Auschwitz entrance AP 18/12/09
Entranceway to the former Nazi death camp Auschwitz Birkenau, in Oswiecim, southern Poland. Photo by AP
Text size

British historian and Holocaust-denier David Irving will not be permitted to give tours at Poland's Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, museum officials said Tuesday after the controversial historian arrived in Poland to lead a tour of Nazi sites.

"Proper actions" will be taken if Irving made statements that denied or played down the Holocaust while visiting Auschwitz, a museum spokesman told the Polish Press Agency PAP.

"We cannot allow statements that harm the memory of the victims," spokesman Bartosz Bartyzel told PAP.

Irving told the British Daily Mail on Friday that Treblinka was a genuine death camp, but that Auschwitz was a "Disney-style tourist attraction."

Officials at the Auschwitz museum said Irving cannot lead a tour group because he is not a licensed tour guide. Officials added that they only knew of Irving's planned visit to the camp from media reports, and that they would monitor Irving if he visited the museum.

Irving arrived in Poland on Monday for a nine-day visit that was set to include Auschwitz and the Warsaw Ghetto, where Nazis forced the city's Jewish population during World War II. Irving did not give media an itinerary of his visit, citing security reasons.

Poland's Institute of National Remembrance, which investigates Nazi and Soviet crimes in Poland, said Tuesday it was monitoring Irving's visit. The institute said it was ready to take legal action if Irving negates Nazi crimes.

Irving was convicted of Holocaust denial in 2006 in Austria, and spent 10 months in prison.

In 2000 he lost a libel action in the British courts, with the judge calling him "a racist, an anti-Semite and an active Holocaust denier."