"I'm very shocked and I'm going to appeal," said Irving who appeared in court handcuffed and wearing a blue business suit, reported Agence France-Presse (AFP). The British historian had pleaded guilty on a charge dating back to 1989 of denying the Holocaust but insisted his views had now changed and that he no longer questioned the existence of gas chambers. "Stay strong, stay strong, good luck to you," one onlooker in court shouted to him in English.
Irving was arrested in Australia under a warrant issued in 1989 for denying the Holocaust in remarks 17 years ago. Holocaust denial is criminalized in Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and Switzerland. According to Encyclopedia Britannica, the Holocaust refers to "systematic state-sponsored killing of Jewish men, women, and children and others by Nazi Germany and its collaborators during World War II." The commonly used figure for the number of Jewish victims is six million. However, the figure was questioned by some historians and intellectuals, chiefly French Muslim author Roger Garaudy.
A few hours before his trial, Irving retracted his denial of the Holocaust. "I'm not a Holocaust denier. Obviously, I've changed my views," the 68-year-old maverick historian told reporters. He said he came to change his mind after reading more. "History is a constantly growing tree -- the more you know, the more documents become available, the more you learn, and I have learned a lot since 1989," Irving said.
"Yes, there were gas chambers," said the British historian. "Millions of Jews died, there is no question. I don't know the figures. I'm not an expert on the Holocaust. "I would call it the Jewish tragedy in World War II," said the British historian. Irving's book, Hitler's War, sparked widespread world controversy when published in 1977 for saying that the Nazi German ruler did not know about the mass killings of Jews until 1943 and that he never ordered the Holocaust.
In 2000, the British historian lost a high-profile libel case in London against US historian Deborah Lipstadt, who had called him a "Holocaust denier, anti-Semitic and racist." In 2003, a French court jailed Jean Plantin, editor of a magazine called Akribeia, for publishing works that called into question the scope of the Holocaust.
Flemming Rose, the culture editor of Danish mass-circulation Jyllands Posten, which published cartoons mocking Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him), was sent on an indefinite leave one day after he told CNN he would consider publishing Holocaust cartoons.
Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16