How about notorious Holocaust denier David Irving? The British ‘historian’ was once found guilty of Holocaust denial in an Austrian court, called an “anti-Semitic” “racist” who “associates with right-wing extremists who promote neo-Nazism” in a British high court ruling and has made a career out of defending the atrocities of the Third Reich.
So, of course the guy would have a lock of Hitler’s hair, a totally normal thing for a serious historian to have. The specimen was reportedly obtained by the führer’s personal barber, who wore tape on the soles of his shoes to collect the strands.
How the hair of one of history’s greatest monsters found its way into Irving’s possession remains unclear, but he did just make £3,031 (just under $5,000) selling it to Britain’s Channel 4 TV for a segment on their new series, “Dead Famous DNA.”
Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz reports:
Irving, 75, caused outrage in 2009 when it emerged that he was trying to sell Nazi memorabilia -- including the hair -- online. The hair was supposedly collected by Hitler's barber using sticky tape on the sole of his shoe.
The sale of Nazi memorabilia is illegal in France, Germany, Austria and Hungary, but legal in the United Kingdom.
Irving, who has written widely about World War II, claims that Hitler did not know about the Holocaust until 1943 and never ordered the annihilation of Jews.
A channel spokesperson defended the sale to the International Business Times, after some criticism in the British media:
"We wanted to obtain a sample of Hitler's DNA because scientific analysis of it could provide a key biological component to one of the most significant biographies in history." On Dead Famous DNA, scientists will carry out tests on the hair "to find out more about what made [the subjects] who they were". ... Defending the decision to hand over 3,031 [pounds] to Irving for the lock of hair, the spokesman continued: "The programme makes clear David Irving's repugnant anti-Semitic views and his denial of the Holocaust and [presenter] Mark Evans' moral conundrum about dealing with him is explored."
The episode of “Dead Famous DNA” is scheduled to premiere Wednesday night on British television.Caesar can be reached at Christopher.Caesar@globe.com or via Twitter @ChrisCaesar