'Auschwitz being promoted as a 'Disney-style' tourist site'
Notorious Holocaust-denying historian defends decision to set up tour of Nazi sites as an alternative to what he sees as Poland's fixation with Auschwitz.
Polish authorities have turned the site of the former Nazi death camp Auschwitz into a "Disney-style" tourist attraction, the Daily Mail quoted notorious revisionist historian and Holocaust-denier David Irving as saying on Friday.
In his remarks, Irving was responding to claims that his tours of notable Nazi sites, including Adolf Hitler's headquarters and the Treblinka death camp, were "tasteless," saying that it was the Polish government that was being tasteless by promoting Auschwitz as a tourist attraction.
In 2006, Irving gained notoriety when he was convicted by an Austrian court of Holocaust denial, under the authority of a 1992 law which applies to anyone in Austria who denies, plays down, approves of or tries to excuse the Nazi genocide or other Nazi crimes against humanity.
Irving has in the past contended that most of those who died at concentration camps like Auschwitz succumbed to diseases such as typhus rather than execution.
In the Friday Daily Mail report, Irving went on to accuse Polish authorities of neglecting other less "marketable," more authentic death camps, which "don't have a Holiday Inn down the road," in favor of Auschwitz.
"I have been a historian for 40 years, I know a fake when I see it, when you look at old photographs of Auschwitz, those towers aren't on the photographs," the Daily Mail quoted Irving as saying.
According to the Daily Mail report, Irving rejected claims that his tour overlooked death camps, focusing on Nazi-related sites, saying that if critics "had seen my website, they would know I have already visited many of the death camps two or three times."
The convicted Holocaust-denier added that there was "no question that the Nazis killed millions of people in these camps," adding that "when people call me a Holocaust denier I get quite hot under the collar."
However, Polish war vetetans quoted in the Daily Mail report did not share Irving's views on his planned tour, with some saying the very idea was "sickening."
"Our people suffered very cruelly under the Nazis and this man should never be allowed in the country," one veteran was quoted as saying, adding that Irving "has denied that the Holocaust ever happened. He should take his Nazi Travel tour and go home."