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Last Updated: Wednesday, 20 December 2006, 22:27 GMT
Reactions to Irving release
An Austrian court's decision to release on probation UK historian David Irving - jailed for Holocaust denial - has prompted dismay among international Jewish organisations.

IRIS ROSENBERG, SPOKESWOMAN FOR YAD VASHEM, ISRAEL

It is unfortunate that, a week after the highly publicised conclave of Holocaust deniers in Tehran, the Austrian court saw fit to reduce Irving's sentence to probation, since it may send the inaccurate message that Holocaust deniers can spew their lies about history with impunity.

KAREN POLLOCK, CHIEF EXECUTIVE, HOLOCAUST EDUCATIONAL TRUST, UK

Holocaust denial is anti-Semitism dressed up as intellectual debate and Irving's reputation as a credible historian is shot.

In 2000 a British High Court judge branded David Irving as a falsifier of history and a racist who, for his own ideological reasons, persistently and deliberately misrepresented and manipulated historical evidence.

In Austria, David Irving has been convicted of the crime, regardless of the length of the sentence he serves.

Nevertheless, with the recent conference in Iran, attended by deniers and neo-Nazi sympathisers, we are reminded of the need to remain vigilant to ensure that Holocaust denial, in whatever guise it appears, is challenged.

HENRY GRUNWALD, PRESIDENT, BOARD OF DEPUTIES OF BRITISH JEWS

Many European states criminalise Holocaust denial, viewing it correctly as a threat to history and democracy by extremists who wish to resurrect Nazism.

That Holocaust denial retains its potency for extremists was demonstrated by the recent Iranian conference which brought together Nazi sympathisers, several of whom are convicted criminals, and militant Islamists in a futile attempt to undermine the legitimacy of the state of Israel.

Irving's reputation as a Nazi sympathiser, prepared to pervert the truth to promote his extremism, was further strengthened by his belated attempt to curry favour with the Austrian court by retracting his past views prior to being sentenced.

Confronting such extremists with the truth therefore remains the most powerful weapon against their lies.

LORD JANNER, WORLD JEWISH CONGRESS AND COMMONWEALTH JEWISH COUNCIL

I am sorry that he did not serve out his full term, and I hope he will remain in Austria and not return to the United Kingdom, where he will not be welcome.

I do not believe that he was put in prison because he was a historian. And historians should be treated in the same way as anyone else.


SEE ALSO
Holocaust denier to be released
20 Dec 06 |  Europe
Holocaust denier verdict upheld
04 Sep 06 |  Europe
Profile: David Irving
18 Nov 05 |  UK

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