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Dowager Lady Birdwood Dies at 87

June 30, 2000

LONDON (AP) _ Dowager Lady Birdwood, whose upper-class name gave her a platform for expounding racist and anti-Semitic views, has died at age 87.

She died Wednesday, according to news reports. The cause of death was not provided.

Birdwood was twice convicted of inciting racial hatred, the first time in 1991 for distributing leaflets calling the Holocaust a ``Holohoax″ and alleging that Jews had ritually slaughtered Christian children. She was given a suspended prison sentence in that case, and again when she was convicted in 1994.

Born Joan Pollock Graham in Winnipeg, Canada, she met Lt. Col. Christopher Birdwood, later Lord Birdwood, in Germany in 1947. They married after his divorce in 1953.

In 1970, she unsuccessfully sought to initiate an obscenity prosecution of the nude review ``Oh! Calcutta!″

In 1983, she ran for Parliament on a platform urging compulsory repatriation of immigrants, and won 69 votes.

The last time she faced prosecution, in 1998, authorities decided that the onset of Alzheimer’s disease made her mentally incompetent to stand trial.

The Guardian newspaper commented in its obituary that Lady Birdwood would have been ignored but for her name.

``As plain Joan Graham ... she would have remained just one more case history in the ‘sturm und drang’ of the British far right,″ the newspaper said.

Birdwood’s husband died in 1962. The couple had no children. Funeral arrangements were not announced.

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