A Holocaust-denying historian appeared this month at an Upper East Side church, where he reiterated his claim that the Holocaust never happened.
David Irving, 70, spoke Wednesday at St. Stephen of Hungary Parish, a Catholic church on East 82nd Street. A clergyman there said the church was not aware of Mr. Irving's views on the Holocaust and was told that a small group wanted the space to discuss a book.
"We had no idea whatsoever, and in fact they never told us the nature of their meeting," Father Eric Carpine told The New York Sun. "We would never sponsor anyone who would ... discriminate against people."
More than half a million Hungarian Jews died in the Holocaust, according to the Web site of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
A journalist, Max Blumenthal, attended the event for a documentary he is making on Mr. Irving, and said that Mr. Irving refused "to even use the term 'Holocaust'" in his lecture.
"He said a lot of notable things that should keep him out of certain countries in Europe," Mr. Blumenthal said.
Mr. Irving was sentenced to three years' prison time in February 2006 by an Austrian judge for denying the existence of gas chambers and the murder of 6 million Jews during World War II in two lectures in 1989.
The law Mr. Irving broke took effect in 1992 and applies to "whoever denies, grossly plays down, approves or tries to excuse the National Socialist genocide or other National Socialist crimes against humanity in a print publication, in broadcast or other media."
Mr. Irving was released a year after he was imprisoned, after appealing to Austria's highest court.
A professor of Modern Jewish and Holocaust studies at Emory University, Deborah Lipstadt, said she hopes that Mr. Irving's tour of the United States is met with deafening silence. Mr. Irving sued Professor Lipstadt and Penguin Books for libel when she called him a Holocaust denier in her book. He lost the case in 2002 and filed for bankruptcy when he couldn't pay his legal fees.
"He's always been denying the Holocaust and he's never stopped denying the Holocaust," Professor Lipstadt said. "He's really a man who's been declared not just by the British courts but the Austrian courts to be an unrepentant Holocaust denier, a racist, and an anti-Semite."
Professor Lipstadt said the best way to respond to Mr. Irving is to ignore him. "I got an e-mail from a student from Princeton who was planning to go and demonstrate and I wrote him back imploring him not to," she said. "He thrives on attention."
She added that Mr. Irving is mainly speaking to his followers who are already convinced that he's right.
Mr. Irving's Web site says he will appear tomorrow in Washington, D.C., and then in several cities in the South, including Charlotte and Atlanta, through August. The site says he reserves the right to refuse admission, which costs $16. Mr. Irving did not respond to a request for comment yesterday.
Correction from July 22, 2008:
Alternet.org is the Web site where Max Blumenthal's documentary of David Irving will be posted. The Web site was misidentified in an article on page 3 of yesterday's New York Sun.