“Persons who spread these ideas are not welcome in our country,” Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius said.
David Irving, the British Holocaust-denier, speaks to Reuters during an interview in Warsaw September 21, 2010. (photo credit: KACPER PEMPEL/REUTERS)
Lithuania is planning to blacklist infamous Holocaust denier and antisemite David Irving.
In an interview with AFP, Lithuania’s Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius made it clear that “Holocaust denial and praising Adolf Hitler is a crime in Lithuania.”
“Persons who spread these ideas are not welcome in our country,” Linkevicius said, adding that he was going to speak with the migration department to officially blacklist Irving, who may attempt to visit the EU country at some point later this year.
The well-known British Holocaust denier and self-proclaimed Hitler expert announced on his website that he was planning “an exclusive tour of historic Nazi sites in Poland [in] September 2019.”
In 2010 and 2015, Irving, who is now 80, led similar tours to World War II sites in Poland, including the Treblinka death camp and other Holocaust sites, a move which was viewed as extremely controversial.
It drew ire and widespread condemnation from Holocaust survivors and anti-racism groups. During his 2015 tour, he also took the group to see such sites in Latvia.
Speaking to The Jerusalem Post at the time, he denied that he was an antisemite, saying, “no, not yet.”
Last month, Diaspora Affairs Minister Naftali Bennett wrote a letter to Poland’s Ambassador to Israel Marek Magierowski, asking him to deny Irving entry into the country.
“Given Irving’s record of abhorrent statements and outright lies about the history of Holocaust, it is quite clear that he intends to use this opportunity to spread further falsehoods and vitriolic narrative,” wrote Bennett. “In so doing, he will doubtless cause deep offense to the memory of the victims of the Holocaust and to all the Jewish people, as well as stoke the already raging fire of hatred and antisemitism we are witnessing around the world today.”
Soon after, Poland’s Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz told reporters that Irving would likely be denied entry into his country.
“Negation of the Holocaust is not allowed by Polish law: therefore he will not be welcome here in Poland if he wants to come and present his opinions,” Czaputowicz said.
A spokesperson for Bennett told Reuters at the time that they “are greatly encouraged by the Polish foreign minister’s comments. We have prevented the spread of hatred and lies against the Jewish people and against the memory of the victims of the Holocaust.”
In 2006, Irving served time in an Austrian jail for Holocaust denial. He is also famous for losing a 1996 libel lawsuit against Holocaust historian Deborah Lipstadt, who described him as a Holocaust denier.
He authored the book Hitler’s War in which he attempted to minimize both Nazi atrocities and Hitler’s responsibility for them.
Irving claimed that Hitler was not aware of the program to exterminate the Jews and retained his credibility as a historian.
Over time, this claim evolved into full-blown Holocaust denial, saying that there was no evidence to prove the existence of gas chambers at Auschwitz.
Jeremy Sharon and Amy Spiro contributed to this report.