Historian Jailed Over (Very Dubious) Opinion

Controversial British historian David Irving has been sentenced to three years imprisonment by an Austrian court for denying the Holocaust. The trial focused on comments Irving made in Austria back in 1989 when, despite vast evidence to the contrary, he claimed that there had been no gas chambers at Auschwitz (in fact, the commandant at Auschwitz led development of gas chambers for mass murder), and that Jews hadn’t been killed in their millions (even though the Nazi genocide killed twelve million, six million of them Jews). Austria is one of eleven countries in which denying the holocaust is a crime. However, Irving’s imprisonment raises some controversial questions for historians, especially the extent to which there should ever be an official ‘state’ history, and the extent to which speech should be restricted by law.

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