London – Controversial British historian David Irving, sentenced by a court in Vienna last week for denying the Holocaust, has again questioned the existence of a large-scale extermination programme under the Nazis.
During his trial in Austria, 67-year-old Irving acknowledged that gas chambers were operated by the Nazis to kill Jews at the Auschwitz concentration camp.
He was sentenced to three years in jail, but the prosecution has asked to raise the term to 10 years.
But in an interview given to the BBC from his prison cell, Irving again insisted that the numbers of Jews gassed at Auschwitz were small.
‘Given the ruthless efficiency of the Germans, if there was an extermination programme to kill all the Jews, how come so many survived?’, Irving asked in the interview for BBC Radio 4’s Today programme Tuesday.
‘A hundred thousand were in the camp at the end of the war, and 60,000 were marched to the West when the camp was overrun by the Red Army. There were 7,000 to 10,000 left in the camp when the Red Army arrived there. That doesn’t seem a very efficient programme to me.’
Asked whether he believed that there was an organised programme to exterminate the Jews in Europe, overseen by Hitler, he responded: ‘No. That is absolutely wrong and nobody can justify that. Adolf Hitler’s own involvement in it has a big question mark behind it.’
Irving said he would not be silenced.
‘I am not going to allow governments to tell me what to write with my fountain pen’, he said. ‘I can’t allow people to silence me. That is not the way to write history.’