Far right: Convicted Holocaust denier David Irving addressed fascist sympathisers and neo Nazis at a secret meeting in London yesterday
Convicted Holocaust denier David Irving addressed fascist sympathisers and neo-Nazis at a secret meeting in London yesterday.
Irving, a historian who famously lost a libel case after denying the existence of Nazi gas chambers, was the star speaker at an event that attracted an audience of 120 Right-wing sympathisers, including women and teenagers.
Behind closed doors at a four-star hotel in South Kensington, the discredited author gave a speech condemning the Second World War Allied bombing campaign over Germany and Nazi-occupied Europe as ‘a war crime’.
Irving’s contentious speech was titled: ‘Saturation Bombing in World War II – who is to blame?’
An invitation to the event, obtained by The Mail on Sunday, states: ‘David Irving is the world’s MOST respected historian, he’s the world’s TOP expert on World War II.’
But he was widely discredited after his high-profile libel trial and being sentenced to three years imprisonment by an Austrian court in 2006 for denying the Holocaust.
The secret meeting will add to concerns that far-Right groups are trying to garner support in London and Europe amid a rise in austerity and Islamic terrorism.
It comes just three months after The Mail on Sunday exposed a similar meeting of far-Right figures from around the world, organised by the same group, who call themselves the London Forum.
Anti-fascist campaigner Gerry Gable condemned Irving’s appearance at the latest in a ‘growing series of closed international far-Right extremist conferences’.
Former Spandau prison worker Abdallah Melaouhi, self-described ‘best friend’ of Hitler’s deputy, Rudolf Hess, was also a speaker at yesterday’s event.
Also present was Arkadiusz Rzepinski, leader of the Polish nationalist party, NOP, in England.
The invitation told those wishing to attend the meeting to call a mobile number at 8am yesterday. Those who rang were told to meet at South Kensington Tube station at 11am, where they were greeted by retired teacher and known fascist supporter Michael Woodbridge.
They were then led to the four-star Rembrandt Hotel, opposite the Victoria and Albert museum.
Mockery: Extremist Michael Woodbridge spotted at rally yesterday wearing an RAF jacket
Attendees filed into the St James function room, which the group had booked out in a different name, from 11.30am – some wearing tweed and blazers, others in khaki trousers and black T-shirts with the logo of fascists groups including the far-Right Greek group Golden Dawn.
Among the paying attendees were British National Party members and Polish nationalist skinheads wearing camouflage – complete with boots and chains – who filed through the lobby past bemused hotel guests. About 10 women attended and one man brought his teenage daughter.
It is depressing that such a meeting should take place in the 21st Century
Historian and broadcaster Andrew Roberts
In 1996, Irving sued Professor Deborah Lipstadt and Penguin books for defamation after being called a Holocaust denier. Irving lost the very high-profile case, which cost him a reported £2 million.
At the trial the judge said Irving had deliberately misinterpreted and distorted facts. The judge said: ‘It is my conclusion that no objective, fair-minded historian would have serious cause to doubt that there were gas chambers at Auschwitz and that they were operated on a substantial scale to kill hundreds of thousands of Jews.’
In parts of Europe Holocaust denial is a criminal offence and in 2006, an Austrian court sentenced Irving to three years in prison after he made speeches denying the Nazis used gas chambers. He later said he had revised some of his views.
The respected historian and broadcaster Andrew Roberts said: ‘It is depressing that such a meeting should take place in the 21st Century. The idea of treating David Irving as a historian at all is absurd.
The extremist Michael Woodbridge, pictured top wearing an RAF uniform, with Blackshirt insignia (ringed) at a meeting in London three months ago
‘He doesn’t have the right to call himself that. Historians think of him as a Nazi propagandist and they have the backing of the High Court.’
Speaking in German, with translation provided by Irving, Melaouhi told the crowd about his time working as a prison nurse. He attended to Hess between 1982 and 1987 when Hess was held prisoner in Spandau, Germany, for war crimes.
Hess, Hitler’s deputy who during the Second World War was held prisoner after his plane crashed in Scotland in 1941, hanged himself in 1987. Melaouhi claimed Hess was murdered and released a book about him, describing him as ‘a man of great vision, intelligence and compassion’.
In April, we exposed a similar meeting of the London Forum where the star speaker was Spanish self-confessed Nazi Pedro Varela.
He was arrested in Austria for praising Hitler in 1992 and declared to a baying crowd in Madrid on the centenary of the Fuhrer’s birthday: ‘There were never any gas chambers in Auschwitz.’
Also present was America’s leading peddler of revisionism, Mark Weber, 63, director of the right-wing Institute for Historical Review.
Gerry Gable of anti-fascist magazine Searchlight said: ‘This conference is another piece of evidence of a growing series of closed international far-right extremist Conferences.
‘The core movers range from elderly Holocaust deniers to well-educated men and women who are being trained in ideologies of hate and being made ready for potential acts of terrorism.’