Secrecy surrounding talk by historian David Irving meant to deflect protests
As protests about the Middle East spill into Portland streets, the world's best-known 'Holocaust revisionist' is planning to visit the city Friday
British historian David Irving contends that the Nazis did not kill 6 million Jews during World War II. He says Jews exaggerated the number of fatalities and other aspects of the Holocaust to justify Israel's creation.
Bob Horenstein, community relations director of the Jewish Federation of Portland, calls Irving a dangerous racist who could trigger attacks on local minorities.
'This is not just a Jewish issue,' Horenstein said. 'It is an issue for the entire city, and I would hope the community would come together and say his kind of views aren't welcome here.'
In Horenstein's opinion, 'Only racist, hateful white supremacist groups would bring him here to speak.'
Contacted at his home in London, Irving would not disclose where he will be speaking or who is organizing his appearance. He said local supporters will be told the address at the last minute to prevent protesters from disrupting the talk.
Irving has written 11 books on World War II, including the first detailed published account of the Allied bombing of Dresden; a biography of Joseph Goebbels, Hitler's propaganda minister; and an extensive account of the German side of the conflict, titled 'Hitler's War.'
Although once hailed as a thorough researcher and expert on Nazi documents, Irving later came to be seen as an apologist for the Third Reich.
Randy Blazak, a Portland State University sociology professor who monitors right-wing extremists, thinks that Irving appeals primarily to racist conspiracy theorists who blame Jews for everything.
'Unfortunately, we have a fairly strong network of anti-Semitic hate groups here,' Blazak said.