I've written before
about David Irving's arrest and impending trial
for Holocaust denial in Austria and the free speech issues involved. I still think that, as odious as Irving's denial of the Holocaust and apologia for Hitler and the Nazi regime, Irving's arrest and imprisonment for what is in essence free speech is a travesty of justice. Even so, I couldn't help but chuckle when I came across this article
, posted by Andrew Mathis
(who, by the way, has written a rather interesting piece about whether there can be too much discussion of the Holocaust
) to a discussion forum and written by a mutually known fellow traveller in the fight against Holocaust denial. It's something I wish I could have written and reminds me of how David Irving's recent admission
that, well, golly yes indeed, there really were gas chambers at Auschwitz might be handled by The Onion
. I've taken the liberty of adding a few explanatory links where appropriate, but have not otherwise altered the text:
Special report from the VARANGIAN NEWS NETWORK:
DAVID IRVING CONVERTS
VIENNA, January 5, VNN: In the latest twist in a career that has more twists than a left-handed corkscrew, disgraced author of historical fiction and international panhandler David Irving today announced from his jail cell in Vienna that he has converted to Judaism. Irving was arrested on November 11 when he illegally entered Austria is awaiting trial on charges arising from his denial that the Holocaust occurred. On two occasions in 1989 in Austria Irving claimed there were no gas chambers at Auschwitz, the notorious Nazi concentration camp, and that no Jews were murdered there.
Subsequent to his arrest, Irving astounded both his critics and his supporters by announcing that sometime in the 1990s his research had revealed that, contrary to his previous claim, that the universally accepted account of the gas chambers was correct. Convinced that the Holocaust had occurred, Irving also announced his intention to plead guilty to the charges and ask the court to take his change of heart and remorse into account when he is sentenced.
Irving denied that this jailhouse religious conversion had been influenced in any way by his current predicament. "I have been contemplating becoming a Jew for a long time," Irving explained, "ever since my matchless research had revealed that the Holocaust happened, I have been considering ways to correct the artificial depletion of International Jewry caused by the inexcusable actions of some of the Fuhrer's subordinates. Since all the Jewesses I know have refused to procreate with me, I decided that the best course was to become a Jew myself."
The shower room of the prison in which Irving is being held served as an improvised mikvah for the ritual. A fellow inmate who refused to give his name presided over the ceremony. While the man admitted that he was not a rabbi, he was quick to add "but I frequently play one in confidence games." Another unnamed inmate acted as the mohel using a shiv improvised from a kitchen utensil to perform his duties. Also present at the ritual were two Turkish drug smugglers who were using the shower for recreational purposes. Both men identified themselves as "Johan Schmidt" but claimed that they were just casual acquaintances.
After the ceremony an ebullient, but bow-legged, Irving proudly announced "Today I am a person of Hebraic persuasion. I can't wait to sit down with Deborah Lipstadt and kvetch about the mamzers who deny the Holocaust."
Irving was adamant that his conversion was unrelated to the predicament in which he currently finds himself or the charges on which he will be tried in February. "I didn't do this to impress the judge." Irving insisted. "Frankly I don't care about his opinion. I did it to clear my conscience." Then Irving paused. "Of course, I am sure that the judge, like any man of conscience, will realize that a long prison sentence will delay the pilgrimage I am now planning to Eretz Israel to daven at the Wailing Wall."
The news of Irving's conversion has spread rapidly among his supporters. The consensus of Irving's friends and associates was shock and anger. Although many would not speak for attribution because "the ADL is watching," most of Irving's fellow "revisionists" were convinced that his conversion was the esult of coercion from a team of "Mossad interrogators" using, according to Robert Countess, "the same techniques outlined in the Talmud that made the Spanish Inquisition so necessary." As Ernst Zündel, an Irving supporter facing criminal charges in Germany for denying that the Holocaust occurred, explained: "Even the strongest Aryan will can break when you are strapped to a chair and forced to watch 'Yentl' over and over again." Mark Weber, director of a neo-nazi research institute proclaimed: "We all know that the perpetrators of the Holocaust lie use torture to get their victims to say the 'right' things. That's what happened to Rudolf Hoess." This sentiment was echoed by Carlos Porter, a self-styled Holocaust "scholar": 'HE WAS TORTURED! LIKE RUDOLF HESS!"
Not all of Irving's supporters agree with this position. The dissenters include Michael Hoffman II, who claims that he is the "foremost expert on Judaism in North America." "He was a mole," Hoffman proclaimed. "He was a Jew all the time. I was the first to discover that Moms Mabely was really a Jewess and I just knew 'David Irving' was Jewish. His name gave it away."
Ingrid Rimland, wife of Ernst Zundel, had no comment. When informed of Irving's purported conversion to Judaism, she curled up in a fetal position around an empty bottle of Prozac and moaned "they want Ernie too!" over and over again.
Whatever the reaction of his fellow travelers, Irving seems be optimistic about his future. He is planning an appeal for funds to the Jewish community. "Jews are always generous when another Jew is in need," Irving said. "I'm sure that most will consider it a belated bar mitzvah present."