Holocaust denier David Irving spoke alongside other antiSemitic conspiracy theorists at a secret meeting of the “neo-Nazi, white supremacist” London Forum, which was attended by an undercover reporter from The Independent.
Irving, whose defeat in a libel trial is dramatised in 2017 blockbuster Denial, began by praising the organisers for ensuring there were “only white faces in the audience”. Fellow speakers delivered anti-Semitic jokes and coded references to Adolf Hitler to a receptive crowd of around 100.
Speakers claimed Auschwitz was “like Disneyland” and that the Holocaust was “gossip”, “propaganda” and a “rumour”. One attendee told this reporter the murder of MP Jo Cox was “cheery news”. Another claimed there were Jews controlling “all 193 states” and a third said life for African Americans was “better before the end of slavery”.
Far-right luminaries appearing alongside Irving included Vincent Reynouard, a Frenchman who like Irving has been imprisoned for Holocaust denial; Alison Chabloz, whose anti-Semitic songs have seen her banned from the Edinburgh Fringe; and David Shayler, an MI5 agent turned 9/11 truther who has claimed he is the Messiah.
Attendees rang a private phone number and were instructed to meet in Green Park, before being shepherded on the Underground to the Swedish Seamen’s Church in Rotherhithe for the meeting in February. The listed building closed to the public in 2012, and has since been sold to developers. The security measures were put in place as a London Forum event in January this year was shut down by an anti-fascist demonstration.
Speaking to The Independent at the time, London Anti-Fascists described the group as a “neo-Nazi, white supremacist” organisation. When asked at the time to respond to allegations of anti-Semitism, the London Forum said, “We abhor the criminalisation of opinions and defend the right of anyone to question the conventional narrative concerning any events that took place in any period of history; and we regard the nature of Zionism, the role of Israel in international affairs and the influence of the Jewish Diaspora upon culture and politics as being legitimate subjects for discussion.”
At the recent meeting, shavenheaded security guards stood by the heavy copper doors of the church, and an event organiser claimed a “group of Millwall fans” were waiting in a nearby pub as back-up in case of violence. As people browsed bookstalls and drank coffee from polystyrene cups, discussion ranged from Jewish plots to take over the Houses of Parliament to defences of slavery and segregation. One man showed The Independent a copy of the London Evening Standard, saying a front-page story describing the rise of the far right was “cheery news”. “A lot of people talk the talk but don’t actually do anything, but that’s starting to change,” he said. Asked what he meant, he pointed to a story inside the paper discussing the murder of MP Jo Cox by far-right extremist Thomas Mair.
Alongside Irving’s self-published works, other books on sale included The Biology of the Race Problem, The Rise of Hitler, Epic: The Story of the Waffen SS and SS Man, Be Fruitful — a booklet originally published by the paramilitary fascists who served as Adolf Hitler’s personal bodyguards.
The event was compèred by London Forum chief, Jeremy “Jez” Bedford-Turner, Britain’s third-most influential right-wing extremist according to campaign group Hope not Hate. Clad in a tweed suit and speaking in a cut-glass upper-class accent, he said, “The West is degenerate, decaying and deracinated. This is the last home of free speech.” He then pulled out a Donald Trump mask and performed an impersonation of the incumbent US President, sending good wishes to the organisation.
Vincent Reynouard, who is wanted in France to serve a second sentence for Holocaust denial, was the first speaker. He claimed the Allies “orchestrated propaganda in the Soviet style”, that gas chambers at Nazi death camps were in fact used to delouse prisoners, and that the Holocaust was simply “a rumour”. He ended by telling the crowd that “defence is the best form of attack”, and urged them to block the construction of a planned Holocaust memorial in Westminster.
Next up was David Shayler. The former MI5 man has previously claimed he is the Messiah, and told the London Forum he was on a “divine mission” from God. “I’ve survived 10 assassination attempts because someone up there likes me,” he said. Similarly, David Irving told The Independent, “Hitler appointed me his biographer,” saying he felt a mystical connection with the Nazi leader and describing himself as “The Messiah.”
Shayler said the Holocaust was beneficial to Jews as they could “claim compensation”, and described the UN and the IMF as “Zionist front organisations”. He further claimed 9/11 was orchestrated by Zionist agents, and that MI5 embezzled money from drug stings to fund “false flag” terror attacks on British citizens.
Alison Chabloz is currently out on bail, accused of posting a song on YouTube including the lyric, “Did the Holocaust ever happen?” She used her performance before the London Forum to defend herself, saying she was in trouble “just for writing a few offensive songs about Jews”.
When she suggested the judge hearing her case had Jewish ties, using the euphemistic term “one of our friends”, one audience member called out, “Could you tell by the size of his nose?” Another shouted “there’s no business like Shoah business,” using the Hebrew word for the Holocaust. She described performing at the 88th birthday party of Robert Faurisson, the pre-eminent French Holocaust denier. “An 88th? in Vichy? Come on,” she said, in a reference to the Nazi-collaborating Vichy government and a neo-Nazi code number signifying Heil Hitler. To close out her appearance she performed a parody of Edith Piaf’s “I Regret Nothing” on a malfunctioning keyboard, and said she was ready to be sent to jail for her beliefs. As the crowd applauded she performed an anti-Semitic quenelle salute.
Finally, Irving took the stage. His rambling speech focused on his life story and complaints that Denial misrepresented details of the court case. Discussing negative media coverage of his work, he used the Nazi term “Lügenpresse”, or “lying press”, and when criticising Denial he described the actress Rachel Weisz as “Jewish but good-looking.” Moving on to his hallmark claims that only 300,000 people of all religions died in the entirety of the Holocaust, he described Auschwitz as “small beer” and now “like Disneyland”. Coming to a grandstanding conclusion, he declared, “I am still standing, the fight goes on, and I will continue writing true history as I find it to be true.” The crowd responded with a standing ovation.
On the way to the event, an elderly Forum member asked a young, brown-skinned woman riding the tube where she was from. “London,” she replied.