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Posted Sunday, August 7, 2005

The GUardian

The Guardian, London Saturday, August 6, 2005  


Paula Hitler's Journal Discovered

TWO historians yesterday acclaimed the discovery in Germany of a journal written by Adolf Hitler's sister, saying it offers remarkable insights into the dysfunctional nature of the Führer's family.

Paula Hitler's journal, unearthed at an undisclosed location in Germany [SEE PANEL AT RIGHT], reveals that her brother was a bully in his teens, and would beat her. Recounting the earliest memories of her childhood, when she was around eight and Adolf was 15, Paula wrote: "Once again I feel my brother's loose hand across my face."

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David Irving comments:

AFTER SIXTY YEARS: it just goes to show what lame ducks the world's conformist historians are, if they have failed to unearth such vitally important documents as these in Germany -- provided that they are genuine (see last paragraph).
   For several years I drove around the country -- before I was banned in 1993 -- visiting high-ranking WW2 widows and veterans of the Nazi years, and obtaining copies of their private papers. The conformists prefer to skulk in archives and libraries, plucking books (preferably printed) from shelves.
   For Hitler's War I used one or two interrogations of Paula Hitler, conducted by an American unit. These revealed her abiding fondness for her big bad brother.
   She had a hard time after the war. Once, thanks to the late François Genoud, she did have a windfall: For her publishing rights in Hitler's Table Talk, which Genoud had acquired from Martin Bormann's widow, publisher George Weidenfeld, an Austrian Jew (today Lord Weidenfeld) paid her a cheque for £40,000. That was back in the late 1940s, and that wasn't peanuts in those days. Weidenfeld not only did Hitler's sister a favour, he did a great service to history.
   At Nuremberg she wrote extensive memoirs also; these are typed on US legal size paper and each page is signed by her. I glanced through them, and am sure they are genuine. This document is in the hands of an American collector who lives in Michigan -- I have so far been unable to persuade him to let me have a copy although he has often promised; I came within an ace of setting up a scanner to do so, when his wife emerged from their bedroom -- it was around 3 a.m. -- and protested.

AS for the infamous Dr Erwin Jekelius: what a coincidence. His name figures on the mysterious entry for Nov 30, 1941 of Heinrich Himmler's handwritten telephone log. I was the first historian to take the trouble to transcribe these historical documents. It always puzzled me why Himmler should have taken an interest in this obscure Austrian. Now we know. He visited Hitler in his bunker that day -- Hitler ordered, in vain, that the trainload of Jews just transported from Berlin should not be liquidated -- and he had perhaps also asked the Reichsführer to look into the fellow who was messing with his little sister.

INCIDENTALLY, and on a controversial note: why is it a criminal act to gas 5,000 euthanasia victims, but not a criminal act to kill by the most brutal means 5 million unborn babies each year? But that's another debate entirely.

FINALLY, what about the source of the Paula Hitler documents? The Hitler family stuff comes from a file in the Wiener Staatsarchiv. No sensation there. As for the rest, the fact that these two historians tested the authenticity is one clue. That they "also located a joint memoir by Hitler's half-brother, Alois" tells me all I need to know: the location was none other than the famous Fake Hitler Diaries accomplice Gerd Heidemann, and that is why the two historians are a bit, ahem, coy about revealing the location. The last time I saw Alois's memoirs (a thick typescript), in about 1980 they were in Gerd's fabulous archive, and I believe he mentioned to me something about having Paula's papers too.
   In March 2005 I asked Gerd about these items and certain others, which I need for my Himmler biography, indicating that I am prepared to pay, and he stated that he was negotiating with Mr Beierl and ZDF television. I just hope the pages of Paula's Diary do not have the thumbprints of a certain Konrad Kujau all over them.

The typewritten journal is among an assortment of documents which have been disclosed by historians Timothy Ryback and Florian Beierl. Dr Ryback is the head of Germany's Obersalzberg Institute of Contemporary History, which is dedicated to research into Hitler, while Mr Beierl has written several books about the Nazi party leader and Third Reich chancellor.

They said that scientific tests had verified the documents' authenticity. Other insights include the revelation that Paula, always thought of as the innocent bystander of the Hitler family, was engaged to one of the Holocaust's most notorious euthanasia doctors.

Dr Ryback told the Guardian: "This is the first time that we have been able to get an insight into the Hitler family from a very young age. "Adolf was the older brother and father figure. He was very strict with Paula and slapped her around. But she justified it in a starry-eyed way, because she believed it was for the good of her education."

Alois Hitler

The two historians have also located a joint memoir by Hitler's half-brother, Alois, and half-sister, Angela [the mother of Geli Raubal and Leo]. One excerpt describes the violence exercised by Hitler's father, also called Alois (above), and how Adolf's mother tried to protect her son from regular beatings.

"Fearing that the father could no longer control himself in his unbridled rage, she [Adolf's mother] decides to put an end to the beating. "She goes up to the attic, covers Adolf who is lying on the floor, but cannot deflect the father's final blow. Without a sound she absorbs it."

Mr Beierl said: "This is a picture of a completely dysfunctional family that the public has never seen before. "The terror of the Third Reich was cultivated in Hitler's own home." Mr Beierl's research also led him to Russian interrogation papers, which exposed the fact that Paula Hitler was engaged to Erwin Jekelius, responsible for gassing 4,000 people during the war.

Mr Beierl said: "Until this point, Paula Hitler had a clean slate. But the portrayal of her being a poor little creature has suddenly shifted. "In my opinion, the fact that she was due to marry one of Austria's worst criminals means that she was also connected with death, horror and gas chambers." And Dr Ryback added: "To me, discovering that Paula was going to marry Jekelius is one of the most astonishing revelations of my career. "She bought into the whole thing -- hook, line and sinker."

Paula, who later lived under the pseudonym Wolf, did not marry Jekelius, as the wedding was forbidden by her brother. Dr Ryback said: "It was like a scene from Monty Python. Jekelius goes to Berlin to ask Hitler for his sister's hand; he is met by the Gestapo, shipped off to the Eastern front, and snapped up by the Russians."

Other eye-opening documents that shed light on the Hitler household include a family account book. One entry mentions a loan of 900 Austrian crowns given to Hitler in the spring of 1908, enough for the teenager to live on for one year, and dispels the myth that he existed as a "starving artist" when in Vienna. The historians were asked to carry out their extensive research almost six years ago for the German television station ZDF.

Their findings, due to be broadcast in a 45-minute documentary in Germany next week, also include interviews with two of Hitler's relatives.

Dr Ryback said: "This is the first time that these people have spoken publicly about living under the shadow of Hitler. They do not romanticise their past. They are very humble and have suffered their whole lives under the curse of Adolf. "It is an incredible closing of a loop: Hitler came from a family of poor farmers. After he rose and fell as a dictator, his family today is back where they started."

Hitler's relatives requested to remain anonymous in the documentary and their faces are digitally altered.  


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