BARCELONA (JTA) – Spanish police recorded David Irving’s speech at a neo-Nazi bookstore in Barcelona with an eye toward charging him.
Irving, the revisionist historian known for statements denying the Holocaust, in Barcelona and Madrid over the weekend defended in public speeches his theories on the Nazi genocide. Spanish police recorded Saturday’s gathering in Barcelona under the orders of the local district attorney to determine whether his words “incite xenophobia or justify genocide,” a crime under the Spanish penal code that can carry a prison sentence of up to three years.
At Europa, an infamous bookstore and the scene of Irving’s visit last year, Irving said that while there was “no doubt 2 or 3 million Jews were killed,” there was “no proof" Adolf Hitler was aware of what was going on in Nazi Germany’s concentration camps, according to the Europa Press news agency. Security measures were heightened as traffic on Seneca Street, the location of the bookstore, was cut off.
Fewer than 20 people attended the speech, but about 100 protesters stood outside the bookstore, which was protected by a heavy police presence, the news agency reported.
Irving, 69, was sentenced in 2006 to three years in prison in Austria for a speech he gave in 1989 denying the Holocaust. Holocaust denial is considered a crime in Austria.
A 2007 ruling in Spain eliminated prison sentences for Holocaust denial from the country’s penal code, making only the justification of genocide punishable with prison. The high court ruling resulted in the suspension of a five-year prison sentence against the Europa bookshop owner, Pedro Valera, who had been accused of distributing neo-Nazi material.