

NICK HERBERT is the author of "Quantum Reality" and other popular New Physics books as well as a three-line proof of Bell's Non-locality Theorem.


Reference Sites
(All three sites now publish the trial transcripts
Sites #1 and #2 did so during the trial itself)

1. David Irving:
Maverick perspective on current events
If Richard Feynman wrote history
this is what it might look like.

2. Rae West:
Quirky New-Yorker-style reporting
by an eyewitness at the Irving trial
Lipstadt interview a must read!

3. Deborah Lipstadt:
Artistic collage of Irving-bashing news headlines
Professional layout provides
uncluttered access to trial transcripts.

Censorship Site:
A brief review of the "thought crime" laws in Europe
under which thousands have been fined and imprisoned
including David Irving whom German laws have made
a criminal for publicly stating a fact which everyone now
agrees to be true

Fred Leuchter & Germar Rudolph: the fate of two investigators
who dared ask chemistry questions about the holocaust story

FRED LEUCHTER was a professional consultant valued and employed by prison officials for his professional advice on execution technology, including gas chambers.

Hired by the Zündel team, in February 1988 Leuchter travelled to Auschwitz, Poland, and assessed the likelihood that the building-remains there could indeed have functioned as homicidal gas chambers. He also took forty samples of the fabric of those structures, for forensic and chemical analysis by reputable American laboratories.

These laboratories found no significant residues of hydrogen-cyanide compounds except in one structure, which was commonly agreed to have been the building in which the slave labourers' clothing was fumigated with Zyklon B gas. Here there were massive quantities of the poison residue still impregnating the brickwork.

Although completely a-political, Leuchter in consequence became the object of global insults (as a "neo-Nazi") and harassment. Visiting England in November 1991 at the invitation of David Irving's Clarendon Club, to lecture at Chelsea Town Hall in London, he was arrested on-stage by Metropolitan Police officers at the request of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, held in the cells, and deported without appeal back to the United States.

In Massachusetts, he was victimized, assaulted, and prosecuted at the instance of local Jewish bodies on the hardly relevant pretext that he had been practicing as an engineer without proper registration (as did over half of that state's engineers). Fred Leuchter was forced out of work, hounded out of his home, and obliged to change his identity and residence.

The case of GERMAR RUDOLF is likewise remarkable. Born in 1964, Mr. Rudolf graduated summa cum laude in chemistry from the University of Bonn and is a certified chemist. After serving in the German air force, he entered a Ph.D. program at the prestigious Max Planck Institute for Solid State Physics. While still at the institute he carried out a forensic physical examination of the gas chambers of Birkenau and concluded that for a variety of technical reasons they could not have been used for executions. In 1993 he published his findings in what is called The Rudolf Report, and was promptly dismissed from the Max Planck Institute. A court in Stuttgart ruled that the report "denies the systematic mass murder of the Jewish population in gas chambers" and was therefore "popular incitement," "incitement to racial hatred," and "defamation." The court rejected Mr. Rudolf's request for technical evidence about the truth or falsehood of his report, ruling that the "mass murder of the Jews" is "obvious."

Mr. Rudolf has continued to commit thought crimes, editing a compendium of revisionist articles called Grundlagen zur Zeitgeschichte [Foundations of Contemporary History]. In 1996 a court fined his publisher 30,000 marks ($18,000) and ordered all copies seized and burned. Police raided Mr. Rudolf's apartment three times, and in 1996 he was finally sentenced to 14 months in prison. Rather than serve time he fled to England, which has anti-racist laws but where Holocaust denial is not (yet) a crime. He is now director of Castle Hill Publishers, which issues revisionist works, and publishes a German-language revisionist quarterly. Jewish groups have brought pressure on the British government to enact laws to outlaw Holocaust denial so that Mr. Rudolf can either be prosecuted in England or extradited to Germany. Like Jürgen Graf of Switzerland, unless free speech is restored in his homeland, he will go to jail if he ever returns. Recently he moved to the United States and has applied for amnesty as a political refugee. It will be interesting to see how the INS, which has stretched "political persecution" to include wife-beating and making fun of homosexuals, will avoid granting him asylum.

(excerpts from the Censorship Site