He wrote in his own publication, The Rune: 'I am well aware that orthodox opinion is that 6m Jews were gassed and cremated or turned into soup and lampshades... I have reached the conclusion that the "extermination" tale is a mixture of Allied wartime propaganda, extremely profitable lie, and latter witch-hysteria.'
He is unabashed about this statement when I remind him of it. 'I'd still say those three,' he says, 'but I'd add "and fact" if I was being polite and reasonable about it. The reason people like me aren't polite and reasonable sometimes about the Holocaust is nothing to do with anti-Semitism or wanting to give offence. It is to do with frustration with how it is used to prevent any genuine debate on questions to do with immigration, ethnicity and the cultural survival of the western nations.'
Pushed further on the Holocaust - what he has in the past called the 'Holohoax' - he becomes more animated and more intransigent. His face reddens and his voice grows uncomfortably loud. The lunchtime murmur of hushed conversation and hesitant cutlery is drowned out by a full-bloodied reappraisal of Nazi atrocities. 'The only reason the Nazis were so fanatically anti-Jewish was the very close correlation between some Jews and communism,' he continues. He insists the number of deaths at Auschwitz has been inflated, and is emphatic that no more than 3.5m Jews had perished under Nazi rule.
What is most extraordinary about this performance are his protestations that he had never before realised Jews were so sensitive about the Holocaust. But now, he explains, having spent some time with Jews, he understands that 'it is part of their religion and it's a very strong and personal belief with them'. So the systematic massacre of millions of civilians becomes in Griffin's conception less an actual historical event than a religious belief, or an optional part of cultural identity. His determination to cast doubt on Nazi crimes seems particularly perverse given his stated aim to break the link between British nationalism and Nazism.
He acknowledges that for years the parties in which he has been active have maintained a 'semi-hidden agenda' of neo-Nazism. He dismisses this as just a 'historical accident', for which he blames 'several individuals'. What concerns him more is the subterfuge that prevented open discussion of policy.
'It meant there wasn't a coherent, thought-out British-based set of ideals at the heart of the British nationalist movement, which is patently absurd.' Griffin, then, is asking us to overlook his past actions and instead accept his current word: that he is not a neo-Nazi, even though he was active for years in what he admits was a neo-Nazi party; that he is not an anti-Semite, even though he has been a passionate Holocaust-denier; that he rejects violence, even though he has defended its use on various occasions in the past; and that his reform of the BNP is genuine, even though he has previously played an influential role in parties with a 'semi-hidden agenda'.Quote ends.
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