British historian David Irving pleads guilty to criminal charges in Austria
VIENNA, Austria — Right-wing British historian David Irving pleaded guilty Monday to charges of denying the Holocaust and was sentenced to three years in prison after conceding he was wrong to say there were no Nazi gas chambers at the Auschwitz concentration camp.
Irving, handcuffed and wearing a navy blue suit, arrived in court carrying a copy of one of his most controversial books — “Hitler’s War,” which challenges the extent of the Holocaust.
“I made a mistake when I said there were no gas chambers at Auschwitz,” Irving told the court after his trial opened in Vienna. But he insisted he never wrote a book about the Holocaust, which he called “just a fragment of my area of interest.”
“In no way did I deny the killings of millions of people by the Nazis,” Irving testified. Earlier, he told journalists he considered it “ridiculous” that he was standing trial for remarks made 17 years ago.
He had faced up to 10 years in prison.
Irving was arrested Nov. 11 in the southern Austrian province of Styria on a warrant issued in 1989. He was charged under a federal law that makes it a crime to publicly diminish, deny or justify the Holocaust.
Within two weeks of his arrest, he asserted through his lawyer that he had come to acknowledge the existence of Nazi-era gas chambers.
In 1992, a judge in Germany fined him the equivalent of $6,000 for publicly insisting the Nazi gas chambers at Auschwitz were a hoax.
Heinz-peter Bader / Reuters
updated 10:09 a.m. PT, Mon., Feb. 20, 2006
Webmaster note: Afterward, Irving made good on his apology by providing an old photo of himself kissing the anus of a goat.