Holocaust denier unwelcome in Norway

Oct. 9, 2008 at 2:42 PM

OSLO, Norway, Oct. 9 (UPI) -- British Holocaust denier David Irving has been disinvited from next year's Norwegian Festival of Literature.

After the festival board withdrew the invitation, Stig Saeterbakken, who decided to invite Irving to lecture on Truth, resigned as director of program content, Aftenposten reported.

The invitation to Irving to speak at the conference in Lillehammer in May was followed by a storm of criticism. Many of the invited authors threatened to stay away, and the Norwegian free speech organization, Frit Ord, was critical.

"Initially we wanted to expose Irving as a liar and swindler, but then the issue became a question of free speech," said Randi Skeie, the head of the festival. "Everything is fine as long as everyone agrees, but things get more difficult when one doesn't like the views being put forward."

Irving, the author of 30 books on the history of World War II, served a prison term in Austria in 2006 for Holocaust denial. After he sued a U.S. historian for libel, a British court found that he is an anti-Semite and racist as well as an active Holocaust denier.

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