DW-WORLD.DE readers give their opinions on Austria's release of Holocaust denier, David Irving.
The British author is now banned from Austria
The following comments reflect the views of our readers. Not all reader comments have been published. DW-WORLD.DE reserves the right to edit for length and appropriateness of content.
David Irving should never have been sent to prison in the first place. If what he is saying is not true then why should people be so intent on making sure he can't say it? It could make one think that maybe there is some truth in what he says -- if there was no truth in what he says then why should it even matter? -- Zac
I would be very interested in DW-WORLD.DE doing a comparison of Austria's jailing David Irving and Turkey's bringing to trial authors on similar charges. That is, daring to express opinions that run contrary to what the government authorizes. Turkey at least has the excuse of its culture and recent struggles with "westernization." Austria and Germany have no such excuses. As long as these countries have such laws on the books, there can be no question of freedom of expression. Of course, it goes without saying that when an author writes a book such as Irving's, which was not factual, heavy-handed tactics against the author only cause people to wonder if the author is revealing a truth and the government is trying to shut him up. Self-defeating is the only way to describe it. Let all opinions see the light of day and let the truth win out in the market place of ideas. -- J.L. Ronish
To imprison a man for expressing his beliefs, no matter how unpopular or contrary to fact, is incompatible with a free society. Criminalizing speech, like the creation of concentration camps, is a National Socialist concept. -- John Boyer, USA
Irving says he never denied the Holocaust
David Irving should never have been arrested. The law against Holocaust deniers should be repealed. There should be an open discussion about the facts. Truth will provide the clarity and the rightness of beliefs. -- Andrew Schneider
Irving's incarceration was disgusting. One may not agree with him, but free speech is a fundamental human right. Do the Germans and Austrians feel they are genetically programmed for murder and therefore need these oppressive laws or that they are not deserving of intellectual freedom? Why should this one event in history be off-limits to new research, fresh analysis or revision when no other historical event is? That is how history is defined. How dare anyone tell us what we can read, think or write? Is the EU becoming a vehicle for "thought police" and "history police?" Where is democracy in this? Shame on countries with such restrictive laws. -- L. Schaitberger
It is outrageous that someone has actually been accused, tried, convicted and served time in jail for denying the Holocaust. I do not condone those events and actions but this put the prosecutors in the same position as the Nazis. Going to jail for denying something ... outrageous! Won't be long till we go back to stoning, jailing and burning people at the stake for denying God. -- Carmen
Iran held a much criticized conference on the Holocaust
As a Norwegian born 12 years after the war, I was more or less brought up with the stories of the war. My grandfather was arrested by the occupying Germans and sent to a concentration camp but survived and was released at the end of the war. I have heard of all the crimes that were committed by the Nazis. We have visited Dachau and seen the monuments to the tragedy. And I have no reason to doubt that it happened as we have heard. But I also know that we haven't heard the whole story and we probably never will. I think that you Germans, in particular, should be allowed to say now that this is history, it is over. In some years, all of those involved will be gone and we must be able to put things behind us and let it be history. Therefore, historians must be allowed to investigate what happened without restrictions. That means that a number of countries have to change their laws so views can freely be expressed. Historic truth can not be settled by voting in a parliament. We have to accept that there will be very different views of what happened. And I think it is hypocrisy to put someone to jail for expressing a view on a historic subject when we claim that we have freedom of expression. So let Irving come out and speak. -- Gustav Tengesdal, Oslo
I think it is right for Austria to release Irving. I don't agree with his views in general but I don't like these stupid laws that stifle free speech. The truth cannot be upheld by lawmaker. The truth upholds itself. -- Mark Goetz
Irving should not have been released. Let me add here that all who are convicted for denial of the Holocaust should be made to read documents -- and there are tons of them -- which the Nazi authorities produced for rounding up the Jews and "undesirables" for extermination. And they should be forced to view the films of the US Army signal corps when they entered the concentrations camps. These films are so graphic and moving, it would, in my opinion, be impossible to claim forgeries or that they were specially produced in an attempt to deceive. These pitiful, mentally infirm individuals should be forced to view the material gathered at the liberation of the camps. -- James R. Austin
He should never have been jailed. At a time when US, British and German soldiers are dying for freedom in Iraq, it is a travesty that someone should be jailed for an opinion. I now have a personal boycott of Austria and any country that sides with it on suppressing free speech. -- Tom Hartman