Channel 4 buys Hitler's hair from David Irving for £3,000

Adolf Hitler

Adolf Hitler

Channel 4 has defended its decision to buy a lock of Hitler’s hair from Holocaust-denier David Irving.

Television executives said paying £3,000 was justified on scientific grounds.

The hair will be tested on the channel “Dead Famous DNA” programme which will be broadcast this week.

A Channel 4 spokesman said: “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.

“The programme makes clear David Irving’s views and his denial of the Holocaust. However, we believe the potential importance of the scientific and historical insight justified the purchase of the sample.”

But Labour MP Lilian Greenwood, a member of the All-Party Parliamentary Group Against Antisemitism, believes Channel 4 had made a misjudgment. “David Irving is a notorious Holocaust-denier, and Channel 4 should not be giving him the oxygen of publicity or legitimacy,” she said.

Mark Gardner, director of communications at the Community Security Trust, said: “It is distasteful to see Hitler being sensationalised, but even worse that David Irving – of all people – ought to profit from it in this way.”

Gillian Walnes, founder of the Anne Frank Trust UK, added: “The fact that Channel 4 have chosen to pay the notorious Holocaust-denier David Irving the sum of £3,000 demonstrates the sensationalist and poorly conceived intentions of the programme makers.

"I am cynical about what a strand of hair can tell us about what motivated Hitler in his genocidal mania.”

The hair sample had originally been collected by Hitler’s barber.

Mr Irving has previously been criticised for selling Nazi memorabilia online, although the sale of such memorabilia is legal in the UK.

Last updated: 5:19pm, March 27 2014