Fair 2007

If David Irving already had good reasons to hate Never Again, Searchlight’s sister organisation in Poland after it prevented publication of his books by the Polish Ministry of Defence publishing house and stopped a planned promotional visit to Poland in 2000, he now has even more. This is because Never Again went one better, in May, contributing to Irving’s humiliating eviction from the Warsaw International Book Fair.

Remarkably for a self-proclaimed expert on World War II, Irving had never actually visited Poland until March this year when he embarked on a very low-key, more or less incognito, tour of Nazi concentration camp sites, accompanied by a Russian TV crew. Throughout his journey he made offensive comments, which he later set out for the world to see on his internet diary. Emboldened by his March sojourn, Irving (under the flag of his publishing outfit, Focal Point) applied to take part in the prestigious Warsaw’s International Book Fair taking place in the city’s Palace of Culture. In addition to displaying and hawking his books, he planned to hold a public meeting in one of the Fair’s meeting rooms.

‘Never Again’ learned about Irving’s scheme on the morning of 18 May and immediately mobilised all possible contacts, including the media, to prevent the meeting. The media in turn put immediate pressure on the Book Fair’s organisers. The Polish Ministry of Culture and the diplomatic community apparently intervened, too, as did the director of the Auschwitz Museum who told the police to expect a breach of Polish law prohibiting the public denial of the Holocaust. The organisers were initially oblivious but eventually Irving’s public event was cancelled and a visibly shaken Irving was escorted from the premises together with all his books. His attempted participation and eviction from the Fair was filmed and shown on national TV and the news became a leading media topic for a few days.

Irving is popular among some Polish nationalists and right-wing extremists who admire his hatred of Jews. For many years, his pieces have been published on the pages of Szczerbiec, a publication of the National Rebirth of Poland (NOP), the Polish section of Italian terrorist Roberto Fiore’s fascist international. They often do not, it appears, grasp, however, that Irving’s deeply held contempt extends to ethnic Poles. Irving grumbled repeatedly “I don’t like Poland” in the aftermath of his failed Warsaw visit. He is now promising to sue the Fair for the cost of his airfare and hotel and it can be assumed that Poland is one of the countries Irving will not try to visit again in the foreseeable future.