I’ve been following the news about David Irving’s nine-day tour of Holocaust sites and World War II historical sites in Poland, but I have been unable to find out if his tour group actually visited Auschwitz or not. The last news I read about his proposed tour of Auschwitz said that the authorities at the Auschwitz Museum were denying him the right to lead a tour because he is not a licensed tour guide. How long would it take to issue him a license?
Here is a quote from a news article about Irving’s reaction:
Mr Irving told The Daily Telegraph: “I am baffled by the reaction I’ve had in Poland because they should be very grateful that I am here.
I think the staff at the Auschwitz Museum should welcome David Irving to Auschwitz. They should greet him at the entrance and escort him directly to the sign in front of the gas chamber at the Auschwitz main camp. A photo of the sign is shown below.
(Click on the sign to enlarge)
In 1989 David Irving was charged with a crime because he said that the gas chamber at Auschwitz I was a reconstruction. Now the Auschwitz Museum is admitting that the gas chamber was a reconstruction. For over fifty years, visitors were told that the reconstructed gas chamber was in its original state.
On my 1998 visit to Auschwitz, I was led to believe that what I was seeing was the original gas chamber, complete with two flimsy wooden doors that both opened inward, a large floor drain, and drains for two toilets. I was told that a guard stood outside the door that had a glass window and threatened to shoot anyone who broke the window in an attempt to escape from the gas chamber.
I think that the director of the Auschwitz Museum owes David Irving an apology. In fact, they should think about atoning for their lies by erecting another small sign, outside the gas chamber, stating that David Irving had the courage to dispute their lies told over a period of more than 50 years.
The next stop for Irving should be the first building inside the “Arbeit Macht Frei” gate into the Auschwitz I camp, which is shown in the photo below.
Notice that the photo, which I took in 2005, was taken in the early morning hours. I had to sneak past the tour groups that were lined up outside the camp and get inside, ahead of the crowds, to get a shot without a bunch of tourists in the picture.
David Irving has been criticized for pointing out the Disneyland atmosphere of Auschwitz. It has been awhile since I have been to Disneyland, but it was a lot less crowded than Auschwitz when I was there.
The building in the photo above is Block 24, the first building that you see on the left side, after walking through the gate. Block 24 now houses the Auschwitz archives and the office of the Museum director. The Museum director should personally meet David Irving and apologize for the lies told by the Museum and for not telling visitors what this building was used for.
Block 24 was formerly a brothel for the Polish political prisoners; the camp library was on the first floor. Block 24 also housed the prisoner’s art museum, where their artwork was exhibited. None of this is mentioned by the tour guides, and in 2005 when I was there, no sign told visitors what the building was used for when the camp was in operation. Instead, a sign near the corner of Block 24 tells visitors that the corpses of prisoners, who were executed because they had attempted to escape, were often displayed here as a warning.
The Museum should make a pledge to Irving that they will stop withholding information about the camp. For example, the swimming pool in the Auschwitz I camp, which you can see in the old photo below.
The swimming pool is now called a water reservoir on a sign board that was erected some time after my visit to Auschwitz in October 2005. The words on the sign board are in Polish, English and Hebrew; the sign reads as follows: “Fire brigade reservoir built in the form of a swimming pool, probably in early 1944.”
I took the photo above in the early morning, before the crowds arrived at Auschwitz, in October 2005. I thought the workers were doing some work to preserve the pool, but I was wrong. They were actually preparing it to be shown as a reservoir for the fire brigade.
Barbara Cherish, the daughter of Arthur Liebehenschel, wrote a book which was published in 2009, entitled “My father, the Auschwitz commandant.” In her book, Barbara credits her father with building a swimming pool for the use of the prisoners. Liebehenschel was the Commandant of the Auschwitz main camp for five months, beginning on December 1, 1943.
In the Epilogue of the book entitled “Death Dealer,” which was first published in 1992 as the autobiography of Auschwitz Commandant Rudolf Höss, the editor of the book, Steven Paskuly wrote the following:
When Höss was promoted to Berlin, his replacement, Kommandant Arthur Liebehenschel, was put in charge of just the Auschwitz camp… [...] He had the water trough near Blocks 7 and 8 converted into a swimming pool for Kapos and prisoners who worked well.
Moving right along to Auschwitz II, aka Birkenau, David Irving should be escorted to the first fake guard tower, where the Museum director should personally apologize for erecting fake guard towers to fool visitors. As far as I know, Irving was the first person to point out that there were no guard towers in the photo of Birkenau shown below.
(Click on photo to enlarge)
What does it matter if a few fake guard towers were added, long after the Birkenau death camp was the site of the gassing of an estimated 900,000 Jews? It matters because it changes the whole story of Birkenau. Tampering with the evidence of the Holocaust should be a crime. Reconstructing a gas chamber and passing it off for 50 years as original should be a crime. Stating your opinion, even if it is wrong, should not be a crime in any country.