Campaigners call for ban on Irving trip to Nazi death camp

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Polish and British anti-racism groups on Wednesday urged their governments to ban a tour of a Nazi death camp and other Holocaust sites in Poland by controversial British historian David Irving.

Marcin Kornak, head of the Warsaw-based Never Again Association, made the call in a joint statement with Britain's Searchlight anti-fascist group posted on his organisation's website.

"We urge Polish and British authorities to have a firm reaction to and to not allow this shameful visit which offends the memory of the victims of the war and the Holocaust," he said.

Irving, who was jailed in Austria in 2006 for denying the Holocaust, plans a September 21-29 guided tour of sites in Poland dating back to the War War II Nazi German occupation.

It includes a visit at the Treblinka death camp, where more than 800,000 people, mostly Jews, were murdered.

A trip to Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler's "Wolf's Lair" headquarters at Ketrzyn in northeastern Poland and to the base of SS commander Heinrich Himmler, were also on the itinerary.

In a brochure published on his Focal Point Publications website, Irving called the tour an "unforgettable journey" and a chance to see "real history".

At the epicentre of Hitler's plan of genocide against European Jews during World War II, Poland has enacted strict laws against both Holocaust denial and the public propagation of anti-Semitism or fascism.

In Poland, anyone found guilty of denying the Holocaust or publicly propagating anti-Semitism, fascism or other totalitarian ideologies faces a maximum penalty of up to three years behind bars.

According to Poland's Institute of National Remembrance, between 5.47 million and 5.67 million Polish citizens died at the hands of the Nazis.

Polish Jews represented around half of the six million Jews who perished in the Holocaust.

© 2010 AFP

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